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We all have a travel bucket list filled with beautiful, fascinating, and bustling UK cities we plan to visit one day.

What better way to enjoy a staycation than by visiting a vibrant city? From Inverness down to Plymouth, we have a variety of UK city recommendations for you. Take a look at our top 10 UK city break recommendations and see if you can cross any off your list in the near future.

Read on to discover our top 10 destinations for a UK city break in 2021…

1. Edinburgh

Best for… History

Edinburgh Castle

There is so much to love about Scotland’s capital city, but we’ve narrowed it down to its rich and fascinating history being the main reason to add it to your 2021 travel list immediately.

Edinburgh is one of the best cities to visit in the UK due to its impressive landscape, its compact layout, which makes it easy to navigate your way around on foot or by public transport, and its wealth of attractions and monuments to visit.

Its Old Town boasts an impressive selection of medieval architecture, while Edinburgh Castle stands proudly atop Castle Rock and is thought to have been welcoming inhabitants since the Iron Age. Arthur’s Seat is an ancient peak standing at more than 250m; popular for walking and hiking, it boasts panoramic views across the city for those who make it to the top.

Explore a range of Edinburgh holiday cottages.

Find more things to do during your stay with our Edinburgh Travel Guide.

2. Brighton

Best for… Being beside the sea

Brighton Beach & Pier

If you’re looking to explore a vibrant city by the sea, then Brighton is the destination for you. Boasting a traditional charm (think; pebble beach, extensive pier, and stripy wooden deck chairs), here you can enjoy scenic walks looking out to the turquoise water, passing the UK’s oldest seafront bandstand, which has stood proudly since 1884.

Brighton’s iconic pier is the perfect place to re-discover your inner child; this Grade II listed attraction was erected in 1899 and is packed with exhilarating rides, fantastic restaurants, and those iconic deckchairs, where you can perch and enjoy uninterrupted sea views.

Speaking of restaurants, another pull that attracts tourists to Brighton is its wonderful offering of fresh fish and seafood. There are countless restaurants to choose from, specialising in shellfish and crustaceans, while a trip to the seaside would be incomplete without a portion of fish and chips on the seafront. Brighton is a UK city you should be visiting immediately!

Book your next seaside staycation with a holiday cottage in Brighton.

3. Newcastle

Best for… A good night out

Millennium Bridge, Newcastle

It’s a well-known fact that Newcastle is the place to be for those looking for a city to visit with great nightlife. The Quayside is the social hub of the city; a picturesque spot overlooking the River Tyne, for those wanting to enjoy an alfresco meal or cocktail with a view, whilst admiring Gateshead Millennium Bridge.

Foodies will not be disappointed by its fine selection of establishments, from independent cafés to elegant afternoon tea, exciting street food and traditional pubs, there’s something to satisfy every palette.

Once you’ve tantalised your taste buds, you can take in the panoramic city views as you party into the night at a stylish rooftop bar like Above, sip cocktails at the picturesque botanical garden-style bar of Colonel Porter’s and enjoy some live music at Riverside.

Find a fantastic cottage near Newcastle ahead of your next visit.

4. Oxford

Best for… Architecture

St Mary's Church, Oxford

The next city to visit in the UK is the ancient university city of Oxford. Another compact and easily navigated city centre, Oxford is packed with fascinating architecture.

While the city can be traced back to Saxon times, it demonstrates a diverse range of architecture, with examples from every notable architectural period since then. Many of its impressive institutions were built between the 12th-16th centuries, including a large portion of its 40 colleges, while the reputable university, the oldest in the English-speaking world, has stood since the 12th century.

Be sure to visit Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, the UK’s oldest museum, established in 1683; the Bridge of Sighs, which boasts a striking resemblance to Venice’s bridge of the same name and was designed by architect Thomas Graham Jackson in 1913; Oxford Castle, a Norman medieval fortification that was originally constructed during the late 11th century; Christ Church, a striking college founded by King Henry VIII, boasting a Gothic-style bell tower that was originally designed by architect Sir Christopher Wren during the late 17th century, and its Great Hall, which was the seat of parliament during King Charles I’s reign and is today easily recognisable from the popular Harry Potter film franchise.

Choose your next getaway from one of these cottages in Oxfordshire.

Discover a range of attractions and activities with our Cotswolds Travel Guide.

5. St Davids, Pembrokeshire

Best for… Wildlife encounters

Puffins at Skomer Island

The UK’s smallest city may not be somewhere you would expect to be encountering unusual UK animals, but St Davids offers just that. Wildlife enthusiasts rejoice – there are countless opportunities for wildlife encounters with a visit to this wonderful Welsh city.

Resting in the heart of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, St Davids is a short boat ride from Ramsey Island, an unspoilt RSPB nature reserve home to an array of birdlife and a large grey seal colony, as well as bright blooming flora during the summer months.

Slightly further afield, hop on a boat trip to see Skomer Island, with hidden coves and rocky outcrops that play host to a variety of birdlife, including colourful puffins, owls and Peregrine Falcons.

For city comforts and conveniences, coupled with spectacular coastline and nature encounters, St Davids is the place to visit!

Secure your next UK city break with one of these ideal St Davids holiday cottages.

Discover more wonderful ways to spend a holiday in St Davids with our handy St Davids Travel Guide.

6. Inverness

Best for… Road trips

Greig Street Bridge, Inverness

If you love to explore the UK with a scenic drive, then Inverness has to be on your list of UK cities to visit. As the start and finish point of the magnificent North Coast 500 route, the city of Inverness offers incredible opportunities to see some of the most picturesque locations in Scotland.

