There are plenty of magical places to visit in the UK, some of which are so secluded that not many people know about them.

So, if you’re tired of popular sites that are packed full of tourists, now could be the perfect time to unearth some of the UK’s best kept secrets.

From clifftop theatres and underground grottos to hilltop parks and quarry caves, here are 13 hidden gems to explore in the UK.

1. Minack Theatre, Porthcurno

Minack Theatre, Porthcurno

Not far off Land’s End, perched on the side of the Cornish cliffs, is the spectacular open-air Minack Theatre.

Anyone who visits will immediately see why The Minack is considered one of the world’s most spectacular theatres. Every year, it welcomes over 80,000 people to watch various performances – from musicals and concerts to plays and storytelling.

But for those simply wanting to enjoy a glimpse of the theatre’s magnificent architecture and beautiful surrounding coastline, The Minack attracts nearly double that figure. It’s open daily, though visiting hours may vary depending on the performance schedule.

2. Swyd Henryd (Henrhyd Falls), South Wales

Swyd Henryd (Henrhyd Falls), South Wales

Tucked away on the western edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park is Henrhyd Falls – a hidden gem and the highest waterfall in South Wales.

While many head to the nearby Waterfall Country (Vale of Neath), Henrhyd Falls is equally breathtaking and a great alternative if you want to escape the crowds.

Spilling 90ft into a wooden gorge, Henrhyd Falls is one of the only waterfalls in the UK that you can walk behind. And, for those who fancy taking a dip, the falls are also a spectacular wild swimming spot.

Film buffs may also recognise Henrhyd Falls as a filming location for The Dark Knight Rises.

3. The Shell Grotto, Kent

The Shell Grotto, Kent

Margate in Kent is best known for being a popular seaside destination. However, look beyond the usual tourist attractions and you’ll find the mysterious Shell Grotto beneath the town’s streets.

The grotto’s ornate passageways of tunnels, rooms, and hallways are covered almost entirely with a mosaic of over 4.6 million seashells. Up close, you’ll spot everything from mussel, cockle, limpet, whelk, scallop, and oyster shells.

The Shell Grotto is one of the best travel destinations in the UK if you’re looking for something a bit different.

4. Kyoto Gardens, London

Kyoto Gardens, London

We all know that London isn’t short of famous places to visit. But if you’d like to wander a bit further afield from the capital’s main attractions, Kyoto Gardens is a hidden gem and ideal place to enjoy some quiet reflection and relaxation for free.

Named one of the most beautiful gardens in London, Kyoto Gardens boasts a unique, Japanese-style 22-hectare landscape that surrounds the ruins of Holland House in Kensington’s Holland Park.

Holland House served as the home of diplomats and powerful families since it was built in 1605, before its destruction during the Blitz in 1940.

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5. The Heights of Abraham, Derbyshire

The Heights of Abraham, Derbyshire

Often overlooked in favour of attractions like the nearby Chatsworth House, the Heights of Abraham is a picturesque hilltop park in Matlock Bath, Derbyshire.

Once the site of historic lead mines dating back to Roman times, the Heights are also the location of England’s first-ever mountain cable car. And the same service still runs today, transporting passengers from Derwent Valley to the top of Masson Hill or the Heights of Abraham.

On the way up, visitors can enjoy stunning views of the Derwent River valley before getting off to explore 60 acres of breathtaking grounds.

Whether you take a guided tour through the two on-site caves, learn something about the Heights’ history at an exhibition, or explore one of the many winding trails, there are plenty of activities to choose from here.

6. Hunstanton, West Norfolk

Hunstanton, West Norfolk

Hunstanton is a little-known Victorian seaside resort town in Norfolk, home to one of the UK’s most beautiful beaches.

After a short stroll along the beach, you’ll find yourself at the cliff of Old Hunstanton, which boasts captivating, vibrant shades of red and orange.

Another reason that Hunstanton gets its hidden gem label is that, unlike other locations in East Anglia, it’s west-facing, so you can watch the sunset from the cliffs.

Last but not least, the stunning Norfolk lavender field is a must-visit while you’re here, as it’s just a short drive away from Hunstanton.

7. Duncansby Head, Scotland

Duncansby Head, Scotland

Duncansby Head is the most northeastern point of mainland Britain.

While the nearby John O’Groats has become a tourist hotspot, Duncansby Head remains largely untouched and offers an excellent viewpoint for unrivalled seascapes. And after admiring the scenery, why not make the short walk to see Duncansby Head’s stunningly unique rock formations?

This includes the stunning ‘Duncansby Stacks’, which guard the cliff face. Believed to have stood in the same position for the last 6,000 years, the Duncansby Stacks have been named one of the best wild and undiscovered gems in the UK countryside.

