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The 15 best places to visit in the UK in 2023

Fancy holidaying a little closer to home next year? These are the places in the UK you’ll definitely want to visit

Edited by
Huw Oliver
Written by
Time Out editors
Time Out contributors

So you’re thinking about planning a holiday for 2023. Some time off to relax, see some art, hang out with pals or just generally explore. But where should you go, exactly? Well, Time Out’s UK team is here to remind you that, actually, there are loads of amazing destinations, like, right here. Believe it or not, there are fascinating places all over the country you can visit easily, cheaply, and without having to catch a flight (or travel very far at all, in fact).

To compile this ranking, we went to our local experts across the UK to figure out which cities, towns and regions are really worth visiting next year. These are places with thriving food, drink and arts scenes. They’re cities with big cultural openings and spectacular new hotels. And they all have at least one huge event (and in many cases, several) coming up that should immediately go in your calendars.

Basically, they’re the parts of the country that everyone will be talking about over the next 12 months. And deservedly so. From an underappreciated coastal town that’s set to host the Turner Prize and a city where fine-dining doesn’t necessarily mean having to splash out to an old-school resort town with world-beating beer and the region with two of our favourite music festivals, this is the best of the UK for 2023. Happy staycations!

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Best places to visit in the UK in 2023

Photograph: Jim Stephenson

1. Eastbourne

This coastal town might conjure up images of OAPs on coach holidays, pesky pebbles in your jelly shoes and hordes of tennis fans at Rothesay International, but Eastbourne is well on its way to becoming an established hub for creatives. The Towner Eastbourne, an eye-catching gallery sporting a vibrant mural by German artist Lothar Götz, has been selected as the official host of the 2023 Turner Prize (from September 28), to tie in with the venue’s centenary year. While you’re in town, it’s also worth heading out to the South Downs National Park, perhaps during the Eastbourne Walking Festival (September 16 to 25), just before the launch of the Turner.

The perfect day After coffee at Beanzz Coffee & Kitchen, head to the seafront and take in the views of Beachy Head. Go for a dip, then grab lunch at Port HotelRound off the day with live music at the Dew Drop Inn, Printers Playhouse or The Stage Door.

Plan your trip Alongside the Turner Prize, the town will also play host to Crossing The Screen International Film Festival (March 3 to 5) and Beach Life Music Festival (July 15 to 16). Melita Cameron-Wood

Birmingham has long been bubbling away as the UK’s most underrated food destination. Its latest wave of accolades come from the Good Food Guide 2022, with three restaurants in Birmingham and Solihull (Carters of Moseley, The Wilderness, Grace & Savour at Hampton Manor) cited in its prestigious list of the 20 buzziest restaurants in the UK. Birmingham has also been crowned Britain’s ‘most exciting food destination’ by the very same guide, describing the city as having ‘a range of unique and frequently exceptional restaurants across the price range’. Contemporary British-Indian restaurant Opheem and pleasantly affordable fine-dining spot Harborne Kitchen are among the city’s standouts. Keep an eye out for chic French restaurant Orelle, on the 24th floor of the city’s shiny new 103 Colmore Row building. Views. For. Days.

The perfect day Kick off with coffee at Wayland’s Yard before lunchtime beer and baos at North Brewing Co’s new Birmingham taproom, because why not? Just the one pint though, as a city-centre canal-kayak tour with Roundhouse Birmingham awaits. Back on ‘land’, grab a quick photo at the Black Sabbath bench on Broad Street, then dive into Brum’s best chicken at Bonehead and catch a new band at The Sunflower Lounge.

