Edinburgh Castle lit up at night
Edinburgh has so much to offer, but you'll want to spend at least some of your time touring Edinburgh Castle.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

16 Locales in the United Kingdom That Are Calling Your Name

You’ll Never Tire of Exploring the UK

The United Kingdom offers everything from exciting cities and ancient castles to soaring mountains and spectacular beaches. You might not be able to experience it all, but you can certainly get a taste for the different landscapes and cultures there are to experience in Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland.

From attractions to cities, be sure to add these places to visit in the UK to your trip itinerary.

Edinburgh, Scotland

If you can only visit one city in the United Kingdom, make it Edinburgh. Surely one of the most stunning cities in the world, it’s enveloped by seven hills, and both its medieval Old Town and Georgian-filled New Town are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Its famous Royal Mile is book-ended by magnificent Edinburgh Castle and grand Holyrood Palace, the former an 11th-century castle that’s set upon an extinct volcano. A powerful symbol of Scotland’s heritage, Edinburgh Castle has witnessed everything from savage battles and the birth of a king to royal ceremonies, lavish feasts and ruthless politics.

It’s a particularly fun attraction to take kids to, making Edinburgh one of the best European family vacations you can take. A tour will allow you to marvel at the dazzling crown jewels, wander through palace rooms where you can view the Stone of Destiny and the medieval siege gun known as “Mons Meg”, as well as to take in an incredible vista of the city.

Other essential things to do in Edinburgh include strolling through the Royal Botanic Garden and visiting the National Museum of Scotland. If you’re a fan of novelist Robert Louis Stevenson, walk in his footsteps by taking the trek up Calton Hill, one of his favorite spots.

The city is increasingly becoming a foodie’s delight and has a multitude of outstanding places to dine, with everything from foraged food at quirky cafes to gourmet fare at classy establishments. It’s a particularly lovely Christmas destination in the UK, if you’re looking for a festive and cozy place to spend the holidays.

Isle of Skye, ScotlandYou'll constantly be in awe when traveling around the Isle of Skye.Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Isle of Skye, Scotland

The largest of the Inner Hebrides, the Isle of Skye is connected by bridge to the mainland. Just before you cross, you’ll come to one of Scotland’s most iconic images, frequently splashed across postcards and brochures. Eilean Donan Castle was built in the mid-13th century to fend off Viking attacks, and today nearly every corner of it can be explored.

Once on the Isle of Skye you’ll discover even more of Scotland’s most romantic and dramatic sights. The  striking landscape showcases lush, soaring mountains with unique rock formations and sea cliffs dotted with waterfalls that touch down to seashell-strewn beaches edged by the azure waters of the Atlantic.

The most iconic rock formation, the Old Man of Storr, can be reached by hiking the short, easy path around the Quirang. After your efforts, cool off in the crystal clear, turquoise waters of the Fairy Pools, which look as if they came straight from the pages of a fairy tale. When you’re ready to head indoors, enjoy a whisky tour and tasting at Talisker Distillery.

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Loch Ness, ScotlandPaddle the glistening waters of Loch Ness.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Loch Ness, Inverness, Scotland

One of the most famous bodies of water on the planet, Loch Ness offers the opportunity to search for its most infamous creature. The best way to glimpse the “monster,” if you believe in the legend that is, is to paddle around the lake in a canoe, or join a tour that will bring you out onto the glistening waters.

Visiting the spectacular ruins of Urquhart Castle is a must, where you can climb Grant Tower, which overlooks the loch. Here you can capture postcard-perfect shots and take a peek into the eerily dark prison cell that reportedly once held Gaelic bard Domhnall Donn.

If you care to spend a night or two, book a stay at Aldourie Castle, located on the shores of the lake. It’s one of the best castle stays in Scotland, making you feel like you’ve traveled back in time.

There are miles and miles of hiking trails throughout the area, including scenic paths around the lake for exploring close to the water’s edge as well.

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