22 inspiring places to visit in the UK

With lockdown restrictions easing and government guidelines permitting us to travel – lots of us will be in need of a break and starting to plan for a change of scenery in the coming months. With so much natural beauty and culture right on our doorstep, we thought we’d highlight some interesting and beautiful places to visit in the UK.

So, if you fancy planning an adventure that’s within easy reach, then take a look at these 22 inspiring destinations in the UK.

1. Lake District, Cumbria

The beauty of the Lake District has led UNESCO to name it as one of their newest protected sites. With stunning mountain ranges, tranquil lakes and unique little villages, this little gem is the perfect place for a relaxing break.

2. Watergate Bay, Cornwall

If you’re looking for some great UK beach vibes, then why not head to this gorgeous bay in Cornwall which boasts two miles of golden sand? It’s the ideal spot for sea lovers and you’ll feel like you’re a world away from home.

3. Windsor, South East England

Windsor is a historic market town in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. Windsor Castle, Eton College and Great Windsor Park are some of the main attractions. This quaint town thrives on rich cultural heritage, stunning architecture and beautiful scenery.

4. Jurassic Coast, Dorset

Nope there aren’t any dinosaurs here, but you can go fossil hunting! This intriguing UNESCO protected coastline is full of pre-historic treasure just waiting to be found. It stretches 95 miles from Devon to Dorset, so there’s no shortage of beautiful scenery for you to enjoy.

5. The Dark Hedges, County Amin

The Dark Hedges are some of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland, and are now popular with visitors from around the world. This impressive scene is located on a quiet road in Ballymoney, County Amin. A line of beech trees with twisted branches form an arch over the road, which makes for an amazing photo opportunity. The Dark Hedges are just a short half an hour away from the mysterious Giant’s Causeway, and a one hour drive from Northern Ireland’s capital of Belfast, which is home to the World’s largest Titanic visitor experience!

6. Tenby, Pembrokeshire

Tenby is known for its beautiful beaches, which look like they’re straight from the Mediteranean. It has three – North, South and Castle beach – each with its own unique charm. As well as having plenty of natural beauty to enjoy, Tenby also has cultural exploits to offer, such as Tenby Museum and Art Gallery or the National Trust owned Tudor Merchant’s House. There are also some eerie ghost walks on offer near Tenby town centre.

7. Stonehenge, Wiltshire

As one of the most famous spots in the UK, this unusual attraction is a must-see. To this day, no one knows how and why it was built, which just adds to its wonder and mystery! You can make a day trip, or stay for longer in the surrounding county of Wiltshire – which is famous for its ham, horses and prehistoric monuments!

8. Bath, Somerset

Bath is the largest city in Somerset. It’s bursting with ancient history and culture, but it’s most famous for its Roman-built baths, hot springs, medieval heritage and Georgian architecture. This unique, feel-good city is quite unforgettable. 

9. Robin Hood’s Bay, Whitby

This captivating little coastal village was once where smugglers brought in contraband items like alcohol – and it still has a fascinating network of smuggler tunnels underneath it. Steeped in history and beauty, you won’t be able to help falling in love with this charming location.

10. London, England

Who could forget the iconic capital city of our country – London! There’s so much to do, from mooching through the funky market stalls in Camden to seeing the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. If you’re on a budget, then consider staying in Kings Cross or Camden, which has plenty of affordable accommodation, cafes and restaurants and vintage shops.

Although pricier, Belgravia, Kensington and Knightsbridge are also great places to stay during your first time in London. All three are in close proximity to some of London’s most famous landmarks, including Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey.

11. Brecon Beacons, South Wales

The Brecon Beacons are a striking mountain range in southern Wales that are cared for by the National Trust. The range has six main peaks, including Pen y Fan – the largest peak, standing at 2,907 ft tall. The iconic area features nature walks, a national park, campsites, and plenty of village eateries. It’s also a popular place for stargazing!

12. Holy Island, Northumberland

Transport yourself to this magical island, which is even more breathtaking in person – the photos just don’t do it justice. This gorgeous little island is home to Lindisfarne Castle which is so pretty that you’ll wonder whether it’s even real.

