10 breathtaking regions you must visit in the UK and Ireland
It would be a difficult task to catalogue all that the UK and Ireland has to offer, but here, we present the essentials – the 10 starting points that everybody really ought to visit in order to see these beautiful regions at their very best.
Grampian Transport Museum in Aberdeenshire
A wealth of sights and sounds are just waiting to be discovered here including a fantastic range of visitor attractions, beaches, gardens, Highland Games, golf courses and festivals. There is truly something for everyone. Its association with the sea has shaped its destiny and unquestionably, the shire has some of the best beaches in Scotland.
Giants Causeway is one of County Antrim’s most famous attractions
From Ballycastle to Portrush, Antrim’s famous coastline is one of the UK’s most amazing shorelines which has set the scene for epic adventures both real and fantastical. The Giant’s Causeway’s basalt majesty is world famous, and another magnet lures visitors to these parts: Game of Thrones fans want to see where the hit TV series was filmed. The coastline is dotted with harbour villages and seaside towns and the seascape looks across to Scotland’s west coast, over beautiful beaches.
Kynance Cove is a picturesque sandy beach two miles north of Lizard Point
Cornwall is a place that has it all. Golden beaches that stretch on for miles, sub- tropical gardens, wild moorland, giant cliffs and more castles than you can shake a stick at. Brace yourself for beach life – beguiling landscapes, gastronomic delights and world-famous cultural hotspots. Cornwall has shaken off its chintzy, bucket-and-spade reputation and replaced it with stylish coastal living. Grab a wet suit and get ready to experience life by the coast.
Since being declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) back in 1966, the Cotswolds has become one of the UK and Ireland’s most-loved tourist destinations – and it’s easy to see why. The glorious, honey-coloured towns and villages of the Cotswolds look as if they have strayed into the 21st century from another era. Covering nearly 800 square miles across five counties (Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire), this region of ‘wolds’, or rolling hills, is the biggest of the 38 AONBs in England and Wales.
Haweswater Reservoir in Cumbria
As one of the UK’s most beautiful regions, along with its historic towns and quality attractions, Cumbria and the Lake District is the perfect destination for memorable holidays. The great outdoors, Britain’s greenest countryside and grandest views, holds great sway in Cumbria and the Lake District. You’re spoiled for choice if you want to witness the beauty of the mountains and lakes and walking among them will take up all of your time. And while the weather is unpredictable, showers and racing clouds only emphasise the grandeur of the magnificent views.
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Blickling Hall makes for a great family day out in Norfolk
Stately homes, ruined castles, medieval churches and half-timbered wool towns with fascinating museums make for enjoyable days out. There’s also a traditional theme running through Norfolk – a region of bucket-and-spade holidays, fish and chips, candyfloss and end-of-the-pier entertainment, a nod to a bygone age. Although East Anglia gets less rain than many other holiday destinations in the UK, northerly and easterly winds over the North Sea can keep temperatures low.
At 84 miles long, Hadrian’s Wall is a World Heritage Site
Walk alongside the magnificent Hadrian’s Wall, discover unspoilt beaches and behold ancient castles, Northumberland is just perfect for exploring. And don’t forget to look to the heavens, as Northumberland is a dark skies county and home to Europe’s largest area of protected night sky. The Kielder Observatory is one of the most remarkable places to visit in the whole of the UK, it holds events throughout the year, during which astronomers, guest speakers and volunteers, show visitors what to look for and help them discover the mysteries of the night sky.
Pembrokeshire Coast Path twists and turns its way for 186 miles along the most breathtaking coastline in England
On the westerly fringes of the UK is Pembrokeshire in Wales. With its jaw-dropping coastline, serene rural landscape and quaint, atmospheric towns, it’s easy to see why Pembrokeshire has been attracting holidaymakers for decades. The Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail hugs the coastline for 186 miles or 299km of some of the most breathtaking coastal scenery in Britain. The pace may be slower in this part of Wales, but there is plenty of fresh air and fun to be had here for families, couples and solo travellers alike.
County Galway’s cultural life is apparent as soon as you hit the county. With its association and close links with Irish culture, language, music, song and dance traditions, Galway has become fondly known as Ireland’s Cultural Heart. Ireland is a country full of ancient castles, and Galway is no exception and some of the best are Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara, Portumna Castle, and Clifden Castle. Walk the winding streets of Galway City, visit unspoiled golden beaches and walk in wonderful and breathtaking wild landscape and not forgetting the cosy pubs where you can enjoy the ‘craic’ and some of the best live music in Ireland.
If much of the mountainous highlands of Scotland resemble the spectacular backdrop of a Lord of the Rings landscape, you could regard Ayrshire as its Shire: a beautiful vista of gently rolling hills and perfectly-husbanded farmland. That’s not to say Ayrshire does not have its fair share of adventure – there are many places to have fun. In fact, there’s no shortage of fantastic days out for families, friends or couples eager to explore the region.