beautiful places uk

The 50 Most Beautiful Places in the UK

The United Kingdom is loaded with beautiful places from the rugged Scottish highlands to the honey-coloured cottages of The Cotswolds. Whether you live in the United Kingdom or are just looking for some Britain wanderlust, there’s no shortage of breathtaking sites to see. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all boast their own unique culture making the region all the more exciting to visit. Without further adieu, here are the most beautiful places in the UK.

 

50 of the Most Beautiful Places in the UK

50. Portmeirion – Wales

Portmeirion is a big hearty slice of Italy in the heart of Wales. The enchanting resort village is known for its Italian style architecture that immediately conjures nostalgic images of an old Italian village. Surrounded by the gorgeous Y Gwyllt Woodlands and complete with a charming central piazza, Portmeirion really does feel like the Mediterranean.

49. The Dark Hedges – Northern Ireland

The quiet and isolated road framed by beach trees connects Armoy and Stranocum and looks like something from a storybook. On sunny days the road looks romantic, and on gloomy days it looks like something that leads to an evil lair – both are equally stunning.

48. Cheddar Gorge – England

Just near the ancient Roman city of bath and the cosy village of Cheddar is the magnificent Cheddar Gorge. This velvety green gorge is simply breathtaking and provides stunning views of the surrounding scenery. Even more impressive, the limestone cliffs that soar above the gorge were formed by Ice Age meltwaters millions of years ago.

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47. Belfast – Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland capital has been on the rise of places to visit in recent years. Thanks to its rich history, vibrant local culture and insane food and drink scene, there’s lots to love here. What makes it so beautiful in addition to the local charm is the city’s Botanic Gardens. This elaborate garden dates back to the early 1800s and has more victorian charm than you can imagine.

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46. Isle of Muck – Scotland

Part of Scotland’s Small Islands, Isle of Muck is exactly that. However small, its size doesn’t subtract from the jawdropping beauty found here. This tiny island off the west coast of mainland Scotland is known for its unspoilt beauty and rich local history. While currently, the island’s population is just 38 people, its origins can likely be traced all the way back to the Neolithic period only adding to the intrigue of the island. Whether you go for the scenery or the history, you’re in for a treat at the Isle of Muck.

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45. Corfe Castle – England

Standing high above the village of the same name is Corfe Castle. This medieval masterpiece is one of the most important survivors of King Henry I’s era. The village below which is situated in the heart of the Purbeck Hills only adds to the area’s history and charm which date back more than a thousand years.

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44. Oxford – England

Home to one of the most famous universities in the world, a visit to Oxford is worth the intellectual history alone. Bookworms will love the iconic Blackwell’s bookshop, the UK’s largest academic bookshop in the UK which provided inspiration for Tolkien, Carroll and the likes. Academia aside, the architecture is really the star of the show. The buildings of Oxford are nothing short of spectacular and will transport you back to the 1200s in a heartbeat.

43. Glen Nevis – Scotland

Few things are as pristine as Glen Nevis. You can find this natural wonder set in the heart of one of the most beautiful glens in Scotland, in the shadows of the mighty Ben Nevis. Whether you plan to conquer the sky-high Ben Nevis, leisurely stroll the valley or have a summertime riverside picnic, you’ll be hooked on the area immediately.

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42. St. Michael’s Mount – England

This tidal island in Cornwall is just as beautiful as it’s French counterpart. Erected by William the Conqueror in the mid-1000s to show his appreciation for his newfound kingdom and pay homage to the iconic Mont Saint-Michel in his homeland France. Perched a stop a massive granite crag, St. Michael’s Mount seems to rise straight from the sea. Widely referred to as “the jewel in Cornwall’s crown” it’s not hard to see why it’s one of the most beautiful places in the UK.

