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The 17 best cities to visit in the UK

We know that travel is especially difficult right now. But alongside the latest COVID-19 travel advice and updates, we want to continue to inspire you with new travel content so that when the world opens its doors again, you'll be ready.

From London to Liverpool, Edinburgh to Cambridge, the best cities to visit in the UK are right on your doorstep. You might not fancy heading abroad during the current pandemic, so why not plan a staycation closer to home? We’ve got all the information you need on the best places to visit in the UK, including how to get there, where to stay, and what to see and do while you’re there.

1. Bournemouth

Pastel-painted beach huts, seven miles of golden sands, landscaped Victorian parks, land trains, cliff lifts, and the world’s first (and only) pier-to-shore zip line, Bournemouth ticks all the boxes for a classic UK holiday by the seaside. Often warmer than the rest of the UK, with temperatures in July averaging at 17°C, you can cool off in the new seaside fountains or at one of the four Blue Flag beaches. The only trouble is picking between Alum Chine, Durley Chine, Fisherman’s Walk or Southbourne.

Don’t miss:

The Russell-Cotes art Gallery and museum. Housed in a spectacular Grade II listed villa at the top of East Cliff, the museum’s amazing art nouveau interiors and stained glass skylights mean you’ll leave with some share-worthy holiday snaps. Inside, you’ll find an acclaimed collection of Japanese ceramics as well as pre-raphaelite paintings – you can even book tickets for the Beyond the Brotherhood: The Pre-Raphaelite Legacy exhibition, which is showing until September. The museum is open from 10am to 5pm Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and it’s best to pre-book online, as visitor numbers are limited. An adult ticket will set you back £7.50 while for kids it’s £4 (and children under 5 go free).

Where to stay in Bournemouth:

Check in to the Hilton Bournemouth for luxurious rooms with panoramic views of Bournemouth Bay plus an indoor heated pool and Sky bar, or book one of the Hampton by Hilton‘s bright, modern rooms, which come with breakfast and WiFi.

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How to get there:

Bournemouth airport is just four miles from the city centre, so flying here is a good option if you’re coming from the north and don’t fancy the eight-hour drive from Scotland. Alternatively, you can drive to Bournemouth from London in just over two hours or catch the (slightly quicker) train from London Waterloo, with connections to the rest of the UK from here.

Picture shows Bournemouth Pier, the beach, and beach huts on a sunny day, with people having fun on the sand.

2. Brighton

The ancient lanes of Brighton‘s ex-fishing village centre are now strung with quirky shops and one-off bars, its exuberant Royal Pavilion and unapologetically tacky pier pulling in the crowds. Brighton’s nightlife lights up the south coast all year round, with live music, theatre, and comedy rounding out the city’s arts scene.

Don’t miss:

The world’s tallest moving observation experience, Brighton’s British Airways i360. You’ll take in 360-degree views as your viewing pod glides slowly up to 450 feet. Adult tickets will cost £15 and children can visit for £7.50. Book online in advance and you’ll get a small discount.

Where to stay in Brighton:

Base yourself on the seafront at the opulent Hotel du Vin, where you’ll find a sweeping staircase leading to quirky rooms, some with rolltop baths. Alternatively, book the good-value Blanch House, Brighton’s original boutique hotel in a Georgian terrace just back from the seafront.

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How to get there:

At only an hour away by rail, Brighton makes a great weekend away from London. Coming from elsewhere? The easiest way to get here is to fly to London Gatwick and take the regular fast train from the airport to the city. You can get cheap flights to Gatwick from several regional airports in the UK, including Edinburgh, Belfast, and Newquay.

Picture shows Brighton, one of the best cities to visit in the UK, with Brighton seafront with its sandy beach, and the Brighton Wheel - the weather is sunny and the sky is blue.

