Whether you’re a keen photographer looking to capture breathtaking views or simply want to soak in the scenic surroundings on holiday, the UK offers up picture-perfect spots in spades.
From the summit of an extinct volcano in Edinburgh and ancient structures in Wiltshire to the tallest building in the UK, there are stunning sights to see in every corner. If you’re inspired to take in the UK’s spectacular scenery, these are our top recommendations.
Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh
Arthur’s Seat, an ancient volcano set in the heart of the city, is located within Holyrood Park. This rugged peak offers panoramic views of Scotland’s charming capital that will leave you breathless, and the hike to the summit is a rite of passage every visitor should take on. After a meandering stroll through the park, you’ll ascend the weathered rocky trail to the top, which stands 251 metres high.
Once at the peak, expansive vistas and a treasure trove of Edinburgh’s rich heritage unfolds in all directions. The panorama from Arthur’s Seat is a photographer’s dream, with the landscape and city views changing throughout the day as the sun traverses the sky. Sunrise and sunset are particularly prized times to visit, when an orange glow envelops the city and the ruins on the neighbouring Salisbury Crags. Whether you come for a casual afternoon stroll or to capture that perfect shot, the panoramic splendour from this vantage point is sure to leave an indelible memory.
The Shard, London
No other building in London offers panoramic views like The Shard, and it remains one of the city’s most iconic locations. Standing at an impressive 310 metres high, this iconic glass-clad skyscraper is the tallest building in the UK. For unparalleled vistas of London’s sprawling cityscape, head to the public viewing decks on the 68th, 69th and 72nd floors.
Spread before you lie 360-degree views of London as you’ve never seen it before. To the west, gaze out across the River Thames to landmark Tower Bridge and the historic Tower of London. Panning east, spot St Paul’s Cathedral and the notched silhouette of The Gherkin. And by night, the capital is captivating; watch in awe as millions of city lights illuminate London’s skyline transforming it completely.
Few places like The Shard evoke this inimitable city’s scale and wonder. One of Europe’s most striking skyscrapers is a soaring example of modern architecture and an unparalleled observation point to capture London’s beauty from on high. If you want an additional elevated experience, the London Eye is another memorable attraction with sprawling views across this impressive capital city.
The London Eye, London
The London Eye, an iconic giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames, towers 135 metres high and is one of the world’s largest observation wheels, offering a unique viewpoint to capture panoramic views of central London.
A ride on the London Eye lasts up to 30 minutes as the wheel slowly rotates, giving you plenty of time to soak in the views across the UK’s capital city. The rotation is gradual enough to walk around the pod as you ascend and descend, taking in London from different angles and vantage points.
Within each spacious pod, floor-to-ceiling windows provide unimpeded vistas in all directions. Riding the London Eye is a spectacular way to get your bearings and glimpse the city’s most famous landmarks. Spot the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, the grand dome of St Paul’s Cathedral, Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square and the unmistakable Tower Bridge spanning the Thames. Or take in the views from this spectacular landmark in the evening, surrounded by London’s glittering nightscapes.
Panoramic views certainly aren’t limited to cityscapes. In fact, no trip to England is complete without visiting Stonehenge, one of the world’s most famous prehistoric monuments. Constructed between 3000 to 2000 BC, Stonehenge’s mysterious stones are an enduring mystery, with little known about their exact purpose. But it’s a must-see for visitors to this area of the UK and a memorable landmark you certainly won’t forget.
As you traverse the perimeter of the stones, sweeping views of Wiltshire’s countryside unfurl in all directions. The bulky pillars of Stonehenge are silhouetted against the open grassland and wide skies. For landscape photographers, there are countless compositions to frame amid the Neolithic wonder, while history enthusiasts will love the opportunity to imagine the purpose of this unique structure.
Stonehenge’s arresting image has become an iconic symbol of prehistoric England. A scenic and philosophical voyage into the country’s distant past, with panoramic views as timeless as the monument itself.
High Force Waterfall, Durham
Nestled within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, High Force is one of England’s most impressive waterfalls, and the River Tees has been flowing here for thousands of years. Located near Middleton-in-Teesdale in County Durham, the waterfall is set in a picturesque expanse of woodland, with scenic views to absorb from every direction.
The waterfall plunges 21 metres over a cliff into a deep pool below. The dramatic sight and thunderous sound of water cascading over the precipice will leave you in awe. After descending a winding trail through ancient woodland, you’ll emerge at a viewpoint opposite the falls for the full panoramic splendour. From here, craggy cliffs covered in lush greenery tower all around, with the waterfall as the focal point. Pack a picnic and explore the picturesque area on foot or by bike. It’s one of the UK’s most scenic and cherished waterfalls in a setting of pure drama and natural wonder.
From the heights of Edinburgh to the valleys of Durham, the UK overflows with panoramic beauty waiting to be discovered on walks or world-famous visitor attractions.
Whether you seek scenic city views, natural wonders or love walking on ancient English landscapes, the UK has a sweep of vistas to inspire you. Majestic, timeless and forever inspiring, the UK’s panoramas are rich invitations to grab your camera, lace up your walking boots and embark on a scenic discovery journey.