Our UK vacations
Stick to the cities and it’s easy to feel that the UK is overcrowded, but in fact there are plenty of wild, open landscapes to explore in a range of ways across these four countries. Discover the wildlife and foodie culture of Scotland by rail, walking, self drive vacations and small ship cruises. Or spot seals off the magnificent Pembrokeshire Coast on an adventure vacation in Wales. Long-distance walking is a wonderful way to appreciate the scenery of England and Northern Ireland, and by staying in locally owned accommodations throughout you’ll always know where to find the best pub nearby.
Our top UK vacations
About our UK vacations
Walking vacations in the UK
Walking vacations in the UK take you through landscapes that have inspired poets, writers and painters for centuries, from the Scottish Highlands right down to sand-skimmed Devon. Expertly crafted self guided tours help you explore long-distance trails like the Causeway Coast and Pilgrims’ Way independently, connecting you with histories, wildlife and some great characters along the way. Small group tours, meanwhile, join you up with like-minded hiking companions. Our UK walking vacations guide elaborates on the joys of getting out and about – and how easy it is to get from one place to another with pre-booked accommodations and luggage transferred ahead.
Rail vacations in the UK
Train travel is the most convenient, enjoyable and unarguably romantic way to get around the UK. On popular routes – including the Lake District and the Caledonian colossus, the West Highland Line – some of the UK’s most wildly beautiful scenery unfolds before you like a film. Punctuate your journey with stop-offs to explore castles, walk around a loch, or sample a pint (or two). And if you’ve got time on your side, consider an epic two-week border-hopping tour. Find out more in our UK railway vacations guide.
UK family adventure vacations
Rather than dragging the kids between museums, art galleries and restaurants with suspiciously expensive tourist menus, family adventure vacations in the UK put smiles on faces and keep them there without resorting to ice-cream bribery. Professional instructors keep a watchful eye on kids running wild (within limits) in the Lake District: think rock climbing, orienteering, sailing and gorge walking. In Wales everyone will relish well-organised itineraries of mountain biking and stand-up paddleboarding on the north coast, or kayaking, coasteering and surfing in Pembrokeshire, where you’ll retreat to an eco-friendly lodge for hearty meals in the evenings.
Small ship cruising in the UK
Although small ship cruising is possible all around the UK, Scotland is practically nirvana for small ship cruising vacations. The Caledonian Canal links Neptune's Staircase with Loch Ness (no introductions necessary) and the Moray Firth, and then the Inner and Outer Hebrides, which teem with wildlife. Expect fellow passengers to number between six and 12, and captains to set the schedule by what the weather's doing every morning. Weather-wise, you’re pretty much guaranteed four seasons in a day. However, most cruises operate between the calmer months of April and October, with wildlife watching at its finest in summer. Find out more in our Scotland small ship cruising vacations guide.
Where to go on a UK vacation
About the only things the four countries that make up the UK have in common are a largely shared first language and reliably unreliable weather. England vacations focus on London or other busy market towns such as Stratford-upon-Avon. You’ll have a far more relaxing time exploring the countryside. Over the border, a sleeper train ride from London takes outdoor activity enthusiasts to Scotland’s wild beauty. Wales is Blue Flag beaches, ancient castles and a rugged coastline that demands that you put on a wetsuit. Over the Irish Sea, meanwhile, you’ll find tumultuous recent history, staggering natural landscapes, and a real sense of community in Northern Ireland.