Kirsten 

lastminute.com team member

Top 10: things you should definitely see and do in the UK

If you decide to stay closer to home rather than going abroad you'll find that the UK offers enough experiences to fill several holidays. Wherever you are in Britain, there'll be something on the doorstep to see or do. Discover new experiences from the sights and sounds of the capital to the quiet splendour of Scottish scenery. Along the way, you'll create memories to last a lifetime.

1. Wander around the Roman Baths in Bath

Wander around the Roman Baths and imagine it full of Roman soldiers and citizens from 2,000 years ago. This well-preserved and evocative attraction has ruins to explore, exhibits to admire and a not-so-tasty glass of pump water to sample. The Roman Baths feature in the novels of Jane Austen, who was a frequent visitor to the city. The Jane Austen Centre, the Royal Crescent and Bath Abbey are other city sights to savour.

Best time to visit: In Spring for the Literature and Comedy festivals and annual flower show

2. Venture underground at Cheddar Gorge

This famous gorge in the Mendip Hills offers a glimpse back to Neolithic life, a staggering 9,000 years ago. In fact, Britain's oldest complete skeleton, Cheddar Man, was found here. Go deep into Cox's or Gough's caves or climb the nearly 300 steps of Jacob's Ladder for amazing views across the limestone landscape. If this isn't excitement enough, the area is also the home of Cheddar Cheese.

Best time to visit: Anytime. Once underground, the weather is forgotten 

3. See in the New Year with Hogmanay in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is perfect for a short city break, even more so at Hogmanay or New Year's Eve. Edinburgh Castle has dominated the skyline since the 12th century and has enough to entertain you for a whole day. Be there at one in the afternoon when Mons Meg, a 15th-century cannon is fired! Dating back to Viking days, Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations are world-famous. Buy tickets in advance, collect your torch and join in the procession that culminates with fireworks at midnight.

Best time to visit: All year round but definitely at Hogmanay.

4. Try and catch a glimpse of Nessie at Loch Ness

Even if you don't believe in the Loch Ness monster there's something pretty compelling about Loch Ness, a huge body of water in the Scottish Highlands. Even more so if you visit in the early morning when mists roll across the water. Take a Loch Ness boat trip and be sure to have your camera ready. You never know! Look up from the water and admire the snowy peaks that surround you and Urquhart Fortress sitting on the banks of the loch.

Best time to visit: Between May and September as the monster is more likely to put in an appearance when it's not too busy

5. Catch the waves in Newquay, Cornwall

Australia and California are a long way away but, don't worry, the surf is always up in Cornwall. Newquay is definitely the place to be to catch the waves whether you're a beginner or an expert surfer. The waves hitting Newquay's beaches are so good that the town hosts national and international surfing competitions. This chilled town with its surfing vibe also has plenty for families to enjoy with its beaches, zoo and aquarium.

Best time to visit: June to September for family holidays or September and October for surfing

6. Indulge yourself with Afternoon Tea at the Ritz

No list of things to do and see in the UK is complete without adding London. Spend your morning visiting sights such as Westminster Abbey or the British Museum and then relax in the afternoon with tea at the Ritz (or any other iconic hotel). Afternoon Tea is a traditionally British experience and delightfully indulgent. At the Ritz, relax in the Palm Court, enjoy the gentle music and let the hotel's tea sommelier guide you through the menu.

Best time to visit: Afternoon Tea is served all year round but it's the perfect way to celebrate a special occasion.

7. Admire the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London

Sacred, ceremonial and unique - the Crown Jewels, housed in the Tower of London, sum up the history of Britain in all its wealth. With something for everybody, a tour of the Tower encompasses a prison, an armoury, a menagerie, a palace and a treasury where coins were once minted. Still, very much in use on state occasions, the Crown Jewels are thought to be among the most visited collection in the world.

Best time to visit: To beat the queues, be there at opening time (9:00 a.m.) and head straight to the Crown Jewels.

8. Take some giant steps at the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland

It's hard to put into words just quite how breathtaking the Giant's Causeway is. Made up of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns this natural wonder was created as a result of volcanic eruptions around 60 million years ago. Or, by a fight between two giants - Finn McCool of Ireland and Banandonner from Scotland! Admire the view from the clifftop before heading down to hop from stone to stone.

Best time to visit: Summer for clear skies and spectacular views but to avoid the crowds, visit at any other time of the year.

9. Step back through history in York

For a true picture of English history, no place is better than York. The JORVIK Viking experience, the Norman Clifford's Tower, the cobbled medieval streets of the Shambles, imposing city walls and the Gothic outline of York Minster all paint a vivid picture of the past. Start your visit by climbing to the top of the Minster for an impressive city overview.

Best time to visit: The city is at its best from March to May

10. Combine nature and history with the White Cliffs of Dover and Dover Castle

Soaring above the Channel, the chalky White Cliffs of Dover are an iconic landmark on the south English coastline. Enjoy the interactive visitor centre and take a relaxing clifftop walk before heading into Dover to explore one of England's largest castles. It started life as a Roman lighthouse and has been added to every century since. The Great Tower, wartime tunnels and landscaped gardens are all visit highlights.

Best to visit: Visit in summer for dry sunny weather, ideal for walking and castle exploring

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