The 50 most beautiful places in the UK for 2020 RANKED, from knockout islands to epic national parks and historic cities

  • The locations in this ranking are the ultimate for sheer jaw-dropping loveliness – see if you agree
  • We’ve presented them here in reverse order, with a location in Wales kicking off proceedings
  • The list includes stunning castles, majestic valleys and some of the most poetic countryside in the world 

The UK has no shortage of stunning places – but which are the ultimate for sheer breathtaking beauty?

Apparently these 50 locations. And they’ve been pulled together in a ranking in order of  loveliness. 

It was drawn up by Big 7 Travel after it asked its 1.5million-strong social audience for their opinion, mined data from Pinterest and analysed the most-viewed ‘Instagrammable’ location articles on its website.

Taking the top spot is the beautiful Isle of Skye, with another Scottish location – the Cairngorms National Park – in second place.

The final podium position goes to the city of Bath (third), with historic Cambridge (fourth) and the spellbinding Lake District (fifth) rounding off the top five.

Scroll down to see the full list, published here in reverse order. Which is your favourite?

50. PORTMEIRION: This resort village is described as a ‘big hearty slice of Italy in the heart of Wales’ by Big 7 Travel. It adds: ‘Portmeirion really does feel like the Mediterranean’ 

49. THE DARK HEDGES: Located in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, this ‘quiet and isolated’ road is lined by old beech trees  and looks like ‘something out of a storybook’, says Big 7 Travel

48. CHEDDAR GORGE: Close to the city of Bath and near the village of Cheddar, Big 7 Travel says this ‘velvety green gorge is simply breathtaking and provides stunning views of the surrounding scenery’ 

47. BELFAST: According to Big 7 Travel, the Northern Irish capital has ‘been on the rise of places to visit in recent years’. It adds: ‘Thanks to its rich history, vibrant local culture and insane food and drink scene, there’s lots to love here’ 

46. ISLE OF MUCK: It may be one of Scotland’s smaller islands, but Big 7 Travel says its ‘size doesn’t subtract from the jaw-dropping beauty found here’. It explains: ‘This tiny island off the west coast of mainland Scotland is known for its unspoilt beauty and rich local history’ 

45. CORFE CASTLE:  This castle in Dorset is a ‘medieval masterpiece’ and is surrounded by the Purbeck Hills, which ‘only add to the area’s history and charm’, says Big 7 Travel 

44. OXFORD: The architecture is the star of the show in this university city, says Big 7 Travel. It explains: ‘The buildings of Oxford are nothing short of spectacular and will transport you back to the 1200s in a heartbeat’ 

43. GLEN NEVIS: Described as ‘one of the most beautiful glens in Scotland’, Glen Nevis is a ‘natural wonder’ set in ‘the shadows of the mighty Ben Nevis’, says Big 7 Travel 

42. ST MICHAEL’S MOUNT: Perched on a tidal island, Big 7 Travel says St Michael’s Mount ‘seems to rise straight from the sea’. It adds: ‘Widely referred to as the jewel in Cornwall’s crown, it’s not hard to see why it’s one of the most beautiful places in the UK’ 

41: ORKNEY ISLANDS: This archipelago is made up of around 70 islands that are ‘simply breathtaking’. Big 7 Travel suggests: ‘Take a stroll around Skara Brae [pictured], one of the best-preserved Neolithic settlements worldwide’ 

40. ISLE OF MULL AND IONA: The Scottish isles of Mull and Iona are separated by just one mile and are known for being a ‘wildlife wonderland’. Big 7 Travel adds: ‘Whether you go for the gorgeous scenery and wildlife or to explore the local Viking history, you’ll be hooked on Mull and Iona in no time’ 







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39. ISLES OF SCILLY: ‘Enchanting, unspoilt and awe-inspiring’ is how Big 7 Travel describes these islands off the coast of Cornwall. It says: ‘These idyllic isles are covered in heather, framed by white sandy beaches and loaded with a colourful history.’ Pictured is Cromwell’s Castle on the island of Tresco  

