As a travel destination, the UK is probably best recognised for its amazing selection of scenery and visual attractions. There are beautiful stretches of nature, ruins of medieval castles, and ancient wonders like Stonehenge and Hadrian’s Wall to take in. And the sightseeing is even better in some of the cities. In London particularly there’s an absolutely endless array of landmark buildings and monuments to see.
In short, you could spend a dozen separate vacations just seeing the UK. But this wonderful country isn’t all about sights! It’s also a great place to visit for recreation—a perfect hub for adventurers, sports enthusiasts, lovers of culture and history, and just about everyone else. So if you’d like to approach UK travel from a recreational standpoint, consider adding some of these activities to the itinerary in addition to sightseeing.
Hike Tryfan in Snowdonia
There are a lot of tremendous hiking and climbing opportunities throughout the UK, and this outline has some of the best ones. Really it’s a toss-up between these options, but for the true adventurer Tryfan Mountain in Wales is one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences. From the ground, this peak looks rocky and forbidding, and there is a bit of “scrambling” required as you near the top. But it’s not considered to be a dangerous climb. From the top you can enjoy breathtaking views of the gorgeous Snowdonia National Park, as well as get your adrenaline pumping by hiking the famous gap between the Adam and Eve rocks at the peak.
Attend The Cheltenham Festival
The UK hosts a lot of major European horse races, and the first big event of the year, the Cheltenham Festival, is one that shouldn’t be missed by sports enthusiasts. This page details a packed schedule consisting of four days of activity, each with a signature race to enjoy. But the Cheltenham Festival is about more than just the contests on the tracks. Spectators treat it almost like a carnival by dressing in the festive attire traditional for horse racing events, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on the third day, and generally taking full advantage of the fact that Guinness sponsors the event. It truly is a four-day party.
See A Football Match In Manchester
Sticking with sports for a moment, you pretty much can’t go wrong with a football match anywhere in the UK. The whole country is wildly enthusiastic about football, to the point that contests in the lower league are worth attending as a tourist. But your very best bet at a memorable sporting experience is a match in Manchester, where two of the top clubs in the country (Manchester United and Manchester City) compete a short distance apart from one another. Naturally it’s a big event when the two teams go head to head, but Manchester United in particular tends to attract big matches as they can claim legitimate rivalries with a number of other top clubs.
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day In London
To be fair, Dublin across the sea is probably the place to go for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration, and if you’re already in the UK, you might consider making the trip there. But to give you an idea of the London experience as well, this list of the top St. Patrick’s Day celebrations all over the world places the English capital in the mix. London doesn’t mess around with this festive holiday. Half the city seems to turn into a carnival year in and year out, and there are plenty of pubs you can duck into during the festivities.
Tour The Castles In The South
This could fall under the sightseeing category as well, but it certainly feels more like an adventure given that you really have to get out and tour the country to see the UK’s best castles. This post shows that the best spectacles are actually dotted all over the UK, from the southern coast to Edinburgh Castle in the far north. But for touring purposes, your best bet to see a cluster of castles is to stay south of London. Hampton Court Palace, St. Michael’s Mount, Highclere Castle, and Bodiam Castle are just a few that you should see in that area.
The list could go on and on, but the important thing is to remember there’s far more than sightseeing to keep you occupied on a UK vacation. The activities suggested above are just a start.