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Most people associate Great Britain with cities – London of course, and then Edinburgh and Manchester etc. Many miss the multiple areas of outstanding natural beauty in the British Isles – the places where British people go on their holidays, or vacations for our American readers.
These UK destinations are now beginning to emerge and are becoming the hottest places to visit in the UK.
Here are our top 6 destinations in Great Britain that are hot to travel to right now. Several of the locations in this post are also mentioned in our best places to hike in the UK! (and, check rental car prices here.)
1. The Lake District, England
The trend to areas of natural beauty in the UK was kicked off by the announcement earlier this year that the Lakes District in England was to become a UNESCO World Heritage site.
This stunning region in the North West of England is England’s biggest national park and also contains the highest mountain in England, Scafell Pike.
The area has been incredibly well loved by the English for centuries and best known for its fantastic walks and ever changing weather!
There are 14 actual lakes in the Lake District, the largest and best known being Lake Windermere. The area is also filled with very cute English villages such as Hawkshead, Keswick and Grasmere.
In addition to walking there are many options to explore the lakes – from traditional boat trips to kayaking, windsurfing, canoeing and much more.
This is one UK destination you don’t want to miss.
Lake District: Ten Lakes Full-Day Tour: Enjoy one of England’s most picturesque regions on a full-day tour of the Lake District. Visit mysterious Castlerigg Stone Circle and Lakeland villages. Learn more here.
2. Snowdonia, Wales
Snowdonia is in the north west of lovely Wales in Great Britain.
The national park contains the second highest mountain in the British Isles, Mount Snowdon. This is an achievable but challenging day hike or you can just take the train to the top. There is a great café there that serves amazing soup!
Conwy is a charming medieval walled town with a castle, town walls to walk and the smallest house in Britain. It is a great town to have a wonder around and stop for a spot of lunch.
Then head to the beautiful Bodnant Gardens. Bodnant covers over 80 acres and has a mix of garden styles – from well sculptured to wild!
This is also a fabulous area for foodies so make sure you stop in to some of the fantastic farmers markets and local restaurants. It’s a fantastic place to visit in Britain.
3. The Isle of Wight, England
A ferry from lovely Lymington takes you a short distance over the English Channel to the Isle of Wight.
Time seems to slow down when you get to the island making it the perfect place to visit in the UK. It is known for its walks, beaches, fish and chips and ice-cream! The most westerly point of the island is home to The Needles, 3 massive white chalk rocks that are very scenic.
There are watersports, cycling, horse riding, golf etc all on offer as well, as is every type of accommodation.
The island is particularly family-friendly but also wonderful for anyone looking to slow down.
The Isle of Wight festival is held every June and features well known bands and musicians. Make sure you book quite a bit ahead if you plan on attending the festival as it is extremely popular.
TOURS AND TRANSPORT
- Portsmouth: Hovercraft Flight to the Isle of Wight: Travel on the World’s only commercial foot passenger service, which is the fastest way to cross the Solent between Southsea in Portsmouth and Ryde on the Isle of Wight in just 10 minutes Book your ticket here.
- Isle of Wight day trip from London: Explore England’s largest island and see sights such as the seaside village of Shanklin and the thatched cottages of Godshill. Learn more here.
4. The Isle of Skye, Scotland
From the calm of the south of England to the wild and rugged north west coast of Scotland. It is now possible to drive to the Isle of Skye over the appropriately named Skye Bridge!
Don’t forget to stop and check out Eileen Donan castle before you head over – and you will probably need to stop in again on the way back as the weather will most definitely have changed!
Skye is a magical and wild place – one of the hottest destinations in Great Britain.
The weather is a key feature as it is always changing and brings with it incredibly strong winds. It is quite a large island so it is best explored via car. Portree is the main town and a great base.
The Cuillin Hills offer stunning opportunities for walks in the wild landscape. Go with a guide or make sure you know what you are doing with a map as the constantly changing weather can have a big effect on visibility. We recommend this guided tour here.