3. Cambridge

Few cities are as beautiful as Cambridge, its dreamy spires rising up from the green fields around the River Cam. Drink it all in by taking a walk along ‘the Backs’ of the college, snapping some photos of King’s College Chapel (currently closed to the public), or partaking in an essential Cambridge activity – a spot of punting on the river. The city is dominated by the stately facades of its university colleges, and the vibrant student population keeps the food and bar scene interesting.

Don’t miss:

Cambridge University Botanic Garden. For a fun, free day out, explore this 16-hectare teaching and research garden. Home to over 8,000 plants, it was opened in 1762. Spot more than 100 species of birds, reptiles, and amphibians too. The garden is open 10am to 6pm until the end of September. An adult ticket costs £6 – kids under 16 go free – and you’ll need to book online before your visit.

Where to stay in Cambridge:

The best hotel in town is the chic Varsity, in the thick of the colleges and with its own spa and roof terrace. There are just 48 individual rooms, many with lovely views over the city. If you’re a bit more budget-conscious then you can’t go wrong with a room at the Premier Inn, with comfy beds and free WiFi, just to the east of the city centre.

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How to get there:

Cambridge is well-serviced by the railway, with nearby Peterborough connecting to the major north-south line between Plymouth and Aberdeen, and trains from London can be surprisingly affordable. London Stansted airport is only 30 miles down the road as well, so you can easily fly from Glasgow, Derry, and Edinburgh.

4. Cardiff

From its historic castle to its cutting edge arts scene, the Welsh capital packs a weighty punch and is one of the best cities to visit in the UK. Stand in the Norman keep of Cardiff Castle, take in a performance at the Millennium Centre or a match at the Principality Stadium. Cardiff makes a perfect weekend break in the UK because you won’t leave feeling short-changed. In fact, both the National Museum Cardiff and St. Fagan’s National History Museum are free, along with several art galleries and even the Welsh Assembly building, with its sweeping contemporary architecture and views across the bay.

Don’t miss:

Just outside the city centre, St. Fagan’s National History Museum is a chance to walk back in time, with more than 40 original buildings from different periods re-erected in beautiful parkland. Find out what life was like for the Celts living in Wales, learn about Wales’s unique traditional crafts or tour the museum’s First World War Collections. The museum is reopening on 4 August and will be open 10am-5pm daily. You must pre-book a free ticket online before your visit.

Where to stay in Cardiff:

For a room with a view, nothing beats The St Davids Hotel at Cardiff Bay, which has floor-to-ceiling windows in the spacious rooms and a restaurant and bar overlooking the water. In Cardiff centre, check in to the towering Radisson Blu for affordable rooms.

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How to get there:

Coming from the north of England or Scotland? Direct flights to Cardiff run from Newcastle, Edinburgh, and Glasgow. Cardiff Airport is located in nearby Rhoose, close to Barry and it takes around half an hour to travel to Cardiff from the airport. You’ll also find good rail connections to the city from the Midlands, London, and the south-west, with Bristol Temple Meads station only a short ride away.

Picture shows Cardiff, one of the best places to visit in the UK, with the Pierhead building, the docks and the Wales Millennium Centre.

5. Derby

This is the real ale capital of Britain, so needless to say it makes for one of the best weekends away in England. Derby’s food and pub scene has grown dramatically over the past few years and the city has a friendly, creative edge that is all its own, not to mention an enviable seat on the edge of the gorgeous Peak District National Park. Arguably, Derby is the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and The Silk Mill, the world’s first factory, remains revolutionary. It’s currently undergoing renovation by the people of Derby to become the Museum of Making, due to be transformed in 2019/20, but currently closed due to the pandemic. The Museum and Art Gallery on the Strand is open, however, and you can visit Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10.30am-4pm and Sundays from 12-4pm.

Don’t miss:

The pubs. Head to Derventio Brewery at Darley Abbey Mill for a tour and tasting, before hitting Mr Grundy’s Tavern or The Brunswick, which brews its own beers. Mr Grundy’s has open fires for winter nights and a flower-strewn beer garden (one of Derby’s biggest) for sultry summer evenings. It’s not just about the beer, though: The Brunswick won the title of Derby’s best cider pub of the year in 2015.

