This summer’s prettiest places to visit with a view

Charity and Sponsorship, Seasonal, Destinations

Posted by Courtney Kelly on 27th May 2022

Wildflowers and the waters of WhitbyPhoto credit: @WellHelloSally

The time is upon us to break out the shorts and flip flops, lather up our shoulders in sun lotion, and get out and about on a summer adventure. Bring the kids, the dog, your loved one, or just strike out on your own to take in some of the best views a UK summer can offer.

There are so many beautiful places to visit in the UK in summer. That’s why we’ve partnered up with the RSPB as part of our Summer Holiday Watch to find out what summer means to our followers and try to capture a true sense of summertime life through a lens. We've collated the most popular types of images sent in via our social media channels and created a list, starting with the most crowd-pleasing.

So, come on a sunny journey as we travel to the northernmost reaches of Scotland, vacation all over England and find unmissable spots in Wales that incorporate incredible coastal, mountain, and countryside vistas.

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Beautiful, sunny beach in Mawgan Porth

Feel the sand beneath your toes on a sunny beach

What’s better than a day at the beach? A sunny day at the beach! Of all the places to visit in the UK in summer, beaches offer such a variety of fun activities for all the family. With our followers sending in nearly 2,000 images of beaches, it was tricky choosing just a handful.

This won't be the first time Cornwall features in this list, in fact, there were twice as many entries for Cornish beaches compared to the next most popular stretch of coastline. On this occasion, we’re heading to Mawgan Porth. This beach benefits from beautiful sands, similar to Newquay, but is far enough away from the resort town to offer a tranquil, secluded feel. Sally-Ann encapsulates the Cornish coastline with the sun bouncing off the water and sand and the stoic headland in the distance.

Beaches at Anglesey and Filey

On the left, Grace has captured a mesmerising shot in Anglesey, with the sun’s rays slicing the ocean in two as it sets over a Welsh horizon. This causes everything in sight to become bathed in an orange glow, save for the silhouetted boy who stops to savour the moment.

Jenny chose a sunset coastal walk with her pooch on Reighton Sands in Filey, where the Yorkshire beach is punctuated with seaweed-strewn protrusions and rock pools. If you want to find ammonites at this fossil-filled beach, best be quick before the sun dips behind the grass-backed dunes.

Incredible turquoise waters in Cornwall and Dorset

Discover some turquoise waters

Back to the coastline already? Well, when you have more than 1,500 photos of the coast sent in, you really have to. If we were to ask the UK public for a list of their favourite summer pastimes, whether on holiday or at home, we’re sure dipping their toes in the sea would play a role. Even those who prefer to stay on dry land would have to admit that some of the best places to go in the UK in summer involve looking out at turquoise waters.

Waves crash onto the sandy beach in Porthcurno, Cornwall as the rocky outcrops stand imposing, immovable. This top left image from @alinapereira9 highlights why the South West’s beaches are the envy of the rest of the UK.

With wildflowers in the foreground and Durdle Door creeping over the ridgeline in the background, this next picture from Victoria shows Lulworth Cove in all its magnificent splendour. A Jurassic Coast gem, we can’t believe the waters of this Dorset inlet are near-deserted.

Brixham Breakwater

The above photo sent in by Alex is definitely from the UK, we promise. Taken in Brixham, Devon, you could easily convince yourself you’re in the Mediterranean as you wade in the azure waters.

Colourful wildflower fields

Take in the resplendent beauty of wildflowers

Heading further inland now, and it’s a Yorkshire takeover, as well as a @WellHelloSally takeover. Not only do wildflower meadows provide unrivalled beauty in terms of the colour spectrum and their ease on the eye, but they are so incredibly important in providing shelter and nourishment to our pollinators. We had over 300 entries into our competition of wildflowers, so they are clearly popular with our followers too!

In the UK alone, there are over 250 species of bee, so we need more people like Sally taking incredible pictures to raise awareness of these miniature jungles of awesomeness.

In these images, Sally shows us an insect’s eye view of the towering poppies as the sun shines through the rising stems. Next, the pinks of the heather take ownership of the frame over the retreating sky which is about to see its last light. The solitary tree seems to split in two, perhaps owing loyalty to both the heavens and the earth. Finally, more kaleidoscopic beauty from the perspective of the pollinators, as the petals battle it out to reach the summer sun. The perfect spot for a picnic.