13. Manchester City, North West England

If you want to experience a vibrant city outside of London then you could head to Manchester – it’s trendy vibes will completely lure you in. If you’re looking for a tasty bite, then this city is well known for its wide variety of restaurants, with everything from BBQ food to sushi heaven. You can also have a nice walk around the quays and canals!

14. Cirencester, Gloucestershire

Cirencester lies on the River Churn and is the largest town in the Cotswolds. It’s the place to go if you love a good market and can be easily reached by car or train. You’ll soon wonder where the time went, as there’s so much so see and explore.

15. Castle Howard, York

You’ll be blown away by the jaw dropping beauty of this castle. While the house remains closed, the gardens are still open to visitors. You can explore 1,000 acres of parkland and winding woodland paths, temples, terraces and fountains – not forgetting the beautiful Walled Garden!

16. Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh – Scotland’s capital –  is often described as looking like a “real-life fairytale”. Looming over the city is Edinburgh Castle, which is where you can see Scotland’s crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny. There’s also plenty of history and culture to explore along the cobbled streets of the Medieval Old Town and Georgian New Town.

Fun fact: Edinburgh is the home of Sean Connery, Sherlock Holmes, digestive biscuits and Harry Potter!

17. St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall

If you want to visit somewhere that combines stunning scenery with a good old legendary tale, then St Michael’s Mount is one place you’ll definitely want to visit. This small tidal island is possibly one of the prettiest places in England, and rumour has it that a giant still inhabits one of the island’s caves. Spooky!

18. Bristol, South West England

Bristol is home to some of Banksy’s most iconic works, as well as some fantastic boutique shops and the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge. It’s full of so much character that your first visit probably won’t be your last!

19. Giant’s Causeways, County Antrim

If you’re looking for a getaway that can offer some dramatic scenery, then the Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, is definitely worth a visit. It lies at the bottom of the basalt cliffs and is made up of 40,000 huge black basalt columns sticking out of the sea, which interlock in perfect horizontal alignment. Scientists believe that the striking scene was caused by volcanic activity 50-60 million years ago. For many, this UNESCO heritage site has also inspired myths and legends about giants striding over the sea to Scotland.

20. Finnich Glen, Stirlingshire

If you’re looking for adventure and don’t mind walking through water, then Finnich Glen in Stirlingshire, Scotland, is a top UK destination to add to your list. This steep gorge is up to 70ft deep which was carved from red sandstone. Some of its most memorable features include a steep staircase known as the Devil’s Steps and a mushroom shaped rock that rises above the rushing stream, nicknamed The Devil’s Pulpit. This beauty spot has been used to film scenes in TV series Outlander and The Nest, and the film King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

21. Snowdonia National Park, North Wales

The picturesque mountain range in North Wales is home to England and Wales’ largest mountain, standing at 3,560 feet tall. Climbing Snowdonia is challenging, but is sure to be an experience that you’ll never forget. If climbing isn’t for you, then there’s still plenty of other ways to appreciate the scenic landscape that the area has to offer. Meander through wooded valleys, historic villages, or take a leisurely ride on the Snowdon Mountain Railway. There’s also 60 miles of glorious coastline to enjoy!

22. Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

This elegant city is laced with impressive buildings such as the historic chapel at King’s College which was gifted by Henry VIII to one of his six wives (Anne Boleyn). Definitely one to add to your bucket list if you’re interested in history and culture.

Final thoughts…

There is still a large amount of uncertainty surrounding the future as we emerge from lockdown. And while some people may be starting to plan ahead and look forward to new adventures, it’s also understandable if you are not currently ready to consider getting out and about. Although things are opening up again, we are having to adjust to a new way of life – so it’s important to take things at your own pace.

If you do plan to take a trip somewhere in the UK, then it’s always best to plan ahead, and find out what you can expect when you get there (e.g. what’s open, and what some of the more specific safety rules are) if you want to avoid disappointment.

Have you visited any of these UK destinations? Or do you have any other gems that you’d recommend. Email us at [email protected] or leave a suggestion in the comments below. We’re always happy to hear from you.

