Grab your wellies – the weather’s shit. But really, you’re about to see why the Brits just get on with it.
Beans and toast, cuppa tea, and a nice quaint cottage sounds nice right about now. Fill that with some rolling green hills and I’m sold. Tower Bridge, Stonehenge, the London Eye – no more!
This is no boring ol’ guide filled with your usual attractions. No, no, we’re taking true hidden gems in the UK. When you venture off the free hotel map, you uncover the best-kept secrets. If you’re looking for unique things to do in the United Kingdom, you’ve come to the right place: this British lass.
From the quaint Cotswolds to Scotland’s best local dives, say hello to hole-in-the-wall eateries, medieval villages, local haunts, and much more. Bring your brollies, and let’s check out amazing hidden gems in the UK…
- What’s The UK Like?
- 1. Get Out and Explore Wales
- 2. Discover Another Side of London
- 3. Relax on a Deserted Beach
- 4. Experience the Delights of Derbyshire
- 5. Seek out Edinburgh’s Treasures
- 6. Experience London from Way Up High
- 7. Search for Forgotten Pieces of British History
- 8. Enjoy an Open-Air Show at the Minack Theatre
- 9. Visit the Best-Worst British Town: Blackpool
- 10. Enjoy the beauty of South Downs National Park
- 11. Head to Lundy Island
- 12. Explore the Hidden Hamlet of Wycoller
- 13. See the Red Cliffs of Hunstanton
- 14. Tuck into Classic Pub Fare at Alfriston
- 15. Hop on a Ferry to St Martin’s Vineyard
- FAQs About Hidden Gems in The UK
- Final Thoughts on UK’s Hidden Gems
What’s The UK Like?
I don’t think people realise how much there is to do in the UK. You’ve got all that the cities of London, Edinburgh, and Oxford have to offer, but there are also quaint little hamlets of thatched cottages and stately homes like no other.
My favourite parts of the UK are the national parks: the scattered natural beauty from north to south. There are abundant footpaths that crisscross this gorgeous scenery – taking you to greener pastures and beyond.
Although, granted, the UK isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (pun intended) it is mine. Though still, you should avoid the wet, grey winters. Stick to summer and spring – much better!
I’m also a sucker for a barbaric castles or two. I know, I know, England doesn’t have the best reputation – but to be able to see these immense fortresses up-close and personal is pretty wild. They lay at the heart of much of Britain and Northern Ireland’s insanely recorded history. And delving into it even reveals some secrets from today.
The UK really is a treasure trove of hidden gems, for anyone who wishes to uncover even just a little. From Roman Forts to French invasions, excavating what is left behind today makes me keen for another summer in the UK.
If you plan to travel Europe off the beaten track and avoid those loud gaggles of overly-hyped-up tourists, get ready to be wowed by some of the most spectacular scenery!
Few tourists make it to the best secret spots in the UK lie in Wales. This three-day expedition is perfect for adventurers who want to cover more ground in just a few days. It will take you from Manchester to Conwy, a Welsh market town known for its fortress.
In Conwy, you’ll also find the smallest house in the world – not to mention the best fish and chips shop in the area!
After soaking up plenty of that crisp ocean air, you can check out treasures like the Llanberis Slate Museum. It’s dedicated to the history of the Welsh State Industry. And that’s not all! The activity even includes an overnight stop in Aberystwyth followed by a visit to the Brecon Beacons National Park.
- Rating: 8/10 – Adventure awaits!
- Cost: $560
- Personal Opinion: Thrill seekers, add this to your bucket list of adventures.
It won’t take you long to realize that this old city is home to endless hidden gems in the UK! In my opinion, the best way to uncover the city’s many secrets is simply to amble through it.
This is why I pick hostels over hotels any day. I joined the free walking tour when I stayed at St Christopher’s Inn where I also got to meet some cool new people. That’s when magical places in London reveal themselves!
There are riddles concealed in every crack of every street. History oozes out in every step that you take. Make notice to read random signs and look a little longer than you normally would.
