Once you’ve retired, one of your well earned privileges is the right to travel around and see the world. In fact, you don’t have to break out your passport to visit some amazing places - we’ve got some great places to visit right here in the UK.

  1. Cornwall

It’s not just about the Cornish Pasties, Cornish Cream Teas and of course the Cornish Ice Creams - although that certainly helps! - Cornwall is a beautiful county packed full of places to visit and things to do. Lush gardens, beautiful seafronts, picturesque harbours, and a surprisingly large number of celebrity chefs are all reasons to come here. It’s well worth the journey down, and here’s our favourite pick of places to go when you do come and visit. For more information about Cornwall, visit https://www.visitengland.com/things-to-do/cornwall 

Camel Valley Vineyard, Cornwall

Cornwall’s largest vineyard, the award winning Camel Valley Vineyard in Bodmin, Cornwall. Established in 1989, the vineyard produces red, white and pink wines of outstanding quality. You can go to tasting events, for a tour of the vineyard, to visit the shop and you can even stay in one of the cottages that are available to rent in the vineyard grounds.

St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall

The National Trust’s St Michael’s Mount in Mount Bay, Marazion, Cornwall is a rocky island with it’s very own medieval castle and an entire community living permanently on the island. Explore the exotic sub-tropical gardens, visit the fairytale castle, explore the shops, cafes and the island itself to your heart's content.

Hayle, Cornwall

Hayle is a small town, civil parish and cargo port in west Cornwall, United Kingdom. It is situated at the mouth of the Hayle River and is approximately seven miles northeast of Penzance. Hayle has over 3 miles of golden sands with long sandy beaches stretching from Phillack on the mouth of the River Hayle to Upton Towans and towards Gwithian, provide a perfect spot for relaxing and enjoying the magnificent panoramic views towards Godrevy lighthouse and St Ives.

2. Norfolk 

Situated on the east coast of England, North Norfolk has 45 miles of stunning coastline, Blue Flag beaches, the unique Deep History Coast and breathtaking countryside. Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, north Norfolk is home to much of The Broads National Park, Britain's largest protected wetland, salt marshes, as well as several nature reserves of international importance, making north Norfolk a haven for wildlife and birds, and great for walking.

The Broads National Park, Norfolk

Norfolk is possibly most famous for the man made Broads, a National Park with over 125 miles of navigable lock free waterways set in beautiful countryside and studded with charming and picturesque towns and villages.The only National Park with a city in it.

The big skies and sparkling landscape of marshland fields, feathery reeds and tangled woodlands are a perfect canvas for adventure and relaxation - time to reflect, space to explore, a magical opportunity to enjoy a fabulous break.

This is the Venice of the East – in fact, the Norfolk Broads has more miles of waterway than the Italian city, It also has more waterways than Amsterdam.

The Broads National Park offers visitors an experience unlike any other, both on its rivers and lakes, and alongside them, on peaceful paths and cycle ways.

Norfolk Lavender

World famous lavender gardens and oil distillery, national lavender collection and herb garden. Founded in 1932, Norfolk Lavender has nearly 100 acres of lavender under cultivation. Beautiful tranquil gardens, tours of the fields, shops, restrooms and cafes - this is the perfect day out for visitors.

3. Wales

Wales is known for its rugged coastline, mountainous national parks, distinctive Welsh language and Celtic culture. Cardiff, the capital, is a refined coastal city with a nightlife scene and a medieval castle with ornate Gothic Revival interiors. In the northwest, Snowdonia National Park has lakes, glacial landforms, hiking trails and a railway up to the peak of Snowdon. 

Castell Coch, South Wales

Castell Coch is a 19th-century Gothic Revival castle built above the village of Tongwynlais in South Wales. The first castle on the site was built by the Normans after 1081. Castell Coch, or the ‘Red Castle’, rises up from the ancient beech woods of Forest Fawr like a vision from a fairytale. Yet these great towers with their unmistakable conical roofs only hint at the splendour within. Given free rein by the third Marquess of Bute, architect William Burges didn’t hold back. The highly decorated interiors and rich furnishings of Castell Coch make it a dazzling masterpiece of the High Victorian era.

Portmeirion Village, North Wales

Portmeirion is a tourist village in Gwynedd, North Wales. It was designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975 in the style of an Italian village. In addition to its architectural heritage, its stunning setting and subtropical gardens, Portmeirion has two stylish hotels, a cluster of self catering cottages, shops, a spa, cafes and restaurants and an authentic Italian style gelateria.