Plan your trip 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of the city’s famous Bullring shopping centre, plus the tenth anniversary of the iconic Library of Birmingham – Europe’s largest. Expect commemorative events. The Ashes, cricket’s oldest rivalry, also returns to Edgbaston (June 16 to 20). Richard Franks

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Photograph: The Albion

3. Cardigan

West Wales remains criminally underappreciated, and charming Cardigan might be its finest spot. This is an old-fashioned Welsh market town with a dazzling creative streak, a beautiful place with fascinating history and countless ways to tell it. Cardigan was the birthplace of the Eisteddfod (brilliantly documented at the renovated Cardigan Castle), and the town is brimming with gorgeous cafés, convivial pubs and other independent businesses – our faves being cinema Mwldan and gin distillery-cum-bar Bar 45. The stunning Guildhall Market is a bustling centre of commerce (currently spread over three separate sites while the main building is being renovated) where Welsh ideas are celebrated and conversation is as valuable as currency. There are plenty of pretty beaches nearby too.

The perfect day Start by browsing the stalls at Canolfan Teifi before grabbing brunch at Bara Menyn Bakehouse. Nip into Stiwdio3 and then the castle before feasting at the brilliant Pizzatipi, just across the river. Rest your head at the fabulous Albion Aberteifi.

Plan your trip A celebration of Celtic creativity, music and magic, Other Voices festival, takes over the town at the beginning of November. John Bills

Manchester in a word? Definitely ‘fun’. And 2023 promises to be one of the funnest years to visit, ever. In February, the Manchester Museum will finally reopen following a huge £15 million transformation, while in June the brand-new Factory International will host ‘You, Me and the Balloons’, the largest-ever immersive exhibition from cult artist Yayoi Kusama. Later in the year, it will also be putting on a stage-show adaptation of The Matrix directed by Danny Boyle. Two brand-new green spaces – Mayfield Park and the Castlefield Viaduct – are proof that Manchester takes its green credentials as seriously as its culture.

The perfect day Stroll around the Northern Quarter and grab coffee and a pastry at Ezra and Gil before browsing the stylish wares at the Manchester Craft and Design Centre (pick up something to eat in the café while you’re there). Spend the afternoon on a guided tour of Unesco City of Literature sites before heading to HOME for a film and a pizza.

Plan your trip Time your visit to catch a show at Manchester International Festival (June 29 to July 16), which has its new base at Factory International. Rob Martin

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It was way back in 1626 that a stream of acidic water running down Scarborough’s epic cliffs and into the sea was discovered. Doctors at the time claimed the water healed ailments because of its chemical make-up. This became a huge catalyst for visitors to Scarborough, and the town became Britain’s first seaside resort. Fast forward to the present day, and it’s thriving again. In 2023 the town will see its famous Scarborough Fair being revived (the dates are yet to be announced). And it’s increasingly becoming a destination for craft beer fans too – micropubs like The Stumble Inn, Quayside Bar, The Frigate and Craft Bar are attracting connoisseurs to the coast, with Valley Bar in trendy South Cliff the go-to place to start a night out. 

The perfect day Order a brew from Yay Coffee’s little truck parked high on the Esplanade with amazing views over South Bay. Then enjoy a walk through the Victorian splendour of South Cliff Gardens, recently restored to their former glory. Browse the vintage stores of the Old Town, including the eclectic Yorkshire interiors from Woolley Edge in the refurbished Market Hall, before a hearty vegan lunch at Love Brew Café. Spend the afternoon at the Alpamare Wellness Spa, with its floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the North Sea. Finish the day with cocktails at Geo before an experimental British-Asian dinner at the Haus of S&M.

Plan your trip Scarborough is on the edge of the North York Moors National Park, which hosts an annual Dark Skies Festival (February 10 to 26). Expect walks, talks and late-night stargazing events in one of Europe’s biggest protected Dark Sky Reserves. Paul Drury

As a mecca of electronic dance music and the biggest city in the green-energy powerhouse of Scotland, how appropriate that Glasgow should be home to a pioneering system at the SWG3 nightclub complex that transforms visitors’ body heat into power for the entire venue. If dancing to save the planet isn’t reason enough alone to visit in 2023, consider too Glasgow’s first-class vegan food scene led by the likes of Mono, Sylvan and The Glad Café, and cultural treasures such as freshly refurbished art gallery the Burrell Collection in Pollok Country Park. For a bit of everything from fine dining to boutique shopping, great pubs and basement gigs, all in one short stretch, hit Great Western Road in the West End, named the coolest street in the UK by Time Out this year.

