Best Small Cities To Visit in the UK

The UK is home to some amazing smaller sized cities. You can find a great list of the smallest 28 cities in the UK on Wikipedia. All of the cities featured in this article are from this list.

All the cities have less than 100 000 inhabitants and they have amazing places to look around and visit.

A small city makes a great weekend break as there is normally lots of things to do but not so much hustle and bustle from crowds of tourists. You may decide you never want to visit a bigger city ever again!

Worcester


Image CreditFriar Street Worcester – Flickr

Worcester is located about 30 miles south west of Birmingham and is home to just over 100 000 people.

Worcester is a fantastic place to visit. It’s stepped in history and there is so much to do. Visit the beautiful cathedral. There are some fantastic museums and historic houses in the city centre including Greyfriars which is an old merchant’s house owned by the National Trust. Learn about Worcester’s role in the English Civil War at the Commandery and visit the free Tudor Museum.

Meander the high street to enjoy a spot of shopping and don’t forget to pop into look at time splendour of the Guildhall. Have a spot of lunch in the city centre and then walk along the river.

If you’re looking for a weekend away you won’t be short of things to do.

Lincoln


Image Credit: Lincoln Castle / Flickr

Lincoln, the county town of Lincolnshire is one of the most historic cities in the UK. It lies on the River Witham and it’s dominated by it’s magnificent cathedral.

The Cathedral is a masterpiece of Anglo Norman architecture and was the tallest building in the world from 1311 until 1549

For more history, on Castle Hill, you’ll find the entrance to Lincoln Castle which was built by William the Conquerer. See the observatory tower and enjoy brilliant views of the city.

Lunch at Brayford Waterfront

Then take a boat along the river Witham. For the more active, why not cycle from Brayford Waterfront to the village of Harby in Nottinghamshire on a traffic free path.

Another attraction is The Museum of Lincolnshire Life which shows exhibits from 1750 to the present and tell the story of the area’s history.

Chester

The ancient Roman city of Chester. The Vikings, Danes, Scots and Normans also occupied Chester at various points.

If you like walking and seeing historical architecture, you will love this city.

Chester is well known for its Roman walls. Walking the complete circuit of the Roman Wall is almost 2 miles. It’s the only place in the UK which has the complete circuit of four walls still in place. At the Eastgate, you’ll see the Clock Tower which was constructed in 1897 for the diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. It’s the most photographed clock after Big Ben in the Uk.

One of the unique features you’ll see in Chester are the Chester rows. The buildings have covered medieval walkways on the first floor behind which are entrances to shops, bars and cafes.

Other notable landmarks and tourist attractions to visit include Chester Cathedral, Chester Castle which includes a military museum, the Roman amphitheatre (which is free). For something completely different there is also Chester Zoo.

Durham

Durham is a compact and beautiful city with lots of history and things to do both in the city and the surrounding areas. It lies on the River Wear.

Visit the beautiful Durham Cathedral. Climb to the top of the tower and enjoy amazing views. Explore the surrounding woodland paths and riverside trails around the castle.

Next to the Cathedral, you’ll find Durham Castle which was also a palace and is now the university but you can still enjoy a tour here.

During the summer months, take a rowing boat out on The River Wear.

Visit Durham museum, dine at one of the many restaurants and shop at the popular indoor markets

A 20 minute drive away from Durham to Beamish will take you back in time at the Beamish Living Museum

Bath

Located in Somerset, you’ll find the gorgeous and historic Bath.

Located in the heart of the city, visit the Roman Baths which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the UK.
Fashion lovers won’t want to miss the fashion museum that has been open since 1963. Try on clothes that were fashionable in Georgian and Victorian eras.

Hike along Bath’s skyline walk in Alexandra Park. Take a walk through Prior Park landscape gardens.

A must visit if you want to relax is Therma Bath spa. Take a dip in the Minerva bath with massage jets, whirlpool and lazy river. Or take a trip up to the rooftop to relax in the open air and relax in the warm waters. There are saunas, wellness suite and a restaurant too.

Other attractions include the Royal Cresent, the Circus, Pulteney Bridge, Victoria Art Gallery and the beautiful Bath Abbey.

Perth

Perth is one of Scotland’s 7 cities with approximately 47 000 inhabitants. It’s a lovely city to base yourself to visit and see the amazing surrounding countryside. Visit Perth and experience the bustling atmosphere of the city centre and the beautiful countryside in one weekend.

Attractions include Scone Palace which was the crowning place of Scottish kings and housed the Stone of Destiny, sometimes named the Stone of Scone.

Immerse yourself in the extraordinary history of The Black Watch with a visit to their museum housed within the historic Balhousie Castle. The Regiment has witnessed and contributed to many key moments in world history and the museum brings the history to life.

Other places to visit include Huntingtower Castle which dates back to the 15th Century. See the wonderfully painted ceilings and well kept grounds.

Climb Kinnoull Hill any enjoy the amazing views at the top. Branklyn Gardens are stunning and well worth a visit too.

Chichester


Photo: Chichester Harbour

If you want to combine a small city visit with a trip to the beach, Chichester is just 6 miles from the coast and next door to the stunning South Downs National Park. Chichester is a great city to explore in a day. Then you can spend some time near the beach or exploring one of the other attractions in the area.

Like many small cities in England Chichester is known for dating back to Roman times and you can still explore the Roman walls that are still intact today. You can walk along them . In the southwest corner of Chichester’s walled circuit, find the beautiful Bishops Palace Garden.

Chichester Cathedral (or, the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity) dates back to the eleventh century. Stop for a well deserving break at the welcoming cafe here.

Four main routes spread out from the Tudor Market Cross, which is a stunning Gothic monument in the middle of town. This a great place to start exploring Chichester’s shopping which include independents and popular high street names.

Head slightly out of town for Fishbourne Roman Palace which dates to AD75, just three decades after the Roman Conquest of Britain. It was excavated in the 1960s. Visitors can see the excavations, including the famous mosaics, and there’s a museum interpreting the site.

Also just out of town is Chichester Harbour which is lovely to stroll around.

In the Southdowns National park find the Weald and Downland Living Museum, an outdoor attraction and worth a visit – there are over 50 historic buildings over 40 acres.

St. Davids


St Davids Cathedral – Jim Roberts Gallery / Flickr Creative Commons

St Davids in Pembrokeshire in Wales is the UK’s smallest city. Only 1700 people live here. Like many small cities in the UK, the area is steeped in history and the reason why it has city status is because of it’s impressive cathedral.

St Davids was designated as a conservation area by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in 1972 and this area of Wales is extremely beautiful.

It’s a great city to visit if you want to combine a trip to a small city and the beach. There’s a beach within walking distance from the city centre.

If you love walking, walk some of the Wales Coastal path while you’re in the area. Or why not take a boat trip to one of the wild offshore islands such as Ramsey or Skomer.

Other places to see in St Davids include Oriel y Parc gallery and the Gothic ruins of the Bishop’s Palace.

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