Beat Blue Monday: best places to explore the UK

We want to make ‘Blue Monday’ a thing of the past. Beating the January blues can be hard, with the back to work routine and the ropey weather. So check out our list of some of the happiest places to visit in the UK

Blue Monday1. Hexham– A small Northumberland town with a huge heart

Tucked away deep in the heart of Northumberland, Hexham may not have been your first port of call when visiting the north east of England. However, according to Brits, it’s one of the best places to live which must mean it’s also not a bad place to visit either. This small happy town in Northumberland is a perfect for anyone wanting a traditional quiet and cosy staycation. Local things to see and do include farmers’ markets, Viking-themed events, independent shops and historic cultural spots such as Hexham Old Gaol- reputed to be one of the earliest purpose-built prisons. The town is also gateway to the tourist hotspots of Hadrian’s Wall and Hexham Abbey.

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Blue Monday2. Brighton– Feel refreshed with some sea air and bracing coastal breezes

Visiting any seaside in January could be seen as a mad idea. However, in Brighton at least, there’s still lots to see and do. Head over to the Theatre Royal for a show, have a nosey round the Brighton Pavilion or Brighton Museum and Art Gallery or browse the January sales and Churchill Square shopping centre. Seen by many as one of the happiest places to live and work, the Georgian seaside resort of Brighton has also fast become one of the UK’s biggest tourist destinations. A diverse community, quirky shopping and a large LGBTQ population all welcome you whatever time of the year you visit. From lots of great theatre and exhibitions to keep you warm in the winter, to bike rides, festivals and a beautiful beach keeping you entertained in the summer.

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Blue Monday3. Swansea– Wave off the January blues in action-packed, beautiful Wales

With lots of stunning scenery, and many things to see and do across the bay and even a little further afield, Swansea is a great place to visit in January or indeed the whole year round. For those still sticking to their ‘keep fit’ resolutions, water sports, walking trails, and cycle paths are a healthier alternative to the car and of course, the best way to see the most that Swansea Bay and the surrounding area has to offer. Whether it’s rambling around the Mumbles, or admiring the views of the Gower Peninsula, this is a great staycation spot for someone with a more active disposition. Of course, when you return from your adventures, Swansea Bay offers plenty of amazing food to get stuck into, including fresh fish from the Bay, and traditional fruity welshcakes. 

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Blue Monday4. York– Shop at the shambles, walk the medieval walls and discover a museum…or two

Founded by the Ancient Romans, tourists flock to York for its history, its shopping and its landmarks. From the characterful shopping experience at the Shambles, to a walk along the city walls or a peek in one of the world’s most significant Cathedrals (which also happens to be Centuries old), York is a cracking place to visit, and is indeed one of the top 5 happiest in the UK. As well as the York Castle museum where history comes to life in its recreated streets and First World War displays, ramp up the happiness factor with a visit to York’s Chocolate Story where you’ll take a guided tour through York’s colourful history with chocolate. You’ll discover many secrets and fascinating facts about York’s finest chocolatey creations, including the Chocolate Orange and the popular KitKat. There’s also a gift shop where you can indulge in this mood-lifting sweet snack yourself.

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Blue Monday5. Lincoln– A home away from home for history lovers 

Whether you’re a history buff, or a keen learner, Lincoln is certainly the place to come to see some amazing sites of historical and cultural importance. Head over to Lincoln Castle to see one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, a hugely historical charter of rights that was written in 1215 by King John of England and is almost certainly one of the most important and famous documents in the world. Also at Lincoln Castle is a Victorian Prison that was last used between 1848 and 1878. As well as the castle, historical sights can also be seen in the Museum of Lincolnshire Life which has displays and artifacts exploring Lincolnshire’s history from 1750’s to the present day. Having a wander up Steep Hill in between museum visits is also a treat with 12th century homes lining the route up to Lincoln Cathedral. After all this, it isn’t hard to see why Lincoln is in the top 5 happiest places to live and work.

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Blue Monday6. Scotland– Experience an all-rounder; from the highlands to the exciting cities.

Among the list of happiest places in the UK, Glasgow and Edinburgh both made it inside the top 10. Which must mean that if you’re heading north on your travels, a stop in Scotland is not to be sniffed at. Edinburgh is a compact, fast-paced city with lots of history and fascinating hidden gems such as Arthur’s Seat, which sits atop one of the many hills in the city and is a great place to take a break and recharge. Glasgow is a fantastic port city which is famed for its Victorian architecture and rich cultural links to music and the arts. Make the most of the waterside location and visit the Riverside museum where you’ll find out more about the history of Glasgow and it’s past Glaswegians, or pop over to King Tuts’ iconic and legendary music venue to get your groove on with great live music. 

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Blue Monday7. London– Experience more in the UK’s capital city

If having the freedom of variety makes you happy, then there’s no better place to come than London. Some of the best food, drink, music, museums and scenery live here and as soon as you arrive, the buzzing atmosphere welcomes you. What better way to beat ‘Blue Monday’ than to head on over to the Museum of Happiness which is running its annual Winter Happiness Festival in Islington on Sunday 19th January. Expect to learn more about your own wellbeing, laugh a lot and make a few new friends too. After getting a big dose of ‘happy’, it’s time to truly see the blues off by grabbing some comfort food. London is well known for its wide variety of cuisine and from one district to the next, you’re sure to find something you’ll love. However, in the January weather, there’s nothing better than a hearty pub classic, and a warm, cosy fireplace to make you feel good. The Ealing Tavern has all of this in abundance as well as a fantastic atmosphere which will beat your blues in no time.

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