UK’s most visited cities

UK’s Most Visited Cities

Here is the list of the UK’s most visited cities. From north to south, east to west. I will run through the top 10 most visited cities in the United Kingdom. I will share why they are in the top 10. How you can start planning your next city break? And share some great tips on saving precious money and time in these amazing cities.

1. LONDON

The capital city of the United Kingdom and the 3rd largest city in Europe. London is the largest city by population and area in the UK. London ranks number one for the most visited city in the UK. No surprise to you I am sure.

London Tower Bridge - UK's most visited cities
Tower Bridge in London

London landmarks

London was founded by the Romans and has 5 UNESCO World Heritage sites (Tower of London, London Bridge, Westminster Abby, Palace of Westminster and Greenwich) it is also home to the oldest known government in the world. The city is home to many landmarks and tourists attractions including Buckingham Palace, London Eye, Trafalgar Square and Kew Gardens to name but a few. Click here to grab your tickets for Tower of London, Kew Gardens and The Shard.

Getting around in London is no problem, London is home to the world’s oldest and 3rd longest underground metro network with 270 stations which sees around 9 million people a day using the network. London is also known famous for its cultural heritage being the place many authors wrote about with maybe the most famous, William Shakespeare being one of them. London is also home to the largest collection of theatres in the world known as “The West End”.

The Shard - Tallest building in the UK's Most Visited Cities
The Shard – Tallest building in the UK

Weather in London

The climate in London is similar to many other European countries meaning it is cold in the winter months (Dec/Jan/Feb) and warm during the summer (June/July/Aug) which also sees the least amount of rainfall. London has mega city status and attracts many tourists from all over the world.

I always love visiting London. It has so much charm, history and culture. It is easy to get around on the underground and has so much to see and do, London should always be top of the travel bucket list of places to visit. CHECK OUT my 3 day London itinerary.

2. EDINBURGH

The capital city of Scotland. Home of the Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament and the supreme courts. It is the oldest city in the United Kingdom dating back to 8500 BC and the second most visited behind London. The city is full of history and culture; it has been the home of kings and queens and is home to one of the largest festivals in the UK, Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Edinburgh really is a beautiful city and packed with things to do. It is the second largest city in Scotland and the cultural capital for the country. 

Edinburgh Castle is one of the UK's Most Visited Cities
Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh royal mile

The centre of Edinburgh is beautiful with the buildings looking old and you know right away that this city is bursting with history. It is as you have stepped into the 1920’s, this is even more evident in the Old Town. Edinburgh is separated between “New Town” and “Old Town” both are beautiful and offer something different to any traveller, which makes the city even more exciting. One of the most famous area’s of the city is the royal mile. It is a road approx. 1 mile long full of attractions, shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. It is NOT to be missed. Check out Edinburgh Castle tickets here which includes skip the line. It will save so much time not having to queue.

Edinburgh is also the greenest city in the UK. Trees, fields and nature reserves surround Edinburgh. A famous city landmark is “Arthurs Seat” which is one of the most popular walking/hiking trails within the city and gives amazing views across Edinburgh for those that can reach the top.  

Edinburgh is a city that has mastered the art of keeping the old rustic historical city combined with the modern feel and vibrant or any city around the world. It’s because of that, the city holds the second spot for most visited in the United Kingdom. CHECK OUT my Edinburgh city break blog for even more info on my visit to the city.

3. MANCHESTER

Manchester is maybe most famous for its rich football history. With two of the biggest football teams in the world calling the city home. The city has a huge population and is actually one of the most populated in the United Kingdom.  However, as far as visitors are concerned the city of Manchester is the third most visited city in the United Kingdom.

The name Manchester originates from the Latin name “Mamucium” or its variant “Mancunio”. Still today, citizens are referred to as Mancunians.

Manchester gay village

The city of Manchester has one of the biggest LGBTQ+ scenes in the UK, this brings many young people into the city. Manchester Pride weekend is one of the largest in the country. The city was the first city in the UK to have the first inter-city passenger railway stations. This allowed people to travel from further away and still today, outside of London, Manchester Piccadilly Railway Station is one of the busiest in the country. The first passenger train service in the UK opened in 1890 connecting nearby Liverpool (another city on this countdown) to Manchester.

Manchester is one of the UK's Most Visited Cities
Manchester City Centre

The city has many attractions for travelling tourists, with tours of both football club stadiums, The Etihad and Old Trafford. The John Ryland’s Library, indoor Skydiving experience and the stunning Manchester Cathedral. There are numerous places to eat, depending on anyone’s budget, from cheap eat takeaways to some of the most expensive restaurants in the Europe. What is there not to love? Did I mention shopping?

