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10 of Britain’s Natural Wonders to Discover on Holiday

The Giant's Causeway at Sunset

The Giant’s Causeway at Sunset

The UK is home to some amazing natural wonders, which inspire and amaze visitors.  Which will you discover on your next break away?  Forget having to go half way across the world to see some awe inspiring naturally stunning scenery, there is plenty to see right here at home in Britain.  And one of the best parts, depending on where you live in the UK, you may not even need to catch a plane to get to some of these natural wonders, for many you may be able to just pack your stuff, jump in the car and go!

1.  The Limestone Pavement, Malham, Yorkshire Dales

A landscape so unique and stunning it featured in the film Harry Potter and the Deathly Harrows, the Limestone Pavement at the top of Malham Cove is an absolute wonder.  Visit and you can walk over the  strange craggy rocks of this limestone formation as well as look out over amazing views over the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Malham' Coves Amazing Limestone Pavement

Malham’ Coves Amazing Limestone Pavement












Getting to the top of Malham Cove though where the ‘pavement’ lies is quite a feat, as it’s a steep hike up (there are steps) so walking boots are a must and being physically fit is essential too.  Beware of the drops from the limestone pavement, there is a sheer drop in to Malham Cove with no barriers.

Places to Stay near the Limestone Pavement:

Malham lies in a tranquil rural location in the Yorkshire Dales, choose to stay in a country cottage in the Yorkshire Dales, and select accommodation not too far from Settle, Grassington and Skipton which are relatively close to Malham.


2.  Cheddar Gorge

Cheddar Gorge Somerset

Uniquely beautiful Cheddar Gorge

One of England’s most stunning natural wonders, Cheddar Gorge is an imposing inland limestone gorge with high cliffs that runs for 3 miles within the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty close to the town of Cheddar.  Created during the Ice age, not only can you visit and see the amazing gorge, there are fascinating caves to see here too!  Discover Gough’s Cave which was inhabited in prehistoric times.

A special area of conservation, there is a cliff top walk you can take along the top of the gorge.  Walking boots are recommended and stay away from the edge where there are steep drops.  There are shops and a cafe on the edge of the gorge serving visitors.

Amazing Cheddar Gorge Cave

The amazing underground world at Cheddar Gorge

Where to Stay near Cheddar Gorge:

The town of Cheddar is extremely well located for visiting the nearby caves.  The Mendip Hills are another good choice for visiting the gorge on a day trip.


3.  Durdle Door along Dorset’s Jurassic Coast

One of the Jurassic Coast’s most photographed places, Durdle Door along the Dorset coast truly has to be seen to be believed.  Depending on your vantage point, this limestone cliff structure can look like a dinosaur dipping its head in the sea or as a gateway to the ocean.  Visit to see what it conjures up in your imagination!

Durdle Door on the Jurassic Coast

Durdle Door on the Jurassic Coast











The nearby sand and shingle beach is a great spot to sit and take in the views.
There is a nearby car park but take a picnic as there are no cafes at Durdle Door.  Just along the coast is another fascinating place to visit; Lulworth Cove where there are a couple of cafes.

Places to Stay near Durdle Door:

Durdle Door is located around mid-way between Weymouth and Swanage and is just a drive away from many parts of the Jurassic coast.

4.  Winnats Pass, Peak District

Winnats Pass in Derbyshire’s Hope Valley close to Mam Tor is a truly majestic place to visit.  Not only is this grass covered limestone gorge amazing, but there are also a number of fascinating caves to discover in the nearby area including Blue John Cavern, Treak Cliff Cavern, Peak Cavern and Speedwell Cavern.

The Peak District's Winnats Pass

The Peak District’s Winnats Pass

Some would argue that the underground world around this part of England is in fact even more amazing than the gorge above ground.  Visit the caves and see glittering stalagmites, waterfalls and fossilised sea creatures from long ago.  This part of the Peak District really is a true wonder.

Where to Stay near WInnats Pass:

The nearest town is Castleton and the Hope Valley is also close by.


5.  The Stacks of Duncansby, Caithness

Located on Scotland’s most northerly coast close to John o’ Groats is the Duncansby Head coastal area.  Here you’ll be greeted with high cliffs with sheer drops, as well as the awe inspiring rock formations that are the Stacks of Duncansby.  These amazing jagged rock formations with their sharp pointed tops that look almost like castles rising from the sea are a real sight to behold and a superb natural wonder.

The simply unique Stacks of Duncansby, Caithness

The simply unique Stacks of Duncansby, Caithness

Remember to wear good walking boots and stay clear of the cliff edges, there are sheer drops with no barriers.

Head to nearby Bay of Sannick whilst in this part of Scotland and you may be lucky enough to see the local resident population of seals too!

