Stunning UK Locations That Stray from the Beaten Track
Discover the gems that are usually overshadowed by big cities and explore these 5 destinations you can’t fail to fall in love with.
Eden Valley, Cumbria
Our country might have a reputation for being cold but our seasons give us beautiful ever-changing landscapes with glorious summer days in abundance (honestly!) so yes, we do consider camping a viable and pleasant option! The Eden Valley in Cumbria is a particular favorite haunt for campers and tourers, with some rather luxurious sites set up for visitors who like a few home comforts thrown in with their outdoor experience.
The Eden Valley is the perfect spot for visitors who enjoy walking, exploring and expect their break to come with peace and quiet as standard. For the serious Anglophiles the quaint villages will delight and you just have to try some sizzling Cumberland sausages when in this part of the country, it’s a specialty not to be missed! One of the biggest events in the Eden Valley social calendar is undoubtedly the June Appleby Horse Fair that descends on the area every year. Honoring a 300 year old tradition, Appleby bustles with travelers from far and wide during the fair, so if crowds and noise aren’t your style, a July visit might be more suitable!
Photo credit: eleda1
Loch Lomond, Scotland
Loch Lomond is a hidden gem that’s widely loved by us British but slightly invisible to international visitors who tend to prefer the city of Edinburgh. We fully understand the appeal of the cities, really we do, but any visitor should make time to visit this stunning lake with its surrounding mountains and tiny islands. One of the Loch’s islands is even home to a colony of wallabies, one of the few places outside of Australia that the critters inhabit!
Loch Lomond is a perfect destination for people who love getting up close and personal with the great outdoors, but while ruddy cheeks are guaranteed, luxury is in plentiful supply with a range of stunning accommodation and foodie delights to be sampled. Fish and chips may be a bit of a British stereotype, but we do it well, and whether you’re looking to eat of out yesterday’s newspaper or dine at the finest establishment, the Loch’s surrounding eateries won’t disappoint. While you may not get a chance to see the Loch Ness Monster, you cannot fail to be impressed with this idyllic Scottish retreat.
Photo credit: Bob Shand
The New Forest, Hampshire
If deer watching, dawn chorus trails and wild ponies sound as romantic to you as they do us, then the magical New Forest is an unmissable stop on any trip to our green and pleasant land. The forest is an absolute treasure trove for nature lovers and boasts a plethora of bird and reptile species sure to please wildlife spotters.
But, if long bike rides or pony trekking are more your thing, then you’re in luck! The New Forest delivers miles and miles of routes to explore; perfect for both big hikes and little rambles. The New Forest and Hampshire area is also peppered with tiny villages, and guests benefit from a fantastic range of high-end luxury hotels, homely B&B’s and holiday cottages available for rent.
Photo credit: Jim Champion
Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey
The coastal resort of Red Wharf Bay is probably my favorite beach in the UK. Granted, I haven’t seen all the beaches in the UK, but this Welsh stretch of coast is completely unspoiled and spectacularly beautiful. European beaches just cannot compete with the character of Red Wharf, and when the tide is out and the sea breeze is gentle, the beach curls around the island and links avid walkers with some of the most enchanting harbor pubs in Wales. B&B’s can be found, especially in the local town of Benllech, but during high season you may wish to camp on one of the many sites available.
Photo credit: Jean Mottershead
Make no mistake Castleton is beautiful, quaint and quintessentially English, but there’s really two main reasons we flock to this pretty country village, firstly the hearty food and secondly, the spectacular caverns. If English pubs appeal to you, then there’s some absolute belters nestled within Castleton. Think roaring fires, rich steak pies and local ale and you’ve got Castleton perfectly summed up. If casual dining and afternoon tea is needed to supplement all those pub lunches, just browse the many tiny cafes, sweet shops and fish and chip bars dotted about the narrow streets.
Now, for the caverns! Castleton is home to not one, but four spectacular caverns from times when the mountain sides were mined. The Speedwell Cavern is a personal favorite as the journey is largely taken by boat through narrow tunnels and dark crevices, but the, ahem, Devil’s Arse, Blue John and Treak Cliff Caverns are well worth a visit too.
Photo credit: Walwyn