Manchester is home to one of the largest indoor shopping centres in the United Kingdom. The Trafford Centre. It is also the city that famous brand M&S opened its first store in 1894.   

Manchester tram

if you didn’t know it has it’s own city airport, so getting to Manchester is made easy and quick from anywhere in the UK or Europe. Manchester also has a tram system to get around the city. It is the most popular way to travel and fairly cheap. I recommend getting a day pass, this will allow access on any tram, on any journey in a 24 hour period.

The city has one massive UNESCO world heritage site in the Jodrell Bank Observatory. Check out these, some of the biggest attractions in the city. Check out prices and availability for Etihad Stadium Tour, IFly indoor sky diving and Old Trafford Tour with Meal.

4. BIRMINGHAM

The second largest city in the United Kingdom behind London. Birmingham is No.4 for the most visited city in the United Kingdom for tourists.

You may be surprised by what is on offer in Birmingham. The city is home to the world famous chocolate brand, Cadburys. Therefore, the city boasts a real life Chocolate factory that can be explored on a tour which some chocolate of course. The city also boasts excellent museums and galleries including Aston Hall and the National Motorcycle Museum. Maybe the outside if more your thing, the world famous Winterbourne House and Gardens has seven acres of gardens to explore. Want to try something a little more action packed? It can certainly come to the rescue with off road land rover experience and the world famous Bear Grylls Adventure to really test your limits. 

The city of Birmingham has its own city airport, so getting to Birmingham is made easy and quick from anywhere in the UK or Europe.

Birmingham where to eat

Also, Birmingham can boast to have some of the best food and drink locations in the UK. From Michelin Star restaurants to some of the biggest farmers markets in the country, this city really can offer so much. There is also the famous Balti Triangle. Just outside the city centre, it is the central hub for Asian Cuisine.

Do you like to shop? Bullring and Grand Central is the area of the city you need to head too. It is the largest shopping destination in the city and includes all the world famous brands that we know and love, from iconic brands like Selfridges and Apple to LEGO and Disney stores. The area is also packed with independent shops so you can find anything for anyone. 

Birmingham is a massive city. Do not let that put you off, getting around the city is easy with the city tram metro. This is an over ground tram network linking all parts of the city to make it easy and quick getting around. Can you now see why Birmingham is 4th on the list of most visited cities in the United Kingdom?

5. GLASGOW

Glasgow is one of the cities that everyone will know, but maybe have not been to. It is the largest city in Scotland. The city is the fourth largest in the United Kingdom and maybe a fact you did not know, 27th largest city in Europe. With all that in mind, Glasgow is a great place to explore. The city is a great for a city break.

Glasgow is the fifth most visited city in the United Kingdom. The city has the largest economy in Scotland and hosted many global events. These include COP26 (UN Climate Change Conference) and 2014 Commonwealth Games. All these events have helped the city reach global audiences. With such huge importance, what does the city have on offer? In the heart of the city is George Square. Many of Glasgow’s public statues and city chambers are based in the square. It is the central location flanked with bars, restaurants and shops. The city square and surrounding area is also a main cultural centre for Glasgow.

Glasgow City Centre UK's Most Visited Cities
Glasgow City Centre

what to see in Glasgow

The city Hall, Royal Concert Hall, Theatre Royal and the Gallery of Modern Art are all in this area of town. There is plenty to see and do. There are shops to suit every wallet, from brand names like Ted Baker and Chanel. Other features of the city include the river Clyde, a lovely stroll along the riverbank is always a welcome pleasure. Tolbooth Steeple dominates the city skyline, Clyde Arch is a sight for the eyes after dark and Glasgow Cathedral is a stunning building. A great way to see the city if time is limited is to use the hop on, hop off tour buses. Get your bus tickets here.

Glasgow has its own international airport and huge train station so getting to the city is easy from anywhere in the UK. Direct flights run from London through-out the day, you can check flights out here:

6. LIVERPOOL

Liverpool is famous for producing one of the most famous and successful music bands of all time, The Beatles. However, Liverpool has so much more to offer. That is why it is the sixth most visited city in the United Kingdom.

Many people travel to Liverpool for the Beatles but also for many other things. Liverpool Football Club, Mersey River and the set of the Peaky Blinders TV show. The city of Liverpool is a historic city; it has culture and history around every turn. Art Galleries, Museums and places of national importance throughout the city. One of the best ways to enjoy the city is with a guided tour. There are many to choose from so make sure you do your research.

Once you get on these tours, you really start to see how great this city is and how much it has to offer. Grab your tickets here for a fantastic Peaky Blinders Tour.

Liverpool City Centre UK's Most Visited Cities

Museums in Liverpool

Some of best museums in the city are The Beatles Museum and the National Museum of Popular Music. Amazing exhibitions in both and a chance to really learn and educate yourself. These museums are considered some of the best in the entire United Kingdom.