Note: You may need to book for brewery tours or pub visits, due to the current pandemic.

Where to stay in Derby:

The Cathedral Quarter Hotel is a former Grade II listed council office turned boutique hotel, with cosy rooms complete with fireplaces and bath tubs. If you don’t mind being out of town, book into the Kedleston country house hotel for individually designed rooms with pencil poster beds and monsoon showers.

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How to get there:

Just about slap-bang in the middle of England, Derby is one of the most well-connected UK cities and is on the mainline between northern stops like York, Newcastle, and Edinburgh – and London St Pancras if you’re coming by train. Alternatively, fly into East Midlands Airport and you’ll have the chance to explore another historic Midlands city, Nottingham, if you want to extend your UK weekend break. The airport sits neatly in between the two cities and is serviced by frequent Skylink buses to both.

6. Durham

To arrive in Durham by train is to be instantly beguiled by one of the world’s most beautiful Romanesque cathedrals sitting in splendour above a neat city, blooming with ancient trees. The cathedral is the city’s heart, reached by sinuous cobbled lanes and reflected in the River Wear. There’s also an ancient university, a castle, and the fascinating Crook Hall, with its rare mix of medieval, Jacobean and Georgian architecture. 

Note: Crook Hall is currently closed due to the pandemic, but check the website for the latest updates.

Don’t miss:

A walking tour of this historic city. For £27 per adult you can book onto a Durham History Tour which will give you an insight into the city’s landmarks, so when they do re-open, you’ll be the expert. The cathedral and its Open Treasure exhibition route is another must-see attraction. Sadly, it’s currently closed to the public due to the pandemic. 

Where to stay in Durham:

Check in to the Radisson Blu for chic modern rooms and an on-site pool and spa. Some rooms have cathedral and river views – ask for one when booking and you might get lucky. There’s also a simple but stylish Premier Inn in the city centre, offering free WiFi and their ‘Good Night Guarantee’ (or your money back).

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How to get there:

The city is close to several airports, including Durham Tees Valley and Newcastle International so flying is an efficient way to travel here if you’re coming from the south. Durham is easy to reach from Scotland by road and rail, with a journey time of under 2 hours from Edinburgh Waverley station.

Picture shows the city of Durham at night time, with its cathedral rising above the city skyline.

7. Edinburgh

Scotland’s capital makes one of the most romantic city breaks in the UK at any time of the year. Couples flock there for blustery walks to the top of Arthur’s Seat in winter, springtime strolls by the Water of Leith, summer’s epic Fringe Festival (the UK’s largest) and the party to end all parties, Hogmanay, at each year’s end. Note that if you’re heading to the capital this year, the Fringe Festival sadly won’t be taking place.

And that’s before we even mention the castle, the Royal Mile or the whisky. Make sure fit it all in with our 24hr video guide to the city, which you can watch here.

Don’t miss:

Getting an overview of Scottish history at the National Museum of Scotland, which will be re-opening soon. The Made in Scotland, Changing the World exhibition is an insight into the scientific and technological inventions made in Scotland over the last 300 years, and is fun for adults and kids alike. The museum is usually open daily 10am-5pm (although hours may vary) and entrance is free.

Where to stay in Edinburgh:

If Edinburgh is one of the best cities to visit in the UK then the Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa is one of the best places to stay. Book one of its opulent rooms for castle views and access to the fabulous thermal circuit in the One Spa. The hip, budget Motel One Edinburgh Royal is another good choice, with bright, modern rooms with touches of tartan.

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How to get there:

Edinburgh makes an easy last-minute getaway, thanks to direct, reliably cheap flights from East Midlands, London, Manchester, Birmingham, and many more regional airports. Though it will take a little longer, the Scottish capital is easily accessible from most parts of the UK by rail, and journeys from the south and Midlands feature a dramatically beautiful stretch of the East Coast line via Berwick upon Tweed.

