I’ve taken a lot of UK breaks over the years so I wanted to share what I think are the best places to visit in the UK. This was hard to narrow down to just a top 5 rural UK breaks as I could easily do a top 10. I will be writing a top UK city breaks post as well. So this is focusing on the more rural places that I love. Right from the top of the country all the way to the bottom.
Isle of Skye
I was tempted to just put Scotland as a whole but if I had to choose just one place it would be the Isle of Skye. In fact, if I had to choose one place in all of the UK it would be Isle of Skye. We’ve visited around 4 times, a couple of times just for a day and a couple of times we’ve spent a week there. There’s something so magical about the island. From the otherworldly landscapes to the friendly locals, it’s just a great place to be. It’s also not such a small island that you’ll run out of things to do. There are countless walks and hikes. As well as attractions like Talisker Distillery, fantastic independent shops and of course the castles!
With it being the only Scottish Isle with a bridge, it’s also the easiest to get to. If you don’t want to drive around the Highlands then the easiest way to get around would be by using a tour company. You can take a minibus tour to Skye from Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Probably a couple of other places as well.
Have a read of my posts below to see what I think are the best places on the Isle of Skye.
I’ve only visited the Lake District a couple of times but it really is lovely. Full of quaint little towns that are surrounded by mountains and lakes, it’s completely idyllic. There are definitely more tourist attractions to visit than in Skye. This comes in handy if the weather isn’t very good. Which of course in Britain is fairly likely. The world’s first pencil museum can be found in Keswick and the World of Beatrix Potter in Windermere.
There are a lot of beautiful hikes in the Lake District. I really enjoyed the Honister Pass Slate Mine trail. It’s a relatively easy walk so I’d definitely recommend it. There’s also Helvellyn mountain which was named Britain’s Best Walk in 2018.
There are many historic sites to see as well. Wray Castle was one that I enjoyed, even we could only go in the grounds as the castle was closed for the season. There’s a little greenhouse that makes for some cute photos. If you’re interested in Roman ruins then there are quite a few around, like Hardknott Roman Fort, and they’re all free to visit.
You might want to read: 3 Must-See Places in the Lake District
Living in Wales, I’ve visited Pembrokeshire a fair few times. I still find something new to see every time I go there. There are lots of beautiful beaches and most of them aren’t so overrun with tourists that you can’t move. It’s quite easy to find a secluded beach even on a sunny summer’s day if you know where to look. Coastal highlights include the Green Bridge of Wales, Blue Lagoon and the village of Porthgain.
If you’re looking for a bit more entertainment, there’s Oakwood Theme Park and Folly Farm to enjoy. I went on many school trips to Oakwood and always had a great time. Tenby is one of the most popular places, the lovely little seaside town has some great chip shops and ice cream parlours. You can also take a boat trip to Caldey Island to see the monastery.
If you’re looking for something to do on a rainy day, you can try the other Blue Lagoon. The indoor water park at Bluestone Resort. I always love visiting Laugharne where Dylan Thomas’ boat house is. There’s a tea room too so you can stop to enjoy the views over the estuary.
And of course, being Wales, there are plenty of castles to peruse. Pembroke castle was the birthplace of Henry VII and is home to Britain’s largest piece of artwork, the Great Map of Wales, which is larger than two tennis courts.
The Jurassic Coast has some amazing spots to visit. It does get busy with tourists here but it’s easy to see why. If beaches and expansive white cliffs aren’t your thing then the New Forest is close by and well worth a visit. My favourite spots on the south coast are Old Harry Rocks, Portland Bill, and Dancing Ledge.
You might want to read: What I wore on the South Coast (more posts coming soon)
Another one for beach lovers, I think most people know about the beauty of Cornwall. From Lands End up to Tintagel (and beyond) there’s so much to see and do. We stayed in St. Ives which was gorgeous. The town has everything you would need with plenty of shops to browse in the day time and bars and restaurants for the evening. The Tate was closed for refurbishment when we visited but I hear it’s worth a visit.
The Lizard Heritage Coast had my favourite spots including Kynance Cove. Of course, Land’s End is worth a visit just to say you’ve been to the most southerly point of mainland UK. The Eden Project is probably the biggest attraction but I wish we had visited the Lost Gardens of Heligan instead to be honest. Just another reason to visit Cornwall again, right?
Below is the Minack Theatre which was one of my favourite visits on our trip. The sea mist causing a haze over the theatre made it even more magical. It’s the only open-air theatre that I’ve seen but I imagine they don’t all come with a beautiful seascape as the backdrop.
Where are your favourite places in the UK? Let me know where I should visit next!