Brecon Beacons National Park, Mid-Wales

The Brecon Beacons are a mountain range in South Wales. In a narrow sense, the name refers to the range of Old Red Sandstone peaks which lie to the south of Brecon. Sometimes referred to as "the central Beacons" they include South Wales' highest mountain, Pen y Fan. If you enjoy making the most of the great outdoors, you’ll love the Brecon Beacons. Our National Park is a great place to get active. This is not a fenced-off preserve – it’s a living, working landscape which will bring out your adventurous side. There are masses of paths and trails for walkers, runners, cyclists, mountain bikers, horse riders and wildlife-watchers. There’s a brilliant range of organised activities on offer, too, from gentle recreational pursuits like photography to full-on adrenaline sports such as paragliding, rafting and abseiling.

4. Brighton

Brighton is a seaside resort in the county of East Sussex. It is part of the city of Brighton and Hove, created in 2001 from the formerly separate towns of Brighton and Hove. There’s plenty of history in Brighton, plus miles of gorgeous beaches and all the attractions of a seaside resort.

Brighton Pavilion

The Brighton Pavilion is a Grade I listed former royal residence located in Brighton, England. Beginning in 1787, it was built in three stages as a seaside retreat for George, Prince of Wales, who became the Prince Regent in 1811.

The Royal Pavilion (as it’s also known) is an exotic palace in the centre of Brighton with a colourful history. This historic house mixes Regency grandeur with the visual style of India and China. Daily entry to the house, with guided tours, is available.

Brighton Museum and Art Gallery

Located in the Royal Pavilion garden, at the heart of the city’s cultural quarter. Its diverse collections bring together the arts and history from multiple eras. There’s full disabled access and the Royal Pavilion garden is right outside. Plus, it’s only a five minute walk to the nearest beach.

Brighton Palace Pier

The Brighton Palace Pier, commonly known as Brighton Pier or the Palace Pier is a Grade II listed pleasure pier in Brighton, England, located in the city centre opposite the Old Steine. The Pier is a 1,722ft long Victorian pier, located at the heart of Brighton and Hove’s 8 miles of beautiful coastline. There’s multiple shops, entertainment centres and food venues along the Pier; plus of course the venues nearby along the beaches.

5. Scotland

Scotland has it all: beautiful mountains, rugged and unrelenting coastlines, breathtaking scenery that stretches on for miles and an abundance of historical places to visit. One trip is definitely not going to be enough.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh has an abundance of sights for visitors to enjoy. There’s the magnificent Edinburgh Castle, home to Scotland’s crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny, used in the coronation of Scottish rulers. Arthur’s Seat is an imposing peak in Holyrood Park with sweeping views, and Calton Hill is topped with monuments and memorials. The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the Queen's official Edinburgh residence and has frequently been at the center of Scottish history. When the Queen's away, public access is permitted to the stunning Historic Apartments (former home of Mary Queen of Scots) and the State Apartments. The neighboring 12th-century Holyrood Abbey was founded by King David I. For shoppers, head to The Royal Mile. The streets linking Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse are lined with charming townhouses, churches, and historic landmarks, this splendid thoroughfare is a place to stroll for its shops (including kiltmakers & other authentic Scots shops), inns, museums, cafés, and restaurants.

Glasgow

Glasgow is a bustling, thriving City on the banks of the River Clyde in Scotland's western Lowlands. It's famed for its Victorian and art nouveau architecture, and has managed to reinvent itself in recent years so that now, it’s renowned as a national cultural hub. The City is home to many acclaimed institutions including the Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet and National Theatre of Scotland, as well as multiple museums and a thriving music scene. Notable places to visit include the twelfth century Glasgow Cathedral, also known as St. Mungo Cathedral or the High Kirk of Glasgow. The University of Glasgow dates from 1451 and is the second oldest school of higher education in Scotland. Within the University is the Hunterian Museum. The museum now includes collections from the departments of ethnography, zoology, geology and archaeology, including many finds from Roman sites. Artwork on display includes works by Rubens, Rembrandt and Reynolds. Finally, shoppers and those looking for a great night out should head to Sauchiehall Street, now almost entirely given over to pedestrians, at more than 1.5 miles long and offering a wide range of cafés, restaurants, high end shops, hotels, and the wonderful Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

6. London

London, the capital of England and the United Kingdom, is a 21st century city with a rich history that stretches as far back as the Romans. The River Thames cuts through the City and has influenced much of its development over the centuries. From world class entertainment and shopping venues, to more unique historical landmarks and museums than any other City you can visit: London is a tourist attraction that offers something different on every visit.

