The UK – A Different Kind of Island Getaway

Mention the words ‘island holiday’ and you'll immediately think of a smallish island with sunshine, miles of white-sand beaches, turquoise water and swaying palms. The United Kingdom is also an island but its attractions are vastly different, and far reaching. 

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Those interested in UK travel are seeking a totally different kind of holiday. This is a land of history, pageantry, centuries of royal tradition, rolling green meadows and ancient villages, quaint corner pubs with mouth-watering local cuisine, excellent museums, world-class attractions and dazzling entertainment. 

Most travellers on a UK trip (especially first-time visitors) base themselves in London and for good reason. There is so much to do and see and a lot of it is free. Feel the energy at Picadilly Circus, watch the crowds having fun at Trafalgar Square – some climb onto the many monuments or jump into the pools on a hot day while the National Gallery looks on with amusement. 

With luck you can march beside a brass band performing a royal parade or watch the Changing of the Guard while gazing through the railings at Buckingham Palace, which is open to the public but booking is essential. You can also mingle with real Beefeaters in their comical red uniforms at the Tower of London.

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One of the best ways to get to know London is on the Hop-on-hop-off-bus which gives you a topless view of the best sights in the city. Just hop off when you wish and then join a later bus when you’re ready. One of the stops you are sure to make is at the London Eye big wheel with breathtaking views across the city. Madame Tussauds is also a must see where you can shake hands with famous people. 

But now it is time to look beyond London without moving hotels. Thompsons Holidays has a wide selection of day tours that will take you to interesting places in the countryside. Here are some of our top recommendations for luxury coach day tours: 

  • Windsor Castle, the mystical stone circles at Stonehenge and charming Oxford 
  • Highclere Castle (read Downton Abbey) and the university city of Oxford 
  • Warwick Castle, Stratford-upon-Avon (the birthplace of Shakespeare) and Oxford 
  • Leeds Castle, Canterbury and Dover (Home to the famous white cliffs) 

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Now that you have had a taste of the countryside why venture out a little further?  

You might not be adventurous enough to rent a car in London but you can take the train to new destinations and then rent a car or just rely on taxis or Uber. Here are a few suggestions you might like: 

  • Take the train through beautiful countryside to Cornwall in the south-west and enjoy one of the most popular areas of the UK with wide beaches, quaint fishing villages and the ubiquitous Cornish pasty. Yum! 
  • Get yourself up to the stunningly beautiful area around the Lake District which was home to Beatrix Potter, the author of the Peter Rabbit books! 
  • Go even further north by train (why not try the overnight sleeper train) to Edinburgh where the castle towers over the city. Here you can get around on foot and by taxi to see the attractions of this great city – where men wear kilts! 

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Some interesting facts about the UK: 

  • There are a number of museums that are free of charge – try the British Museum, the Tate Modern, The Victoria and Albert which is affectionately known as the V&A, the National Gallery and the Science Museum to mention just a few. 
  • Visit Portmeirion in Wales and you could be forgiven for thinking that you have been transported to Italy. The village is the epitome of an Italian town with colourful houses that defy logic.  
  • Try Bettys in York for the best afternoon tea – served in china cups with clotted cream and jam, since 1936. Then take a walk through The Shambles, the old area of York. 
  • Many claim to see the Loch Ness Monster every year – join them in the search on a lake cruise when in Scotland.  

This should help to plan a holiday to the UK but why not leave it to the professionals? Contact Thompsons Holidays for UK holiday packages that are more affordable than you think. This is the beginning of a Different Kind of Island Getaway. 

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