One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about exploring the UK is how many incredible places I’ve discovered along the way. I hadn’t ventured outside London much before I moved here, and didn’t realize there were so many stunning spots to visit around the country. But in over a decade of traveling, I’ve discovered a lot of the most beautiful places in the UK. Today I want to share my top picks with you.
Most Beautiful Places in the UK
From cities to countryside, islands to coasts, there’s no shortage of pretty places around the country. I’ve enjoyed day trips to historic towns and sailing expeditions to Scottish isles, and each journey has made me fall more in love with the UK. I hope this list will do the same for you.
It’s hard to find a more beautiful place in the UK—or any other country—than Bath. This city was founded by the Romans in the 1st century AD, and its layers of history, golden stone buildings, and Georgian architecture combine to make it stunning from any angle.
The Roman Baths are amazing to see and the Jane Austen connections offer another historic draw. That’s to say nothing of The Circus and the Royal Crescent, where the curves and columns are a photographer’s dream.
2. The Giant’s Causeway
Over in Northern Ireland, the Giant’s Causeway is one of the most beautiful places in the UK for its natural features. Interlocking basalt columns form a dramatic landscape on the coast and give the area a unique and mysterious atmosphere.
Myths and legends have sprung up around the Giant’s Causeway over the centuries, but whatever the truth is, the area is stunning to behold.
3. Durdle Door
Back in England, the stone arch of Durdle Door is another incredible natural phenomenon. A limestone arch on the Jurassic Coast near Lulworth in Dorset, this place is awe-inspiring to see.
The area around it is equally pretty, and walking along the coast is a must when in this part of England.
Up in Scotland, the natural beauty continues in the Hebrides. These islands are full of pristine beaches and turquoise water that looks straight out of the Caribbean.
My favorite of the isles is Lunga. In the springtime, bluebells carpet the island and puffins nest along the cliffs. Getting up close to the birds is one of the best memories I have from my sailing trips in Scotland.
5. Castle Combe
Back to human-made phenomena, Castle Combe is one of the most beautiful places in the UK for its golden stone cottages and picture-pretty high street.
This village in the Cotswolds is straight out of a storybook, from the teapot-shaped signs over the shopfronts to the bridge spanning the river.
6. Eden Valley
Up in the north of England, the Eden Valley lies near the Lake District. It’s just as beautiful, but lacks the heavy crowds its neighbor can suffer from in the peak season.
Rolling hills, fluffy sheep, and miles of walking paths all serve to make this bucolic landscape one of the prettiest in the country.
As far as cities go, nowhere deserves a spot on my list of the most beautiful places in the UK like Edinburgh. The castle on the hill, the historic streets, and the village areas all make the Scottish capital inspiring from any angle.
I’ve spent time in Edinburgh throughout my life, and every visit reinforces my belief that it’s the prettiest city in the UK. The views from the Scott Monument and Calton Hill are stunning, Dean Village is a fairy tale, and the Royal Mile has amazing history.
Over in Wales, Portmeirion has to be one of the most delightfully unexpected places in the UK. This colorful village with its fanciful architecture and antique treasures looks like Portofino on the Welsh coast.
Portmeirion put a smile on my face as soon as I saw it. Its larger-than-life chess set, enchanted woods, and bright hues made me feel like I was in a real-life version of Alice in Wonderland.
In the south of England, Rye is a gem of a town in East Sussex. Its cobbled streets, half-timbered houses, haunted inns, and pretty cottages combine to make it one of the most photogenic places in the country.
Rye was once home to writer Henry James, and his house and garden are open to the public now. It’s also near beautiful beaches like Camber Sands and medieval fortresses like Camber Castle, both of which add to the appeal.
10. Scottish Highlands
I wanted to include somewhere specific in the Scottish Highlands on my list, but every time I tried to choose just one place, I couldn’t do it.
This part of the UK is breathtaking, and the whole of it deserves a place in this blog post. From the legendary Loch Ness to the haunting Glen Coe, from the castles to the mountains, the Scottish Highlands are packed with everything I love about landscapes.
11. Robin Hood’s Bay
In Yorkshire, Robin Hood’s Bay is a coastal village known for its smuggling past. Houses cascade down a steep hill to the sea, and narrow paths wind between them. Historic pubs are hidden throughout, and the whole place has a secret feel to it.
I visited Robin Hood’s Bay a couple years ago and knew it was one of the most beautiful places in the UK as soon as I arrived. The views from the top of the hill are stunning, and the coastal walking paths mean there’s plenty to do around the village.
12. Abbotsford House
Back up in Scotland, Abbotsford House is one of the most beautiful homes I’ve ever seen. It belonged to Sir Walter Scott, one of the UK’s most famous writers, and it’s now a museum.
Abbotsford House has a fairy-tale exterior and lush gardens, not to mention an idyllic riverside location in the Scottish Borders. The interior is equally impressive, and the library always makes my inner book lover want to move in.
13. Brecon Beacons National Park
In Wales, Brecon Beacons National Park is one of the most beautiful places in the UK for its natural landscapes and stunning peaks. I’ve been walking and hiking here a number of times since I moved to London, and each visit reveals more striking scenery.
From Pen Y Fan, the highest peak in south Wales, to waterfalls and woolly sheep, Brecon Beacons National Park has a lot to get nature lovers excited about.
Back in the Cotswolds, Bibury is one of the prettiest villages in the country. Arlington Row is stunning with its historic cottages and riverfront location. It’s one of the most photographed places in the area for good reason.
The rest of Bibury is worth a visit, too (especially if you arrive early or late enough to avoid the crowds). Country pubs and stone bridges round out the scene in this storybook village.
I couldn’t write a list of the most beautiful places in the UK without mentioning London. The capital is full of everything from iconic landmarks to narrow lanes, all of which make London the place I love to call home.
This city is so big and diverse that I find new beauty in it all the time, and that’s one of the reasons I continue to stay.
I hope this list has inspired you to get out and see more of the country. The best thing about traveling here is that just when I think I’ve discovered all the most beautiful places in the UK, I find somewhere new to add to my list. I can’t wait to discover the next one.
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