#3 best destination in the world

Natural History Museum, London

Best time to travel: March-May
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Museum that exhibits a vast range of life and earth science specimens comprising some 80 million items within five main collections: botany, entomology, mineralogy, paleontology and zoology
  • Given the age of the institution, many of the collections have great historical as well as scientific value, such as specimens collected by Charles Darwin
  • The museum is particularly famous for its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons and ornate architecture, both exemplified by the large Diplodocus cast that dominated the vaulted central hall before it was replaced in 2017 with the skeleton of a blue whale hanging from the ceiling

Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Best time to travel: March-May
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • World’s largest museum of applied arts, decorative arts, and design, housing a permanent collection of over 2.27 million objects
  • It was founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
  • The V&A covers 12.5 acres and 145 galleries
  • Its collection spans 5000 years of art, from ancient times to the present day, from the cultures of Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa
  • The holdings of ceramics, glass, textiles, costumes, silver, ironwork, jewelry, furniture, medieval objects, sculpture, prints and printmaking, drawings and photographs are among the largest and most comprehensive in the world

Hyde Park, London

Best time to travel: March-May
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Major park in Westminster, the largest of the four Royal Parks that form a chain from the entrance to Kensington Palace through Kensington Gardens
  • The park was established by Henry VIII in 1536 when he took the land from Westminster Abbey and used it as a hunting ground
  • It opened to the public in 1637 and quickly became popular
  • Several duels took place in Hyde Park during this time, often involving members of the nobility

Buckingham Palace, London

Best time to travel: March-May
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • London royal residence and the administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom
  • It has been a focal point for the British people at times of national rejoicing and mourning
  • Originally known as Buckingham House, the building at the core of today’s palace was a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703 on a site that had been in private ownership for at least 150 years
  • It was acquired by King George III in 1761 as a private residence for Queen Charlotte and became known as The Queen’s House
  • After three wings were added to the construction, it became known as Buckingham Palace, the London residence of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837
  • The palace has 775 rooms, and the garden is the largest private garden in London
  • The state rooms, used for official and state entertaining, are open to the public each year for most of August and September and on some days in winter and spring

Westminster Abbey, London

Best time to travel: March-May
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Historic, mainly Gothic church in the City of Westminster, London
  • It is one of the United Kingdom’s most notable religious buildings and, since Edward the Confessor, a burial site for English and, later, British monarchs
  • Since the coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066, all coronations of English and British monarchs have occurred in Westminster Abbey
  • Sixteen royal weddings have occurred at the abbey since 1100

Palace of Westminster, London

Best time to travel: March-May
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom
  • Informally known as the Houses of Parliament, the Palace lies on the north bank of the River Thames in the City of Westminster, in central London

Big Ben, London

Best time to travel: March-May
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Nickname for the Great Bell of the striking clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London
  • The official name of the tower in which Big Ben is located was originally the Clock Tower, but it was renamed Elizabeth Tower in 2012, to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II
  • The tower was designed by in a neo-Gothic style, and was completed in 1859
  • All four nations of the UK are represented on the tower on shields featuring a rose for England, thistle for Scotland, shamrock for Northern Ireland, and leek for Wales
  • Four quarter bells chime at 15, 30 and 45 minutes past the hour and just before Big Ben tolls on the hour
  • The clock uses its original Victorian mechanism, but an electric motor can be used as a backup
  • It is one of the most prominent symbols of the United Kingdom, and it is often used in the establishing shot of films set in London

London Eye

Best time to travel: March-May
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Observation wheel on the River Thames in London
  • It is Europe’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel, and is the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom
  • When it opened to the public in 2000 it was the world’s tallest Ferris wheel
  • The London Eye used to offer the highest public viewing point in London until it was superseded by the observation deck on the 72nd floor of The Shard, which opened to the public in 2013

National Gallery, London

Best time to travel: March-May
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Art museum in London, founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900
  • Unlike comparable museums in continental Europe, the National Gallery was not formed by nationalizing an existing royal or princely art collection
  • It came into being when the British government bought 38 paintings from the heirs of John Julius Angerstein in 1824
  • The collection is smaller than many European national galleries, but encyclopedic in scope; most major developments in Western painting “from Giotto to Cézanne” are represented with important works

British Museum, London

Best time to travel: March-May
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Museum dedicated to human history, art and culture located in London
  • Its permanent collection of eight million works is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence
  • It documents the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present
  • The British Museum was the first public national museum in the world
  • The museum was established in 1753
  • The museum’s expansion over the following 250 years was largely a result of British colonization
  • Its ownership of a small percentage of its most famous objects originating in other countries is disputed and remains the subject of international controversy through repatriation claims, most notably in the case of the Elgin Marbles of Greece, and the Rosetta Stone of Egypt

St Paul’s Cathedral, London

Best time to travel: March-May
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Anglican cathedral in London and the seat of the Bishop of London
  • It is on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City of London
  • Its dedication to Paul the Apostle dates back to the original church on this site, founded in AD 604
  • The present structure, dating from the late 17th century, was designed in the English Baroque style
  • Its construction was part of a major rebuilding program in the city after the Great Fire of London

Tate Modern, London

Best time to travel: March-May
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Art gallery in London that houses the United Kingdom’s national collection of international modern and contemporary art
  • It is located in the former Bankside Power Station
  • Tate Modern is one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the world

The Shard, London

Best time to travel: March-May
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • 72 story skyscraper, standing at 1,016 feet high
  • The Shard is the tallest building in the United Kingdom, and the seventh-tallest building in Europe
  • It is also the second-tallest free-standing structure in the United Kingdom