Picture shows the city of Edinburgh skyline, as seen from the top of Calton Hill with the National Monument of Scotland in the foreground.

8. Glasgow

Once known as the Second City of the British Empire, Glasgow is a vibrant melting pot of historic architecture and contemporary culture. Stately Georgian buildings abound, as do hip bars and restaurants, and the ex-industrial heartland of the Clyde is today a revamped and rejuvenated area of real cultural clout. Find out more with our top 11 things to see and do in Glasgow.

Don’t miss:

A proper night out, Glasgow-style. Try a pint of heavy in the Horseshoe Bar, get cosy in the Variety Bar, or bar-hop all the way along Argyle Street in Finnieston. That is if you’ve got room after a fine feast in Porter & Rye – try their porterhouse steak for two, to taste world-famous Scottish beef at its best. Don’t forget to book your table in advance – many pubs are taking pre-bookings only.

Where to stay in Glasgow:

You’ll get a friendly Glasgow welcome wherever you go, but One Devonshire Gardens Hotel du Vin is a cut above the rest, with kilt-wearing concierges to meet you at the door. The rooms are pretty special too – some even have standalone baths in the bedroom. For more wallet-friendly accommodation, check in to the Z Hotel where you’ll find snug rooms and a reception/bar serving complimentary breakfast.

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How to get there:

Glasgow is served by two airports but Glasgow International is the go-to airport for domestic flights to the rest of the UK including Bristol, Birmingham, London Stansted, and Southampton (Glasgow Prestwick runs only short-haul flights to Europe). There are trains to Glasgow every 40 minutes from London and it’s only an hour between here and Edinburgh.

Picture shows the skyline of Glasgow by night.

9. Hull

An epic history of ship-building, far-reaching trade and freedom (slavery abolition figure-head William Wilberforce was a notable resident back in the 19th century) has long put Kingston-Upon-Hull, aka Hull, on the industrial and cultural map. Crowned UK City of Culture 2017, Hull is also set to become an unexpected darling of the post-industrial age. You can further explore the story of this down-to-earth port city at one of its many free museums and attractions, from the elegant Guildhall and the Old Town to the Arctic Corsair, an old fishing vessel moored on the River Hull and full of salty tales (regaled by ex-sailor tour guides, of course). It’s also one of the few UK cities to boast a set of public toilets as a tourist attraction.

Don’t believe us? The elegant Edwardian lavvies on the Pier might just change your mind.

Don’t miss:

The Humber Bridge, which links Hull with Lincolnshire, is a marvel of 20th-century engineering and was the longest suspension bridge of its kind in the world when built. A stroll along it will reward you with seabirds feeding alongside the Humber Estuary, a 30-metre-high perspective, and a healthy sea breeze. You can also tackle part (or all 79 miles) of the beautiful Yorkshire Wolds Way, which meanders beneath the concrete towers of the bridge on the north bank.

Where to stay in Hull:

Stay central at the Kingston Theatre Hotel for easy access to popular attractions like The Deep aquarium and budget-friendly rates from £73 for a double. Fancy a more rural Yorkshire setting? Dunedin Country House sits quietly between the east coast and the city (a 30-minute drive from Hull), surrounded by acres of Victorian landscape gardens, with unique rooms chock-full of period features.

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How to get there:

Hull is well connected by rail to nearby cities, with both York and Leeds an hour away by train. Change for onward journeys by bus and coach (including destinations like London Victoria) at the central Hull Paragon Interchange. The nearest airports are at Humberside (20 miles from the city centre) and Leeds-Bradford.

10. Liverpool

Liverpool has England’s largest collection of museums and galleries outside London, a vibrant music scene and superb shopping – and, of course, a football team or two. Take the famous ferry across the Mersey, explore the historic Albert Dock, see the Liver Building, and hit the Beatles trail around this rejuvenated ex-industrial powerhouse.

