When visitors from overseas come to the UK, they usually visit the same cities. London, Stratford, Edinburgh, Oxford … However, there are many more cities worth seeing, and I’d like to recommend some to you.
I must declare a certain bias here. Although I am not a native of York, I did live there for several years, and got to know it very well. It’s a lovely little city, with Roman, Viking and medieval history galore. York also has a beautiful cathedral and the most complete set of medieval city walls in the UK.
2 St. Albans
St. Albans has a venerable history. In Roman times, it was known as Verulamium, and has the only fully excavated Roman theatre in the UK. Alban was the first Christian martyr in England, and legend has it that after decapitation, he picked up his head and walked back up the hill holding it. The city also has a fine cathedral and many 18th century buildings.
For too many years, Belfast was synonymous with sectarian violence. Happily the city is much more peaceful and it is now becoming more popular as a tourist destination.
This scene will be familiar to any viewers of the TV series Torchwood. In fact, I would put money on there being a Torchwood Trail for fans. You’ll also find plenty of more traditional attractions sch as museums, and lots of cultural activities.
5 St. Austell
This small but picturesque Cornish town makes the perfect base for a visit to the region. It has enough attractions to keep you amused for a few days, but is also close to the well-known Eden Project (dedicated to teaching about sustainable use of the natural world) and the beautiful Lost Gardens of Heligan.
Head up to the North of England and visit this city close to the Scottish borders. Carlisle boasts a 900-year old castle and cathedral, so if you love history it’s well worth a visit. No, I don’t work for the tourist board. It’s also close to a Roman fort.
Norwich is not the easiest place to get to, but it’s worth a visit, especially if you like cathedrals (this one has a particularly lovely cloister). There are tons of museums, quaint streets and beautiful gardens, and plenty for kids to do as well.
Another beautiful historic city, Worcester has strong connections with Civil War history (yes, we had one first). Lovely buildings, a medieval City gate, river and yes, a cathedral, make Worcester well worth a visit.
If you’re into maritime history, then Portsmouth is the place to go. It has long connections with the Royal Navy, and you can visit both Nelson’s ship Victory, and the Mary Rose. This was Henry VIII’s flagship, which rather embarrasingly sunk on its maiden voyage.
One of my favourite places in the whole of England, I used to visit Knaresborough often when I lived in nearby York. It’s a charming little town, with spectacular views and a ruined castle. The bridge in the photo is actually a railway bridge.
If you plan a trip to the UK, I hope you will take in some of these towns and cities. There’s lots of spectacular countryside as well, but it’s definitely worth taking in some of our lovely cities (ignoring the horrible ones, of course).
Top Photo Credit: llymlrs
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