Liverpool really is a great city to check out.

7. BRISTOL

Bristol is a huge city, with two universities. An airport and even its own currency. Bristol has the largest circulating community currency in the UK, the Bristol Pound. The river Avon runs through the city, which is one of the longest in the United Kingdom. The City of Bristol also straddles two counties, Gloucestershire and Somerset.  Bristol is also a city with brilliant transport links. As I mentioned it has an International airport, two major motorways, rail links with London and ferry port and terminal. It is extremely easy to visit this stunning city.

Best things to do in Bristol

As far as things to do, Bristol is much like any other city on this list. Plenty of food and eating places to suit all tastes and wallets, shopping malls and markets. The city highlights would certainly be a trip to see.

Clifton Bridge in Bristol is UK's Most Visited Cities
Clifton Bridge

A top attraction is the Clifton Suspension Bridge, a huge stunning feature of the city. I do recommend getting there early before the crowds start to arrive. Direct flights run from London through-out the day, you can check flights out here

Also, not too far away from the city of Bristol is one of the UK’s most popular seaside resorts. Weston Super Mere. It has all the British seaside appeal, including a fair, pier, beach and arcades. You can see why Bristol is a popular choice for visitors Liverpool really is a great city to check out.

Take a look here at the latest hotel availability to start your city stay.

8. OXFORD

The city of Oxford is famous for its world-renowned university. The University of Oxford is the oldest University in the United Kingdom. However, Oxford has more to offer tourists that want to see more than just the stunning universities in the United Kingdom. Of course one the major attractions is the university and they do open their doors to the public for events and tours through-out the year.

Oxford UK's Most Visited Cities
Oxford

Away from the university, the city of Oxford is only 45mins away by car so makes for an ideal day out from London. The city has lots of history dating back to the Saxon times so it is great for history buffs. In addition, many locations throughout the city were used in scenes from the Harry Potter movies; you can tour many of the locations. It is always a treat walking around the canals and waterways through-out the city, especially in the summer months.

Due to its central location and close proximity to London, Oxford makes for a wonderful day out and visit.

9. BATH

Bath is the only city on this list, in fact the only city in the UK to have UNESCO World Heritage Status. The city is famous for its Roman built Bath’s, which is how the city got its name. Built in 60 AD the Roman Bath has become a focal point of Roman life here in the UK. Today, the city boosts a big population and sees a huge number of tourists.

Roman Baths in Bath UK's Most Visited Cities
Roman Baths in Bath

The City of Bath also has many other attractions including spas, canal boat tours, Royal Crescent, Bath SkylineParade Gardens, Bath Abby Tower and Royal Victoria Park which hosts carnivals and seasonal events. The Roman Baths are the biggest attraction in the city; it sees hundreds of tourists each day. You are not allowed to get into the water anymore, but that does not mean you cannot experience the natural hot springs of Bath. Thermae Bath Spa is just a short distance from the Bath’s and you can sit and relax in the mineral rich water. I highly recommend this activity. I also recommend a walking tour of the city; this will highlight all the best bits.

There are many daily tours from London, which is also highly recommend.

10. YORK

York is one of the oldest cities in England. The cathedral city is famous for its Viking and Roman history and it clear to see as you wonder around the city.

York is home to the largest cathedral of its kind in Northern Europe. York Minster is a stunning building no matter what time of the year you visit. I highly recommend a tour. Other city activities include York Castle, The City Walls, The Shambles and the Viking Museum.

York Minster UK's Most Visited Cities
York Minster

The City of York is one of historic significance in English history. York has Roman, Saxon, Tudor and Viking history throughout the city and it remains one of the only cities left in the UK still surrounded by its famous city walls. The city of York was founded by the Romans in AD 71 and quickly became the capital of Roman Britannia. York remained one of the largest cities in England since, even being named the capital city of England for a time.

Best places to visit York

York has a huge array of attractions and history. This is why York is a necessary visit if travelling to England. You will not be short of things to see and do within the city or surrounding area. York is one of the most haunted cities in the world so a ghost tour has to be high on the agenda, I recommend the bloody tour of York, it was excellent. I cannot recommend enough a trip to York, tour the city walls, visit a Viking settlement and see the stunning York Minster. Also, see the city from a different perspective from the river Ouse. Take a river cruise along the Ouse and see the great city of York like never before. CHECK OUT my York blog post for even more information on my time in York.

There you have it! The definitive top 10 list of the UK’s most visited cities. How many have you been too? The United Kingdom has many fantastic cities to enjoy, full of history, culture, food, shopping and things to do. Please use this countdown and the links to help start planning your next city break.

Until next time…

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