Create your own UK Safari
Discover where to spot dolphins, sharks, whales, puffins and more with our handy guide
Scotland / Shetland Islands
When it comes to Scottish animals you probably imagine majestic deer alongside traditional countryside animals like badgers, foxes and moles. But did you know you can also spot a whole host of rarer wildlife including killer whales? Our survey shows that only 1% of people have seen a killer whale in the UK so it isn’t a surprise if you didn’t know. Take a look at the other exciting Scottish creatures you can spy in the section below.
Have you ever seen a Coati? Seeing how only 7% of Brits even know you can see them in the UK we’re guessing it’s probably a no. If you live up north or are taking a trip there you’ve got to try your hand as some wildlife spotting – there are lots of surprising creatures to spy.
Wales & Midlands
Wallabies only live in Australia don’t they mate? Nope! But only 17% of people know you can see these furry marsupials without leaving the UK so don’t feel bad if you didn’t know. You can also see puffins, dolphins and feral goats in Wales – no wonder that two thirds of Brits were shocked by the wildlife you can find in the UK when we surveyed them.
You could be forgiven for thinking that the least wild part of the UK is the south; no wonder that 77% of people didn’t know that you can see a humpback whale off the south coast and only 15% knew that you can see a hoopoe bird! In fact you can see over 100 birds a year in the UK – get your binoculars ready!
With its world famous coastline it perhaps isn’t a surprise to learn that the sea off Northern Ireland is teeming with sea-life but some of it may surprise you. For example, are you one of the 78% of people that didn’t know you can see killer whales in our waters?
How to spot these rare marine animals
Our partners at the Marine Conservation Society have put together these tips on how to see some of the ocean’s most majestic animals off the shores of the UK.
Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)
Enormous size, knobbly head, long fins, with a subtle but distinctive hump near the dorsal fin make it unmistakeable. The population of humpback whales in the Atlantic may be beginning to recover from whaling many years ago.
Where to spot: At sea, to the west of the UK and Ireland, especially during spring and autumn migrations.
Orca (Orcinus orca)
Mostly black, with white markings when seen from surface – mostly white below. Adult male has very tall dorsal fin. Individuals often congregate in pods, caring diligently for new calves.
Where to spot: Unusual but regular visitor, particularly to northern seas, but have even been spotted off Cornwall.
Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)
A lively grey dolphin found around the world, some of the largest specimens are found around the UK. Lively, acrobatic, intelligent. Eats fish, crustaceans and squid.
Where to spot: The Moray Firth, to the North East of Scotland, and Cardigan Bay, West Wales are great places to see them. They can pop up anywhere around UK coasts.
You can look for whales and dolphins from land, especially from high up on prominent headlands (like Flamborough in Yorkshire, Cape Cornwall, Lleyn Peninsula) and islands (Ramsey in Pembrokeshire, many sites in the Hebrides). By far the best chance of finding them is on a boat, heading a little offshore. Dolphins like areas with currents and where sea depth varies, as these tend to be rich in plankton and fish. Calm water will give the best views when they break the surface.
How to spot these rare land animals
Here are the top three land animals out of 20 rare UK animals that Brits would most like to see and how you can see them.
You will need to keep your eyes on the skies to spot a golden eagle as only 13% of people surveyed have seen a golden eagle in the UK. They can often be spotted gliding on air currents, but make sure you have binoculars to hand to help you tell this bird apart from other birds of prey.
Thanks to conservation efforts it’s getting easier to spot red squirrels in some parts of the UK. Your best chance of seeing them in in the autumn when they are busy collecting food but there are less leaves on the trees.
It is possible to see wallabies, and not just at the zoo. There is an island in Loch Lomond, Scotland called Inchconnachan which has a mob of wallabies. To get there you will need to hire a speedboat or kayak.
Safari map of the United Kingdom
Now see them for yourself
Richard Harrington, Head of Communications at our partner, the Marine Conservation Society, said: “UK wildlife is captivating and fascinating, and rivals anything you can find in other parts of the world. It is really worth planning your holidays to coincide with opportunities to see animals in their natural habitat. For example the humpback whale, though rare, can be found to the west of the UK in spring and autumn. Bottlenose dolphins can be found year round – you just need to be in the know about where to go!”
He went on to add that “your best bet to spot any marine life is from a boat, but they can be spotted from high above too. Prominent headlands like Flamborough on the Yorkshire coast, Cape Cornwall and Lleyn Peninsula as well as islands such as Ramsey in Pembrokeshire are a great way to see dolphins and wales from dry land.”
Now you know how many amazing animals can be seen in the United Kingdom we’re sure you’ll want to go and see them for yourself. Snaptrip partners with the largest professional cottage providers in the UK so that we can offer over 60,000 properties in one place and you don’t have to search each website individually. With our best price guarantee, last minute discounts and member-only discounts, we truly have a cottage for every budget.