“Notting Hill” Film Locations: A Self-Guided Walking Tour

  • 01 of 10

    Explore the London Settings of This Romantic Comedy

    The 1999 film “Notting Hill” is set in the district of London by the same name where a bookshop owner played by Hugh Grant meets a famous American actress played by Julia Roberts, and if you're taking a trip to England's capital city, you can take a walking tour of locations made famous by this romantic comedy.

    To help you find the key locations, the following step-by-step instructions can be used a self-guided walking tour starting from Notting Hill Gate tube station. The walk is about two miles long and will take under an hour to complete from start to finish, but you could also spend more time at any of these destinations, so make sure to set aside extra time to enjoy some of these London staples.

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  • 02 of 10

    The Print Room (Formerly Coronet Cinema)

    Notting Hill Film Locations: A Self-Guided Walking Tour

    Ingrid Rasmussen/Design Pics/Getty Images

    At 103 Notting Hill Gate—next to or opposite the Notting Hill Gate tube station (depending on which exit you take)—you'll find the ​Print Room, which was formerly the Coronet Cinema. This is where the character William (Hugh Grant) watched “Helix,” the science fiction short film starring Anna Scott (Julia Roberts).​​​​​

    The Coronet opened as a theater in 1898 and was such a well-respected venue that it was where King Edward VII saw a performance and Sir John Gielgud watched his first Shakespeare play. It served as a cinema for the local community for years and was transformed back to a theater in 2010.

    If you have the time, you can return here later at night to catch an Off-West End show, a poetry reading, musical performance, or even an educational talk or discussion. 

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  • 03 of 10

    Bella & Max’s House

    Notting Hill Film Locations: A Self-Guided Walking Tour

    Laura Porter

    The next stop on the tour is the home of William's little sister Bella, played by Gina McKee. From the Print Room, walk down Notting Hill Gate towards Holland Park tube station. At Holland Park station, turn right onto Lansdowne Road then walk until you come to 91 Lansdowne Road on your right.

    In the film, William surprises his younger sister and her partner Max (Tim McInnery) by bringing the famous Anna to Gina' birthday party. William and Anna wind up leaving the party rather intoxicated, laughing as they ventured out into the neighborhood. You can snap a quick picture in front of the building before continuing to follow the pair back into the neighborhood.

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  • 04 of 10

    Rosmead Gardens

    Notting Hill Film Locations: A Self-Guided Walking Tour

    Laura Porter

    Right around the corner, you can take in excellent views of Rosmead Gardens, where Anna and William first stumbled drunkenly after leaving Gina's house. Simply turn around and make your first right onto Rosmead Road.

    Anna and William break into these private communal garden, but while the movie may have made it appear like a good idea to break into these gardens, it's best to just observe them from the road. Not only is it illegal to trespass on this private property, but if you try to climb over the wall like Hugh Grant, there is a pretty big drop from the railings on the other side and you could get injured.

    Rosmead Gardens is part of the Ladbroke Estate, which includes other nearby private gardens: Arundel Gardens and St. John's. Despite looking like a small park, these private gardens are owned and maintained by the local residents who are the only people who have a key to gain access.

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  • 05 of 10

    Portobello Road Market

    Notting Hill Film Locations: A Self-Guided Walking Tour

    Maremagnum/Getty Images

    From the gardens, head back to the left along Lansdowne Road, past Gina's house, and make a left onto Ladbroke Grove (the first left). Walk up a block to Elgin Crescent, make a right, then continue two blocks before making another right onto Portobello Road.

    This section of the street is known as Portobello Road Market, which is one of the most famous street markets in the world. With markets held six days a week—including the popular Saturday antique sale—Portobello Road Market is a great way to spend the afternoon even if you're not a fan of the “Notting Hill” film.

    In the opening scene of the movie, William (Hugh Grant) is seen walking down Portobello Road Market on his way to his bookshop, The Travel Book Company.

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  • 06 of 10

    The Travel Bookshop

    Notting Hill Film Locations: A Self-Guided Walking Tour

    Laura Porter

    For fans of the film, in particular, the Travel Book Shop is a must-see destination on the walking tour and is less than a block from where you turn onto Portobello Road from Elgin Crescent.

    142 Portobello Road was used as the location for William Thacker's (Hugh Grant's) Travel Book Co. in the movie, but there has never been a bookshop here. It was formerly the Nicholls Antique Arcade, then a furniture store called Gong, and it currently serves as a gift shop. There is a sign on the building on Portobello Road for “The Travel Book Shop” that's remained in place since filming took place in 1998. 

    The fictional bookstore in the film was based on the real Travel Bookshop nearby (13 Blenheim Crescent), which you can get to by turning back down Portobello Road, walking past Elgin Crescent, and making a left on Blenheim Crescent. The original Travel Bookshop closed in 2011 but has since reopened as the Notting Hill Bookshop.

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  • 07 of 10

    The Blue Door (William’s Flat)

    Notting Hill Film Locations: A Self-Guided Walking Tour

    Laura Porter

    For the next stop, you'll continue up Portobello Road to the left from the Notting Hill Bookshop, past Saint's Tattoo Parlour where a confused man in the movie stumbles out with a tattoo of “I Love Ken” but no recollection of why he got it. The next road, Westbourne Park Road, is where you'll find the famous blue door that leads to William's flat in the film.

    The house was once owned by the movie's screenplay writer, Richard Curtis. The blue door was incredibly popular and many people came to write their name on it, but the original was removed and sold at auction at Christie's. It was replaced with a black door to not attract so much attention, but time has moved on and the current owners have kindly painted the door blue again.

    The property is valued in the multi-millions and is actually a converted chapel, with huge windows and ornate church features so nothing like the studio set used for the interior scenes in the movie. You can't see any of this from the street though, but you can snap a quick photograph in front of the new blue door.

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  • 08 of 10

    Coffee Shop

    Notting Hill Film Locations: A Self-Guided Walking Tour

    Laura Porter

    Once you've snapped a photograph, head back across Portobello Road to the opposite corner, where you'll find a chain coffee shop called CoffeeBello. In the film, there was a small cafe next door with tables and chairs on the sidewalk, but now it's a hair salon.

    This is where William (Hugh Grant) buys a glass of orange juice and then bumps into Anna (Julia Roberts) on the corner, spilling the juice on her. He then explains he lives just across the road and suggests they go there to get cleaned up.

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  • 09 of 10

    Tony’s Restaurant

    Notting Hill Film Locations: A Self-Guided Walking Tour

    Laura Porter

    From the coffee shop on the corner, you can continue down Portobello Road the way you were heading before stopping at the blue door. You'll pass under The Westway then turn right onto Golborne Road to arrive at 105 Golborne Road, where you'll find the location of Tony's Restaurant in the film.

    Now an art store and gift shop called Portfolio, this location in the film was owned by William Thacker's friend Tony (Richard McCabe). The aptly-named Tony's Restaurant was deemed a failure, but Tony and his friend Bernie played “Blue Moon” on the piano on the night it closed in the film.

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  • 10 of 10

    Ending the Walking Tour

    From here you could walk along Portobello Road all the way back to Notting Hill Gate, although Ladbroke Grove tube station or Westbourne Park tube stations are both closer. Alternatively, you could continue up Golborne Road and take a walk along the Grand Union Canal.

    To reach the canal, walk up Golborne Road and continue straight ahead, passing Trellick Tower on your right. When the road bends to the left and becomes Kensal Road, head onto the canal path next to Meanwhile Gardens. Turn right and in about 20 minutes you'll reach Little Venice where you could consider doing the Little Venice to Camden Walk.

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No Sweat: London’s Best Hotel Gyms and Fitness Programs

02 of 06

Buddy up With a Sports Partner at Red Carnation Hotels

No Sweat: Londons Best Hotel Gyms and Fitness Programs

iStock via Red Carnation Hotels

Neighboring hotels Rubens at the Palace and Hotel 41 have launched a 'Sports Buddies' program to help guests keep on track with their fitness regimes. Guests staying at either hotel can take advantage of a service that pairs them up with a member of staff to keep fit with, whether it's a game of tennis with the hotel manager or a partnering with the head chef for a run around nearby St James' Park. The scheme is ideal for providing motivation for people trying to stay fit when traveling solo or on business. 

