Over the past few months, short breaks in the UK have become ever more popular. While we love our trips overseas, the UK has more than enough to keep people booking regular trips and exploring this wonderful country.
When it comes to places that are truly beautiful, you can’t get much better than the UK. The stunning landscape, history, and culture combine to create something that is truly unique. Whether you’re traveling around Wales, Scotland, England, or parts of Ireland, the UK has something to offer for everyone. In fact, you really shouldn’t be surprised if you have a hard time leaving after your visit, as there are so many magical places to see and things to do. It can be hard to give it all up and go back to some mundane routine.
Below are 10 great destinations for short breaks in the UK. If you really want to see all that this great country has to offer, then check out these few spots.
1. Dorset and the Jurassic Coast
If you’re wondering why the Jurassic Coast has such a moniker, it goes back to the time period from which the landscape in the area was formed. That’s right, it’s the same era as the dinosaurs. In reality, you will see some of the most breathtaking landscapes here that will leave you pining for more. If you’re lucky, you’ll also get a first-hand glimpse of some of the fossils for which the area has become famous. The World Heritage site starts at Orcombe Point in Devon and then stretches for more than 90 miles to Swanage, Dorset. The area encompasses Purbeck, Weymouth & Portland, West Dorset, and East Devon. Start your journey in Exmouth, on the River Exe. Stop at seaside towns like Sidmouth and Seaton, where you can enjoy a stay at one of the many fine establishments before continuing to the white cliffs at Beer. Dorset is also home to lovely seaside towns such as Bournemouth, Poole, and Weymouth, and home to possibly the best beach the UK has to offer, Sandbanks Beach.
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2. Lake District
Some people call this region The Lakes. Others call it Lakeland. Whatever you refer to it as there’s no doubt you’ll love every second of your stay in this picturesque and historic area. As you may have already guessed from the name, it’s all about getting out and about enjoying the outdoors. Located in Cumbria, in northwest England, you can experience both the region’s highest mountain and deepest lake all on the same day by visiting the summit at Scafell Pike and then taking in the lakeside views at Wastwater. While you’re at it, check out all the villages of Bowness-On-Windermere, Ambleside, and Keswick have to offer. From markets to art and literary hotspots, there is plenty to do and see. You can even stay in one of the many historic inns if you so choose, as there is plenty to do in the area, and nothing beats stopping off at one of the local traditional pubs for a drink and a meal by the fire after a long day walking in the fresh air. The lake district is huge, the area covers over 900 square miles so choosing what areas to stay in and visit can be tricky, especially if you are a first-time visitor, but my favourite areas are around Lake Windermere and the village of Keswick.
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3. Peak District
If you’re in the mood for an outdoor adventure in the heart of England, look no further than the Peak District, a national park that allows you to enjoy access at any time of the day or night. Similar to the Lake District, the Peak District is one of the best places in the UK for hiking, biking, and rock climbing. There is so much to do in this picturesque part of the country so it’s a good idea to do some planning before you go. Visit White Peak, on the south side of the sprawling and beautiful national park. This area includes the limestone stepping stones at Dovedale, making it one of the most popular destinations in the region. You can also visit the highest point in the park, Kinder Scout, located in the northern portion of the park. Stay in Edele, or Castleton before heading back out to explore moorland plateaus and ridges made of gritstone at Dark Peak.
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4. New Forest
Just as the name implies, the New Forest District is exactly that, a massive area of forested land where you can genuinely enjoy all that nature has to offer at its finest. This is one of the oldest districts in England and it has been well-curated over the course of several years. Located in Hampshire and only 69 miles from London, it’s a great place to take a breather from all the demands and stresses of daily life. There are all kinds of accommodations located within the New Forest District itself. No matter your interests or your budget, there’s something there for everyone.
Visit the pretty village of Beaulieu, where you will find the national motor museum. The area also has countless places to eat and all kinds of outdoor activities. You can cycle or ride horses on the designated trails, and if you would like to live out your Western fantasy then try out the riding trails at the Burley Villa School of Riding. There are also more than 40 designated walking trails in the forest. On the other hand, you may decide that you’d rather just sit back, relax, and enjoy watching the wildlife. If you fancy a visit to the shops, there are several nearby. For places to stay, I would recommend the Mill at Gordleton, which is set alongside the river and with beautiful surroundings, charming rooms, and delicious home-cooked food.
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Cornwall, located in southwest England, has a long and storied past and is one of the most beautiful counties the country has to offer. While it’s technically and legally part of England, the majority of the people living there year-round consider themselves Cornish, not English. The area is highly dependent on tourism. As such, its population swells to two or three times the number of residents who live there full-time during the summer months. Located between the Celtic Sea to the north and the English Channel to the south, with the River Tamar to the east, it has long been considered an important tourist destination for those who enjoy beaches and unique shops. In fact, the area boasts miles of sandy beaches up and down the coastline, in conjunction with moorlands. The town of Newquay has 12 golden beaches that are awesome for surfing, a lively town centre, and lots of places to eat and drink. Come and experience the UK’s longest zip wire at Hangloose adventure at the Eden Project Cornwall. The best places to stay in Cornwall are Newquay, St Austell, St Ives, Falmouth, and Truro.
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6. Scottish Highlands
It wouldn’t be a proper trip to the UK without visiting the Scottish Highlands. This is one of the most sparsely populated areas of the UK, but also one of the most beautiful. Rich with history, it’s the perfect place for lovers of historic events and nature alike. Located approximately three hours from Edinburgh by car, you can visit the highest mountain in the British Isles, Ben Nevis. The Scottish Highlands includes the villages West Dunbartonshire, Stirling, Perth and Kinross, North Ayrshire, Moray, Argyll and Bute, Angus, Aberdeenshire, and Inverness. The latter serves as the seat of the entire region and is arguably its most populated area. There are plenty of things to do in the area, not the least of which includes seeing the Glenfinnan Viaduct or Smoo Cave in Sutherland.