Where to Stay Near The Stacks of Duncansby:

The town of John o’Groats is close by and Thurso is just 21 miles away.


6.  Isle of Staffa and Fingal’s Cave

Lying off the coast, close to the Isle of Mull in Scotland, the uninhabited Isle of Staffa is an absolute wonder.  Reached by boat, this small island with its unusual tall basalt columns is a sight to behold.  The distinctive geological formations on this island give it a truly other worldly feel.

The Amazing Isle of Staffa

The Amazing Isle of Staffa

Weather permitting you may be able to explore Fingal’s cave too, a sea cave explored by boat where you can see more of the amazing basalt columns up close.
Where to Stay to Visit the Isle of Staffa on Holiday:

As an uninhabited island, it’s impossible to stay on the small island of Staffa.  Boat trips run from the island of Iona and mainly from Tobermory on the Isle of Mull.

7.  Fairy Pools Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye in Scotland is home to more than its fair share of natural wonders  as well as an interesting kind of light which has inspired artists for generations.  One of the Isle’s most inspiring natural wonders are the Fairy Pools at the foot of the Black Cuillin hills which spectacular waterfalls pool in to.  With turquoise coloured waters, these pools and waterfalls certainly seem to exude a certain kind of magic.

Experience a kind of magic with Skye's Fairy Pools

Experience a kind of magic with Skye’s Fairy Pools











As with many of the UK’s natural wonders, wearing good walking boots is essential.  The closest village on Skye is Carbost.

Places to Stay Near the Fairy Pools on Skye:

The town of Portree is a popular place to stay on the Isle of Skye and is around half an hour’s drive from the Fairy Pools.


8.  Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

Follow in giant footsteps at the Giant's Causeway, Ireland

Follow in giant footsteps at the Giant’s Causeway, Ireland ?

Perhaps one of Britain’s best known natural wonders and definitely one for the bucket list is the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.  This place is so unique and special, it’s no wonder it’s steeped in legend and myth.  Visit and be filled by wonder and amazement when you see these amazing basalt columns in person.  The result of volcanic activity dating back millions of years, prepare for this amazing coastal geological wonder to inspire and amaze you.
As a major tourist attraction, there is a Visitor Centre close to the Giant’s Causeway with extensive parking, coffee shop and loos.

Where to Stay near the Giant’s Causeway:

The Giant’s Causeway is located in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, close to the town of Ballycastle, Coleraine and Armoy.


9.  Dark Hedges, near Armoy Northern Ireland

Having recently featured in the hit TV series Game of Thrones, this avenue of twisted beech trees that run along Bregagh Road near Ballymoney are an amazing place to visit.  With a sinister unusual appearance, these trees conjure up thoughts of magic and special forces, and are so atmospheric and spooky it’s no wonder they featured in the Game of Thrones.

Discover Northern Ireland's Dark Hedges

Discover Northern Ireland’s Dark Hedges

Conveniently, these atmospheric trees are just 25 minutes’ drive from the Giant’s Causeway making it easy to explore both of these natural wonders on the one trip.


Places to Stay near the Dark Hedges:

Nearby towns not too far from the Dark Hedges include Coleraine, Ballymoney and Ballycastle.


10. Pistyll Rhaeadr Waterfall

The majestic Pistyll-Rhaeadr waterfall

The majestic Pistyll-Rhaeadr waterfall

This waterfall in is one of Wales’ best natural wonders.   Renowned as being the highest waterfall in the whole of Wales, this dramatic waterfall lies close to the Berwyn Mountains and is only around 21 miles from Snowdonia National Park.  There are many good walks in the surrounding area.

At its base there is a car park and a tea shop which is an ideal spot to stop off at whilst enjoying this wonderful location.

Places to Stay near Pistyll Rhaeadr:

Bala in Snowdonia is around 21 miles away and also close by is Llandrillo.


Stay Safe When Discovering Britain’s Natural Wonders

As naturally occurring landscapes and landmarks, many of the listed natural wonders feature sheer drops and if visiting with children they must be supervised at all times.  Some of the locations are best suited for visiting with children aged 10 and older.

Top 6 places for an English country cottage holiday

So you’ve decided to rent a holiday cottage in England for your Easter or summer break but you’re undecided where to go.

This is no real surprise since you are spoiled for choice, whether it is stunning coastline, beautiful countryside or historical places of interest you want to be close to. England has it all and plenty of wonderful properties available to rent for a holiday which will live in the memory for ever. Here are some locations you might want to consider for your English country cottage holiday:

1.    Cumbria, a Rambler’s Delight

When most of us think of Cumbria and the Lake District, it conjures images of shimmering views across The Lakes at Coniston or Bowness-on-Windermere.

