a photo of the british museum

5 Extraordinary UK Attractions you have to Visit

The United Kingdom is known for many things. Exquisite tea, greasy spoon cafes and saying sorry a lot, to name a few. However, if you’re on your first trip to the UK, then it’s hard to narrow down so many of the incredible attractions to visit during your stay. Thankfully, here at Best UK Hotels, we’re on hand to give you a little guidance. So without further ado, we present 5 extraordinary UK attractions you have to visit!

Children in a forest adventure

5) The Forbidden Corner – North Yorkshire

You could be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped onto the set of Labyrinth but tucked away in a nook of North Yorkshire lays the Forbidden Corner. A maze swarming with puzzles, timorous beasties and surprises round every corner, this is a true delight to experience with the family.

Find out more about going on a trip to the Forbidden Corner!

4) The British Museum – London

One of the UK’s best loved and best known attractions; the British Museum is a must-visit for anybody taking a trip to the UK’s capital. Packed full of thousands of exhibits, artefacts and works of art, account for a full day to explore this British gem.

Find out more about the British Museum here.

Outside the British Museum

3) Diggerland – Various Destinations

It is what it says on the paint tin. Head on down to one of the UK’s Diggerland theme parks and drive a real JCB! Fancy yourself as a construction genius? Perhaps you just want to dig a big hole. We’ve heard it’s very therapeutic.

Visit Diggerland today!

2) Sgùrr Thearlaich – Isle of Skye

If diggers aren’t your thing, or even if they are, then a trip to Sgùrr Thearlaich on the Isle of Skye is a must. Have your breath taken away by some of the best scenery in the world.

Find out more about this area here.

1) Culross – Fife

You could be forgiven for thinking you had arrived at an historical reconstruction, but the town of Culross really is a pocket of history frozen in time. So enjoy the ambience of this quaint little town and enjoy an authentic Scottish day out.

And remember that, for some reason, you pronounce it pronounced “coo-riss”, not “cul-ross”. You’re welcome!

Find out more about Culross here.

UK Attractions to Visit

Can’t wait to visit our selection of top UK attractions? Why not check out some of our previous suggestions and stay for longer!

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An old fashioned stand up microphone

Comedians to look out for at the Fringe this Year

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a major attraction to thousands of people each year. It’s so popular, you may want to start planning your trip early in the year. There are always loads of great comedians to look out for at the Fringe Festival. Here is a helpful guide on some of the best ones in recent years that you might be lucky enough to catch yourself.

Star of the Last Leg, Adam Hills, is a Fringe Festival favourite.  His recent show, Clown Heart, was an hour long production, promised to not disappoint. His work is renowned for being witty and hilarious and he has even been praised by The Scotsman – “’If you cannot enjoy Adam Hills you cannot have a pulse’.

Next up is I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here Now presenter, Rob Beckett, who regularly plays at the Pleasance Dome. Rob’s incredibly smiley and energetic performances should not be missed so make sure you look out for him at the Fringe.

 

Comedian and frequent Celebrity Juice guest Chris Ramsay will also be back at the Fringe Festival and he’s “All Growed Up”. Defined as “Stand up gold” by the Guardian, Chris’s tickets sell quickly.

“Comedy genius’ (Daily Mirror) Lee Nelson will be playing at the Pleasance Courtyard this August. Although he is new to the comedy scene, Lee has been celebrated by critics for his modern style of performance. Qualiteeee!

If you’re looking for a familiar face at the Fringe Never Mind The Buzzcock’ funny man Phil Jupitus often plays at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Phil is always worth a ticket.

Comedians to look out for at the Fringe this year

This is our top five pick of comedians to look out for at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe! For more information on venue and ticket purchases make sure you visit their website.

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Doune Castle where Monty Python filmed scenes

Top 10 Scottish Film Locations

It’s shouldn’t come as any surprise that Scotland is regularly chosen for a filming location for TV, indie and big Hollywood films. With its outstanding scenery, it looks amazing on-screen. But to have found as many filming spots as we have in Scotland almost knocked us off our seats. We’ve narrowed down our favourites to the top 10 Scottish film locations so you can visit the backdrops of your favourite films!

Monty Python and the Holy Grail – 1975

Firstly, this film is very silly. However, it is also brilliantly funny and looks fantastic. A lot of it was filmed in Scotland, including at Doune Castle. And it is also where the best insult ever created was shouted from: ” Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!”

