8 days is not a lot of time to visit the entire UK, but it’s definitely doable. You can see some of the best cities in the UK, experience the local transport, taste some delicious food and of course, sample many varieties of beer in the many ancient pubs in the area. The UK is 243,610 km² (94,058 sq miles), so you won’t be able to see it all in 8 days, but you can at least get a taste for it and check out some of the major sights. To make things easy, we’ve limited sights and pubs to threes so you can be sure to have enough time for some relaxation.
Getting In & Out
There are a ton of cheap flights in and around Europe. If you’re coming from Canada, by far the cheapest way to get here is to hop on a charter flight with CanadianAffair.com. We’ve flown from Vancouver to London for a little over $350!
You can start your adventure in Glasgow. If you’re flying from within Europe you can find cheap flights to Glasgow with companies like RyanAir or Easyjet.
We recommend renting a car for at least part of your trip to the UK. We love the freedom that Car Rental Travel affords us and it’s the perfect way to see the UK in just 8 days.
Hopefully your flight lands early if you’re planning just 8 days in the UK! If you’re on a budget, you can hop on the First Service 500 (Glasgow Shuttle) or First Service 747 (Air Link) shuttle into downtown Glasgow. If not, a taxi will run you about £20.
Titan Clydebank: Ascend 150 feet for some of the most spectacular views across Glasgow. This 100-year-old shipbuilding crane is actually one os Scotland’s most unique tourist attractions.
St Andrew’s Cathedral: Built in 1814, St Andrew’s is a must-see Roman Catholic Cathedral that has recently undergone major renovation which successfully restored much of its beauty. The building is surprisingly bright, airy and cool and it makes for a great stop on any Glasgow itinerary.The Glasgow School Of Art: This is a true architectural gem. Set right in the downtown area, the award-winning tours here are offered in an amazing variety of languages.
The Pot Still – 154 Hope Street G2: This is one of the most popular pubs in all of Scotland and it’s amazing how they were able to cram their large drink selection into such a tiny space!
Bloc – 117 Bath Street: This place doesn’t look too fancy, but it does a good job of replicating some old soviet stylings and there is great live music here on most nights.
Nice’n’Sleazy – 421 Sauchiehall Street: This pub is more like a club on most nights and you can come here and cut a rug until the wee hours. If you come during meal times, the pub serves up great lunches and dinners.
To get here, take the London Euston train from Glasgow, which takes about 5 and half hours. (click here for schedules & fares). Once in London, you should get your sight-seeing shoes on because you’ll be doing a lot of walking around this iconic capital. We’ve narrowed it down to threes again for the sake of this article but you’ll likely see more attractions just by walking in between each of the ones we’ve listed below.
Big Ben: Probably the most iconic clock in the world, Big Ben will be on just about everyone’s itinerary. Built in 1858, it is located at the north end of the Palace of Westminster.
The Tower Bridge: Built in 1886–1894, this bridge (often incorrectly referred to as the London Bridge), is just about 5 km from Big Ben and it’s best to see it in both daylight and at night to truly see all of its beauty.The London Eye: This massive ferris wheel is actually a bit of an eyesore on the London skyline, but hop into one of the 32 capsules and slowly ascend to 135 meters for amazing panoramic views of the city. In fact, if you hop on the Eye, you can see about 55 of London’s most famous landmarks, perfect for those on an 8 day itinerary!
Wetherspoon – 15 Trinity Square: Most local, posh Londoners will laugh if you tell them you’re going to Wetherspoon, but it’s a cheap and delicious pub franchise with some pretty cool locations. The Liberty Bounds Wetherspoon has a great view of the Tower Bridge!
The Mayflower – 117 Rotherhithe Street: This pub has stood here since at least the 17th century when the Pilgrims Mayflower set out on its maiden voyage. The current building is mostly from the 18th century with beautifully scented oak beams running the length of the pub’s ceiling.
Sir Richard Steele – 97 Haverstock Hill: This pub is a great example of the UK’s pub food revolution. True gastronomic delights can be ordered from this ale-drinkers hideaway.
If you’re doing a circle back to Glasgow, stop at York on the way. This ancient walled city is one of the most beautiful in the UK. Known for it’s haunted houses, historical walks and stunning cathedrals, York is our favourite city in the region.
The York Minster Cathedral: The largest gothic cathedral in northern Europe, the York Minster is a true mastery of medieval architecture. Constructed in 1338, the 16 meter high tower has attracted visitors for centuries. Try to time your visit for a choir singing when you can hear the amazing acoustics inside this massive structure.
Clifford’s Tower: Also known as the “York Castle”, Clifford’s Tower is a 13th century castle with a diverse history and it is amongst the best-known historical sites in York. Time your visit for March and see the amazing daffodils in full bloom.Helmsley Castle: A 12th century castle in and the site of a dramatic siege during the English Civil War, Helmsley Castle is now one of the premier attractions in the city. Originally built from wood by military man Walter l’Espec in 1120, it was converted to stone by his nephew, Robert de Roos and further expanded over the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
The York Tap – York Train Station: The first pub you see when you get off the train, this is the place to come for a real ale adventure. In just a few years since it opened its doors, The York Tap has garnered many awards for service and food.
The Duke Of York – Kings Square: This pub has transformed a bland estate into an atmospheric building making full effect of its 700 year history. With long wood beams, cosy seating and an old-time feel, this is definitely one of the best pubs in York.The Hop – 11&12 Fossgate: Originally built in 1898, what sets this pub a part is the fact that it doubles as a delicious pizzeria. Feast on delicious Italian style pizza and wash it all down with an ice-cold ale.
If you are doing a full circle back to Glasgow, it’s worth spending an extra day here at the end of your trip. 8 days isn’t a lot of time in the UK but if you limit yourself to the top three sights, and the top three pubs and restaurants in the top 3 cities, you may just have some extra time for a bit of R&R. We recommend taking at least a couple of weeks for the UK, but if you only have 8 days, this article should help you make the most of it!
Have you travelled around the UK? If you had to choose just 3 pubs and 3 sights in 3 cities, what would they be? Share below!
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