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17 thoughts on “22 inspiring places to visit in the UK

  1. Avatar
    THOMAS MCGUIGAN on Reply

    Out of 19 places you can only find one of each in Northern Ireland,Scotland and Wales who does your research? Shame on them

    1. Avatar
      Mark Hughes on Reply

      Hi Thomas, thanks for your comment and sorry that you’re not happy with the diversity of examples we have provided here. 19 is perhaps not enough generally, as there are so many wonderful places to visit in all regions of the UK. As a small team, we do our best but we’ll take your feedback on board and try to revisit this piece in the near future.

      Out of interest, do you (or anybody else reading this!) have any suggestions for places you’d recommend?? If so, maybe we can add them in!

      Thanks and have a lovely day. Mark at Rest Less.

      1. Avatar
        Kate Materna on

        Worbarrow Bay in Dorset is well worth a visit, we actually saw a Dolphin there this weekend! Amazing to see it playing by a boat in the bay in the wild!

  2. Avatar
    Di CHAMBERLAIN on Reply

    I think Royal Deeside is an incredible area. Apart from wonderful Scottish villages, mountains and glens to trek through, the highland games held in august and September are spectacular events to attend. With pipe band and highland dancing contests providing a unique sound and visual backdrop, ancient sports such as throwing, hammers tossing cabers (tree trunks) and tug-o-war pit the strengths of athletes in traditional kilts. The Lonarch games near Ballter is the most ancient where pipe bands March through several villages en route to the tournament area receiving a dram of whisky from well wishers so that by the time they arrive they are ready to party. I should think the games this year may be cancelled due to the virus but hopefully the historic events will continue in future.

  3. Avatar
    Jackie on Reply

    Good morning Mark,
    I love receiving the emails and ideas from Restless – thanks to everyone on your team.
    As you say, all additional ideas from members are welcome I’m sure.
    Keep up the good work!

  4. Avatar
    LindaM on Reply

    Can’t believe you only listed one idea for Scotland. There are lots of lovely beaches, mountain views and places of interest you could have highlighted.

    1. Avatar
      Helen on Reply

      Hi Linda – you are so right that Scotland has a plethora of spectacular destinations and I’ve passed your feedback onto our writers. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  5. Avatar
    Cheryl Kohan on Reply

    These are wonderful suggestions. I’ve just recently moved to England from the U.S. and I am thrilled to be here. My daughter works for NHS so I’ll be living with her. We’ve decided that we’re going to have Sunday Funday and spend the day or perhaps the weekend visiting some of the places I’ve never been throughout the British Isles. Thanks for these ideas!

  6. Avatar
    Alison Goldie on Reply

    I just want to thank RestLess for its caring, helpful, beautifully presented and written journalism, of which this article is just one great example.

  7. Avatar
    Zandra on Reply

    Thank you for your fantastic places listed and as other have said there are many more. This gives me a chance to plan a couple of short breaks/ weekend visit and to enjoy this beautiful land we live in. Your doing a GREAT job thanks again.

  8. Avatar
    Leasa on Reply

    Thank you for your amazing efforts with this list, much appreciated. I looks forward to all your emails. Keep up the good work and keep safe.

  9. Avatar
    julie dalphinis on Reply

    I have been to some of these places and I have carefully saved the ones I haven’t been to plan into my time. Thank you for these suggestions and for all the research that you do to bring these ideas for living life to the max to us!

  10. Avatar
    Brian on Reply

    Scotland and Wales are lousy with castles, all of them worth a visit, city destinations would be Liverpool, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dublin, (really don’t know enough about Ireland – need to fix that).

  11. Avatar
    Cassie on Reply

    Llandudno is a good base for North Wales. In addition we have our own little mountain, the Great Orme which has an artificial ski slope, cable cars, copper mines, tram and fantastic coastal walk with brilliant views We also have the long pier and prom for enjoyable walks. There was a pod of dolphins swimming off the beach in the last week.
    It is a few minutes drive to Conwy with its historic castle and a drive down the valley takes you to Surf Snowdonia.
    I could go on and on and there are hundreds of hotels, B & Bs, holiday cottages etc available.
    Please give us a go!!

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