Chariots of Fire – 1981

The opening scene for Chariots of Fire was actually filmed on the West Sands beach on the coast of St. Andrews. This beach was chosen specifically for its stunning aesthetics and Highland feel. COme and run barefoot yourself!

Braveheart – 1995

Aspects of this epic film, which will never get old, were filmed in the stunning landscapes throughout and near Glen Nevis and Loch Leven. The backdrop was chosen specially for this Oscar-winning film by Mel Gibson. If you want to find out about the real William Wallace, then take a trip to the Wallace Monument in Stirling.

Trainspotting – 1996

Got a lust for life? This disturbing yet brilliant movie was partially filmed in Edinburgh’s famous location Princes Street as well as Calton Road. But Edinburgh wasn’t the only lucky place to be picked for this film though, Glasgow and Rannoch Moor were also chosen.

Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets – 2002 

This was the first of the movies in the series to exhibit the stunning scenery around and the body of Glenfinnan Viaduct in the Scottish Highlands. You can take a train across yourself and pretend you are heading to Hogwarts (although your actual destination will be just as stunning).

The Da Vinci Code – 2006

Dan Brown’s bestseller saw Tom Hanks run all around the world looking for the Holy Grail. He took it a bit more seriously than Monty Python at least. But what he didn’t bet on was coming to the bottom of the mystery at Rosslyn Chapel in Midlothian, near Edinburgh. This 15th century chapel is a stunning piece of work, and is open to the public. So get your cryptex ready, we’re going in!

Prometheus – 2012

Filmed in Skye, parts of this film show off the island’s stunning landscaped, fresh skies, natural shining waters and Cullin Mountains. The landscape and scenery help to add to the mysterious tone of the movie.

Skyfall – 2012

The James Bond film producers have a history of choosing iconic locations for the production of these popular movies. So it was no surprise to us when Scotland’s Glencoe was chosen for scenery in the film. Having been chosen for the Bond blockbuster is without a doubt the seal of approval for Scotland as one of the best places to film for scenery.

World War Z – 2013

Brad Pitt brought out the screaming fan girl (and boy) inside all of us when he came to shoot in Glasgow’s city centre: George Square (turned into Philadelphia Square.) Not only was the film shot in Glasgow, but open auditions for extras were held at the local Caledonian University campus just minutes walk from the filming location.

Outlander – 2014 

This hugely popular time-travel romance/fantasy television series has been built from the best-selling novels by Diana Gabaldon. The entire series was filmed throughout Scotland. And what does it have in common with Monty Python and the Holy Grail? Well, it also features Doune Castle, just 9 miles from Stirling.

Avengers: Infininty War & Avengers: Endgame – 2018 & 2019

Finally, two of the biggest films of all time decided they could only tell their huge story by using some of Scotland as a setting. In Marvel’s Infinity War, you will recognise large parts of Edinburgh’s Old Town, including the Royal Mile, Cockburn Street and even Waverley train station.

In Endgame, the scenery switches east towards the beautiful coastal village of St. Abbs. From henceforth, this shall be called New Asgard! This is where Thor and his people lay down roots. It is a gorgeous place to visit, as is all along this stretch of coastline, not far from Edinburgh.

Visiting Top Scottish Film Locations

A great place to stay whilst exploring Edinburgh is Parliament House Hotel. It’s just a few minutes’ walk from all these Marvel(ous) city centre locations, and with great public transport links too.

If you are heading north for some Outlander experiences, then the Kingsmills Hotel and Ness Walk both offer fantastic accommodation and advice on where to see locations. If you are heading to Fife to see the amazing beach at St. Andrews, then we recommend trying Elderburn Lodges, a five-star, family friendly option that makes you feel at home.

So don’t miss out, come and see your favourite movie locations in real life! Have we missed out your favourite filming location? Let us know!

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The Ultimate Scottish Road Trip

Scotland – a country known for its world-class scenery, memorable music scene and of course, eclectic cuisine. Haggis, whisky and square sausage, anyone?  If you are planning a trip to Scotland, why not take our ultimate Scottish road trip?

Kick things off in the Kingdom of Fife

The first port of call for anybody new to Scotland is a trip to the beautiful east coast. Pop on down to the proclaimed home of golf, St. Andrews and play on world-famous courses. Head on over to Anstruther or as the locals call it, “Ainster”) for a true delight of a fish supper from the award-winning Anstruther Fish Bar.

Where to stay: Elderburn Luxury Lodges, Silverdyke Holiday Park.

