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A Complete Travel Guide to the United Kingdom

United Kingdom London

My stay in the United Kingdom lasted for two weeks. It was a trip I always looked forward to while growing up because of the culture and history the UK has to offer. I took my time to save up and booked a flight in advance so that I would leave no money on the table!

The trip starts at the heart of the UK – London. I had a friend living in the UK, and we used a rental car as the transportation method. Since I’m a history geek, I tried to cover all the historical sites and things that revolve around the age-old traditions of the UK.

I had put together an itinerary, that covers England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. During my trip, I also visited Ireland – which I will include it in the next post. In this itinerary, I’ve only focused on the United Kingdom.

Bear in mind that the UK has a right-hand drive. The driving hand is something that confuses most people coming from North America. As for me, I’m used to driving on the right-hand side, which made the entire trip fun and easy!

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1. London

UK Travel Big Ben
Big Ben–the iconic UK landmark.

Two days are enough for a trip to London. You can stay in the city longer if you want to explore more as it has a lot to offer. London is one of my favorite cities in the world. It is a true metropolitan, and it welcomes people from different backgrounds. The city is around 2000 years old and is located on the banks of the River Thames.

London is easily walkable, and you can cover all the major sites within a day. Which leaves you the second day of exploring museums, art galleries, and other unique cites such as massive parks and important buildings. Similarly, you can go around looking at Harry Potter, Winston Churchill, and other fun locations that are loved by children and adults alike. Use the Oyster card to move around the city and don’t hire a car until you leave.

2. Oxford and Cotswolds

UK travel Cotswolds
This cottage is representative of what you’ll find in the countryside.

Oxford is a place that either resides students or tourists. Since the city is tiny, it appears to be jam-packed throughout the year. But the best thing about Oxford is its fantastic architecture! I saw wealthy establishments that had a specific historic flamboyance. It was great wandering around, in awe of the beauty. I also found Oxford to be great for taking photos. PS. Oxford has Harry Potter film locations.

The next stop from Oxford was Cotswolds. It comprises of small villages and is known as the countryside. This is the place every one imagines England to be like, with lush green villages, country pubs, and cricket ovals.

3. Manchester

Our next stop after Oxford was Manchester. But before that, we decided to stop at the Peak District National Park. The natural views of this place left us spellbound! Imagine rolling hills, beautiful walks, and quaint villages. The area is home to several stately homes that you can visit. While driving from Oxford, we also stopped to take a look at Warwick Castle.

Visiting Manchester was a must for me as I’m a huge Manchester United fan (a prestigious football club in the English Premier League.) On top of that, the city has excellent retails options and a variety of architectural highlights. Plus, their music scene is the best!

This town is a must-see spot on your United Kingdom travel itinerary.

4. York

York is a small city not far away from Manchester. The city has a Gothic York Minister, hints of Viking history and much more. If you are into ghost stories and haunted places, this is the place you need to check out. I didn’t believe the stories for the most part, but my friend wanted to leave the city as some of the stories gave him the chills! 

5. Edinburgh through Northumberland

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle has stood for centuries guarding Scotland.

York was the last English city on our list. We headed straight towards Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. On our way, we got to see several beautiful landscapes and small establishments. The place is Northumbria, an area that has miles of deserted beach, the Roman wall, and crumbling castles. Moreover, these places were so peaceful that you wouldn’t find many people around and could take your time out to look at the beautiful scenes.

Then there came Edinburgh! I think about this city to this date! We went onto visit the Arthurs Seat, Edinburgh Castle, Prices Street, and several historic structures. Overall, the city has a lot to offer for history lovers like myself!

6. Cardiff and South Wales

After spending three days in Ireland (I will talk about it in another post), we arrived in Wales. As a tourist, you can either arrive at Fishguard or Pembroke. Both cities are great to explore. You will find amazing beaches and rugged cliffs in these cities.  

The next stop was the Welsh capital of Cardiff. Here you’ll find sporting venues, castles and get acquainted with the Welsh culture. If you are a cheese lover, you might have heard about the Great British Cheese festival that takes place in Cardiff.

7. Bristol and Bath

After spending some time in Cardiff, we crossed the enormous Severn road bridge and reached Bristol, an English city. Bristol has its character! You’ll see graffiti everywhere and also find several places of historic significance to the United Kingdom.

Over the past thousand years, Bristol has been an essential port for England. This very port played a massive part in shaping the entire world as well as England. It was the place that helped the British Empire trade and export immigrants to establish different colonies around the globe.

From Bristol, our next destination was Bath, a world heritage site. Here, I found a similarity between Bath and Oxford – both have a lot of tourists, but both are equally worth it!

8. Stonehenge and London

United Kingdom
Dawn rises over Stonehenge

The Stonehenge was the last place we explored before heading back to London. Sadly, I had to catch my flight back home. There’s something about the Stonehenge that makes you want to look at it in awe and admiration! The place makes you wonder how people lifted those massive rocks and constructed this masterpiece without having a quarry nearby.

Add some age-old rituals to the blend and you have an experience that captures all your imaginations. After this mystical experience, we drove back to London!

To this date, whenever I think of my trip to the United Kingdom, I close my eyes and find myself strolling in the streets of Oxford and enjoying the eternal sunshine on a far off Scottish castle!  

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