Don’t miss:

Liverpool has dozens of museums and galleries but you can’t miss the Tate Liverpool gallery at the Royal Albert Dock. Explore an expansive collection of British and international modern and contemporary art in peaceful surroundings. Entry is free, but you’ll need a timed ticket. The gallery is open Monday to Sunday, 10am-5.50pm.

Where to stay in Liverpool:

It has to be the Hope Street Hotel, for its independent spirit, fabulous London Carriage Works restaurant, and unrivalled location between the city’s two cathedrals – some rooms have terraces with views of both. On a budget? Once again, the Z Hotel comes up trumps, with its compact rooms, central location, and terrific prices – rooms start at £60 a night.

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How to get there:

Liverpool is easily reached from Wales, the Midlands, and nearby Manchester by road, although you may want to take advantage of cheap flights if coming from further afield – Belfast, Edinburgh, and Castletown (Isle of Man) airports operate direct flights to Liverpool.

Picture shows the city of Liverpool at night.

11. London

Where to start? With world-leading museums perhaps, or the fantastic shopping to be had? How about the diverse cuisines on offer or the endless, eclectic bars? What about the copious green space and endless attractions? You get it. London has it all – in spades. The highlights? Start with the British Museum (reopening soon), Covent Garden, the London Eye, the Tower of London, the Shard

Don’t miss:

Even those who’ve done it all might have missed this one. In 2016, the ArcelorMittal Orbit in the Olympic Park launched a brand new attraction: a helter-skelter slide all the way down the UK’s tallest sculpture. It’s the world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide, and predictably enough, more than rivals the London Eye for spectacular views of the city. The slide reopens on 1 August and you can book adult tickets online from £16.75. Child tickets cost from £10.75, or pick up a family of four ticket from £53.

Where to stay in London:

Book a room at the stylish Andaz London and you’ll get five-star service and chic boutique style in one very attractive package – the 19th-century ex-Great Eastern railway hotel. There are five different bars and restaurants; an easy favourite is Eastway, for reliable brasserie dishes, including great steaks. Or, save your money for those swanky skyscraper restaurants and craft beers pubs and head to the Z hotel: there are several dotted around the city in Soho, Shoreditch, Piccadilly and Victoria, each with the trademark small but perfectly formed rooms.

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How to get there:

As the hub of England and the UK, London has excellent transport links to all corners of the country and beyond, with five major airports located around Greater London; Luton, Stansted airport, Gatwick, Heathrow, and London City. With so much choice, it’s easy to find good city break deals to London. Once you land all you’ve got to do is hop on a coach or the good-value easyBus by easyJet to get into the centre of London. Alternatively, come by train to get straight to the heart of the city, with Kings Cross and London St Pancras providing quick access from the Midlands, the north of England, and Scotland, while London Waterloo or Paddington are the main endpoints for services from the West Country and Wales.

Picture shows the city of London with Tower Bridge in the background.

12. Manchester

Sprawling Manchester once sat at the heart of the Industrial Revolution and has retained an important place in English culture ever since. In the heart of one of the best cities to visit in the UK you’ll find the new northern base of the BBC, the Imperial War Museum North and learn more about where the story started at the fun and interactive Museum of Science and Industry (reopening on 14 August). Not to the mention Manchester’s world-leading music venues and some of the best restaurants in the north of England.

Don’t miss:

The Cathedral. Admission is free and the cathedral is open from 8.30am-6.30pm Monday to Thursday and Sunday, and 8.30am-5pm Friday and Saturday. Arrive at 11am or 2pm and you can even enjoy a guided tour, every day except Sunday.

Where to stay in Manchester:

The brand new King Street Townhouse has an infinity pool overlooking Albert Square and Manchester Town Hall. If this hasn’t sold it then it also has sleek, stylish rooms and the King Street Tavern for afternoon tea. The Abel Haywood is a pub with rooms in the city’s hip Northern Quarter – the perfect base for a night on the tiles.

