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The secrets of UK travel: Where to stay, explore and public transport

The UK is known for its natural beauty, scenic drives and cuisine. Picture: Pexels.

The UK is known for its natural beauty, scenic drives and cuisine. Picture: Pexels.

Published Oct 24, 2021


With the UK being one of the most popular destinations for local travellers, with travel demand from South Africa to this European destination at an all-time high, there's plenty to see and do.


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The UK is known for its natural beauty, scenic drives and cuisine.

Explore the famed attractions like Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, Stonehenge, London Eye, Edinburgh Castle, Windsor Castle and national parks. Or take the off the beaten path and explore small towns like Warwick and Rye in England, Cushendall in Northern Ireland and Plockton in Scotland.

Travel expert Altus Stenekamp suggested taking a train instead of a flight from London to Edinburgh. En route, he advised travellers to spend a day or overnight at York, a walled city in north-east England, teeming with history and rich experiences.

“For those visiting during the UK summer season, explore anywhere near the coast, from Brighton to Portsmouth. For those travelling during their winter, Lake District, Edinburgh, The Cotswolds, Canterbury and Wales are popular options," he added.

Where to stay

For those on a budget, consider Hotel ibis London Earls Court and easyHotel South Kensington. Both offer standard rooms but provide value for money.

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Mid-range hotels like Amba Hotel Marble Arch were also popular, offering sophisticated accommodation.

For luxury travellers, Ashford Castle offers a private, 5-star escape. Visiting here, according to its website, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Food scene

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The UK, especially London, has a remarkable food scene.

“It is a melting pot of culture and cuisine. You are spoiled for choice when you visit.

“From traditional UK dishes such as fish and chips with mushy peas to bangers and mash, or Sunday roast with Yorkshire pudding, to that late-night kebab stop and a good curry in Brick Lane, there’s plenty to indulge in,” he said.

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The secrets

Stenekamp, an avid visitor to the UK, said that travellers should ditch car hire unless they plan a road trip to other destinations.

“If you are travelling to London, take the red city sightseeing bus (and sit upstairs) on your first day. It is pricey, but you familiarise yourself with all the hotspots and get to grips with the city.

“Also pack comfortable walking shoes. The UK offers plenty of safe walking routes that showcase some picturesque gems,” Stenekamp advised.

Travellers can use their bank cards as long as they alert their bank of travel dates.

“Get a multi-zone travel card. You can use it on trains, buses, overland rail and even water transport on the Thames.

“Also, leave plenty of time to get your PCR Covid test for your return flight, which you need to print ahead of your flight,” he said.

Read the latest issue of IOL Travel digital magazine here: