When it comes to breathtaking landscapes, England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland definitely deliver. Even though most visitors come to the UK for its bustling cities – be it London, Edinburgh, Manchester, or Oxford, there’s plenty of natural attractions and magical places to visit in the UK as well.
Britain may be small, but it’s a surprisingly green island, full of lush valleys, picturesque mountains, idyllic forest creeks, and dazzling lakes. UK’s dramatic coastline will also appeal to nature-enthusiasts: stretching for 11,000 miles, it’s great for hiking and soaking up the views.
15 Magical Places to Visit in the UK
It would be an insuperable task to list all of the stunning natural sights the UK has to offer. But we’ve gathered some of the essentials: here are 15 magical places you cannot miss.
1) The Seven Sisters, Sussex, England
Perched on the south coast of England, the Seven Sisters are a series of chalk cliffs, and one of the most beautiful places in the UK. Created by erosion, these cliffs peak and dip along the shoreline, making seven hills in total, each individually named.
The cliffs are situated in the Seven Sisters Country Park which is part of the South Downs National Park. It is easily accessible from Brighton (~40 minutes away), and about a two-hour drive from London.
There are a few ways to appreciate the beauty of the Seven Sisters. To see it from above, you can take a 7,5-mile long Country Park Trail that leads along the edge of the cliffs. To grasp the best postcard-view from further away, head to Seaford Head, or to the Birling Gap beach.
Visit the South Downs National park’s website for more info: www.southdowns.gov.uk.
2) Durdle Door, Dorset, England
The iconic Durdle Door is a natural limestone arch that has formed over millions of years as the sea waves slowly eroded the rock. Located in Dorset, it is part of the Jurassic Coast and a UNESCO World Heritage Site where some of England’s first dinosaur fossils were found. Actually, some claim that the arch itself looks like a dinosaur rising from the sea!
There’s a beautiful shingle beach just beside the Dundle Door – the access is through the Durdle Door Holiday Park. You can either chill at the beach or hike along the coast: just a 30-min walk east will take you to the picturesque Lulworth Cove. Another great way to enjoy the arch is with a kayaking tour.
Find out more about visiting Durdle Door: visit-dorset.com.
3) Henrhyd Falls, Powys, Wales
Tucked away on the western edge of the Brecon Beacons mountain range, Henrhyd Falls is the highest waterfall (90 ft.) in South Wales, and one of the most magical places to visit in the UK. The thundering sounds of the cascading falls create quite a stark contrast with the serenity and tranquility of the surrounding Graig Llech Woods.
Henrhyd is a short walk away from the Brecon Beacons National Park carpark. After visiting the fall, you can also climb the Farewell Rock that is just behind it, and walk down the Nant Llech valley, admiring the views and the wildlife. The whole National Park is just a true paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.
Find out more about visiting Henrhyd Falls: www.nationaltrust.org.uk
4) Loch Awe, Argyll and Bute, Scotland
Loch Awe is the longest and third largest freshwater loch (Scottish word for “lake”) in Scotland. Located in the awe-inspiring (hence the name!) Scottish Highlands, and still relatively unexplored, it offers picture-perfect views and some of the best trout fishing in the country.
There are lots of hiking trails to enjoy in the area, with rivers, waterfalls, forests, and oak woods to be discovered. Head to the northwest end of the loch to visit the village of Lochawe, home to baronial-style St. Conan’s Chapel, built in 1883. The magical 15th-century Kilchurn Castle is also nearby and can be seen across the lake.
More suggestions on what to do around Loch Awe: loch-awe.com
5) Cheddar Gorge, Somerset, England
One of the most beautiful places in the UK, Cheddar is England’s deepest gorge, with its craggy cliffs reaching the height of 450 feet. Formed over a million years ago, this natural wonder provides visitors with jaw-dropping views as well as some interesting ancient history lessons.
Head underground and explore the magnificent Gough’s Cave where Britain’s oldest complete skeleton was found in 1903. Known as the Cheddar Man, this skeleton is believed to be over 9000 years old. Craving for more? Visit the Museum of Prehistory and learn how our ancestors struggled to survive during the 40,000-year Ice Age.
Check out the latest updates on visiting Cheddar Gorge: cheddargorge.co.uk
6) The Lake District National Park, Cumbria, England
Offering the greenest and most majestic views in the whole country, the Lake District is one of the must-visit places in the UK and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s hard to pinpoint just one or two highlights of the park: it covers an area of 912 square miles and includes a variety of beautiful lakes, valleys, and mountains. It is home to Scafell Pike – England’s highest peak (3209 ft.), and Wastwater – its deepest lake (260 ft.).
There are numerous ways to explore and enjoy the wilderness of the Lake District. Hike the mountains, go for a leisurely bike ride around the countryside, rent a boat or kayak and explore the lakes, or just walk around and take some great shots.
Visit the Lake District National park’s website for more info: lakedistrict.gov.uk
7) Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
One of UK’s most beautiful natural attractions, Giant’s Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns perched on the rugged shores of Northern Ireland. According to the local legend, the Causeway was formed when the Irish giant Finn MacCool placed the rocks into the sea so that he could cross to Scotland and fight his rival, Scottish giant Benandonner. A more scientific approach, however, claims that this natural wonder is a result of the volcanic eruption that happened 50 to 60 million years ago.
Several hiking trails lead to Giant’s Causeway. A good option is to take the red trail from the visitor’s center: you can first see the rocks from the mountain top, before walking down to the shore itself.
The entrance to Giant’s Causeway is free but you need to buy a ticket if you wish to enter the Visitor’s center and learn more about the area. Find out more: giantscausewayofficialguide.com.
