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10 most beautiful places you’ll be surprised are in the UK, from waterfalls to secluded beaches

There are some exceptionally scenic destinations right on the doorstep in the UK – if you know where to look. Here’s a dive into some of the most incredible

Ronan J. O'Shea
Sunday 11 June 2023 10:32 BST
Related video: 12 Things To Avoid Doing As A Tourist Abroad

When the weather disappoints or the workload is heavy, we often find ourselves wanderlusting for far-flung places across the globe.

However, you don't have to venture outside of the UK to enjoy azure waters, golden sand and palm trees. In fact, for those who only look to airports, cross-Channel trains and ferries to get their holiday fill, the sheer beauty that can be found across Britain is somewhat surprising. But it's certainly a pleasant surprise, as this guide will show you.

From Bali-esque flowing waterfalls to a slice of Sydney in Devon, and from an almost jungle setting to the the most Italian part of Wales, here are some of the best places in the UK to enjoy exotic scenery.

Three Cliffs Bay, Gower Peninsula

Quite a place to spend a few hours in the sunshine (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A half-hour drive from Swansea, in south Wales, Three Cliffs Bay is a spectacular shoreline of sand dunes, salt marshes and the bay’s signature three limestone cliffs.

A photogenic part of the Gower Coast Path, it’s an ideal spot for picnics, and is popular for caravaning, glamping and cottage retreats.

Tinside Lido, Plymouth

Al fresco swimming on the Devon coast (Premier Inn)

Part of an Art Deco hotel that first opened in 1935, Tinside Lido closed in 1992 but returned after a successful local campaign and attained Grade II-listed status in 1998.

Its poolside views are not dissimilar to Sydney's Bondi Beach, while the salt water swimming pool is a great place to splash and sunbathe in the summer months.

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Portmeirion, Gwynedd

A mind-bogglingly Italian destination in Wales (Getty Images)

Designed and built in the style of an Italian village by Sir Clough William-Ellis between 1925 and 1975, Portmeirion is one of the most unique villages in Wales.

While it may be located in North Wales, rather than the Mediterranean, Portmeirion still attracts visitors in their droves due to its scenic beauty, boutique hotels and excellent restaurants.

High Force, Durham

A slice of ‘jungle’ in nothern England (Getty Images)

Verdant scenery and fast-flowing waterfalls give High Force the air of a Costa Rican jungle, but it can be found in County Durham. One of England’s most spectacular waterfalls, it has a 21m drop into the beautiful plunge pool below.

A variety of wildlife and fauna can be seen at High Force throughout the seasons from wildflowers, ferns and towering trees to roe deer and rabbits.

Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Serious Med vibes from this patch of Wales (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Near to the village of Stackpole in Pembrokeshire, Barafundle Bay is nestled between cliffs and is reminiscent of a secluded bay on a Greek island. Once owned by the Cawdor family of Stackpole Court, the beach is now open to the public and has previously made the list of the top beaches in the world, while the Good Holiday Guide also named it the best beach in Britain.

With sand dunes and pine trees, the beach is accessible by a half-mile walk from the nearest car park and offers a secluded, scenic retreat.

West Bay, Dorset, England

Dorset often gets overlooked in favour of Devon and Cornwall – don’t miss it (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

With towering orange cliffs and beautiful clear waters, West Bay in Dorset is reminiscent of the Algarve.

With its seaside location, it's ideal for family holidays and coastal walks, while the nearby market town of Bridport has long had a stellar reputation for culture and food.

Kynance Cove, Cornwall, England

A postcard-perfect setting in the West Country (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Cited as one of the most photographed and painted locations in Cornwall, with beautiful white sand and blue sea, Kynance Cove wouldn't look out of place on a Sardinian postcard.

A landscape painter's dream, the contrast between the cove’s white sand beach and the dark red and green serpentine rock is breathtaking.

At low tide there are plenty of sea caves and islands to explore, and its rock-towers were even featured in BBC One's Poldark.

Tenby, Pembrokeshire

If the weather plays nicely, Tenby is more than a match for an overseas holiday (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

On the right day, Tenby can feel like you’ve transported to Bali, with its palm trees, golden sands, blue seas and colourful buildings.

A seaside tourist town for over 200 years, Tenby is steeped in history and surrounded by a medieval wall. It's also home to three beaches; North, South and Castle. North is popular for watersports, Castle its spectacular views and South beach for its almost two-mile stretch of golden sand.

Sgwd Yr Eira, Brecon Beacons

Cool off where Cymru mimics Thailand (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Sgwd Yr Eira waterfall may look like a selfie spot in Thailand, but is actually found in the Melte Valley in Wales's Brecon Beacons.

Translated literally as “fall of snow”, visitors can walk behind the curtain of water on a path forged by sheep farmers, which makes for the perfect photo opportunity.

Langamull Beach, Isle of Mull, Scotland

Scotland’s secret beach does a fine impression of the Caribbean during sunny weather (Paul Albertella)

Described as one of Mull’s best kept secrets, Langamull Beach is often heralded as the Mull Caribbean thanks to its white sand.

The 20-minute walk to the beach is secluded, with spectacular views justifying the journey. On a clear day, visitors may be able to see other small islands and Skye.

Read more on the best UK hotels

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