Top 10 Best UK Coastlines That You Can Visit Right Now
Top 10 Best UK Coastlines That You Can Visit Right Now

Stay In Cornwall has done some research naming the top 10 UK coastlines that you should visit right now. The holiday cottage company reviewed all of the UK’s coastlines to find the data. It collected the data during autumn 2021.

Every coastline received scores on factors such as how many awards it has, the number of Instagram hashtags, how many national parks it has and its coast path length.

The data was ranked and determined the top 10 best UK coastlines which includes Dorset, Cumbria and Sussex with Devon taking the top spot.

List of top 10 best and most UK coastlines that you can visit

1.Devon

2.Hampshire

3.Cornwall

4.Highland

5.Kent & Pembrokeshire

6.Cumbria

7.Norfolk

8.Sussex

9.Dorset

10.Gwynedd

What are the 10 best and most beautiful UK coastlines?

1. Devon

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

Devon is a county in South West England, reaching from the Bristol Channel in the north to the English Channel in the south. It is bounded by Cornwall to the west, Somerset to the north-east and Dorset to the east. The city of Exeter is the county town. The county includes the districts of East Devon, Mid Devon, North Devon, South Hams, Teignbridge, Torridge and West Devon. Plymouth and Torbay are each geographically part of Devon, but are administered as unitary authorities. Combined as a ceremonial county, Devon's area is 6,707 km2 (2,590 square miles) and its population is about 1.2 million.

Devon derives its name from Dumnonia (the shift from m to v is a typical Celtic consonant shift). During the British Iron Age, Roman Britain and the early Middle Ages, this was the homeland of the Dumnonii Brittonic Celts. The Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain resulted in the partial assimilation of Dumnonia into the Kingdom of Wessex during the eighth and ninth centuries. The western boundary with Cornwall was set at the River Tamar by King Æthelstan in 936. Devon was later constituted as a shire of the Kingdom of England.

The north and south coasts of Devon each have both cliffs and sandy shores, and the county's bays contain seaside resorts, fishing towns and ports. The inland terrain is rural, generally hilly and has a lower population density than many other parts of England. Dartmoor is the largest open space in southern England, at 954 km2 (368 square miles); its moorland extends across a large expanse of granite bedrock. To the north of Dartmoor are the Culm Measures and Exmoor. In the valleys and lowlands of south and east Devon the soil is more fertile, drained by rivers including the Exe, the Culm, the Teign, the Dart and the Otter.

As well as agriculture, much of the economy of Devon is based on tourism. The comparatively mild climate, coastline and landscape make Devon a destination for recreation and leisure in England. Visitors are particularly attracted to the Dartmoor and Exmoor national parks; its coasts, including the resort towns along the south coast known collectively as the English Riviera; the Jurassic Coast and North Devon's UNESCO Biosphere Reserve; and the countryside including the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape.

Reminders of Devon’s leading role in the country’s maritime history are never far away, particularly in the two cities of Exeter and Plymouth. These days it’s the yachties who take advantage of the numerous creeks and bays, especially on Devon’s southern coast, where ports such as Dartmouth and Salcombe are awash with amateur sailors. Landlubbers flock to the sandy beaches and seaside resorts, of which Torquay, on the south coast, and Ilfracombe, on the north, are the busiest. The most attractive are those which have preserved traces of their nineteenth-century elegance, such as Sidmouth, in east Devon. Inland, the county is characterized by swards of lush pasture and a scattering of sheltered villages, the population dropping to almost zero on Dartmoor, the wildest and bleakest of the West’s moors.

2. Hampshire

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

Hampshire is a county in South East England on the coast of the English Channel. The county town is Winchester, but the county is named after Southampton. Its two largest cities are Southampton and Portsmouth which are administered separately as unitary authorities; the rest of the county is governed by a combination of Hampshire County Council and Non-metropolitan district councils.

First settled about 14,000 years ago, Hampshire's recorded history dates to Roman Britain, when its chief town was Winchester, then known as Venta Belgarum. The county was recorded in the 11th century Domesday Book, divided into 44 hundreds. From the 12th century, the ports grew in importance, fuelled by trade with the continent, wool and cloth manufacture, fishing and large shipbuilding industries. By the 16th century, the population of Southampton had outstripped that of Winchester. By the mid-19th century, with the county's population at 219,210 (double that at the beginning of the century) in more than 86,000 dwellings, agriculture was the principal industry and 10 per cent of the county was still forest. Hampshire played a crucial military role in both World Wars. The borders of the ceremonial county were created by the Local Government Act 1972 (enacted 1974). Historically part of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight was made a separate ceremonial county and the towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch were administered as part of the ceremonial county of Dorset.

