A land steeped in history and diverse landscapes, the United Kingdom is a true treasure trove of natural and manmade beauty. Stretching from Cornish beaches to the Scottish highlands this series of islands is Mother Nature’s masterpiece.

Seriously, there may actually be TOO many beautiful places in the UK. But fear not; I am here to settle your panic with a comprehensive list of exquisite places to visit.

Nature lovers can flock to the Lake District, dotted with lush valleys and lakes. And don’t get me started on the isles of Northern Ireland and the exquisite historic castles in Edinburgh. On top of that, you’ll experience a flurry of culture with a visit to the UK’s major cities.

So, whether you’re after the buzz of one of the world’s most iconic cities or a peaceful countryside retreat, here is my pick of the most beautiful and unique places to visit in the UK.

Cornwall Saint Michael’s Mount
St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall is simply stunning.

1. Saint Michael’s Mount, Cornwall

If you’re travelling to the UK, make sure you get yo’ ass to Cornwall. This historic castle is perched on a small island just off the Cornish coastline of Marazion and easily ranks in the top ten places to visit in the UK.

Now a well-loved family estate, the ancient castle has a rich legacy dating back to 1135. Going back even further to 495AD, the island tells tales of mermaids, Jack the Giant Killer, as well as pilgrims and monks. They were lured to the island after four miracles occurred in the 12th century. 

Whether you believe in spiritual energies and miracles or not, this fabled island really is worth learning a bit more about.

Getting to the island is an adventure. With a causeway submerged underwater at high tide, you’ll have to time your visit to walk the fifteen minutes at low tide or travel via boat.

To visit the castle itself, you need to book a ticket online. This will give you full access to the castle, the gun batteries, gardens, museum shops, and cafes. For sure worth the visit, and one of my fav things to see in Cornwall!

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    2. Hampstead Heath, London

    Truth be told, I can’t think of a place that gives me as much inner peace and happiness as Hampstead Heath. Maybe because it is an impossible respite in the midst of one of Europe’s largest and most busy cities. This wooded park is easily one of the most beautiful places in the UK. 

    If you’ve got some spare time and are looking for a place to stay in London for the day – head here.

    London Hampstead Heath
    I love/hate London

    Located in north London in the Hamstead hood, the heath is a wild park made up of woodlands, meadows, and forests. While in the heart of the city in London’s Zone Two, this area was once a rural village on the periphery of the city. As the city population swelled, so did the land, and Hampstead became a part of the metropolis.

    In the early 18th century, the city dug wells and built a spa in the park. It was believed that the iron-rich water held medicinal powers. While the spa is no longer, people still flock to the heath to swim in the Hampstead and Highgate Ponds, which are divided into male and female swimming zones.

    3. Dunnottar Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

    If Dunnottar Castle takes you straight into an episode of Game of Thrones, it’s because some scenes from the TV series were shot here. And for good reason. The impressive medieval fortress is perched on top of a rocky headland overlooking the northeastern coastline of Scotland. 

    Scotland Dunnottar Castle
    We’re heading up north for this one…

    Historically speaking, you don’t get many more significant castle complexes than this one. It hosted some of the UK’s most historical figures, including Mary Queen of Scots and William Wallace. 

    The castle is best known for being the location where the crown jewels of Scotland (the Honours of Scotland) were hidden from an invading army in the 17th century. Stroll through the unassuming medieval ruins, and you’ll learn exactly why they were hidden here. 

    The buildings that still stand today are mostly from the 15th and 16th centuries. But the chapel at Dunnotar is said to have been constructed as far back as the 5th century. This is somewhere every history lover should visit!

    Once you’ve taken in the castle, head to the coastal path and view the castle from the perspective of enemy armies for a plot twist!

    4. The White Cliffs of Dover

    Considered one of the most iconic and unique places to visit in the UK, the White Cliffs of Dover really do deserve this prestigious title.

    White Cliffs of Dover
    Aaaand all the way back down south

    Over seventy million years ago, this region was completely submerged by a shallow ocean. The sea bottom, which was made of white mud, later became a chalky stone that makes up the white cliffs you see today. Talk about the world’s largest chalkboard!

