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For a holiday experience that you’ll never forget, you can't go past England, Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland. The Republic of Ireland will blow you away with its awesome landscapes. Rich in heritage and culture, these amazing and diverse holiday destinations offer an extraordinary blend of beauty and history, together with the buzz of urban cities.
England may be a small country, but its population is more than double that of Australia's, and its cultural influence extends all around the world. The country is packed with beautiful and fascinating historical sights to discover, such as the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, the Yorkshire Dales and Hadrian’s Wall to name but a few.
London is one of the great global cities of the world, and is bursting with world-famous sights. Discover the history of the British Monarchy at the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, or the Queen’s official residence Buckingham Palace. Explore London by foot with a stroll along the south bank of the River Thames, where you will find such iconic sights as the London Eye and Big Ben, and of course the Palace of Westminster – the UK parliament building. Continue on to Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, or any of the multitude of historic city parks, and maybe even catch a show on the West End!
London is a major cultural capital and is home to some of the greatest museums and galleries in the world, for example the Natural History Museum with its iconic atrium and blue whale skeleton. Why not take a boat tour down the Thames to Greenwich and its Royal Observatory and stand with a foot on each side of the Meridian Line! Make sure to take a trip on the London Underground (or the Tube), the most efficient method of transport, and don’t forget to bring your walking shoes – you could easily spend weeks in this historic cosmopolitan hub and still not manage to see everything!
Oxford, a city in central southern England, is most famous for its prestigious and globally-renowned university, established in the 12th century – the oldest in the English-speaking world. Its historic brick buildings and cobblestone streets lend it a quintessentially English look and feel, and its architecture displays a full range of styles from the late Saxon period right up to the modern day.
Down towards the south west of the country you will find the ancient Roman spa town Bath. Constructed for the purpose of wellbeing and relaxation, this beautiful town has been a popular destination since the 1st century BC. The waters are still a big tourist draw, both at the ancient Roman Baths and the much more modern Thermae Bath Spa, home to the only natural thermal hot springs you can bathe in in all of Britain. The city also boasts some splendid examples of Georgian architecture, most notably the iconic Royal Crescent. Be sure to factor in some time to drive out to the incredible UNESCO World Heritage site Stonehenge, the legendary Neolithic structure constructed between 2000 and 3000BC.
Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital and the seat of its parliament, as well as the official residence of the monarch in Scotland. This unique city is characterised by a collision of past and present, its layers of history present in the very structure of the city. Its most unmissable sights include the Royal Mile, the 17th-century Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh Castle, the stunning city views from Calton Hill, as well as the extinct volcano Arthur’s Seat – the vantage point over the whole city is very much worth the steep climb to the top! Visit in August to experience the world-famous Edinburgh Festival, the international arts and comedy festival that draws tourists from all over the world.
If Scotland conjures up images of idyllic green hilly landscapes and beautiful lochs, the Highlands is the place for you. The region’s capital Inverness is home to an impressive old town with a 19th-century cathedral, as well as Inverness Castle, overlooking the town. Follow the Caledonian Canal to reach the infamous Loch Ness, a quintessential Scottish Loch that is reputedly home to the mythical Loch Ness Monster. The lake is overlooked by the ruins of the medieval Urquhart Castle. The region is also famous for the stunning Isle of Skye, a picturesque island of rugged landscapes and unique rock formations, and Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles.
Cardiff is a compact and accessible capital. Discover friendly dining venues, intimate gigs, as well as global sporting events. The city is also home to several national museums, a beautiful city-centre castle and large sports stadium. Walk down to Cardiff Bay for some beautiful coastal views and a lively atmosphere. Wales is very much a bilingual country and you will find yourself immersed in traditional Welsh culture and language. Its people are friendly and welcoming, and the city has the most green space per person of any UK city.
Snowdonia National Park is a stunning mountainous region in the west of the country, and is home Wales’ highest peak, Mount Snowdon. Visitors can enjoy walks and hikes, cycle paths, and even the world’s fastest zipwire at Zip World! Prepare to be blown away by the rugged scenery and stunning views.
Northern Ireland is located on the island of Ireland and is part of the United Kingdom. The country boasts some stunning landscapes and scenery, including the iconic Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage site, an incredible rock formation of hexagonal basalt columns.
As the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, Belfast is also the second largest city on the island of Ireland (after Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland). In spite of the city’s history of conflict, Belfast has enjoyed a renaissance in the past few years and has become a modern and vibrant city, perfect for a UK city break. Explore the city’s troubled history, take an open-top bus tour, and discover the Titanic Museum; Belfast is the birthplace of the infamous ill-fated ship.
You definitely won’t forget a trip to Ireland! The Irish landscape, said to be 40 shades of green, is sprinkled with gorgeous thatched cottages everywhere you go. There’s an abundance of beautiful scenic walking tracks and little villages to discover. In the land of music and Guinness, you can enjoy both with the ever-present Irish hospitality and the warm hearted nature of the locals. The country is home to the iconic roadtrip destination the Ring of Kerry on the west coast, as well as the typically Irish cities of Galway, Limerick and Cork.
While Dublin may be known for its rainy grey weather, its people are a ray of sunshine. Whether they are recounting long-winded stories, singing traditional Irish songs or just joking around, the locals will never fail to make you smile. Among Dublin's most iconic sights is the Temple Bar - be sure to order a pint of Guinness for the most authentic experience, or maybe even an Irish whiskey! Dublin Castle is a must for history buffs, as well as Trinity College, Dublin's world-class university, and its stunning library. Two fantastic day trips are the picturesque Cliffs of Moher, which have appeared in various films, and the lush green Wicklow Mountains, both easily accessible on a bus tour. For the real Guinness fans, the Guinness Storehouse at St James' Gate Brewery is open to visitors and offers tours through all seven floors and up to the bar at the top with panoramic views over the city.