41. The Orkney Islands – Scotland

The Orkney Islands boast 70-some pristine Scottish isles and skerries that are simply breathtaking. Take a stroll of Skara Brae, one of the best-preserved Neolithic settlements worldwide. Or wonder at the epic Maeshowe, a massive ancient tomb perfect aligned with the winter solstice – also neolithic. Then there’s the rich Pictish and Viking heritage all in addition to a truly stunning landscape. What are you waiting for?

image: Alan Mckinnon

40. Isle of Mull and Iona- Scotland

Puffins, minke whales, bottlenose dolphins and basking sharks abound at this wildlife wonderland known as the Isles of Mull and Iona. In addition to a rich abundance of wildlife, the islands are also home to a deep culture that warrants a visit by itself. Whether you go for the gorgeous scenery and wildlife or explore the local Viking history, you’ll be hooked on Mull and Iona in no time.

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39. The Isles of Scilly – England

Enchanting, unspoilt and awe-inspiring are just a few words to describe The Isles of Scilly. Scattered off the Cornish coast in southwest England, these idyllic isles are covered in heather, framed by white sandy beaches and loaded with a colourful history. Whether you stroll the Valhalla Museum or amble down the beach, the Isles of Scilly will transport you to another world.

image: Visit Isles of Scilly/Facebook

38. Glen Coe – Scotland

Infamous for the tragic Glen Coe massacre of 1692, Glen Coe is the epitome of hauntingly beautiful with its dark past framed with moody green hills. For a broad view of the stunning landscape, hop in the car and drive the idyllic Glen Etive road. Not up for a drive? Take a hike on one of the many trails or sip some whisky at the sleepy Clachaig Inn.

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37. Norwich – England

This historic England gem has quite a bit going for it. It’s the nations first Medieval city, has a vibrant cultural scene and rich heritage dating back millennia. The city’s Old Town is a must-see and provides a unique look into medieval Britain and just how different things were. Be sure to stroll the 11th century Norwich Cathedral known for its beautifully ornate details within.

36. Isle of Staffa – Scotland

Thanks to its mindbending basalt columns, Scotland’s Isle of Staffa bears a strong resemblance to it’s Northern Ireland cousin, Giant’s Causeway. The uninhabited island is home to the famous Fingal’s Cave whose columns seem to jut straight out nothingness. This iconic natural wonder has inspired everyone from Pink Floyd to Jules Verne for its breathtaking beauty.

Image: Scotland Trave;

35. Wistman’s Wood – England

Stunted oak twisted among ancient granite boulders drenched in moss surrounded by ancient woodlands are what you’ll find at the ever beautiful Wistman’s Wood. This ancient forest has grown at its own delight, free of destruction and humans for many millennia. Doubling as an ancient sacred grove for Druids, Wistman’s Wood is steeped in as much mystery and legend as it is natural beauty.

34. Bamburgh Castle – England

Just a stone’s throw away from the unbelievably cosy village of Bamburgh, you’ll find the Bamburgh Castle that dominates the surrounding Northumberland coast. Sprawling across 9 acres, Bamburgh Castle gives a one-of-a-kind peek into Northumberland’s epic and complicate past. From the 14 staterooms loaded with priceless treasures to the jawdropping views of the sea, Bamburgh Castle is certainly one of the most beautiful castles in Britain.

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33. Shaftesbury – England

Shaftesbury is a sleepy Saxon hilltop village sure to charm your socks off. The town’s Gold Hill was made famous by the iconic Hovis Bread advert from the ’70s, but this cosy countryside gem is much more than that. From the quiet cobblestoned streets to the relics of St Edward the Martyr to the Old Wardour Castle, Shaftesbury is like something from a storybook.

image: @yvonneblackborough/instagram

32. Snowdonia – Wales

Nothing spells epic Welsh countryside like Snowdonia. Prepare to be completely taken by the natural beauty that makes up this sprawling mountainous region on North Wales. Whether you wander the might Snowdon mountain for which the park is named or brush up on Welsh history at Conwy Castle; it won’t be hard to see why the area is one of the most beautiful places in the UK.

31. Llanthony Priory – Wales

The atmospheric ruins of this 13th-century church are nothing short of spectacular. Locked away in the gripping landscape of the Vale of Ewyas, the forgotten abbey combined with the dramatic scenery is simply breathtaking. Llanthony Priory was one of the earliest houses of Augustinian canons to be founded in Britain and is one of just a few in the whole of Wales. Whether you go for the stunning backdrop of the Black Mountains or the forgotten history of the grounds, Llanthony Priory is worth a visit.

30. Kynance Cove – England

Kynance Cove is a slice of Sardinia in Cornwall. Powdery white sand, breathtaking turquoise seas and dramatic cliffs are just a few highlights of the area’s stunning scenery. Stroll the scenic walk along the beach or explore the towering rock stacks at low tide before wandering The Parlour Cave to experience the true beauty of Kynance Cove. Don’t forget a Cornish pastry at a local cafe.

29. Cotswold Lavender – England

The English countryside is home to plenty of wonderful lavender fields, but Cotswold Lavender may take the cake for the best one. The endless purple groves swaying in the summer breeze with the scent of lavender wafting through the air is absolutely magical. We recommend visiting it as part of a road trip around the Cotswold countryside. Curious about the best Cotswold’s villages? We’ve got you covered.

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28. Pen-y-Fan – Wales

Tucked away in the verdant peaks of the Brecon Beacons National Park is Pen-y-Fan. This towering peak is the highest in southern Britain and provides some of the most spectacular views of the Welsh countryside. In addition to being absolutely beautiful by nature’s terms, there’s also a patchwork of history of English and Welsh conflict that comes with it.

27. Dunnottar Castle – Scotland

Dramatic, evocative and spectacular are just a few words to describe the tattered ruins of Dunnottar Castle. This clifftop castle soars high above the North Sea and was home to one of the most powerful and influential families in Medieval Scotland, the Keiths. Steeped in history and legend this castle is as interesting as it is visually stunning.
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26. High Force Waterfalls – England

Nestled in Upper Teesdale, you’ll find what’s reputed to be England’s tallest waterfall – the High Force Waterfalls. The falls are part of the North Pennies Are of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and it isn’t hard to see why. The River Tees has been pouring over the famous rocks seemingly since the dawn of time. For a place to stay and really get the full experience, we recommend High Force Hotel.

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image: High Force Hotel and Waterfall/Facebook

25. Kinbane Castle – Northern Ireland

Just 8 miles from the iconic Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, Kinbane Castle is a sight to behold. The focal point of a long sliver of limestone ledge projecting into the sea, this Northern Ireland castle is every bit as spectacular as it sounds. What really makes it so beautiful is the surrounding grounds of rugged green hills and wild foamy sea.

image: Okiem Tomka/Facebook

24. Glenfinnan Viaduct – Scotland

Made famous by the Harry Potter series, the Glenfinnan Viaduct really is fit for the big screen. Situated at the head of Loch Shiel, Glenfinnan rail winds through some of Scotland’s most stunning scenery from lush valleys to dense woods to velvety rolling hills, a ride on the train is a once in a lifetime experience. Not up for shelling out a ticket? No problem. The best views are from the outside.

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image: Love Great Britain/Facebook

23. Tollymore Forest Park – Northern Ireland

Tollymore Forest Park is not only one fo the most beautiful places to visit in the UK; it also holds the title of Northern Ireland’s first state park. Just a hop away from Newcastle Tollymore Forest Park is nestled in the heart of the Mourne and Slieve Croob Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – a title that truly speaks for itself.

22. Coastal Causeway Route – Northern Ireland

Hands down one of the best ways to experience the most wonderful places of Northern Ireland is via the Coastal Causeway. Running from Derry o Londonderry to Belfast or vice versa, the Coastal Causeway truly captures the raw and rugged nature of the region. Some highlights include to Ballygally, The Gobbins, Magilligan Point and of course, the Giant’s Causeway.

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iamge: @louisf/instagram

21. The Shetland Islands – Scotland

Few places encompass the epic scenery of Scotland than its far north Shetland Islands. So far north in fact, that they are closer to Norway than mainland Scotland. Here you’ll find jaw-dropping coastlines framed by towering cliffs with rolling green fields and pristine beaches. Shetland is much more than a pretty face, however. It’s also home to some of the most interesting neolithic history in the nation.

