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Best summer destinations in the UK

By ResidenceLifeAssistant 08 May 2024

As the days become longer and the sun shines brightly on the British Isles, it's time to embark on an unforgettable summer journey. From stunning coasts to historic cities steeped in charm, the UK has a plethora of tempting destinations waiting to be discovered. Whether you seek seaside peace, rural retreats, or dynamic metropolitan experiences, there is something for everyone to explore.

Join us as we explore some of the top summer places in the UK!

a rocky island in the middle of the ocean

1. Cornwall

Cornwall, located in the southwestern region of England, has some of the most magnificent coastal landscapes in the UK. With its rocky cliffs, beautiful beaches, and tiny fishing villages, it's a haven for both beach goers and adventure enthusiasts. Discover the lovely harbours of St. Ives and Padstow, walk along the South West Coast Path, or simply relax on the sandy beaches of St. Michael's Mount or Fistral Beach.

The Eden Project also calls Cornwall home. It used to be a barren landscape – a former clay mine with no soil or plants. The huge crater was transformed into a beautiful global garden, which sets the stage for an extraordinary day out. You can rediscover the natural world as you've never experienced it before. 

If you like sea life, then you’ll love the Cornish seal sanctuary. From Penguins to Sea lions, you won’t be lacking in aquatic animals. Seals from all around Cornwall that are injured are brought there to rehabilitate and taken back out into the sea. 

Lastly, one of the most popular and favourite Cornish events during the summer is the Board-masters Festival, which happens during the summer. If you like live music and surfing, this is the place for you.

a large body of water with a mountain in the background

2. Lake District

The Lake District, with its undulating hills, glistening lakes, and lush green valleys, welcomes visitors seeking peace in the midst of nature's splendor. Take leisurely stroll around Lake Windermere or Coniston Water, hike to the peak of Scafell Pike for panoramic views, or cruise around Ullswater in a classic steamer. With its picturesque villages, historic castles, and plenty of outdoor activities, the Lake District is a summer sanctuary for explorers and nature lovers alike.

Whatever you’re into, you’ll find a pretty great version of it in the Lake District. You can take a hawk for a walk or be a farmer for a day. You can try your hand at dog sledding or learn the basic skills of bush-craft. You can take to the sky in a gyro-plane or stay grounded aboard a Segway. You can attend poetry readings in Wordsworth’s living room and listen to a symphony orchestra by a lake.

a large building with Balmoral Hotel in the background

3. Edinburgh

Immerse yourself in the rich history and vibrant culture of the Scottish capital, Edinburgh. From the majestic Edinburgh Castle situated  on top of Castle Rock to the beautiful cobblestone lanes of the Old Town, there are plenty of sites to see and experiences to enjoy. Explore the Royal Mile, walk along Princes Street's rich gardens, or climb Arthur's Seat for panoramic views of the city below. Don't forget to try some classic Scottish delicacies, such as the very traditional haggis (made with the liver, heart, and lungs of a sheep!), Scottish shortbread (like a biscuit), Cullen skink (a Scottish broth) and the very tasty deep fried mars bar!

The king of Scottish drinks is whiskey. Around 40 bottles of Scotch are shipped overseas every second (yes, second!). Scotland also produces some of the world’s finest craft beers and gins.

If alcohol isn't your thing, no visit to Edinburgh would be complete without tasting an Irn-Bru. Launched in 1901, Scotland’s favourite fizzy drink is bright orange and comes in a can or bottle. Thanks to Irn-Bru, Scotland is one of only a handful of places in the world where Coca-Cola isn’t the bestselling drink.

a house with bushes in front of a stone building

4. Cotswolds

The Cotswolds will transport you back to a bygone era of honey-colored cottages, rolling hills, and genuine English charm. Explore charming communities such as Bourton-on-the-Water, Bibury, and Castle Combe, where time appears to stand still amidst the picturesque scenery. Wander down winding country lanes, eat local foods at tiny tearooms, or simply relax in the peaceful gardens of a medieval manor house. The Cotswolds, with its timeless beauty and bucolic vibe, is the ideal spot for a traditional English summer break. You’ll never be short of something to do in the Cotswolds!

a rocky landscape with a body of water with Neist Point in the background

5. Isle of Skye

Explore the rough and breathtaking landscapes of the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Skye's ethereal beauty draws people in with stunning sea cliffs and beautiful beaches, as well as magical fairy ponds and towering mountain ranges. Explore the renowned rock formations of the Old Man of Storr, marvel at the sparkling waters of the Fairy Pools, or stroll around the lovely harbour town of Portree. Whether you're a seasoned hiker, a wildlife enthusiast, or simply looking for quiet in nature, the Isle of Skye offers an amazing summer vacation. There are so many things to do on the Isle of Skye!

a group of people on a rocky beach

6. Pembrokeshire

Discover the rugged beauty of Wales at the Pembrokeshire Coast, which boasts spectacular cliffs, sandy beaches, and isolated coves. Explore the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, one of the UK's most magnificent hiking pathways, or take a boat ride to see seals, dolphins, and seabirds. The Pembrokeshire Coast has numerous chances for outdoor fun and calm seaside retreats. For foodies, an indulgent fine dining weekend is a must.  Visit the restaurants of award winning chefs who are creating innovative dishes using the finest Pembrokeshire produce.

a close up of a brick building

7. London

Students (and in particular international students) often speak about visiting one of the most talked about locations in the UK and Europe! The capital city of England; London. 

Why is that? Well, in London you can never get bored. It's the city where you can literally do any activity you wish. For those interested in culture, London is home to many different museums and art galleries. London is also steeped in history. One of the best ways to get around the city if you're new to it, is to jump on an open bus tour:

For those who are looking forward to enjoying the social, food and drink side of things, the opportunities are countless. From pubs and restaurants to bars and clubs, you will be able to choose many different options! Finally, for those looking for some peace and quiet, it’s always possible to go on walks in the beautiful parks around London, breathe in some fresh air, and enjoy the tranquility.

From seaside retreats to cultural odysseys, the UK has a wide range of summer destinations to satisfy any traveler's preferences. Whether you're looking for relaxation, adventure, or a little of both, these destinations promise amazing experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.

So pack your bags, take the road, and experience the summer in the UK.