Are you thinking of planning a trip to the U.K, lured in by visions of luscious green landscapes and cosmopolitan cities? The United Kingdom isn’t just rolling hills, picturesque countryside and exciting cities bursting with culture. Here are seven unexpected sites that you may not expect to find in the British Isles but that you’ll almost certainly want to add to your itinerary.
St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall
This picturesque small island, connected to the mainland via a causeway, is one of the more unusual places to visit in Cornwall. History lovers will delight in exploring the medieval pathways and castle, learning about how the island has been inhabited since the Neolithic period. Visitors can also visit St Michael’s Mount by boat when the tide is in, creating an even more impressive view of the isle on approach.
This unique town in north Wales attracts visitors from all over the world with its colourful buildings and enchanting atmosphere. Located atop a cliff overlooking a picturesque estuary, the village is most famous for being the set of the 1960’s TV series, The Prisoner. Designed by architect Clough Williams Ellis from 1925 to 1976, the village is designed in the style of Italian architecture, delighting visitors with its gardens, woodland and unexpected follies.
Royal Pavilion, Brighton
When you see Brighton’s Royal Pavilion for the first time, you’ll likely be surprised to find such a building in England. The striking building was originally built as a pleasure palace for King George IV, referencing the Regency styles of 19th Century India and China. It’s not what you expect to find in a British seaside town. Visitors can tour the interior of the palace, admiring the beautifully preserved rooms, as well as exploring the grounds.
Kynance Cove, Cornwall
Visitors might not believe they’re in England when they stumble upon the beautiful beach at Kynance Cove. This rocky bay is located on the Lizard Peninsula in the south-west of England, but its natural beauty often has it compared to more tropical destinations. The beach can be enjoyed all year round, but is best experienced on a hot summer’s day when you will want to leap into the clear waters.
Although Glencoe is one of Scotland’s most iconic sights, visitors may momentarily forget the country they are exploring when admiring its natural beauty. The rugged landscape, dramatic mountain peaks and wind-swept moors are reminiscent of Iceland or New Zealand. Keen hikers will enjoy climbing the many mountains (there are eight Munros to conquer here) while wildlife lovers will delight in the flora and fauna of the glacial valley.
Luskentyre Beach, Isle of Harris
Did you know the United Kingdom has a beach to rival those of the Caribbean? Luskentyre Beach on the remote Isle of Harris boasts white sands and turquoise waters. It may be far flung from the Scottish mainland, but this beach is more than worth the boat ride. You may even see dolphins and whales on your journey, dependent on the time of the year.
The Roman Baths, Bath
Did you think you had to head elsewhere for natural thermal spas? Think again! The beautiful town of Bath in the south-west of England is home to a remarkable Roman bathhouse. Located beside a Roman temple, Bath’s Roman baths are one of the best-preserved ancient spas in the world. Guests can purchase a joint ticket to the Roman Baths museum and the contemporary Thermae Bath Spa to see how the Romans bathed before enjoyed a spa treatment of your own.
Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.