The perfect day Start with shakshuka and chilli toast at Morning Glory, before a walk through Glasgow’s newest nature reserve the Claypits. Have dinner at the uncategorisable Big Counter, and drinks at The Bell Jar or The Allison Arms. Let the iconic flashing signage of the Barrowland Ballroom guide you in for a show at one of the world’s best gig venues, before burning off any remaining energy on the dancefloor at SWG3, Sub Club or La Cheetah.

Plan your trip Glasgow Film Festival will fly the flag for the Scottish movie scene in 2023, following the sad demise of its Edinburgh counterpart. Centred around Art Deco cinema the GFT, it’s always packed with must-see premieres and red-carpet events. Malcolm Jack

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End of the Road festival. Photograph: End of the Road

7. Dorset

With its quaint towns and picture-perfect coastlines, it’s unsurprising that more than half of Dorset is a designated area of outstanding natural beauty. But what might be more surprising is that next year, Dorset will be home to two of the UK’s most exciting independent music festivals. There’s End of the Road (August 31 to September 3), a wide exploration of everything from post-punk and experimental folk to dance DJs. And then there’s We Out Here (August 10 to 14), an underground electronic and contemporary jazz festival curated by BBC Radio DJ Gilles Peterson, which will be moving to the south-west from Cambridgeshire. 

The perfect day Wake up in the quaint town of Poole and wander along any of the stunning nearby beaches before hopping on the ferry to Brownsea Island, where you can spot rare birds like spoonbills, avocets and black-tailed godwits. Finish up with a dinner of fresh, sustainable seafood at Rockfish Poole.

Plan your trip Grab your tickets now for End of the Road at Larmer Tree Gardens. Last year the festival featured such varied acts as Black Midi, I. Jordan and Sudan Archives. Chiara Wilkinson

Obviously, there are 12,347 reasons you should pay a visit to the capital (you don’t need us to tell you that). But 2023 is looking particularly exciting – especially if you’re looking to let off some steam. We’ll wave goodbye to one of the country’s most treasured nightlife destinations with a final season at Printworks, look forward to more massive shows at new industrial party space The Beams and welcome Exodus, the first-ever festival from clubbing institution Fabric. If you’re after something more tame, though, the Young V&A and National Portrait Gallery are both finally reopening after huge transformations.

The perfect day Load up with lunch at Borough Market, then stroll along the Southbank to watch the skateboarders and catch some free art at the Tate Modern. When night falls, head over to Hackney for cocktails at agave bar Hacha and live music at Earth

Plan your trip Book a ticket well in advance for the stage adaptation of Olga Tokarczuk’s ‘Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead’ at the Barbican (March 15 to April 1). Chiara Wilkinson

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In case you missed the news, we named Edinburgh the best city in the world in 2022. Why? Well, with its ancient castle slap-bang in the city centre and loads of green space, it’s bloody beautiful, for a start. Edinburgh is one of those places that’s small and interesting enough to walk around and see where the day takes you – from exploring the nooks of the Old Town to browsing the trendy independent shops of Stockbridge. The Scottish capital also has a ton of nice-looking new hotel openings for you to rest your head: check out W Edinburgh in the spanking-new St James centre and Gleneagles Townhouse for luxury Georgian chic. 

The perfect day Start your day off with a windswept hike up Arthur’s Seat, where you can take in spectacular views of the city’s skyline and the sea over to Fife. Recharge with a coffee from Artisan Roast, then head over Leith for a sarnie from Alby’s or seafood at Fishers. If you’ve got enough energy left after all of that, catch a gig at the legendary Sneaky Pete’s

Plan your trip The Fringe in August can get pretty hectic, so head up in late July for the annual Jazz and Blues Festival instead. The line-up is usually a good mix of legends and up-and-comers. —Chiara Wilkinson

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It’s been 15 years since Liverpool was named the European Capital of Culture, but its legacy endures in all the bars, restaurants and arts spaces that have opened up across the city over the past decade. And 2023 might just be the best time to visit, as the locals will be pulling out all of the stops with Liverpool set to host Eurovision. While business owners are gearing up to give their warmest Scouse welcomes, Liverpool Council has also confirmed plans to open a Eurovision Village on the city’s famous Pier Head. It will be a celebration of both Liverpool’s culture and that of Ukraine, which won last year’s competition. Expect street art from Ukrainian artists and an art trail featuring Liverpudlian Eurovision legend Sonia.