38. GLENCOE: According to Big 7 Travel, Glencoe is ‘the epitome of hauntingly beautiful with its dark past framed with moody green hills’. It recommends: ‘For a broad view of the stunning landscape, hop in the car and drive the idyllic Glen Etive road’ 

37. NORWICH: This historic city has ‘quite a bit going for it’, says Big 7 Travel, adding it has a ‘vibrant cultural scene and a rich heritage dating back millennia’ 

36. ISLE OF STAFFA: This Scottish island is best known for its beautiful columns of basalt and is home to ‘the famous Fingal’s Cave (pictured) whose columns seem to jut straight out nothingness’, says Big 7 Travel 

35. WISTMAN’S WOOD, DARTMOOR: Big 7 Travel says that here you’ll find ‘ancient granite boulders drenched in moss and surrounded by ancient trees’

34. BAMBURGH CASTLE: Perched on the windswept Northumberland coast, this castle has ‘jaw-dropping views of the sea’ and ‘is certainly one of the most beautiful castles in Britain’, says Big 7 Travel 

33. SHAFTESBURY: This stunning Dorset village is best known for appearing in a Hovis Bread advert in the 1970s. And Big 7 Travel says: ‘From the quiet cobblestone streets to the relics of St Edward the Martyr to the Old Wardour Castle, Shaftesbury is like something from a storybook’ 

32. SNOWDONIA: ‘Nothing spells epic Welsh countryside like Snowdonia,’ according to Big 7 Travel. It explains: ‘Prepare to be completely taken by the natural beauty that makes up this sprawling mountainous region in North Wales’ 

31. LLANTHONY PRIORY: Located in the ‘gripping landscape’ of the Vale of Ewyas in Wales is this 13th-century priory, which ‘combined with the dramatic scenery is simply breathtaking’, explains Big 7 Travel  

30. KYNANCE COVE: This gem is described as a ‘slice of Sardinia in Cornwall’. Big 7 Travel says: ‘Powdery white sand, breathtaking turquoise seas and dramatic cliffs are just a few highlights of the area’s stunning scenery’ 

29. COTSWOLDS LAVENDER FIELDS: These fields are among the best in the English countryside, says Big 7 Travel, adding: ‘The endless purple groves swaying in the summer breeze with the scent of lavender wafting through the air is absolutely magical’ 

28. PEN-Y-FAN: Tucked away in the Brecon Beacons, this peak ‘provides some of the most spectacular views of the Welsh countryside’ 

27. DUNNOTTAR CASTLE: Lying in tattered ruins off the east coast of Scotland in Aberdeenshire, Dunnottar Castle is ‘dramatic, evocative and spectacular’, says Big 7 Travel 

26. HIGH FORCE: This popular waterfall in Teesdale is 70ft high and is part of the North Pennies Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Big 7 Travel says ‘it isn’t hard to see why’ 

25. KINBANE CASTLE: The ruins of this 16th-century castle in County Antrim sit on ‘a long sliver of limestone projecting into the sea’. Big 7 Travel says: ‘What really makes it so beautiful is the surrounding grounds of rugged green hills and the wild foamy sea’ 

24. GLENFINNAN VIADUCT: Made famous by the Harry Potter movies, this viaduct at the head of Loch Shiel in the Scottish Highlands ‘really is fit for the big screen’ says Big 7 Travel

23. TOLLYMORE FOREST PARK: The first state park in Northern Ireland, Tollymore Forest Park, near the town of Newcastle, is, according to Big 7 Travel, ‘one of the most beautiful places to visit in the UK’ 

22. COASTAL CAUSEWAY ROUTE: Running from Londonderry/Derry to Belfast, this coastal road ‘truly captures the raw and rugged nature’ of Northern Ireland, says Big 7 Travel

21: SHETLAND ISLANDS: On these Scottish islands, Big 7 Travel says you’ll find ‘coastlines framed by towering cliffs with rolling green fields and pristine beaches’  

20. DEAN VILLAGE: Located close to Edinburgh, this former milling hotspot is full of history. Big 7 Travel says: ‘A stroll around Dean Village really does feel like stepping back in time to when the storybook community was at its peak’ 

