15 Must Visit Natural Wonders in the UK
The UK is consistently voted one of the most naturally beautiful places in Europe. No surprise, with its sweeping countryside, stunning rock formations and picturesque parks making for some breathtaking spots.
Here are some of our must-visit natural wonders in the UK:
Cheddar Gorge, Somerset, England
Splitting the Somerset countryside in half, this limestone gorge is near 450ft deep, with sheer vertical cliff faces, all making for one of Britain’s most impressive natural wonders. Over a million years old, Cheddar is the nation’s largest gorge and is pocketed with an impressive array of viewpoints and hidden caves.
Take a drive on the B3135 that runs right through the gorge for one of the best road trips in the UK.
Malham Cove, Yorkshire, England
The 80m high natural pavement of Malham Cove provides some of the best views of the Yorkshire countryside around. A cliff looking out over the sweeping vistas of the Dales, Malham Cove was formed by a retreating glacier at the end of the Ice Age.
Atop the peak is a limestone pavement that makes for a great climbing experience, with years of erosion having turned the plateau into a series of stepping stones.
Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Legend says that the 40,000 hexagonal columns that make up the Causeway were handcrafted by Irish giant Finn MacCool as a means to cross the Sea to Scotland.
In fact, the impressive natural wonder is the result of an ancient volcanic fissure eruption that may have been formed almost 50 million years ago. What’s more impressive is the Causeway’s symmetry, with the interlocking columns slotting together perfectly.
The Highlands, Scotland
Home to Nessie and Ben Nevis, the rugged expanse of the Scottish Highlands are one of the nation’s most popular natural features.
Covering much of Scotland’s north, the sweeping glens are the location for some of the UK’s most dramatic environs, including the bogs of Rannoch Moor, the UK’s highest mountain range and a stretch of mysterious sea caves (but more on that shortly).
The Needles, Isle of Wight, England
Caused by years of sea erosion, the white points of The Needles are an icon down on the south coast. This trio of chalk stacks stand near 30m tall, jutting out to sea, and are best viewed from the nearby chairlift.
The Needles get their name from a fourth member that was much more needle-like in appearance. Dubbed ‘Lot’s Wife’, the namesake of the rocky range collapsed into the sea in 1764, but it’s three siblings have stuck with the name ever since.
Brimham Rocks, Yorkshire, England
With names like Dancing Bear, the Idol and Lover’s Leap, the mysterious balancing stones of Brimham Rocks are one of the Yorkshire Dales’ more defining features.
Weathered by years of erosion, the rocks have been worn into many interesting shapes that seemingly defy the laws of gravity. A popular bouldering spot, the Rocks are a great place to stretch the legs, even if climbing isn’t your jam.
Be sure to stop off at “Suprise View” for, well, a surprise view across the Yorkshire countryside.
Isle of Skye, Scotland
Connected to Scotland’s northwest coast by a bridge, the Isle of Skye is of the UK’s last great wildernesses. Rugged landscapes have lent themselves to many a film set. The island’s dramatic mountains, lonely fishing villages and rolling heather moors leave a lasting impression on this wonder’s many visitors.
Snowdonia National Park, Wales
Wales’ Snowdonia National Park was first established in 1951, as Britain’s third national park behind the Lakes and the Peak District. This expanse of the Welsh countryside contains a wide range of stunning landscapes; from the dunes of the Welsh coastline to the lofty peak of Snowdon, Wales’ highest mountain and the perilous balancing rock of Glyder Fach.
The National park is one of the wettest parts of the UK, receiving near 176.1in of rainfall a year.
White Cliffs of Dover, Kent, England
Immortalised by stories of wartime Britain, the White Cliffs of Dover were usually the first sight of home for soldiers returning from the Wars. These heady peaks have become something of a British symbol since then, representing hope and home in the face of conflict.
Looking out towards mainland Europe, you can see France from atop the Kentish cliffs on a clear day.
Jurassic Coast, Southern England
Stretching 95 miles from Devonshire’s Orcombe Point to Old Harry Rocks in Dorset, England’s Jurassic Coast is a wonderful chronicle of Britain’s geological past, with over 185 million years of history stored within its rocky coastline.
The fossils of many Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous dinosaurs have been discovered here. Lyme Regis is a fossil hunters haven, whilst the limestone archway of Durdle Door is one of the UK’s most picturesque natural landmarks.
We recommend taking a hike from Lulworth Cove down to the Door to really capture the magic of this stretch of the British coastline.
Fingal’s Cave, Isle of Staffa, Scotland
Sitting opposite the Giant’s Causeway, across the Irish Sea, this Scottish landmark is formed of the same hexagonal basalt columns that make up the Northern Irish site.
Located on the uninhabited island of Staffa, this sea cave is so named after the poetic Scottish hero. Reachable by boat, this breathtaking natural wonder is well-known for the odd echoes returned by the cave’s inner structure.
The Lake District National Park, England
Bit of a cheat this one, as there are many sites within the Lake District worthy of their own place within this list. One of the most famous National Parks in Europe, the Lakes have been immortalised by a long history of British art and literature.
The tranquil waters of Lake Windermere and the 978m tall Scafell Pike are the National Park’s more famous locations, but there is much to admire across the Lakes entire.
Be sure to take a stroll along the banks of Coniston Water for a real picture-perfect experience in one of the best natural wonders in the UK.
Winnats Pass, Derbyshire, England
Nestled away in England’s Peak District, the sharp slopes of Winnats Pass provide one of the best drives in these fair isles. The limestone valley cuts a path through the UK’s second National Park and makes for an inspiring sight.
You don’t have to have a car to enjoy Winnats, strap on your best walking boots and take one of the many walks that skirt the steep sides of this Derbyshire location.
Gaping Gill, Lancaster, England
Another Yorkshire Dales stunner here. Sitting at the foot of Ingleborough, one of Yorkshire’s Three Peaks is Gaping Gill. Old Gill is the largest underground chamber in England and is said to be cavernous enough to house St. Paul’s Cathedral entire. Gill’s gaping maw looks like a descent into the bowels of the Earth.
At 192m deep, the best views are actually to be found from inside Gill’s main chamber, reachable by professional potholing groups, where eerie shafts of daylight can be seen from way above.
Seven Sisters, Sussex, England
The UK’s other white cliffs. The Seven Sisters of Sussex rise and fall along England’s southern coastline. Looking out over the English Channel, the chalk cliffs get their white hue from continual coastal erosion.
The Cliffs are best experienced with a wander along the South Downs Way.