The Best Destinations For Solo Travel in the UK
You’ll never have to argue over dinner plans again.
Let’s be honest – sometimes even the most congenial of travelling companions can be a drag. There’s nothing relaxing about rehashing age-old battles between planners and by-the-seat-of-their-pantsers, or people who get up crack of dawn to explore and those who think all good holidays involve a long lie in. (We’re firmly in the latter category, by the way –and if we can swing breakfast in bed, all the better). So this time, cut out all the debates over the day’s activities or arguing over the map and go for the best type of holiday there is: a solo trip. Here are our very favourite places to solo travel in the UK, whether you’re searching for sandy beaches or bustling city streets. And of course, our Plum Guide home critics have scouted out some gorgeous little getaway homes for you to enjoy your solitude in once you arrive.
We won’t lie to you, if you’re looking for the kind of beach holiday where you can luxuriate in warm waters and show off your tan lines, Cornwall may not be the one for you. Even on England’s southern coast, you’re more at risk of getting caught in a drizzle than getting heat stroke – but that’s just all part of the charm. Cornwall’s beaches are a far cry from those on the French Riviera but they’re the perfect sites for blustery walks, bracing paddles, and tucking into a good portion of fish and chips as the sun goes down. With plenty of quaint fishing towns like Padstow, ancient ruined sites like Tintagel, and artsy hubs like St Ives, there’s plenty to occupy solo travellers looking for a jaunt around the coast. Our advice? Bring a selfie stick or a tripod for those perfect holiday photos – no, you don’t have to pose like an Instagram influencer, but you’ll regret not getting some snaps of yourself with the gorgeous scenery.
No guide to solo travel in the UK would be complete without mentioning Edinburgh. Culture kids will love the interesting art galleries like the quirky Modern One, hikers will enjoy climbing the ancient volcano in the heart of the city, and everyone with tastebuds will enjoy a tour of Leith’s up-and-coming restaurants. And if you’re feeling a wee bit lonely, traditional Scottish hospitality means you’re never more than a drink away from making some new friends in the pub. The lively capital is the perfect place to explore on your own any time of year, but we’d particularly recommend going during the summer Fringe Festival. Every August, hundreds of thousands of visitors flock here to see the best new comedy acts, plays and performances, and if you go alone there’s no negotiating with your travel partner over what you’re going to see. Yes, that’s right – you’ll never have to sit through an experimental one-man-show about bread again. Unless you really, really want to.
London’s not just the capital, it’s also the prime destination for solo travel in the UK. We’d guess that almost everyone on earth could spend a perfect day in this city, whether it’s mooching around one of the many museums, shopping til you drop in Shoreditch’s coolest boutiques, or even seeking out some of the city’s most beautiful green spaces along the Serpentine in Hyde Park. The city’s dining scene is also made for solo travellers – there’ll be no pitying looks as you ask for a table for one in London. Instead, you’ll skip to the front of the queue at the most in-demand dining establishments while larger groups look enviously on. Enjoy the cheesiest fresh pasta you’ll ever eat at Padella in Borough Market, slurp up ramen at the always-packed Kanada-Ya, and order one of everything while watching the world go by from the counter seating at Bao.
Solo travel often conjures up images of jam-packed schedules and hectic city breaks, but sometimes the main aim of your holiday is simply rest and relaxation with no itinerary and no obligations. If that sounds as blissful to you as it does to us, the Lake District is ready to welcome you. This charming corner of England is one of the most popular places for solo travel in the UK, offering a distinguished literary and artistic heritage as well as some of the country’s best hiking routes. Stay on picturesque Lake Windermere to tap into your poetic side, making like Wordsworth and wandering lonely as a cloud through the hills and wetlands of this little slice of heaven. Visit Beatrix Potter’s house, discover the Swinside stone circle, and finish off a day of rambling with a hearty Sunday roast in a historic pub (or Michelin-starred cuisine in upscale restaurants The Old Stamp House and L'Enclume). Just don’t blame us if you don’t want to go home again.