12 Fun Things To Do Outside of London


There are plenty of fun things to do outside of London. It’s an incredible city, we get it, we live there! But there’s so many great places to see and things to do in the rest of the UK. You are missing out if you don’t venture out. So let’s go through these diamonds in the dirt we think you should check out.

Here they are – The 12 Fun Things to do Outside of London

  1. York – Check out the MAZE
  2. Matlock Bath – The Heights of Abraham
  3. Lake District – Hiking, Star Gazing, Cycling, and Gingerbread?!
  4. Brighton’s VIB (Very Independent Brighton) Food Tours
  5. Blackpool – The Pleasure Beach
  6. Liverpool – The Psychedelic Beatles Tour
  7. Stratford upon-Avon – Visit William Shakespeare
  8. Cambridge – Go for a spot of Punting
  9. Hertfordshire – Go Whitewater Rafting
  10. Cornwall – Visit the Eden Project
  11. Edinburgh – Visit Festival City
  12. Glasgow – Live Music!

1. York – Check out the MAZE

  • Region – North England
  • Distance from London – 222 miles / 357 km
  • When to go – Opens from 11th July to 7th September

Have you ever dreamed of going to a huge maze?! We have. York Maze is the largest maze in Europe. To give you an idea of the size, the area is larger than eight football fields!

Maze

There are also over 20 other rides, attractions and shows to keep the most energetic kids entertained all day long.

For the Maze, they carve out a different challenge every year. One year they had a Star Wars theme. Another year they had a Lion King theme, who knows what they’ll have this year.

We actually found a great video on YouTube showing the Star wars theme they cut out in the maze. It’s pretty aMAZEing. Too much?

Anyway, if you scroll about 2 minutes 30 seconds into the video you’ll see the helicopter view of the maze.

Ticket TypeOn the Gate PriceOnline Price
Adult (Age 16 and over)£16£15
Senior (Age 65 and over)£15.50£14.50
Child (Age 3-15)£15£14
Child (Age under 3)FREEFREE

If you travel in a group depending on the size you can get a discount. For more information, you can find out details on the York Maze website here.

York is actually gorgeous as well so if you are going, it may be worth sticking around for a couple of days. Here’s a link to a great York travel resource from travel blogger – wanderlustchloe.

2. Matlock Bath – The Heights of Abraham

  • Region – North England
  • Distance from London – 149 miles / 240 km
  • When to go – Between July and September

This is probably one of the most underrated places in the UK. The main attraction is the cable car ride from Matlock Bath all the way up the top of Masson Hill. The scenery is just stunning from the top. We used to go to Matlock Bath regularly as kids.

Here’s a short video of what to expect when you visit Matlock. It’s just a really nice place!

The Heights of Abraham were named after a supposed resemblance to the Plains of Abraham, also known as the Heights of Abraham, in Quebec, Canada.

It’s a great way to spend a summer’s day.

You can also walk up the steep zig-zag path if you feel like a challenge. There’s also Cavern and Mine Tours which shouldn’t be underestimated either.

Matlock is also home to Gulliver’s kingdom (theme park for kids up to about 13 years old), museums and an Aquarium.

We found a good resource for things to do in Matlock if you’re looking for more things to do by Campsites.co.uk. Check it out here

3. Lake District – Hiking, Star Gazing, Cycling, and Gingerbread?!

  • Region – North England
  • Distance from London – 279 miles / 449 km
  • When to go – March – September

If you’re pining for breathtaking views and a bit of exercise, the Lake District is for you.

There are lots of hikes and walks you can do, but the most breathtaking one we’d recommend is the Helvellyn Ridge walk. It’s got everything you’d want and you can take in views of the whole Lake District.

Distance: 16 km (10 miles)
The time required to walk:
 6.5 hours +

Helvellyn is probably the most well-known mountain in the Lake District, and it’s actually the third largest mountain in England!

Apparently, if the weather is good you can see Wales and Scotland from the top.

If you want to research some other hikes in the Lake District, we found a good resource at a site called muchbetteradventures.com. Here’s a link if you want to check it out.

The Lake District, in general, is just an awesome place to do so many outdoor activities in the summer and winter. From star gazing to cycling to boat rides as well as climbing it really does have it all.

The Low Gillerthwaite Field Centre in the Ennerdale Valley is an accredited ‘Dark Sky Discovery Site’. People say that it’s actually the best place to see the stars in the UK.

Apparently, on an especially clear night, you can see the northern lights too.

We went cycling in the Lake District last year and had the best time. We won’t go on too much about it as we wrote an article going into more detail which you can check out here.

Did you know that gingerbread was invented in the Lake District?

Sarah Nelson, the inventor of Gingerbread was from the Lake District. Go and visit the shop called The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop, previously her home. You can read more about her shop on the official Grasmere Gingerbread website here

It’s apparently the best Gingerbread you will ever have in your life.

If you are looking for more information on the Lake District as well as the activities we’ve mentioned, Wanderlust, a travel magazine, has a great post which you can check out here.