How to get there: The nearest tube stain to Rubens at the Palace and Hotel 41 is Victoria. 

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Top Free Things to Do in London

  • 01 of 12

    Visit the Tate Modern

    Top Free Things to Do in London

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    Tate Modern and Tate Britain house some of the finest pieces of art in the world. Tate Modern focuses on contemporary art while Tate Britain displays British art from the 16th century to the present day.

     

  • 02 of 12

    Visit the British Museum

    Top Free Things to Do in London

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  • 03 of 12

    Spend Time Outdoors at St. James’s Park

    Top Free Things to Do in London

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    I regularly hear people tell me the Queen Mary's Rose Gardens in Regent's Park is their favorite spot in London, and who am I to argue? I would also recommend St. James's Park as it offers one of the best views of Buckingham Palace. Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens (side by side) are enormous and include the ever popular Diana Memorial Playground and the Peter Pan Statue. 

  • 04 of 12

    Watch the Changing of the Guard

    Top Free Things to Do in London

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    No visit to London is complete without seeing this military tradition. The Queen's Guard in London changes in the Forecourt inside the gates of Buckingham Palace at 11:30 am every day in the summer and every other day in the winter. Get there early and view the spectacle from outside the front gates.

    • Changing of the Guard Photos
    • When is the Changing of the Guard?

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.

  • 05 of 12

    Walk Along the South Bank for a Free Tour of London’s Landmarks

    Top Free Things to Do in London

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    It really is amazing how many London landmarks you can see along this stretch of the River Thames. Take a stroll from Westminster Bridge to Tower Bridge and you'll pass the London Eye, the Royal Festival Hall, the Southbank Centre, the National Theatre, the Oxo Tower, Tate Modern, Shakespeare's Globe, Southwark Cathedral and Borough Market.

     

  • 06 of 12

    Hang Out at Trafalgar Square

    Top Free Things to Do in London

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    Trafalgar Square is one of Britain's greatest visitor attractions and was designed by John Nash in the 1820s and constructed in the 1830s. This iconic square has many sights to see including Nelson's Column and the National Gallery. It is both a tourist attraction and a focus for political demonstrations. Every December, Norway donates a marvelous Christmas tree, to thank Britain for liberation from the Nazis.

  • 07 of 12

    Watch Street Performers of Covent Garden Market

    Top Free Things to Do in London

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    The West Piazza of Covent Garden Market has street performers to entertain you every afternoon. Good acts can draw huge crowds and the performers love to get audience members to help them with their act. All performers are licensed and have passed an audition to perform here.

    You will find more street performers at the weekend along the South Bank, particularly near the London Eye. 

  • 08 of 12

    Stroll Through a Famous Street Market

    Top Free Things to Do in London

    © Alex Segre / Getty Images

    London is well-known for its popular street markets. The most popular are Camden Market and Portobello Market, followed closely by Greenwich Market. Find out about these markets and more:

    • London Street Market's Guide
    • Camden Market Guide
    • Portobello Market Guide
    • Greenwich Market Guide
    • Old Spitalfields Market Guide
    • Brick Lane Market Guide (Sundays only)
    • Petticoat Lane Market Guide
    • Columbia Flower Market (Sunday mornings only)
    • Borough Market

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.

  • 09 of 12

    See Inside Westminster Abbey

    Top Free Things to Do in London

    © Julian Love / Getty Images

    You can see inside Westminster Abbey for free. The Abbey never charges people who want to worship but they rely on admission fees from visitors to cover running costs. Evensong is the most beautiful of services where the Abbey choir sings. The Choristers of the Choir are educated at Westminster Abbey Choir School and are all extremely talented. Evensong is at 5 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays and at 3 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

  • 10 of 12

    Attend a Free Concert at the National Theatre

    Top Free Things to Do in London

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    The Southbank Centre has lots of free music events and there's Free foyer concerts at the National Theatre, also on the South Bank. You can enjoy free Monday lunchtime recitals at the Royal Opera House and regular free lunchtime concerts at St. Martin-in-the-Fields.

    See Free Music in London for full details.

  • 11 of 12

    Visit the National Portrait Gallery

    Top Free Things to Do in London

     

    Christer Fredriksson/Getty Images 

     

    Other major London art galleries include the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. I would also recommend The Wallace Collection as it's just off Oxford Street and makes a perfect escape from a busy shopping spree.

    And remember, many of London's major art galleries and museums stay open late.

  • 12 of 12

    See London from a New Perspective at Greenwich Park’s Observatory

    Top Free Things to Do in London

     

    Doug McKinlay/Getty Images 

    Head to Greenwich Park for awesome views of London's skyline from the observatory. 

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18 Things to Do in London, England With Teenagers

02 of 18

Join a Street Art Walking Tour

18 Things to Do in London, England With Teenagers

© Doug McKinlay / Getty Images

 

London is home to some of the best street art in the world. The walls around east London are covered in work by ever-changing artists. Shoreditch in particular, near the Liverpool Street station, is always a great spot to start a street art walk. You're likely to see everything from intricate works by world-renowned artists like Banksy all the way to colorful tags by locals.

 

Teenagers often enjoy photography and this would be an excellent opportunity to get some cool shots of 'real London' for them to post on social media. 

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Top 10 Hippest Hotel Bars in London

02 of 10

The Bloomsbury Club Bar

Top 10 Hippest Hotel Bars in London

The Doyle Collection

This sultry Art Deco-style bar takes inspiration from the Bloomsbury Set, a group of influential writers that hung out together in this part of town in the early 20th century. The cocktails are named after the group's best-known authors including Virginia Woolf and E. M. Forster and the cozy wood-paneled space has the feel of a private library. For an atmospheric aperitif, head to the vine-clad terrace which is lit by twinkly fairy lights and lanterns. 

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Cheap Afternoon Tea in London

  • 01 of 10

    London’s Best Budget Afternoon Teas

    Cheap Afternoon Tea in London

    Courtesy of the Strand Palace Hotel

    There are an incredible array of afternoon teas in London but this list is dedicated to the city's best budget-friendly options. From a posh palace in Kensington to an under-the-radar art gallery in Marylebone, these central London spots all offer excellent value for money.

  • 02 of 10

    The Fan Museum, Greenwich

    Cheap Afternoon Tea in London

    Courtesy of The Fan Museum

    The best value afternoon tea in town is served at the Fan Museum in Greenwich. For just £8, you can indulge in scones topped with cream and jam, a selection of cakes and tea or coffee, all served in the beautiful orangery. The light-flooded building is decorated with detailed murals and overlooks a secret Japanese-style garden.

    Price: £8 (plus the museum entry fee of £4)

  • 03 of 10

    The Wallace Restaurant Afternoon Tea

    Cheap Afternoon Tea in London

    David Williams/Getty Images

    The Wallace Restaurant sits at the heart of The Wallace Collection, an unsung art gallery on Manchester Square that's home to works by Rembrandt, Van Dyck and Velazquez. Tea is served in a covered courtyard so there's plenty of natural light. Dining here feels very indulgent because of the beautiful setting so it's hard to believe that the afternoon tea is available for less than £20.

    See The Wallace Restaurant Afternoon Tea Review.

    Price: £18.50

  • 04 of 10

    The Orangery at Kensington Palace

    Cheap Afternoon Tea in London

    Heather Cowper/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    For a traditional afternoon tea in regal surroundings, you'll be hard pushed to beat the Orangery at Kensington Palace. The English Afternoon Tea features classic dishes like scones with clotted cream and jam and sandwiches filled with Coronation chicken, egg mayonnaise and smoked salmon and cream cheese. Even if you add a glass of champagne to the mix, you'll still pay less than at London's more obvious afternoon tea spots.

