If you are thinking of traveling to the UK, you may be wondering what to include in your trip. If you have just ten days, it’s near impossible to see everything you want to explore, and making choices is challenging. But fear not! We’ve put together a selection of 10 day itineraries tailored to different interests and tastes. Here you’ll find a 10 day UK trip itinerary for you.
- 1 10 Day UK Trip Itinerary: How Best To Enjoy It
- 2 What Do You Want From Your UK Trip?
- 3 Option 1: UK’s Greatest Hits: A Fast Paced Trip To The Most Visited Places
- 4 Option 2: Touring Scotland The Brave
- 5 Option 3: The UK’s Big Outdoors
- 6 Option 4: The UK’s Best Kept Secrets
- 7 Option 5:The Celtic Connection
- 8 And A Final Bonus Option: London and Beyond
- 9 How’s Your 10 Day UK Trip Itinerary Looking?
10 Day UK Trip Itinerary: How Best To Enjoy It
When I was researching this article to sift out my best recommendations, I found a variety of suggested itineraries. One in particular had me puzzled. In one day it featured both Cardiff and York. Now both are fine cities, but in practice, a day like that will feature an early start, late finish and a lot of motorway services. In my youth, I worked evenings in a hotel in Exeter. Tour buses full of US visitors would arrive at around 7pm. At that time, all that was left for them to do was to stroll around Cathedral Yard, taking in the Guildhall, the beautiful cathedral and Tudor Mol’s Coffee House. Then dinner, bed and on the road again. To my mind, that’s no way to travel.
So buckle up for our slower paced options. There’s no doubt that some of them will involve long days. But I’ve aimed to give you at least four hours to savour in every spot. Real hours, not ones where all you can do is fit in a quick walk, dinner, shower and bed. Here’s how to visit the Brits and enjoy the experience.
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What Do You Want From Your UK Trip?
The starting point for your itinerary is always going to depend on your preferences. For that reason, I’ve put together a number of different itineraries based on some common interests. You’ll notice that some destinations tick many boxes. That’s great if you are traveling as a group with different interests. You can pick and mix to your heart’s content.
I’ve also made different itineraries for different styles of travel. If spending hours on the road makes your bones crunchy, and the stress of driving on a different side of the road is a chore, then there are choices here for you. We’ve checked out the best way to find affordable public transport in the UK too.
Do you like to get under the skin of fewer places, or skim the surface of all the best things? Both options are entirely feasible. So let me set out the buffet of tasty UK treats for your 10 day itinerary.
Option 1: UK’s Greatest Hits: A Fast Paced Trip To The Most Visited Places
London, Edinburgh, York, Stratford-upon-Avon, the Cotswolds, Oxford, Bath & Stonehenge
Chosen from the cities and sites most loved by overseas visitors, this itinerary will have you taking in a broad sweep of the UK. You won’t get much rest on this trip, but I promise you’ll see a lot of the highlights. Consider this a box of chocolates from which you’ve picked your favourites and had to leave the rest.
London to Edinburgh
Having flown in to London, the first night sees you taking the overnight sleeper train from London Euston to Edinburgh Waverley, an experience in itself. Don’t forget your neeps and tatties for dinner. Arriving bright and early at breakfast, there’s time to visit Edinburgh Castle, wander Princes Street and the Royal Mile and explore Holyrood Palace.
From York to Shakespeare’s Stratford-Upon-Avon
On the morning of Day 3, take the train to York (around two and a half hours). You’ve got time to meander The Shambles, investigate the old city walls and York Minster and check out the railway museum. You might want to fit in a very English afternoon tea at Betty’s. On the morning of Day 4, pick up your hire car for your journey to Stratford-Upon-Avon. You should be there by lunch time, ready to explore Shakespeare’s Birthplace and the rest of the Tudor town.
The Cotswolds, Oxford, Bath And Stonehenge
Day 5 is a short drive out to the Cotswolds via Shipston-on-Stour; I’m recommending Broadway with its Tower and the beautiful Stow-on-the-Wold. Day 6 has you driving south to Oxford, legendary city of dreaming spires. If you’re feeling brave, take a punt (a flat bottomed boat) out on the river. On day 7, you’re heading south to Bath, home to the legendary Spa, and a lot of beautiful Regency architecture. Early the next morning, catch Stonehenge at its most beautful, then spend the rest of day 8, heading back to London for your final two days in the capital.
