United Kingdom Destination Guide


Visit the land of pubs, rugby, theatre and the world's favourite royal household

Patriotic, proud and picturesque, the UK may be South Africa's staunch rugby and cricket rival, but it remains a favourite destination with South Africans who love to unwind in the Scottish countryside, soak in the literary history in olde English villages and don the latest London looks.

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Home to England, the United Kingdom's official language is (you guessed it) English. Before taking the world by storm, the humble language originated on the streets of Great Britain thanks to waves of migration from wider Europe. In Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Cornwall you will also hear Celtic languages spoken.

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Travel to the United Kingdom

Both historical and ultramodern attractions

The United Kingdom is made up of Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales) and Northern Ireland. It remains one of the most popular travel destinations for its historical attractions and magnificent countryside, as well as it ultramodern infrastructure and urban sprawl. The United Kingdom welcomes millions of visitors all year round to its dramatic coastlines, verdant countryside and enchanting towns. England's capital London is probably the most popular of the UK's tourist destinations, taking pride as one of the most cosmopolitan cities on the planet. But those who choose to remain in London may miss out on the famous English countryside, like the haunting beauty of the Lake District which inspired so many 19th Century poets, writers and painters. The Cotswolds are another of England's most scenic destinations; their picturesque riverside villages and neat stone cottages a throwback to Shakespearean times. Away from the countryside, once great industrial cities like Bristol, Manchester and Newcastle are undergoing rapid urban regeneration. Many music fans flock to Merseyside and Liverpool, best known as the birthplace of The Beatles.

Lands of song, fine whisky -- and movies



Wales, affectionately known as 'the land of song', is one of the ancestral homes of Celtic culture. Welsh citizens are rightly proud of their national identity and have plenty to show visitors - from the country's capital of Cardiff, with its sophisticated modernism and its medieval past coexisting side by side, to Snowdonia National Park in the north which offers some of the most spectacular scenery around. The southwest coastal city of Swansea may live in the shadow of the capital, but it remains one of Wales' most popular tourist spots.

Rainbow over the Ogwen Valley in Snowdonia, Wales | by Flight Centre's Laura Moran

Scotland, lying to the north of England and Wales, is home to rugged highlands, stunning period architecture and some of the finest whisky distilleries in the world. Scotland has many fascinating attractions. The vibrant capital is Edinburgh, with its beautiful Victorian and Georgian-era architecture. Glasgow is the country's largest city and - increasingly - one of the UK's most culturally active cities. Up, on the Highlands is the picturesque town of Inverness, where ties to the nation's clan culture remain strong. 
Northern Ireland, which is separated from the island of Great Britain by the Irish Sea, retains close links to the Republic of Ireland in the south. Northern Ireland's capital Belfast is, like many of the United Kingdom's major cities, in the midst of urban revival. Northern Ireland’s natural beauty and its authentic natural rustic splendour made it popular with movie makers, such as the creators of the hit series "Game of Thrones". 
Whether it's the lure of its enigmatic, longstanding cities or the moorlands and quaint rural villages, United Kingdom holidays remain eternally popular with a diverse range of travellers. 

From Dickens to the Globe, Heathcliff to Agatha Christie

Dickens, Chaucer, Austen, Keats, Wordsworth have all something in common - they (and many others) are buried in "Poets' Corner", the name traditionally given to a section of the South Transept of London's iconic Westminster Abbey because of the high number of poets, playwrights, and writers, buried and commemorated there. On a UK holiday, bookworms, budding wordsmiths and other lovers of the written word can visit authors’ homes, literary museums, towns immortalised in story and landscapes that inspired celebrated narratives. Visit London's "Shakespeare's Globe", a 1997 modern reconstruction of the Globe standing approximately 750 feet (230 m) from the site of the original theatre. Stop by Agatha Christie's holiday home in Devon and see the dramatic landscapes that stirred the Bronte sisters to pen their novels. Who knows, maybe a literary tour will inspire your inner scribe too?

Festival to Fringe, Glastonbury to Tattoo, Beer to Rock

The United Kingdom plays host to hundreds of festivals throughout the calendar year. Some of the more famous ones are Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Glastonbury Festival, the Military Tattoo, the London Film Festival, Birmingham's ArtFest, Great Britain Beer Festival in Olympia, Ludlow's Food Festival and the Download Rock Festival in Leicestershire, as well as the 4 day music Festival in the Isle of Wight. Whether you're keen for a giggle at a comedy gala, up for a little head-banging listening to big-name bands or ready to celebrate the best regional flavours at a food and wine festival, the United Kingdom always has its party hat on so prepare to feast and fest during your stay.

The spectacular of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Scotland

Bronze Age to Ye Olde Fighting Cocks: celebrating the English pub

Locals have been drinking ale since the Bronze Age. The Romans established the inns called "tabernae" which, eventually, became the Public House, or "Pub". The humble pub has been the cornerstone of the United Kingdom's social scene for hundreds of years. These are alehouses, taverns, watering holes, whatever you want to call these establishments where friends are made, sports teams are cheered and jeered and pints of beer are consumed en masse. South Africans, who are not strangers to pubs, know that 'watering holes' give travellers a great insight into the local culture. You don't have to travel far to find a pub, with around 57,000 in the UK including Britain's oldest, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St Albans, and its smallest, the Nutshell in Suffolk. Watch a game of Rugby at the 500-year-old Prince of Wales pub in Kenfig, Wales, or join the Highlanders for a whisky at the Clachaig Inn in Scotland's Glencoe. 

Getting there and around

The United Kingdom is one of the most accessible holiday destinations. If you're looking to save time and money, check out our range of holiday packages currently on offer, combining  flights, accommodation and added extras like tour, transfers and more. Thinking about a cruise holiday? The UK's sweeping coastline is even more spectacular when seen from sea. 
Enjoy the freedom from a strict schedule by hiring your own set of wheels. Book a hire car and swap the city streets for country roads, taking your time to get to know the charming medieval villages that give the United Kingdom its character.

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Ideas & Inspirations

Mark Twain once called golf a good walk ruined, but there's no need to ruin any of these good walks on a ramble through the Scottish countryside.
It may be one of the world's most beloved travel destinations but London's colourful streets often conceal a dark and disturbing past.
The British pub is an institution. They've been around since Roman times and today the traditional British pub remains very much a part of every day life.
Bursting onto the scene with a snarling swagger not seen since The Rolling Stones held sway, Britpop helped put three major British cities back on the musical map.
Football's spiritual homeland remains an enduringly popular place to watch the round-ball game. Not surprisingly, England is home to some of the most iconic football grounds in the world.
Pictures may tell a thousand words but sometimes the only way to explore a famous literary landscape is to literally see it for yourself.