- Rating: 9/10 – An essential visit for anyone backpacking London.
- Cost: $23
- Personal Opinion: A sightseeing sleepwalker shaken wide awake – don’t snooze on this gem!
3. Relax on a Deserted Beach
If you’re a slow traveler who wants to escape the daily grind while reconnecting with nature, then you may wish to head up to Northumberland.
Bordered by Scotland, Northumberland is known for its harsh winters, but did you know that it also houses one of the most glorious beaches in the UK? Extending from Budle Bay to Lindisfarne, the Ross Back Sands Beach is easily one of the most magical places in the UK.
This underrated place is off-grid, since the only way to access it is through a mile-long footpath that starts at Ross Farm.
A spectacular panorama of white sands blending with the cerulean waters awaits at the end of your trek, complete with views of the Farne Islands, Lindisfarne Castle, and Bamburgh Castle.
Depending on when you’re visiting, you can even spot the seals on Lindisfarne’s Bay, so do remember to bring a pair of binoculars!
- Rating: 8/10 – Genuine Delight
- Cost: Free
- Personal Opinion: An impressive find you’ll tell friends about.
As far as hidden gems in the UK are concerned, this one is a real doozy!
Departing from Manchester, this activity takes you through the many treasures speckled all over Derbyshire, such as Castleton. It’s a quaint old town brimming with classic English charm.
Afterwards, you’ll head to the Monsal Head viewpoint. This is where your guide will take you through the history of the viaduct that seems to emerge directly from the green hills.
The activity also includes a stop in Bakewell town, which birthed the iconic Bakewell pudding, one of the most famous deserts in the country. You’ll also get to explore Poole’s Cavern, a massive limestone cave system with impressive chambers.
If you’re looking for a Fitness Retreat in the UK, this is also a great region to check out.
- Rating: 7/10 – Sight for Sore Eyes
- Cost: $87
- Personal Opinion: Charming and nostalgic, with quintessential English charm.
5. Seek out Edinburgh’s Treasures
Scotland is known for its whiskeys, but if you’d rather go off-the-beaten-track and check out less touristy distilleries, I can absolutely vouch for this activity!
Not only will you get to enjoy a dram of whiskey at the Glenkinchie Distillery, but you’ll also see some of the most beautiful secret spots in the UK, including the historic Rosslyn Chapel. And if the building looks familiar to you, that’s because it was featured in The Secrets of the Da Vinci Code.
Offering glorious views of the Scottish Lowlands and Borders, this day-long tour additionally features a stop by the scenic town of Melrose, where Rugby Sevens was born.
Do take a moment to mosey around Melrose Abbey, which is one of the oldest and most beautiful religious ruins in the UK.
- Rating: 10/10 – Top of the British Pops
- Cost: How long is a piece of string?
- Personal Opinion: Well worth the detour for a unique experience.
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Here’s an activity that’s sure to get your adrenaline pumping!
Perfect for thrill-seekers, the abseil will treat you to an exceptional view of London from 80 meters above the ground. I do have to point out that this is quite a physically challenging activity, though. So, make sure that you meet the requirements before signing up.
An absolutely breathtaking experience beckons as you dangle in midair from the ArcelorMittal Orbit, with all those hidden gems in London laid out at your feet! Talk about seeing the city from a whole new perspective, right?
Rest assured that the activity is carried out in a safe environment. You’ll also have the opportunity to view and even purchase pics taken by the staff.
- Rating: 7/10 – Wanderluster Approved!
- Cost: $70
- Personal Opinion: An adrenaline-thumping adventure with glorious views.
7. Search for Forgotten Pieces of British History
Forget London. It’s great, but guys, we must move on. If you want to find the most beautiful places in the UK, you must go beyond the typical tourist trail.
Let’s not beat around the bush, there’s plenty of British history that’s been swept under the carpet. They quite literally found King Richard III buried under a car park in Leicester. So being a historian here is a playing field.
