30 Stunning UK Spots That Feel Like Paradise
Singing Sands beach (Camas an Lighe) in Scotland | © larum stock / Alamy Stock Photo
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Head off the beaten track in the UK and it’s possible to find idyllic pockets of paradise away from the crowds – so you can stay safe while discovering spectacular natural wonders on our doorstep. These 30 beautiful spots around the UK prove paradise is closer than you think.
Bow Fiddle Rock, Grampian
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A startling natural phenomenon sculpted by waves, this distinctive rock rising from swirling seawater frames an endless sky renowned for its blazing multi-coloured sunsets.
Scott's View, Borders
Known as the favourite spot of novelist Sir Walter Scott, there is no better place to gaze across the Scottish borders with its ethereal sky, twisting river, majestic oak trees and verdant farmland.
The Gloup, Orkney
Seabirds circle noisily above this dramatic collapsed sea cave. Go when the tide’s in to see waves crashing against mossy cliffs 80 feet below.
Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye
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Skye’s craggy Cuillin mountains shelter several small waterfalls that tumble into these shimmering turquoise pools. They’re perfect for a bracing dip, if you dare.
Singing Sands Beach, Argyll
Soak up the silence on this remote, white-sand beach backed by forest, where salt flavours the air and waves soothingly lap the shore.
Pattack Falls Nature Trail, Highlands
Natural Feature, Park
Get away from it all and relish this wildly wonderful protected area, with its cascading waterfall, bubbling streams and scampering wildlife – all dappled by sunlight glinting through the trees.
Glen Affric, Highlands
Glassy lochs, pine forests, waterfalls and snow-capped mountains make this nature reserve worth the visit – and you might even spot red deer.
Pedn Vounder Beach, Cornwall
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This tiny secluded cove is one of Britain’s most remote beauty spots, with powder-soft sand, brooding granite cliffs and crystal-clear water to cool off in.
The Canyons Coral Reef, Cornwall
Only an expert eye can glimpse vibrant fish gliding past sea plants in the Canyons, England’s only coral reef 330km from Land’s End.
Pendle Hill, Lancashire
Expect panoramic views as you cross wild moorland that’s thick with grass. These isolated slopes are home to cows and aromatic fir trees.
Flamborough Head, Yorkshire
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Take this rugged clifftop walk to feel the wind in your hair as waves pound the rocks below. Look out for darting seals and swooping falcons, too.
Winnats Pass, Peak District
An imposing natural marvel, this winding road snakes through a steep valley cloaked in greenery and shadowed by ancient limestone ridges.
Whitewater Dash, Dash Valley, Lake District
Roam across slopes thick with springy heather to the bleat of grazing sheep and feel the fine mist from this thundering waterfall.
Holkham Beach, Norfolk
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Feel the fine golden sand between your toes on this sweeping stretch of beach, sandwiched between dunes and pine forests.
Three Shires Head, Peak District
Cross windswept moorlands, tranquil woods and slippery rocks to explore the waterfalls, ponds and medieval bridges at the point where three counties meet.
Cotter Force, Yorkshire
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Crunch leaves underfoot, hear wildlife in bushes and smell the sweet wildflowers on the picturesque stroll to this rushing waterfall, hidden deep within ancient woodland.
Blakeney Salt Marshes, Norfolk
Expect to come across muddy creeks and wildlife in these salt marshes, that are also a popular spot for sailing.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Pembrokeshire
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This enchanting coastal path reveals beautiful sights around each corner – including volcanic headlands, hidden coves and swooping, squalling seabirds.
Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire
Sink into the sand on this secluded crescent-shaped beach that’s surrounded by cliffs and fragrant pines.
Whistling Sands (Porthor Beach), Gwynedd
Listen for the whistling noise the dry sand makes underfoot on this heavenly beach, backed by grassy banks and waves that are ideal for surfing.
South Stack, Anglesey
Building, Natural Feature
© Tracey Whitefoot / Alamy Stock Photo
Filled with noisy seabirds including puffins, this rocky island is covered with deep purple heather and yellow gorse. Watch the turbulent sea below for lucky dolphin sightings.
Carningli Mountain, Pembrokeshire
Take in stunning 360-degree views from this Welsh mountain, across the wild coastline, swirling mists, steep rocky paths and vast meadows where wild ponies live.
Foel Fenlli, Denbighshire
Scraping the clouds above, this Welsh peak is a breathtaking patchwork of vivid green fields, unspoilt countryside and dense forest with calling birds soaring above.
Pwll-y-Wrach Nature Reserve, Powys
Natural Feature, Park
This is an enchanting ancient woodland teeming with wild garlic, wildlife and carpets of brightly coloured wildflowers. Head east to discover a shaded waterfall.
Howardian Nature Reserve, Cardiff
Natural Feature, Park
An unexpected retreat on the edge of the city, this idyllic nature reserve reveals a murmuring stream, secret waterfall, atmospheric wetland and secluded woodland, rustling with more than 500 species of wildlife.
The Causeway Coast, County Antrim and County Londonderry
© Joaquin Ossorio-Castillo / Getty Images
Steeped in myth and history, this extraordinary coastline passes windswept headlands, hidden coves and clifftops adorned in colourful flowers, as the Atlantic Ocean crashes noisily below.
Torr Head, County Antrim
Expect sweeping vistas across the water to Scotland’s Mull of Kintyre, along with waves thundering against rocks, and the rich scent of peat on this rugged coastline.
Mussenden Temple and Benone Beach, County Londonderry
© Andrea Comi / Getty Images
Spot the elegant former library high on the clifftop above this long sandy beach, lapped by frothing waves leaving salt in the air that’ll linger on your lips.
Binevenagh, County Londonderry
Spot a lake bursting with trout, meadows of bluebells whispering in the wind and green fields tumbling down the peak of this mountain.
The Mourne Wall, County Down
Hiking Trail, Historical Landmark
This demanding hiking route goes along a dry-stone wall crossing the Mourne Mountains, and you’ll pass loughs, dense forest, cattle-filled fields and rocky peaks covered in cloud.
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These recommendations were updated on July 24, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.