Keen to book a getaway in the UK but can’t decide where to go? There are so many places to choose from – many of which are extremely popular. Nevertheless, instead of going for one of Britain’s top ten destinations, why not consider a lesser-known locale? Fewer crowds, cheaper accommodation and a chance to discover a real hidden gem are just some of the reasons to go off the beaten path. Here we take a look at some of our favourite under-appreciated holiday destinations scattered across all four corners of the UK.
Location: County Durham
With so many historic cities to choose between, Durham is a place that’s often overlooked. The university city sits just south of Newcastle upon Tyne and it’s a real gem for medieval history buffs. Stay in the heart of the city and get ready to explore its maze of cobbled streets lined with an array of independent shops and eateries. Must-see attractions include the Norman-era Durham Castle and the monumental Durham Cathedral which can be seen from almost every angle in the city.
2. Runswick Bay
Holidayed in Scarborough or Filey before? If you’re seeking somewhere a little less busy, Runswick Bay couldn’t be more ideal. It sits right in between Whitby and Saltburn-by-the-Sea and is known for its pretty scenery – including a wonderful sandy beach. Kids can have heaps of fun playing in the sand or exploring the rock pools exposed at low tide. There’s also a handful of places to dine – including a fabulous local tearoom.
Scotland’s West Coast is littered with beautiful white-sand beaches. While many choose to catch a ferry to the idyllic Isle of Skye, there are plenty of other options to consider. This includes Oban, a stunning seaside town less than three hours from Glasgow. As well as offering up heaps of attractions in its own right, Oban is also a great jumping-off point for boat tours. Spend an afternoon exploring impressive sea caves, watching wonderful local marine life or visiting one of the nearby islands.
Make your way to Shropshire’s countryside and you’ll eventually stumble across Shrewsbury. It’s the region’s county town and a fabulous destination for those after history, heavenly local cuisine and hiking in the nearby Shropshire Hills AONB. Shrewsbury Castle was built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century and it really shouldn’t be missed! You could also delve into the town’s past at the Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery or take a tour of the eerie Shrewsbury Prison.
The Suffolk and Norfolk coastlines are no stranger to fantastic seaside resorts. If you’d rather steer clear of the busiest spots though, why not consider a getaway in Walberswick? This quaint seaside village sits at the mouth of the River Blyth and features a beautiful beach complete with golden sand dunes. It’s also within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB, meaning there are heaps of great walking spots close by. Top that off with a choice of pubs, cafes and tea shops, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a relaxing stay in a beautiful Suffolk holiday cottage!
While Cornwall’s towns like St Ives and Newquay are popular for very good reason, there are so many other locations that tend to fall under the radar. Portscatho is one such place and you’ll find it along the Roseland Peninsula. It offers a bit more peace and quiet, plus it has a host of amazing local attractions. Sunnier days can be spent at sandy Portscatho Beach, while there are several art galleries to snap up some lovely local souvenirs.
Award-winning museums, great nightlife and dozens of independent restaurants make Liverpool a brilliant city to spend a few days. The Albert Dock is where you’ll uncover a host of museums and galleries – including the Museum of Liverpool and the Tate Liverpool – while a short stroll away is the bustling Liverpool ONE shopping centre. Choose to stay in a trendy city-centre neighbourhood like the Baltic Triangle that’s inundated with food markets and themed bars or find a holiday rental closer to leafy Sefton Park.
8. Gower Peninsula
Wales is another place holidaymakers often flock, whether it’s to make the most of the breathtaking beaches or to hike up majestic mountains. Instead of instantly opting for a getaway in the Brecon Beacons, why not venture south to the tranquil Gower Peninsula? It’s situated on the South Coast, not far from Swansea, and is a dream destination for hikers, birdwatchers and keen surfers. The beaches are beautiful and wild, while wonderful walking trails criss-cross the Gower Peninsula countryside.
9. Crummock Water
Location: Lake District
Been to Windermere before? Already stayed on the shores of Coniston Water? Consider diving a little deeper into the lush Lake District at Crummock Water. The blissful lake sits just beyond Buttermere and it’s surrounded by dramatic mountain scenery. Crummock Water is generally quieter than the region’s other lakes, making it a great place to relax, enjoy a picnic or set off on a walk. Myriad hiking trails also snake away from its shoreline, including a brilliant route up to Scale Force Waterfall.