    Price: £28.50

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  • 05 of 10

    Kingsway Hall Hotel

    Cheap Afternoon Tea in London

    Courtesy of Kingsway Hall Hotel

    I was shocked and pleasantly surprised that this Covent Garden hotel could offer such a lovely afternoon tea for less than half the price of the 5-star hotels in town. While it may not be The Ritz, Kingsway Hall Hotel offers an afternoon tea that is well-presented, delicious, and served by excellent staff. It's served daily from 12 p.m. until 7 p.m and there's a gluten-free afternoon tea option too.

    See Kingsway Hall Hotel Afternoon Tea Review.

    Price: £22.95

  • 06 of 10

    The Tea Terrace London Afternoon Tea

    Cheap Afternoon Tea in London

    Tory Ho/Getty Images

    The Tea Terrace is on the top floor of House of Fraser, an Oxford Street department store. With vintage-style crockery and powder blue and pink decor, it feels like a delightfully quirky English tea room. In a city that adores coffee these days, it's lovely to find an eclectic tea room that serves a great choice of the nation's favorite beverage.

    Price: £19.25

  • 07 of 10

    Crusting Pipe Covent Garden

    Cheap Afternoon Tea in London

    Tom Bonaventure/Getty Images

    The Crusting Pipe is best known as the wine bar in Covent Garden's piazza that has outdoor seating from which you can enjoy live opera singers. Yes, you read that right. This wine bar has opera singers and classical musicians performing in the courtyard. The venue serves a traditional afternoon tea and offers options that include a British cheese selection and vintage Port.

    See Crusting Pipe Afternoon Tea Review.

    Price: £18.95

  • 08 of 10

    Bond Street Kitchen

    Cheap Afternoon Tea in London

    Bond Street Kitchen

    Nestled within the ladies designer clothes department on the second floor of Fenwicks on Bond Street, one of London's department stores, is Bond Street Kitchen, a glamorous restaurant, and bar. This fashionable spot serves afternoon tea with a selection of sandwiches and cakes for £25. Add a glass of champagne to your afternoon tea for £10.

    Price: £25 

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  • 09 of 10

    Bea’s of Bloomsbury

    Cheap Afternoon Tea in London

    Melanie Seasons/Flickr/CC BY ND 2.0

    Bea's of Bloomsbury is loved by sweet-toothed Londoners. I tried their afternoon tea and found it was a big sugar rush! Exceptionally well-priced and beautifully presented.

    Price: £24.50

  • 10 of 10

    Strand Palace Hotel

    Cheap Afternoon Tea in London

    Courtesy of the Strand Palace Hotel

    The Strand Palace Hotel sits just opposite the Savoy Hotel but serves an afternoon tea for roughly half the price of its glitzy neighbor. The Covent Garden afternoon tea is a real bargain at £29.95 and you can add a glass of prosecco for just £6.

    See Strand Palace Hotel Afternoon Tea Review.

    Price: £29.95

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Afternoon Tea in London With Kids

  • 01 of 10

    Tea and Cakes for The Entire Family

    Afternoon Tea in London With Kids

    Laura Porter

    Whether for a family celebration or a treat it can be a lovely idea to have afternoon tea in London with younger members of the family too. Some places may sound like a great idea for children, such as the Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at The Sanderson, but as they charge the same rate for children it's not really cost effective. Most venues charge a much-reduced rate for children. The following are kid-tested and approved.

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  • 02 of 10

    Kensington Palace Orangery

    Afternoon Tea in London With Kids

    Brent Winebrenner/Getty Images

    This lovely, light, bright venue next to Kensington Palace has a large outdoor terrace and plenty of space inside too. Highchairs are available for the youngest guests and everyone feels very special here with the excellent service and delicious treats.

    It can be hard for children to stay seated for a long time and fortunately there is space between the tables so children can stand up during the meal if needed.

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  • 03 of 10

    Grosvenor House Hotel

    Afternoon Tea in London With Kids

    Grosvenor House Hotel

    Named after the hotel's eponymous British Bulldog, there is a special '​Grover's Tea Time' for children which includes tropical fruit salad, ice-cream, and your very own cuddly Grover to take home.

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  • 04 of 10

    Bateaux London Afternoon Tea Cruise

    If you're worried about children sitting still long enough for you to enjoy the relaxed occasion, then this cruise along the River Thames is an excellent choice. It lasts under two hours and there's a discounted rate for children 5-12. You'll see many famous London landmarks such as Tower Bridge and the Houses of Parliament so you'll have plenty to talk about.

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  • 05 of 10

    Queen of Hearts Afternoon Tea at the Radisson Blu Canary Wharf

    This is a lovely Alice in Wonderland themed afternoon tea, and there are amazing views across The River Thames to The O2, making it worth leaving central London and heading to Canary Wharf. 

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  • 06 of 10

    Royal Horseguards Hotel Mini Tea

    Afternoon Tea in London With Kids

    Laura Porter

    This 5-star hotel offers a special afternoon tea for “little ladies and gents”. Children get the essential sandwiches, scones, and cakes but it's made a bit more fun for them and they get an activity pack too so they won't want to rush away after eating.

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  • 07 of 10

    Egerton House Hotel

    At half the price of the full traditional afternoon tea, Egerton House Hotel has a 'Little Prince and Princess Tea' for children under 12 years old. They still receive a three-tiered cake stand with finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones, and mini cakes plus hot chocolate (instead of tea).

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  • 08 of 10

    Chesterfield Mayfair

    This is a Red Carnation hotel, and they really do choose their staff well, as the service is always good and they make all of the family feel at home. There is a 'Little Prince and Princess Tea' available here too, but this time there are peanut butter and jam sandwiches, as well as scones, cupcakes, and a milkshake or hot chocolate.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.

  • 09 of 10

    The Tea Terrace London Afternoon Tea

    Afternoon Tea in London With Kids

    Laura Porter

    The Tea Terrace is on the top floor of the House of Fraser department store on Oxford Street feels like a delightfully quirky English tea room. In a city that adores coffee these days, it's lovely to find a tea room that's modern and serves a great choice of the nation's favorite beverage.

    Continue to 10 of 10 below.

  • 10 of 10

    Milestone Hotel

    The Milestone in Kensington is a Red Carnation hotel in London, so you know it's going to be a good choice for families. Under 12s can enjoy the 'Little Prince and Princess Tea' with a selection of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with Devonshire clotted cream, preserves, French pastries, and hot chocolate.

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Top 20 Most Popular UK Cities for International Visitors

  • 01 of 20

    London and Edinburgh Lead the Top 20

    Top 20 Most Popular UK Cities for International Visitors

    Giuseppe Torre/Getty Images

    The Office of National Statistics, which keeps track of such things, has named the UK cities most visited by international visitors. You'd expect London to be number one and Edinburgh, coming in at number two isn't much of a shock either. But some of the other destinations in the UK Top 20 list, may surprise you. Check out their profiles to find out what makes each of them so popular.

    London

    Home of the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, The Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, The British Museum and more British Icons, London is a world center of theatre, art, music, literature and culture. It's also a city of colorful markets, great shopping, green open spaces and a cosmopolitan culture.

    London is home to 7.5 million people, or 12.5 per cent of the UK's population. Not counting visitors, more than 1.5 million Londoners come from abroad. They speak 300 different languages. On top of its cosmopolitan locals, London welcomes more than 25 million visitors a year through its five airports, national rail stations and Eurostar terminal, the gateway to the continent.

    Continue to 2 of 20 below.

  • 02 of 20

    Edinburgh

    Top 20 Most Popular UK Cities for International Visitors

    John Lawson/Getty Images

    Scotland's capital and the seat of its Parliament, Edinburgh combines the young and modern sensibilities of a great university city and national capital with a historic and dramatic setting. Here you'll find the world's biggest performing arts festival, a 1,000 year old castle and a mountain – Arthur's Seat – right in the middle of town. And, Edinburgh's annual New Year's celebration – Hogmanay – is four-day street party to end all street parties.

