It may have the reputation of a cold and rainy country, but the truth is, people come from all over the world to see what we have right here on our doorstep. How often have you heard people say they wanted to see Big Ben, or the red phone boxes, or Buckingham Palace.

Even Hugh Grant said it years back in love actually, Britain is a great country, “the country of Harry Potter, David Beckham’s left foot… David Beckham’s right foot!”. It is great and full of unique places to visit – even outside London.

Each region has its own gems, its National Parks worth visiting, attractions for families, quirky places you won’t see anywhere else, and also events all over the place.

So the next time you want to take a trip, have a look at some of these amazing attractions you are unlikely to find anywhere else, and check out temporary events and exhibitions as well, as our country is full of those. Right now, you can still visit the SEEMonster in Weston-super-Mare (until 20th November), earlier this year, the incredible Architects of Air had a Luminarium on display in Hull (amongst other places), and a few years ago The Man Engine was touring the South West – so keep an eye out!

East of England

If you are heading East, then you will no doubt be headed for the coast. Winter or summer – the Norfolk Broads are well worth a visit; from the obvious coastal path to going for a boat trip on the lakes, to fishing and learning more about traditional arts and crafts. And it’s a great place to stay to enjoy the English countryside.

If you can, a boat tour around the broads is just breathtaking

On your way to Norfolk, stop at Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire so see the winter lights starting 9th December. These are not just your traditional Christmas Lights, but rather a sensory experience with songs and poems!

East Midlands

If you prefer indoor activities for winter, head to the East Midlands. You can visit a number of attractions in the area, stay warm, but also enjoy a sunny winters day at Wollaton Hall and Park. The site is open throughout winter and will have special installations in December, including a beautiful lights’ display.

See history come to life during a day spent at the International Bomber and Command Centre in Lincoln. You will learn fascinating details about WWII whilst exploring the memorial site, the gardens and the exhibitions. Make sure you plan your visit by checking if there are any events on as you could catch a lecture or even a workshop.

The ideal indoor activity for the entire family is hands-down the National Space Centre. Everyone can try Zero Gravity, see rockets and learn about our planet – and others.

Greater London

The list of unique attractions in London is endless. London IS an attraction in itself. From the Tube to the Tower of London, they are all unique and well worth a visit. If you have done these already, then maybe it’s time to look at the slightly less famous but no less uncommon places, such as London’s Narrowest House, in Shephard’s Bush. Note, it’s narrow, not small. While most of us could hardly lie down in it one way, it spreads across five floors, is long towards the back and becomes a little wider as well.

Instead of heading to the most famous museums straight away, dive into WWII history by heading underground and visiting the centre where decisions were made – Churchill War Rooms.

And finally, grab dinner at the only public garden you can comfortably sit in on a cold winter’s day – the Sky Garden: enjoy a snack or meal with a view of the entire city and surrounded by plants.

North East

A highlight in the North East is Durham Cathedral. Aside from its impressive architecture and guided tours to explore the site, it has something unique –something nowhere else can claim, even if they try to recreate it: It’s a famous filming location of Harry Potter. While the studios will show you some of the sets and special effects, at Durham Cathedral you can walk the halls and visit the Cloister square where so many famous scenes were filmed. With a bit of luck, you may even see the square covered in snow – just like in the films.

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, a visit to Durham Cathedral is a must.

For a more contemporary touch (Durham Cathedral dates back to the Norman era after all), take in the Angel Of The North – probably the largest representation of an angel in the world. Its wingspan is half the length of a football field and almost its width.

If you are up north, take a day – and evening – to explore Newcastle. Walk around the city and the arts quarter and make sure to take in the view of Gateshead Millennium Bridge at night.

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North West

If you are going to the north western corner of the country, it’s impossible not to go to the lakes. The entire Lake District, while Windemere is of course one of the most beautiful places England has to offer, but around the lakes, there are other quirky activities to try. For a truly unusual experience, see the lakes with Alpacas. You can walk or trek with alpacas from four different sites around the lakes or just meet them for a cuddle.

Right by the lakes is another fun family day out with the World of Beatrix Potter. You can dive into the magical world where the stories come to life and exploring the beautiful countryside they feature.

Beatrix Potter House
If visiting the World of Beatrix Potter, you can visit her house which is local to the attraction.

Of course, for the football fans, visiting a stadium on your way through the city is a must. You can do a stadium tour or join a Legends Q&A – definitely won’t get that experience anywhere else.

Scotland

Wrap up warm if you are heading to Scotland in the cold season because the wonderful and unique adventures await you are outdoors.

On the Isle of Skye – an attraction in itself – head to the famous Old Man of Storr. The views are breath-taking as you walk all around, especially if you head south for a view of The Old Man Storr and Loch Leathan. The good thing is that these lookouts aren’t far from the road (A855) so you can get back to the car easily for a hot drink from your thermos.

The Isle of Skye is a wondrous place in winter.

Closer to Edinburgh, on the mainland, Arthur’s Seat is the place to go. It isn’t often that we can climb extinct volcanoes in the UK, but this is one of them, along with Ben Nevis, the highest one in Scotland and the UK. [Climbing Ben Nevis is a challenge, but even trickier in winter so plan well and make sure you stay safe at all times if this is your plan.]