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How to get there:

Manchester has a busy airport close by, with its own train station and fast connections to city stations Oxford Road and Piccadilly. Alternatively, travel from other UK cities, like Nottingham and Leeds, using National Express coaches or the budget Megabus service to get here cheaply from London. Don’t forget, you’re also only about an hour by train or bus away from another of the liveliest short breaks in the UK, Liverpool.

Picture shows the city of Manchester and a canal boat on its canal.

13. Medway

Medway is the sort of lesser-known place that doesn’t often make it into the guidebooks. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to see and do in north Kent’s conurbation of three historic towns: Rochester, Chatham, and Gillingham. Visit Rochester Castle, one of the best-preserved and finest examples of Norman architecture in England, see Rochester Cathedral, England’s second oldest, and take a walking tour around the buildings featured in the work of Dickens, who lived (and died) nearby. You’ll also find Britain’s very first museum of Huguenot history and the country’s best surviving example of a Napoleonic fortress, Fort Amherst.

Don’t miss:

The official Call the Midwife location tour at Chatham Dockyards – the perfect day out for fans of the show. A costumed midwife takes you on a tour of this historic location, filling you in on how it’s transformed for the show.  The tour runs Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays and an adult ticket costs £25 (£21 for children). You’ll need to book in advance online.

Where to stay in Medway:

Book a room at the Ship and Trades pub-restaurant in Chatham marina for simple, stylish rooms in what was once the dockyard offices. The pub has a terrace, sits by the water, and has 11 bedrooms. If you’d rather be in Rochester, take a room at the 17th-century Gordon House Hotel on the High Street which has traditional en suite rooms and views of the cathedral.

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How to get there:

Medway sits in a handy position – close enough to London to get here quickly by road, rail, or air, without feeling like a busy transport hub. Rochester is probably the best station to travel to, serviced by trains from London Victoria and Charing Cross. You can also reach the Eurotunnel at Folkestone easily via the M20, and at 30 miles away, London City is the closest London airport, with many direct flights from Edinburgh, Exeter, and Jersey.

14. Nottingham

Nottingham may not be the first place to spring to mind when thinking about the best cities to visit in the UK, but it will surprise you. Once a major player in the lace manufacturing and pharmaceuticals industry (Boots hails from here), Nottingham today makes for a cultural UK city break with the bonus of a lively personality – as anyone who has had a night out around the Market Square will attest. Visit Wollaton Hall‘s stunning deer park and gardens, shop for fashion at big-name Paul Smith’s original shop and check out the handsome red-brick warehouses of the Lace Market, which now finds itself at the heart of the city’s Creative Quarter.

Don’t miss:

The Creative Quarter, which encompasses both the Lace Market and neighbouring Hockley. Amid original Victorian buildings repurposed as hidden bars and artsy cafes, you’ll find the world’s first cultural centre devoted to gaming, the National Videogame Arcade, and one of the UK’s leading modern art galleries, Nottingham Contemporary, reopening on 4 August.

Where to stay in Nottingham:

Top pick is the Lace Market Hotel, newly refurbished with 42 individually styled bedrooms with features including copper claw-footed bathtubs, bespoke artwork and views across its historic neighbourhood. There’s also a Premier Inn in the city centre, right on the tram line, which has the usual high standard rooms with comfortable beds and free wifi.

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How to get here

Nottingham is serviced by East Midlands Airport – hop on the Skylink bus to get directly to the city centre. Nottingham is also easy to get to from fellow regional hubs Derby and Leicester (both around 20 to 30 minutes on the train) but it’s also just over 90 minutes away from London St Pancras, making it very accessible from the south as well.

Picture shows Nottingham Council House with a colourful flower bed with green bushes and red flowers in front of it.

15. Portsmouth

Portsmouth has long been a naval heavyweight, with the harbour’s strategic location exploited by every monarch since Henry VII. Today the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is home to the HMS Warrior, HMS Victory, and the Mary Rose (currently closed), plus the National Museum of the Royal Navy. The D-Day Museum is worth the short detour out of town, while the Spinnaker Tower should be climbed for its maritime views our over the Solent – and the chance to test your head for heights on its see-through floor.

Don’t miss:

The D-Day Museum. Book adult tickets online for £9 (£4.50 for children) to save money compared to on-the-door prices. The museum is a fascinating introduction to the history of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy – don’t miss the 59-metre long Landing Craft Tank that carried 10 tanks to Normand for D-Day. The D-Day Museum is open daily from 10am to 5.30pm.

Where to stay in Portsmouth:

The Marriott Portsmouth has plush rooms and a heated pool in a good, central location. Alternatively, try Florence House, where luxurious, homely rooms fill a lovingly restored Edwardian house. Breakfast, WiFi, and parking are all included.

How to get there:

Portsmouth is well connected to other south coast cities by rail, with Southampton (pictured below) to the west (30 minutes), and Brighton to the east (80 minutes). Southampton Airport is 20 miles away from the city centre, with trains connecting to Portsmouth.

16. Stratford-upon-Avon

Think Stratford, think Shakespeare. Although some of the city’s most popular attractions like Shakespeare’s birthplace and the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Swan and Royal Shakespeare theatres, are currently closed, you can still take time out next to the picturesque river. The Dirty Duck is a favourite historic pub for ales and good hearty grub, winning the accolade of CAMRA Pub of the Year in 2016.

Don’t miss:

Stratford Upon Avon Butterfly Farm. Kids and adults alike will love the Minibeast Metropolis, home to one of the largest insect collections in the UK and the Wild Flower Garden which is open from June until September. Or, just stroll through the rainforest environment and spot some of the world’s most beautiful butterflies. The farm is open from 10am-6pm all summer, and you’ll need to book tickets over the phone in advance. Tickets cost £7.25 for adults and £6.25 for children aged 3 to 16 – or pick up a family ticket for two adults and two children for £22.50.

Where to stay in Stratford-upon-Avon:

For a truly grand stay, book a room at the Grade II listed 19th-century neo-Jacobean Hallmark Hotel The Welcombe. Rooms feature four-poster beds, rich fabric drapes, and views of the surrounding countryside. Alternatively, if you’re looking for style and savings, check in to the Traveller’s Rest Guest House where the simple modern rooms are within easy walking distance of the town centre.

How to get there:

Sat just north of the beautiful Cotswolds countryside, it’s well worth having your own set of wheels to visit Stratford and around. If you’re coming from further afield, you can fly into Birmingham and hire a car at the airport to travel the last 26 miles.

Photo shows traditional beamed Tudor style buildings in Stratford Upon Avon

17. York

Before the Industrial Revolution, York was second only to London in size and population. It could be said that the history of this ancient city is the history of England itself. There’s plenty to explore, then, starting with a walk around the 14th-century walls before ducking through the city’s medieval cobbled streets to reach the crowning glory, the York Minster, Britain’s largest Gothic building.

Don’t miss:

The National Railway Museum, even if you have only a passing interest in trains. This is the country’s premier museum to all things rail and you’ll find more than 50 locomotives from 1829 onwards, including The Mallard, which can reach speeds of up to 126mph and is the fastest steam engine ever built. The museum reopens on 4 August and will be open daily 10am-5pm. Entry is free – a perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon. 

Where to stay in York:

Check in to Yorkshire’s finest five-star hotel, The Grand, in the city centre.. Housed in the 1906 headquarters of the North Eastern Railway, its luxurious rooms have matchless views of the walls and Minster. For even more character take a room at the Bar Convent, England’s oldest functioning convent. It was founded in 1686 as a school for girls and today offers modern rooms in a Grade I listed building.

How to get there:

York sits on the main line between London and Scotland so it’s straightforward to get here by rail. At 30 miles from Leeds Bradford Airport, you can also take advantage of cheap flights from London Heathrow, Aberdeen, and Belfast to reach York.

*Published July 2020. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.

Have we missed your favourite UK city? Tell us which British destinations you think make the best city breaks in the comments section below and we’ll include your recommendation in our next line-up!

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