Boat in anstruther

Imagine in Inverness

Explore the ruins of the battle grounds of Culloden, unfurl the myth of the Loch Ness monster and embrace the stunning Scottish scenery on offer. Are you a fan of Scotch Whisky? Why not take a Speyside Whisky tour? Indulge in having your very own Whisky tour-guide-come-chauffeur and spend the day having a true Whisky adventure sampling all the best distilleries Speyside has to offer.

Where to stay: Kingsmills Hotel, Eagle Brae.

Be Inspired in Islay

No trip to Scotland would be complete without a trip to the scenic Outer Hebrides. Visit the Isle of Islay and immerse yourself in the serene tranquillity and natural wild beauty that the island offers. Take an opportunity to sample the peaty malts of Islay, or set off for some island hopping across to Jura and other neighbouring lands. And make sure you have a taste of freshly cooked pizza from Peatzeria.

Where to stay:  Islay Cottages.

Islay lighthouse at sunset

Explore in Edinburgh

Finish off in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. Explore this UNESCO heritage site and unravel Scottish history with a trip to Edinburgh Castle, visit the spooky underground city vaults and discover the site of the Covenanters Prison – widely regarded as the world’s first concentration camp. Finish off with a bit of souvenir shopping and head on over to Edinburgh’s Grassmarket to snap up a vintage bargain or two.

Where to stay: Parliament House Hotel.

Planning your Scottish Road Trip

Planning your Scottish road trip can be a lengthy task – especially considering how many fantastic attractions there are! Why not visit some of our previous suggestions to help get your creative juices flowing.

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Fireplace at Christmas time with decorations and tree

Christmas in the UK – a Claus For Celebration

Winter is when the days begin to grow shorter and the winter chill sets in. The UK is transformed from a bustling summer getaway to a wonderful winter wonderland. It’s time to get out and enjoy all the age-old traditions of a traditional Christmas in the UK. And while there may be no place like home for the holidays, by the time the festive season is over, you’re often in need of another holiday. If that sounds about right, check out our top tips for getting the best holiday deals. Book early and enjoy a Ho-Ho-Ho-liday with Christmas in the UK.

England: a Festoon of Festivities

England enjoys some good Christmas cheer. Spreading Christmas cheer from the West End to the far South, the English capital dons a special sparkle throughout the festive season. Experience the giant Christmas tree and traditional carol singing in Trafalgar Square. Enjoy the annual Nutcracker ballet at the Royal Opera House. There’s the outdoor ice-skating rinks or Christmas markets to walk through. And don’t forget the bright lights of the London Eye. London is transformed into our very own tinsel town.

What to do:

Enjoy some retail therapy with Christmas markets in Bath, Lincoln, Birmingham and Salisbury. Experience ‘squibbing’ at the Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival, take to the streets in Worcester’s Victorian Christmas Fayre and eat your heart out at the Slindon Pumpkin Festival.

Scotland: Scenic Extravaganzas

Edinburgh is famous for its hilltop castle, cultural festivals and Hogmanay street party. CNN has named Scotland’s majestic capital as one of the best cities in the world to enjoy a winter break. With a huge line up of Christmas markets, glittering lights, fairground rides and Europe’s largest open air ice rink, Christmas in Scotland this year promises not to disappoint.

What to do:

At the heart of the festivities, St Andrew Square will host a variety of live shows, festive markets, fantastic food and musical extravaganzas. If you’re looking for a quieter winter break with friends and family, escape the city with a Railway Holiday to the Highlands and discover a side of Scotland you’ve never seen before.

Wales: a Winter Wonderland

When it comes to spending quality time with family and friends, Christmas in Wales will ensure you get all you could ever want at this time of year. With all the charm of quiet village living, as well as the festive season madness of the bigger cities too, Wales offers anyone looking to spend Christmas in the UK the best of both worlds.

What to do:

Enjoy ghosts of Christmas past at a Welsh Castle. Take a walk along the Coastal Path or go shopping at the Swansea, Cardiff and Blackwood markets. Wrap things up with the Caerphilly or Llandudno Christmas Fayres. Take a Santa Special train ride in Llangollen and let the Abergavenny Christmas Food Festival leave you hungry for more.

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A woman wild swimming near a waterfall

Wild Swimming in the UK

Wild swimming in the UK – it’s the new sensation sweeping the British nation and with Great Britain boasting so many platforms and terrains to try it out, it’s hard to know where to begin.