If you are a keen photographer you may wish to visit the Quiraing on the Isle of Skye, where you will come across the most spectacular landscapes in Scotland, and take on the Quiraing walk, If you’re lucky you might even see a few Highland cattle along the way. There are also more than thirty distilleries in the region, many of them well-known for the single malt scotch they produce. And of course, no trip to the highlands would be complete without a trip to the famous Loch Ness and while you are here, visit the Urquhart Castle. If you’re looking for a place to stay, there are plenty of Inns located in Inverness, a great base for your Scottish Highlands trip. Others are more sparsely located but still very much worth the effort. They are scattered throughout the previously mentioned villages. In some cases, you can even find something located in the countryside that offers a rather unique experience you’re not likely to find elsewhere.
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Wales is absolutely magical, like being transported to some other dimension. Everything about it is unique. From the language to the culture, Wales does things its own way, and it is beautiful. Located in southwestern Great Britain and nestled in between the Irish Sea, Bristol Channel, and England, Wales is a country like no other. The residents there still largely adhere to a strong Celtic culture and still speak Welsh, a gorgeous language in its own right. However, there’s more to the magic of Wales than just the culture and the language. If you travel to South Wales, you can visit Cardiff, the capital city. It also just happens to be the largest city in Wales, boasting a rich nightlife. The city seems near-perfect for academics and artists alike. It’s also home to its fair share of Gothic Revival architecture.
In North Wales, you have Snowdonia National Park, complete with glaciers, lakes, and hiking trails galore, along with possibly the best zip wire I have ever been on, in fact, it’s the fastest in the world. There is also a railway that runs all the way up to the top of Snowden, the highest mountain in the country, so if you want to reach the summit but also want to save your legs, then this is a great idea. The nearest town to Snowdon is Llanberis, and this is your perfect base if you’re wishing to visit the mountain and take part in activities here. In mid-Wales, you have the coastal town of Aberystwyth, the home of the National Library of Wales and Aberystwyth University. It doesn’t matter if you prefer city life or a long walk in the countryside, you can find it in Wales. If you’re looking for a place where you can let go of things and be present in the moment, this is it. Wales is a place you will want to visit again and again.
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Norfolk is a splendidly beautiful little area and it’s the perfect place to visit when you want a secluded getaway as opposed to visiting a busy city. The county has so much to offer you on your short break, its 84 miles of coastline, The broads with its 125 miles of lock-free waterways, Sandringham estate, and much more. it’s situated between Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and, Lincolnshire. You can enjoy quality accommodations without sacrificing the peace and quiet you’re probably craving if a trip to Norfolk is in order. Don’t allow yourself to be fooled into thinking there isn’t much to do there just because it’s not located right next to a bustling hub. There are castle ruins to see, miles of sandy beaches to visit including Holkham beach (the scene of a famous pop group music video), hire a boat on the Norfolk Broads, the Queen’s stately residence to see and spend a great family day at beWILDerwood (the treehouse adventure). The best place to stay in Norfolk would be in close to one of the coastal towns such as Cromer, Sheringham, wells, Great Yarmouth or Burnham Market.
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Cotswolds is located on the eastern side of Wales, just on the other side of the Bristol Channel. As such, it’s often considered part of both England and Wales. It’s also widely considered the largest area of outstanding natural beauty in the UK and is home to many picturesque market towns and villages. However, this wasn’t always the way. The Cotswolds were the scenes of violent bloody battles during the English civil wars. But nowadays A Mini break in the Cotswolds will leave you wanting to come back. Explore medieval castles, stately homes, abbeys, ancient pubs, and stone houses.
Some of the best places to visit in the Cotswold are Cirencester which is the largest town in the area, Bourton on the water which is known as “Venice on the water”, Chedworth, Gloucester, Castlecombe, Naunton, Bibury, and Broadway. The List could go on. These beautiful little towns and villages are steeped in history, with Unique shops, wonderful bakeries, and farmer’s markets.
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10. Center Parcs Holiday Village
Center Parcs is a family favourite short break destination. It’s a holiday village set within 400 acres of forest with more than 200 indoor and outdoor activities. Stay in a choice of woodland lodges, executive lodges, waterside lodges, and the onsite hotel and apartments or one of the 5 treehouses. A short break at Center Parcs can be as chilled and relaxed or as busy as you want to make it. There is so much to do here, Some of the most popular indoor activities here include archery, table tennis, pool, bowling, painting, and pottery. There is also an indoor fitness centre that holds regular classes for group fitness and a subtropical swimming pool, with a main wave pool, rapids, lazy river, water slides, and a small child pirate cove and pool. A spa is also located on the property. If you’re more interested in outdoor adventures, enjoy activities like zip-lining, confidence courses, competitive archery, water sports, and a bike hire centre. There are restaurants and coffee shops on-site as well as a supermarket selling all your essentials as well as fresh bread and a bakery. Regardless of your mood or personal preferences, there is something to keep you busy, not to mention keeping a smile on your face.
There you have it. These are ten of the most beautiful and exhilarating places to visit in the UK. It doesn’t matter if you prefer the city or the country, architecture or hiking, food and drink or history, there are plenty of activities that can cater to your individual interests. One of the best things about the UK is that it is a diverse land with so many different things to offer. Even more impressive, the majority of these things are in relatively close proximity to one another, thus giving you the chance to enjoy numerous activities in several different locations.