In five days, you can get a good taste of the United Kingdom—if you move quickly. First-timers keen to pair London with the tranquility of the Cotswolds will enjoy the Classic tour. The mix of culinary and historical experiences on the Wales & England itinerary is perfect for foodies and those looking for variety. Nature lovers will enjoy outdoor adventures on the Scotland road trip, while history buffs and families will appreciate the castle tours and wildlife excursion on the Yorkshire & Northumberland itinerary.

Itinerary #1: Classic England: London, Oxford & Bath

This classic itinerary is a great option for first-time visitors that want to experience the lively city of London with the tranquility of the Cotswolds. Tour the popular sites, including the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey in London, then cruise the countryside and immerse in the history—and bathhouses—of the Cotswolds.

Big Ben overlooks the Thames and Westminster Bridge
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in London, Tower of London, Afternoon Tea London
Day 2 Borough Market, St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey London
Day 3 Drive to Bath, Guided Walking Tour, Cross Bath Spa Bath
Day 4 Explore the Cotswolds, Highgrove House Gardens & Oxford Oxford
Day 5 Drive to London, Depart  

Visit some of London's sites on arrival, including the Tower of London, with a hop-on, hop-off bus tour before sitting down to an afternoon tea at one of the city's luxury hotels. Take a walk along the River Thames, then pay a visit to Borough Market, where you can peruse the artisan stalls and taste local cheeses, seafood, and wine. Continue to St. Paul's Cathedral, followed by Westminster Abbey, a resting place for more than 3,000 well-known people, including Jane Austen and Queen Elizabeth. 

Head to Bath, a historic UNESCO-listed city where you'll find Georgian architecture and one of the best-preserved Roman bathhouses in the world. Next, join a walking tour to some of the significant sites, including the Jane Austen Center, the Royal Crescent, and the Roman Baths, before experiencing the open-air thermal pool at the Cross Bath. On your final full day, tour the Cotswolds: see the traditional stone houses in Bourton on the Water, have a pint at a pub in Stow-on-the-Wold, visit Broadway Tower, tour the gardens at Highgrove House & Gardens, and spend the night in OxfordLearn more

Itinerary #2: Historical Highlights of Yorkshire & Northumberland

With visits that include York Minster, Holy Island, and Newcastle upon Tyne, this historical highlights tour is well-suited to travelers interested in history and the arts in England. If you're traveling as a family, kids will especially enjoy playing Dracula in Whitby and spotting puffins in the Farne Islands.

Enjoy the sea views from Whitby Abbey
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Manchester, Drive to York, Explore York Minster Cathedral York 
Day 2 Drive to Whitby, Discover Yorkshire's Abbeys & Cathedrals Whitby 
Day 3 Drive to Newcastle upon Tyne via Tynemouth Castle Newcastle 
Day 4 Drive to Bamburgh, Explore the Castle & the Holy Island of Lindisfarne Bamburgh
Day 5 Farne Islands Boat Tour, Dunstanburgh Castle, Drive to Edinburgh & Depart  

Start your UK experience with a visit to York Minster, the UK's largest Gothic cathedral, then enjoy a meal along a medieval street known as the Shambles. Hit the road toward the seaside town of Whitby on Day 2, with a stop at Helmsley Castle and Rievaulx Abbey en route, then sink your teeth into some of the UK's best fish and chips while taking in views of the harbor on arrival. Wake early to see the morning light at Whitby Abbey—the Benedictine abbey featured in Bram Stoker's "Dracula"—on Day 3 before driving north toward Newcastle upon Tyne

Take a break at Tynemouth to tour the castle and snap some photos with views of the River Tyne and the North Sea. On arrival in Newcastle upon Tyne, visit the art galleries or catch a performance at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. Head for Bamburgh on Day 4 and spend some time at one of the largest inhabited castles in England. Take a day trip to Lindisfarne (also known as Holy Island), where you'll learn about the Viking attacks and visit the castle and priory. On your final day, take a wildlife boat tour to the Farne Islands, where you may find dolphins, puffins, and seals. Learn more 

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Itinerary #3: Self-Drive Scotland: Inverness, Isle of Skye, the Trossachs & Edinburgh

If you want to go north of the England border, this self-drive Scotland itinerary offers opportunities to hike in Trossachs National Park and scenic spots such as Neist Point on the Isle of Skye. Photographers, active families, and couples will love the outdoor adventures, castle visits, and rugged scenery.

Road trip on the Isle of Skye
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Dundee, Drive to Inverness via Balmoral & the Cairngorms Inverness
Day 2 Drive to the Isle of Skye via Loch Ness & Eilean Donan Castle Isle of Skye
Day 3 Explore the Isle of Skye Isle of Skye
Day 4 Drive to the Trossachs National Park The Trossachs NP
Day 5 Drive to Edinburgh, Guided Walking Tour & Depart  

Journey through the Scottish Highlands to Inverness, with stops that include a viewpoint overlooking Loch Tummel, a visit to Balmoral Castle, and a whiskey tasting at an Aberlour distillery. Search for "Nessie" on a Loch Ness cruise before driving to Skye on Day 2. Allow time for Eilean Donan Castle en route; it's the most photographed castle in Scotland and uniquely located on a tidal island. Day 3 is dedicated to experiencing the Isle of Skye: check out the Old Man of Storr rock pinnacles, hike the Quirang loop, enjoy the views at Neist Point Lighthouse, and visit Dunvegan Castle before sitting down to a seafood dinner.

