This post's overview:
- 1 15+ most underrated cities in England & the UK (towns, cities and places)
- 2 Summary of the most underrated places in the UK
- 3 Some of our other posts that you might like:
Seen most of the highlights in the UK and would like to discover some amazing locations? Look no further, in this post, I would like to share with you the 15 most underrated places, cities and towns in England and the UK.
If you’re new to this blog, hi, we are Liza and Pepe (short for Jose), a couple of millennials with full-time jobs in London and a passion for travel. We’ve been living in London since 2017 and explored the UK one weekend at a time. Interested in reading our UK itineraries and weekend road trips? Check our UK destination page!
Here’s what you can expect to find in this blog post:
15+ most underrated cities in England & the UK (towns, cities and places)
Having travelled around the UK (mostly England though) for the last 5 years, we have visited almost all the major cities, National parks and landmarks. We have stumbled upon places that haven’t been featured almost anywhere, which we ended liking way more than more famous cities, towns and AONBs! I think these places are very underrated and definitely deserve a bit more fame. So let’s get started with these 15+ underrated cities in England and the UK, as well as towns, villages and National Parks!
Shrewsbury is one of the most beautiful cities in England and probably one of the most intact medieval cities. The number of Tudor-style buildings in the city centre is huge and the buildings are absolutely stunning. While everybody recommends visiting Chester, I would totally advise you to visit Shrewsbury (that, of course, if you can only visit one – I don’t see a reason for not visiting both).
Shrewsbury is also the birthplace of Charles Darwin and has a stunning castle in the middle of the city. There are plenty of places to eat and shop and overall, Shrewsbury is a great day trip (or even a weekend trip destination).
Another city that isn’t on the radar of a lot of people is Norwich. Norwich is another beautiful medieval city, however, it’s very different from Shrewsbury. Norwich has a lot of cobbled streets, colourful buildings and unique artisan coffee shops. Norwich food market was voted England’s best and it’s even worth travelling to Norwich just because of that market alone!
Norfork Coast AONB is a very beautiful area north of Norwich. It’s an area that is famous for its picturesque villages and stunning sandy beaches with dunes, where you can see seals, rare seagulls and even some unique jellyfish washed out on the beach if you for a long stroll. Despite the area being quite busy, Norfolk Coast isn’t that famous among people in England, and I feel like it could be one of the well-kept secrets and hidden gems!
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and has a reputation of a pretty rough city. While I was studying at the University of Edinburgh back in 2014-2015, I had a chance to go to Glasgow 5 or 6 times and to be completely honest with you, I haven’t seen anything rough. I really liked Glasgow and found it beautiful. Of course, it’s not as impressive as Edinburgh (After visiting 90+ counties, I still think that Edinburgh is the most beautiful city in the world), however, it’s definitely worth visiting!
The architecture in the city centre is marvellous and if you walk even further away, towards the University of Glasgow, you will see stunning, peaceful parks and of course, Kelvingrove Art Gallery. There are plenty of things to do in Glasgow, so consider coming there for the entire weekend or at least one full day.
Oban is a town located on the West Coast of Scotland, circa 2.5 hours driving from Glasgow. It’s a lovely fishing town that, for some reason, becomes a crazy party place at night. Despite its small size, there are plenty of things to do in Oban – first of all, the famous Oban whisky distillery, which is definitely worth visiting. Secondly, there is a chocolate museum/cafe/factory that makes great handmade chocolate. Finally, Oban has some of the best oysters in the entire UK and its seafood stalls in the morning are boasting with people!
Besides all that, Oban is also very beautiful and if you’re lucky, you can witness a marvellous sunset there. You can read more about Oban in this post.
Yet another city that is often overlooked in favour of places like Manchester and Harrogate is Leeds. Not many people recommend visiting Leeds, and none of my friends and colleagues ever wanted to go there, however, once I uploaded this post about the most Instagrammable places in Leeds, a lot of people I know suddenly added it to their lists. Leeds is actually a very impressive city that is home to the most beautiful shopping arcades in the entire country. There are plenty of things to do, including visiting the Royal Armouries – the UK’s national collection of arms and armour.
You can read more about Leeds and our 4-day road trip to Yorkshire in this post.
St. Albans City
St. Albans is one of the smallest cities in England and it’s often mistaken for just another district of London (because of its proximity to London). It’s also a famous commuter town with amazing connections to Central London. However, what makes St. Albans so impressive is its beautiful architecture in the city centre and, of course, St. Albans Cathedral. St. Albans Cathedral is the oldest place of continuous Christian worship in England.
I recommend visiting St. Albans city for a 1/2 day trip if you’re based near London! You can read more about St. Albans city in this post.
