Ten Spellbinding Sightseeing Holidays in the UK
Published: Sunday 13th Jul 2014
Written by: Alice de Courcy-Wheeler
Most people want to get out and see a few interesting attractions while on holiday. In Britain we are blessed with a wonderful array of fascinating places from natural wonders and historic buildings to vibrant cities and works of art.
Here are a few sightseeing ideas for your time away:
Portmeirion and Snowdonia
Located in Snowdonia National Park, Portmeirion is a fantastical Welsh village notable for its colourful, playful architecture. Visitors can’t help but marvel at the beautiful buildings, wonderful piazzas and stunning views from this coastal gem, designed in the style of an Italian village and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975. Combine a trip to Portmeirion with walks in Snowdonia, and you are guaranteed a wonderful sightseeing holiday.
Suffolk’s Wool Towns and Villages
From England’s finest medieval village in Lavenham to the landscapes that inspired Constable and Gainsborough, there is so much to see and do in this corner of south Suffolk that you will have to return for a second visit. Made up of beautiful timbered houses and ancient churches and set in a stunning meadow valley, Suffolk’s Wool Towns and villages are a collection of picture postcard destinations, including Long Melford, Sudbury and Clare. The area is wonderful to drive through, great for country walks and has lots of good pubs and restaurants.
Northumberland and the Borders
Centuries of clashes across Northumberland and the Borders have left this beautiful area full of things to see. Apart from the spectacular open countryside and dramatic coastline, you can see the ruins of many forts and castles in this area, on both sides of the wall.
Natural wonders, stunning buildings and literary heritage are all to be found on a sightseeing holiday in Dorset. If you want breathtaking scenery the Dorset coast is difficult to beat with the quirky Durdle Door and Swanage Beach being two of the most well-known places. You can easily spend a few days making your way along the Jurassic Coast looking for fossils on the beaches and visiting the museums and fossil shops to find out more about this prehistoric part of the world. National Trust properties like Corfe Castle are wonderful and educational locations.
Sussex and Brighton
Some of the best places in Sussex can be found on top of the South Downs which offers great views of the county, and several days exploring places like the Seven Sisters, Devil’s Dyke and Chanctonbury Ring is time very well spent. Travelling around you can visit wonderful towns and villages like Arundel, Lewes and Rye, while the beaches at Cuckmere Haven and Camber Sands are special. A day out in Brighton is highly recommended – the wonderful Pavilion, the hustle and bustle of the North Laines and the Regency-style squares of Hove are among its many attractions.
If you can drag yourself away from the wonderful beaches and coves, there is plenty for the sightseer to take in during their stay in Cornwall. There is an abundance of famous gardens including the world’s largest indoor rain forest at the Eden Project and the enchanting mystery of the Lost Gardens of Heligan. The majesty of St Michael’s Mount and the atmospheric Tintagel Castle are not to be missed, and no visit to this part of the world would be complete without a trip to Land’s End.
North Norfolk Coast
There’s lots to take in when you visit the North Norfolk Coast. The seaside at Holkham with its sandy expanse and wonderful sand dunes is widely regarded as one of the best in the country, while nearby Holkham Hall is a stunning stately home with extensive grounds. Fish and chips on the sea wall at the fishing town of Wells-next-the-Sea or seal spotting at nearby Blakney are other popular pursuits. There’s a procession of wonderful villages lined with flint cottages, such as Burnham Market and Brancaster, while Burnham Thorpe, the birthplace of one of Britain’s greatest heroes, Horatio Nelson, is worth a visit, especially the Nelson pub, which is decked out with all sorts of memorabilia.
Wherever you go in Yorkshire there are interesting things to see and do. There’s the beautiful walled city of York with its cathedral, museums and shops, the stunning Harewood House stately home near Leeds, and in Hull, The Deep is one of the world biggest aquariums with over 3,500 fish and underwater creatures. The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is the UK's leading open-air gallery while on the North Yorkshire Moors you’ll find Brimham Rocks, an amazing collection of weird and wonderful natural rock formations that has to be seen to be believed.
Liverpool and Lancashire
If you are on holiday in Lancashire and you would like to do some sightseeing, you should spend at least one day in the historic city of Liverpool. Walk down the small cobbled streets near the Cavern Club where the famous Beatles first played and then head to the Albert Docks – a reminder of Liverpool’s grandeur as a port back in its heyday that is now home to the Maritime Museum, The Beatles Museum and a Tate museum. See the imposing Liver Building next door and take a ferry across the River Mersey for a memorable day out.
Visitors to Kent can choose from a huge selection of things to see and enjoy. If you like castles the county has a great selection, including Leeds Castle standing majestically above its moat. Many people used to travel to Kent to spend their holidays picking hops, and the history of hop farming and brewing in the county is retold at The Hop Farm Country Park which has the oldest collection of oast houses in the world and recreated Victorian streets. As far as iconic views go the White Cliffs of Dover are hard to beat as is the stunning Canterbury Cathedral.