20. Dean Village – Scotland

Just a hop away from Edinburgh’s Stockbridge neighbourhood you’ll find the ever-charming Dean Village. The list of must-see sights in Edingburgh is long, but Dean Village belongs at the top. In its heyday, Dean Village was a milling hotspot leftovers from this period can still be seen everywhere paying homage to the baked bread and pies the mills gave way to. A stroll around Dean Village really does feel like stepping back in time to when the storybook community was at its peak.

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image: Beautiful Edinburgh/Facebook

19. Tintern Abbey – Wales

The Cistercian abbey of Tintern is one of Wales’ best ruins. This once-thriving gothic masterpiece dates all the way back to 1131 and has not stopped wowing since. While now in ruins, the decay of the area gives an incredible representation of just how much has happened in Wales in the 890 years since its formation. Set on the banks of the River Rye, forming the border between Monmouthshire and Gloucestershire, the scenery is beautiful.

18. White Cliffs of Dover – England

Imagine a neverending chalk-white wall standing proud along the baby blue shores of the English Channel, and you’ve got the White Cliffs of Dover. These magnificent cliffs are a jewel of the UK coast and deserve to be visited by everyone at least once. The history of the area is just as dramatic as the cliffs as they played a key role in the nation’s defence system in both World Wars.


17. Giant’s Causeway – Northern Ireland

Few things are more breathtaking ad mindbending at Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway. Steeped in Celtic lore and myth, these iconic stones are known for their otherworldly basalt columns. Made up of more than 40,000 interlocked columns leftover from a volcanic eruption, exploring the Giant’s Causeway feels like exploring another planet.

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16. Stonehenge – England

Stonehenge is one of the most beautiful places in the UK simply for the mystery surrounding it. These mega monoliths have been shrouded in mystery seemingly since the dawn of time. Okay, 5,000 years, but still. It’s a perfect place to explore what makes Britain so special, and that’s its unique history that spans long before the crown.

15. Jurassic Coast – England

It’s hard to think of a place that conjures up as much wonder as the Jurassic Coast. Running 95 miles along the Dorset and East Devon Coast, the Jurassic Coast is known for its hugely diverse natural landscape. More importantly, though, is where it gets its name. While Jurassic Coast is stunning to look at it, it also contains 185 million (not a typo!) years of fossils throughout.

image: @macloon/instagram

14. Loch Lomond & The Trossachs – Scotland

For breathtaking scenery in and around Great Britains largest lake (by surface area) Loch Lomond & The Trossachs is the place to be. The name Trossachs refers to “the romantic area of sparkling lochs, crumpled hills, sleepy forests and welcoming villages.” Whether you visit in summer when the hills are emerald green or in fall when they bear a fiery orange under moody skies, you’ll see why this place is truly a jewel of Scotland.


13. Robin Hood’s Bay – England

Robin Hood’s Bay has all the charm and allure you’d expect for a 3,000-year-old fishing village in the ancient parish of Fylingdales. Winding cobblestone streets and centuries-old pubs dot the cosy village which lies on the stunning Heritage Coast of the North York Moors. If all this weren’t reason enough for it to be one of the most beautiful places in the UK, there’s also a famous beach, Saltwick Bay, to explore.

12. Eilean Donan – Scotland

There are jaw-dropping picturesque castles, and then there’s Eilean Donan. This majestic castle perched on an island where three idyllic lochs meet is one of the UK’s most stunning areas. Easily one of Scotland’s most recognizable castles, Eilean Donan is a cut above the rest. In addition to being surrounded by majestic scenery, there’s also a ton of history to be explored. Form the castles time as a watchtower during Scotland’s darkest times to its role in the Jacobite uprising; there’s loads to be discovered at the ever wonderful Eilean Donan.
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11. Loch Ness – Scotland

Everyone knows Loch Ness. Home of famed Scottish myth the Loch Ness Monster, Loch Ness warrants a visit just on legend alone. However, in addition to the rich lore and stories that surround it, the area itself is absolutely beautiful. This misty lake also doubles as Britains largest lake by mass. And like most epic Scottish lochs, there’s a castle somewhere nearby. Be sure to pay a visit to the 16th century Urquhart Castle that sits loch-side to the iconic lake.