Perhaps the most scenic drive is the one around the coast line of the most easterly tip of the island.
Here you will encounter everything from the old Man of Storr rock to a Fairy Glen (yes it is supposed to contain fairies!) to Tartan Rock – a rock that looks like, well, tartan!
There will also be a lot of sheep along the way and the view will change from completely clouded over to stunningly clear blue skies. If fairies do exist I am quite sure they would choose to live on the Isle of Skye!
For more ideas about things to do on that road trip, planning information, beautiful photos, and practical maps to help you plan your travels, check out ZigZag On Earth’s eBook: The Road Trip Guide: Edinburgh to Skye and if you are traveling further in Scotland, you will want her Road Trip Scotland guide.
ISLE OF SKYE TOURS
- From Edinburgh: 3-Day Isle of Skye, Highlands & Loch Ness: Enjoy a 3-day tour experiencing the dramatic scenery the Scottish Highlands has to offer. Spend time in Glencoe, explore the Isle of Skye, the Eilean Donan Castle and mysterious Loch Ness. Book your tour here.
- Inverness: Isle of Skye and Eilean Donan Castle Day Trip: See the best of the Isle of Skye on a day tour from Inverness, including the capital Portree and the natural wonders of Kilt Rock and Lealt Falls. Admire Loch Ness and Eilean Donan Castle on the way. Learn more here.
- From Inverness: Isle of Skye Scenery Tour with Fairy Pools: Discover the scenic landmarks of the Isle of Skye including the Fairy Pools, Kilt Rock, Portree, and the Old Man of Storr. Stop for some photos of Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness on the way home. Learn more here.
5. The Scilly Isles, UK
The Scilly Isles are perhaps the least well known of the Great Britain destinations in this article.
This is bound to change once the word gets out as they are a stunning and unique archipelago off the coast of Cornwall. There are 5 inhabited islands and only one allows cars.
There are 2 options to get to the Scilly Isles – a short flight or a longer boat trip.
The boat trip can apparently be quite difficult on the stomach.
The flight could be a tourist activity in its own right. If you get a nice day the views from the plane are jaw dropping. And as the Scilly Isles has one of the mildest climates in the British Isles so the odds of that are quite good!
St Mary’s is the biggest island and home to the most shops, restaurants etc. Importantly it is also home to the most boats!
One of the many charming features of Scilly is that boat trips for the day are not announced till that morning – so essentially you wonder down to the port and see what the options are.
There are also boats run between the islands in the evenings that allow you to head over and have a walk, a pub dinner and then catch a boat back. So lovely!
Tresco is the second biggest island and home to the number one tourist attraction of the Scilly islands – the glorious Tresco Abbey Gardens.
Due to the unique climate of the Scillys these gardens have more than 20,000 plants from around the world – the majority of which cannot be grown anywhere else in Britain.
The gardens are beautifully sculpted and oh so photogenic!
6. The Norfolk Coast, England
Norfolk is in the east of England and appears to be best known for being rather flat! This does however give the area that lovely big sky feel and makes for some stunning views.
It is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe – particularly Holkham which was made famous in the movie Shakespeare in Love.
This area is best explored by car. It is full of great views, lovely towns, fantastic food and quite a few windmills!
Don’t miss the lovely town of Burnham Market – a favourite of weekending Londoners.
Cromer is the home of delicious crab – best enjoyed in a crab sandwich!
Wells by sea is delightful and over on the western side is the lovely beach area of Hunstanton.
Norwich is the closest major city. Although Norwich is a lovely city do head out of it and stay around the coastal area. If you do have some extra time head further each and explore the stunning Norfolk Broads – the marshy home to many boats!
The British Isles offers some stunning places to visit that are currently most frequented by Brits – head over for a different type of holiday!
Other UK travel ideas you may enjoy
Plan Your Trip to Great Britain
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What’s your favorite destination in the British Isles? Have you visited any of these hot destinations right now and can offer some tips?