Option 2: Touring Scotland The Brave
Inverness, Isle of Skye, Fort William, Oban, Glasgow, Edinburgh
This is a trip for the most avid of scenery lovers. For this trip, you can either fly in to the first and last cities, or let the train rock you gently on the overnight sleeper from London to Scotland and back. If you’ve taken the overnight sleeper from London on Day 1, you’ll be in Inverness by early morning. Spend the morning of that second day exploring the city, including its castle and cathedral.
Culloden and Loch Ness
On the afternoon of Day 2, pick up your hire car, and head off to Culloden to explore the historic battlefield and find the real flavour of Scottish history. On Day 3 you’re on the trail of the legendary Nessie at Loch Ness. If you want to drive all the way round the Loch, we’re talking 67 miles, so make your choices of a whole circuit or selected highlights.
The Road To Skye
On Day 4, it’s time to take the road to the Isle of Skye. Don’t hurry this journey, as it’s truly one of the most beautiful to be had, traveling over the sea to Skye. You’ll want to spend time at Kyle of Lochalsh on the way, meeting the brooding and beautiful Eilean Donan Castle.
Mallaig, Fort William and Oban
On Day 5, it’s time to meander back to Mallaig, visiting Loch Morar and Loch Nevis. Then onwards to Fort William, where you can take the Jacobite steam train as featured in the Harry Potter films. Day 6 is for exploring Oban and its historic distillery, plus the War and Peace museum.
Glasgow and Edinburgh
Day 7 features a drive back to Glasgow, where you can return the hire car. The city is famed for its Victorian and Art Nouveau architecture, and is home to a lot of Scotland’s cultural institutions. At whatever point you wish, catch the train to Edinburgh (taking around an hour) and spend the last part of your tour there. Visit Edinburgh Castle and Arthur’s Seat, explore Holyrood House, and maybe have dinner in the Cafe Royal. On the night of Day 9, it’s time to board the sleeper train for London.
Option 3: The UK’s Big Outdoors
Stonehenge and Avebury, the Jurassic Coast, the Peak District, and the Lake District
If your heart is made glad by big open spaces, this is the itinerary for you. To make the most of this itinerary, it is best to drive, giving you the greatest amount of time in each spot.
On your first day, pick up your hire car and head west to Dorset and the Jurassic Coast. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Durdle Door, a natural rock formation. Man O’War beach next door is also spectacular. You have two days here to explore.
Bath, Stonehenge and Avebury
On the morning of Day 3, you’re on the road to Bath, enjoying the spa town that afternoon and evening. Early next morning, you’re heading out to explore Stonehenge first, then Avebury, so see some of the UK’s most talked about sites. Book your overnight stay in the glorious countryside here.
Walking In The Peak District
On the morning of Day 5, it’s time to drive north. You’re heading to the Peak District, one of the UK’s National Parks. Don’t forget to stop off in Bakewell, the famed home of the Bakewell Tart and the Bakewell Pudding, and a charming town in its own right. You’ve got two days to explore here, maybe taking in walks on Mam Tor or visiting Kinder Scout.
Windermere And The Lake District
After breakfast on Day 7, you’re driving north west to enjoy the beauty of the Lake District. Take a steamer on England’s biggest lake, Windermere, or climb its highest peak at Scaffell Pike. Late on day 9 or early on day 10, drop off your hire car in Carlisle, and then let the train take you back to the bustle of London on your last day.
Option 4: The UK’s Best Kept Secrets
Birmingham, Hereford, the Welsh Marches, Shrewsbury, Chester
If you’ve already visited the UK before and seen many of its famed attractions, maybe you’re looking for something a little different. Walk this way!
Either fly direct or catch the train to Birmingham, England’s second biggest city. Described as the city of a thousand trades, Birmingham is packed with Victorian architecture and a vibrant cultural pulse. Your two days here are spend exploring and maybe taking the Tolkien Trail to see The Shire, inspiration for one of Birmingham’s most famous residents.
