Things to do | Posted 23 Jul 2020

The nature of holidaymaking is changing, as people shun traditional package holidays in favour of something a little different. With people cautious about travelling abroad, searches for staycations are at an all-time high. And luckily, the UK has an endless array of tourist attractions to explore – there’s something for everyone.

But which UK destinations are the best for all things alternative? From novel nature and quirky culture, to mind-blowing science and historic relics, we’ve analysed almost 4,000 entries from Atlas Obscura, TripAdvisor and UK UFO Sightings to find out the UK’s top alternative tourism destinations.

The UK’s Alternative Tourism Hotspots

London has been revealed as the Queen of alternative tourism, with a staggering 1,165 activities. From award winning food markets to breath-taking architecture, the capital truly has something for everyone.

Edinburgh takes the second spot, with 231 alternative activities, and it’s no surprise given the city’s rich history and stunning surroundings. Visitors have lots to choose from, whether you want to explore the Royal Botanic Gardens or check out the taxidermy remains of Dolly the Sheep!

In third place is Manchester, with 139 alternative things to do. Quirky highlights include a monument to the soft drink Vimto – on the very spot that it was invented - and a pub that claims to have the smallest bar counter in Europe.

How does your city fare in our top 20 list? 

Top Destinations for Alternative Things to Do

London and Edinburgh take the top spots again for the most alternative “things to do”, which broadly include food & drink, sporting activities and alternative shopping experiences. This time, though, they’re followed by Glasgow, Manchester, York, Liverpool, Birmingham, Nottingham, Bath and Leeds.

For a well-rounded weekend of alternative activities, take a trip to Birmingham…

Top Destinations for History

Spoiler alert: London and Edinburgh take the top spots across every category, but when it comes to quirky history, they’re followed by Glasgow, Lincoln, Liverpool, Nottingham, Southampton, Coventry, Oxford and Sheffield.

Go back in time with a healthy dose of history in Glasgow…

Top Destinations for Culture

Following the usual culprits, Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham, Liverpool, Oxford, York, Harrogate and Leeds are the best cities in the cultural stakes. This covers all things literature, art, music, museums and fashion.

For the ultimate literary trip, look no further than the city of Oxford…

Top Destinations for Science & Nature

Fancy yourself a bit of a scientist? Or fanatical about the weird and wonderful natural world? Glasgow, Lincoln, Brighton, Windsor, Oxford, Southampton, Larne and Liverpool are the top destinations for alternative science and nature.

Book yourself a trip to Brighton for a day of coastal bliss…

Top Destinations for the Supernatural

Did you know, there have been more than 3,000 UFO sightings in the UK in the last 10 years? But which region takes the top spot for supernatural tourism?

The South East of England has reported the largest number of extra-terrestrial sightings, with a total of 470. This is closely followed by the North West with 465 sightings, and Scotland with 376 sightings. Here’s how the rest of the UK compares:

  1. South East England – 470 sightings
  2. North West – 465 sightings
  3. Scotland – 376 sightings
  4. West Midlands – 336 sightings
  5. East of England – 312 sightings
  6. South West – 261 sightings
  7. East Midlands – 255 sightings
  8. Yorkshire and the Humber – 196 sightings
  9. London – 182 sightings
  10. North East – 164 sightings
  11. Wales – 64 sightings
  12. Northern Ireland – 2 sightings


Explore the nation’s capital of alternative tourism and make a night of it with a stay in one of our hotels in London, including our hotels near St Pauls Cathedral and hotels near the Tower of London. Each hotel has individual character and a wealth of history which will complement your alternative weekend away.

JURYS REWARDS More great reasons to stay