19. TINTERN ABBEY: This historic abbey, set on the banks of the River Wye in Wales, dates back to 1131 and ‘has not stopped wowing since’, according to Big 7 Travel

18. WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER: Standing tall on the shores of the English Channel in Kent, Big 7 Travel says ‘these magnificent cliffs are a jewel of the UK coast and deserve to be visited by everyone at least once’ 

17. GIANT’S CAUSEWAY: Made up of more than 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, there are ‘few things more breathtaking and mind-bending’ than Giant’s Causeway, says Big 7 Travel 

16. STONEHENGE: The mystery which surrounds Stonehenge is what makes it ‘one of the most beautiful places in the UK’, says Big 7 Travel. It explains: ‘These mega monoliths have been shrouded in mystery seemingly since the dawn of time’ 

15. JURASSIC COAST: According to Big 7 Travel, ‘it’s hard to think of a place that conjures up as much wonder as the Jurassic Coast’. It runs for 95 miles between Dorset and Devon. Pictured is Durdle Door on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset 

14. LOCH LOMOND AND THE TROSSACHS NATIONAL PARK: Big 7 Travel says: ‘Whether you visit in summer when the hills are emerald green or in fall when they are a fiery orange under moody skies, you’ll see why this place is truly a jewel of Scotland’

13. ROBIN HOOD’S BAY: Charming and alluring is how Big 7 Travel describes Robin Hood’s Bay, pictured, on the stunning Heritage Coast of the North York Moors

12. EILEAN DONAN: This jaw-dropping castle in the Scottish Highlands is ‘perched on an island where three idyllic lochs meet’  – Duich, Long and Alsh. It’s ‘one of the UK’s most stunning areas’, says Big 7 Travel 

11. LOCH NESS: This Scottish loch is famous for the supposed Loch Ness Monster, which according to folklore, lives in the waters. But Big 7 Travel says: ‘In addition to the rich lore and stories that surround it, the area itself is absolutely beautiful’ 

10 COLONSAY: This secluded isle, located in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, is ‘truly a slice of paradise’, according to Big 7 Travel. Pictured is the island’s Kiloran Bay 

9. THREE CLIFFS BAY: According to Big 7 Travel, this Welsh bay is a ‘spectacular mash-up of misty dunes, endless salt marshes and giant limestone cliffs’. It adds: ‘It’s easy to see why it’s one of the most photographed areas in Wales’ 

8. BRIGHTON: A buzzing seaside town is how Big 7 Travel describes Brighton. It says: ‘Known for its vibrantly coloured houses and eccentric vibes, Brighton is perfect for a couples, solo or family trip’

7. THE COTSWOLDS: ‘Centuries-old thatch-roofed cottages that seem as if they are made of honey, ancient cobblestone streets and classic English pubs that date to who knows when are just a few things you’ll find in the Cotswolds,’ says Big Travel 7. Pictured is the stunning village of Castle Combe 

6. EDINBURGH: The Scottish capital is ‘one of the UK’s, and arguably Europe’s best cities,’ says Big 7 Travel, and has ‘more charming old pubs than you can handle and a medieval atmosphere that just can’t be replicated’

5. LAKE DISTRICT: This national park is ‘truly an English gem for its wealth of natural beauty’, says Big Travel 7. It also has a ‘vibrant gastro scene’ and a ‘unique local culture’. Pictured is Derwentwater

4. CAMBRIDGE: In addition to its ‘rich scholastic past’, this university city also has ‘architecture that is sure to take your breath away’, says Big 7 Travel 

3. BATH: Big 7 Travel says Bath is ‘widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the UK’ and adds ‘it’s not hard to see why it’s such a popular destination for tourists and Britons alike’

2. CAIRNGORMS NATIONAL PARK: This national park is the largest in the UK, with five of Scotland’s six highest mountains lying within it. It’s also made up of pine forests and home to a host of wildlife. Big 7 Travel declares: ‘In short, the Cairngorms is epic’ 

1. ISLE OF SKYE: ‘Wildly beautiful and quintessentially Scottish’ is how Big 7 Travel describes the top-ranked Isle of Skye. It simply says: ‘The Isle of Skye is a Highland knockout’ 

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