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Cool Britannia – The best places to travel within the UK

Published On June 1, 2015 | By Mark | Travel

A few years ago when the world’s economy tanked and a volcano in Iceland shut down European airspace, the residents of London began to realize that there was actually life outside of the M25.

If you fancy a quick weekend away but want to try and stick to some sort of budget, there is plenty to explore right on your doorstep.

The great thing about traveling in the UK is that the train network is extensive and pretty efficient. If you book in advance (and choose off peak times to travel) you can get your tickets for really reasonable prices. Plus a number of train companies offer group travel discounts – so if you are traveling as a group of four then you only pay for three tickets.

Let’s look at some of the destinations.

There are express trains to Brighton which makes this an easily accessible option even if you just fancy a day-trip. The iconic pebbled beach and the faded grandeur of the pier are interesting, but Brighton has a really interesting alternative vibe which is worth checking out – there are a lot of cool, independent shops, and the nightlife here is good fun.

Manchester is just a couple of hours away and has a lot more to offer the world than just football. This feels like a busy, international city – there is a lot of bling on display and the locals like to show the world that they are living it large.

Think beyond England and Cardiff is easily accessible by train – not only is this the home of rugby but there’s some great history to discover and old coal-mining valleys have been opened for outdoor pursuits such as Mountain Biking.

The Cotswolds is full of charming villages and epitomizes fairy tale England, but it is best explored by hiring a car in order to get around.

Likewise a car is need to really enjoy the rugged coast of Cornwall. This is the ideal destination for New Years Eve – little fishing villages such as Looe and Polperro really come alive for a New Years celebration, the entire village turns out in fancy dress so as you wander from small pub to small pub you feel like everyone is at the same party as you.

Edinburgh is beautiful and can be reached by train (although you may find it quicker to fly if you only have limited time). Stunning old city centre and a real sense of stepping back in time. Over on the West Coast of Scotland, Glasgow is a bit edgier and a bit tougher but does have a great night life.

I would put places like Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle, and Liverpool lower down on the list of places to visit – nothing wrong with them, but don’t forget you’ve got all of Europe on your doorstep so you need to spend your travel time and money as wisely as possible. Bruges or Birmingham? Not a difficult decision.

With a bit of planning and some research you can ensure that you are seeing the best that the UK has to offer – all without spending a fortune.

photo credit: pavlinajane via photopin cc

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