    Edinburgh has about half a million people people, including more than 62,000 university students. At least 13 million people visit every year. During the main festival month of August, the population of Edinburgh swells by more than one million, making it, temporarily, the UK's second largest city.

    Festival Edinburgh – From the end of June through to early September, Edinburgh reels through one festival after another. Film, books, art, music, television and jazz, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and the Edinburgh International Festival are just some of the summer festivals. But the big event is the world famous Edinburgh Fringe, a free-for-all of drama, music, comedy and street theater that veers wildly from brilliant to dire and that takes over the whole city for most of August.

    Come winter and Edinburgh folks are ready to party again, staging the world's biggest New Year's celebration, Hogmanay. The torchlight parades, fire festival events, concerts, fun fairs and winter swims go on for four days. What a hangover.

    • Edinburgh Travel Guide
    • How to Survive the Edinburgh Fringe
    • Edinburgh Hogmanay
    • Ten Cheap Hotels in Edinburgh

     

    Top TripAdvisor Edinburgh Hotel Deals

    Continue to 3 of 20 below.

  • 03 of 20

    Manchester

    Top 20 Most Popular UK Cities for International Visitors

    Getty Images

    Manchester is often called the first modern city. In the 18th century this Northwestern city, 30 miles from Liverpool, was the cotton making capital of the world and one of the breeding grounds of the industrial revolution. Its entrepreneurs and industrial tycoons endowed it with museums, galleries, theatres and libraries as well as outstanding civic architecture. A devastating IRA bomb in 1996 created the need for city center regeneration resulting in a new, dramatic 21st century cityscape.

    Today, some of the most exciting architecture in Britain can be found in Manchester and the nearby Salford Quays area. Among the highlights are Bridgewater Hall, home of Manchester's Hallé Orchestra; Urbis, a glass curtain-walled exhibition center, and the Imperial War Museum, designed by Daniel Libeskind.

    Music City

    Manchester has long been a hot bed of the indie and pop music scenes. Among the bands and artists who got their start, Manchester can claim Elkie Brooks, Take That, Freddie and the Dreamers, Hermans Hermits, The Hollies, Oasis, Simply Red, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, Morrissey and dozens more.

    Today a large student population keeps Manchester's club scene as lively as ever. And, as one of the gateways to England's Lake District, Manchester makes a good anchor for a two base vacation, combining outdoor activities with urban nightlife.

    • Manchester Travel Guide
    • Christmas Markets in Manchester

    Check guest reviews and prices for Manchester Hotels on TripAdvisor

    Continue to 4 of 20 below.

  • 04 of 20

    Birmingham

    Top 20 Most Popular UK Cities for International Visitors

    Charles Bowman/Getty Images

    A combination of entrepreneurial daring and engineering know-how made Birmingham the manufacturing engine of Britain through the 19th century and most of the 20th. James Watt first commercially manufactured his steam engine here; the transatlantic cable and the Orient Express were Birmingham built, and this was the heartland of the British motor industry.

    Birmingham also has several tasty claims to fame. George Cadbury made his choccies here and his his Bourneville Estate was an early planned community. In more recent times, Birmingham has become the heartland of that Anglo-Punjabi speciality, Balti cuisine.

    With a population of more than a million, Birmingham is the UK's second largest city.It's a vibrant, multi-ethnic destination with a lively arts and music scene and some of England's best shopping. Its Selfridges – the company's first store outside of London, is an ultra-modern building that looks like it just landed from outer space.

    Music With a Brummie Accent

    Heavy Metal is a Birmingham sound. Both Judas Priest and Black Sabbath were local bands. And Ozzie Osborne is a native son. Other styles of music thrive in Birmingham too. The city kick started the careers of Duran Duran, ELO and UB40.

    • How Not To Get Lost in the Balti Triangle
    • Born Again Shopping in the UK's Second City

    With it's great shopping and the huge NEC conference center as draws, Birmingham has loads of visitors. Sadly it doesn't have nearly enough hotels to meet the demand. So if you are planning on heading there for a special event, plan on booking early.

    TripAdvisor's Best Deals in Birmingham

    Continue to 5 of 20 below.

  • 05 of 20

    Glasgow

    Top 20 Most Popular UK Cities for International Visitors

    Stephen Dorey/Getty Images

    Scotland's largest city and the third largest city in the UK, Glasgow's had long taken a back seat to Edinburgh with tourists and visitors. Its reputation as a rough, crime-ridden, dirty and hard drinking city put people off. But, since the mid 1980s, Glaswegians have worked hard to turn that image around.

    And they've succeeded.

    In 1995, Glasgow was European Capital of Culture. The award wasn't for the heritage culture that enlivens Edinburgh but for an entirely more contemporary vibe. And it keeps getting better. In 2008, Lonely Planet named Glasgow one of the top 10 cities for tourists. In the same year, the Mercer report, a quality of life survey, put Glasgow among the top 50 safest cities of the world. Nervous tourists note: that was more than 30 places higher than London.

    Today, Billy Connolly's home town is a hip destination for contemporary art, jazz, clubs, comedy, design and fashion (of both the chic and the gutsy street kind). It's also the gateway to the Western Highlands. Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is about half an hour away.

    • Check out Glasgow's sensational Riverside Museum
    • citizenM, a hip Glasgow hotel for travelers of the mobile generation

    TripAdvisor's Best Value Hotels in Glasgow

    Continue to 6 of 20 below.

  • 06 of 20

    Liverpool

    Top 20 Most Popular UK Cities for International Visitors

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    When visitors think of Liverpool, the Beatles come immediately to mind. And, of course, there's plenty to do that's Beatles related – not least of which is is visit to the famous Cavern Club.

    In 2008, the mantle of European Capital of Culture landed on Liverpool, revitalizing this city in England's northwest, as the award often does. Liverpool's Albert Docks area became a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its role in the maritime history of Britain's. Visitors to the area can explore Liverpool's part in the history of the slave trade, commemorated in the world's only International Slavery Museum, in emigration to the New World and in the spread of trade and culture across the British Empire. The spotlight on the dock's history has also brought trendy clubs, hotels, shopping, dining and a Liverpool branch of the famous Tate Gallery to the immediate surrounding area.

    • Liverpool Travel Guide
    • How to Get to Liverpool

    Over the years, Liverpool has had its ups and downs, so there are good bits and not so good bits. But the recent revival of interest in this historic city means there are quite a few new and trendy hotels.

    Check guest reviews and prices for Hotels Near the Beatles Story on TripAdvisor

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  • 07 of 20

    Bristol

    Top 20 Most Popular UK Cities for International Visitors

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    Bristol, on the borders of Somerset and Gloucestershire, is a small, attractive city with a history of creativity and innovation. It makes a great base for touring with Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick Castle, Bath, Stonehenge, Cheddar Gorge and Longleat all within easy reach.

    Once one of England's most important ports, like Liverpool, it was a center for the triangular trade in the 17th and 18th centuries, shipping manufactured goods to Africa in exchange for slaves who were then transported to the Americas. Abolitionist Thomas Clarkson lived undercover at The Seven Stars Pub on Thomas Lane in the 18th century. He gathered the information about the slave trade that his friend William Wilberforce used to support the Act for the Abolition of Slavery. You can still raise a pint of real ale in the pub, open every day since 1760 and with a history that goes back to the 1600s.

    Born in Bristol

    From the pioneering Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, to the leaders of today's cutting edge animations, Bristol has been a hot bed of talented innovators. Brunel, who designed Britain's first long distance railway, the Great Western between London and Bristol, also designed the first ocean-going, propeller-driven transatlantic steamship, the SS Great Britain and the Clifton Suspension Bridge (completed after Brunel's death). The bridge, over the Avon Gorge, is the symbol of Bristol.