Wild swimming is the sport or practice of swimming in open natural waters such as rivers and lakes. With a summer heatwave rising temperatures across the UK of up to 28 degrees Celsius, it’s easy to see how wild swimming fever has grown in popularity.

Wild Swimming in the UK – Safety

Before you pull on your goggles and head straight for the lake, it’s important to remember that wild swimming, like any sport comes with risks. We share a few top tips for you to bear in mind when wild swimming in the UK:

  1. Never swim in canals and urban rivers. Asides from the nasty critters and bugs you can pick up in these waters, there’s also the risk of being injured by passing boats as well as being swept away by river rapids.
  2. Under all circumstances, avoid contact with green or blue algae. This sort of algae can be harmful to human health and is not something to be trifled with. If you’re unsure, we recommend staying out of the water. Always remember to cover cuts and scrapes with waterproof dressings before swimming to prevent any infection.
  3. Never ever swim alone. It’s also good practice to keep an eye on other swimmers and ask your swimming partner to keep an eye out for you if you don’t have great confidence in the water.
  4. Always have an escape plan. In the event you find yourself in a sticky situation, it is important to know how you will exit the water before you even enter it.
  5. Keep an eye on depth at all times. It is not advisable to jump or dive in shallow areas. Especially when wild swimming, make sure to wear footwear – there’s no smooth chlorinated pools here!

two people wild swimming under a bridge

So, where can I go wild swimming in the UK?

The Outdoors Swimming Society is a great authority to refer to when searching for your next wild swimming spot. Head on over to their website to find out if there’s a spot near you! In the meantime, you may wish to head to these popular wild swimming spots:

Have you tried wild swimming in the UK? Share with us your top tips for staying safe as well as your favourite spots in the comments! Keen to explore more of the UK? Check out more attractions in the UK here.

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A view of Edinburgh's Old Town

Attracting Edinburgh Attractions You Have to Visit

If you’re planning on spending Christmas in the UK, then Edinburgh has been voted one of the best cities in the world to enjoy a winter break. And while Edinburgh may seem small compared to other cities, in terms of unique Edinburgh attractions per square mile, it’s top of the table.

The city is packed with amazing things to do. So unless you’re planning on making your stay a permanent one, you’re going to struggle to see even half of what’s on offer. To help you get the most out of Edinburgh attractions, we’ve put together a list of the top things to do in Edinburgh.

Greyfriars Bobby Statue

This wee dog has had a vice-like grip on the hearts of the British public since the late 19th century. Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye terrier who stood vigil at his master’s grave for years until his own death. In life he was dearly loved by the people of Edinburgh. In the intervening years he has done little to diminish that. His fierce loyalty has inspired books and even a movie by Walt Disney! A life-size statue was erected in recognition of his love for his master at the corner of Candlemaker Row and the George IV Bridge.

Over the past few years, it has become “tradition” for visitors to rub wee Bobby’s nose for good luck. Tour guides made this story up to encourage engagement, but it’s a load of old toot. Unfortunately, it has resulted in Bobby’s nose has lost its colour. This has resulted in the statue previously being taken away for repairs. So please, if you are going to visit him and his grave, then don’t touch the nose. He might bite!

Statue of Greyfriars Bobby Image title bobby’s bar by zoetnet is licensed under (CC BY 2.0)

National Gallery Of Scotland Complex

The Scottish National Gallery and the adjoining Royal Scottish Academy form a complex in the heart of Edinburgh city. Situated just off Princes Street, the galleries are Edinburgh attractions in their own right. They house a magnificent collection of both classical and contemporary art. The complex is comprised of distinct buildings, linked via an underground tunnel. Both are the designs of the renowned architect William Playfair. Also, the complex includes the Scottish Café & Restaurant, which boasts spectacular views of Princes Street Gardens.

The Royal Botanic Garden

This magnificent 70 acre garden is the second oldest of its kind in Britain. It is home to a herbarium, Britain’s biggest palm house, a tropical house, a terraced moorland garden and many other delights. The Royal Botanic Gardens also host many exhibitions. You can learn more about the beautiful species on display, and join a guided tour of the gardens. For instance, some tours take you through many of the edible plants that grace the UK’s countryside. If you are going on a camping trip, then that might come in useful!

Edinburgh Botanic Gardens and the glasshouse

Image title Rhododendron at Edinburgh’s Botanic Garden by Karen Bryan is licensed under (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Our Dynamic Earth: Edinburgh’s Science Centre

Our Dynamic Earth is an amazing multimedia journey back 500 million years through Earth’s history. It’s located at the foot of Arthur’s seat near Holyrood Park. The science centre is housed in an ultra-modern tent-like structure and invites guests to take part in a series of interactive exhibits. State of the art technology brings it all to life with an amazing 360 degree full dome film theatre.

