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Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol

How to spend 3 hours in these 7 incredible UK cities

Visiting one of the UK’s best cities but not stopping for long? We’ve got you covered. Whether you’re just in town for a quick pit-stop between destinations, or you’ve found yourself with three hours to kill between events, we’ve rounded up the essential things to tick off while you’re there – all in a three-hour window.

How to spend 3 hours in Bristol

The port city of Bristol has so much to see and do that you don’t want to spend the whole time traipsing from one area to another, so it’s best to stick to one area. If you fancy shopping, the city centre is a great place to be. The market in Bristol Old City buzzes with street food stalls and market sellers every day of the week except Sunday, and you can spend your time exploring the medieval streets on a self-guided audio tour. Fancy something a bit more off the beaten track? Explore Clifton instead. This pretty suburb has a more independent feel. While you’re here, walk across Clifton Suspension Bridge for epic views, then spend a couple of hours exploring the area on foot.

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How to spend 3 hours in Manchester

If you’re stopping off in Manchester, Salford Quays is a really nice place to base yourself. This waterfront hub crams in MediaCityUK – home to the BBC and ITV – the Lowry theatre, and some of the city’s best architecture, shops and restaurants in the space of just one square mile. There are lots of hour-long boat tours that set off from here if you fancy exploring the city from the water, so you’d have time either side for sightseeing on dry land. And if you fancy something completely different, you could do the Manchester United museum and stadium tour. It takes a couple of hours and you’ll get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Old Trafford.

Book a megabus to Manchester.


How to spend 3 hours in Liverpool

Three hours in Liverpool is going to fly by, so make sure you come prepared with a plan! If history is your thing, you could visit Liverpool’s epic cathedrals. The Anglican Liverpool Cathedral is the UK’s largest, and if you can get up to the tower you’ll be rewarded with wraparound views. Walk to the other end of Hope Street and you’ve got Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, so you can tick off both in one trip – if you’re quick. If music is more up your street, you’re in the right place in Liverpool. The Beatles Story is well worth a visit as it's the world's largest permanent exhibition telling the story of the lives and times of The Beatles. 

Book a megabus to Liverpool.


How to spend 3 hours in Sheffield

If you’re visiting Sheffield in good weather, the Botanical Gardens are a great option to while away some time – and they’re free to visit. They’re home to a vast 19 acres worth of open space and packed with plants and flowers, so pick up a coffee and a kronut from close-by Coffika and enjoy a leisurely wander. If the weather is shocking, try the Winter Garden instead. It’s one of the biggest temperate glasshouses to be built in the UK in the last century, and could fit a whopping 5,000 ‘normal’ greenhouses inside. It’s right in the city centre, so you could pop into the next-door Millennium Gallery while you’re here. 

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How to spend 3 hours in London

Three hours in the capital you say? Sounds like a challenge to us! For starters, you’re not going to want to spend all your time queuing – so if you’ve got something specific in mind it’s definitely worth pre-booking. If you want to ride the London Eye, for example, book ahead online to guarantee entry. That way you’ve got more time to grab a bite to eat on the South Bank, or sip a drink overlooking the Thames. Likewise if you want to tick off the Tower of London but only have a limited window of time, book a private tour with a Beefeater and get exclusive access. If you’re on a budget or just want to relax, pay a visit to one of London’s many Royal Parks. Hyde Park is one of our favourites and three hours will go by in a flash.

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How to spend 3 hours in Leeds

Leeds is famous for its shopping arcades, so it’s a great place to satisfy your cravings for a spot of retail therapy. Victoria Quarter is probably the most famous arcade, and the Grade II-listed structure is home to no end of high-end boutiques and swanky designer shops. Queen’s Arcade is your best bet if you’re hoping to scope out some independent shops, and Thornton’s Arcade is another safe bet for quirky finds. If you’re here to haggle, it’s got to be Leeds Kirkgate Market – it’s one of the biggest indoor markets in Europe, so you’re in for a treat. It’s open Monday to Saturday, and there’s a farmer’s market held on Briggate every first and third Sunday of the month.

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How to spend 3 hours in Cardiff

Fancy living out your Doctor Who fantasies while you’re in Wales? Of course you do – and Cardiff delivers in spades. Book a Doctor Who Cardiff Walking Tour and you’ll spend two hours exploring locations from the programme alongside an expert guide. Not a Whovian? Not a problem. In a three-hour window you could also pay a visit Cardiff Castle and take a wander through gorgeous Bute Park.

Book a megabus to Cardiff.