Must-see attractions while you’re visiting include: Kew Gardens, Kensington Palace, Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, and the ever popular ‘London By Night’ open top bus tour. Other top attractions include Westminster Abbey, London Zoo, Madame Tussauds plus of course there’s the amazing Victoria and Albert and Natural History Museums to visit. 

Shoppers should head to Oxford Street and work their way around the City from there. The London Underground makes travelling across and around the City a breeze, and there’s a pub, cafe or restaurant every few steps when you want a rest from all the walking you’ll be doing.

For more information head to VisitLondon to plan all of your days out.

7. Derbyshire

Derbyshire lies in the East Midlands region of England. A substantial portion of the Peak District National Park lies within Derbyshire, containing the southern extremity of the Pennine range of hills which extend into the north of the county. For a city break, visit Derby and climb its cathedral tower or look around the museums that give cutting insights into the role the city played in the Industrial Revolution and the Golden Age of Steam. 

The Peak District National Park

The Peak District National Park became the first national park in the United Kingdom in 1951. It is mostly in northern Derbyshire, with visitors attracted annually by the vast rolling  landscape, the beautiful spa towns at Buxton and Matlock Bath, Castleton's show caves, and Bakewell, the national park's only town. From amazing countryside walks and scenic cycling trails, to spectacular rock climbing opportunities and quaint country villages. There are endless things to do in the Peak District, and it's well worth your time to visit this amazing part of the UK.

Chatsworth House

A stately home in Derbyshire, England. The seat of the Duke of Devonshire, it has been home to the Cavendish family since 1549. Chatsworth House has been featured in many films including Pride and Prejudice (2005) and The Duchess (2008); plus of course the acclaimed TV series of Pride and Prejudice (1995), starring Colin Firth. Chatsworth House has over 30 rooms to explore, from the magnificent Painted Hall, to the family-used chapel, regal State Rooms and beautiful Sculpture Gallery. Chatsworth also houses the Devonshire Collection, one of Europe's most significant art collections, which is continually added to, encompassing Old Masters to contemporary ceramics and artefacts from Ancient Egypt to cutting edge modern sculpture.

Derwent Valley Mills / Derwent Dam

The Derwent Valley Mills are the birthplace of the factory system, hence the reason for being added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2001. It was here that the essential ingredients of factory production were first successfully combined. Water Power was applied and successfully used for the first time on a relatively large scale. The mill settlements are well preserved and are unique as a survival of early industrial communities.

Meanwhile, at Derwent Reservoir, lies the magnificent Derwent Dam. There is a choice of 3 walks you can do as well as choosing your own path, each ranging from about a mile to 4 miles. The woodland and forest around the dam are stunning, and then the dam itself is an amazing architectural feat.

8. Somerset

Somerset is a county in South West England, bounded to the north and west by the Severn Estuary and the Bristol Channel, with its coastline facing towards Wales. One of the larger English counties and yet far from the most densely populated, some of its gems include; wildflower meadows, beach waterfalls, ancient wells, unique carvings and underground reservoirs.

Exmoor National Park

Exmoor is loosely defined as an area of hilly open moorland in west Somerset and North Devon in South West England. It is named after the River Exe, and is a unique landscape of moorland, woodland, valleys and farmland. The park contains multiple national park and visitor centres, as well as areas of outstanding national interest like The Valley of Rocks, Combe Martin, Heddon’s Mouth, Lyn Bay and many more - for a full list of things to do checkout National Park.

Glastonbury Tor and Abbey

Glastonbury Abbey was a monastery in Glastonbury, Somerset, England. Its ruins, a grade I listed building and scheduled ancient monument, are open as a visitor attraction. The abbey was founded in the 7th century and enlarged in the 10th. Glastonbury Tor is a hill near Glastonbury in the English county of Somerset, topped by the .... There was also a portable altar of Purbeck Marble; it is likely that the Monastery of St Michael on the Tor was a daughter house of Glastonbury Abbey.

Cheddar Caves and Gorge

Cheddar Gorge is a limestone gorge in the Mendip Hills, near the village of Cheddar, Somerset, England. The gorge is the site of the Cheddar show caves, where Britain's oldest complete human skeleton, Cheddar Man, estimated to be over 9,000 years old, was found in 1903. Visit Britain’s highest, inland limestone cliffs rising up to 450ft; and explore the depths of stunning stalactite caverns below that were created by Ice Age melt-waters over millions of years. The Cheddar Gorge & Caves are designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation.

