Most people would list cities like London, Liverpool, and Manchester as the top travel destinations within the United Kingdom. While they wouldn’t be wrong, those big cities aren’t all that the UK has to offer. There are plenty of hidden gems and beautiful locales that don’t get the recognition they deserve but are worth visiting, offering charm, beauty, and entertainment. For anyone who wants to go off the beaten path or explore the UK outside of its major cities, here are some overlooked destinations to consider.
For most folks, Hastings is nothing more than a battle that took place in 1066. But Hastings is a real place located on the South coast of England. It’s part fishing port, part resort town, and part history lesson thanks to some medieval relics scattered throughout the town that help to share its important history. Hastings Pier and Hastings Country Park are two of the many sites to visit that offer amazing views overlooking the water. The town also offers great antique shops, historic sites, and incredible seafood restaurants.
On the outskirts of Liverpool, the city of Chester is one of the UK’s best-kept secrets. Visitors will be in awe of the black-and-white architecture and the city walls. The city is also filled with Roman remains, making it an ideal place for history buffs. Chester also features the Eastgate Clock, which is second to Big Ben among popular clocks in England. Between the history and the architecture, there is nothing boring about a weekend in Chester.
Outside of England, the northern Wales city of Bangor offers a brilliant combination of history and beauty. Bangor is both the oldest city in Wales and a university town with a lot going on as far as culture and entertainment. Some will enjoy seeing Bangor Cathedral while others will prefer Bishop’s Palace, which is now a museum. Of course, everyone who visits Bangor will have to check out Garth Pier, which offers exceptional views of Menai Straight.
The lore of Robin Hood is how most people know Nottingham. However, those who have actually visited the city know that it’s so much more. Merely walking the streets of Nottingham is a fun adventure thanks to many hidden lanes and secret gems. Nottingham is also home to Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, which is supposedly the oldest pub in England, established in 1189. Also, most people don’t know that Nottingham is one of the UK’s most important literary centers and has been dubbed by UNESCO as a “City of Literature.”
You will have to travel close to the southwest tip of England to find Penzance, but it’ll be worth the trip. While it might seem like just another small fishing village, Penzance offers spectacular scenery and never-ending fun in the Grand Casino. While there is no shortage of online gambling sites in the UK where you can bet directly from your mobile phone, the Grand Casino in Penzance offers some old-school gambling, not to mention bowling, an arcade, and other family-friendly options. That helps to make Penzance a great destination when you want to get away and have a little fun.
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, going to Canterbury is one of the best travel ideas for anyone in the UK. Of course, Canterbury Cathedral is a popular place amongst tourists, but there is so much more to see and experience. There are countless other landmarks along the city’s cobbled alleyways that showcase the historic significance of Canterbury. The city is also a hub for music and theater, so a visit to Canterbury isn’t all about exploring the past.
Newcastle upon Tyne is so far from the biggest cities in the UK that most tourists don’t realize that it’s worth seeing in person. While it can get cold up there most of the time, the views along the river are worth it. Newcastle offers some amazing cathedrals and museums, not to mention historic bridges that are still standing tall centuries after they were built. Of course, it’s not all about soaking in history while standing in the cold. Newcastle has some amazing restaurants and a surprisingly vibrant nightlife, making it a fun destination that’s worth the journey.
One could easily argue that Tavistock is located in the middle of nowhere by UK standards. However, it’s the perfect spot to set up camp for anyone who wants to explore the picturesque Dartmoor National Park, which is located just outside the city limits. The River Tavy also provides a good opportunity to enjoy a relaxing walk while enjoying nature and some brilliant views of the town. Tavistock also offers a surprising amount of shopping and entertainment for such a small town, giving visitors a lot to do to stay busy without having to be in a big city.