15 Things You Just Have to do in the UK

In days gone by, our bucket lists were brimming with far-flung destinations and activities on the other side of the globe. However, after spending the past year at home we’ve been discovering some absolute delights here within the UK. This inspiration — and let’s be honest, circumstance — has led us to create this list of must-do’s for Great Britain. We’d love to hear which ones you’ve already ticked off!

1. Head to the Beach at Three Cliffs Bay, The Gower

This beach is one of dealchecker’s favourites in the world. We know that the Caribbean hogs the limelight when it comes to beaches, but this secluded spot in South Wales boasts blonde sands and some seriously rugged good looks with absolutely no crowds. Who needs Barbados when that’s on offer? The beach is only accessed by clambering down sand dunes, which is what makes it so quiet, but unfortunately it does mean that it’s not suitable for those with mobility issues.

 

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2. Sip a Dry Martini at DUKES Bar, London

DUKES Bar in London’s Mayfair is one seriously swish drinking den. The bar is famed for its martinis, in particular the Vesper Martini, which is believed to have inspired Ian Fleming to create the ‘shaken, not stirred’ instructions for James Bond’s favourite tipple. The drinks are so potent that guests aren’t allowed to have more than two martinis in a sitting. Drinks aren’t cheap but it’s well worth the price as a treat!

 

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3. Watch a Play at the Minack Theatre, Cornwall

We think it’s fair to say that the Minack Theatre boasts the best location of any theatre in the UK. It may not have the plush interiors of some of London’s finest, but what it lacks in interiors (there are none), it more than makes up for in views. Located on a cliff face overlooking rollicking waves in Cornwall’s Porthcurno, this is one lovely spot in which to enjoy a play. Due to it being totally open to the elements, the theatre opens only in the summer months and tickets book up fast so get looking now.

 

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4. Walk up to Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a seriously pretty city with a charmingly higgledy-piggledy medieval old town and an elegant new town. There’s no better spot from which to enjoy it in all its glory than from Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano just a short walk away from the city centre. The peak sits 251 metres above sea level, so it’s a bit of a climb. When you’re not drinking in those views, there’s a 15th-century chapel to explore too.

5. Grab Dinner on Curry Mile, Manchester

The British food scene has been vastly, vastly improved by the influx of flavours from across the world. The chicken tikka masala has often been named as Britain’s favourite dish, and it’s no wonder when it’s just so tasty. Where better to enjoy it than on Manchester’s curry mile, where an array of restaurants vie for punter’s business with special offers and tempting aromas? Several of the restaurants offer a BYOB service so do your research before visiting, and be sure to bring along some cold beers if your chosen restaurant does.

6. Go Punting, Cambridge

Venice may steal the limelight when it comes to man-powered boats but that doesn’t mean that the UK’s waterways don’t have anything equally charming. Punting in Cambridge is believed to have begun in the mid 1800s, so when you hire one of these wooden vessels, you’ll be taking part in a time-honoured tradition! You can either opt for a chauffeured tour or give punting a go yourself, depending on how adventurous you’re feeling. This is one lovely way to take a peek at the city’s famous riverside colleges.

7. Take a Distillery Tour, Hebrides

Scotland is renowned for its whisky, and there’s nowhere better to sample this than in the Hebrides, where some of the country’s finest are made. Some of the most popular distillery tours include the Laphroaig Distillery and the Bruichladdich Distillery on the Isle of Islay. These islands are jaw-droppingly beautiful, with swathes of undisturbed beaches so there’s plenty on offer when you’re not slurping whisky.

 

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8. Splurge on Dinner at The Fat Duck, Berkshire

Sometimes there’s an occasion for which nothing but a fancy dinner will do. That can be a big birthday, a wedding anniversary or even just the need to treat yourself after a year of pandemic-induced restrictions. Where better to enjoy that fancy dinner than at Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire. The restaurant boasts three Michelin stars and has been named both the best restaurant in the UK, and also in the world. You’ll enjoy experimental and innovative dishes that you won’t find anywhere else — meat fruit, to name but one famous dish.

 

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9. Dance the Weekend Away at Glastonbury Festival, Somerset

We know that Glastonbury Festival is off for this year but the world’s largest greenfield festival will be back next year to finally celebrate its 50th anniversary. It really is a festival like no other, and one that we’d recommend attending at least once. You’ll find gong baths, big name artists on the main stages, political talks in the healing fields, sunrise-watching opportunities at the site’s own stone circle and a nightlife like no other in the Shangri-La area. Our head of content, Rosie, has been four times and still hasn’t managed to explore the whole site.

10. Enjoy Fish ‘n’ Chips at the Seaside, Whitby

We’ve talked about the fanciest of dinners, but we haven’t yet discussed one of Britain’s most humble and yet most loved dishes, fish ‘n’ chips. When we think of holidaying in the UK, we immediately think of licking our lips as we tuck into battered fish and fat chips liberally doused in salt and vinegar. All of this is enjoyed beside the sea of course! Whitby in Yorkshire is famed for its fish ‘n’ chips offering, and overlooking the north sea, it offers a great spot in which to tuck in.

 

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11. Visit the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

The Giant’s Causeway is Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage site, and it is well worth a visit. Here, 40,000 basalt columns tower beside the sea, caused by a volcanic fissure eruption. However, legend dictates that the structure was actually part of a causeway built by the giant Fionn who needed a way to cross the North Sea in order to fight his foe, Benandonner. While we err on believing the volcanic version of events, the area is strewn with fairytale-esque spots.

12. Don a Fancy Hat at Royal Ascot, Berkshire

Royal Ascot is the highlight of the British horse racing calendar, with some of the world’s finest racehorses and jockeys competing to win the £8 million prize money. The five-day series of races is an event for the whole country, with people travelling from far and wide to attend and the newspapers printing photos of the royals in their finest attire. The dress code here is strict and formal, making it one of the only remaining events at which you can wear a truly spectacular hat!

13. Experience the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge, Somerset

The longest day of the year is a day to celebrate — who doesn’t want to spend every second outside when the sun shines so late into the evening? There’s nowhere more magical to experience the summer solstice than at Stonehenge, a circular construction of sarsen stones placed here in 2500 BC in alignment with the sun’s rays. When they’re allowed, thousands gather here to watch the sunrise when the sun’s rays are directed into the centre of the circle. There are cheers as this happens and a friendly atmosphere permeates.

 

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14. Set Sail on Lake Windermere, Lake District

Windermere is England’s largest lake, and when you see it, it really does look vast. At 11 miles long, that’s one big body of water! What better way to get out and explore it than by sailing boat? You’ll get to zip across the water with the breeze on your face, and explore areas that you just can’t from the shore in Windermere itself. The Windermere Outdoor Adventure Centre rents dinghies out at very reasonable prices.

 

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15. Shop at Harrods, London

Founded in 1849, Harrods is one seriously old and seriously plush department store. Stepping inside is like stepping back in time to a period when service was the most important part of the shopping experience. After browsing the store’s designer wares, we recommend heading down to the food hall where you’ll find vaulted ceilings and decadent interiors. As well as selling charcuterie and fresh vegetables and the like, the food hall also serves up a delicious Sunday roast!

Ps. Not all of these attractions are open yet, and travel around the UK continues to be limited. Keep an eye on government advice to understand what you can and cannot do. We hope this list helps you to plan for an exciting summer and beyond!

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About Rosie
Rosie

Rosie heads up our content team, making sure that our users are presented with helpful and useful information! She also helps the content team in writing blogs about the many gorgeous destinations on her bucket list.

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