Derwentwater view

A green and pleasant land

Some of the UK's best views

We’re pretty certain that plenty of our grantors wake up to some spectacular views each morning because, let’s face it, the UK is full of amazing scenery.

Whether it’s stunning cityscapes, lush countryside or shimmering mountain lakes… Britain’s landscapes are as varied as they are beautiful.

So we’ve put together 12 stunning views that are easily accessible and are either free, or cost less than £5 per person to enjoy.

 

Overlooking Derwentwater (above) Lake District National Park, Cumbria, north-west England.

Picking out one view in the Lake District is a tricky task because the area is so geographically blessed with beautiful landscapes. So much so, its rugged mountains and shimmering lakes have inspired writers and poets throughout history. One of the best vistas is looking east from the top of Cat Bells hill across the lake of Derwentwater to the mountain of Skiddaw. Cat Bells is one of the most popular hills in the area; it’s also a short, sharp, steep climb of 451 metres – but clearly worth the effort!

Getting there: The nearest train station is Penrith, approximately one hour and forty-five minutes by train from Manchester, or three hours and thirty minutes from London.

www.lakedistrict.gov.uk

 

Sky Garden, London

Scan London’s iconic skyline from this free public space on the rooftop of 20 Fenchurch Street, otherwise known as the Walkie Talkie building.

Uncrowded by neighbouring skyscrapers and 155 metres over London, Sky Garden’s location offers a unique panorama of the city that epitomises London’s fusion of ancient and modern.

Directly opposite The Shard in all its glassy grandeur and the Tower of London lies below, enjoy a drink with your view at the Sky Pod bar, or indulge in elevated dining at one of two restaurants. Tickets for Sky Garden are free, but need to be booked in advance using the website.

Getting there: The nearest London Underground station is Monument.

 www.skygarden.london

 

Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire, Wales

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Britain’s coastline is spectacular and the view overlooking remote Barafundle Bay really has the wow factor. With crystal clear waters and pristine sand, it’s been voted as one of the world’s best beaches and is often likened to the Caribbean! Check out tide times before you visit to ensure there’s plenty of beach to enjoy.

Getting there: The bay can be accessed via a half-mile walk along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path from Stackpole Quay car park. The nearest train station is Pembroke Dock – five and a half hours from London Paddington via Swansea.

www.visitpembrokeshire.com/explore-pembrokeshire/beaches/barafundle-bay

 

The Milky Way over Gold Hill, Shaftesbury, Dorset, south-west England

Described as one of the most romantic sights in England, the picturesque view of the steep cobbled street in the town of Shaftesbury is definitely a must-see. It’s even more special on a clear evening when you can see the Milky Way stretching up from the horizon.

Getting there: Shaftesbury is two and a quarter hours by train from London Waterloo.

www.visit-dorset.com/things-to-do/attractions/gold-hill-p1244443

 

Windsor Great Park,  Berkshire, south-east England

Fancy an iconic view of one of the Queen’s private residences in all its regal glory?

Head to Windsor Great Park and look down from the King George III Copper Horse statue. The park’s straight, tree-lined Long Walk stretches out below – all 2.65 miles of it – towards Windsor Castle at the far end. If you’re lucky you might even see some of the park’s freely roaming deer. Most parts of the park – including the Long Walk – are open to the public free of charge, from dawn to dusk, 365 days a year.

Getting there: Windsor is 50 minutes by train from London Waterloo.

www.windsorgreatpark.co.uk

 

Emirates Air Line, London

Views over London

Fancy a change from the London Underground? Riding this cable car over the River Thames gives much better views of London while you travel! The spiked dome of the O2 rises up beneath you and Canary Wharf glistens in the distance. Single tickets start at £3.50 for adults and £1.70 for children.

Getting there: Emirates Air Line runs between Royal Victoria Docks and North Greenwich stations on the DLR line.  

www.emiratesairline.co.uk

 

Llyn y Fan Fach, Brecon Beacons National Park, Powys, south Wales

In Welsh Llyn y Fan Fach means ‘lake of the big peak’ – and it certainly is. This natural body of water covering approximately ten hectares lies at the foot of Fan Brycheiniog, the highest peak of the Black Mountain range. The lake can be reached via a two-mile footpath and the impressive views highlight the extent of the lake’s size within the landscape.

This isolated beauty spot is considered to be enchanted by a fairy maiden, The Lady of the Lake, although you’re more likely to spot one of the numerous different species of bird in the area.

Getting there: Llyn y Fan Fach is seven-and-a-half miles south-east of the nearest train station in Llandovery. A direct train goes from Llandovery to Swansea, and the train from London to Swansea takes around three hours.

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/brecon-beacons/trails/pen-y-fan-and-corn-du-circular-walk

 

Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle, Scotland

This 22.5-mile loch may have made a name for itself thanks to the mythical beast that may or may not dwell in its waters, but every visitor can at least be sure they will be rewarded with stunning views. On a sunny day the loch sparkles and the shapes of Urquhart Castle and surrounding mountains are reflected onto the loch’s glassy mass, making for a dreamily proportioned, Instagram-worthy shot.

Getting there: Loch Ness is approximately 45 minutes’ drive from Inverness airport. www.visitinvernesslochness.com

 

Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland, north-east England

The spectacular combination of an isolated ancient castle and vast stretch of dune-fringed sandy beach has made this wild coastal spot a popular film location, most recently starring in the cinema adaptation of Macbeth. The beach is also one of the north east’s top surf spots, so you might catch a view of a surfer or kite surfer out in the waves.

Getting there: London Kings Cross to Berwick-upon-Tweed is three hours and 30 minutes by train, or 40 minutes from Edinburgh. There is a bus service from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Bamburgh.

www.visitnorthumberland.com/coast/bamburgh

 

Liverpool Cathedral’s fairy-tale gothic arches, north-west England

Liverpool CathedralMarvel at the world’s highest and widest gothic arches inside this spectacularly spacious cathedral. Take in the beauty of the Great West Window towering above you like something from a fairy-tale castle, or pause and reflect in the glorious Lady Chapel. The cathedral is free to enter.

Getting there: Liverpool is two hours and 15 minutes by train from London Euston.

www.visitliverpool.com/things-to-do/liverpool-cathedral-p90

 

Lake Vyrnwy, Powys, Wales

Situated on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park, Lake Vyrnwy is set amid the Berwyn Mountains, surrounded by lush countryside and spectacular waterfalls. Looking out from its historic stone dam, the beautiful view across this reservoir is punctuated by an impressive tower rising out of the water in the distance like a fairy-tale castle. The lake was built for the purpose of supplying Liverpool with fresh water, and this straining tower is where the water begins its journey along an aqueduct and pipeline.

Getting there: The nearest train station to Lake Vyrnwy is Welshpool – easily accessible from Birmingham International train station in one hour and 45 minutes.

www.lake-vyrnwy.com

 

Calton Hill, Edinburgh, Scotland

You might feel like you’ve walked into Ancient Greece (apart from the grass!) after the short one-mile climb up to Calton Hill, where 360-degree panoramic views of the city greet you and Athenian cenotaphs surround you.

These iconic monuments are dedicated to important figures in Scottish history and culture. The National Monument acropolis – inspired by the Parthenon in Athens – is Scotland’s memorial to those who died fighting in the Napoleonic Wars. In August, Edinburgh Festival’s grand firework finale takes place here and on the last day of April it is the scene of the Beltane Fire Festival. Visiting Calton Hill is free.

Getting there: Edinburgh has its own international airport or you can fly from London. The train from London King’s Cross St Pancras to Edinburgh takes approximately four hours and 20 minutes.

www.visitscotland.com