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The world is full of spectacular spots, but you have to admit it, we’re pretty lucky here in Britain.
From magnificent coastlines and soaring peaks to ancient cities and historic hideaways, for a tiny island we pack an impressive punch. But if you’ve exhausted all of beautiful Britain’s big hitters and want to escape the masses, where do you go next?
We’ve rounded up some ideas to spark your imagination…
A big hitter on the tourist radar, visitors flock to Cornwall every year. With its Celtic magic endowing the dramatic countryside and beaches with a spellbinding appeal, just some of its jewels include St Ives, Padstow and Lizard.
But if you are a Cornwall fan and want to escape the masses, where do you head to?
The stuff of smugglers and pirates, Bossiney Bay in north Cornwall can only be reached by descending a towering cliff via several rocky steps. Completely submerged at high tide, venturing down at the right time of day reveals untouched sands, huge rocks to bask on and the clearest of water teeming with fish.
When you’re ready to re-enter civilisation, nearby Tintagel will immerse you in the myth and legend of King Arthur. Visit the romantic castle ruins from 1230 and Merlin’s Cave before stopping at one of the many cosy tea shops for a classic Cornish cream tea.
For evening magic, mesmerising sunsets can be experienced at Trebarwith Strand, another of north Cornwall’s secrets. It can be reached by the south west coast path or via a long winding road, although parking is limited. A favourite spot of in-the-know surfers, fantastic views of the dancing Atlantic can be viewed via a short clifftop walk.
Moving further north and boasting the UK’s only coastal national park, Pembrokeshire is another favourite destination of holidaying Brits.
But if you’re in search of a little adventure in a lesser-known spot, Abereiddy Beach boasts a stunning blue lagoon. Formally an old quarry, the terrific colour comes from pounded grey slate and is a popular place for coasteering (coastal exploration through rock climbing, cliff jumping and cave swimming). If you fancy having a go, make sure you join an organised group.
From grand palaces to historic houses and cathedrals, Britain offers the history-hunter plenty to get their teeth into.
But it’s the secret sights that have only been discovered by a select few that can really evoke a sense of long-forgotten memories and atmosphere.
London may not scream ‘secret’ yet it has countless hidden treasures – if you know where to look.
For example, Wilton’s Music Hall in East London is the world’s oldest surviving grand music hall and still hosts theatre, cabaret, comedy, cinema and music shows. Atmospheric and offering echoes of another era, it can be tracked down in Graces Alley, off Cable Street in Tower Hamlets.
Gazing over to Porth Wen in Bull Bay on Anglesey will present you with the lonely remains of an eerie ruined harbour that was once a hive of activity and a thriving industrial brickworks. You’ll see old furnaces, chimney stacks and beehive kilns now abandoned and partly submerged by plants and weeds.
Britain’s pubs are fast disappearing, but time has stood still in the Valiant Soldier in Buckfastleigh. Left exactly as it was when last orders were called for the final time in the 1960s, every detail down to the money in the till hasn’t changed.
Now a museum, the time capsule pub makes for an interesting visit. For two weeks during the summer, you can really get a feel for the way things were with performances put on by a local theatre company who bring the characters who ran and drank in the pub to life.
An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the intensely beautiful Cotswolds is famed for its quintessentially English landscape.
However, while visitors tend to flock to the north of the area, it was the south Cotswolds that was listed by Lonely Planet as one of the best ‘secret’ holiday destinations on a recent Europe-wide list.
Here you will find breathtaking scenery and gorgeous villages, country houses and delightful parks – and, the best part, you can enjoy it undisturbed.
Nailsworth, Tetbury and Corsham are just some of the options for a holiday, while Westonbirt, the National Arboretum is a real highlight.
Here you will be treated to a dazzling display of colourful trees and plants from across the world. Visit during the August bank holiday to enjoy Treefest, an event which sees carvers creating impressive large wooden sculptures. You can also enjoy live music, see traditional woodland skills and watch demonstrations.
North Wales is another corner of the country that is peppered with secret sights, revealing themselves only to those prepared to venture and discover.
One such spot is Cregennan Lake in Dolgellau. Reachable only by a single track road, the uphill journey leads you through dramatic woodland and rolling farmland to reveal a shimmering picture postcard lake crowning the top.
With theatrical mountains serving as its backdrop, you’ll also be treated to views of the Mawddach Estuary and Barmouth.
Flooded by visitors every year, the Lake District is no stranger to tourists. However, base yourself away from hotspots such as Windermere to experience its wild peaks and lakes undisturbed.
The small village of Patterdale, for example, is surrounded by incredible scenery and allows easy access to the incredible Helvellyn Mountain and its surrounding peaks. Exquisite and dramatic in equal measure, the area is a walker’s paradise.
Secluded coves of pearly white sands and crystalline waters might sound like the reserve of the Caribbean, but your very own version is closer than you think!
Traigh Gheal on the Isle of Mull is an idyllic beach with a real castaway feel. With its Gaelic translation meaning ‘white beach’, you’ll have to be prepared to work to see it. So don your boots and expect a three-hour hike through Tieragan Nature Reserve.
Lindisfarne, or ‘Holy Island’ is drenched in history, stretching right back to 635AD when Saint Aiden arrived from Iona to set up his monastery.
Visits here will allow you to immerse yourself in the ancient past at the atmospheric abbey complex, while from the eastern side of the island you can enjoy unrivalled views of the Farne Islands and Northumbrian Coast. Be aware that you can only reach the island at low tide when the causeway is open.
Losgaintir Beach on the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides is a true showstopper. Utterly remote, the island is reachable via ferry from Ullapool in the north west of Scotland. When you arrive at the beach you will find something that could rival any Caribbean beauty – so come prepared with your camera and cossie!
Have we missed somewhere? Have you already been to some of the spots above? Or are you willing to share the secret spots you’ve discovered in the UK? Leave a comment below to let us know.
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