    The Bristol Old Vic, an offshoot of London's Old Vic Theatre, and its associated drama school, has populated international stages and screens with graduates. Cary Grant was born in Bristol; Patrick Stewart, Jeremy Irons, Greta Scacchi, Miranda Richardson, Helen Baxendale, Daniel Day-Lewis and Gene Wilder all learned their craft there.

    Wallace & Gromit and Shaun the Sheep are also Bristol natives, having been created at the city's Aardman Animation. And the mysterious graffitti artist, Banksy, another Bristol native, has left his mark there.

     

    • Find out more about Bristol
    • Discover Clifton Village, Bristol's Best Kept Secret
    • Read a review of Bristol restaurant, The Glassboat
    • How to get from London to Bristol

     

    Find Bristol Hotels near the landmark Clifton Suspension Bridge on TripAdvisor

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  • 08 of 20

    Oxford

    Top 20 Most Popular UK Cities for International Visitors

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    Oxford University is England's oldest university, dating back to the 11th century. It's the reason that many people make their way to this small city, 60 miles northwest of London, on the edge of the Cotswolds.

    The city has England's oldest public museum, The Ashmolean, recently refurbished with its exhibition space doubled. Visitors can also enjoy shopping in a lively covered market, find an almost hidden pub that was popular when Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were still hiding their affair from their respective spouses, explore a haunted castle and stay in a unique hotel that was once a jail.

    And then, of course, there are the colleges. Visitors are welcome to stroll the fascinating, historic grounds and chapels of most – but not all – of the colleges. Others are only open during fixed times of day or as part of official guided tours. Official Guided Walking Tours, run by the Oxford Tourist Information Centre, take in the colleges, other Oxford landmarks and Oxford movie locations – including some used in the Harry Potter films.

    Oxford makes a great London Day Trip, with or without a car. It's also a useful base for exploring the Cotswolds; visiting Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, a ten minute bus trip away, or shopping till you drop at Bicester Village, one of the UK's best designer discount centers.

    • A Guide to an Oxford Walk
    • An Afternoon in Oxford
    • Malmaison Oxford Castle- Going to jail has never been so good. And don't just take my word for it. 
    • The Turf Tavern, Oxford's secret pub
    • Brown's Cafe – Cheap Eats in Oxford

    Check guest reviews and prices for Oxford Hotels on TripAdvisor

     

    Continue to 9 of 20 below.

  • 09 of 20

    Cambridge

    Top 20 Most Popular UK Cities for International Visitors

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    Cambridge, like Oxford its traditional rival, grew out of an association of scholars who settled in one place and founded the colleges. According to tradition, Cambridge – Britain's second oldest University – was founded in 1209 when a group of scholars fled Oxford after a disagreement with local townspeople.

    Smaller and less urban than Oxford, Cambridge is, nevertheless, a lively place full of fascinating museums and galleries, theatres, an improving restaurant scene and pubs.

    The colleges themselves, which together have produced more Nobel Prize winners than any university in the world, are masterpieces of Medieval, Tudor and Jacobean architecture. Among the standouts open to visitors, Kings College Chapel, with its soaring thistle vaulted ceiling, is a must.

    From April to September, Cambridge can be packed with tourists who arrive on buses, stay a few hours and skedaddle. But train services from London are frequent and journey times relatively short so it's a shame not to linger a bit longer to explore some of the lovely gardens along the Backs (where Cambridge colleges back up onto the River Cam). Because of the crowds, many of the colleges now charge an entry fee to visit their grounds and limit opening hours.

    Taking a Punt at a Punt

    Punts are the traditional, flat boats propelled along the Cam and Granchester rivers with poles. The punter stands and pushes the pole into the mud. It's not as easy as it looks and more than one beginner has either lost a pole or been left clinging to one as the punt floats on. Nowadays, visitors can hire a chauffeured punt (the chauffeur will probably be a student) for a guided cruise along the Backs. It's lazy but can be fun.

    • Find out more about visiting Cambridge
    • Christmas Eve at Kings
    • One of Cambridge's shortcomings is a dearth of really nice hotels near the center. One of the most interesting, however, is The Moller Centre, part of Churchill College. It's a conference center at heart but anyone can stay in business class luxury at budget prices in this architecturally unusual place. 

    Check guest reviews and prices for Cambridge Hotels on TripAdvisor

     

     

    Continue to 10 of 20 below.

  • 10 of 20

    Cardiff

    Top 20 Most Popular UK Cities for International Visitors

    TF Duesing via Flickr

    Cardiff, the capital of Wales and its largest city, has experienced a virtual renaissance. In a little over a decade its visitor numbers have increased by more than 50 percent. When the Millenniium Stadium, home of the Welsh national rugby union team and the Welsh national football team, opened in 1999, the city welcomed about 9 million foreign visitors. In 2009, that figure had risen to more than 14.6 million foreign visitors, with French and Irish rugby fans leading the way.

    The rebirth of Cardiff includes redevelopment of the waterfront along Cardiff Bay. The Senedd, home of the Welsh National Assembly and designed by British architect Richard Rogers, opened there in 2006.

    Nearby, the Wales Millennium Centre, opened in 2004, is a performance venue for theatre, musicals, opera, ballet, contemporary dance, hip hop, comedy, art and art workshops. It has two theaters and seven resident companies including the Welsh National Opera. Free performances take place in the center's foyer every day and visitors to the bars and restaurants can enjoy views of Cardiff Bay. The building is a striking landmark on its own, clad in Welsh slate, bronze colored steel, wood and glass, it is a reflection of the Welsh landscape.

    The most famous features of the building, designed by Jonathan Adam, are the lines of poetry, made up of windows, that cross its facade. Written for the center by Welsh writer Gwyneth Lewis, the Welsh and English words are not translations of each other but are, in fact, two different short poems that complement each other. The words of the Welsh poem, “Creu Gwir Fel Gwydr O Ffwrnais Awen” (Creating truth like glass from the furnace of inspiration), are arranged beside the words of the English poem, “In these stones, horizons sing.” At night, light from inside the center shines through the windows.

    Not everything about Cardiff is brand new. Cardiff Castle began its life as a Roman garrison, about 2000 years ago. It has been a Norman castle keep and home to a variety of noble families. In the 19th centuries, the Marquess of Bute had the living quarters transformed into a Victorian fantasy castle with fabulous and opulent interiors. Today it belongs to the city of Cardiff and the castle, along with its surrounding parkland, is the scene of festivals and events throughout the year.

    Cardiff's post millennial revival and its position as the seat of the newly devolved Welsh government means the hotel and accommodation selection is very good.

    • Find out more about Cardiff
    • RHS Cardiff Flower Show in Cardiff Castle
    • Cardiff Singer of the World Competition

     

    Check guest reviews and prices for Cardiff Hotels on TripAdvisor

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  • 11 of 20

    Brighton

    Top 20 Most Popular UK Cities for International Visitors

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    Brighton is hip, colorful and – unusually for a seaside resort – urban. “London's beach”, 60 miles from the capital, is a year-round day trip or short break destination with lots more to offer than its seafront.

    Shopping, dining, a hoot of a fantasy palace, a brilliant aquarium, great nightlife and theater, block after block of Regency houses – not to mention the most scenic pier in Britain – combine with a tolerant and breezy ambience to make Brighton a very cool place to visit and an even cooler place to stay awhile.

    If you like cities (warts and all) and you share Brighton's tolerant, open attitude, you will love it. Millions of people do. At least 8 million people visit Brighton annually – about 6.5 million for day trips. Brighton Pier alone gets 4.5 million visitors a year. The city regularly ranks among the top 20 for overseas visitors and is among Britain's top 10 visitor destinations overall. It is also one of Britain's most popular gay destinations with a large resident gay population.

    It may be London's beach, but don't expect to pop into the sea. The water is usually pretty cold and the shingle beach is not to everyone's taste. But all kinds of watersports fans, surfers, paddle and wind surfers do love it. And strolling along the seaside or lazing on the beach is just part of Brighton's appeal.