Bright green and luscious countryside

Walk through the British countryside

Summer is a great season to enjoy the British countryside and whether you live by the coast or more inland, you’ll never be too far from rolling green hills that are flanked by hedgerows and filled with all manner of flora and fauna. This is why the British countryside is one of our favourite summer places to visit - it was also the next most popular submission in our competition.

On the left, @kazziem1 has shot a scene full of poise and calmness as the light breaks through the silver birches to create a dappled effect on the ground. This photo taken at Sculptures by the Lakes in Dorset provided @kazziem1 a moment to rest in the shade, away from the warm English sun.

Another photographer enjoying a moment’s respite under a canopy of English trees, Gina captures some equine companions making the most of the sun-enriched grass. Taken in Horwich, Greater Manchester, this tableau marries the two main colours of the English countryside perfectly. Whoever said that blue and green must never be seen? Pfft!

  • Dorchester, Dorset (left) | Credit @kazziem1
  • Horwich, Greater Manchester (right) | Credit Gina

Bamburgh Castle and countryside

Explore some heritage

As much as we love nature and the restfulness that natural surroundings bring, there’s something to be said for the manmade structures that have survived the ages to give us a glimpse into our past. Bring these two elements together and you have a recipe for some of the best places to visit in the UK in summer.

In the first image, Bamburgh Castle can be seen in the distance. Bamburgh featured heavily during our photo competition and this photo could have easily made it into our countryside or wildflower sections, such is the beauty of the poppies and grassland. Yet it’s the understated nature of this shot from Karen that drew our attention to it – that man’s accomplishments, no matter how ambitious and revered, should always accommodate Mother Nature.

Amazing manmade structures

Sally always has a way of making her photos seem grand. This one taken at a low angle at Bolton Abbey near Skipton shows the scale of the architectural feat that the Augustinian monks faced in the 12th century.

Next to it is another glorious picture from Yorkshire, courtesy of @SayHelloAnn. Clouds move across the sky as afternoon turns to evening on this luscious open pasture. The grazing livestock seem not to notice the Black Mill towering before them, but we see it, its ebony skin gleaming in the late sun. Once a windmill, this Grade II-listed building has had its sails removed but has been standing tall since the 1650s.

Stunning sunsets

Savour a serene sunset

There’s not much more relaxing than watching a sunset with your loved ones. And in the summer, when the evenings stretch and the burnt oranges of the sun’s fading rays hug the horizon, it’s always beneficial to find a hilltop or coastline to appreciate these dying embers.

Unsurprisingly, photos of sunsets were amongst the popular images sent in via social media, so here are two of our favourites.

Peter has spent his evening wisely, visiting the 1,000-metre-long Grade II-listed Southport Pier as the sun dips its head under each archway in turn. This iron pier, the oldest in England, has a seemingly endless track and we can imagine Peter walking it without a care in the world as the last of the light illuminates the North West coastline.

The Norfolk Broads is a great place to visit in the summer with so much to discover, including beaches and other incredible days out. Rachel has summed up Norfolk’s beauty in just one picture here, with the sun appearing to rest on a wandering cloud before concluding its journey to bed and the soft ripples of the Broads breaking the sunbeam reflection into golden shards.

Scenic lakes

Relax amongst the stillness of lakes

A lakeside scene can offer so much in terms of views: a soft shimmering of light as it glances off the surface; a mirror image reflection on the statue-still water; distant mountains soaring towards the clouds; or sailboats and other water-faring vessels finding their way. Certainly a nice place to visit in the UK in summer.

It seems there are some gusts blowing across Lake Windermere in our photo from @DeastieBoy (right). This Cumbrian basin had the most entries out of any UK lake. In the foreground, some local birds seek temporary refuge on the piers, whilst countless boats and buoys sway gently on the rippling water beyond.

The image on the left image shows an altogether different kind of lake, but one that is no less beautiful in our opinion. The precipitation of minerals in the water causes this quarry lake in Penrhyn, North Wales to display its deep blue colour. We think that Emma’s shot of the Bahamian blue water, coupled with the derelict mining equipment makes for a powerful image.

Loch Tummel

The image just above taken by Gilly at Queen’s View in Scotland shows Loch Tummel in all its lustrous glory, with the clouds unmoved as they are echoed in the water’s reflection. Just south of the Cairngorms National Park, this loch landscape rewards us with dense woodland and lofty mountains too.

A caterpillar and some stags

Witness some wonderful wildlife

The UK is full of amazing wildlife, far too much to document here alone. But we can give you a snapshot of the wonderful creatures that can be found throughout the UK during the summer.

