Richmond Hill, Richmond Upon Thames, Surrey, England

Snow-topped mountains, rolling green hills, white sandy beaches, highlands and islands… The UK's countryside is truly beautiful, and exploring is a must.

Luckily, the UK has a good public transport system. Even in the middle of a large city, you should be able to reach a beauty spot by train or bus in less than an hour. Find out more about travel and transport in Travelling in the UK.

Enjoying the UK countryside

  • If you want to relax, the UK’s countryside and coastline are perfect. On warm days, people love to head off for a picnic or host a barbecue. Many country spots are near ancient castles and monuments, so it's a good chance to explore the UK's heritage too.

  • Hiking is very popular in the UK and is the perfect way to take in the views. There are public footpaths throughout the land – look on Ordnance Survey maps, or ask in a tourist information office. Many trails have a pub at the end, ideal for a meal and rest.

  • If you are more adventurous, you have come to the right place. Across the UK you will find hundreds of centres where you can try horse riding, surfing, kiting, white-water rafting, mountain climbing, kayaking, paragliding or even skiing. Most offer courses for both beginners and experts.

  • In winter, seek out the snow!  Head for mountain or hill areas like the Lake District, Peak District, Snowdonia or the Scottish Highlands for a white winter wonderland. Find out more in our Weather article.

  • For an exciting – and exceptionally cheap – summer holiday, go camping. Pitching your own tent on a campsite can cost as little as £5 per night. It’s worth investing in a good sleeping bag, though, as even in summer it is cold at night.

Our top places to visit

There are many beautiful places throughout the UK. Here are some of our favourites:

  • Snowdonia, Wales – land of myth and legend, this dramatic mountain landscape overlooks sandy beaches and the wild sea. Two of the most beautiful mountains are Cader Idris and Snowdon, which is the highest point in Great Britain outside Scotland.

  • Glencoe, Scotland – in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, Glencoe was recently voted Scotland’s most romantic glen (valley). Not only a holiday centre for hill walking and mountaineering, it is also an ideal base to explore the Highlands of Scotland.

  • Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland – this coastal World Heritage Site is a jaw-dropping blend of stone columns, historical sites and stunning scenery.

  • Cornish coast, southern England – with spectacular beaches, pretty fishing harbours and pounding surf, the coast in Cornwall is a natural playground for surfing, wind-surfing and sailing.

  • Gower Peninsula, Wales – officially recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, here you can find beaches, prehistoric caves, limestone cliffs and woodlands.

  • Cotswolds, England in this charming part of the English countryside you'll find magnificent castles, ancient churches and glorious gardens amid the rolling hills.

  • Mourne Mountains, Northern Ireland – the Mournes stand true to the words of songwriter Percy French as the place ‘where the mountains sweep down to the sea’. They are not only one of Ireland’s most scenic areas and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, they are an adventurer’s paradise.

  • Lake District, England – with shimmering lakes dotted between mountains, this area has long been an inspiration for poets and painters. It is also home to Scafell Pike, England's highest mountain.

  • Trossachs, Scotland – a short train ride from Glasgow, the Trossachs National Park combines snow-capped mountains with deep lochs (lakes). Try picturesque Loch Katrine, and don't forget your camera.

  • Peak District, England – between Manchester and Sheffield, you will find rugged moors, farmland and pretty villages such as Edale and Castleton.

  • Norfolk Broads, England the Norfolk Broads are a series of connected rivers and lakes that form one of the UK's most beautiful wetland areas, the ideal destination for boating.

Find out more

To find out more, go to the Visit Britain or Discover Northern Ireland websites, or join Love GREAT Britain on Facebook.

Giant's Causeway ©VisitBritain / Craig Easton