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.
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.