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Londoners have been traveing to Brighton for beach getaways ever since the railway arrived here in 1841. The pebbled beach, Brighton Pier's amusement arcade and the Royal Pavilion are the main sights, but you'll also find hundreds of pubs and clubs catering to an energetic crowd.
Southwest of London is Southampton (Soton to the locals), a metropolitan area centered around the port. However, tucked away on the side streets are ancient gems such as the Tudor House, Mottisfont Abbey, and "God's House," a museum located in a tower in the medieval wall. The ultra-modern Sea City Museum celebrates Southampton's seafaring past and the RMS Titanic. Looking for nightlife? Travelers can dance the hours away with bars, clubs, and live music, all accessible by public transportation.
From Shoreditch’s swaggering style to Camden’s punky vibe and chic Portobello Road, London is many worlds in one. The city’s energy means that no two days are the same. Explore royal or historic sites, tick off landmarks from your bucket list, eat and drink in exclusive Michelin-starred restaurants, enjoy a pint in a traditional pub, or get lost down winding cobbled streets and see what you stumble across – when it comes to London, the possibilities are endless.
Bournemouth’s seven miles of beach and exceptionally warm microclimate make it a favourite of U.K. travellers. There’s something for everyone here, whether you’re a watersports fanatic (try surfing lessons!) or just want to let your kids splash around in the calm waters. For a traditional Bournemouth holiday, rent a classic beach hut.
In the "city of dreaming spires", academia takes centre stage. Gaze out at Oxford's world-famous colleges from the top of St Mary's Church tower before heading into the city's pedestrian-friendly streets. The University's Botanic Garden and Ashmolean Museum are Britain's oldest. Follow your nose to the Covered Market for the makings of a picnic to enjoy on a punt or in the University Parks. Mix the historic and modern with visits to the 12th- century village church of Iffley and trendy Cowley's ethnic shops and music venues.
So-called because of the honey-coloured stone used to build its villages, the Cotswolds offers visitors the quintessential English experience. The area spans five counties and boasts some of England’s most impressive country houses, castles, and landscapes. Plus, plentiful pubs make it easy to experience authentic English hospitality.
Bristol is a quirky British city with beautiful hilly vistas and plenty of historic sights to explore. Anyone interested in ships will have a blast aboard Brunel’s SS Great Britain, the world’s first great oceanliner, and the Matthew, a replica of the ship upon which John Cabot sailed to America in the 15th century. The graceful Clifton Suspension Bridge is another must-see.
The geographical heart of England, Birmingham began life as a sixth- century Anglo-Saxon village. Today, much of this city of over a million dates back to post-WWII redevelopment in the 1950s and 60s. Cutting edge museums and galleries, innovative theatres and excellent shopping have contributed to Birmingham's appeal as a weekend break destination. Don't miss the Balti Triangle, home to the Pakistani food in the UK, the hopping bars and cafes of Gas Street Basin, or the National Sea Life Centre.
Everyone who visits Paris for the first time probably has the same punchlist of major attractions to hit: The Louvre, Notre Dame, The Eiffel Tower, etc. Just make sure you leave some time to wander the city’s grand boulevards and eat in as many cafes, bistros and brasseries as possible. And don’t forget the shopping—whether your tastes run to Louis Vuitton or Les Puces (the flea market), you can find it here.
Amsterdam is truly a biker’s city, although pedaling along the labyrinthine streets can get a little chaotic. Stick to walking and you won’t be disappointed. The gentle canals make a perfect backdrop for exploring the Jordaan and Rembrandtplein square. Pop into the Red Light District if you must—if only so you can say you’ve been there. The Anne Frank House is one of the most moving experiences a traveller can have, and the Van Gogh Museum boasts a sensational collection of works.
As Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow is famed for its culture, shopping and people. Spend your day exploring a wide range of fascinating free museums and galleries, enjoying the UK’s best shopping outside of London, and taking advantage of tips from friendly local people on the city’s hidden gems — then choose from 130+ weekly musical events for a special night out. Glasgow is also the perfect base for exploring more of Scotland, with great connections to the Highlands and the islands.
Copenhagen is one of Europe’s oldest and most popular cities. It’s also one of the cleanest and most metropolitan. The dynamic Danish capital features progressive modern architecture, the must-visit Tivoli Gardens amusement park, stunning palaces, and all the activities and amenities you would expect in a world-class destination. Explore the canals and pretty narrow streets, appreciate beautiful old homes, and find great shopping and people watching on The Ströget.
Stroll Las Ramblas and enjoy Barcelona's unique blend of Catalan culture, distinctive architecture, lively nightlife and trendy, stylish hotels. You'll find Europe's best-preserved Gothic Quarter here, as well as amazing architectural works by Gaudi. La Sagrada Familia, considered Gaudi's masterpiece, is still under construction (your entrance fee helps to fund the project). Feel like a picnic? Look no further than the rambunctious La Boqueria market, where you can stock up on local delicacies.
Sitting on the edge of the Baltic, the modern, cosmopolitan city of Helsinki is the World Design Capital for 2012. The beauty of the surrounding nature blends seamlessly with high-tech achievements and contemporary trends. Walking tours of the city centre show layers of history, while modern architecture and cutting-edge style stake the city's claim to the future. Choose Helsinki during its endless summer days or get adventurous on crisp, snowy winter nights.
The first time you go to New York, go ahead and be a sight-seer—everyone should visit the Statue of Liberty, the Met, Times Square, etc. But on a return trip, pick a neighbourhood and go deep. You’ll find hole-in-the-wall bars, great delis, quirky shops… exploring the non-touristy side of New York is an incredibly rewarding experience for a traveller.