The United Kingdom is a country steeped in history. An island nation that once ruled a quarter of the world and made its fortune through trading goods across the world by sea. But look a little deeper and you’ll discover four distinct nationalities, English, Welsh, Northern Irish and Scottish, along with a myriad of different cultures across the land.
This is definitely somewhere that should be on your bucket list, but don’t forget your travel adapter when you visit the United Kingdom. The UK uses a 3 prong type G plug and socket system, quite distinct from any other and you’ll need to take a multi-country travel adapter with you. Also bear in mind that the UK operates on a voltage of 240V which may be higher than your own country. Check our guide on dual and multi-voltage to check if your item will be okay to use in the UK.
Starting with the obvious, you have London, the capital of England and the UK, and one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Europe with a history traceable back to Roman times when the city was founded in around 50 AD. It has so much to offer that you can spend your whole vacation on the city, but of course, the United Kingdom is far more than just London.
Sticking with capital cities, let’s move to Cardiff, the capital of Wales and its largest city. Cardiff is strategically important as a large port and was once the busiest port in the world. As the shipping industry has declined, finance and tourism have taken over and the city has more than 21 million visitors annually. There is a lot to see and do in Cardiff and Wales as well. Snowdonia National Park is home to Mount Snowdon the tallest peak in Wales standing at 1085m above sea level. There is a train to the top and a good path down if you are feeling energetic!
Moving north, we come to Belfast, capital of Northern Ireland. As with Cardiff, shipping and in particular shipbuilding was an important industry here. The most famous ship launch was of course the RMS Titanic, that struck an iceberg and sunk in 1912. A museum to the ship and the ship builders Harland and Wolff has now been constructed in the city and is most definitely worth a visit.
And last, but definitely not least is Edinburgh, capital of Scotland. Such a beautiful city, with a medieval Old Town and Georgian New Town that seamlessly blend together. You can’t miss the Castle, sat atop Castle Rock at the end of the Royal Mile, it offers fabulous views of the city. For fans of the Royal Family, head down to Leith docks where you can visit the Royal Yacht Britannia and relive a bygone age.
Of course there is much more to see in the United Kingdom apart from the capitals, so let’s take a very quick look around the country.
In the south-west you have Cornwall and Devon, two beautiful counties with picture postcard scenery. From dry-stone wall lined lanes to gorgeous sandy beaches that are a surfer’s paradise, cream-teas and Cornish pasties!
In the far east you’ll find Kent, with pretty villages from centuries past, quiet country lanes and even a thriving wine industry, there's a lot to explore in the Garden of England. On the east coast, north of London you’ll find Suffolk and Norfolk, two counties where in some areas time seems to have stood still. Beautiful Suffolk coastal villages with quaint country pubs and if you like gentle boating then the Norfolk Broads are just perfect.
To the north and west, you come to England's industrial heartland from Birmingham, through, Sheffield, Manchester and Leeds. Right in the center is the Peak District National Park, absolutely stunning on a nice day, but can quickly turn into a frozen winter snow blizzard if the weather changes. North of Leeds are the Yorkshire Dales, The Pennines and Kielder Forest while off to the west is the stunning Lake District National Park. One of the wettest areas of the UK, the scenery is breathtaking with views to the lowlands of Scotland from the peaks. The lakes are famous for several World Water Speed record attempts, including the ill-fated Bluebird in which sadly Donald Campbell was killed in 1967.
And then north to Scotland. Above Edinburgh and Glasgow, you quickly move in to the Scottish Highlands with their lochs, stunning scenery and wild wind swept mountains. Locations such as Loch Ness and John O’Groats are internationally famous.
Just remember to pack a travel adapter when you visit the UK so that you can keep all your smartphones, cameras and tablets charged and capture the amazing images.