Are you visiting the UK, but looking for somewhere a little off the beaten track? We’ve pulled together a list of six suggestions for places less trodden to explore. If you’re looking to escape the crowds and visit interesting places, read on.
The Isles of Scilly
This small archipelago off the coast of Cornwall is just as interesting as the popular coastal destinations on the mainland. Visitors can hop between the islands on boats, discovering the many independent cafes, restaurants, shops and galleries that they have to offer. If you’re looking for something a little more exhilarating, water sports are unsurprisingly a popular activity, with windsurfing, paddle boarding and kayaking all popular activities.
Start your trip on St Mary’s, discovering the coastal paths and tranquil beaches, before hopping over to St Martin’s to admire the wildlife, flower farm and vineyard. Don’t miss a visit to Tresco, home of the beautiful Tresco Abbey Gardens with over 20,000 exotic plants to admire.
The Llyn Peninsula
This small peninsula in North Wales is less busy than nearby Snowdonia yet offers magnificent views and some of the country’s best beaches. The scenery is beautiful, with hills in the middle of the peninsula offering views of the surrounding shoreline and back towards Snowdonia’s peaks. Whistling Sands is one of the peninsula’s most well known beaches for pretty views and the unusual sound the sand makes beneath your feet.
The huge beach known as Hell’s Mouth is a popular spot for surfing and swimming, dependent on the winds. Abersoch is a great base for your trip, with plenty of shops and restaurants to discover, but we’d also recommend spending a night in Morfa Nefyn to enjoy a few pints in the Ty Coch Inn, a popular pub located right on the beach.
The Norfolk Broads are a popular British destination, teeming with visitors all year round, yet Waxham has managed to stay much quieter than its neighbouring towns. Located on a stretch of coastline that is part of the Norfolk Broads National Park, this small village is a favourite among the locals. The beach is hidden away behind sand dunes and trees, with no amenities, allowing it to attract far fewer visitors than the more family-friendly alternatives. Visitors can hire kayaks and explore the broads, hire bikes and enjoy the flat landscapes, or take a boat trip to spot seals on the surrounding coastline.
If you’re looking for an untouched gem in Scotland, head to Tay Forest Park, near Pitlochry to explore the enchanting Faskally Wood. This beautiful woodland has no vehicular access, keeping it nice and tranquil. Entrance is via shuttle bus from Pitlochry, which serves as the ideal base to explore the area. Spend your time in the woods wandering along the trails, keeping your eyes peeled for local wildlife and admiring Loch Dunmore. Visit during the autumn to experience the Enchanted Forest light and music display, or in summer to brave a dip in the Loch.
This wonderful market town on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales is the perfect base for exploring the National Park. Visit on market day to sample the region’s local delicacies, and make sure you spend the night so you can enjoy a traditional pub-crawl around the many local drinking dens. In the day, you can admire the scenery from Ruskin’s View before descending a steep flight of steps and walking along the River Lune. There are endless places to discover in the neighbouring Yorkshire Dales, with less busy options including Stainforth Fosse, Gordale Scar and Tor Dyke.
Britain’s only desert is a stark landscape, with the largest shingle beach in Europe, yet is one of the most interesting places on the Kent coast. There’s plenty to discover here, including the smallest passenger railway in the world, an RSPB Nature Reserve teeming with rare birds and the sound mirrors, three concrete early-warning acoustic mirrors left over from the wars. In recent years, the town has also become famed for its architecture, with many contemporary homes springing up on the shale beach. The most iconic building is Prospect Cottage, the former home of film director Derek Jarman.
Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.