It might be small, but an unbeatable combination of history, heritage and beautiful countryside makes the UK one of the world's most varied and action-packed holiday destinations. Fancy the great outdoors? Conquer peaks like Snowdonia and Ben Nevis, or explore the Lake District National Park. Ready to party? Hit the town in trendy Manchester or lively Liverpool, or prop up the bar in one of the many excellent London pubs. Want to shop? Browse through Borough Market, or head to Harrods for your designer goods fix. It’s all here.
The hardest part of any UK travel adventure is deciding what not to see. Read on for our top 5 of the country's most essential sights.
Marvel at the iconic Sagrada Familla in Barcelona.
Gaudi’s majestic creation has been wowing crowds since it first began construction in 1882. Since then, multiple architects have taken up the reins on the project, some honouring Gaudi’s original designs, other’s redefining the creation completely. The multiple and varied facades of the building, plus its sheer size and majesty, make it a must do for any traveller visiting Barcelona.See all trips that visit Barcelona
Indulge in traditional Andalusian delicacies in Seville.
Seville is renowned for its gastronomic offerings, and whilst the traditional dishes may be simple to prepare, they’re bursting with fresh regional flavours. Gazpacho, Pescaito frito and Huevos a la Flamenca are all famed Andalusian specialities, or for those preferring traditional tapas, Seville has around 4,000 tapas bars to choose from – take your pick!See all trips that visit Seville
Live like a King in the Royal Palace of Madrid.
Get a glimpse of life as the other half live with a guided tour of the Royal Palace in Madrid. The largest palace in Europe, the Palacio Real de Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, though is only used formally for state ceremonies. Gorge your eyes on the many works of art by famed Spanish painters as you delve a little deeper into Spain’s rich history.See all trips that visit Madrid
Party till dawn in the clubbing mecca of Ibiza.
Nowhere on Earth will you experience clubbing quite like Ibiza. Home to some of the world’s most infamous clubs, come and join the party as night after night revered world class DJ’s play their hearts out to adoring crowds. Get into the mood with sunset cocktails at Café Del Mar then party till sunrise at Space, DC-10 or Ibiza Rocks.See all trips that visit Ibiza
Bask in sunlight on Barceloneta Beach.
Some cities are fortunate enough to have the perfect city/beach balance, and Barcelona is one of them. Whilst Barceloneta Beach may be man-made, the water is clear and refreshing and the beach is alive with travellers and locals alike chatting, swimming and generally loving life. Spend long leisurely lunches in the surrounding cafes and restaurants, hire bikes or rollerblades or just relax in the sunshine.See all trips that visit Barcelona
Explore the Islamic inspired fortress of Alhambra.
Rising from woods of cypress and elm, the Alhambra reigns supreme on the hillside of Gibraltar. Born in the 11th Century and then further developed over the 14th and 15th century’s, the fortress holds an extensive network of lavishly decorated palaces and irrigated gardens and gives those who visit it a glimpse into the rich history of the Spanish empire and the influence both Islam and Catholicism had on the Alhambra’s design.See all trips that visit Gibraltar
1. Glastonbury – Held in a picturesque valley in southwest England, this gigantic city-sized festival might just be the world's best. It offers the works: theatre, arts, dance, comedy, cabaret and top level musical entertainment from many hundreds of acts, along with a heavy smattering of downright weirdness.
For more info on the Glastonbury Festival, click here.
2. Hay Festival, Haye-on-Wye – This 10-day festival of literature and arts is held annually in the town of Hay-on-Wye in Wales, attracting writers and literary enthusiasts from all over the world. Expect readings, musical entertainment, and plenty of heated debate.
For more information on Hay Festival, click here.
3. Festival No.6, Portmeirion – This intimate festival of music and arts takes place in early September in beautiful Portmeirion; a small Welsh coastal village built eccentrically in the style of a town from the Italian Riviera. The village and its surrounding woodlands provide a truly magical setting.
For more information on Festival No.6, click here.
4. Green Man, Brecon Beacons – Famed for its beautiful setting and alternative, non-corporate ethos, Green Man offers a left-of-centre lineup of folk, Americana, indie, rock and dance music, with plenty of big name acts in attendance. It's held in the beautiful Brecon Beacons in Wales each August.
For more information on Green Man festival, click here.
5. Bestival, Isle of Wight – Bestival takes place in early September, in a beautiful country park on the Isle of Wight. It features a winning lineup of top-level musical entertainment along with a spirited party ethos and an annual fancy-dress theme, making for one of Europe's most lively festival experiences.
