15 Cities Outside of London You Need to Visit in 2019
When you think of the UK, you’re probably thinking of London but there’s a whole lot more to the UK than just visiting London.
London is a fantastic city and you can spend an entire month there and still not have seen it all. However, we’re going to help you mix things up and hopefully convince you to check out some beautiful cities outside of London.
Here are our top picks, in no particular order:
The name gives this one away as a must-visit for a particular activity. Housing 2,000-year-old Roman Baths that were built around the city’s natural hot springs, Bath is world renowned for this alone. It was the centre for the affluent English during the Georgian and Regency periods, and you can get a sense of their life by visiting the various museums in the city such as the Fashion Museum.
Aside from the Roman Baths and history, Bath is also a great place to stroll around and I’d highly recommend a walk over Pulteney Bridge. You can browse through the various shops lined along the side and get a sense of the infamous Ponte Vecchio in Italy – which the street was said to be mirrored on. Bath is a great city that exhibits a different flavour from London but remember to experience more than the Roman Baths while you’re there!
If you’re a lover of natural landscapes and scenery then it’s a no-brainer to visit Inverness. It’s considered one of the best ways to explore the Highlands and is chock full of history. Explore the battlefield of Culloden or visit the Highland Archive Centre if you’re looking to explore a bit of ancient history in the UK. For scenery, be sure to visit River Ness and the Merkinch Local Nature Reserve.
The food-scene is another go-to here. It’s well worth a visit to Rocpool, Contrast Brasserie, or Nourish. All fantastic food establishments and have some great dishes to help you get a taste of the local cuisine, or just enjoy the top delicacies from some incredibly talented chefs. The highlands are also known for their beers, and it would be a tragedy if you didn’t get into a drunken stupor while here. Be sure to indulge in some classic Scottish beers such as the Skull Spitter and check out the local Black Isle Brewery.
Wiltshire is famous for the ancient Stonehenge and the city has built an impressive array of attractions around this. Be sure to pop into the visitor centre at Stonehenge as this place dives into the history and magnificence of this site, it helps put into perspective how impressive this site is given the technological advancements at the time it was built.
Beyond the Stonehenge, there’s a lot of other things you can see in Wilshire. With abundant farmland and quaint little towns, Wilshire is a great place to explore a more countryside vibe of the UK. I would highly recommend spending a night in one of their unique cottages. There are plenty of hilltops with former forts and burial mounds from the Bronze age, and if you’re still seeking historical artefacts, then stone circles of Avebury are not too far away. If visiting historical sites dated a 1,000 years back doesn’t pique your interest then there’s Salisbury, a well-preserved medieval city with the oldest working clock in the world that’s also worth visiting.
When you hear Oxford, you’re probably thinking universities, and you’re right. Oxford University is the capital of academic progress and very much defines this city. As a result, be sure to take a tour of this establishment or just walk along the campus and be in awe of its stunning architecture.
The city itself has a lot of rich history and is just an hour away from London. Oxford is an easy day trip but if you’re looking for a unique experience then spend a night or two in the 1,000-year-old Oxford Castle which was recently converted into a hotel. While you’re there, given its collegial vibes, there are plenty of university pubs to check out and get a real taste of what college life is like in the UK.
Known for being the birthplace of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, Berkshire has a strong regal vibe. The city has many castle estates, and two popular one’s worth visiting are Windsor Castle and Highclere Castle. With stunning architecture and plenty of oak-lined deer parks nearby, it makes for a great way to spend your day. The city is also known for its horse racing and you can witness the many training yards and gallops. With many chalk ridgeways and meandering rivers, Berkshire is a lovely place to explore and a must-do on your itinerary.
Another city worth visiting in South East England is Kent. Here, the main attraction is Canterbury city, where it’s central cathedral with a long history dating back to the 6th century is the highlight for most visitors. The cathedral was established as the British Isles’ first diocese and where the Archbishop of Canterbury spends his time.
The White Cliffs of Dover is also a popular attraction to view some stunning coastal scenery, and visitors can also take guided walks near the edge to witness the spectacular views. Yes, this city has a castle too! Leeds Castle in Kent is known as the ‘loveliest castle in the world‘ and sits on an island in the middle of a lake. Be sure to take the tour inside the castle as the interiors are stunning. Definitely have your camera with you for this one.
Head to the coast of Portsmouth from London if you’re looking to get away and be near some water. By taking the train from London, you’ll be there in about an hour and a half and can swiftly head to the famous Gunwharf Quay area for some great bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. In the same area, there are plenty of designer stores if you’re looking to get some shopping done.
Later, catch a stunning view of the city by heading to the top of the Spinnaker Tower towards sunset. In Portsmouth, there’s also the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard where you can board The Battle of Trafalgar’s HMS Victory and see Henry VIII’s preserved Mary Rose warship. It’s pretty cool and a unique experience not worth missing out on.