8) Dark Hedges, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Dark Hedges is another highlight of County Antrim that you cannot miss. An eerily beautiful avenue of breech trees is perched along Bregagh Road between Armoy and Stranocum. If you’re looking for the most magical places to visit in the UK, this fairy-tale sight should definitely be on your list!
The Hedge was planted by the Stuart family in the 18th century, to impress visitors as they approached the entrance to their gorgeous Georgian mansion. A big part of the trees originally planted by the family is still remaining today. The Dark Hedges gained massive popularity after appearing on HBO’s Game of Thrones, so if you want to avoid the crowds, best is to come in the early morning or late afternoon.
Check out this detailed guide on how to visit Dark Hedges: independenttravelcats.com.
9) Cadair Idris, Gwynedd, Wales
Cadair Idris is a mountain (2,930 ft.) that lies at the southern end of the Snowdonia National Park near the town of Dolgellau in Wales. Popular with walkers and hikers, this peak attracts outdoor enthusiasts, geology geeks, and mystery fanatics. Numerous legends and myths are surrounding Cadair Idris. For example, the nearby lakes are supposed to be bottomless, and anyone who falls asleep on the slopes will wake up a madman or a poet.
Three main trails lead to the top. Whichever you choose, be prepared for some challenging hiking and lots of striking views!
Check out the best walking routes to Cadair Idris: walkupsnowdon.co.uk.
10) The Needles, the Isle of Wight
The Needles are three stacks of chalk rising like towers for almost 100 feet above the sea. They are settled on the western shore of the Isle of Wight, a picturesque island located just off the southern coast of mainland England, on the English Channel. The Needles take their name from a fourth needle-shaped pillar that apparently collapsed in 1764. There’s an active 19th-century lighthouse built on the outermost “needle”.
Popular ways to enjoy the view of this UK’s natural attraction is by taking a boat trip or a chairlift from the Needles Landmark Attraction down to Alum Bay Beach.
Plan your visit the Needles: heneedles.co.uk.
11) Lunan Bay, Angus, Scotland
Looking for some raw natural beauty? Lunan Bay is the place to go! This mile-long sandy beach is situated on the shores of the North Sea, a 2-hour drive both from Edinburgh or Glasgow. Backed by sand dunes, the beach is quiet and secluded, just perfect for a peaceful walk, horse riding, fishing, watersports, or swimming. There are low cliffs on both ends of the bay, with a cave and an arch on the northern side.
The surrounding countryside is full of historic sites and castles. One of them, the Red Castle, is proudly overlooking the bay. And if you need even more reasons to visit Lunan Bay, it is an excellent place to search for gemstones, especially agates.
Check out the latest info on visiting Lunan Bay and what’s nearby: visitscotland.com.
12) Puzzlewood, Gloucestershire, England
Mysterious and mesmerizing, Puzzlewood is definitely one of the most magical places to visit in the UK. Located in the gorgeous Forest of Dean, Puzzlewood is an ancient woodland that covers 14 acres in Gloucestershire, England. Its picturesque pathways, odd rock formations, twisted trees, and secret caves have long inspired writers, storytellers, and filmmakers. Some popular fantasy TV shows and movies were filmed here, including Merlin, Dr. Who, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and others.
Puzzlewood will appeal to anyone who enjoys walking, spending time outdoors, and discovering nature. There’s a £7.00 entrance fee to the site, and online booking is recommended.
Plan your visit to Puzzlewood: puzzlewood.net.
13) Wye Valley, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, England, and Monmouthshire, Wales
Just a short drive from Puzzlewood, there’s another magical place waiting to be explored. The Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is considered as one of the most stunning lowland landscapes in the whole UK. Packed with dramatic limestone gorges, lush woodlands, and proud of its rich wildlife and history, Wye Valley straddles the border between England and Wales.
There are numerous ways to explore the area, either by foot or taking a boat/kayak trip along the majestic Wye river. Take your time to climb up to one of the awe-inspiring viewpoints, such as Devil’s Pulpit or Symonds Yat Rock, have a picnic and just enjoy!
Find out more about visiting the Wye Valley: wyevalleyaonb.org.uk.
14) Glen Coe, Highland, Scotland
Glen Coe is one of Scotland’s most ancient landscapes and one of the most beautiful places in the UK. It is a glen of volcanic origins that formed 450 million years ago. Stretching for approx. 12 miles through the Lochaber Geopark in the Scottish Highlands, this deep valley is surrounded by eight Munros, grand mountains of over 3,000 feet. Glen Coe is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and was even featured in films – James Bond’s Skyfall and a couple of Harry Potter movies.
Glencoe village is the perfect base to start exploring the glen and the area of Lochaber. There are many options to climb, hike, and enjoy the surroundings, including some low-level circular walks.
Check out the visitor’s guide to Glen Coe: visitscotland.com.
15) Winnats Pass, Derbyshire, England
Located in the heart of the Peak District National Park near the village of Castleton, Winnats Pass is a limestone gorge, and one of the most beautiful roads in England. Winding through the cleft, it is surrounded by majestic towering cliffs. The limestone valley is rich with fossils of various sea creatures that lived here over 350 million years ago. Actually, the whole area was once under a tropical sea!
At the bottom of the pass, there’s the Speedwell Cavern, an impressive cave, and a flooded lead miners’ tunnel. Next to the cavern, you’ll find a large carpark – from here, many hiking trails lead to the Winnats Pass and the surrounding area.
Plan your visit to the Speedwell Cavern: speedwellcavern.co.uk.
We hope that you have been inspired. So do not forget to mark your visited places in push pin UK & Ireland Map: