Here are the top spots in the United Kingdom that Singaporeans just can't miss
Written by: Circles.Life
According to the UK Office for National Statistics, tens of thousands of Singaporeans visit the UK annually. However, most go to the same places: London, York and Edinburgh.
While those are undoubtedly beautiful cities, there’s so much more the country has to offer. This blog explores off-the-beaten-track hotspots you should check out to gain a fuller impression of the country’s culture, landmarks, and scenery.
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The Cotswolds is a region in the south of England known for its rolling hills, charming countryside, and stunning stone houses. It is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a UNESCO World Heritage Site and stretches for many miles from Swindon to Gloucester (pro-tip: it’s pronounced Gloss-turr).
Many wealthy UK residents live in the area because it provides quick access to London via the M4 motorway. As you ramble along footpaths, you commonly come across multi-million-pound houses with horse paddocks, swimming pools, and even helipads.
The Cotswolds is quintessentially “middle England.” It is home to many picturesque villages and towns, such as Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water, Chipping Campden, Stow-on-the-Wold, and Tetbury. These have grown up over centuries yet retain their historical charm and identity.
You can also visit historic attractions such as Blenheim Palace (the birthplace of Winston Churchill), Sudeley Castle (where Henry VIII's sixth wife Catherine Parr is buried), and Hidcote Manor Garden (one of the finest examples of Arts and Crafts gardening). These buildings are spectacular and surrounded by lush rolling green countryside, a rare sight for Singaporeans.
The Lake District
The Lake District is more than a National Park. It is a profoundly spiritual destination, providing a multi-sensory experience and some of the most stunning bucolic scenery in the world.
You will find the park in the northwest of England, encompassing the traditional counties of Cumberland and Westmorland. It covers an area of 2,362 square kilometres and contains 16 lakes (called “meres” by the locals), hundreds of mountain peaks, waterfalls, valleys, and villages.
Adventurers usually head to Scafell Pike, the highest peak in the Cumbrian mountain range. Others go to Grasmere, the home of gingerbread biscuits and poet William Wordsworth.
The market town, Keswick, is another loved destination on Derwent Water. It is only a short distance from Catbells, an easy climb that provides near-panoramic views of the local mountains and lakes.
The Giant’s Causeway
Like Malaysia, the boundaries of the UK are spread over two main land masses. The country comprises Britain (the main island) and Northern Ireland, an enclave in northeast Ireland.
Here, you’ll find The Giant's Causeway. It consists of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago.
Legend has it that an Irish giant called Finn MacCool built the columns in an attempt to cross the Irish sea to Scotland to fight his nemesis, Benandonner. The area is now part of the Causeway Coast World Heritage Site and offers spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. If it’s a clear day, you should see the Scottish islands in the distance.
Once you’ve finished exploring these geological features, head to Dunluce Castle, a mediaeval ruin perched on a cliff. It harks back to when conflict engulfed the British Isles and various factions vied for supremacy.
You can also see one of the oldest licenced whiskey distilleries in the world at Bushmills Distillery. It’s been making spirits for over 400 years and offers guided tours, including tastings.
The Isle Of Skye
The Isle of Skye is part of the Hebridean range of islands off the northwest coast of Scotland. It is the wildest and remotest part of the UK, miles from the nearest city.
Here you’ll find a mixture of green pastures, dramatic cliffs, and sandy beaches. However, it’s anything but tropical, even in the summer. Therefore, dress warmly, wear plenty of layers, and take a woolly hat.
Skye’s most iconic landmarks are:
- Kilt Rock, a waterfall that bears a striking resemblance to a Scottish Kilt
- Neist Point Lighthouse, a great spot for watching sunsets
- Dunvegan Castle, the ancestral home of Clan MacLeod
- Old Man of Storr, a pinnacle of rock
Bath is a city near the Cotswolds in the southwest of the UK. It is known for its Georgian architecture and Roman Baths, which date back to the 1st century AD. The city has a rich history, with plenty of museums and galleries to explore.
Bath also has a strong connection to Jane Austen, with many of her novels set in the city. Austen spent a significant amount of time in Bath during the late 18th century and early 19th century, leading her to set two of her novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, in the city.
Visitors now go to the Jane Austen Centre, which is dedicated to her life and works and the Assembly Rooms where many of her contemporaries enjoyed high society in centuries past.
Another out-of-the-way UK destination is Cornwall, a rugged and natural county on the country’s most south-westerly tip. Locals travel there for its yellow-sand beaches, quaint fishing villages, and dramatic coastline.
The region, originally Celtic, has a strong connection to the sea. For adventurers, there are plenty of opportunities for surfing, sailing, and other water sports.
Singaporean tourists can also experience traditional seaside life for Brits here. Arcades, fish and chip restaurants, and seaside amusements add to the experience.
The Peak District
Lastly, it is worth considering visiting the Peak District, the oldest national park in the UK, established in 1951. The region offers rolling hills, rugged moors, and limestone cliffs.
The Peaks are a great destination for hikers, cyclists, and rock climbers, and there are plenty of charming villages and market towns to explore.
Takeouts and cafés adorn every corner in the main settlements of Hope, Buxton, and Bakewell. Furthermore, you can easily access major cities, such as Manchester, Sheffield, and Leeds, depending on where you stay.
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