Some of the most stunning scenery in the world can be found in the British countryside.
There is plenty to discover for those plotting rural escapes:
- Rolling green hills
- Hidden valleys
- Glacial ribbon lakes
- Rugged mountains
- Quaint villages
So, whether it’s a country walk or more active outdoor pursuits you’re after, the British countryside is guaranteed to provide a picture-perfect backdrop.
Get your cameras ready – these are some of the most beautiful rural areas in the country.
The Gower Peninsula
Located on the southwest coast of Wales, The Gower is one of Britain’s lesser-known Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It’s one of the nation’s best places to enjoy a secluded walk along the stunning beach, with the blue ocean to the south and lush green countryside to the north. When waves strike the shoreline, The Gower becomes a beacon for the UK’s surfers, which only adds to the visual spectacle of the place.
The Scottish Highlands
The Highlands is a land of untamed beauty, complete with a diverse range of wildlife and rugged mountainous terrain. Here, you’ll find enchanting forests, heather-clad moors, magnificent peaks and even hidden beaches. Grab your walking boots for the outdoor adventure of a lifetime in Scotland. Or, if you want to give your feet a rest and enjoy a trek with a difference, explore The Highlands on horseback.
The Mourne Mountains
By its name, you might think Mourne doesn’t sound too appealing, but the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland certainly deserve a mention in our list of the UK’s best Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In geological terms, the mountains are quite young – a mere 50 million years old. In total, there are 12 peaks in the region, including Slieve Donard, which is the tallest in Northern Ireland at 850 metres.
The Lake District
The Lake District is England’s most mountainous region, home to the nation’s highest peak and several of its largest lakes. Adding to the natural beauty of the area are dozens of medieval hamlets and beautiful villages, the kind you’d expect to see on a postcard of the English countryside. Over the centuries, famous poets and authors, including Beatrix Potter, have called the Lake District home. William Wordsworth described the area as “the loveliest spot man hath found”.
The North Pennines
The North Pennines is the UK’s second-largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, covering regions in North Cumbria, the Derwent Valley, the Durham Dales, and South Tyne and Allendale (all are worth seeing). Its vast landscapes include moorland peaks and broad dales covered in greenery. Head to Teasdale to see one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the North Pennines.
The Cotswolds is a quintessentially English landscape, bursting with historic market towns, rolling hills and heritage inns. This large area breaches into the counties of Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire, so you’re never too far away from traditional restaurants and pubs regardless of where you stay.
Explore the beautiful British countryside on one of our many day tours from London, including many of the areas on this list. Discover the quaint villages’ quintessential charm of the Cotswolds, or the rugged beauty of the Lake District, England’s largest National Park and original home of the Bronte Sisters.