To Celebrate World Tourism Day, Booking.com Shines a Light on Some of the More Unusual Things to See and Do in the UK
In honour of World Tourism Day on 27 September and with a mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world - including the parts that aren’t so far from home, we are recommending a handful of adventures right here in the UK. After all, why should overseas visitors be the only ones checking out what the UK has to offer?
Nearly a quarter (24%) of British travellers* booked an attraction or an experience as part of last year’s holiday. Everyone knows that the best way to enjoy a new environment is to ‘travel like a local’. Two thirds (63%)** of British travellers even say that when they travel, they want to have authentic experiences that are representative of the local culture. But the inverse also applies. Even on the doorstep, there’s always something new to explore, and somewhere unique to stay.
Steeped in rich history, with an outstanding array of landscapes, Scotland welcomes hordes of visitors from the furthest reaches of the planet. Even so, although 77% of Brits look for natural beauty when they’re choosing their destination*, a surprising number of UK residents from south of the border have yet to visit this scenic wonderland.
As if all that bucolic splendour weren’t enough, Scotland also boasts plenty of man-made attractions. For example, visitors can take a historical tour of the world-famous golf site that is St Andrews. They’ll learn from a local historian and tour guide, find out what makes St Andrews unique within the world of golf, and explore the town and its famed university grounds.
Known for its architecture and history, beautiful Edinburgh offers many one-of-a-kind experiences, such as Build Your Own Watch at Kartel. Not many can say they’ve created a watch, but anyone aged 12 or over can come along, learn about watchmaking and make their very own masterpiece of a timepiece. As Jon Snow might put it, “And now my watch begins.”
A mere 30-minute drive from Edinburgh, The Secret Hideaway’s ‘pods’ provide space-age comfort on the inside, but a wooden look and feel on the outside, thoroughly in tune with the peaceful setting of water, trees, hills, etc. For maximum indulgence, there’s nothing like hot-tubbing in nature.
Last year, over a quarter (28%) of global travellers indulged in a ‘food experience’* while on their adventures. Perfect for cheese-lovers visiting Liverpool, the cheese crawl is quite literally a taste of local culture, and a great way to check out a range of specially selected cheeses both regional and exotic. And of course, to see the sights and famous sounds of a city that’s knee-deep in Beatles landmarks, while burning the calories at the same time.
If a cheese crawl feels too pedestrian, York’s more-adventurous Wild Food Foraging Walking Tour might be just the ticket. Encompassing over 20 edible plants, the tour gives travellers the chance to connect with nature and learn more about the free food all around us. Perfect for lovers of both nature and food (as well as any ‘preppers’ looking to add a few strings to their bow).
Not so far away, Leeds offers a gin creation session, where visitors can enjoy a selection of gins, create their very own blend and personalise their own bottle to take home. By the end of the session, they can expect to be full-fledged gin experts.
For a unique place to stay in Yorkshire, the Chapel Boutique in Harrogate is a win on so many fronts - quirky, full of art and set in a beautiful part of the county, it’s the type of place travellers will find hard to leave.
Down South, Brighton is famous for its vibrant LGBTQ+ scene. Visitors to the city can throw themselves right into the action by attending a drag queen show, followed by brunch and cocktails. Anyone who’s after a quieter, more relaxing time might prefer the yoga and forest bathing experience: yoga and nature wrapped up together in a half-day within the beautiful surroundings of Starmer Park. And just a couple of hours drive away, travellers can take things to the next level with a stay on the luxurious SEA-E-O boat, completing the ultimate staycation.
As Samuel Jonhson so wisely said: “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” Anyone looking something different (and quintessentially British) to do can take on the role of James Bond for the day. Looking for something a little more niche and historical? They can delve into Britain's postal history by visiting the Postal Museum and taking a ride on the Mail Rail.
A couple of hours (but spiritually, a million miles) from London, the Sleepy Explorer provides rustic outdoor living beneath the trees… a great way to leave the city behind and immerse oneself in the wonderful British countryside. Ideal for families and groups of friends.
You really don't have to travel far for new and interesting experiences. One of the great things about the UK is the way it packs so much variety into a relatively small area. Despite its diminutive size, it offers more than enough to keep the most intrepid explorer busy for many lifetimes.
*Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 48,413 respondents across 31 markets (2,000 from USA, 1,864 from Canada, 1,999 from Mexico, 2,003 from Colombia, 2,005 from Brazil, 2,002 from Argentina, 1,020 from Chile, 1,777 from Australia, 818 from New Zealand, 1,999 from Spain, 2,002 from Italy, 1,998 from France, 1,990 from UK, 2,005 from Germany, 2,003 from Netherlands, 985 from Denmark, 999 from Sweden, 910 from Croatia, 918 from Switzerland, 1,986 from Belgium, 998 from Russia, 953 from Israel, 1,999 from India, 1,990 from China, 901 from Hong Kong, 1,775 from Thailand, 1,001 from Singapore, 975 from Taiwan, 1,800 from Vietnam, 1,757 from South Korea, 1,001 from Japan). In order to participate in this survey, respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have traveled at least once for business or leisure in the past 12 months, and planning to travel in 2022 and be either the primary decision maker or involved in the decision making of their travel. The survey was taken online and took place in January 2022.
**Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 30,314 respondents across 32 countries and territories (1,000 from USA, 958 from Canada, 1,009 from Mexico, 1,001 from Colombia, 1,003 from Brazil, 1,017 from Argentina, 1,000 from Australia, 486 from New Zealand, 998 from Spain, 1,003 from Italy, 996 from France, 495 from Switzerland, 980 from the UK, 998 from Germany, 1,014 from the Netherlands, 991 from Belgium, 985 from Denmark, 984 from Sweden, 964 from Croatia, 976 from Russia, 1,008 from Israel, 1,002 from India, 1,004 from China, 925 from Hong Kong, 1,006 from Thailand, 988 from Singapore, 1,002 from Taiwan, 1,004 from Vietnam, 1,004 from South Korea, 1,003 from Japan, 1,006 from South Africa and 504 from Kenya ). In order to participate in this survey, respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have traveled at least once in the past 12 months and must be planning to travel in 2022, and be either the primary decision maker or involved in the decision making of their travel. The survey was taken online and took place in February 2022.