The Most Scenic Landscapes In The UK

From rugged mountains to magnificent cityscapes, deep lakes and lochs, to volcanic eruptions, the UK is home to some of the world’s most scenic and extraordinary landscapes.

Many are within easy reach of most of us, but occasionally it’s going to be worth your while seeking out affordable flights up and down, and across the country, to reach a destination you simply must see for yourself. Here’s our pick of 7 of the most scenic landscapes in the UK.

1. Cheddar Gorge, Somerset

The biggest limestone gorge in Britain, Cheddar Gorge’s magnificent climbs rise 450ft above the stalactite caverns and grottos that attract potholers, cavers and climbers. The gorge was formed at the end of the last ice age, and today it is home to some rare plants that grow only here. Look too for peregrine falcon, and the wild sheep that graze on grassy slopes.

View from Cheddar Gorge

2. The Cairngorms, Highlands

Britain’s largest national park, and home to the UK’s largest and highest mountain range, the Cairngorms provides spectacular vistas of rugged peaks, primeval Caledonian forests, desolate moors and glens, and deep lochs and rivers. Golden eagles, ospreys, ptarmigans and capercaillies nest here, while pine martens, wildcats, red and roe deer are joined by the only wild herd of reindeer in the UK.

3. The Jurassic Coast, Dorset & Devon

A UNESCO World Heritage Site (in fact, it’s the only natural World Heritage Site in England), the Jurassic Coast is around 95 miles of coastline from East Devon to Dorset, that is around 140 million years old. Cameras will be working overtime, particularly at the natural limestone arch of Durdle Door and at Lulworth Cove.

Giant's Causeway September 2011

4. The Giant’s Causeway, Co Antrim

Northern Ireland’s only World Heritage Site, the Giant’s Causeway offers the extraordinary sight of enormous stone columns that are in such perfect arrangement, it’s not hard to believe the local legend that the giant Finn MacCool threw the cliffs into the sea, to create a walk between Ireland and Scotland.

5. Exmoor

The UK can boast many magnificent moors, such as those in Yorkshire or Dartmoor, but Exmoor’s awesome atmosphere makes it an unmissable experience. Wooded valleys and coastal cliffs add to the other-worldliness of an area awash with superb vistas. Prepare to be charmed by the Exmoor ponies, a unique breed of wild pony that has adapted to the wet and cold environment, and has survived and lived here, longer than humankind has.

6. Edinburgh Castle and New Town

Cities such as Bath and York can lay claim to great beauty and panoramic streetscapes, but no city in the UK offers quite the vista that Edinburgh does. Here the mediaeval Old Town – epitomised by the Castle and Royal Mile – towers over the stunning Georgian New Town, its importance to the city demonstrated in its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

7. St Ives, Cornwall

Cornwall’s lengthy coastline of pristine beaches, quiet coves and craggy cliffs, makes it one of the most scenic places to visit in the UK, and the seaside village of St Ives epitomises this wonderful region. Whitewashed cottages overlook a picturesque harbour, while its long beach stretches to a promontory on which stands the Godrevy lighthouse. Artists have long been drawn here because of the superb light and scenery – art hounds won’t be able to resist dropping into the Tate St Ives.

It would take a lifetime to view the most scenic landscapes in the UK, thanks to the wonderful diversity of locations to choose from, but even when time is at a premium, lovers of magnificent vistas can take their pick from those that appeal most.

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