Feel that? That’s sunshine, and boy, does it feel glorious. Lucky for you (and your travel plans), there are plenty of rays to soak up in Britain all summer long—just be sure to lather on that SPF, of course. And should you need some help figuring out which sunny spot to head to first, we rounded up the top summertime spots in Great Britain.
If you’re coming to party:
Pop those bottles (and down a shot of espresso) because the party never stops in Newcastle-Gateshead. On Saturday nights, bachelor and bachelorette parties dominate the bar-lined streets—and the revelry doesn’t let up until dawn. Feeling frisky? There’s only one rule at Madame Koo: there are no rules. Billed as a hidden bar and sneaky disco, prepare for a night of dancing, drinking, and debauchery. Looking for something a little more low-key? Swing by the Gin Lab at Dacantus to taste a range of gins from around the world—or savour one of their 40 speciality gin and tonic concoctions served in fishbowl-style glasses with extra-large ice cubes.
If you’re trying to unwind:
Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland
Keep that phone on airplane mode (don’t worry, your camera will still work just fine), and set off on a 195-mile road trip along Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route sans social media. But rest assured, between the jaw-dropping basalt columns of Giant’s Causeway and the spectacular seaside views, you won’t care what your friends and foes are ‘gramming about. Making a stop in Belfast? Be sure to check out one of the city’s oldest (and tastiest) attractions— the charming St George’s Market. Admire the stunning Victorian architecture while you pop from stall to stall sampling all the local cheese, coffee, and goods for sale.
If you’re ready to be pampered:
Scottish Highlands, Scotland
All vacations should include a little bit of pampering. Fact. However, if you don’t want to miss out on seeing the sweeping mountain range of Scotland (and who could blame you?), but still want to go home with glowing skin, get excited. The new Bamford Haybarn Spa is located on-board the Belmond Royal Scotsman—a luxury train that treks across the Scottish Highlands. The actual services are the same you’d find at any other day spa (massages, facials, manicures) except for one not-so-tiny difference—a tour of the Scottish Highlands!
If you’re craving a taste of, well, everything:
Here’s a little secret you might not know: calories don’t count when you’re on vacation. So you’ll definitely want to indulge in as many buttery scones topped with clotted cream that you can stomach. And while you’re at it, you might as well treat yourself to some ooey-gooey Welsh rarebit, crispy fish and chips, and rich pork pies too. Lucky for you, you’ll find them and more in the culinary city of Cornwall. Brimming with farm-to-table restaurants (including Tom Adams’s and April Bloomfield’s new haunt, Coombeshead Farm), freshly-caught seafood, and of course, those flaky Cornish pasties, we’d recommend bringing along a pair of elastic-waist pants.
If you’re looking for cheap (and free):
Let’s face it, vacations are expensive, so why not save money where you can? Luckily, England’s buzzing capital offers tons of affordable (and free!) attractions all year long. For a bit of pomp and pageantry, snag tickets to the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London (they’re free, but need to be booked in advance), or swing by Buckingham Palace to see the Changing of the Guard (be sure to check the official schedule for times). Looking for something a little funkier? Spend a few hours getting lost in the contemporary masterpieces at the Tate Modern, before strolling over to Borough Market for snacks and sangria.
Where in Britain will your travels take you this summer?