10. Colonsay – Scotland

Didn’t think that pristine Caribbean coloured beaches existed in Scotland? Colonsay is here to change that. Situated between the more famous islands of Mull, Islay and Jura of the west coast, the secluded isle of Colonsay is a truly slice of paradise. Famous for the local gin and its white sand beaches such as Kiloran and the Strand, it’s the perfect getaway for clinking a few glasses and taking in the coastal scenery.

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image: Walk Highlands

9. Three Cliffs Bay – Wales

Swansea Bay is home to a spectacular mashup of misty dunes, endless salt marshes and giant limestone cliffs known as Three Cliffs Bay. From the epic sunrises and sunsets, endless expanse of sea and tranquil marshes that surround, it’s easy to see why it’s one of the most photographed areas in Wales and one fo the most beautiful spots in the UK.

8. Brighton – England

This buzzing seaside town is packed with surprises and fun things to do. Known for its vibrantly coloured houses and eccentric vibes, Brighton is perfect for a couples, solo or family trip. Whether you stroll the kitschy pier, admire the Royal Pavillion or spend an afternoon at the meadowy Preston Park, you’re in for a treat.

7. The Cotswolds – England

Who doesn’t love the Cotswolds? From Castle Combe to Stanton to Painswick and back the iconic villages are certainly the most charming area in all of Great Britain. Centuries-old thatch-roofed cottages that seem as if they are made of honey, ancient cobblestoned streets and classic English pubs that date to who knows when are just a few things you’ll find here. Oh, then there’s the neverending English countryside that surrounds.

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6. Edinburgh – Scotland

The Scottish capital is one of the UK’s, and arguably Europe’s best cities. Rich pre-Roman history, more charming old pubs than you can handle and a medieval atmosphere that just can’t be replicated. Edinburgh Castle, the hilltop fortress sat high atop the 700 million-year-old extinct volcano known as Castle Rock; the old streets of the Royal Mile and the world-class Royal Botanic Garden barely scratch the surface on what makes Edinburgh so darn great.

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5. The Lake District – England

The Lake District is truly an English gem for its wealth of natural beauty, the vibrant food gastro scene, unique local culture and neverending outdoor activities. The gorgeous landscape for which the area is known has been wowing for millions of years, too. In addition to the idyllic countryside, you’ll find everything from ancient extinct volcanos to 500 million-year-old rocks known as the Skiddaw Group.

4. Cambridge – England

This picturesque university town for its academic history boasts much more than one of the world’s most famous universities. In addition to a rich scholastic past (and present), you’ll be met with architecture that is sure to take your breath away. Whether you plan to stroll the city by foot, wander the picturesque gardens or tour the famous Fitzwilliam Museum, you’ll definitely get lost in the charm of this medieval city.

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3. Bath – England

Oh, Bath. You charming Somerset dream of Georgian architecture and Roman history. Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the UK, it’s not hard to see why it’s such a popular destination for tourists and Brits alike. The ancient Roman city is mainly known for its elaborate ancient baths for which the city was named. Thanks to this, it’s a perfect spa retreat.

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2. Cairngorms National Park – Scotland

Located in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, you’ll find the UK’s largest park – Cairngorms National Park. Spanning almost double the size of England’s Lake District, this stunning mountainous region boasts five of Scotland’s six highest mountains, dense pine forests and 25% of the UK’s threatened bird, animal and plant species. Among the sprawling region, you’ll also find cosy breweries, forgotten castles and ruins. In short, Caringorns is epic.

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1. Isle of Skye – Scotland

Wildly beautiful and quintessentially Scottish, the Isle of Skye is a Highland knockout. It’s got all the fixins of the rugged Highlands. We’re talkin’ forgotten medieval castles, sleepy fishing villages and otherworldly landscapes that just make ya go “wow.” In all of Scotlands glory, the Isle of Skye is easily the most iconic and breathtaking area of the islands, and that’s saying something.

Melanie Hamilton

Melanie is an avid traveller with a passion for history and global foods. She is currently based in Tbilisi, Georgia where most of her time is occupied with qvevri wine and Soviet history. Having do-si-do'd her way across Europe and Latin America, she's enjoyed some of the world's most exciting places firsthand and can't wait to tell you about them.

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