To warm up in between your outdoor adventures, step aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia (or spend the night if you want to treat yourself to something special!). It is not every day you get to take a look around a royal residence! Walk around the entire yacht, see where the crew sleeps, how the dining room was set up, and where the captain would work on the bridge.

South East

Let’s start with one of the most well-known sights of the South East – that looks completely out of place yet beautiful in the middle of Brighton: The Royal Pavilion. While most of us have snapped photos of the outside and of the towers looming over the Brighton skyline, we often haven’t actually been inside this museum, which takes us into a world of history and luxury.

The Royal Pavilion, Brighton

To keep exploring the world of the Royals, plan a trip to Windsor Castle. The now residence of the King reopened at the end of September.

Continuing with British traditions and history, you are in the country’s region where you can see and touch a Spitfire. Based in Chichester, the Spitfire Academy welcomes guests who want to see and experience the Second World War aircraft. An actual flight may be a little out of budget for most of us (you can fly from Lee-on-Solent, Exeter and Goodwood for a few grand if you are keen),  but at the Chichester Academy you can get into the flight simulator.

South West

You can do a round trip of the South West, stopping off in the most important places as you go along. Start in North East Somerset to visit the historic Roman Baths, ideally with a sunrise tour to avoid the crowds and get the most out of your guided tour – and your pictures!

The Roman Baths
Right in the centre of the city, The Roman Baths is a unique attraction that explores all of Roman life.

Drive down along the coast to Cornwall to visit the Eden Project. The outdoor gardens as well as the Biomes (one for rainforest, one for Mediterranean plants) are worth a visit in winter as well as the AR exhibit running until 2023 and special winter events including ice skating throughout November.

Head back north and along the coast to Southampton to visit SeaCity; the Titanic Museum. This is nothing like the film you know by heart, here we are talking about the actual ship – a marvel of its time. See just how many locals were employed onboard, how much silverware and pillows you need for such a long trip and how all the food was stored. Take in the grandeur of the ship before following its tragic story all the way to the courts to determine what happened.

Finally, head north to Stonehenge to see this unique landmark up close. Take advantage of the winter hours to see it under changing light. It’s the easiest time to watch the sun set at Stonehenge because it gets dark much earlier.

Wales

Wales is full of unique places – but most of all landscapes – to explore. Starting of course with Snowdon, which may be a little trickier to access in winter. Instead, consider Great Orme. You can take great walks, but also drive along the coast for stunning views if it’s too cold or dangerous to hike due to the weather conditions. If it’s not too windy, you can also take the Llandudno Cable Car up to Great Orme and still enjoy views all the way to Puffin Island.

Almost part of the landscape of northern Wales is the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. It’s impressive any way you look at it. You will see it driving towards Chester or if you are going for a walk at World’s End, but seeing it from below isn’t the only way to explore it. It’s an 11-mile-long canal full of tunnels and viaducts, but the most unique way to explore it is by boat, right at the top of the aqueduct.

And to add a little quirkiness to the mix, make sure you stop by the UK’s smallest house, located in Conwy.

West Midlands

In the West Midlands, you can find a little bit of everything: nature, fun and history.

The Peak District is of course one of the main things that draw people to the area. It’s a place for endless walks, hikes and even bike rides – weather permitting – and with lots of cottages and holiday rentals you can even stay in the area for a little while and explore the local sights at your pace.

Next visit Warwick Castle, either for a day or as a multiple-day trip, staying at one of the Knight’s Village accommodations. It’s a day out for the entire family as you can visit the historic castle itself and its exhibitions, but also get the children involved in games and hands-on activities to explore the historic site. During winter, the castle will of course we having an impressive display of Christmas lights to enjoy as well.

Warwick Castle comes alive at Christmas with special light displays

And finally, for a fun trip, head to Alton Towers. Check the exact dates first as they aren’t open every day in December (the Theme Park is open Friday – Sunday and open every day starting the 19 December, the Water park is for hotel guests and the Golf and Spa have slightly shorter opening times). You will have significantly less queues but still be able to enjoy the same rides.

Yorkshire and the Humber

Take the time to explore York!

Start – of course – with York Minster, one of the most magnificent cathedrals in the country and on earth. The architecture in itself is remarkable, but to truly enjoy the space, try and catch one of the many music events that take place throughout the year. This way you will be able to sit and take in both the visual as all the acoustic elements.

Once you step out of the cathedral, take a walk along the Shambles. It’s a shopping experience like no other: gone are the big brands, and new and modern buildings made of glass and neon lights. Instead, you walk cobbled streets with uneven, colourful store fronts that look like they have come out of a fantasy film set. But it’s not just about what is on the outside, the shops themselves are worth exploring and you can find everyday items as well as unique little gifts you may still be looking for in time for Christmas.

To finish off your city tour, head to the free National Railway Museum where you can explore the history of the railway, but also impressive displays of railways throughout the years, walk the grand halls and see the world’s fastest steam locomotive currently on display.

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