Why travel to Britain is the best holiday gift of all

Wednesday 16 November 2016

With the holiday season quickly approaching, we’ve all got gift-giving on the mind. Why not skip the crowded shopping malls and buy your loved ones something they’ll cherish way more than the latest one-season fashion wonder. This year, give the gift of travel to one of the world’s most exciting destinations: Great Britain.

Here’s why: Travel creates memories that last a lifetime, and empowers your friends and family to grow through new sights, tastes, sounds, and experiences. Plus, it never goes out of style.

No matter your personality, there’s plenty of unique and exciting destinations to discover across our diverse island—plus it’s more affordable than ever before. Thanks to the favourable exchange rate (currently at a 30 year low), Britain offers great value for all North American travellers—and it couldn’t be easier to get there. With direct routes from major cities all across the USA into London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Manchester – plus seasonal flights into several more UK cities – there’s no need to sprint to a connecting flight ever again.

To help you give the gift of a lifetime, VisitBritain gathered up some ideas to inspire you (and some tips to take out the guesswork) for every type of traveller.

For the adventurer: 

Daredevils big and small will scream—literally—over this coasteering adventure in Pembrokeshire, Wales, where they’ll spend an action-packed day climbing, cliff-jumping, and swimming into sea caves. But rest assured: it’s completely safe. All guests are provided with guided instruction, as well as helmets, flotation jackets, gloves, socks, and wetsuits (extra-thick in the winter!) to ensure that everyone stays warm, toasty… and out of harm’s way!

Looking for something (still thrilling) that’ll keep your near and dear a little drier? Consider booking a stay at a cosy B&B in the Scottish Highlands, where they’ll be able to spot wildlife while sipping really good Scottish whisky. Here, visitors can hike Ben Nevis, cycle down Cairngorm Mountain (be on the lookout for reindeer!), or hunt for Nessie while taking a tour of Loch Ness.

For the history buff:

Searching for the perfect present for the history lover in your life? This 45-minute chauffeured punting tour of Cambridge offers an informative guide to the city’s famous landmarks like the Bridge of Sighs, King’s College Chapel, and the Wren Library—as well as relaxing ride down the River Cam.

If the history buff on your list is more of a doer than sightseer, a walk along the Hadrian’s Wall Path is the perfect present. Stretching 73 miles across the far north of England, from the banks of the River Tyne to the Solway Firth on the Irish Sea Walk, this Roman fortification offers the chance to discover fascinating border towns and villages, such as the picturesque market town of Brampton.

For the literature lover:

There’s nothing voracious readers love more than seeing the pages of their favourite book come alive. To delight the Pride and Prejudice fan in your family, consider giving a trip to the city where Jane Austen lived (and drew inspiration from) for several years of her life, Bath. Visitors can even enjoy a hot cross bun from her favourite bakery, Sally Lunn’s. Fancy a roadtrip? To mark the 200th anniversary of Austen's death, several special events, including discussions, exhibitions, even writing classes, will take place in England throughout 2017.

Ever wondered where Charlie and the Chocolate Factory started or what a Bogtrotter cake might taste like? We bet there’s someone on your shopping list who does! Get an answer to these burning questions and more at the Roald Dahl Museum in Great Missenden. Offering attractions for kids and adults alike, it’s a fun way to a behind-the-scenes look at the life and work of one of Britain’s most notable children’s authors.

For families:

Giving a group present is a great way to save money, but it can also be the most challenging because so many different personalities need to be taken into account. For a location that will delight trendsetters, traditionalists, and everyone in between, look no further than England’s buzzing capital. Spend a day seeing all of London’s historical sights on a hop-on hop-off Big Bus London Sightseeing Tour before indulging in Afternoon Tea with a Shakespeare theme.

London is also the perfect place to follow in the footsteps of everyone’s favorite wizard, Harry Potter. It’s hard to believe, but 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the immensely popular book series. Head to Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station for the ultimate photo-op or book a studio tour for a behind-the-scenes look into the makings of all eight films. And should you find yourself in London next fall, be sure to check out The British Library’s highly-anticipated Harry Potter exhibition featuring original material from J.K. Rowling’s archives.

Between YouTube and video games, it’s hard to find something that makes kids go speechless these days. But we have a feeling their mouths will drop when they get a first-hand look at Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. This remarkable natural rock formation created by cooling lava millions of years ago is also the basis of several British legends, including a heated fight between giants from Ireland and Scotland. Spend some time wandering the basalt columns, before taking a drive to Belfast to enjoy authentic fish and chips and marvel at the Belfast Castle.

No matter what piece of Britain you choose to give this holiday season, make sure your loved one’s journey is as seamless as possible by purchasing travel passes in advance from the VisitBritain shop. They also make the perfect stocking stuffer!

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