When I first read New York Time's annual 52 Places to Go list for 2015, my immediate reaction was: "San Antonio? Cleveland? Tulsa? Are you kidding me?" Why take a trip to Oklahoma of all places when you can go to Sri Lanka or Papua New Guinea? Shouldn't traveling be about going on an adventure, about getting away? The more I thought about it, the more I started to reconsider. Some of the most amazing places in the world are those in our own backyards. We often yearn to escape so badly that we overlook all the beauty right around us.
Since moving to the UK, I've admittedly not traveled much domestically aside from a few day trips to Oxford and Brighton. I've been so hell bent on exploring the rest of Europe that I've completely ignored all the amazing places just a short train ride from London. Don't get me wrong. I don't plan on curbing the long-haul flights anytime soon. However, I do plan on mixing it up a bit this year and "going local" more. Below are just a few places in the UK we hope to visit in 2015!
Glasgow frequently gets the unfair reputation of being Edinburgh's grittier, less polished neighbor. What it may lack in glitz, the city more than makes up for with its abundance of music, art and shopping. Locals from both cities are adamant that their home reigns supreme. However, why force yourself to choose between the two when they are only 50 minutes apart by rail?
Isle of Skye
The Highlands have been the source of much Scottish mythology and folklore. The region's stunning landscape, marked by dramatic peaks and jagged cliffs, adds to this sense of mystery. Skye is the most northerly island in the Inner Hebrides and perhaps one of the region's most dramatic destinations. You can enjoy the beautiful scenery from one of the island's new eco lodges. When we visit in June, we'll be staying at the quaint and remote Hillstone Lodge. The lodge is a short distance from The Three Chimneys - one of the island's two Michelin starred restaurants.
There are countless stately homes and historic manors across England. One of the country's most famous is Chastworth House in Derbyshire. Some of you may recognize the palacial estate from the 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Chatsworth wasn't simply used as a film location. The house was also originally mentioned in Jane Austen's novel as one of the estates visited by Elizabeth Bennet. Today, visitors can tour the estate, including its beautiful garden and extensive art collection.
There are few places as "quintessential English" as the rolling hills and tiny villages of the Cotswolds. Day trips from London are entirely possible thanks to multiple trains that run direct from the city to various towns in the area. However, it probably makes more sense to extend your trip for a few days so you can hike and cycle around many of the Cotswolds' most idyllic villages like Bibury and Castle Combe.
Nothing cures a stressful week of work like a short spa break. On the southern edge of the Cotswolds is Bath - appropriately named for the city's many ancient Roman baths. Bath is a perfect weekend getaway for Londoners, who can enjoy the city's natural thermal spa and beautiful Georgian architecture.
A bit off the beaten path, Snowdonia in Wales is the perfect destination for hikers and outdoor adventurists. Those looking for a challenge can trek across Tryfan, one of the country's most famous peaks.