Hereford And The Black And White Villages
Pick up your hire car on the morning of Day 3 and it’s a gentle 90 minute drive to Hereford, maybe stopping off en route to enjoy the Malvern Hills. Hereford’s cathedral is home to the Mappa Mundi, one of the oldest traveler’s maps in the world. Also here you’ll find the Cider Museum, a tudor museum in the Old House and a lot of winding streets to explore. On Day 4, you’re heading into the countryside on the Black and White Village Trail, full of timbered and half-timbered houses. Spend that night in Ludlow, centre of the Welsh Marches and once the capital of Wales.
Ludlow and the Shropshire Hills
When you wake up refreshed on Day 5, you’ve got time to explore its Castle, once home to the Princes in the Tower. Ludlow is a fine foodie destination, so be sure to enjoy all it has to offer. Day 6 sees you heading north to appreciate the beauty of the Shropshire Hills. Church Stretton is your point to access these walks, and you can also go hang-gliding or gliding here.
Shrewsbury And Chester
Day 7 is for Shrewsbury, the historic border town on the River Severn with a Welsh bridge and an English bridge. Explore the fascinating narrow streets or shuts, take a boat trip or wander the cathedral. On Day 8, you’re heading north again to Chester. The city walls here are well worth exploring and the narrow shopping streets with “upstairs and downstairs shops”. On your last day, drive back to Birmingham and drop off your car, ready for your flight home.
Option 5:The Celtic Connection
London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff
If you want your trip to cover all of the United Kingdom, then you’ve got time to country hop in 10 days. There are many ways to put this itinerary together, so I’ve worked out my preferred option. Here’s how to visit England and Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in 10 days.
On Day 1, you’ve got a flight from London to Belfast. Here you’ve got the Titanic Museum, Carrickfergus Castle, Ulster Hall for music and W5 Science Centre to entertain you. Fly across to Edinburgh on Day 3, where you have until the Day 5 to take your fill of the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Yacht Britannia at Leith.
On Day 6, it’s time for your flight to Cardiff. Check out the castle, the numerous beautiful Victorian arcades, and the sweet Norwegian Church on the waterfront at Cardiff Bay. On Day 8, take the train back from Cardiff to London, a two hour trip. It gives you a chance to see some of the countryside on your way to the capital. All the charms of London are then before you until your flight home.
And A Final Bonus Option: London and Beyond
London with side trips to Canterbury, Brighton, Lincoln, Oxford and Birmingham
If the thought of packing and unpacking every night really doesn’t appeal, then I’ve got an alternative for you. This itinerary means that you stay in one place, simply day tripping your way to some alternative destinations for a day at a time. In between each trip, you get a day to explore London at your leisure.
I’d recommend choosing an area of London to explore on each of your 5 days there, and seeking out the attractions of that particular location on the day. For example, choose Greenwich for a day for the Cutty Sark and the Royal Observatory. Choose Southbank for Tower Bridge, walking the Thames and The Shard.
Day Tripping From London
In between you get to go day tripping. I’ve recommended Canterbury, crammed with history, and a very walkable city. There are the seaside treats of Brighton, with its pier and the opulent Royal Pavilion. Birmingham has shopping to rival London, but on a much more compact scale. Lincoln is woefully underrated, with its fine cathedral and one of the few copies of the Magna Carta. And who could miss Oxford, legendary city of dreaming spires and with flavours of Hogwarts if you have Potterheads in your group. All of these day trips are no more than an hour and a half on the train from London, giving you plenty of time to explore. We’ve collected up more alternative day trips from London here.
How’s Your 10 Day UK Trip Itinerary Looking?
Has our UK trip planner been useful? Have we found all your favourite spots? Added any new ones? If you don’t have 10 days to spare, why not check out our recommended top 10 UK city breaks. If you want more inspiration on places to enjoy in England, then check out these recommendations for Essentially English Experiences from some of our favourite travel writers. If you’d like to delve a little deeper into new place to explore, I’ve shared some of my favourite hidden gems in England.
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