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These Are The 5 U.K. Destinations That Welcome Tourists With Open Arms

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As a born and bred Brit, I feel like I can get away with saying that we are not always necessarily known for being the friendliest nation on the planet.

I’m not saying Brits are unfriendly, far from it, but our naturally reserved nature can make us seem a little less welcoming than some other nations I have visited.

tourists walking past the colorful buildings on victoria street in edinburgh scotland

But I’m here to tell you that there are plenty of friendly and welcoming places in the United Kingdom – towns and cities where people are happy you came to explore their little corner of the country and will help you out if you’re in a bind.

A recent study from British railway company LNER is going to back me up – they just revealed a list of the top friendliest destinations in my homeland, so allow me to tell you a little more about the places that ranked well…

5. Edinburgh

view of edinburgh city skyline from arthurs seat at sunset

This is just my opinion, but Scotland is one of the friendliest parts of the U.K. for sure, so it’s no surprise to see the charming city of Edinburgh rank highly in this study.

My personal favorite thing to do in Edinburgh is put on some comfortable shoes and hike up to the top of Arthur’s Seat, an ancient hill fort that affords unbeatable views of the city and the Firth of Forth.

Edinburgh is also super easy to get to for Americans, with JetBlue among the latest airlines to launch new nonstop flights to the Scottish city.

4. Newcastle Upon Tyne

newcastle quayside at night with illuminated bridges reflecting in the river

This may be a generalization, but the north of the U.K. has a reputation for being a touch friendlier than the south.

Newcastle is one of the northernmost major cities in England, and in my experience at least, people from this region are among the most welcoming in the country.

Famous British attractions to tick off here include the Victoria Tunnel, the Discovery Museum, and the Angel of the North sculpture in nearby Gateshead.

Newcastle is also a great foodie city, with the Quayside district one of the hippest areas.

3. York

view of york minster from the old city walls in england
Photo by David Guest

If history is your thing, then York is a city that is simply bursting with it – including Roman, Viking, and English heritage dating back thousands of years.

I first visited the city on a school field trip as a youngster and I remember being enchanted by attractions like the Jorvik Viking Center, National Railway Museum, and one of the country’s most impressive cathedrals York Minster.

Another northern city, York is used to receiving tourists from around the world and you are sure to receive a warm welcome if you decide to visit.

Another key attraction in York is The Shambles – a narrow and superbly well-preserved medieval shopping street where the buildings lean in over your head.

2. Brighton

brighton seafront and palace pier

Another seaside town with plenty of family-friendly attractions, Brighton is well-known for being welcoming to all.

The city is unofficially known as the ‘gay capital’ of the country.

Its thriving LGBTQ+ community culminates in one of the best Pride celebrations around.

Sights here include the Royal Pavilion and the Brighton i360 – an impressive viewing platform that takes you up more than 450 feet above the city skyline.

You might think this city on the south coast would be difficult to get to, but London Gatwick Airport is only a mere 27 miles away, giving you plenty of nonstop flight options.

1. Blackpool

aerial view of blackpool tower and blackpool beach

There’s a chance you may not have heard of Blackpool, so allow me to set the scene.

It’s the archetypal British seaside holiday town, with a long promenade, multiple fairgrounds and theme parks, and an icon that looks very much like the Eiffel Tower (if you squint).

As such, it is a very welcoming and friendly place for tourists – its history as a holiday spot goes back to the 1700s when the wealthy used to visit to bathe at its pretty beachfront.

There are three separate piers, several theatres, a zoo, a Madame Tussauds waxwork museum, tons of other family-friendly attractions, and the aforementioned Blackpool Tower to keep you entertained.

Despite it being known as a summer holiday hotspot, it’s also great to visit in winter when the town becomes one giant light show as part of the annual Blackpool Illuminations.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

Raymond Houlter

Friday 3rd of May 2024

Not sure why you accuse Edinburgh people of being Brits? Isn't "British" just another word meaning "English" as your PM Sunak pointed out?

Desmond Hope

Sunday 24th of March 2024

No!!! Blackpool is an insufferable dump. The seafront is nasty and tacky. Behind the sea front are some of the most impoverished wards in the country. Add to this the fact that the town has an awful drug, crime and homeless problem. I should know - I worked there for five years. Stay well clear.

Nan Crumlish

Sunday 24th of March 2024

I think you are right about Brits being unfriendly. I think Scots are friendly and I met a Welsh person who was lovely, but I have met many Brits both in their own country and abroad and they are not very friendly. In Liverpool I was told to shut my f###ing hole when I told our server that the pie she served us was cold. Sam and I were told to sling our hooks in Cambridge when we asked to visit a library. Brits need to learn from their neighbours if they want tourists to visit. Holland, Belgium, Ireland, France and Scotland welcomed us with open arms.

Margot H Knight

Saturday 23rd of March 2024

For a wonderful look at Blackpool, check out the Jerry Lewis/Oliver Platt movie Funny Bones.

Raymond Houlter

Friday 3rd of May 2024

@Margot H Knight, Not sure what could be worse: A. Visiting Blackpool; B. Watching a Jerry Lewis film.


Saturday 23rd of March 2024

Thank you for making this list! I think Manchester should be on there too ... although maybe it isn't because of the tourist tax?

Raymond Houlter

Friday 3rd of May 2024

@Caroline, Manchester deserves praise for managing to make Hull seem interesting.