They say to save the best till (nearly) last, and that might be what we’ve done with Katie’s incredibly cute picture of a caterpillar climbing along some rustic wood. It must be a bug’s life when you’re this adorable. We just want to reach out and give him a high five.

Getting this close to a small herd of stags either takes courage or an understanding of their kind. We’re not sure which one Emily has, but we love the relaxed nature of these gentle beasts and the shimmering effect of their furred antlers in the light.

 A duck and a seal

Another entry from @WellHelloSally as we’re whisked off to a nature reserve in East Yorkshire to observe a mallard duck as he soaks up some sun prior to taking a dip. With his chest puffed out, we wouldn’t be surprised if he caught a glimpse of himself in the water’s reflection and lost track of time.

Next, we travel to the northernmost reaches of the Scottish mainland. Lornna spotted this seal (or rather the seal spotted Lornna) in the village of Mey where seal watching is a popular pastime. This guy was just lounging around waiting for the perfect shot – looks like we got it.

Views from the mountains

Hike a mountain to get an aerial view

If hiking up mountains has traditionally not been your thing, then this summer season might be the perfect time to turn over a new leaf and give it a try. Not only are you rewarded with panoramas that sea-level dwellers miss out on, but also, it’s much more likely to be warmer during the summer months when you return to base camp.

Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, was the most popular mountain image sent in by our followers. Along the bottom, on the left, Judith and her dog climbed to a peak and were transfixed by the wavy ridgelines.

If the haze is causing you to miss(t) out, Dave’s got a solution. Get up early and rise above the clouds. That way, you can witness an absorbing sunrise and truly feel on top of the world.

The top image from Leanne was taken in Keswick and shows undulating fields of green that roll straight into Derwentwater. With the Skiddaw range looming in the distance, you’d be forgiven for thinking Leanne had quickly popped over to New Zealand to shoot this.

Bees collecting nectar and pollen

Are you buzzing to see some bees?

You may have already spotted some of these fuzzy miracle workers on your wildflower walk, with the honeybee, the bumblebee and the carpenter bee making up just a fraction of the varieties found in the UK. There’s always room for more though, as their importance cannot be heralded enough.

The top two images show some inadvertent camouflage from our humble pollinators. The photo on the left was taken by Elisa at the National Trust’s Cotehele Mill in Cornwall, whilst on the right, the image of the bright bee and vibrant flower was snapped by Kayleigh in Newport, Wales.

Next, we’re up in Edinburgh in Scotland, where a honeybee looks as though he’s taking refuge in the centre of a violet bloom, yet he’s most likely harvesting some of that precious nectar.

Lastly, we have a bumblebee doing its best impression of a bat: suspended upside down whilst feeding on some delightful nectar. Whilst bumblebees don’t convert this nectar into honey, they are in fact much more efficient pollinators than their cousins, the honeybee.

Overcast skies that draw the eye

Moody skies: the alternative summer view

It can’t all be sunshine and rainbows, yet it wouldn’t be outside the realms of possibility to expect rainbows shortly after this next crop of photos were taken. There is beauty in the unexpected and during a UK summer, you never know when the next storm cloud is around the corner. But fear not, these images show us that a moody sky can, on the contrary, brighten one’s perspective.

The sand art in Withernsea adds another facet to an already lovely beach in the first image. The looming castellated pier towers on the seafront inject a sense of excited trepidation as the dark clouds build over and above. The photo promises one thing above all else: adventure!

We mentioned hiking a mountain to get picturesque summer views, but another way to grasp the beauty of the UK’s landscape from a unique vantage point is to try your hand at paragliding. Jo caught these two aerial wanderers at Beachy Head in East Sussex, where not even the hazy sky can detract from the serenity of the coastline.

Moody skies and a moody dog

Sally captured a battle for supremacy in the skies in our next image. The stage is set in the Yorkshire Dales for the blue sky to clash with the clouds as the low wall bisects the countryside. Sunlight filters down onto the rolling hills in a scene that could have been plucked from one of Aesop’s fables.

Perhaps it’s because this pooch is being made to pose for a photo that his ears are drooping. Surely once he turns around and sees the clouds capturing the setting sun’s radiance in the Scottish Borders, he’ll perk up. Lorna needs to remind him that, just because the sky is moody, he needn’t be.

Find your ideal holiday cottage this summer

With the kids due to break up from school and the evenings stretching out, now is the time to realise that holiday of a lifetime. Decide what type of summer views you’re after and then start searching for your perfect summer cottage below.

Holiday cottages for summer

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.