When you think about the UK, you don’t often think of the beautiful places. The skyscrapers of the capital, the shingle beaches, and the endless miles of green fields are among the first things that spring to mind. But, the UK’s geography, both natural and man-made, is much more varied than may of us know. From mountains to valleys to exotic-inspired architecture, the UK has it all. Take a look at these beautiful places that, believe it or not, are all right here in the UK, and you’ll never think of the UK as grey and drab again!
Could this be India?
The Royal Pavilion in Brighton is inspired by Indian and Chinese architecture, so you could be forgiven for mistaking it for the Taj Mahal! Originally built as a seaside palace for King George IV between the 1780s and 1820s, the palace became the property of Brighton when Queen Victoria sold it to the town in 1850. Since then, it’s been used as a venue for events – the stables were converted into a concert hall, now known as the Brighton Dome – and even served as a military hospital during World War 1. Now, the Pavilion is a tourist attraction and wedding venue, displaying collections of art and furniture amassed by its royal occupants. An adult ticket currently costs £13 (or £16 if you want to visit the Brighton Museum as well), so won’t break the bank!
Surely this is Greece?
The Minack Theatre in Porthcurno, Cornwall, could just as easily be an ancient amphitheatre set on Grecian cliffs. The Minack, though, is much newer than you might think – construction started in just 1931 to provide a venue for local drama enthusiasts to perform Shakespeare. It hosted its first performance of The Tempest in summer 1932. During the Second World War, the theatre had to be closed and as Cornwall was thought to be a prime landing site for invasions, and it became fortified for the duration. It re-opened in 1951, and has been an active theatre and tourist attraction ever since. Now, you can see plays from traditional Shakespeare to operatic adaptations of classic fairy tales, with tickets usually around £14 per person. Or, you can stroll around the theatre and its grounds during the daytime for £5.
This beautiful place must be the set of Lord of the Rings
If it weren’t for the sight of the village on the horizon, the rugged and majestic Cheddar Gorge in Somerset looks like it could have been lifted straight the set of Lord of the Rings. Cheddar Gorge is not only among the UK’s most beautiful places, it is the UK’s largest gorge. Visiting isn’t cheap at £17 per adult, but with caves to explore and clifftop hikes to enjoy, it’s certainly value for money. Plus, the area is famous for its cheese, so you can pop into nearby Cheddar village to pick up some of the good stuff on your way home!
Italian village… or Welsh?
Well-known in the UK as the location of The Prisoner, Portmeirion in North Wales was built over about 50 years starting in 1925. The architect behind the village, Clough Williams-Ellis, designed it in the style of an Italian village, with the goal of showing how naturally beautiful places could be developed without spoiling them. Portmeirion is a tourist village, which means that nobody lives there full time and all the accommodation is used either as hotels or self-catering cottages. You don’t have to go to Portmeirion on holiday, though – you can visit for a day just as easily for £11 per person. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes and even a spa, and the colourful buildings can brighten even the dullest British day!
Is this The Rockies?
The last on our list of beautiful places right on your doorstep is Ben Nevis, although you could be fooled into thinking it’s in the Rockies!. The Ben is the highest mountain on the British Isles and is named from the Gaelic Beinn Nibheis. While it is perhaps most famous for being climbed as part of the Three Peaks challenge, you don’t need to take on all of the UK’s highest mountains to enjoy The Ben. There are walking, hiking and climbing routes to suit all appetites and abilities both on and around the mountain and there’s no charge for admission to the mountain and surrounding area. If you’d rather admire the mountain from afar, check out the view from Inverlochy Castle, or nearby Fort William.
Were you fooled by any of these local beauty spots? Which other locations are among the UK’s most beautiful places? Let us know what you think in the comments!