A view of Our dynamic Earth from Arthurs Seat

 

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Things to do in 2020

The social circus in the UK today makes for a diverse cultural experience spanning the shores of Britain. But where to be in 2020? The taste for culture seems to be spilling from the pot of 2020. The samples of what to do in 2020 from this blog have barely skimmed the surface of how to experience the Great British culture. Best UK Hotels looks at a sample of young, old and cultured preferences.  The diversity of samples proves where to be and things to do in 2020 marks the cultural centres of the UK.

Race into Riches

Hear the engines scream, smell the rubber burn and feel the ground move.  The F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone is between 17 – 19 July 2020. See some of the world’s fastest cars and best drivers descend on the UK to see who takes the chequered flag. It’s a day of thrills and excitement, suitable for all ages.

Rewind All The Way to Perth

Rewind Festival is the ultimate hidden gem. Tucked away in the remote Scone Palace of the quiet village of Perth and Kinross, Rewind Festival is one of those events that fans consider a landmark of their year. It will take you back in time to the 1980’s! Previous stars have included Bananarama, Lulu and Paul Young. Enjoy camping out, dancing and drinking with all the fun of a modern day festival. Take your wellies, hats, neon paint and roll back in time with us, dancing and raving into the darkness as if time stood still. Or why not try the phenomenon that is Glamping? Take your style and suave with you into the raving, muddy fields of Perth. Rewind seems one of the ultimate things to do in 2020.

Perfect Pride In The Capital

Of the gazillion attractions in London – the shows, the tours, the shops – perhaps one of the most not to be missed things to do in 2020 is the LGBT Pride event. Having grown from a small festival of dance and celebration, the Pride Parade in London now is a cultural extravaganza that takes over the city, from Trafalgar Square to Oxford Street. Lose the stigma and this is now one of the hottest places to be. Immerse yourself in the music, culture, stalls and atmosphere. So this celebration of equality and pride is sure to have you grinning like a Cheshire cat and lost in the moment. Stay in the heart of the drama as this event commands the attention of its audience. Enjoy our tips for why booking direct is always more beneficial as a consumer to catch the best deals.

 

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Orange and red leaves

Harvesting The Best UK Autumn Festivals

Autumn is the time when the leaves begin to change colour and a slight chill sets in. It’s time to enjoy the last of the beautiful crisp, clear days before the UK is transformed into a magical, winter wonderland. We’ve got apple harvests and harvest festivals to look forward to. Halloween is looming. And there’s even a hint of Christmas in the air. October promises to be a multitude of golden hues and golden festivities as the autumn festivals get underway.

Spooktacular Ghost Festivals

Halloween may not be one of the more traditional autumn festivals. It is, however, one of the most exciting. With deadly dungeons, haunted castles and a bloodthirsty history, All Hallows Eve throughout the UK is sure to be a horrifyingly chilling experience. London is full of historical horrors. It’s rich history offers up a number of tricks and treats. Take a deadly tour around the Tower of London, walk the walk with Jack the Ripper Ghost Walks or brave the London Bridge experience. You miss the terror of London only if you dare.

Table with halloween pumpkins, autumn leaves, sunflowers and a basket of produce

Food And Drink Festivals

Scotland’s breathtaking scenery and picturesque cities makes it our autumn festivals destination of choice. And with autumn being the harvest season, it promises a multitude of foodie festivals guaranteed to leave you hungry for more. If one of the many farmers’ markets or drinks fairs isn’t your cup of tea, master the malt with whisky tasting in Islay, or get into the swing of things with a Golf Break in St Andrews.

Baskets filled with various fruit at a market

Medieval And Middle Age Festivals

Enjoy a variety of mixed literature, fine and performing art, pop culture and comedy shows at the Canterbury Festival in October. Growing in size and stature, the Canterbury Festival now has its very own Fringe. It is one of the most important cultural events of the South East.

If you’re more of a medieval history fan, join in the celebrations and festivities of October’s Gwledd Cowny Feast. The medieval town of Cowny will play host to the largest celebration of music, art and food in Wales. The charming quayside, castle and medieval streets will be bursting with fun and flavour. It’s one of our favourite medieval autumn festivals!

Cowny medieval castle in Wales

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