8. Cathedral Quarry, Cumbria

Cathedral Quarry, Cumbria

Far off the beaten track in the Lake District lies Cathedral Quarry. Shaped out of rock while searching for slate, it’s a man-made cave that dates back to the 16th century.

While it’s not particularly well signposted, the spectacular views that await are well worth the hunt. The quarry’s main chamber (often called Cathedral Cave) is 40ft tall and pretty remarkable. It features a window-like opening that allows light in to illuminate the cave.

There are also various tunnels to explore inside. Though, remember to bring a torch on your visit – one tunnel is around 400ft long with no lighting!

With no parking at the site itself, you can only access Cathedral Quarry on foot. And since it’s open to guests to explore as freely as they like, Cathedral Quarry doesn’t have an entrance fee, gift shop, cafe, or safety railings – making it a truly isolated hidden gem.

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9. St Martin’s Vineyard, Isles of Scilly

St Martin’s Vineyard, Isles of Scilly

The Isles of Scilly are an untouched, unspoilt archipelago off the Cornish coast in southwest England. Covered in heathland and sandy beaches, they’re often described as being like nowhere else in England.

With spectacular coastal paths and nature trails, the isles draw keen walkers from all over the UK. But one lesser-known attraction is St Martin’s Vineyard, which is just a stone’s throw from the sea. Here, five different varieties of wine are produced, and visitors can enjoy tours and tasting sessions.

There’s also a woodland walk nearby where you can immerse yourself in the stunning scenery and wildlife.

While the Isles of Scilly is a beautiful place to stay, day trips are also available, which you can find out about on the official tourist website.

10. Blakeney Point, Norfolk

Blakeney Point, Norfolk

Blakeney Point is a National Nature Reserve on the North Norfolk Coast and a must-see hidden gem for any nature or animal lovers.

Offering stunning views of Norfolk’s coastline, Blakeney Point’s four-mile-long stretch protects Blakeney Harbour and the surrounding salt marshes. It’s the ideal environment for many animal species. You can marvel at England’s largest grey seal colony, as well as the vast array of birds that nest here.

To experience Blakeney Point, simply hop on a ferry at Morston Quay and see which animals you can spot!

11. Tyneham, South Dorset

Tyneham, South Dorset

Tyneham is known as the place where time stopped in 1943. Before Christmas that year, Tyneham and the surrounding area were evacuated to allow Allied forces to prepare for D-Day landings.

But, despite Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s promises, Tyneham was never re-populated and, as a result, still has a population of zero today.

The remains of the now crumbling village are open to the public as a unique walking route, with footpaths that wind around the eerie and abandoned buildings.

To discover more about Tyneham’s fascinating history, both the school buildings and church have been restored to feature exhibits that tell its story.

About a one-mile walk away, you’ll also find Worbarrow Bay, which is part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. Due to its remote location, Worbarrow Bay can only be accessed via Tyneham, making it an ideal location for a secluded picnic.

12. Avebury Stone Circle, Wiltshire

Avebury Stone Circle, Wiltshire

We’ve all heard of Stonehenge – the world-famous prehistoric monument in Wiltshire. However, it’s so well-known that travellers come from far and wide to visit, so it can become easily crowded.

But what many people don’t know is that Stonehenge has a lesser-known relative situated just 40 minutes down the road. In fact, Avebury Stone Circle is actually the world’s largest prehistoric stone circle.

Not only is Avebury larger and often less crowded than Stonehenge, but visitors can also explore and touch the stones here free of charge (whereas at Stonehenge, you must keep your distance).

To enhance your visit, why not also explore Avebury Manor and the on site museum?

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13. High Bridge Quarter, Newcastle

High Bridge Quarter, Newcastle

If you’re looking for a more urban experience, the High Bridge Quarter in Newcastle is a well-kept secret worth exploring.

Tucked away between the city’s townhouses, the cobblestone streets of High Bridge are full of vintage stores and quirky gift shops that many could happily spend an entire day exploring.

However, if shopping isn’t your thing, the High Bridge Quarter also offers a world of delicious cuisines, a gin house with an impressive array of options, a contemporary art centre, and a stand-up comedy club.

When you’ve finished exploring, you might like to finish your day with a drink in Newcastle’s oldest pub, The Old George. Dating back to the 16th century, Charles I is believed to have been a regular here.

Final thoughts…

Along with the classic UK landmarks that thousands of tourists flock to every year to enjoy, there are also plenty of hidden gems throughout the UK just waiting to be discovered.

Some of these places are so magical and unique that you’re often left wondering how they could belong on our little island.

For further ideas and inspiration about where to go on your next adventure, head over to our travel section. Here, you’ll find everything from staycation ideas to long-haul holidays. Or, browse the latest UK holiday deals using the button below.

What are your favourite UK hidden gems? Have you discovered anywhere new recently? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!