    What makes these chalky cliffs so iconically British? Well, before air travel, the cliffs would be one of the first and last sights of the United Kingdom of seafaring passengers arriving at and departing from the island.

    The best way to experience this natural phenomenon is to walk along the coastal path towards the South Foreland Lighthouse. 

    But wait, there’s more! If hiking gets you excited, there is a relatively easy 3.6-mile loop that starts near Dover in Kent. It takes 90 minutes to complete and will open your eyes to the local flora and fauna in the area.

    At just over 2 hours away, it makes for a nice little day trip from London. Once you arrive, you’ll feel as if you’re in a totally different country!

    5. Stonehenge, Wiltshire

    English icons step aside because the leader of the pack has arrived. Stonehenge is inextricably intertwined with English heritage.

    Wiltshire Stonehenge

    These abstractly arranged stone pillars, resting on each other in a way that can make you believe in aliens, are one of Europe’s most prehistoric structures and mysterious places.

    Dating back to 3000 BC, the stones have confused archaeologists and scientists for centuries. In fact, we still aren’t exactly sure how these stones ended up here. What we do know is that they are one of the most unique places to visit in the UK.

    The most likely theory is that Stonehenge was a historic site of worship. Listen, if you have any insider knowledge, please contact us before you hit up the UK Historical Society!

    Booking tickets is essential since this attraction is now a real tourist hub. I recommend visiting at sunrise for spectacular views of the sun shining through the ancient sculptures. My last sunrise visit happened to coincide with the summer solstice and an interesting group of self-proclaimed witches, which really added to the mystical feeling of it all.

    The stones are near Salisbury, around two and a half hours from London or an hour and a half from Bristol. Stonehenge from London is doable in a day.

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    6. Windsor Castle, Berkshire

    As far as castles go, Windsor Castle is the cool kid on the block. Standing for over 900 years, Windsor is the most continually lived-in castle in history. Even though it’s where the British royal family lives and is a working castle, the palace is still open for visitors daily.

    The royal residence is located in Berkshire, stretching five acres along the River Thames. It’s just a short 25 miles from the centre of London, making it an absolute must-visit.

    One of the best ways to see Windsor Castle is to join a day tour which takes you to Stonehenge AND Bath on the same day, result.

    Windsor Castle Day Trip
    RIP Lizzie </3

    Make sure to catch the changing of the guard ceremony. The change happens each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 11 a.m. (although there can be last-minute changes).

    Some of my favourite facts about this iconic property are that the castle has 300 fireplaces and close to 400 clocks (imagine the perilous task of changing the clocks for daylight savings). Back to the fireplaces, all 300 of them are lit and cleaned by one guy. What a job!

    Not to mention, its kitchen is the oldest in the UK and is home to an art collection housing the works of Michelangelo and Rembrandt. Impressed yet?

    7. Snowdonia National Park, Wales

    Thrillseekers and adventurers, this one is for you! Covering 823 square miles, nine mountain ranges, and 74 miles worth of coastline, Snowdonia is one of the most impressive national parks in the UK, and the biggest in Wales.

    Snowdonia National Park North Wales
    Snowdonia is my fav place in Wales 🙂

    For the hikers, the rugged slate mountain pass at Llanberis Pass runs around five miles from Llanberis to the Pen-y-pass. Pack your hiking shoes and trek the route, passing the idyllic town of Betws-y-Coed for a cold pint along the way.

    Another exquisite landscape in the park is the Llyn Glaslyn. Translated to Blue Lake in Welch, this alpine lake is believed to be the location where King Arthur had his sword Excalibur thrown into. 

    Snowdonia also boasts a heritage spanning centuries of English history. From remains of the Industrial Revolution mines and quarries to hidden castles and Roman forts, there is plenty to explore in this massive area.

    Head to Dolgellau for a bite to eat. The charming village might just be one of the most beautiful places in the UK. Positioned at the foothills of the Cadair Idris along the River Wnion, the brick village offers a taste of what it would be like to live in Snowdonia.