They summarize things to do in the Lake District really well so we’d suggest checking this article out as well.

4.Blackpool – The Pleasure Beach

  • Region – North England
  • Distance from London – 243 miles / 391 km
  • When to go – July – September

Blackpool is the UK’s guilty pleasure and its theme park, the Pleasure Beach is iconic!

Famous theme parks in the UK include Thorpe Park and Alton Towers, but the Pleasure Beach is definitely one to put with them.

Home to the Pepsi-Max, which used to be Europe’s biggest roller-coaster, as well as other great rides, this theme park shouldn’t be ignored.

If you are thinking of going on the Pepsi-Max, here is what you’re in for.

Blackpool itself is also great. Boasting a great beach, water-park, theatre and nightlife, it shouldn’t be ignored.

If you’re looking to do more in Blackpool than just go to a theme park, check out this review written by travel blogger, Crazy Tourist. For us, it’s a great resource in deciding what to do in Blackpool.

5.Brighton’s VIB (Very Independent Brighton) Food Tours

  • Region – South England
  • Distance from London – 53.3 miles / 86 km
  • When to go – July – September

It’s always good to try local food wherever you go. At the seaside especially, you tend to get the best seafood at local places rather than the mainstream restaurants.

Brighton

Unfortunately, a lot of the time the local places are hard to find.

Brighton’s VIB food tours have become famous in the region.

Taking approximately 3 hours and with more than 7 food stops the V.I.B tour takes you on a mystical journey to some of Brighton’s lesser-known but great foodie hot spots that Brighton has to offer. It’s quirky, it’s passionate and it’s just really fun. You also get loads of free samples too…

For more information, here is a link to the official Brighton food tour website.

Brighton is also known for its famous pier and pebble beaches, so be sure to take a stroll, whilst you’re there.

6. Liverpool – The Psychedelic Beatles Tour

  • Region – North England
  • Distance from London – 217 miles/ 350 km
  • When to go – July – September

Liverpool was once voted Europe’s Capital of Culture, and a big part of their culture is The Beatles.

If you’re a music lover, this is a very unique tour. The best thing about it is that you could be touring in a Rolls Royce such as the one below. This car was inspired by John Lennon’s Rolls Royce.

However, to do the tour in the Rolls Royce, it will cost you £300! If you are a die-hard Beatles fan, maybe that’s what you want to do.

Thankfully, there are cheaper tours you can take in equally psychedelic colored taxis.

Photo from Mad Day Out Beatles Taxi Tours

But before we get into that, here’s a video of the car in action

Tours are open Monday to Sunday – 9 am-10 pm

Ticket TypeTicket Tariff
(Per Ticket)
Car
The Gretsch 7 hour tour£150.00 Psychedelic Taxi
The Hofner 5 hour tour£90.00 Psychedelic Taxi
The Ludwig 2 hour tour£60.00 Psychedelic Taxi
The Rickenbacker 3 hour tour£70.00 Psychedelic Taxi
The Rocky VIP all-day tour£300.00Rolls Royce

You can find out details of what each tour includes through the tour operators – Mad Day Out Beatles Taxi tours here

There are also cheaper Beatles tours you can do on a bus or normal black taxis. Let’s face it, there is a premium for the brightly colored cars.

The cheaper tours start at about £20 per ticket. You can find these details on the main Visit Liverpool website through this link

7. Stratford upon-Avon – Visit William Shakespeare

  • Region – Central England (The Midlands)
  • Distance from London – 101 miles / 163 km
  • When to go – July – September

Go to the Royal Shakespeare Company theatre in Stratford upon-Avon, William Shakespeare’s home town. The newly renovated theatre is stunning and if you do fancy some British culture there are not many places in the UK that are better.

Don’t worry if you don’t understand the old English that many of Shakespeare’s plays were written in and acted in today, you have other options.

There are plenty of plays that you can go see besides the classics. Here’s a link to the Royal Shakespeare Company – What’s on-page, where you can see what plays are on and when.

Many years ago of watching the Taming of the Shrew, a classic comedy written by William Shakespeare. We enjoyed it, although the Old English was a challenge!

Stratford upon-Avon is also generally a great place to go for a boat ride, listen to live music and go for afternoon tea. We’ve mentioned Stratford-upon-Avon before in our Guide to the UK seasons article.

In any case, Here’s a link to Stratford-upon-Avon official site if you’re interested in visiting.

8. Cambridge – Go for a spot of Punting

  • Region – East of England
  • Distance from London – 64 miles / 102 km
  • When to go – July – September

Punting is the UK’s answer to Venetian Gondolas and can be just as romantic. The longboats are called punts (have to say that the Gondola is a way better name for a boat rather than punt).

The person guiding the punt along the river is called the punter (the equivalent in Venice is the Gondolier for a Gondola – again sounds so much better). Combined, the activity is called Punting.

Whether you’re a romantic couple, a family or a group of friends, going for a punt in Cambridge can be a great day out.

I’m happy to say that going Punting is a lot cheaper, costing around £33 per person for a 45-minute tour.

