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The United Kingdom is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Everyone who flocks to England knows Big Ben, Stonehenge and the Tower of London. If you’ve already taken photos of the King’s Guard outside Buckingham Palace and you’re looking for something more unique, check out these underrated tourist attractions in the United Kingdom, including Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
1. Isle of Wight, England
Looking for an escape into nature? Visit the Isle of Wight, an island off the south coast of England and just a two-hour trip from London. You’ll find activities to keep you entertained all year round, from wildlife walks, sailing and stargazing under clear night skies to local shopping and cozy cottages.
The Isle of Wight is known as Dinosaur Island for a reason. It boasts one of the richest fossil sites in Europe. Aspiring paleontologists can explore the area’s dinosaur museums, tours and fossil hunts to learn more about the prehistoric creatures that used to roam the Earth.
2. Alnwick Garden, England
The formal gardens at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland have centuries of history and deep secrets. Among the most ambitious gardens in the U.K., the Alnwick Garden underwent renovations in the early 2000s and is now home to over 4,000 plant and flower species.
One of Alnwick’s most alluring attractions is the infamous Poison Garden. As its name suggests, the Poison Garden is home to over 100 toxic and dangerous plants. If you’re intrigued by nature’s deadliest flora, the black gates are only open for guided tours. Visitors are warned not to touch, taste or smell any of the hazardous plants — but guests occasionally faint from the fumes.
3. Penrhyn Quarry, Wales
Any daredevils in your travel group? North Wales is home to the fastest zip line in the world. The Penrhyn Quarry, once the largest slate quarry in the world, is now a unique destination for thrill-seeking tourists. From mountain karts on an obstacle-course track to guided tours around the quarry to learn more about its history and current operations, there’s something for everyone.
The main attraction is Velocity 2, a zip line that lets riders reach speeds up to and over 100 mph. It’s not just fast — at over 1500 meters, Velocity is also the longest zip line in Europe.
4. The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland
Game of Thrones fans will recognize this otherworldly path as part of “the Kingsroad” from the popular television series. Thankfully, you don’t have to travel to Westeros to see it — the Dark Hedges is a stretch of road in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
The area’s beech trees line the road and intertwine overhead, creating a magical atmosphere that transports you to another world. Whether you’re traveling solo or with a group, it’s a must-see for fans of the U.K.’s out-of-this-world natural scenery.
5. Urquhart Castle, Scotland
Scotland is known for its gorgeous and historic castles. If you’ve seen the sights of the famous castles at Edinburgh and Balmoral, consider making a trip to Urquhart Castle near Inverness. On the edge of Loch Ness, the Urquhart Castle ruins are full of history and offer unmatched views of the Highland scenery.
Explore the grounds of one of Scotland’s largest castles, including the great hall, prison cell, famous tower and medieval artifacts. Urquhart offers a rich Scottish experience for anyone interested in the region’s 1000-year history.
Explore Unique Tourist Attractions in the United Kingdom
Great Britain and Northern Ireland are full of breathtaking natural beauty, centuries of history and endlessly fascinating sites for visitors from all over the world. Add these unique destinations when you’re planning your next trip across the pond!
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