Great Britain is one of those fabulous destinations that encompasses so many incredible travel experiences and destinations that it’s nearly impossible to go a day without stumbling over something quite astonishing. In fact, it can be a little overwhelming to tailor an itinerary if you can’t decide where to start. Lucky for you, we’ve drawn up a list of ten quintessential Great Britain experiences to inspire your next foray to the British Isles:
View the world from a turret
Playing knights and maidens in one of Great Britain’s many awe-inspiring castles has to be at the top of the list for every first-time visitor. The region is crammed to the hilt with absolutely stunning, beautifully preserved castles and keeps that will transport you to a time of secret betrothals and court intrigue. Our top picks for truly castle-y castles include Edinburgh Castle in Scotland, Alnwick Castle in England, and Caerphilly Castle in Wales.
Play it posh at an English Uni
A visit to a proper English University is a great way to experience ivy league life firsthand. Book a punting excursion down the canals of Cambridge and see the riparian colleges in comfort and style. Stop over for a coffee at one of the student spots afterwards to truly immerse yourself in the culture of this vibrant, energetic town.
Walk in the footsteps of 2nd century Romans
Hadrian’s Wall comprises the remnant of a medieval fortification built by the Romans in the 2nd century. From Bowness on Solway on the west coast, to Wallsend on the east coast, visitors can explore bathhouses, turrets and shrines, visit galleries and museums and watch live excavations uncover new and exciting details of ancient Roman Britain – a must-visit monument and remarkable historical destination.
Cry freedom among the heather
The Scottish Highlands is perhaps best known among modern travellers as being the location of the film Braveheart, which was based on the bloody Scottish rebellion led by William Wallace against the English. But even if you weren’t as enamoured as we were by Mel Gibson avenging his wife in a kilt, the dramatic Highlands still holds plenty of appeal. Think majestic heather-covered mountains, mysterious lochs, deep shadows at the foot of Ben Nevis, dolphins off the Moray Coast, and really cool people just itching to guide you through this unpredictable, untameable land.
Tip your hat to The Bard
Thee can’t leaveth most wondrous Britain without visiting the home of William Shakespeare. After all, this is the ingenious human who came up with wonderful insults like, ‘’thou elvish-mark’d, abortive, rooting hog!’’ That alone would merit a tip of the hat, even if you don’t happen to be a fan of his momentous body of written works. Besides, Stratford-Upon-Avon itself is a beautiful village and a stroll through its cobbled streets is a great way to spend an afternoon.
Revel in the mystery of prehistoric masonry
Stonehenge is one of the most iconic ancient destinations throughout Great Britain, and with good reason – these vast monoliths are remnants of a bygone age and still manage to send prickles down the spine of even the most jaded visitor. A walking tour with a knowledgeable guide will allow you to learn more about its origins, the theories regarding its intended use and how it was found and preserved – the perfect day out for anyone with a love of history, archeology or the study of ancient cultures.
Go full geek at the Roman Baths
Many visitors to Great Britain mistakenly think that a visit to the Roman Baths in Bath will mainly involve swimming trunks and flip flops, which couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, it might be one of most innovative tourist attractions around but you won’t get to go in the water (the nearby Thermae Bath Spa uses the same water which is treated to make it safe for bathing if you’re in the mood for taking some healing vapours). However, there is plenty to see and do at the baths to delight everyone’s inner-geek – think costumed characters telling their stories, T’ai Chi on the terrace, science busking (it’s a thing!) and behind-the-scenes tours of the collections of ancient memorabilia found during the excavations and restoration of the baths. Riveting stuff!
Get a pint in
Leaving Great Britain before you had a pint and some Bubble & Squeak at a traditional English pub is akin to sacrilege; you won’t truly be able to get under the skin of the British before you’ve experienced the hearty atmosphere that epitomises their singular pub culture. Forgo the obvious tourist traps and opt for a good, old-fashioned hole in the wall where you can order some bangers and mash, take a seat in the corner and watch a bit of everyday melodrama unfold among the locals.
Visit silver screen locations
Great Britain is immensely popular with filmmakers from around the world, in large part due to its incredible scenery and iconic architecture. This means you can follow in the footsteps of Harry Potter at Alnwick Castle, England; the blokes from Trainspotting in Princess Street, Cardiff; Lady Mary from Downton Abbey in Yorkshire Village; and Braveheart at Glen Nevis, Scotland. And that’s literally just the tip of the Hollywood iceberg!
Live it up at the lakes
It’s quite impossible to capture the spellbinding beauty of Great Britain’s lakes in photographs. Sure, you can see the glint of a thousand sunbeams dancing on the smooth, dark waters and get an inkling of the vastness of its reach, but nothing can prepare you for the singular tranquility of the ambience around these gorgeous bodies of water. Our top picks include Ben Nevis in Scotland and Windermere lake in the celebrated Lake District .
Now doesn’t that sound like a blooming good time? Great Britain is called ‘great’ for a reason and we can’t wait to show you around.