Tower Bridge, London

Best time to travel: March-May
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Combined bascule and suspension bridge in London, built between 1886 and 1894
  • It crosses the River Thames close to the Tower of London and is one of five London bridges owned and maintained by the Bridge House Estates, a charitable trust founded in 1282
  • The bridge was constructed to give better access to the East End of London, which had expanded its commercial potential in the 19th century

Tower of London

Best time to travel: March-May
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Historic castle on the River Thames, founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest
  • Built by William the Conqueror in 1078, it was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new Norman ruling class
  • As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat
  • The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site

Hampstead Heath, London

Best time to travel: March-May
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Ancient heath in London, spanning 790 acres
  • This grassy public space sits astride a sandy ridge, one of the highest points in London
  • The heath is rambling and hilly, embracing ponds, recent and ancient woodlands, a lido, playgrounds, and a training track, and it adjoins the former stately home of Kenwood House and its estate

Cambridge University Botanic Garden

Best time to travel: March-May
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Botanical garden located in Cambridge, associated with the university Department of Plant Sciences
  • It holds a plant collection of over 8,000 plant species from all over the world to facilitate teaching and research
  • The garden was created for the University of Cambridge in 1831 by Professor John Stevens Henslow (Charles Darwin’s mentor) and was opened to the public in 1846

Adventure Island, Southend-on-Sea

Best time to travel: March-May
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Theme park in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, since 1976
  • The park contains thirty six rides, retail outlets, and numerous catering outlets

Bodiam Castle, East Sussex

Best time to travel: March-May
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • 14th-century moated castle near Robertsbridge in East Sussex
  • It was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, a former knight of Edward III, with the permission of Richard II, ostensibly to defend the area against French invasion during the Hundred Years’ War
  • Its structure, details and situation in an artificial watery landscape indicate that display was an important aspect of the castle’s design as well as defense
  • It was the home of the Dalyngrigge family and the centre of the manor of Bodiam

Weald and Downland Living Museum, Singleton

Best time to travel: March-May
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Museum that covers 40 acres, with over 50 historic buildings dating from 950 AD to the 19th century, along with gardens, farm animals, walks and a mill pond

Stonehenge, Wiltshire

Best time to travel: March-May
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, it consists of an outer ring of vertical sarsen standing stones, each around 13 feet high, and weighing around 25 tons
  • The whole monument, now ruinous, is oriented towards the sunrise on the summer solstice
  • Archaeologists believe that Stonehenge was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC
  • The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC
  • Stonehenge could have been a burial ground from its earliest beginnings
  • Deposits containing human bone date from as early as 3000 BC, when the ditch and bank were first dug, and continued for at least another 500 years

Roman Baths, Bath

Best time to travel: March-May
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Well-preserved thermae in the city of Bath, Somerset
  • A temple was constructed on the site between 60–70AD in the first few decades of Roman Britain
  • Its presence led to the development of the small Roman urban settlement known as Aquae Sulis around the site
  • The Roman baths—designed for public bathing—were used until the end of Roman rule in Britain in the 5th century AD
  • According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the original Roman baths were in ruins a century later
  • The area around the natural springs was redeveloped several times during the Early and Late Middle Ages

Cotswolds

Best time to travel: March-May
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Area defined by the bedrock of Jurassic limestone that creates a type of grassland habitat rare in the UK and that is quarried for the golden-coloured Cotswold stone
  • The predominantly rural landscape contains stone-built villages, towns, and stately homes and gardens featuring the local stone

Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Best time to travel: March-May
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Museum displaying many of the University of Oxford’s natural history specimens, located in Oxford
  • It also contains a lecture theatre which is used by the university’s chemistry, zoology and mathematics departments

Black Country Living Museum, Dudley

Best time to travel: March-May
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Open-air museum of rebuilt historic buildings in Dudley
  • The museum occupies 105,000 square metres (26 acres) of former industrial land partly reclaimed from a former railway goods yard, disused lime kilns, canal arm and former coal pits

Alton Towers, Staffordshire

Best time to travel: Sept-Nov
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Theme park and resort complex in Staffordshire, that incorporates a theme park, water park, spa, mini golf and hotel complex
  • Originally a private estate, Alton Towers grounds opened to the public in 1860 to raise funds
  • It operates a total of ten roller coasters and facilities include Alton Towers Waterpark, a crazy golf course, and a high ropes course

John Rylands Research Institute and Library, Manchester

Best time to travel: June-Aug
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Late-Victorian neo-Gothic building in Manchester
  • The library, which opened to the public in 1900, now houses the majority of the Special Collections of The University of Manchester Library, the third largest academic library in the United Kingdom

Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Lancashire

Best time to travel: June, Sept
Walk difficulty: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Amusement park situated on Blackpool’s South Shore, in the county of Lancashire
  • The park was founded in 1896, and is host to many records, including the largest collection of wooden roller coasters of any park in the United Kingdom with four
  • When it opened in 1994, The Big One was the tallest roller coaster in the world, it was also the steepest
  • Currently, the ride holds the record as the tallest roller coaster in the United Kingdom
  • Sir Hiram Maxims Captive Flying Machine is the oldest amusement park ride in Europe having opened in 1904

Loughrigg Fell, English Lake District

Best time to travel: June-Aug
Walk difficulty: Moderate
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Hill in the English Lake District, it stands on the end of the long ridge coming down from High Raise over Silver How towards Ambleside, and is separated from its neighbors by the depression of Red Bank