This is understandable – it is, after all, the capital city, home to the seat of government, numerous Royal tourist attractions, historical buildings such as the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey and iconic new architecture such as The Spire. When it comes to cultural attractions the capital city is hard to beat and it has an infrastructure which is geared to dealing with millions of tourists.
It would be a mistake, however, to feel that London is all that the UK has to offer. For all its’ many attractions, there’s no getting away from the fact the London is also something of a victim of its’ own success. It has a reputation, as do many larger cities, of being a pretty dangerous place, especially if you take a wrong turn and enter one of the less salubrious districts. Clearly, if something does happen you can always claim compensation, even in the event of a criminal act, but minimising the prospect is just another reason to look further afield. Visit http://www.claims4negligence.co.uk/ to find out more information on how the claims process works.
The sheer number of visitors thronging the streets, particularly in high season, makes it difficult and uncomfortable to get around and prices for everything from accommodation and food to souvenirs to take back home are higher than anywhere else in the UK. Not only that, but if you visit some of the tourist attractions to be found in the rest of the country the chances are that you’ll be seeing something new and taking in some sights which haven’t already been included in a thousand and one films and TV programmes.
What’s more, the fact that the United Kingdom is a relatively small country means that nowhere is more than a couple of days travel away from anywhere else and yet the contrast from city to city and from urban to rural can still be truly stunning. The following is a list of some of the most visited cities outside of London, with a brief description of what each has to offer. A list like this can only ever be a jumping off point, however, since each of these cities also performs the roll of gateway to glorious countryside and smaller towns and villages and the best travel advice anyone can ever give is simply to take the time to explore:
Manchester has come to be referred to as England’s second city, and is perhaps most famous around the rest of the world for two things – soccer and pop music. The city is home to the most successful English soccer team of all time, Manchester United, and near neighbours Manchester City who have recently become one of the richest clubs in the world, and also boasts the National Football Museum. In terms of pop music it is the place which gave the world the Hacienda nightclub, Joy Division, the Stone Roses and the Smiths. With the UK’s largest student population it boasts a vibrant nightlife and cultural scene as well as shops, galleries, restaurants and bars to suit all tastes and budgets.
Birmingham is the second largest and most populated city in the UK, home to more miles of canal than Venice and a Jewellery quarter which produces 40% of all the UK’s jewellery. Birmingham is also heaven for food lovers with two hundred restaurants serving cuisine from all over the world and more Michelin starred eateries than any city outside of London.
Mention Liverpool to anyone around the world and the first thing that almost everybody will think of is The Beatles and the city is indeed home to a Beatle museum, Beatle tours and many other attractions devoted to the greatest ever rock group. There’s a lot more to see, however, including The Tate Liverpool collection of modern art and more Grade II listed building than any other city apart from London.
Nestling on the banks of the River Clyde, Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and the third largest in the United Kingdom. If you’re a shopaholic then Glasgow is the city for you; in the 2008 Experian Retail Ranking survey it was named as the best place to shop outside London’s West end. It’s not all about commerce, though – Glasgow boasts Europe’s largest reference library in the form of the Mitchell Library, with over a million books.
Oxford Groves of academe are known throughout the world. The stunning architecture and atmosphere of scholarship combine to create a uniquely relaxing environment. Strolling through the streets or along the river Chertwell is entertainment enough, but you could also visit the Ashmolean, the world’s oldest public museum, and tour the many and varied colleges.
Just like Oxford, Cambridge is a haven from the modern world and an architectural theme park which throws beautiful buildings at you from around every street corner. Tourist traditions include punting along the river Cam and climbing the bell tower of Great St Mary’s Church. It’s also recommended that you take advantage of the free entry to the Fitzwilliam museum to take a look at works by masters such as Renoir, Degas, Monet and Cezanne.
The University city of Bristol has much to recommend it, not least its’ location on the River Avon close to both Wales and Bath. Many people might be surprised to learn that it was the birthplace of one Archibald Leach, better known as Hollywood legend Cary Grant, but modern day attractions include a thriving cultural scene and the engineering splendour that is the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
Large scale attractions of this seaside town include the ostentatiously spectacular Royal Pavilion, built in the 18th Century and Brighton Pier, which is 1,772 feet long. Often referred to as ‘London by the Sea’, Brighton carries its’ own special bohemian vibe and is home to many artists, writers and media practitioners.
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