9 Cities That Prove There’s More To The UK Than Just London: A Photo Story

Let’s get something straight. There’s waaaaaay more to the UK than just London.  

I”ll blame it on the United States educational system and lack of geographical knowledge, but when I told my friends and family I was moving to Leeds, England to get my Masters, everyone and I mean everyone’s brains immediately registered my new home as London. But it’s not. At all. Two hours on a train and a drastically different accent you’ll find my new home. With all of the confusion and lack of general knowledge about England and the UK I’m going to share my nine favourite cities in the UK.

Sorry in advance, you’ll need to extend your trip to England.



The city of Liverpool is home to a lively city full of culture, football (C’mon you Reds!), tons of museums, beautiful view and the Beatles.  Unless you’re a Liverpool fan or a museum buff, the word Beatles should’ve made you stop skimming.

uk than just london - Liverpool
View from the docks
uk than just london - Liverpool
Matthew Street

uk than just london - beatles

Besides the Beatles museum, Liverpool is home to The Cavern Club which is where the Beatles got their start. If you’re lucky, you can enjoy a drink at a table by the stage where the Beatles graced us with their presence while listening to the Beatles of course!

uk than just london - Liverpool Beatles

uk than just london - Liverpool the cavern


Leeds, my home, is the second largest city in the UK.  It’s also arguably the most fun.  A city filled with students (There are four Universities within a mile radius of each other), and young  professionals there is literally always something to do. Whether it’s a night out that’ll put you in a two-day doozy, a professional networking event, professional speaker or a night at the theater, Leeds has something for you. If city views aren’t your thing, beautiful Roundhay Park, Meanwood Trail and the Kirkstall Abbey are just for you.

i took a walk 🚶🏾

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exploring this 11th century thingy on a sunday ⚔

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thou shall not complain when the sun is shining in leeds ☀️

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Oh, and it has tons of amazing restaurants – because eating abroad matters! 

nothing like an english breakfast to start your day 🍳🍴☕️

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Dublin isn’t technically in the UK, but with flights that can be as low as $30 and possibly the nicest people you’ll ever come across, I had to add it to the list. My guide for Dublin is simple – eat fish and chips, drink Guinness and Jameson and see historical stuff.

You can see and experience quite a bit in Dublin in a short amount of time. The five I suggest are: Cliffs of Moher, which is listed as one of the wonders of the world. You’ll most likely have to pay for a tour which will cost a bit, but it’s SO worth it.

uk than just london - Dublin


Guinness Storehouse: which is one of the coolest and most interactive breweries I’ve ever been to. Plus the view is amazing.

uk than just london - Dublin Guinness

uk than just london - Dublin

Check out Trinity College and book of Kells, eat fish and chips at Lee Burdocks (the tip jars are hilarious), and enjoy a Guinness at Temple Bar…or anywhere in the area to be honest. Live music is prevalent and you’re guaranteed to have a good time!

uk than just london - Dublin

uk than just london - Dublin


Quite possibly the cutest Northern town, Knaresborough is one you won’t want to miss out on while in the UK. You can check out Mother Shipton’s cave, Knaresborough Castle, which blesses you with a stunning view of the river below and if you’re feeling adventurous you can rent a boat for a stroll down the river.

uk than just london

uk than just london - knaresborough

If you visit in the fall, leaves falling is also a major plus 🙂

lord of the leaves 🍃🍂🍁

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Another adorable town in Northern, England is York.  A day here and you’ll fall in love with this quaint town. Check out the York Minster in all of its glory, York Castle and get an aerial view of York with learning some history of the town, check out the Shambles which will remind you of Diagon alley in Harry Potter, take a stroll along the York Walls which surround the city and if you’re up for it (you should always be up for it) indulge in afternoon tea at Betty’s Tea House.

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York Minster
uk than just london
My dad enjoying the view!
uk than just london - the shambles
A shamble standing in The Shambles

my humans are here!

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Afternoon Tea uk than just london
Afternoon Tea @ Betty’s


To me, the main draw to Ilkley is Ilkley Moor. The stunning views and awesome rock structures was something I didn’t want to miss out on. Be prepared! It’s no walk in the park, it’s definitely more of a hike!

uk than just london - Ilkley
Photo courtesy of @slickest13!

uk than just london


Just a few hours South West of London lies a small seaside town called Exmouth. Carved into the red rocks of the Jurassic Coast, with three miles of golden sand, this hidden gem is not one to be missed.

From the luxury apartments on the marina to the rugged wilderness of Woodbury Common, Exmouth has it all. Boasting a number of superb restaurants and cafes as well as a vibrant night life.

Much like other towns in surrounding Devon and Cornwall, Exmouth provides a step back from the smoggy hustle and bustle of the big cities like London, and allows oneself to soak in nature’s beauty (without travelling too far out).


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During the summer, families travel from far and wide to transform this sleepy seaside town into a vibrant holiday destination. Where week in and week out there are an array of seasonal activities to take part in including: festivals, water sports, fishing trips, cruises and everybody’s favourite, lazy beach days!

uk than just london


I one thousand percent recommend checking out Brighton on your tour of the UK. About an hour South of Central London, without a doubt you’ll enjoy you’re time here. Enjoy the beach, have a drink at one of the seaside restaurants and spend time on the pier in the central waterfront section which has rides and an arcade.

uk than just london - brighton

uk than just london

uk than just london
uk than just london

While the beach is a huge reason to visit Brighton, the city itself has tons to offer. Get lost in the lanes and take a little break at one of the many adorable cafes or grab a drink at one of the quirky bars.

uk than just london

uk than just london

uk than just london

uk than just london

At the end of the day, head back to the pier to enjoy the sunset. You won’t want to miss it.

uk than just london


Edinburgh, the hilly capital of Scotland is my final place on my list and one of my favourites. A mix between outdoor adventures and an amazing city center, I definitely recommend spending a weekend here.

For your outdoor thrills, check out Edinburgh Castle, National Monument of Scotland, climb to Arthur’s Seat and Princes Street Gardens. If you’re feeling a little historical, enjoyed the excitement of the Da Vinci Code and don’t mind going a bit outside of the city, Rosslyn Chapel is also another site to consider.

For your time in the city, definitely go whiskey tasting at the Scotch Whisky Experience and take a stroll on George Street which is home to Edinburgh’s trendiest bars, restaurants and shops.  Any Harry Potter nerds about? Walking throughout the city you’ll get glimpses of the Harry Potter movies, specifically Victoria Street. As you walk onto Victoria Street you’ll immediately feel like you’re in the film. And you MUST stop in Elephant Cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote several of the first books. If you look out of the cafe window, you’ll see where she got inspiration for Godric’s Hollow. As a fan it’s an amazing feeling that you’ll cherish for a lifetime! 

frolicking above edinburgh ☁️💨

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"after all this time?" "always." ⚡️✨🌀

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99 flake 🍦 and a view

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'twas a bit windy, but my skinny latte and i made it

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The birthplace of Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling, thanks for making my life ✨

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Etajha Gilmer is a Los Angeles native and alumna of Loyola Marymount University where she majored in Communication Studies and Minored in Sociology. After graduating she spent a year in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam teaching English and travelling throughout South East Asia before deciding to go back to school to get her Masters in Public Relations and Strategic Communications in Leeds, England at Leeds Beckett University. Currently, she is pursuing opportunities that allow her to combine her love of travel, fashion and health and digital media....but ultimately pays the bills. To keep track of Etajha and her shenanigans be sure to follow her on Instagram!

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