The perfect day Start your day in the Baltic Triangle area with brunch at Chapters Of Us, then head down the road to the iconic Albert Dock, where you can visit museums including Tate Liverpool and The Beatles Story. Have an early dinner at Maray, a local favourite where you can sample Levantine-inspired small plates, or Madre, if you’d rather margaritas and the best tacos this side of the Mersey. Round off your day with a show at the Everyman Theatre.

Plan your trip It would only be right to visit Liverpool in the run-up to Eurovision (May 13), perhaps for the semi-finals or one of the various spin-off events taking place the week before. You might be hard-pressed to find accommodation, but you could always stay in Manchester and hop on the train. Alice Porter 

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The Cornish town of Padstow has been a haunt of foodies for some time. Rick Stein launching his restaurant empire here back in the 1970s was the beginning. Gordon Ramsay buying a massive pad across the water in Rock also helped. Now a new generation of chefs is attracting gourmets from across the country. You’ve got Prawn on the Lawn and its sophisticated seafood. You’ve got The Pig at Harlyn Bay, one of the country-hotel chain’s most recent openings, with its restaurant either growing or sourcing everything from within 25 miles (we can vouch for the smoked haddock bake and homemade haggis). And then you’ve got the tiny Duchy Grub in nearby St Merryn, from young chef Joe, which goes even further and sources all its ingredients from within five miles. Not to mention any of Stein’s four Padstow restaurants – still going strong decades on. 

The perfect day Kick off with an early-morning walk along part of the The Camel Trail, an 18-mile route that follows a disused railway line. Grab a pasty at Stein’s Deli for lunch and say hello to the majestic creatures at the National Lobster Hatchery. After dinner at Duchy Grub, stay the night at Atlanta Trevone, a recently done-up collection of holiday homes just a few minutes’ drive away.

Plan your trip ’Obby ’Oss, one of the oldest festivals in the UK, takes place here on May Day. Expect two colourful processions, led by the titular ‘hobby horse’, to wend their way through the town. Huw Oliver

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Photograph: VisitScotland / Colin Keldie

12. Orkney

Orkney is a bit of a trek from the English capital, but this otherworldly archipelago of more than 70 islands is about to feel that bit closer. Starting in April 2023, Loganair’s twice-weekly flights between London City and Kirkwall will provide a much-needed tourism boost for this intricate island network. Orkney boasts Britain’s largest concentration of prehistoric monuments and is worth a trip on that basis alone – but there’s plenty more to explore. Four causeways, officially named the Churchill Barriers, link the mainland (that’s an Orcadian island, not the Scottish mainland) with Lamb Holm, Glimps Holm, Burray and South Ronaldsay, making onward travel a doddle. Don’t miss the world-famous Ring of Brodgar standing stones and the ornate Italian Chapel.

The perfect day Start your day at Archive Coffee in Kirkwall, then swing by the Orkney Distillery for a Kirkjuvagr gin tasting. After that, hop the ferry from Houton to Hoy and traverse the hills towards the Old Man sea stack. If the weather’s kind – and by kind in these parts, we mean brooding skies and crashing waves – you’ll enjoy one of Scotland’s most dramatic scenes. Back on Mainland, head for the prehistoric village of Skara Brae, western Europe’s best-kept example of a Neolithic settlement. End your day with live music at Ferry Inn, a few miles down the road.

Plan your trip On the west of Orkney’s Mainland, the Ness of Brodgar excavation site will be open to the public between July 5 and August 17 2023. Visit then to get up close and personal with what is one of the world’s most fascinating archaeological excavations, and a 5,000-year-old Neolithic site. Richard Franks


Margate was once famed for Dreamland, its 1920s theme park, home to the UK’s oldest working roller coaster. But since the opening of the Turner Contemporary in 2011, Margate has earned its respected position in the art world. It’s where Tracey Emin has chosen to open her new art school and where you’ll find exciting artist-owned galleries like Quench and Hotel Michele. But it’s not all about the art. Margate’s burgeoning restaurant scene is unrivalled for a town of its size. Critically acclaimed restaurants like Angela’s and Bottega Caruso have been joined by newer venues like Sargasso and Fort Road Hotel. And while Margate’s tourists have previously stuck to the Old Town, Cliftonville was recently named one of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods by Time Out. Newbies to the area include Parisian-style wine bar Sète, cocktail bar-cum-restaurant Daisy and queer bar and community space CAMP

The perfect day Wake up at Fort Road and take a stroll along the Main Sands. Stop at Big Shot for coffee and mooch around the shops in the Old Town before walking along the coast to Cliftonville. Tuck into lunch at Mori Mori before embarking on a bar crawl along Northdown Road.

Plan your trip Power of Women Festival (March 3 to 12) is an annual celebration of International Women’s Day. Expect a programme of exhibitions, workshops, performances, panel talks and more. —Sophie Brown

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There’s a good reason people are flocking to Sheffield at the moment, both to visit and to live. The combination of being the greenest city in the UK – with 250 public parks and 52 square miles of national park – along with its increasingly vibrant food, drink and arts scenes, make it a perfect blend of bustling city break and serene escape. Recent attractions include a city-centre shipping-container complex, hidden cocktail bars, elegant Turkish grills, next-level Asian cuisine, a huge new nightclub, and a new location for a restaurant lauded by broadsheet critics. All of which makes 2023 the perfect year to discover all Sheffield has to offer. 

The perfect day Kick off with New Zealand-inspired breakfast at Tamper Sellers Wheel, then pick up a coffee at Mow’s, catch an exhibition at Site Gallery and head on a bar crawl around Kelham Island. If you’re veggie or vegan, head to V or V for dinner or swing by Domo for the works. 

Plan your trip Two legendary Sheffield bands return to the city for major shows for the first time in years. Arctic Monkeys play Hillsborough Park on June 9 and 10, and Pulp the Utilita Arena on July 14 and 15. Daniel Dylan Wray

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The First Light Pavilion at Jodrell Bank. Photograph: Andrew Brooks

15. Cheshire

Part Bond villain’s lair, part Teletubbyland, this £21.5 million attraction is the First Light Pavilion at Jodrell Bank Observatory, documenting the fascinating history of radio astronomy in the UK, and is so worth the schlep, even if you saw nothing else in Cheshire while you’re there. But that would be a waste, wouldn’t it? With nearby Macclesfield’s beautiful cinema-turned-food hall the Picturedrome and craft-beer haven Fiveclouds turning this small industrial town into a destination in its own right, plus the perennial charms of Chester, in all its Roman and Medieval splendour, you’d be a fool not to spend a full weekend in a region that most people know for its Real Housewives.

The perfect day Wake up at the historic Chester Grosvenor, order a flat white at the Jaunty Goat and mooch around the boutiques that line the half-timbered galleries known as The Rows. Lunch should be at the Brewery Tap, teamed with a local craft brew, then spend the afternoon learning about how Bernard Lovell came to pioneer the study of cosmic rays at Jodrell. Comme dinner time, grab a fish-finger butty from Macclesfield’s Savages Mussels plus a glass of something nice from Reserve Wines.

Plan your trip Music festival Bluedot (July 20 to 23) takes place in the shadow of the Lovell Telescope, and the line-up is often just as spectacular as the setting (last year’s headliners included Mogwai and Björk). —Huw Oliver

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