Edinburgh: Scotland’s capital city blends the cobbled, rambling historic old town with the gleaming shops, bars and restaurants of the new town, meaning the city has something for everyone. If you can find a place to stay, visit during the Edinburgh Festival in August when live music, theatre and comedy ooze out of every performance space in the city.
York: Visiting this historic northern city is like stepping back in time to cobbled streets, quaint tea rooms and underground cellar drinking dens. The Minster is the big must-see, an architectural delight in the centre of town. Follow it up with a visit to the family-favourite Yorvik Viking Centre – it’s so entertaining you’ll forget about the authentically pungent Viking scents.
Manchester: Widely considered the capital of The North, Manchester is one of the UK’s biggest cities, as well as one of the liveliest. Spend the day exploring cultural attractions including the Cornerhouse, the Lowry Centre and the Manchester Art Gallery, or pay a visit to Old Trafford. The perfect way to unwind is with a cocktail amid the Wags in one of the many chic bars in the trendy Northern Quarter.
Bristol: This laid-back bohemian city attracts a young crowd with its bulging student population and vibrant music scene. By day, take a boat trip, explore the independent shops or lounge on the Downs, then in the evening head to Whiteladies Road for some of the most buzzing bars in town. For great eateries and brilliant brunch spots, pop over to the upmarket Clifton Village.
Cardiff: The Welsh capital spreads around the historic castle, perched in the centre of town. If you’re looking for a vibrant city break, visit during a sporting event at the Millennium Stadium and follow it up with an evening at one of the many lively bars or restaurants in town. If you’re looking for a more relaxed pace, the Brecon Beacons and the seaside are an hour away.
Oxford: This historic university town annually attracts over 9 million visitors keen to take a trip around the University halls, buy some dusty bargains in the bookshops, explore the historic covered market or have a punt on the river. With exemplary architecture and the oldest university in the English-speaking world, history buffs will be in heaven.
Brighton: This southern city is home to one of the UK’s most popular (if pebbly) beaches. Enjoy the laid-back vibe and sea air, and take a trip down the pier for some traditional sea-side pursuits. Polish the day off with some fish and chips and dancing in one of the lively stag- and hen-friendly bars along the sea front.
Liverpool: A tourist paradise, this recent Capital of Culture has plenty of hotspots to keep you occupied for a long weekend. Sample contemporary art at Tate Liverpool and classical music at the Philharmonic Hall, or co-ordinate your trip with the summer Creamfields dance music festival. For Beatles memorabilia, don’t miss the Cavern Club, followed up with a stay at the Hard Days Night Hotel.
Glasgow: Edinburgh’s grittier big sister may have grown up as an industrial hub, but these days Glasgow has plenty of touristy treats. The largest city in Scotland, Glasgow is ranked the 57th most liveable city in the world, second only to London within the UK. The city centre offers plethora of great shops, bars and restaurants, plus a wealth of cultural venues including six theatres and the must-see Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA).
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