My favourite places in the UK
Updated: Apr 28
The UK is full of wonderful places to visit - effortlessly stunning scenery, gorgeous coastline, quaint towns and charming villages. We're quite spoilt for choice! And being British, we're taught to embrace all seasons, so there's no bad time to hop off on a UK adventure! Here's a list of the places I love most in the United Kingdom, in no particular order. Promise!
The city of Bath, in Somerset, is a World Heritage site and famed for its Roman baths. It was a popular spa town in the Georgian era and attracted the rich and royal in its heyday! Jane Austen and Charles Dickens were frequent visitors (Austen actually lived here for a few years) - and there is a delightful Jane Austen Centre commemorating her life and works. Bath makes a perfect weekend break; be sure to check out the Great Bath (pictured above), Pulteney Bridge and the Royal Crescent.
2. Peak District
The Peak District was designated the UK's first National Park in 1951. Close to several major UK cities, it attracts millions of visitors every year, who walk, cycle and climb its beautiful landscape. It is all so picturesque, and some of the best spots include Mam Tor, Stanage Edge, Dovedale, Winnats Pass and Kinder Scout. The autumnal fog makes for epic sunrises, and the sunsets are pretty good too! The towns and villages are particularly quaint (Bakewell, Castleton and Hathersage - to name a few), and Chatsworth House is a beauty to behold.
Sun, sea, surf and sand. Cornwall has it all. The landscape is breathtaking and if you catch good weather, this is one of the nicest places in the UK. The beaches are postcard perfect - some of them even look like the Caribbean! Check out Fistral Beach, St Ives, Porthcurno and Perranporth - to name just a few. It's not just about the beaches though; be sure to visit St Michael's Mount, the Eden Project and Tintagel Castle. For more inspo and further proof, check out my blog post - The best places to visit in Cornwall.
Picture every period drama you've ever watched and you'll have arrived in The Cotswolds! The Cotswolds is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the second largest protected landscape in England, after the Lake District. Some of the more popular villages include Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water, Blockley and Castle Combe. Fun fact: Arlington Row in Bibury is pictured on the inside cover of British passports (pre-Brexit) - and William Morris called it the "most beautiful village in England." I've only been to a handful of Cotswold villages and there are definitely more I would like to explore. A two-hour drive from London, it's possible to visit one of the many Cotswold villages for a day-trip stroll.
5. Durdle Door
The Dorset coastline is beautiful and there are a number of walks you can do in this area. We started at Bat's Head and walked over three steep hills to Durdle Door - it was an intense bit of hiking! Alternatively, you could start on the other side at the lovely Lulworth Cove and take the more popular route to Durdle Door. Both are equally beautiful. For something a little more strenuous, you can hike the 26 miles from Weymouth all the way to Corfe Castle. You can park up in Lodmoor Country Park, Weymouth, DT4 7SX to begin the hike - but as it isn't a return hike, you'd need to get the bus back to your car, which takes about an hour and a half).
This one's a no-brainer! Cambridge needs no introduction and it should definitely be on your list of places to see in the UK. Only an hour or so from London, the city of Cambridge can be visited in a day. Highlights include (but not limited to) punting on the River Cam, a stroll through University Botanic Gardens and a visit to King's College.
7. Dunstable Downs
Another place near London - Dunstable Downs in southern Bedfordshire is under an hour's drive from London along the M1. The Downs are part of the Chiltern Hills and also the highest point in Bedfordshire - making it an excellent sunset spot. It's a beautiful place and great for a short walk (or a very long one, if following one of the hiking trails). It's also a popular spot for kite flying and paragliding!
Ah, the white cliffs! Everyone's heard of them and they are an iconic natural landmark of Great Britain. The views from the cliffs are astounding and on a clear day you can see the coast of France. There are several different walking routes available, as well as war memorials and secret wartime tunnels. You can also visit the South Foreland Lighthouse, which is owned by the National Trust. The White Cliffs are a delightful place to visit and should be on any UK bucket list - there's even a song about the cliffs by Vera Lynn!
9. Ben Nevis
The highest mountain in the UK at over 4,000ft has magnificent views over Scotland. This is no walk in the park though - it can be a gruelling trek and requires a good level of fitness and hiking experience. It is glorious at any time of year but summer is always recommended - there will usually be better weather, good visibility and less snow. I climbed it in the depths of winter (it was snow-covered from halfway up) and this meant I needed crampons, all the thermals and an ice pick. There is a useful post about how/when to climb on this website.
10. South Downs National Park
The newest of England's national parks (designated in 2010), the South Downs is a beautiful, lush area with a seemingly endless expanse. There are so many walking options available with lovely lookout points along the way. There's also the South Downs Way - a footpath which stretches about 100 miles along the entire length of the South Downs National Park, from Winchester to Eastbourne. It's a place I keep returning to to discover more!
11. Surrey Hills
This is an easy day trip from London, as it's only just over an hour's drive away. Beautiful hills and glorious countryside views make this a lovely place for a picnic or a hike. I've been a fair few times and I never get tired of it - and there are lots of walks available for different abilities. A favourite circular walk can be done at Newlands Corner - about 1.5 hours of relatively easy walking, with a few steep sections. For something a little harder, try the Inspiring Views walk which starts at Car Park 5, Winterfold Donkins Car Park, Greensand Lane, Guildford GU5 9EN. And if you have time and aren't too tired, check out the Silent Pool on your way home.
12. Giant's Causeway
This is like nothing I've seen before! Situated in Northern Ireland, huge stone boulders line the coastline, making up this very dramatic Causeway. It is the most visited National Trust site in the UK, and with good reason! You can read more about it and the Causeway Coastal Route in my Northern Ireland post.
13. Hadrian's Wall
Stretching from Wallsend in the east to Bowness-on-Solway in the west, the Hadrian's Wall Path is an 84 mile coast to coast National Trail. The trail itself takes about 6 or 7 days to walk but if you just want to see a small section, why not drive and choose a place along the route to stop, or even do a short walk. The vantage point from the wall is spectacular in most places, with great views over the landscape. Notable places to visit along the route are:
Housesteads Roman Fort for its well preserved ruins and exhibition. You can walk from here to Walltown Crags - it's a 9 mile walk (one way) of basically uninterrupted wall and takes about 3 hours. It passes other notable spots on the way, such as Sycamore Gap.
Steel Rigg (near Housesteads) has the closest car park to the famous tree at Sycamore Gap.
Cawfield Quarry is beautiful.
Walltown Crags (pictured above) is one of the finest sections on the route - it has nice remains of the wall and lovely views.
Birdoswald Roman Fort has a great stretch of wall.
14. Yorkshire Dales
One of the loveliest areas I've visited in the UK, the Dales is a sprawling landscape of endless greenery. It's no wonder Yorkshire is referred to as God's Own Country! Countless waterfalls, picturesque villages, wandering sheep - it really is a breathtaking place. Malham Cove is a popular place to visit for its unique limestone rocks and great views over the Dales. Or why not take a walk, or cycle along the winding roads? If you're after good views and a strenuous climb, you can take on one (or all three!) of the Yorkshire Three Peaks: Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-ghent. Check out my post here for a more detailed Dales itinerary.
15. London, baby!
This one goes without saying! London is such a full city - rich in history, architecture, culture, art and so much more! There is an endless amount to see and do - check out my list of The Best Free Things to Do in London.
Hope that gives you some ideas for your UK travels! Anything I've missed that I should check out? Let me know in the comments below!