    Come for amazing shopping in the Lanes and the North Laine, goggle at the Royal Pavilion, eat lots of great fish and chips and enjoy the festival and club scene. It's a quick day trip by train from London and one you don't want to miss.

    • Plan a Brighton Getaway
    • Brighton Seafront and Brighton's Piers
    • Shopping in Brighton – The Lanes and the North Laine

     

    Find Best Value Brighton Beach Hotels on TripAdvisor

    Continue to 12 of 20 below.

  • 12 of 20

    Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Gateshead

    Top 20 Most Popular UK Cities for International Visitors

    ozofnene

    Newcastle-upon-Tyne began its history as a major Roman fort defending the eastern end of Hadrian's Wall. The evidence is still there at the Arbeia Roman Fort & Museum a reconstruction of the fort that guarded the mouth of the Tyne, with a museum full of archeological finds from the site.

    In the early Middle Ages, after the departure of the Romans, the Venerable Bede, an Anglo Saxon monk, lived and wrote his histories of early Britain at Jarrow, just down river from Newcastle on the south bank of the Tyne. Bedes World, in Jarrow is a new museum and World Heritage Site candidate near the ruins of Bede's Anglo Saxon monastery.

    Fast Forward

    Newcastle is a good base for exploring of the northeast of England, but don't be surprised if the locals could care less about all that impressive history. They have their eyes firmly fixed on today and tomorrow.

    Newcastle nightlife is legendary, spawning bands, performance artists and good times in quantity. Back in the 1960s, Jimi Hendrix lived and busked in Newcastle. He was discovered and managed by Chas Chandler, a musician with Newcastle band, The Animals. Dire Straits was a Newcastle band and Sting is a Geordie boy. (“Geordies” are natives of Newcastle). One of England's big university cities, students keep the Newcastle music scene alive and kicking.

    Since the Millennium, the Newcastle/Gateshead Quays have been transformed into a futuristic and arty landscape. The Newcastle/Gateshead Millennium Bridge is a unique pedestrian “drawbridge”. Instead of splitting and opening to allow tall boat traffic through, the bottom, pedestrian deck of the bridge tips up to meet the support arch, like an eyelid, opening and closing.

    The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art  on the quayside, is a huge contemporary art space – the biggest exhibition space of its kind in the world. Before its transformation into a cutting edge visual arts exhibition center, it was an enormous and abandoned flour and animal feed mill. Not far away, The Sage Gateshead, is an ultra modern music performance and learning center. Rock, pop, classical, acoustic, indie, couontry, folk, electronic, dance and world music are all welcome in Sage's gleaming bubbles of stainless steel and glass. The Northern Sinfonia has its home at the Sage.

    Geordies The native dialect of Newcastle, Geordie, is distinctive and one of the oldest in England. If you've ever seen actor Jimmy Nail or Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole, you've heard this inimitable accent.

     

    • Read more about Newcastle/Gateshead
    • How to get to Newscastle from London

     

    TripAdvisor Deals in Newcastle-upon-Tyne

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  • 13 of 20

    Leeds

    Top 20 Most Popular UK Cities for International Visitors

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    People sometimes dub Leeds The Knightsbridge of the North because this city, built on a tradition of wool, textile and clothing manufacture, is one of the UK's major retail and fashion hubs. Glamorous shops are housed in some of the most splendid Victorian arcades in Europe. Famous Harvey Nichols established its first store outside of London here. And one of Britain's most famous businesses, Marks & Spencer, began its life as a humble market stall in Leeds Kirkgate Market.

    21st Century Leeds

    Leeds is a thoroughly wired up place. Leeds IT companies host more than a third of all UK Internet traffic and there are more ISDN lines per head of population than any other major city in the world. A new Internet Quarter, full of call centers and server farms, is in the works.

    Currently the UK's third largest city, Leeds is also the fastest growing city in Britain. Its population of three quarters of a million includes more than 100,000 university and college students who support a lively music scene. There are about 1,500 bands currently active in Leeds. Among the city's recent success stories, the Kaiser Chiefs and Corinne Bailey Rae hail from this Yorkshire city.

    And speaking of Yorkshire

    Leeds is well placed for some nightlife and retail therapy as part of a tour of the beautiful Yorkshire countryside. It's also less than half an hour, by train or car, from the Medieval, walled city of York.

    • Leeds Victorian and Edwardian Shopping Arcades
    • UK Music Festivals – The Leeds & Reading Festivals
    • 42 The Calls is one of Leeds most interesting little hotels – with a great breakfast.

    Best Value TripAdvisor Hotels in Leeds

    Continue to 14 of 20 below.

  • 14 of 20

    York

    Top 20 Most Popular UK Cities for International Visitors

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    The small northern English city of York has been an important population center for at least 2,000 years. As a Roman, Viking and Medieval Anglo Saxon city, its relics, monuments and architectural treasures are woven into the fabric of everyday modern life.

    It's a lovely city for walking, with something interesting – and hundreds of half-timbered buildings – to look at and explore at every turn. Markets – in the same squares and stalls they have occupied for hundreds of years – sell everything from fruit and vegetables to snazzy hats, designer kitchen utensils and music DVDs. Boutique shops that line York's winding lanes provide plenty of prey for the avid fashion hunter. Some of the best shopping streets are mentioned in the Domesday Book and have been commercial centers for more than 900 years.

    York Minster, one of Europe's greatest gothic cathedrals, dominates the city, visible from any vantage point within the walls. It has a stained glass window bigger than a tennis court and a crypt where you can explore the Minster's Roman foundations.

    • Pictures of Medieval York
    • Fantastic Facts About York Minster
    • Walking the Snickelways of Medieval York
    • Ten Cheap Hotels in York

     

    Check guest reviews and prices for hotels near York Minster on TripAdvisor

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  • 15 of 20

    Inverness

    Top 20 Most Popular UK Cities for International Visitors

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    On it's own, it might be hard to understand why Inverness, on the River Ness near the head of the Moray Firth, is among Britain's top 20 cities for visitors. But Inverness is more than a quiet provincial city. It is the unofficial capital of the Highlands and the gateway to all that – for visitors at any rate – is Scottish about Scotland.

    Culloden

    Just outside of Inverness, the Culloden battlefield bears witness to one of the great lost causes in Scottish history. In 1746, the clans who supported a restoration of the Stuarts to the throne rallied behind Prince Charles Edward Stuart – known as Bonnie Prince Charlie – in what was known as the Jacobite cause. The climax, at Culloden was an hour-long battle in which at least 1,000 died. It led to the brutal “pacification” of the Highlands, the banning of clan chiefs and tartans and the attempted destruction of Highland culture. The story is explained at an outstanding visitors center, run by the National Trust of Scotland, on the iconic Culloden Battlefield site.

    Read a description of eve of battle and the battle itself, in Sir Walter Scott's novel, “Waverley”.

    Loch Ness

    A few miles southwest of Inverness, Loch Ness marks the last great body of water at northern end of the Great Glen, the deep channel of interconnected lochs and waterways that cuts across southwest to northeast across Scotland, from the North Atlantic to the North Sea. Coach and Caledonian Canal tours can be arranged to visit the loch to have a look out the legendary Loch Ness monster. Even if you don't spot Nessie, Loch Ness is a beautiful place to visit and home to Rock Ness – a rock festival with its own sea monster. Urquhart Castle is known to be a particularly good place for Nessie watching.

    The Whiskey Trail and Beyond

    East of Inverness, the area surrounding the River Spey, is prime territory for Scotch whisky tourism. Speyside distilleries make some of the most famous and most treasured whiskies in the world. Many are open to the public. The area is also popular for salmon fishing and shooting holidays.

    Inverness also within easy striking distance of the Cairngorms and Cairngorm National Park – a popular skiing destination and home to Balmoral, the Queen's Scottish vacation home. And, if you are heading for Orkney, flying from Inverness is the fastest way to get there.