9. Northumberland

Northumberland is the northernmost county in England, bordering Scotland to the north. Fewer people live in Northumberland than in many London Boroughs, and yet it’s the sixth largest county by area. With no cities, Northumbrians live in fishing ports, distinguished market towns and far-flung hamlets in the deep valleys of the Northumberland National Park. Castles are abundant in the county, a lingering reminder that battles and sieges were a part of life in this region for hundreds of years. 

Alnwick and Alnwick Castle

A market town full of poise, Alnwick has terraces of limestone flat fronted townhouses with second-hand bookshops, coffee shops and pubs. Alnwick Garden has amazing landscaped hedges and flower beds sited around a water cascade. There is even a Poison Garden growing hemlock, foxglove and the plants to make ricin and strychnine. The town’s castle is the second largest inhabited castle in the UK, after Windsor. You’re free to walk around it in the summer, and there is an extra incentive for Harry Potter fans as the property was Hogwarts in the movies. Home of the Percy family and Dukes of Northumberland since 1309.

Holy Island / Lindisfarne

Lying just a few miles off the Northumberland coast, Holy Island is cut off twice daily from the rest of the world by fast moving tides. Both an island and a picturesque village, Holy Island carries a wealth of history within its tidal walls. The 12th century Lindisfarne Priory was the epicentre of Christianity in Anglo Saxon times and once the home of St Oswald. It was the birthplace of the Lindisfarne Gospels, one of the world’s most precious books. The ruins of Lindisfarne Priory include the famous ‘rainbow bridge’ which spirals skywards with the ghost of a long-vanished tower. Rising from the sheer rock face at the tip of the island is Lindisfarne Castle. Built in 1550 as a fort to defend the harbour against attack from Scots and Norsemen. In 1901 Edward Hudson bought Lindisfarne Castle and commissioned celebrated architect Edward Lutyens to give the castle a luxurious makeover. Today the National Trust look after Lindisfarne Castle.

Hadrian’s Wall

Hadrian’s Wall was the north west frontier of the Roman empire for nearly 300 years. It was built by the Roman army on the orders of the emperor Hadrian following his visit to Britain in AD 122. Stretching 73 miles from coast to coast, Hadrian’s Wall was built to guard the wild north-west frontier of the Roman Empire. Today you can explore the Wall’s rich history and its dramatic landscape at over twenty English Heritage sites and the whole site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit Roman Forts and Towns along the wall - https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/hadrians-wall/ has all the information you need.

10. Bath

Bath is the largest city in the county of Somerset, England, known for its Roman built baths. Bath is in the valley of the River Avon, close to the City of Bristol. Bath became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987. Bath boasts breathtaking scenery, elegant Georgian architecture and a buzzing food scene, with plenty for the visitor to do and enjoy. Jane Austen made Bath her home from 1801 to 1806, and was so taken by the city she set both Northanger Abbey and Persuasion in Bath. Today keen historians and lovers of literature can head to The Jane Austen Centre to find out more.

The Roman Baths

Immerse yourself in history and see how Bath’s former residents relaxed all those centuries ago. Interactive exhibits and CGI reconstructions bring this unique ancient site back to life, showing how important the baths were to our Roman ancestors. You can’t take a dip at the Roman Baths these days, but you can still enjoy the same natural hot spring water at Thermae Bath Spa. This one of a kind complex brings the spa into the twenty first century, with lovely treatments, relaxation spaces and a spectacular rooftop pool offering 360 degree views of the city.

Bath Abbey

A parish church of the Church of England and former Benedictine monastery in Bath, Somerset, England. Founded in the 7th century, it was reorganised in the 10th century and rebuilt in the 12th and 16th centuries; major restoration work was carried out by Sir George Gilbert Scott in the 1860s. Open to the public daily with regular prayer services, concerts, and special events - visitors are always welcome!

Pulteney Bridge

Pulteney Bridge crosses the River Avon in Bath, England. It was completed by 1774, and connected the city with the land of the Pulteney family which they wished to develop. Designed by Robert Adam in a Palladian style, it is exceptional in having shops built across its full span on both sides. The shops are small and the roadway is not wide, but when the bridge opened in 1770 it was a revelation. Today it is surely one of the world's most beautiful and romantic bridges, best viewed from Parade Gardens and the crescent weir.

Let’s be honest, we could have carried on talking about the top places to visit in the UK forever, such is the rich vein of history available to us in this unique country of ours. Enjoy your tour of the UK, hopefully this has given you an idea of where you’d like to go on your travels!

Ten Great Places in the UK to visit  in Retirement

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