Small in size but big in status, the United Kingdom is known for its beautiful green countryside, dramatic coastline and vibrant, multicultural cities.
Comprising the nations of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the UK delivers four distinct destinations for the price of one. From modern architectural marvels to picture-perfect medieval skylines, historic seaside towns to quaint country villages, rolling hills dotted with ancient castles, oak trees and stately homes to pulsing cities teeming with restaurants and bars, this geographically and culturally diverse country conjures up a fascinating feast of the old and the new.
Unsurprisingly the capital serves as the gateway for many UK visitors. A vast, thriving metropolis, laden with history and stuffed full of cultural and culinary delights, London - Europe’s most visited city - is simply unmissable. That doesn’t mean however that visitors should overlook the UKs other towns and cities. From the stunning beauty of Edinburgh to the buzzing heart of Belfast, the historic walled cities of Chester and York to the architectural elegance of Cambridge and Bath, from Liverpool’s musical heritage to Manchester’s vibrant cultural scene, the country’s urban spaces, though utterly unique and distinct from one another, are bound by a common conviviality and an increasingly refined food and drink culture.
The major cities - London in particular - are jam-packed with high quality accommodation options for the discerning traveler. Whether you’re looking for a boutique break in the English countryside, or a luxury hotel in Mayfair, an urban bolthole or a rural retreat, the UK boasts a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, B&Bs and private rentals to suit every taste and budget.
The same is true also of its restaurants and bars. Historically synonymous with fish and chips, the Cornish pasty and the traditional British pub, the UK - over the past half century - has undergone something of a culinary revolution with London at its centre. Once considered unimaginative in comparison with other European cities, the capital’s global gastronomic status has risen astronomically in recent decades, and it is now justly considered one of the world’s most diverse wining and dining destinations. And the talent, ingenuity and innovation that has seen London’s star soar is now increasingly evident across the entire country, with creative communities of chefs and sommeliers driving exciting changes in the industry. From market food-halls to Michelin star restaurants and everything else in between, the UK is a melting pot of first-class international cuisine with almost every country represented on its culinary map.
Pub culture has always been integral to British life and whilst the traditional pubic house has evolved over the years, the notion of going for a drink after work or before dinner has remained. British tastes have changed though. A 2019 study found that more people in the UK now drink wine than drink either beer or spirits, and hence it comes as no surprise to learn that wine bars - once seen as snobby and pretentious - are making a successful comeback! From the charming and atmospheric to the stylish and sophisticated, the nation’s wine bars - and wine-led restaurants - are relaxed, inclusive spaces as varied as the wines they serve. International styles dominate with French, Italian and US labels sold above all others, but more obscure grapes as well as natural and organic wines, and increasingly English sparkling wines, are well represented in what is a thriving wine scene.
So whether you’re looking for a locally produced pale ale or cider to wash down your meat pie and mash, a first-rate French label to accompany course six of ten, or a good old fashioned cup of English Breakfast tea before a day of seeing the sights, the UK has every base covered.
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