Despite its relatively diminutive size, the United Kingdom has plenty of great cities that make wonderful vacation destinations. If you’re looking to escape on a cosmopolitan getaway but don’t know where to start, try out some of these awesome cities. Just make sure you bring an umbrella.

Liverpool

Experience one of northern England’s most impressively revitalized cities by visiting Liverpool for a city break. This once-dreary city is now a cultural capital of the UK, with tons of interesting things to see and do. Music fans cannot miss the Beatles Story museum, packed full of fascinating memorabilia from the early days of the world’s most famous pop band. Take in some modern art at the Take Liverpool and then head to the Albert Dock for a drink and a taste of Liverpool’s thriving culinary scene.

Manchester

Whether you’re a football fanatic or mad about music, there’s something for you in Manchester. This is one of the UK’s most exciting and lively cities, with a buzzing music scene and no shortage of art and culture. Manchester is also one of the UK’s top shopping destinations, with massive shopping centers offering all of the latest trends in huge brand name department stores while small arty boutiques sell quirky vintage pieces. Visit Manchester any time of the year for an awesome experience, but expect the unexpected when it comes to the weather.

Edinburgh

Scotland’s majestic capital city is nestled into the Scottish countryside, leaving visitors spoiled for choice between rural beauty and cosmopolitan fun. The best time to plan your Scottish city break is late summer, when the Edinburgh Festival and Edinburgh Fringe spring to life, offering a huge range of comedy, theatre and art for the world to come and see. The city center is surprisingly small, making it easy to explore by foot, and there are plenty of invigorating nature walks around the city surrounding some of its best known landmarks. After you’re worn out from a day of sightseeing, dine in one of Edinburgh’s Michelin Star restaurants and watch the city light up.

Oxford

Although it may be small, Oxford is a city in its own right, and a wonderful destination for a cultural getaway. Just an hour’s drive from London, this historic city has plenty of interesting sights to see. Visit the famous university and see the dining halls and winding passageways that stood in as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films. Visit the mummies and unique ancient treasures at the Ashmolean Museum and then take meander down the River Thames on a traditional punt boat. Oxford is small enough to wander around freely without paying for public transport, and makes for a fascinating and picturesque day trip out of London.

London

If it’s the big buzzing metropolis that you’re after, there’s no place like London. England’s capital city is world famous for its shopping, theatre, culture and nightlife, and you could easily take years discovering everything that London has to offer. If you’re planning to visit London for a city break this year, don’t miss the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace and a proper traditional high tea at the Savoy Hotel. You can catch a theatre performance in the West End and take in world famous art at the National Gallery. Make sure you save a little extra cash for some high end shopping on Oxford Street- Selfridges is a must see.

Cardiff

When discovering the best city breaks of the UK, don’t neglect Wales. Cardiff has become a cultural hub in recent years, with plenty of world-class entertainment, museums and sightseeing. Visit the beautiful and historic Cardiff Castle for a lesson in Welsh history, then wander around the city’s expansive central area to take in all of the amazing shopping on offer. Sports fans can’t miss an international rugby match at the very impressive Millennium Stadium.

Image: “Oxford snow scene” by Jun on Flickr.