It isn’t cheap but then again taking a trip on a Gondola in Venice costs £90 for 30 minutes! So I guess we’re lucky?

Here’s a link to a reputable Cambridge Punting Tour company called Scudamores who allow you to book in advance and online for a discount.

You may be able to get a cheaper deal if you turn up on the day, but be warned Cambridge does get very busy in summer months.

9. Hertfordshire – Go Whitewater Rafting

  • Region – South of England
  • Distance from London – 53 miles / 85.2 km
  • When to go – July – September

The closest activity from London in this list, but by no means, the least daring is the white water rafting experience at Lea Valley Park, Hertfordshire.

If you don’t want to travel too far from London, but also want to try something different, this may be the activity for you.

Possibly one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve ever had

Binge Travelling

Here’s a view of what you could be in for…

Beware though this is not for the faint-hearted. The cost varies from about £50-£65 per person so it’s not cheap.

If you’re interested, but find the price to be a bit steep, you do have other options. For instance, there are also other great water activities such as a water obstacle course for only £15 per person. How awesome is that?

To see the full range of water sport options visit the official Lea Valley Leisure Centre website here.

10. Cornwall – Visit the Eden Project

  • Region – South of England
  • Distance from London – 247 miles / 398 km
  • When to go – July – September

If you’re not traveling abroad this year, visit the Eden Project in the summer. It will feel like you have. When we say that, we actually mean it.

To be specific, The Eden project consists of 3 massive Biomes (think of them as massive greenhouses). Each Biome houses different plants and has climates associated with them.

This includes Tropical Islands, Southeast Asia, West Africa, Tropical South America, and Mediterranean climates. We loved it so much we went twice, and I’m sure we’ll go again.

The spirit of conservation of the Eden Project is inspiring.

David Attenborough

But that’s not all it has to offer. It has the longest and fastest zipline in England. We’re not kidding. Check it out in the video below.

It’s pretty hard to find a good resource for the Eden Project, but we think we’ve found a great one, written by Sam Sparrow – Travel Blogger. Check out her review here if you’re interested in finding out more.

11. Edinburgh – Visit Festival City

  • Region – Scotland – UK North
  • Distance from London – 403 miles / 648 km
  • When to go – July – September

Edinburgh is one of our favorite cities in the UK. It’s just so successfully diverse. Our article on the most multicultural cities in the UK goes into this but, it’s Festivals definitely contributes to this.

Edinburgh

Whether you’re looking to indulge in the arts, the music or comedy, Edinburgh really has it all.

Billy Connolly

Fringe Festival – Attracting amateur and professional comedians and performers from all over the world, it’s one of the go-to events in the UK if you can. There are many free shows as well as those that you pay for (usually around £35 at the most).

You can go just for the atmosphere. Check out this resource from what’s onstage. We think it gives you a good guide to the Fringe Festival in terms of what to do.

Arts Festival – the UK’s largest visual arts exhibition hosting over 250,000 people annually, this festival should not be missed.

The best part is that the majority of the festival is free to attend! How great is that! Check out the Edinburgh Festival City website here to learn more

Jazz and Blues Music Festival – Just because Edinburgh is amazing, the city also hosts a music festival, attracting blues and jazz singers from all over the world. There really is something to suit everyone.

Music styles include bop, blues-rock, samba, swing, and soul.

Here’s a taster of what you can expect to experience at any of these festivals.

12. Glasgow – Live Music!

  • Region – Scotland – UK North
  • Distance from London – 408 miles / 657 km
  • When to go – All Year

Glasgow is renowned for its live music scene. From small intimate venues to larger ones it’s got something for everyone.

Glasgow is so renowned for its music scene it was actually declared as a UNESCO city of music. When you think of UNESCO you think of protected buildings. This is a whole city! Puts it into context right.

Musically, Glasgow is famous for uncovering some legendary bands such as Snow Patrol and Oasis, as well as many others

If you are interested in learning more about Glasgow’s nightlife or fancy booking a show, we’ve included a link to What’s on Glasgow which is a site that links to lots of smaller musical venues in the city.

So in summary…

There are loads of really cool things to do outside of London, as well as places to see. You will have to travel a distance to get to some of these places but they are well worth the visit.

Do you know of any undiscovered places that you’d like to share?

Let us know in the comments below.

We hope you enjoyed our article, feel free to check out some of our other content:

4 thoughts on “12 Fun Things To Do Outside of London

  1. I really got a good education from reading your article, I live in a small country town in the USA so I had no idea of the awesome attractions existed before reading your article. I do hope one day to be able to travel out of my country, and maybe I will visit the places you shared since I now know they do exist

    Jeff

  2. My husband and I plan to take a trip around Europe one day, we currently live in the U.S. These fun destinations/activities you shared have got me excited! They look like a blast! Matlock Bath, Edinburgh, and Glasgow particularly stand out to me. I think it’s awesome you two get to travel together, what a great life! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hey Heidi, Thanks for your comments, you’re right we do have a blast. But we have jobs too! We just go crazy on our little breaks whenever we can.

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