To get a taste of Welsh life and hospitality, it’s time to head to Cardiff. With plenty of museums, parks, attractions, and a vibrant food scene and nightlife, this city offers everything. However, some highlights you shouldn’t miss out on is a visit to Cardiff Castle to soak in some history, explore the grounds, and be amazed at the grandeur of this 11th Century castle. Head over to Cardiff Bay to get a beautiful view of the cityscape, and catch a guided boat tour to learn a bit more about the history of the city while taking in the views.
Famous for being the hometown of Banksy, you can see many of his works as you stroll through the city. However, Bristol is a lot more than just Banksy. Pop into Bristol Cathedral to take in the wonderful interior or dabble in their phenomenal culinary scene by visiting St Nicks Market where the adjoining Glass Arcade houses a variety of food stalls. During the summer, Bristol is known to host many festivals such as Balloon Fiesta, a festival of hot air balloons that’s worth attending at least once in your life! At night check out the many popular bars and clubs such as Cosies or Motion that are bumping with the famous ‘Bristol Sound’ style of music.
Manchester is a hybrid of both old and new, and this is reflected in both its culture and architecture. Hands down one of the most fun cities to visit, Manchester offers warm hospitality and plenty of things to do. You can visit the historic John Rylands Library, or check out the gorgeous Manchester Cathedral. Football is immensely popular in Manchester and you have to check out Old Trafford Museum and Football Club, home of Manchester United football team.
With a vibrant art scene, Manchester is also home to The Lowry, an art gallery showcasing some of the famous artist Lowry’s best work. Moreover, the Manchester Art Gallery houses some of the best art pieces from various artists connected to the city.
Brighton Beach can’t be missed and it’s UK’s most famous beach town. Away from the city life of London, visitors here can catch some sun and enjoy the most authentic fish and chips the UK has to offer.
Kick things off in this city by visiting Brighton Pier, after which you can take a tour of the Royal Pavilion which was built in the 18th century as a royal residence. Fancy some shopping? Then be sure to check out The Lanes, a shopping area that’s packed with an eclectic mix of stores across 400 alleyways – all intertwined. Brighton is also home to the Seven Sisters which is about 40 minutes from the city centre by car. These breath-taking cliffs are worth visiting just for how stunning and grand they are.
Edinburgh is the second most visited city after London in the UK. With stunning historic and well-preserved buildings, it’s the perfect city if you’re into architecture. But that’s not all that’s great about Edinburgh.
The city is known for its famous Edinburgh Castle and you can catch the stunning sea of historical buildings that line the city from atop Calton Hill. Beyond the sights, Edinburgh is also known for its Whisky and going on a tasting tour is a must do while you’re there. If alcohol isn’t your thing, Edinburgh also boasts a phenomenal food scene with restaurants such as Martin Wishart that are well worth grabbing a reservation for.
While we’re on the Scotland trend, the second city that’s worth checking out is Glasgow. Compared to Edinburgh, this city is perfect if shopping and nightlife is more your cup of tea as a traveller. However, it also boasts plenty of historical architecture and museums such as the Riverside Museum or GoMA.
In addition to this, it’s an epicentre for gastronomic creativity and boasts top restaurants in a range of cuisines. It’s informally known as UK’s curry capital and it’s also one of the UK’s most vegan-friendly cities. With an enviable shopping scene such as St Enoch Centre and Princes Square, it’s also a shopper’s paradise.
Though not on the mainland and making it a bit harder to get to. Belfast is full of charm and well worth the visit to get a taste of Northern Ireland. Known for being an industrial powerhouse and shipbuilding centre back in the day, you can get a taste of Belfast history by visiting the Titanic Quarter where the Titanic was made and be sure to visit the experiential Titanic museum nearby.
For a bit of nightlife, head to the Cathedral Quarter where there are many bars worth checking out. Later in the night, many of the locals will converge into the centre of this quarter to drink and dance the rest of the night away. In addition to this, there’s plenty of theatres, art galleries, and local acts from artists that make Belfast a hotspot for arts and culture. There’s never a dull moment and it’s worth the trip to check out.
Indeed it’s time to go international! Paris is only two hours away from London using the Eurostar and this makes it a perfect destination to explore. Paris is charming to any type of traveller, and you can get lost roaming its beautiful streets and bridges for days.
Paris is also a go-to destination for shopping and food, so be sure to spend a few days here if you can as there’s far too much to do.
London is an amazing place to visit. It feels like there’s a never-ending list of things to do while you’re there. If you stop there, be sure to experience fine-dining at the Indian restaurant, Benares. However, London is not the only city worth visiting! Add these 15 cities to your bucket list and you’ll be sure to have a great time.