    But one word of advice. Inverness on weekend nights can be an incredibly noisy place. If you are planning an early start for a cruise or a tour, find yourself a quiet hotel, away from the center.

    • Find out more about Loch Ness and Inverness
    • Book a three-day London to Loch Ness tour
    • Tour Glencoe, Loch Ness and the the Highlands from Edinburgh

     

    Find a quiet hotel in Inverness on TripAdvisor

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  • 16 of 20

    Bath

    Top 20 Most Popular UK Cities for International Visitors

    From its 2,000 year old Roman Baths to its Georgian terraces and Pump Room, the entire city of Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Jane Austen enjoyed the health giving waters of Bath and its accompanying social scene, as did many of her characters. Besides offering visitors a feast of historic architecture, this small pleasant city has more than enough diversions for demanding modern weekenders – including great restaurants, top shopping, quirky museums, a lively cultural scene and, of course, a post millennial, multi-million pound, thermal spa.

    Bath is a bit too far from London for a day trip that does justice to its many pleasures, but it makes a fine overnight getaway with lots of charming places to stay and dine. Among the sights, Bath Abbey, occupying a site that has been a place of Christian worship for 1,200 years; The Jane Austen Center; The Roman Baths and Pump Room, where 18th and 19th century high society socialized and where you can still taste the waters of the ancient spring – or stop for tea.

    Bath is also a showcase of England's finest 18th century architecture, with stunning terraces of pristine, white houses that have formed the backdrops of countless films. No. 1 Royal Crescent. the first house built on Bath's iconic, 18th century Royal Crescent is now open as a museum. Restored and authentically furnished, it offers a glimpse into fashionable 18th century life.

    And shop hounds will also enjoy Bath. It's shopping areas are crammed with independent boutiques – fashion, antiques, jewelry and more.

    Watch a video of the Royal Crescent and the Circus in Bath

    • Thermae Bath Spa – Bath's Ultramodern Thermal Spa
    • Bath Christmas Market

     

    Best Value TripAdvisor Hotels in Bath

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  • 17 of 20

    Nottingham

    Top 20 Most Popular UK Cities for International Visitors

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    Visitors to Nottingham will search in vain for the origins of the Robin Hood stories in Nottingham Castle, once base for wicked usurper King John and his henchman, the Sheriff of legend. It's now a 17th century ducal mansion. But Castle Rock and the cave system beneath it – a scheduled ancient monument, hint at a medieval (and earlier past).

    North of the city, the remains of Sherwood Forest, 450 acres of Britain's most ancient oak trees, can still be visited.

    Perhaps it was stories of the legendary Robin of Sherwood that turned Nottingham into the nursery for so many literary lights. Lord Byron's title came from the Nottinghamshire estate he inherited when he was ten years old and he is buried in a Nottinghamshire churchyard. D.H. Lawrence, son of a Nottinghamshire miner, grew up in ther area. And both J.M. Barrie, creator of “Peter Pan” and novelist Graham Greene cut their creative teeth on the Nottingham Daily Journal.

    The Mayflower Trail

    Visitors looking for the history of the Pilgrim Fathers, will find much of interest in the Nottingham area, the heart of Pilgrim Country. William Brewster, postmaster of Scrooby in Nottinghamshire, was instrumental in leading a group of Separatists to Holland in 1607. The group eventually fetched up on the shores of Massachusetts, founding the Plymouth Colony in 1620. The Mayflower Trail is a circular tour through the quiet villages of Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire that gave rise to the Separatist movement.

    Student Travelers

    It's not all about history and literature though. With two universities and 370 schools, Nottingham has the third largest student population in the UK and has the lively nightlight that goes with it. There are at least 300 bars, clubs and restaurants in Nottingham and several large music and dance venues to keep nightowls entertained.

    • Find out more about Nottingham
    • Read a review of Nottingham's Lace Market Hotel

     

    Check guest reviews and prices for Nottingham Hotels on TripAdvisor

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  • 18 of 20

    Reading

    Top 20 Most Popular UK Cities for International Visitors

    Richard Fairless/Getty Images

    I have to confess I found it hard, at first, to understand why Reading made it to the top 20 list of popular UK cities. Though an important town in the Middle Ages, today Reading is largely a commercial center, important in the IT and insurance industries.

    True, it is within a very short distance of some of England's iconic sites – Windsor Castle, Eton, as well as a raft of stately homes, scattered across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire worth visiting. It's not far from the scene of the Henley Regatta and it does have a large university population.

    But, what probably drives Reading into a top UK destination are two hugely popular festivals.

    The Reading Comedy Festival, in the autumn, is three-weeks of stand-up attracting British and Irish comedians and their fans along with dozens of brave hopefuls to open mic events.

    The Reading Festival, is one of the UK's biggest music festivals. It takes place on the August Bank Holiday weekend and has an unusual twist. The festival is paired with the Leeds Festival, that takes place on the same weekend with the same lineup. Artists appear at one of the festivals then rush across the country to the other to appear again.

    When it comes to staying in Reading, I have to say that vacation hotels there are a non-starter for me. If you are going to one of the many festivals, you are more likely to camp, and if you are looking for real charm, the countryside all around has bags more. But Reading is also an important business center and the business traveler is well served.

     

    Check reviews and prices for Reading Hotels on TripAdvisor

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  • 19 of 20

    Aberdeen

    Top 20 Most Popular UK Cities for International Visitors

    Chris Mellor/Getty Images

    Aberdeen, 130 miles northeast of Edinburgh on the North Sea coast, is something of a boom town. Before the discovery North Sea oil in the 1970s, Scotland's third largest city was a fishing port – it's still one of Britain's largest fishing harbors with a huge annual haul from its North Sea trawlers – and a university town. Aberdeen University's charter dates from the late 15th century.

    The oil industry has brought oil tycoon prices. Shops, hotels and restaurants in Aberdeen have prices comparable to London. And for a city of less than 300,000, Aberdeen has remarkably good designer and boutique shopping.

    The city is almost entirely built of local granite. In good weather, mica in the stone sparkles in the sun. But, to be honest, blue skies in this part of Scotland are pretty rare and in overcast weather, the characteristic greyness can be pretty grim.

    Still, if industrial powerhouses are what you are after, Aberdeen may be a good stopover on your way to salmon fishing on the Dee. Aberdeen, which has Europe's biggest and busiest heliport, is sometimes known as the energy capital of Europe.

    Find out more about Aberdeen

     

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  • 20 of 20

    Chester

    Top 20 Most Popular UK Cities for International Visitors

    Loop Images/Alan Novelli/Getty Images

    The first time I saw Chester, I thought its street after street of beautifully kept half-timbered buildings could not be real. Surely I had stepped into a modern theme park.

    As it happens, I was partly right. Chester's famous “Rows” are partly Victorian reproductions of earlier buildings. But some of the best are really Medieval. The rows are continuous rows of galleries, reached by steps from street level and forming a second level of shops. No one is quite sure why they were built in this way but some of them, including the Three Arches on Bridge Street, have been galleried shops since the 1200s, having survived the Black Death of the 13th century and the English Civil War of the 17th.

    Roman Chester

    Chester, and the four ancient street that make up it's High Cross district – Eastgate, Northgate, Watergate and Bridge – are more than a thousand year's older that its Medieval Rows. The walled city was actually founded as a Roman fort in 79 A.D., during the reign of Emperor Vespasian. It's one of the best preserved walled cities in England with some sections of the ramparts dating back 2000 years to the Roman originals. The city was a major center in the Roman province of Britannia. Recent excavations, the biggest archaeological dig in Britain, have uncovered a Roman amphitheater where fighting techniques were demonstrated.

     

    Even if you're not a keen fan of history, Chester, in the heart of affluent Cheshire, is fun to visit. It's full of independent boutiques, has several good museums and art galleries, and is known for top restaurants, luxury hotels and spas.