Head south to Trossachs National Park on Day 4, and you'll find pristine wilderness and endless outdoor adventures. Spend the morning hiking, have lunch in the village of Luss on Loch Lomond, and take a forest walk near Arrochar (or, if you have the time and prefer something a bit more challenging, book a climbing excursion in the Arrochar Alps). On Day 5, drive to Edinburgh to soak up the city life and hit some famous sights—including Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, and Calton Hill on a private walking tour, then savor one last Scottish meal (don't forget the shortbread!) before departure. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Wales & England: Coastal Culture, Cuisine & Castles

Travelers who like a balance of history, culture, wildlife, and a dash of quirk will love this itinerary that includes historic castles, a wildlife boat tour on Gower Coast, and a ghost walk. Those looking to fit in a visit to Wales and England will appreciate the quick pace, and foodies will enjoy the chance to sample the flavors of Cardiff and Manchester on culinary tours in both cities.

A castle along the Gower Coast
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cardiff, Cosmopolitan Cardiff Food Tour Cardiff
Day 2 Tour Tintern Abbey, Self-Guided Tour of Hay-on-Wye Bookshops Hay-on-Wye
Day 3 Brecon Beacons Tour, Gower Coast Boat Trip & Tenby Ghost Walk Tenby
Day 4 Tour Caldey Island, Free Time in Portmeirion & Caernarfon Castle Caernarfon
Day 5 Llangollen Railway & Craft Beer Tasting & Eat the City Tour in England, Depart  

On arrival in Wales, taste your way around Cardiff on a guided food tour and experience the city's diverse cuisine while learning about local history and landmarks, including Cardiff Castle. Start Day 2 with a wander around the ruins of Tintern Abbey, then head for the riverside town of Hay-on-Wye to check out the quaint bookshops and walk along the River Wye (or rent a canoe and go for a paddle) or cycle some of the local trails. Spend Day 3 exploring the Brecon Beacons, including the Hillfort of Garn Goch and the ruins of Carreg Cennen Castle.

Spot porpoises and other wildlife on a Gower Coast boat tour, then join a ghost walk and hear haunted tales of Tenby. Start Day 4 with a guided visit to Caldey Island before embarking on an architectural walk through the Italian-inspired village of Portmeirion, followed by a stop at UNESCO-listed Caernarfon Castle. On your final day, take a journey in the Denbighshire countryside on the Llangollen Heritage Railway, then pop over to Chester in England for a craft beer tasting. Finally, sample the flavors of Manchester and learn about the evolution of the food scene here on the "Eat the City" tour. Learn more

Itinerary #5: English Pubs, Culture & Nature: York, Ambleside & Liverpool

This England-focused itinerary is suited to travelers seeking a mix of outdoor activities—including hiking, canoeing, and standup paddleboarding—and unique cultural experiences. Literature lovers will enjoy the Beatrix Potter tour, while sports enthusiasts will appreciate the behind-the-scenes look at Anfield Football Stadium, and fans of the Beatles will be happy to visit the sites of Liverpool on a Beatles-focused tour. 

Darnbrook moor in springtime, Yorkshire Dales National Park
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in London, Transfer to York & Guided Historic Pub Walk York
Day 2 Haworth and Yorkshire Dales Day Trip York
Day 3 Canoeing in the Lake District & Walking Tour in Buttermere Ambleside
Day 4 Many Lives of Beatrix Potter: Full-Day, All-Inclusive Tour Ambleside
Day 5 Lake District Stand-Up Paddleboarding, Tour Liverpool & Depart London  

Head for York on arrival and embark on a guided pub walk to learn about the area's history and sample some pub fare and spirits. Check out the staircase-style Bingley Five-Rise Locks, then visit the Brontë Parsonage Museum and the Brontë Memorial Chapel before taking in the views from atop Penistone Hill. Stop by Linton Falls, then spend an afternoon in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Explore the riverside ruins of the Priory Church at Bolton Abbey. On Day 3, immerse in the beauty of the Lake District with a guided canoe excursion and picnic followed by a hike in Buttermere

Explore the world of Beatrix Potter on a full-day "Many Lives of Beatrix Potter" tour that begins at Wray Castle and continues to her home in Near Sawrey and the Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead. Learn about her farming and conservationist work with visits to the Tarn Hows and Yew Tree Farm, then stop by Armitt Library and Museum to learn about her life as a researcher and illustrator. On your final day, join a standup paddleboarding tour in the Lake District, then head to Liverpool for a behind-the-scenes tour of Anfield Football Stadium, followed by a "Liverpool by The Beatles" tour. Learn more 

More Great United Kingdom Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to the United Kingdom? Check out these other UK itineraries, with culinary adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 


Map of 5 Days in the United Kingdom - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 5 Days in the United Kingdom - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas