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Hidden Gems In The UK: How To Escape The Tourists This Summer

Love exploring new cities but hate the hordes of tourists? Looking for some hidden gems in the UK to explore this summer? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.

Nothing ruins your Instagram feed like a group of selfie sticks in the way of your perfect #citybreak shot. If you’re looking for local favourites that haven’t been hit by the tourist wave yet, read on.

 

Cambridge

While Cambridge is a surprisingly small city, it’s home to some of the prettiest hidden gems in the UK.

Move away from the heaving streets in the city centre and take a Scudamore’s punt down the River Cam.

Head to Cambridge for some of the prettiest hidden gems in the UK

Similar to the roads around the CBD, the river also gets its fair share of traffic so break away to Grantchester Meadows, one of our favourite hidden gems in the UK, for a tranquil float amongst the beautiful fields.

Along your way keep an eye out for the Cambridge cows and the home of WWI poet Rupert Brooke!

The round trip takes about four hours so make sure you pop to Fitzbillies before you embark and fill up on their legendary Chelsea buns or gorgeous picnic hampers.

 

York

 

While York is perhaps most famous for its narrow cobbled street, The Shambles, there’s more to this historic city than its quaint roads and Tudor-style shop fronts.

There's more to York than the Shambles

If you’d rather grab a pint than take a history tour, pop down to the House of Trembling Madness. Hidden away above a shop, this 11th century bar was the first Norman house built in the city.

Serving a fantastic array of beers and great food, Trembling Madness is popular with the locals so there’s not a garish bum-bag or selfie stick in sight. Don’t forget to check out their shop too, stocked with over 600 ales.

 

Edinburgh

For one of the more morbid hidden gems in the UK, head to the Anatomical Museum at the University of Edinburgh.

Open on select days throughout the year, the museum has a bewildering collection of medical artefacts from taxidermy animals and death masks to the skeletons of grave robbers Burke and Hare.

For one of the more morbid hidden gems in the UK, head to the Anatomical Museum

Don’t quite have the stomach for gruesome exhibitions? Try Panda and Sons, a great place to escape the tourists – if you can find it!

Through a secret bookcase at the back of a barber shop, this Prohibition-style speakeasy serves some of the most experimental cocktails in the city.

 

Canterbury

Filled to the brim with castles, cathedrals, cafes and more, Canterbury has to feature on our list of the best hidden gems in the UK.  

Just a short journey from arty Margate, this city has a bit of something for everyone.

While this means people travel from far and wide to visit each summer, you’ll be able to break away from the crowds with lunch at local favourite Bramley’s.

With live music every Monday and Tuesday (and the occasional swing dance session), they serve beautiful cocktails at reasonable prices and are located bang in the centre of the city.

Grab a cocktail at local favourite Bramley's

It has a great buzz but is never packed, more popular with the locals and students than camera-dwelling tourists!

 

Manchester

Manchester is arguably most famous for its music scene, edgy venues and popular bars but we don’t want famous – we want secret! For a bustling city, it sure has some of the best hidden gems in the UK.

Whether you’re looking for a light snack or a more formal sit-down meal, Christie’s Bistro at the University of Manchester has got you covered.

Set in the Science Library of Owens College, this beautiful venue embodies the university’s interesting history and character.

Brunch is served until 11:30am so you don’t have to worry about missing out on avo toast and pancakes if you want a lie-in.

Alternatively, opt for one of their afternoon teas and enjoy scones and sandwiches surrounded by neverending rows of books.

Enjoy brunch among books at Christie’s Bistro

London

Pretty much everyone in the country knows London’s secret bars and attractions so finding one that isn’t overrun by crowds can be tricky.

Introducing Mayfield Lavender, one of our top hidden gems in the UK. How does a 25-acre lavender farm just a bus ride away from the city centre sound?

Dance among the lavender at one of our favourite hidden gems in the UK

Established in 2006 to revive the once booming lavender trade, this farm is every Instagrammer’s dream destination.

It’s even fitted with its own shop selling certified organic products made from their own lavender – the perfect souvenirs!

Hurry though, social media influencers love this place and we predict it won’t stay so hidden for long.

 

Hidden gems in the UK – a summary

A city break is a great way to spend a weekend with mates or get together with distant family members, and this country has a lot to offer.

From the mysterious bars of York or fields of London to the gruesome anatomical curiosities of Edinburgh – you’re not limited to the National Trust for a quiet weekend away from the tourists.

Armed with our list of hidden gems in the UK (and the Loose Ends app if you’re looking for a bit more #inspo!), you’re sure to escape the crows and really explore the city you are in. Have fun!

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