Cities in the UK are damn Old. These come with atmospheric alleyways while digging up hideaways from Roman and medieval times. Step back in time as you uncover 13th-century fragments of the London Bridge, look for hidden gardens with dark secrets, and wander around Gothic church.
- Rating: 10/10 – Worth Bragging About
- Cost: FREE
- Personal Opinion: A unique British experience
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8. Enjoy an Open-Air Show at the Minack Theatre
When it comes to secret spots in the UK, it really doesn’t get any better than that! Perched on England’s southwestern coast, Minack Theatre is a working establishment where you can attend open-air concerts, Shakespeare productions, local plays, and more.
But that’s not what makes it special. This venue in Cornwall is surrounded by a spectacular landscape, complete with rocky cliffs and spectacular views of the ocean, making it one of the best places to visit in Cornwall.
The theatre’s seating area is pretty unique too, since the audience is required to sit either on the grass or on the steep concrete terraces. Depending on the show, it’s even possible to sit right on the stage!
While you’re in the area, I would also recommend that you treat yourself to a classic British cream tea at the onsite hidden gem café. The Talland Bay Hotel made the BEST scones I’d ever had by the sea!
- Rating: 9/10 – Hole in the Wall Wonder
- Cost: FREE
- Personal Opinion: A quaint and quirky charmer guaranteed to delight.
9. Visit the Best-Worst British Town: Blackpool
Hey, this is some controversial shit right but hear me out. Once England’s glorious seaside town, modern B’pool town suffers internally with higher crime rates and whatnot… But that doesn’t mean it’s not an absolute blast of a weekend.
You arrive at the British coast with a wonderland of unique attractions in the UK. The indoor waterpark The Sandcastle sits proudly on the promenade. There’s a full theme park with plenty of claims to fame, its own mini Eiffel Tower, and an insane ballroom.
It also happens to be one of the cheapest places in the country to visit. The famous B&B scene in Blackpool is a stable of the town’s lively summer scene – as well as a good chippy. If you’re visiting from September to January, you’ll also catch the iconic illuminations.
- Rating: 6.8/10 – Expect the worst, prepare for the best.
- Cost: Starting at the price of a day-return on the train.
- Personal Opinion: Now you’ve seen the UK.
It’s no secret that there are tons of amazing national parks in the UK! If you don’t mind going off the beaten track, you can always consider this activity. It will get you into a world filled with natural wonders, away from those glamorous British cities.
Not only will you explore South Downs National Park, but you’ll also see those iconic white cliffs before visiting other lush spots like the Devil’s Dyke and the Seven Sisters Country Park, home to Neolithic carvings.
The activity also includes a stop by Middle Farm, where you can enjoy a light lunch before shopping for local cider, sparkling wine, and cheeses.
- Rating: 10/10 – Hidden Gem Alert
- Cost: $125
- Personal Opinion: Don’t miss it! A must-visit gem of excellence.
11. Head to Lundy Island
Another hidden gem in the UK, Lundy Island lies just off the coast of Devon, where the Bristol Chanel merges with the Atlantic.
Just a quick heads-up, though. You do need to plan your trip to Lundy Island just right because it’s sometimes inaccessible due to bad weather. For the best weather conditions, I would recommend that you visit from June to September.
A wild and rugged place, Lundy is an absolute dream come true for nature lovers. With a super small population, the island is entirely devoid of cars. On the flip side, you’ll find heaps of footpaths peppered with ponies, sheep, and cattle.
One of the (many) highlights of Lundy Island is, no doubt, its puffin population. The nesting season is between late March to August. You can expect to see over 400 puffins at a time!
Rest assured that it’s still possible to spot smaller groups all year round. The puffins do come close to the island’s shoreline even after the breeding season.
- Rating: 8/10 – Sight for Sore Eyes
- Cost: $
- Personal Opinion: A cure-all for the travel blues – prepare to fall in love.
Here’s a destination that should feature on your list of magical places in the UK!
Tucked away in a hidden valley that lies between West Yorkshire and Lancashire, the historic hamlet of Wycoller is part of a country park. Nature lovers, you should feel right at home there!
