Phoebe Slim
Author: Phoebe Slim, Marketing Executive

Phoebe is a keen traveller, always looking to add to her list of cultural destinations.

6 min read

When it comes to travelling aboard this year, things have been a little uncertain, which is why the best and safest bet is to stick to good old Blighty for a holiday, or day trip. So we’ve come up with a wonderful list, full of unusual and beautiful destinations in the UK, where you might just imagine you're in sunny Italy, striking Iceland or indulging in some Japanese culture (just without a need for that passport).

We may live on an island, but we have a great deal of cultural influence from all across the world, be it Nordic influences in the far north, or a quirky Mediterranean village in Wales. With so many glorious slights to see - why board a plane?

Portmeirion, Wales

Fancy Italy?

Try Portmeirion, Gwynedd, Wales

Designed by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925-1975 this beautiful Italian-style village echoes the charm and colour of the Mediterranean. If you’re looking to explore quirky nooks and crannies of stunning architecture, then look no further.

Portmeirion is not only adorned with palm trees, colourful buildings and hidden pathways, but it’s set overlooking a beautiful Welsh estuary and cradled by the surrounding mountains. It’s the perfect day out, with something to entertain everyone.

Lynmouth, Devon

Fancy Switzerland?

Try Little Switzerland, Devon

It was the famous poets Percy Shelley and Robert Southey who visited the little town of Lynmouth and first christened it “Little Switzerland”. The north Devonshire coastline has rolling hillsides and deep valleys with the beautiful village Lynmouth nestled at the heart of it.

It’s full to bursting with independent shops and little cafes to explore. It also houses the UK’s last remaining water-powered Victorian railway, which is certainly worth a ride.

Shetland, Scotland

Fancy Norway?

Try Shetland, Scotland

Up until the 15th century Shetland belonged to the Scandinavians and you can clearly still see its Viking influence today. One of the most famous locations to visit is Jarlshof, a very important Bronze age, Iron age and Norse archaeological settlement.

Shetland is made of many small, once volcanic, islands. So, it makes for some stunningly rugged scenery, with the crashing sea never too far from sight.

Royal Pavilion, Brighton

Fancy India?

Try the Royal Pavilion, Brighton

The Royal Pavilion was built in 1815, as a royal pleasure house for the extravagant King George IV. The famous King started the trend of Londoners travelling down to the seaside to stay in Brighton for a weekend away.

The Pavilion is inspired by Indian and Regency architecture, which really makes it stand out as a unique building in the UK. It’s rich in other history too; it was a hospital for Indian soldiers during World War I with a Sikh gurdwara temple in the grounds and Muslim servicemen would pray on the lawns, facing Mecca across the sea.

Kyoto and Fukushima Gardens, London

Fancy Japan?

Try Kyoto and Fukushima Gardens, London

These beautiful gardens are a perfect example of Japanese botanicals in Holland Park. You will find waterfalls trickling down into pools of koi carp, colourful maple trees and stone lanterns lining pathways. Not to mention the occasional proud peacock wondering the grounds.

The Kyoto Garden was opened in 1991 and was gifted by the city of Kyoto to Britain to celebrate their long-term friendship

St Michael's Mount, Cornwall

Fancy France?

Try St Michael's Mount, Cornwall

St Michael’s Mount and Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy are twins in many ways; they’re both tidal islands meaning they’re only accessible during the low tide, which adds an element of fairy tale mystery to them. They also house many alleyways and castle terraces atop the hill.

It also boasts glorious gardens, overlooking the Cornish Lizard coast.

Little Venice, London

Fancy Amsterdam?

Try Little Venice, London

This beautiful boat-lined canal may be named after Venice in Italy, but it definitely gives off the vibe of Amsterdam with its tree-lined canals. The place where the Grand Union canal meets the Regents Canal in central London has created a space of tranquillity in the midst of the city. There are many pubs and shops that line the canals, also with impressive mansions forming part of the backdrop. You can even stay on a canal boat over night if you want to make a weekend of it.

Valley of the Rocks, Devon

Fancy Iceland?

Try Valley of the Rocks, Devon

This stunning valley certainly echoes back to Viking times, Game of Thrones or even Lord of the Rings. With its deep crevices and eye-watering pinnacles it’s certainly a ruggedly beautiful sight. The Valley of the Rocks can be found in Lynmouth, on the edge of Exmoor and the best way to explore is climbing through the valley to the cliff tops and take in the breezy sea views.

Mayfield Lavender, Surrey

Fancy Provence?

Try the Mayfield Lavender, Surrey

If you’re after a relaxing day trip then you should certainly take a look at these lavender fields. These rolling purple fields are filled with the heady fragrance of lavender, which is well known for it’s calming properties. You can even take along you four-legged friend so they can enjoy the walk too.

It’s the perfect destination for people of all ages; you can visit the farm, wonder the fields and even go on a bee safari experience.

Wasdale Valley, the Lake District

Fancy Yosmite?

Try Wasdale Valley, the Lake District

Picture the wildest valley in the Lake District, set in between the tallest mountain in England, Scafell Pike, and the deepest lake Wastwater – the Wasdale Valley is a modern time capsule of its Viking history. This majestic scenery is certainly reminiscent of the Yosmite, both being a national park.

There are many walks and hikes to explore and even one of England’s tiniest churches, St Olaf’s. 

Shambles, York

Fancy something magical?

Try the Shambles, York

The Shambles is one of Europe’s most visited streets and it’s easy to see why! It is the inspiration for Diagon Alley in J.K Rowling’s famous Harry Potter. With over-hanging Medieval buildings, cobbled streets and vibrant independent shops it’s certainly a hub for quirkiness and a great atmosphere to sit outside and enjoy a coffee in.

The street is steeped in culture and history and leads to an old market square where you can sample some of the local produce.

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