Exploring The United Kingdom
WITH SO MUCH DIVERSITY THROUGHOUT ENGLAND, SCOTLAND, WALES AND NORTHERN IRELAND, THE UNITED KINGDOM OFFERS A UNIQUE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE FOR TRAVELERS OF ALL BUDGETS AND DESIRES…
Made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, over 35 million overseas visitors arrived to the United Kingdom in 2016. With more than half of that number being repeat visitors, there are several factors bringing new and old travelers. For one, it has become more affordable to visit the United Kingdom with the value of the pound sterling to dollar dropping to a 30-year low last year. Sharing the same language as the United States, not requiring a visa for entry (for the EU at least, while the world waits to see the ultimate Brexit effects), and being relatively close with a number of direct flights from the United States helps make the nation a popular destination for American travelers. Logistics aside, it is a great time to begin planning your next visit to the United Kingdom to enjoy a culturally rich and enjoyable getaway.
As the autumn begins to give way to the winter, it is often an idyllic time to enjoy exploring the destinations, or even savoring a lunch or dinner outside in that crisp, clean air. Outdoor dining and drinking in major cities such as London and Manchester is always a favorite activity, as is the opportunity to enjoy outdoor music and cultural festivals. Do you need more time in the great outdoors? Great Britain is home to 15 National Parks that contain some of its most beautiful landscapes; 15 National Trails; nearly 50 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (countryside areas designated for conservation); and nearly 200 estates and gardens offered for the public to visit through the National Trust. Visitors can even stay at some of the estates and indulge in the grandeur of the bygone ages they offer as a home away from home.
Among the estates is Cliveden, which is set in Berkshire, England high above the Thames. Home to 376 acres of impressive gardens and woodlands, which surrounds a country mansion that once entertained the likes of Winston Churchill and Charlie Chaplin. Now a five-star Relais & Châteaux property, Cliveden House recently celebrated its 350th year anniversary, and went through a multi million-dollar restoration and refurbishment. In the latest phase, it brought on the new restaurant, Astor Grill, from Michelin star Chef André Garret that offers a lovely and relaxed way to enjoy Cliveden. Along with 47 rooms in the exquisite main house (which is sure to bring on Downton Abbey feelings for those experiencing a stay at an English countryside mansion for the first time), Cliveden also has a stunning three-bedroom cottage set on the banks of the River Thames that is perfect for families, small groups, or couples seeking a romantic hideaway.
Beyond the natural and urban outdoors, there are countless year-round indoor offerings throughout the nation. More than 2,500 museums are available in the United Kingdom, and many of them are completely free to visit. Discover more, and begin planning your next visit to the United Kingdom with a few ideas that we wanted to share to get you started with planning your very own getaway.
Photography: Visit Britain