There’s a reason why the United Kingdom is always in for visiting Aussies.
An oft-cited fact about Britain is how England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined are roughly the size of the state of Victoria. While the United Kingdom may be small in size, it definitely bats above its weight when it comes to exciting and unique travel experiences. From craggy cliffs to rolling meadows, and royal castles to edgy street art, your holiday options are as varied as the terrain and the historic influences that have shaped this land.
Indeed, the British Isles are dotted with history. Majestic ruins and imposing castles haunt the countryside of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The stately homes you’ve spied in numerous period dramas and imagined in literary classics are brought to life off meandering country lanes and at the end of manicured lawns and gardens. From Hadrian’s Wall to Bath, Roman ruins hark at ancient times when the UK was known as Britannia, while the influences of marauding Vikings can be seen in Scotland and York in northern England.
The varied British scenery weaves its own tales. Are those Bronte heros and heroines whispering in the wind along the moody Yorkshire moors? Or did you just spy Peter Rabbit and his sisters hopping around the bucolic Lake District countryside where Beatrix Potter grew up? It’s not difficult to imagine Nessie lurking in the depths of the mysterious Loch Ness in Scotland, or marvel at the forces of nature that created the Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim.
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But it’s not all Devonshire teas and starched collars, modern Britain is always in style, from the international fashion capital of London to emerging cultural centres such as Glasgow, Manchester, Cardiff and Belfast. The UK takes the lead with culinary innovation from regional gastropubs to Michelin-starred restaurants – there are 60 in London alone. Edgy international designers cut their teeth at local UK markets before taking to the world’s runways, and cities like Liverpool, Glasgow and Manchester are top of the pops when it comes to musical talent and trends.
And then there’s the arts. From London’s West End – the place to see a show – to Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the UK has a grand tradition of the performing arts. Whether it’s a summer music festival or Shakespeare at The Globe, the cultural experiences are simply too numerous to list.
Should the famous weather force you inside, there’s plenty to keep you occupied here too. Britain’s historic National Trust houses open their doors for curious sightseers to view, and national treasures are also on display at fascinating venues such as the British Museum in London, The Burrell Collection in Glasgow, Cardiff’s St Fagans National History Museum and The National Football Museum in Manchester – many of which are free to visit. For art aficionados, there’s the Tate Modern and Tate Britain, Leeds Art Gallery, V&A Museum, and Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow not to mention the street art scenes in Bristol, London and Belfast.
Where will you find inspiration in Britain?