For more information on the Bestival, click here.
1. Victoria and Albert Museum, London – The V&A is comfortably the world's largest museum of art & design. It's located in west London a short walk south of the Royal Albert Hall, and in its collection you'll find everything from Ancient Greek and Byzantine sculpture to Islamic art.
For more information on the Victoria and Albert Museum, click here.
2. Natural History Museum, London – You'll find the Natural History Museum a mere stone's throw from the V&A, and you'll be glad you did. Located in a magnificent ornate building, it's home to a vast range of specimens and many excellent interactive exhibits, though it's most famed for its extensive collection of dinosaur bones. Visiting it is a true UK travel 2015 must-do.
For more information on the Natural History Museum, click here.
3. British Museum, London – Established in 1753, this museum of art, culture and human history boasts one of the largest and most extensive collections in the world, with a staggering 8 million exhibits calling the place home. You'll find it in the Bloomsbury area of central London.
For more information on the British Museum, click here.
4. Tate Modern, London – This branch of the Tate Gallery is the go-to place for anyone interested in modern art. It's located in a former power station on the south bank of the River Thames and houses a truly vast collection, with highlights including some large and moody canvases by Mark Rothko.
For more information on the Tate Modern, click here.
5. National Gallery, London – Located on Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery is home to one of the UK's premier art collections, and is one of the most visited art museums in the world. Amongst its treasures you'll find celebrated works by the likes of Turner, Van Gogh and Leonardo da Vinci.
For more information on the National Gallery, click here.
Gone are the days when the term 'UK cuisine' was a joke. Thanks to its colonial past and its huge and varied immigrant population, modern UK food is a colourful mix of culinary cultures from around the globe. Once known for such dubious delights as jellied eels and bread & butter pudding, it's now home to a thriving contemporary dining scene and more Michelin starred chefs than you could shake a stick at.
Chicken tikka masala – TIt might seem strange, but this prized national dish originated in the UK and is every bit as British as fish & chips. It comprises tender chunks of chicken marinated in yoghurt and spices, then cooked in a clay tandoor oven. It's served with rice and hearty unleavened naan bread.
Best eaten at - Punjab, 80 Neal St, London WC2H 9PA
Full English breakfast – Depending on your viewpoint, this calorific classic is either a hangover-busting godsend or a heart attack waiting to happen. It consists of bacon, sausage, eggs, baked beans and toast, though don't be surprised if you find sautéed mushrooms, the occasional grilled tomato or even a cheeky slice of black pudding thrown into the mix.
Best eaten at – Gorilla, 54-56 Whitworth Street West, Manchester
Sunday roast – The traditional Sunday dinner is a British institution, and a UK travel 2015 must-try. It consists of your choice of roasted meat - lamb, chicken, beef and pork are the usual suspects - with roast potatoes and a variable cast of boiled vegetables, covered in rich gravy.
Best eaten at – The Shakespeares Head, 1 Chatham Place, Brighton
Cream tea – Nothing says 'England' quite like a cream tea. It consists of a warm fruit scone cut in half then smothered liberally with clotted cream and strawberry jam, served with a piping hot pot of tea.
Best eaten at – Sandleigh Tea Room & Garden, Moor Lane, Croyde, North Devon
Fish & chips – Found everywhere from upscale restaurants in London to the lowliest local chippie, fish & chips is the definitive UK dish. Look for crispy batter and well-cooked chips, and plump for a sundry like a pickled onion or even a pickled egg!
Best eaten at – Anstruther Fish Bar, 42-44 Shore Street, Anstruther, Fife
A raincoat and umbrella - The UK's reputation for damp, drizzly weather is not unfounded. Bring a shower-proof jacket, and don't forget your brolly!
An adapter plug and transformer - You'll need an adapter to use the UK's 3-pin plug sockets. The voltage here is 240V, so anything running on 110V will require a step-down transformer.
Comfortable walking shoes - Walking is the de rigueur mode of transport here - this isn't the USA! Comfortable shoes will make life that bit more pleasant.
A credit or debit card with chip & PIN - So you can use automated ticket machines at train and tube stations, thereby skipping those long ticket window lines.
Wellie boots - You may know them as 'rain boots', but here they're wellies. Essential if you're attending one of the many excellent UK festivals, but also handy for tramping the rainy streets.