Not only is this UK city a wonderful place to visit for its quaint cafés and shops, picturesque river works and impressive monuments, it is also the perfect base for many day trips, within easy driving distance of a host of scenic routes.

Head towards the ancient fishing port of Nairn, along the Moray Firth, and look out for wild dolphins leaping from the waves along the way; venture south towards Cairngorms National Park to enjoy a diverse landscape, from impressive mountains to enchanting forest; the most famous of the Scottish lochs, Loch Ness, is just a 30-minute drive from the city centre; and a venture out west towards the Fairy Pools of the Isle of Skye will take you past Eilean Donan Castle, perched on its own island beside three lochs, as well as the impressive Five Sisters of Kintail mountain range.

Intrigued by Inverness? Book your stay at an Inverness holiday cottage.

Explore more wonderful attractions and activities with our Inverness Travel Guide.

7. Bath

Best for…. Relaxation

Roman baths of Bath, Somerset

Increasingly becoming the UK’s most popular city to visit, the Roman city of Bath is a breath-taking jewel in Somerset’s crown, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, due to its cultural significance.

Exploring this unique city is like transporting yourself back in time, with Bath’s ancient history traceable back to the 1st century, and many of its Roman remains still visible today. One of the city’s most popular attractions, the Roman Baths, was constructed during the first few decades of Roman Britain. Although the original baths are no longer in use, you can explore and get a feel for how patricians used to relax and enjoy themselves, before the advantage of the contemporary Thermae Bath Spa for a spa treatment or a dip in the open-air outdoor pool.

Couple this with its intricate Georgian architecture, most notably along The Royal Crescent, along with its fascinating cultural attractions, a thriving food and drink scene and its close proximity to the spectacular countryside of the Cotswolds AONB and it’s little wonder why Bath features in our must-visit cities list!

What are you waiting for? Find your perfect holiday cottage in Bath and get one step closer to a relaxing staycation!

8. Liverpool

Best for… Food and drink

Liverpool Albert Dock

Not only is Liverpool a lively, friendly, and history-rich city, it is increasingly growing in popularity for its diverse culinary scene.

Spend an evening at the Albert Dock, dining alfresco and overlooking the water at a tapas-style bar; sample delicious street food in a social and quirky outdoor gathering at Baltic Market; delight in a sophisticated fine dining experience around the Knowledge Quarter; and discover a host of hidden gems outside of the city centre, around Allerton and Smithdown roads.

And it doesn’t end there; you will also find a fantastic selection of bars and clubs to keep you entertained into the early hours. Head to a rooftop bar like FIVE on a summer’s evening to capture a stunning sunset, while Panoramic 34 offers 360-degree uninterrupted views across the city skyline. Alma de Cuba resides within the grounds of an 18th-century church and regularly hosts unforgettable Cuban, Hispanic, and Latin American-themed performances; Bierkeller offers Bavarian-themed entertainment complete with large steins of ice-cold beer, while The Florist and Boujee are the places to be for eye-catching aesthetic.

Enjoy a wine tasting experience at the Radisson Blu Hotel, and if spirits are more your thing, head to the Liverpool Gin Distillery for a guided tour and tasting experience, the highlight of which is spending time in the lab concocting your own personalised bottle to take home. Liverpool should be a city on every foodie’s visit list!

9. Belfast, Northern Ireland

Best for…. Hospitality

City Hall and Belfast Eye, Belfast

Belfast is a compact but thriving UK city with a complicated and fascinating history to discover, as well as being the home of the Titanic Belfast visitor attraction, and the filming location of two of the most popular British series of all time, Game of Thrones and Line of Duty.

Those should be more than enough reasons to want to hop on a plane or boat and see the city for yourself, but there is another reason why tourists flock here from all over the world, it is a very safe and welcoming city, packed full of boutique hotels, trendy bars, world-class restaurants and cultural attractions.

Us Brits are suckers for the Northern Irish accent; regularly voted as one of the most attractive (think; Jamie Dornan, Liam Neeson and Ted ‘mother of God’ Hastings himself, Adrian Dunbar), it is one of the top choices for those looking for a spouse and is also thought to be the most fun-loving accent. Although you may not find your future husband or wife, you will not regret visiting Belfast and rubbing shoulders with its hospitable residents!

Find yourself a holiday cottage near Belfast and book your next city break in the UK today.

Discover more fascinating ways to spend your time with our handy Ireland Travel Guide.

10. Plymouth

Best for….. Scenic walks

Plymouth coastline

The South West of England boasts some of the most pristine coastline and exotic looking beaches the UK has to offer. Plymouth makes the cut because it offers the conveniences and activities of a city, whilst overlooking an impressive coastline.

Walkers will relish the opportunity to discover its impressive coastline in more detail, with a walk along the iconic South West Coast Path, spanning 630 miles from Minehead on Somerset’s north coast, all the way to Poole Harbour in Dorset.

The advantage of starting this walk in Plymouth is that you can explore in whichever direction you prefer; head west through Devon and towards Cornwall, east will bring you to Dorset, while north encompasses Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks, providing an impressive change of scenery as you make your way towards Minehead through lush countryside and wild moorland.

Other fantastic Plymouth walks include the National Trust’s Prawle Point walk along the cliff tops, the City Centre Wildlife Trail, which encompasses popular landmarks and attractions, and the Co-operative Way, a large circular route encompassing several nature reserves.

Find your perfect place to stay with one of these Plymouth cottages.

Discover an array of things to do during your next visit with our Devon Travel Guide.

Book your next UK city break with a Sykes holiday cottage. Find further holiday inspiration with our handy travel guide.

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