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    8. Oxford, England

    You heard right; we’re talking about the city home to one of the world’s most famous universities. Naturally, Oxford is the intellectual capital of the UK. Not only is it home to the world’s oldest English-speaking educational institution but also the country’s largest bookshop.

    Staying in a Cottage in Oxford
    Oxford is just stunning

    The university was allegedly founded by Alfred the Great in 872 after a long debate with some monks. But it was only in the 12th century that the school became what it is today, attracting some of the world’s most famous scholars and teachers.

    Walk in the footsteps of Nobel-prize winners, politicians, and literary stars as you explore the enormous hallways and lecture theatres at the university. One of the most impressive rooms has to be the grand library. If I could study in this hall, I would never allow myself to graduate!

    A day tour of Oxford City and University makes for a memorable day, and one I can recommend.

    But it’s not all about education here. The architecture in this gothic city is the real standout attraction. Here, you will find some of the best preserved medieval, Baroque, and Gothic buildings intertwined with an eclectic mix of modern structures.

    9. The Isles of Scilly, Cornwall

    Hold the phone. Are we still in England?

    While the Isles of Scilly might look like the Greek islands, they are indeed located just off the coast of Cornwall. What looks like an archipelago in the tropics, the Isles of Scilly include five inhabited islands and plenty of deserted isles and sandbanks waiting to be explored.

    Each island has its own unique charm and feel, but they all have a super friendly and relaxed ambience.

    Isles of Scilly

    The largest of the islands, St. Marys, is the hub of the region, with a big town centre and plenty of shops and restaurants. With hardly any cars and a small elevation, this island is a hot spot for hiking and cycling and is one of UK’s hidden gems.

    From the harbour, you could catch a boat to any of the other main islands. Do yourself a favour and pop past Tresco, the archipelago’s most stylish and sophisticated islands. This island is best known for its Abbey Garden, home to over twenty thousand sub-tropical plants. 

    Bryher is an island of contrasts, with endless coves and bays to explore by kayak. Oh, and the art studio here perfectly captures the beauty of the islands.

    10. Stratford-upon-Avon

    Stratford-upon-Avon is one of the UK’s most important historical and cultural attractions. Why, you ask? Well, this small picturesque town in the countryside is the birthplace of literary icon William Shakespeare, where he wrote several of his classic plays and books.

    Its history goes way further back than Shakespeare, beginning when the Saxons founded the town in the 7th century.

    Stratford upon Avon

    The town looks today as it did hundreds of years ago, steeped in history with its old timber Tudor homes, cosy restaurants and pubs, and lush gardens. Stroll around the quintessentially English streets and along the idyllic canal, which is home to plenty of swooning swans. 

    It wouldn’t be a classic Stratford upon Avon trip without a visit to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. With regular evening shows hosted throughout the year, this classic tourist activity is totally worth the hype.

    Other than the obvious (visiting Shakespeare’s theatre and house, that is), make sure you pay the Bancroft Gardens a visit. If there’s one thing the Brits know how to do well, it’s curate an exquisite English garden.

    11. Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye, Scotland

    Pure tranquillity is what awaits you at the Fairy Pools. Nestled in a hidden valley in Scotlands Isle of Skye, Fairy Pools are a series of freshwater pools and waterfalls that will quickly transport you into your favourite fairytale.

    Isle of Skye Fairy Pools
    My kinda weekend spot

    12. Portmeirion, Wales

    At the border of Snowdonia National Park and the Dwyryd Estuary in Northern Wales, Portmeirion is a resort town inspired by the Italian Riviera. With its Riviera-inspired houses, manicured gardens, and central piazza, the hotel-village is a theme park for those who appreciate tasteful architecture.

    Wales Portmeirion

    13. Pedn Vounder Beach, Cornwall, England

    Grab your towel and sunnies and head for one of Cornwall’s best beaches. Pedn Vounder Beach is set below the Treryn Dinas cliffs and boasts some seriously turquoise water. I’m talking tropical vibes in the middle of the UK! What are you waiting for?

    Cornwall Pedn Vounder Beach
    Yes, this is England!