    Find out more about Chester

    Check out hotels near Chester's historic Rows on TripAdvisor

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8 Unmissable Events in London This Summer

  • 01 of 08

    8 Unmissable Events in London This Summer

    The Barbican

    What: Billed as a festival-style exhibition, Into the Unknown: A Journey Through Science Fiction is the Barbican's blockbuster summer event for fans of all things sci-fi. Explore more than 800 works including manuscripts and drawings by Jules Verne, original props from films including Godzilla and Jurassic Park, concept art from Star Wars, vintage artwork depicting Soviet visions of space and rare superhero comics. Several events will run alongside the exhibition including talks, workshops and film screenings. 

    When: June 3 to September 1, 2017

    Where: Barbican Centre. The nearest tube station is Barbican, on the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines. 

  • 02 of 08

    8 Unmissable Events in London This Summer

    Gin Festival

    What: Celebrate of all things gin at the London Gin Festival, a three-day event that showcases some of the finest juniper-based spirits in the world. You'll get to sample more than 100 different kinds of gin as well as learn from industry experts through talks and masterclasses at the Tobacco Dock, a converted tobacco warehouse in Wapping. The cocktail bar will serve all sorts of potent concoctions and you can enjoy live music and food from a range of gourmet stalls. The ticket price includes a Gin Festival Copa Balloon Glass.

    When: August 25-27, 2017

    Where: Tobacco Dock, Wapping. The nearest tube station is Wapping, on the London Overground. 

  • 03 of 08

    8 Unmissable Events in London This Summer

    Taste of London

    What: The 'world's greatest restaurant festival' returns to Regent's Park in June to showcase London's first-class dining scene. Foodies flock from far and wide to Taste of London to sample small plate dishes from the city's best restaurants including Roka, The Cinnamon Club and Pizarro. It's a great way to get a flavor of London's top eateries without having to fork out for a full meal. As well as the tastings you'll get to meet Michelin starred chefs including Tom Kerridge and Alex Atala, see live cooking demonstrations, join hands-on workshops and shop at boutique food markets.

    When: June 14-18, 2017

    Where: Regent's Park. The nearest tube station is Regent's Park, on the Bakerloo Line. You could also consider Great Portland Street, on the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines, and Warren Street, on the Victoria and Northern Lines. 

  • 04 of 08

    Explore London’s Secret Gardens

    8 Unmissable Events in London This Summer

    Mike Kemp/Getty Images

    What: Explore over 200 gardens across London as part of the annual Open Garden Squares Weekend. One ticket includes access to all gardens including contemporary rooftop developments, grand estate grounds and private garden squares in central London that are not normally open to the public. Additional events include guided walks and tours, live music and poetry readings.

    When: June 17-18, 2017

    Where: Various locations across London.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.

  • 05 of 08

    What: New for 2017, Pergola Paddington Central will be west London's largest outdoor drinking and dining venue when it opens this summer. The brand new rooftop venue in Paddington Basin will feature food stalls including Patty & Bun (topnotch burgers), Mamalan (dumplings and Asian street food) and Decatur (Creole comfort food). Sample dishes on communal benches under a fairylit roof to the sounds of a resident DJ or live band.

    When: May 24 and October 1, 2017

    Where: Paddington Basin. The nearest tube station is Paddington, on the Bakerloo, Circle, District and Hammersmith & City Lines. 

  • 06 of 08

    8 Unmissable Events in London This Summer

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    What: Get an alfresco culture fix in Regent's Park this summer by nabbing tickets to see A Tale of Two Cities at the award-winning open-air theater. This contemporary adaptation of the classic Victorian novel by Charles Dickens explores social inequality and forms part of the theater's summer season. Upgrade your evening by booking dinner on the terrace (main courses are served before the curtain lifts and dessert and coffee are enjoyed at the interval). 

    When: July 7 to August 5, 2017

    Where: Regent's Park. The nearest tube station is Baker Street, on the Bakerloo, Jubilee, Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines. 

  • 07 of 08

    Celebrate Californian Design at the Design Museum

    8 Unmissable Events in London This Summer

    Gareth Gardner/Design Museum

    What: This stylish exhibition at the Design Museum explores California's influence on the world of design and showcases iconic pieces from the Golden State including skateboards, self-driving cars and iPhones. The exhibition spans designs from mid-century modernism to Silicon Valley's tech culture and is the first show to celebrate California design across a number of different eras.

    When: May 24 to October 15, 2017

    Where: Design Museum, Kensington. The nearest tube station is High Street Kensington. 

  • 08 of 08

    Celebrate Love on the South Bank

    What: London's popular Festival of Love returns to the Southbank Centre this summer with a series of events, art installations and live performances that celebrate togetherness. The summer calendar ends with the Big Wedding Weekend, a mass group wedding event. 

    When: June 3 to August 28, 2017

    Where: The Southbank Centre. The nearest tube station is Waterloo, on the Bakerloo, Jubilee, Northern and Waterloo & City Lines. 

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7 London Pubs That Serve Delicious Thai Food

  • 01 of 07

    7 London Pubs That Serve Delicious Thai Food

    The Churchill Arms

    Between Kensington and Notting Hill, this 18th-century pub is colorful and characterful both inside and out. The exterior is decorated with an impressive array of hanging baskets and window boxes and the wood-paneled interiors are awash with portraits of British prime ministers and American presidents, road signs, regal memorabilia, bunting and copper trinkets. This popular pub was one of the first in London to introduce Thai cuisine in the 1980s and has been serving affordable Asian dishes like Pad Khing, Rad Na, and Pad Siew ever since. ​

  • 02 of 07

    7 London Pubs That Serve Delicious Thai Food

     The Heron

    This Paddington boozer may not be the prettiest pub in town but its tasty menu attracts Thai foodies from across London. From its small basement dining room, it serves some of the most authentic dishes in town. Many of the recipes hail from northeast Thailand and you'll find salads, curries, stir-fries and more on the menu. The restaurant doubles as a karaoke lounge after ​9 p.m. 

  • 03 of 07

    7 London Pubs That Serve Delicious Thai Food

    The Faltering Fullbank

    This fun pub in north London is a Finsbury Park favorite. It's a great place to watch sports (mainly rugby and football/soccer games) and live music events, including acoustic sessions and open mic nights, are held regularly. The secluded beer garden is one of London's best and to round out the many reasons to visit, it serves topnotch Thai food. Spicy treats including fish cakes and Tom Kha soup are available in the Back Room from 6:30 every day. 

  • 04 of 07

    The Woodbine, Highbury

    7 London Pubs That Serve Delicious Thai Food

    The Woodbine

    This good-looking drinking den is decked out with walls of reclaimed wood and chandeliers. It's a modern take on a traditional pub and serves craft beers from London breweries based in Islington, Hackney, and Greenwich. There's a long list of Thai dishes on offer including an array of stir-fries, Tom Yum soups, and noodles. ​

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.

  • 05 of 07

    7 London Pubs That Serve Delicious Thai Food

    The Latymers

    If you can't decide between Thai and British food, head to the Latymers in Hammersmith and you can enjoy both. The lunch menu features fish and chips on one menu and a selection of noodle dishes on the other. In the evening you'll find fancier food like Thai-style sirloin steak, roast duck and a number of sea bass specials. There's an outdoor seating area if you need to cool down after a spicy feast. 

  • 06 of 07

    This pretty corner pub sits on a beautifully preserved street near Waterloo station. The cozy space features wood panels and a crackling fire and there's a regularly changing menu of guest ales. Kanchana's Kitchen serves affordable Thai dishes seven days a week including starters like spring rolls and sesame prawn toast that make excellent bar snacks.

  • 07 of 07

    7 London Pubs That Serve Delicious Thai Food

     Lemon Tree, Covent Gardens

    Tucked behind the London Coliseum in Covent Garden, this cute pub is a little off the beaten track in this part of town and all the better for it. There are a number of real ales on tap and a good selection of wines. Thai food, including red duck curry and yum nua salad, is served upstairs alongside a small menu of classic pub fare.

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