No matter where you decide to travel within the UK, you are bound to be bowled over by the sheer weight and significance of its history, as an unending procession of historic towns and cities and important cultural sights greets you upon your arrival on the British Isles.
The United Kingdom (which is also referred to as Great Britain) is made up of four constituent nations: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Of these, England – and particularly, its cosmopolitan capital of London – is the most popular tourist destination, followed by Scotland, Wales and beleaguered Northern Ireland, whose troubled political history has kept it largely off the global tourism radar.
England abounds with fascinating things to see and do, from London’s celebrated sights of Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and Piccadilly Circus (best viewed from the top of an iconic double-decker bus), to the mysterious Stonehenge, to historic cities such as York, Durham and Bath, and the famous university towns of Oxford and Cambridge. Culture-vultures will find plenty of enjoyment in England, with peerless art galleries, West End theatre shows, and a plethora of live music venues.
Scotland’s compact and friendly capital of Edinburgh is a constant source of delight to foreign visitors, offering an intriguing mixture of historic grandeur and a modern, progressive social atmosphere.
Edinburgh Castle, the symbol of Scotland, is a must-see sight, and nature-lovers will love walking the untamed Munros (hills of more than 3,000 feet) of its Highlands region. Wales, meanwhile, is undergoing a tourism renaissance of sorts – with its capital Cardiff emerging as a hip and attractive city to rival any in Europe – and it remains one of the UK’s most unspoilt and ruggedly beautiful places, with a vast network of National Parks and conservancy areas for visitors to enjoy.