Top Ten Cool Things to Do in the UK

by Lexa Pennington / Dec 30, 2016 /
Lexa Pennington's picture

If you’re like me, a trip to the UK is more than welcome at any time. I love the new, organic food trends and high tea. But there is also shopping, historic buildings, literary travel, visiting attractions (yes, even the Tower of London), music and the arts, book stores (and whole towns full of books!), free festivals, castles, and outdoor activities galore.

Want something different? Here are ten specific ideas for unique things to see and do in the UK.

 Top Ten Cool Things to Do in the UK

1.    Butterflies galore! Visit Butterfly World, in Hertfordshire. There’s a play area for kids to run around in, nineteen different gardens, a nectar café (for humans, nectar cafés for butterflies will obviously abound), an insect study centre, and ant world, and, of course the butterflies in the biome. This is home to “over 10,000 tropical butterflies, hummingbirds, insects, spiders as well as tropical plants…[and] the largest walk-through experience in the world, to include rope walkways, Maya caves and ruins to explore, streams and tropical rainstorms.”

2.    It’s all about getting there! Visit the Riverside museum – Scotland’s Museum of Transport and Travel, in Glasgow. Here, you’ll see over 3,000 objects – all related to transportation! You might prefer to see the South African locomotive, or play in history by interacting with (“all aboard!”) vintage public transportation – trains, trams, subways, and a bus. You can explore the tall ship Glenlee, or walk along the Riverside trail. I guarantee you’ll never think of how to get somewhere in the same way again.

3.    Take a walk on the beautiful side. Head to Dorset and get out your walking shoes! The famous South West Coast Path will take you on over 630 miles of gorgeous coastline – one of the top walking paths in the world. Now, you don’t need to do the whole thing, of course. There are shorter walks, dog walks, pub walks, and discovery walks to do, as well.

4.    More outdoors! Head to the world’s largest pleasure pier, in Essex. Located at Southend-on-Sea, this is a unique experience, indeed. You can walk the pier, or ride the pier trains – the pier is 1.34 miles long, extending out into the Thames estuary!

5.    Get Castled Out! Birmingham is a city rich in history, perfect for exploring the past. The industrial revolution started here, but history goes much further back; within an hour’s drive, you’ll find more than 18 (!!) castles (and Shakespeare’s home).

6.    Mountain biking in Scotland! While there are plenty of excellent trails all across the UK, the Mountain Bike trails in Scotland are extraordinary. Be inspired by the Harry Potter scenery while biking around Fort William, where the annual Mountain Bike World Cup takes place on Ben Nevis. Or, explore Glentress, Innerleithen, and Kirroughtree – all trails for varying skill levels. What a way to see the countryside!

7.    Is history (and being indoors) more your thing? Head to Cardiff, Wales, and visit Castell Coch, a beautiful revivalist castle. It was built during Victorian times, on the remains of a 13th century castle. It is an incredible castle, built with no expense spared, and is quite a sight to behold. And, it’s almost a modern day fairy tale – with turrets, towers, and all kinds of beauty.

8.    Olympics! While the 2012 London Olympics are over, you can still get a feel for them. Head to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for activities, events, shopping, waterways and pathways to enjoy, a playground, and see the UK’s tallest art work (The ArcelorMittal Orbit). Before you go, read how the Olympics revitalized East London.

9.    Hungry? Head to Manchester, and partake in the Curry Mile. It’s all located on Winslow Road, in Rusholme, south Manchester. There is a plethora of curry and South Asian restaurants (and shops) – the largest concentration of these restaurants outside of India! If you’re so inclined, read up before you go – the novel The Curry Mile, by Zahid Hussein, will get you in the mood.

10.    More Harry Potter and Skyfall. Yes, I know, we’re book and movie geeks. You can travel in Harry Potter’s footsteps by visiting sites from the movies! In Scotland, visit the Glenfinnan viaduct at Lochaber, to see the railway line that was used for the train journey to Hogwarts. You can also RIDE the Jacobite steam train, if you so desire! Or, head to Glencoe for Harry Potter or for some James Bond action, as Skyfall was filmed here, as well. Currently, head to London to see the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.