Another of the most underrated cities in England, Scotland and Wales is Hastings. Hastings is a lovely town located on the southern coast of England, relatively close to Brighton. However, while Brighton gets the majority of tourists, Hastings gets almost none, which is pretty unfair. Hastings definitely has its charm and the newly rebuilt pier that now hosts plenty of colourful booths and an open-air pub make it even more attractive. Besides that, Hastings has beautiful ruins (of the Hastings castle) and a few museums (Fishermen’s Museum and Shipwreck museum).
It’s a great place to visit on a day trip or a weekend trip from London. You can read more about visiting Hastings, Rye and the Battle Abbey in this post.
The Brecon Beacons in Wales
While Snowdonia dominates the minds of most people when it comes to National Parks in Wales, only a few people consider visiting the Brecon Beacons, which is unfortunate. Why? Well, because the Brecon Beacons is beautiful as well. While the landscapes in the Brecon Beacons aren’t as dramatic as in Snowdonia and it definitely doesn’t have as many attractions (e.g. the fastest zip line in the world and so on), Brecon Beacons has beautiful waterfalls and picturesque villages. One of them being Hay on Wye – a unique village that has more antique book shops than it has grocery stores and all other stores combined and is home to the world-famous book festival.
You can read more about the Brecon Beacons in this blog post about a weekend road trip around South Wales!
Tenby is charming in Wales that has some of the most wonderful beaches and colourful buildings. If you need a relaxing break in a stunning location, Tenby is a great option. I have a separate blog post about Tenby and why is it the best place to visit in South Wales, you can find it HERE if you’re interested.
I was lucky to be invited to see Nottingham by Visit Nottingham a few years ago and I really enjoyed the visit! Nottingham is famous because of the Robin Hood tales, and I wholeheartedly recommend taking one of Robin Hood Tours led by Ezekial Bone – the award-winning tour guide!
Besides that, Nottingham is home to some of the oldest pubs in the entire UK! You can read more about Nottingham in this post.
Liverpool is a very touristic city mainly because of its connection to music (especially The Beatles). However, very few people talk about the amazing atmosphere in Liverpool and about how stunning Liverpool actually is! Liverpool used to be one of England’s richest cities, as up to 40% of world trade was happening in the docks of Liverpool. Unfortunately, during WWII, a lot of historical buildings were completely destroyed by German airstrikes, leaving the city almost in ashes. A lot of buildings were rebuilt, but many were also lost forever. Despite that, Liverpool is still a very impressive city with an amazing vibe, great restaurants and street food markets and fabulous museums!
Read my post about the most Instagrammable places in Liverpool here >
Bempton Cliffs, Yorkshire
Another underrated place is located in Yorkshire. Bempton Cliffs is a national reserve – a protected part of cliffs, where plenty of gulls, shags and even puffins nest from April to September. Bempton Cliffs is a bird city – it’s such a unique place that I find it hard to describe it! You can only imagine how noisy it is when thousands of birds are flying in the air, trying to find a perfect spot for their nests!
You can read more about Bempton Cliffs (as well as Robin Hood’s Bay, Whitby and other remarkable towns in Yorkshire) in this post about our 4-day Yorkshire road trip.
Bristol is pretty much never featured in the guides to the best places to visit in England, and I genuinely don’t understand why. Bristol has so many great museums and famous landmarks. The city centre of Bristol definitely looks a bit industrial; however, there are also beautiful areas such as Clifton village (that reminds me of Chiswick in London)! You can definitely spend an entire weekend in Bristol as there are plenty of attractions to visit! You can also take one of the street art tours that will explain to you the story behind the street art in Bristol (and there is a lot of street art, including plenty of Banksy’s works). Read more about Bristol in my post about the itinerary for a weekend in Bristol >
Finally, the last of the most underrated cities and towns in England and the UK is Canterbury. Canterbury is charming! Despite the fact that its quite small, Canterbury has always been one of the most important places throughout the history of England. To start with, Canterbury Cathedral is the residence of the archbishop of Canterbury (the other archbishop is based in York). Canterbury is a very well preserved medieval town with stunning architecture, interesting history and plenty of things to do! Moreover, you can combine visiting Canterbury with Whitstable – the famous oyster town of England!
You can read more about visiting Canterbury and Whitstable in this post >
Summary of the most underrated places in the UK
I hope you enjoyed reading about these amazing, underrated places in England, Scotland and Wales and hopefully, you will be able to visit some of them soon! As I mentioned before, my favourite underrated cities in England are probably Liverpool, Shrewsbury and Canterbury, and my favourite underrated places are Bempton Cliffs and the Brecon Beacons.
Have you visited any of these underrated destinations in the UK? What did you think? Perhaps you would like to mention some other places that would be worth adding to this list? Let me know in the comments below, or drop me an Instagram message at @lizatripsget!
Some of our other posts that you might like:
The best places in the UK to work remotely
Most Instagrammable Places in London
Best weekend breaks from London
Amazing day trips from London
4-day road trip around Yorkshire
Ultimate Scotland itinerary for 7 days
Snowdonia and North Wales in 3-4 days