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10 Things You Didn’t Know About the UK

The United Kingdom is a treasure trove of history, culture, and natural beauty. While many travelers are familiar with iconic landmarks like Big Ben, Stonehenge, and the Scottish Highlands, the UK has countless hidden gems and intriguing quirks waiting to be discovered. Here are ten lesser-known travel tips to enhance your visit to the UK in 2024.

1.  Free Museums and Galleries

One of the best-kept secrets about the UK is that many of its top museums and galleries are free to enter. This includes world-renowned institutions like the British Museum, the National Gallery in London, and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow.

Take advantage of this opportunity to immerse yourself in art, history, and culture without spending a penny.

Key Tip:

  • Donations Welcome: While entry is free, consider making a voluntary donation to support these cultural institutions.

2.  Underrated Coastal Towns

While cities like London and Edinburgh often steal the spotlight, the UK is home to charming coastal towns that offer a more relaxed and picturesque experience. Places like Whitby in Yorkshire, St Ives in Cornwall, and Portmeirion in Wales boast stunning seaside views, quaint streets, and rich local history.

Key Tip:

  • Visit Off-Season: To avoid crowds and enjoy a more tranquil experience, consider visiting these coastal gems during the shoulder seasons (spring or autumn).

3.  The Right Side of Escalators

In London, and throughout much of the UK, there’s an unspoken rule when using escalators: Stand on the right, walk on the left. This allows those in a hurry to pass easily on the left side. It’s a small detail, but adhering to this can help you blend in and avoid any annoyed glances from locals.

Key Tip:

  • Observe Local Etiquette: This rule is particularly important in busy areas like the London Underground.

4.  Scotland’s Right to Roam

In Scotland, the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 provides the public with the “right to roam,” allowing free access to most land and inland water for recreational purposes. This means you can hike, camp, and explore much of Scotland’s beautiful countryside without restriction, as long as you respect the environment and local communities.

Key Tip:

  • Leave No Trace: Always follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, which emphasizes responsible behavior and environmental stewardship.

5.  Hidden Gardens and Green Spaces

Beyond the famous royal parks, the UK is dotted with lesser-known gardens and green spaces that offer a peaceful retreat from urban life. Discover the Kyoto Garden in London’s Holland Park, the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, or the enchanting Bodnant Garden in Wales.

Key Tip:

  • Local Recommendations: Ask locals for their favorite hidden green spaces—they might lead you to some truly magical spots.

6.  Unique Accommodations

From staying in a historic castle to glamping in a luxury yurt, the UK offers a wide range of unique accommodations that can make your trip even more memorable. Consider booking a night in a traditional Scottish bothy, a charming English countryside cottage, or a quirky London boutique hotel.

Key Tip:

  • Book Early: Unique accommodations can be popular, so make reservations well in advance, especially during peak travel seasons.

7.  The UK’s National Trails

The UK boasts an extensive network of National Trails, offering some of the best hiking and walking experiences in the world. Trails like the South West Coast Path, the Pennine Way, and the West Highland Way provide breathtaking scenery and a chance to explore the country’s natural beauty up close.

Key Tip:

  • Prepare Accordingly: Ensure you have the right gear and check the weather conditions before setting off on a long hike.

8.  Local Markets

Experience the vibrant local culture by visiting one of the UK’s many markets. From Borough Market in London, known for its gourmet food stalls, to the historic York Shambles Market and the eclectic St Nicholas Market in Bristol, these markets offer delicious food, unique crafts, and a lively atmosphere.

Key Tip:

  • Bring Cash: While many vendors accept card payments, having some cash on hand can be useful, especially for smaller purchases.

9.  Public Transport Discounts

Traveling around the UK can be more affordable if you take advantage of various public transport discounts. Consider purchasing a Railcard, which offers up to a third off train fares, or look into bus passes for unlimited travel within certain regions.

Key Tip:

  • Plan Ahead: Booking train tickets in advance can also lead to significant savings, especially for longer journeys.

10.   Historic Pubs

The UK is home to some of the oldest and most historic pubs in the world, many of which have fascinating stories and charming atmospheres. Visit Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem in Nottingham, reputedly the oldest inn in England, or The Sheep Heid Inn in Edinburgh, Scotland’s oldest pub.

Key Tip:

  • Try Local Ales: When visiting historic pubs, sample the local ales and traditional dishes for an authentic experience.


The United Kingdom is full of surprises, offering much more than its well-known attractions. By exploring its hidden gems, understanding local customs, and taking advantage of travel tips, you can enhance your visit and create unforgettable memories. Whether you’re wandering through a coastal town, hiking a National Trail, or enjoying a pint in a historic pub, the UK promises a rich and diverse travel experience.

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