The United Kingdom is a hedonist’s wonderland with huge festivals, illegal raves and nights spent around campfires all filling the summer schedules of almost every twenty-something in the country. But it’s not all about staying awake until the sun comes up with wide eyes, but about the true sense of being wild too; of mountains and cold water surfing, of big night skies and being dwarfed by almighty Mother Nature. Here are just 20 of the best things you can do in the UK, whether you’re in your twenties or just young at heart.
Go to Glastonbury Festival
The mother of all festivals, Glastonbury is an almighty coming together of music, love, art and debauchery for five days in the British countryside. The lineup is always stellar, the atmosphere is always electric and the Glastonbury Fairies almost always manage to keep the hangover at bay until you return to your bed on Monday.
In fact, go to as many festivals as you can
Summer in England was made for stomping around in fields in the rain, dancing in the mud to some good music and drinking a ton of cider. There are countless festivals up and down the country which cater for all music tastes and all party-goers.
Especially the Edinburgh Fringe
The Edinburgh Fringe is one of the greatest celebrations of creativity on the planet and lasts for three weeks in August. The whole city becomes a stage for dancers, comedians, boylesque, music, clowns and almost anything else you can think of.
Bag a mountain
The UK isn’t just rolling hills. Head north, don your walking boots and head up the side of a mountain to reach the peaks. Snowdon in Wales, Scaffel Pike in England and Ben Nevis in Scotland are the highest in each respective country, but there are plenty of mountainous hikes and climbs for all levels and abilities.
Bounce below ground in Wales
If you head to Snowdonia you can go underground in some old mines and bounce around on huge trampolines. Really. Go do it, it’s as awesome as it sounds.
Settle in for a night at the Crown Liquor Saloon
Not all pubs are born equal, and the Crown Liquor Saloon in Belfast has to be queen of them all. With Corinthian columns, snug nooks, gas lighting and stained glass windows, you’ll need to get here early to grab a seat, but it’s worth it to sip ale in one the UK’s finest and best preserved watering holes.
Sleep on the side of a cliff in Dorset
Some things are scarier than others and sleeping on a portaledge hanging over the side of a cliff is one of them. There’s nothing like getting back to nature and here you can do it with a spot of adrenaline too.
Rave like it’s 1999
The 1990s aren’t lost on the Brits and a good old fashioned rave in a warehouse is at the heart of their strong party culture. Cover yourself in glitter, do a few shots and dance until the sun comes up to some classic EDM.
Visit a brewery
Beer, glorious beer! A trip to the UK isn’t a trip to the UK without a hoppy hangover or two, and everywhere you go will be independent breweries making waves in flavour which are just too darn tasty to say no to. Find out all about how it’s made at one of the many large, small, craft and micro breweries up and down the country. Just ask in the nearest local pub for directions.
Gin is a big thing in the UK right now. Gin’s history here isn’t a short-lived one and goes all the way back to the 1700s when it was even more popular than it is now. It was so popular that the government had to introduce the 1751 Gin Act which restricted the sale of our favourite botanical spirit. Gin bars are trendy now too, and most cities from Plymouth to London have their own artisan distilleries and flavours worthy of tasting.
Go on a speakeasy crawl of Bristol
Bristol is basically the home of the hipster and as such there are plenty of hidden bars located behind unmarked doors which bust out great cocktails in copper mugs. Do your research before hitting the town, skip the likes of Thekla and Motion and have yourself a prohibition era night on the town.
Apart from in Scotland and on Dartmoor, wild camping is mostly frowned upon. However, if you’re a small, quiet group it’s unlikely that you will get moved on from most spots unless you happen to pitch on private land. Pick a spot with stunning views, gather a buddy or two and cook alfresco as the sun sets in front of you.
Hit the snow
You don’t need to go all the way to the Alps to go skiing or snowboarding; Glencoe, Glenshee, and all over the Cairngorms have excellent snow from Christmas through to spring. It’s super affordable too, with lift passes starting at £20 a day.
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Take a tour of a whiskey distillery
When in Rome do as the Romans do; when in Scotland drink whiskey. It would be a shame to visit this almighty country without tasting the fruits of its labour, and a guided tour of one of its many distilleries is an excellent way to do so. Glengoyne Distillery has one of the best tours around, as well as some enthusiastic characters who will give you the info on all things single malt and beyond.
This is how a beach party goes in the UK: buy cider, gather friends, drink cider, make bonfire, play acoustic guitar, wrap up in all the layers possible, drink more cider, go for a skinny dip, regret skinny dip, drink more cider, go home with a face glowing from the fire, toes frozen solid from the sea and a warm and fuzzy soul.
Go on a night SUP in Snowdonia
With the moon shining on the snowy peaks of Snowdonia and the stars glittering above, there is nothing more magical than SUPing your way through one of the UK’s finest National Parks with your besties in the middle of the night.
Spend a night in a proper English pub
The greatest nights in the UK are often spent in cosy pubs with thatched roofs, propping up the bar next to a local you can hardly understand with a pint of local ale in hand. Warning: your hangover will be bad.
Celebrate summer solstice with the druids
Gather at Stonehenge, or any other stone circle you can find in the UK and join the druids for an almighty party on the longest day of the year. You will drink beer, dance and worship the sun until daylight spreads across the land.
It’s a lie that food in the UK is rubbish; it’s not. In fact, it’s so good that even bog-standard pubs have had to up their game, with many becoming gastro pubs all over the country. Go on a vegan vendor tour of Camden Market, eat the best fish and chips in the country in Devon or dine in any one of the many Michelin star restaurants which hide in small villages everywhere you look.
Learn to surf
The swell around the UK is some of the finest in the entire world, as long as you’re willing to brave the cold water for it. Head to Cornwall for regular sets and warmer seas, or head to the ends of Scotland for bitter yet perfect waves in the North Sea.