I’m not ashamed to admit that every now and then, I like to watch a cheesy 80s action movie, read a few excepts from a celebrity gossip magazine, and even, shock horror, watch reality TV for a few minutes before my brain turns to mush.
Sometimes, however, I like to pour myself a fine scotch whisky, grab a good book, listen to the radio, and immerse myself into an evening of culture and the arts.
For times when you’re feeling cultural, just like me, it’s important to find activities that tick your boxes and get your intellectual and creative juices flowing, as it were. If you find yourself craving culture and are planning your next city break here in the wonderful UK why not browse the following towns and cities and see what takes your fancy?
Here’s a look at what I, and many others, consider to be 7 of the UK’s most cultured towns and cities.
The first city I have for you today is stunning Bristol.
This southwestern city, which the locals call Brizzle, is one of those cities in the UK that has something for everybody.
It is picturesque, the temperatures down there are warmer than average, the locals are warm and welcoming, and it is one of the most artistic and cultural cities in the British Isles.
Bristol offers eye-catching architecture, creatives, art galleries, museums, street performers, live musicians and entertainers, pubs, cafes, restaurants and a thriving economy so you’ll not be short of things to do on your visit here.
Bristol is built around the stunning River Avon, it features its own coastline, and sees tourists flocking here in their droves every single week. If you’re looking for a long city break of culture, good food, fine wine, laughs, and all-around good times, Bristol is your perfect destination.
From the South West to the North West, we’re next going to visit Liverpool.
Now, despite what the media and comedians on TV would have you believe, Liverpool is not a dangerous, crime-ridden city, in fact it is quite the opposite.
Liverpool is actually one of the most artistic, creative, and cultural cities in the UK.
Home to incredibly friendly and humorous locals, along with museums, art galleries, restaurants, wine and champagne bars, shops, visitor centres, and a whole lot more besides, it’s easy to see why those that crave things that nourish their inner creative, find themselves drawn to Liverpool.
Home to the Beatles, Liverpool has actually been named as the World City of Pop by Guinness World Records, so music lovers will be in their element in this fabulous city.
Those of you who are into your football may also want to book a tour around Anfield, home to the 2019/2020 Premier League Champions – Liverpool FC.
The city’s architecture is especially eye-catching and has a rich and storied history behind it. So much so, in fact, that numerous parts of the city have been granted World Heritage Site statuses back in the year 2004.
From busy cities to quiet towns, let us now check out one of my favourites, the stunning West Yorkshire town of Hebden Bridge.
If you consider yourself a creative or have an interest in the arts and culture in general, this is the town for you. Since the 1970s, Hebden Bridge has had a reputation as being a hub for artists, writers, poets, musicians, actors, and other creatives.
Back in the 70s, those who were involved in the arts generally struggled to make ends meet. Hebden Bridge offered affordable housing with good transport links, including a canal network, and creatives headed there to live, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Hebden bridge has independent shops, picturesque surroundings, it is LGBTQ friendly, it has the Rochdale canal, literary festivals, live music, galleries, museums, and amazing community spirit that you always get with Yorkshire folk.
Heading across the border, I’m now taking you to the home of the industrial revolution – Manchester.
Manchester is home to red brick buildings, canals, disused cotton mills, an abundance of shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, galleries, museums, and plenty more besides. Manchester has a population of around 500,000, and thanks to that and its tourism, it has the third-largest economy in the UK.
Much of the money generated is pumped into the arts, especially its music and when you consider some of the talent produced here (The Stone Roses, The Smiths, Oasis, Joy Division, Happy Mondays and more) along with the days of Factory Records and The Hacienda, you can see why music lovers consider Manchester to be their spiritual home.
Up next, let’s head on over to Bonnie Scotland and visit the beautiful city of Dundee.
Perched on the banks of the Firth of Tay, Dundee is Scotland’s fourth-largest city and has expanded hugely since the 19th century, thanks in part to its Jute-making facilities, its journalism and its lip-smacking marmalade. As a result of this, Dundee is affectionately known as the city of ‘Jute, Jam, and Journalism’.
Despite this, Dundee has so much more to offer, including start-ups, live music, entertainment, and freelancers and creatives eager to give something back.
Now, let us venture to the land of ‘Brum’ and see what the city of Birmingham has to offer.
You’ll no doubt be familiar with Peaky Blinders and if so, you’ll know that this show is set here, despite being filmed in other parts of the country (including Hebden Bridge), so fans of Peaky Blinders will love it here.
Once a hugely industrialised city, Birmingham now has a reputation for its culture.
Foodies and curry lovers will be in their element here, and simply must visit the world-famous Balti Triangle and discover a truly authentic BIR (British Indian Restaurant) Balti, cooked and served in the way Balti chefs intended.
Finally, I’m going to take you to visit the home of legendary outlaw Robin Hood.
Nottingham, located in the East Midlands, is a hub for culture enthusiasts as it is home to poets, musicians, artists, live performers, graphic designers, and creatives in general, all looking to entertain and give something back to the community.
Around the city, you’ll discover numerous nods to Robin Hood, as well as a pub which claims to be the oldest pub in England the Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, which is also reported to be one of the UK’s most haunted pubs.
Which one are you going to visit first?
Until next time stay safe, stay curious and don’t stop wandering!