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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.
If you need a word to perfectly describe New Forest, “welcoming” would be it. The lowland (i.e. no mountains) park is filled with scenic views and wide trails that beg to be explored as they wind through centuries-old woodlands. Visit Bolderwood, a protected forest and deer sanctuary that was once the hunting grounds of the Norman kings. Fish at Moors Valley before heading skyward for a treetops walk. Prefer the country-house life? Head to Beaulieu, where you can get lost in the Victorian-era at the Palace House before following in the footsteps of medieval monks at the property’s abbey.
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.
Known for its restorative wonders, Bath was once the home of Jane Austen. Sure, you could attempt to conjure up this elegant city by reading Pride and Prejudice in your tub, but as Bath has a lot more history than your bathroom (we assume, anyway) you'd be missing out. A stroll through Bath is like visiting an open-air museum, with roughly 5,000 buildings in the city drawing notice for their architectural merit. After your stroll, soak in the natural hot waters of the Thermae Bath Spa, once a favourite of the Celts and Romans.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Famed for its football team and music scene, which has produced the likes of The Smiths and Oasis, this centre for sports and the arts is a down-to-earth and friendly city. The so-called Capital of the North has overcome industrial decline, bombing (in WWII and by the IRA) to become a confident and cosmopolitan city of well over two million. It is well served by a bus and light rail network. Top attractions include the Lowry art complex, arcade Affleck's Palace and Canal Street gay village.
Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital city, renowned for its heritage, culture and festivals.
Take a long walk around the centre to explore the World Heritage Sites of the Old Town and New Town, as well as all the area’s museums and galleries. Then stop for a delicious meal made from fresh Scottish produce before heading out to take in one of Edinburgh’s many events — including the famous summer festivals of culture, or the Winter Festivals of music, light and ceilidhs.
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.
Attracting visitors from all parts of the world, Majorca is a dreamy island destination in the Mediterranean Sea, just off the southeast coast of Spain. There's something for every taste—beaches and coves, a spectacular mountain range, romantic fishing villages and a rustic countryside dotted with almond and olive groves.
Glamourous Santorini is deliciously different. Geographical newness is in part to thank. The island’s popular black volcanic Perissa and Kamari beaches are big draws, as is its arguably most famous Red Beach near Akrotiri (which is the place to go for archaeology buffs). Santorini curves round a giant lagoon in the Cyclades islands, offering stunning views from sky-high towns, eclectic cuisine, lovely galleries, thriving nightlife and excellent wines.
Strongly influenced by the tribal culture of the Guanches (the original inhabitants), Tenerife was conquered by the Spanish 500 years ago. It's home to Mount Teide, Spain's tallest peak, and to the popular beach resort of Los Gigantes. Today visitors flock to Loro Park to see tropical birds, to Tenerife Zoo Monkey Park and to Parque Nacional Las Canadas del Teide's volcanic rock formations. Explore by car or with a "bono bus" ticket, which offers reductions on regular prices.
Dubai is a destination that mixes modern culture with history, adventure with world-class shopping and entertainment. Catch a show at the Dubai Opera, see downtown from atop the Burj Khalifa and spend an afternoon along Dubai Creek exploring the gold, textile and spice souks. If you’re looking for thrills, you can float above the desert dunes in a hot air balloon, climb aboard a high-speed ride at IMG Worlds of Adventure or skydive over the Palm Jumeirah.
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.
From the Magic Kingdom to magical spa treatments, Orlando sparkles with the promise of adventure. Spend a day exploring the world-famous Disney theme parks or screaming your head off on a Universal Studios roller coaster. For a less adrenaline-pumping afternoon, enjoy the quiet natural beauty of the Harry P. Leu Gardens or enjoy a seaweed scrub at a luxury day spa. Savour fresh and local ingredients at one of Orlando’s James Beard-nominated restaurants.