    14. Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland

    Portree is the most significant town on the Isle of Skye. Head for the quaint cottages along the Portree Harbor to enjoy a meal while watching the fishing boats come and go. This is easily one of the most unique places to visit in the UK.

    Portree Isle of Skye
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    15. Glenfinnan Viaduct, Scotland

    Harry Potter fans, this one’s for you! One look at the Glenfinnan Viaduct, and you’ll be transported into the world of wizardry.

    Glenfinnan Mallaig and Glencoe Glasgow
    All aboard the Hogwarts Express!

    Watch the Jacobite Steam Train toot its way across the viaduct, or hop on board for an even more immersive Potter experience.

    16. Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire, Wales

    Ever imagine one of the world’s best beaches would be in Wales? I sure didn’t.

    Perhaps it’s because of its gorgeous cliffside setting surrounded by pine trees or the fact that it is hardly ever busy. For whatever reason, this peaceful bay in Pembrokeshire is well worth the trip.

    Pembrokeshire Barafundle Bay
    Damn Wales, you’re sexy

    17. Micheldever Wood, Hampshire

    Wander through the idyllic Micheldever Wood, famous for its ancient woodlands and diverse bird and insect species. I recommend visiting this beautiful place in the UK during spring when a carpet of wildflowers covers the forest floor. This one is a gem for the nature lovers!

    Hampshire Micheldever Forest
    British beauty 🙂
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    18. Kynance Cove, Cornwall, England

    With its white sand and turquoise water, you might mistake Kynance Cove for an island in the Indonesian archipelago. Located around Mount’s Bay in Cornwall, the cove is regularly featured on the list of top beaches in the world – once you visit, you’ll see why!

    Kynance Cove, Cornwall, England
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    19. The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland

    Ever wondered what it would be like to walk in the footsteps of your favourite fairytale characters? Well, if there ever was a place to do this, it would be the Dark Hedges. Planted in the eighteenth century, these trees are as eerie as they are stunning.

    Ireland the Dark Hedges
    How mysterious…

    20. Gold Hill, Shaftesbury

    To top things off, there really are few villages as picturesque as Shaftesbury in Dorset. As far as streets go, Gold Hill really is one of the most beautiful places in the UK. The steep cobblestone street is lined with historic thatched homes, overlooking incredible views of the Dorset countryside below.

    England Gold Hill Shaftesbury
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    How to See Beautiful Places in The UK

    The UK has an extensive public transport system that connects major cities and regions, as well as inner-city transport that makes getting around a breeze! The ‘tube’ better known as the London Underground is one of the least beautiful places in the UK… but pretty cool.

    Driving in a big city like London is a no-go, but I highly recommend renting a car to explore regions like the Lake District, Cornwall, the countryside, and the Scottish highlands.

    That said, distances are big (especially when travelling from north to south). The train service is super efficient, linking London and Edinburgh in five to six hours, starting at around £40 one-way. 

    Budget airlines are also an option, but they are no-bueno for the environment. Ryanair, Easyjet and Wizz Air are the most popular. A direct flight from Bristol to Glasgow will take only one hour and cost around £50.

    London Tube
    Photo: Sasha Savinov

    FAQs About Beautiful Places in the UK

    Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the UK’s most beautiful places.

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    Final Thoughts on Beautiful Places in The UK

    There is no way around it; the UK is like a gold mine of beauty. From the lush valleys, moors, and lakes to the charming countryside and iconic cities, it’s all magnificent. Your biggest issue will be narrowing down where you most want to visit.

    For a real town and country experience, I absolutely love strolling the picture-perfect streets of Gold Hill in Shaftesbury. Surrounded by classic countryside views, there really is no place more quintessentially English.

    If you’re a nature lover like me though, I would say you MUST visit Cornwall and all its stunning beaches in the summertime. Kynance Cove is my personal favourite Cornish spot.

    Hopefully, this extensive guide to the most beautiful places in the UK (historical monuments and natural phenomena alike) will make your itinerary planning a bit less daunting.

    Best Road Trip in Cornwall
    What’s your favourite place in the UK? Let me know in the comments section below.
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