Enjoy boating, cycling or walking by Coniston Water in the Lake District National Park

Enjoy boating, cycling or walking by Coniston Water in the Lake District National Park

There are some delicious holiday homes available in these locations where, of course, there are miles and miles of open countryside just waiting to be explored on foot, with a picnic in the rucksack and a country pub never too far away. But there is much more to Cumbria. Take the tiny village of Cartmel, where you can go horse racing and sample helpings of sticky toffee pudding at the village shop and café where it was first made. Alternatively, explore the former home of Beatrix Potter, close to the lovely town of Ambleside.

2. Go Dotty for Dorset in South West England

If you’ve seen the television drama Broadchurch, with incredible vistas across the cliffs of West Bay and the idyllic vibe of Bridport, Dorset is probably somewhere you’ve vowed to visit.
This southern county is famed for its sand and shingle beaches and its pretty villages.
There is also an abundance of lovely market towns to enjoy, such as Blandford, Dorchester and Sherborne.

Average temperatures are higher than just about anywhere in the UK and if you go self-catering there will be plenty of opportunities for al fresco dining on sultry evenings.

3. Discover English Island Living on the Isle of Wight

Maybe it is an island paradise you are after. In that case, head for the beautiful little community of the Isle of Wight just off the south coast.

The Isle of Wight is perfect for those who prefer outdoor activities other than lying on a beach in the sun. It’s packed full of quiet country lanes which are ideal for cycling along and there are also 200 miles of bridleway and cycle tracks to explore on foot or in the saddle.

Country pubs abound throughout the island and there is a wealth of attractive potential cottages and holiday homes just waiting to be rented.

4. Not to be Missed, Norfolk

In terms of tranquil holiday environments there are few to compare with those in Norfolk, East Anglia. Well-Next-The-Sea has one of the deepest sandy beaches in the country and with its lines of colourful beach huts it’s the archetypal English seaside destination.

Discover a rich history in Norwich, Norfolk

Discover a rich history in Norwich, Norfolk

You might want to take time wandering around the wide selection of shops in the lovely town of Holt and stop for a pub lunch in The Feathers or a cream tea in The Owl Tea Rooms. The city of Norwich with its cathedral, fine historical buildings and ample charm is not to be missed.

If you’re after somewhere a touch livelier then head for Cromer or Great Yarmouth.

5. Moors, Dales and More in Yorkshire, Northern England

The white rose county of Yorkshire boasts an array of wondrous towns and villages where you might consider renting an English country cottage.

If a walking holiday is your heart’s desire you have a choice of the North York Moors or the Yorkshire Dales to base your holiday. Scarborough or Whitby are ideal locations if it’s a coastal break you want, with some of the best fish and chips available on the planet.

Picturesque rurality is dotted all around, such as the cobbled streets of Haworth and the beauty of Settle, one of the places where it is easy to see why Yorkshire is dubbed ‘God’s own country’.

6. Oxfordshire for Quintessentially English Holidays

If you need to spend some of the break close to a major city then it is well worth renting a holiday home in Oxfordshire, with the sumptuous university city of Oxford within easy reach.

Riverside scene along the Thames in Goring, Oxfordshire

Riverside scene along the Thames in Goring, Oxfordshire

There are apartments and cottages available there if you prefer an urban break in a spot with hordes of historical buildings to visit on your doorstep. To the west there is one of England’s best kept secrets, the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and its attractive bustling market towns such as Burford and Chipping Norton.

Henley-on-Thames is another popular destination with long stretches of the river to stroll along and any number of restaurants and pubs to relax in beside the water. A smaller, equally charming place to visit is the riverside village of Goring in South Oxfordshire.


By Nick Rennie

Cottage Holiday Destination Guides

Our experts have written some helpful guides on cottage holidays in the UK.  Scotland is a country within the UK with a wealth of outstanding landscapes and a rich culture  Why not take a look at our Scotland guide or see our regional specific information such as our info on the Scottish Highlands or the Isle of Skye?  Scotland has lots to offer for self-catering holidays.  The landscape is stunning and there is a great deal of choice when it comes to country activities.  Do get in touch with your feedback on these guides to help us make these as useful as possible.

Self-catering accommodation in Scotland can be in cottages, lodges, log cabins, chalets and even in mansions.  If you would like more advice and guidance on holidaying in Scotland take a look at our recommendations for having an enjoyable cottage holiday stay in Scotland.  It usually pays to plan ahead and do your research.  Shopping around can also save you money.  For last minute deals take a look at our late cottages or special offers.

Best Sources of Information about Self Catering Holidays

When planning a self catering cottage break you may want to find information on places to go before you book.  You may be in need of inspiration or have an idea about where you want to go but need more details about where there is to do in each area.  We aim to provide you with great resources when it comes to suggested things to do and places to see, find out more by taking a look at our area guides.  Also remember to get advice and guidance from cottage owners or agencies before you book, many are experts when it comes to what is on offer locally.