Natural Attractions in the UK
For many people UK attractions are all about the island’s areas of outstanding natural beauty. Wordsworth’s words immortalised the Lake District in Cumbria and led to many heading out of the cities to explore a country of patchwork fields, hedgerows and stunning scenery quenched by rain and dappled by the shadows of clouds. Today areas of outstanding natural beauty are leading UK attractions on an island blessed with an abundance of subtle verdant loveliness.
The Lake District – also known as the Lakes and Lakeland – could well be the spiritual home of the English following the visceral connection made between the region and the people of England by the Lake Poets: William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey in the 19th century. Covering an area of 885 square miles (2,292 sq km) the Lakes are one of England’s few mountainous regions and are home to its highest peak, Scafell Pike, at 3,210 ft (978m) high. The Lakes, though difficult to get to, are a favourite destination for those who want to enjoy canoeing, mountain biking, climbing and walking.
Literature comes alive again in North Yorkshire as the breathtaking, windswept expanses of the County’s Moors and Dales evoke the pages of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, allowing visitors to conjure up images of the swarthy Heathcliff and the tormented Catherine. Covering an area of 680 square miles (1,762sq km), the Yorkshire Dales are located in the north of England, and take in the central Pennines in Cumbria as well as North Yorkshire. Many visitors take on the Coast-to-Coast walk from St Bees, on the Cumbrian coast, through the Lake District, and the Yorkshire Dales and Moors before finishing at Robin Hood’s Bay on the eastern North Sea coast.
The Peak District in Derbyshire not only offers stunning vistas of greenery but also a dazzling selection of walks taking in villages, Bronze Age forts, caverns and ancient stone circles. The Peak District is a first-stop UK attraction for those seeking outdoor thrills with mountain biking, mountain climbing, bouldering, sailing, paragliding and horse riding among just a few of the activities on offer to visitors. Covering an area of 555 square miles (1,438 sq km), with 22 million visitors every year the Peak District is the world’s second most visited national park.
The South of England also has natural UK attractions, with the South Downs – stretching 70 miles (112km) from Hampshire to Beachy Head in East Sussex – embracing not one, but two areas of recognised outstanding beauty, plus over 2,000 miles of well-managed and signposted public footpaths. The Downs are also the home of the Long Man of Wilimington, an ancient 227ft (69m) tall human figure who resides on the slopes of Windover Hill, six miles (9.2km) from Eastbourne.
The Cairngorm Mountains in Scotland are among the UK attractions for the more adventurous, covering 3,800 square kilometres of moorlands, glens, forests, rivers and lochs which are home to 16,000 people in diverse communities and 25 percent of the UK’s endangered flora and fauna.
Wales is also home to some of the most stunning natural attractions with the Snowdonia, Brecon Beacon national parks and Gower Heritage Coast providing visitors with a surfeit of mountains, rivers, beaches, valleys, lakes and even steam railways.
The are many more natural attractions in the UK, making it an ideal destination for anyone considering an outdoor holiday. Whether it’s relaxing and enjoying the scenery or tearing down the side of a mountain on a bike, the UK’s countryside has something for everyone.
Dartmoor National Park
Dartmoor National Park is the largest and wildest area of open country in Southern England, covering an area of 368 square miles (954 sq km) and a one of the most popular natural attractions in the UK. With over 450 miles (730km) of public rights of way there are plenty of routes for all ages and abilities to access and enjoy the county of Devon’s National Park and the abundance of historical interest and leisure activities it offers.
The Giants Causeway
The Giant’s Causeway on the coast of County Antrim in Northern Ireland is a place of unique natural beauty that has inspired myth and legend right up to the present day.
The Causeway is made up of around 40,000 interlocking basalt columns that were created when lava flow met the sea during the Paleogenic period. Many legends have sprung up about the Causeway, the most famous being the one that lends its name – the legend of the giant Finn McCool.
Today the Giant’s Causeway is Northern Ireland’s most popular UK attraction, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site that welcomes visitors from around the world who come to wallow in the beauty and supposed mystery of this most unique of UK attractions.
Cairngorms National Park Scotland
Cairngorms is the UK’s newest and biggest National Park, with the largest area of arctic mountain landscape in the UK, the area is also home to 16,000 people and 25% of Britain’s rarest flora and fauna.
“It had a sublime and solemn effect, so wild, so solitary.”
Queen Victoria on her walk to the top of Ben Macdui, Cairngorms’ highest peak.
Cairngorms National Park is home to four of Scotland’s five highest mountains and provides visitors with the opportunity to engage in a host of activities including skiing, climbing, fishing, shooting and canoeing.
A trip to Cairngorms really is a walk on the UK’s wild side.
The Peak District was the first of the UK’s National Parks and now welcomes visitors from around the world come to see its areas of stunning natural beauty that offer fantastic walking and mountain biking opportunities between some of the 457 listed ancient monuments, and the unique hamlets, villages, and towns that are home to the Peak District’s 38,000 inhabitants.
Visitors to the Peak District can enjoy myriad activities from gazing at the remains of Bronze Age forts, to caving, climbing, mountain biking, horse-riding and canoeing. Other attractions include the ancient market towns of Bakewell and Castleton, both of which offer a bounty of restaurants, pubs and accommodation choices The Speedwell and Blue John Caverns also provide an interesting diversion under the Peak District, giving visitors a chance to literally experience the ins and outs of the area.
With stunning scenery, a clean environment, and relatively easy walks, amid 2,700 working farms, the Peak District never disappoints.
The Lake District welcomes over 22 million visitors a year visiting 12 of the largest lakes in England and 3,500 miles of public walkways set within 885 square miles (2,292 km2) of lush mountainous territory.
Since the time of the Lake Poets – William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor-Coleridge and Robert Southey – visitors have flocked to this jewel of the British Isles that through the words of these men has come to embody the visceral link between the English people and the rolling hills and vast waters that make up the Lake District.
Whether its gently strolling around the Lakes, or clawing your way up England’s highest peaks, a visit to the Lake District will give you a quintessentially English experience that has been enjoyed by the millions who have already followed in the footsteps of Wordsworth in the hills of this majestic UK attraction that offers so much in so many different ways.