The hamlet’s main attraction is no doubt Wycoller Hall, built in the mid-1500s. While the hall is now in ruins, it’s still worth a visit.
It is believed that Charlotte Brontë used to travel through Wycoller when she lived in Haworth and the Hall was used as an inspiration for Jane Eyre’s Ferndean Manor.
After traipsing through the ruins, you can always head over to the Atom Panopticon, one of East Lancashire’s main art installations. Believe me when I say this piece of art is quite a sight to behold, with oval windows offering sweeping views of the lush surroundings.
- Rating: 7/10 – Hidden Gem Alert
- Cost: $
- Personal Opinion: Charming and nostalgic, with quintessential English charm.
13. See the Red Cliffs of Hunstanton
No list of UK hideaways would be complete without mentioning Hunstanton, an oceanfront town known for its vibrant promenade and beach.
This town has been dubbed “Sunny Hunny”, and it’s quite easy to see why! With a lively atmosphere and a dry, sunny disposition, Hunstanton is quite popular among the locals – but not a lot of tourists seem to know about it!
An absolute coastal treasure, this underrated place is famous for its unique branded cliffs comprised of red and ginger-colored stones that tower majestically over the rocky beach.
When ambling down the beach, keep your eyes peeled for the remains of the S. T. Sheraton shipwreck, located right below a historic lighthouse.
A great destination for families, Hunstanton is home to Rainbow Park, which offers oodles of fun for kids and adults alike. I’m talking old-fashioned arcade games, fun rides, and heaps of food and drink stalls!
- Rating: 8/10- Gram Worthy
- Cost: $
- Personal Opinion: A marvelous marvel off the beaten track!
14. Tuck into Classic Pub Fare at Alfriston
Medieval charm beckons in Alfriston, a ridiculously charming village that dates all the way back to the 14th century!
While it’s not as popular as other British villages like, say, Stratford-Upon-Avon or Castle Combe, Alfriston does offer its own share of stunning venues.
The cobblestone streets are lined by historic buildings like Alfriston’s Clergy House. This thatched and semi-timbered building was carefully preserved to showcase what life was like in rural medieval England 600 years ago.
After strolling through the village, I would highly suggest that you treat yourself to a classic pub lunch at the Star Inn, a local treasure that was established in the 15th century.
- Rating: 7/10 – Foodie Paradise
- Cost: $
- Personal Opinion: Wear loose pants – a culinary cornucopia awaits.
15. Hop on a Ferry to St Martin’s Vineyard
Let’s wrap up this list of hidden gems in the UK with a destination that’s probably one of the most fiercely guarded secrets in the country!
A vineyard is probably the last thing you’ll envision when thinking about the UK, but what if I told you there’s a lush one that awaits just a three-hour ferry ride away from Penzance? Established in 1996, St. Martin’s Vineyard is found on the Isles of Scilly.
Spread across the southern slope’s granite soils, the vineyard is one of the most magical places on the archipelago.
In spring, the whole place is covered in bluebells, lily-of-the-valley, amaryllis, and daffodils. While the vineyard originally started with white wine varieties, it now produces red and rose as well.
After a vineyard tour (with tasting sessions, of course!), you can always check out other attractions on the Isles of Sicily, including the Tresco Abbey Garden and Elizabethan castles.
- Rating: 10/10 – Bucket List Essential
- Cost: $$
- Personal Opinion: Don’t miss it! A must-visit gem of excellence.
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There’s still more to come. There’s still more to come. Here are more hidden treasures in the UK to put on your map.
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And that’s a wrap on our jaunt uncovering the most magical places in the UK! From craggy cliffs to puffin-speckled islands, the UK is a lush destination filled with wonders that are bound to bring a smile to even the grumpiest of faces.
Whether your idea of fun is to chug back a couple of pints in a historic pub, hike across a national park, or uncover the treasures of the London Underground, I’m sure by now you’ve realized that there’s no dearth of attractions awaiting in the UK.
So, what are you waiting for? Get to packing because those gems won’t uncover themselves!
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!