The county's geography is varied, with upland to 286 metres (938 ft) and mostly south-flowing rivers. There are areas of downland and marsh and two national parks: the New Forest and part of the South Downs, which together cover 45 per cent of Hampshire.

Hampshire is one of the most affluent counties in the country, with an unemployment rate lower than the national average. Its economy mainly derives from major companies, maritime, agriculture and tourism. Tourist attractions include seaside resorts, national parks, the National Motor Museum and the Southampton Boat Show. The county is known as the home of writers Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. Hampshire is also the childhood home of Florence Nightingale and the birthplace of engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Hampshire has a heady mix of developed urban areas in and around the cities but with lovely unspoilt countryside outside this, such as the New Forest. The New Forest Visitor Centre in Lyndhurst provides visitors with details of the many cycling and walking trails that go through the area.

With the New Forest and other numerous countryside areas Hampshire is blessed with a fine landscape with excellent walking and cycling trails that criss-cross the region.

A popular attraction is Beaulieu located at the southern tip of the New Forest, it is a former abbey and its buildings form a display on life based in a medieval monastery, and the Montagu family home of Palace House, this was formerly the abbey gatehouse.

There are plenty of visitors who come to Beaulieu in search of the National Motor Museum that is housed within its grounds. Here visitors can see a few hundred vehicles on display. Beaulieu has pretty much something for everyone, a mansion built upon the ruins of a medieval abbey and the famed National Motor Museum.

Beaulieu Palace has changed the 14th century Great Gatehouse of Beaulieu Abbey into a lovely family home.

For maritime enthusiasts there is Buckler's Hard, a picturesque village located in close proximity with a tradition of ship-building. Some ships commanded by Admiral Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar came from Buckler's Hard and there is now a museum to celebrate this rich naval tradition.

The coastal region of Hampshire is a mecca for sailing enthusiasts, the Solent is one of the busiest coastal zones in England, and it is one of the top destinations for sailing in the UK and is also of importance for conversation purposes and its landscape.

Southampton is one of the major centres in Hampshire, it lies to the east of the New Forest, 12 miles from Winchester on the south coast. Southampton has long been famous as a naval and trading port, there are some medieval buildings still remaining, including parts of the city wall and the 14th century Bar Gate.

Historically the city expanded during the Victorian era becoming a spa town and became a centre for shipbuilding.

Local attractions include the Sea City Museum telling the maritime storey of the city, Solent Sky highlights the history of aviation in the area.

The City Art Gallery includes fine art collections dating back over six centuries whilst the Medieval Merchants House, Mottisfont Abbey and Tudor House and Garden are local historical attractions of interest.

3. Cornwall

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Cornwall is an historic county and ceremonial county in South West England. It is recognised as one of the Celtic nations, and is the homeland of the Cornish people. Cornwall is bordered to the north and west by the Atlantic Ocean, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, with the River Tamar forming the border between them. Cornwall forms the westernmost part of the South West Peninsula of the island of Great Britain. The southwesternmost point is Land's End and the southernmost Lizard Point. Cornwall has a population of 568,210 and an area of 3,563 km2 (1,376 sq mi). The county has been administered since 2009 by the unitary authority, Cornwall Council. The ceremonial county of Cornwall also includes the Isles of Scilly, which are administered separately. The administrative centre of Cornwall is Truro, its only city.

Cornwall was formerly a Brythonic kingdom and subsequently a royal duchy. It is the cultural and ethnic origin of the Cornish diaspora. The Cornish nationalist movement contests the present constitutional status of Cornwall and seeks greater autonomy within the United Kingdom in the form of a devolved legislative Cornish Assembly with powers similar to those in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In 2014, Cornish people were granted minority status under the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, giving them recognition as a distinct ethnic group.

Cornwall is noted for its geology and coastal scenery. A large part of the Cornubian batholith is within Cornwall. The north coast has many cliffs where exposed geological formations are studied. The area is noted for its wild moorland landscapes, its long and varied coastline, its attractive villages, its many place-names derived from the Cornish language, and its very mild climate. Extensive stretches of Cornwall's coastline, and Bodmin Moor, are protected as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Cornwall’s formerly thriving industrial economy is far more conspicuous than in neighbouring Devon. Its more westerly stretches in particular are littered with the derelict stacks and castle-like ruins of the engine houses that once powered the region’s copper and tin mines, while deposits of china clay continue to be mined in the area around St Austell, as witnessed by the conical spoil heaps thereabouts. Also prominent throughout the county are the grey nonconformist chapels that reflect the impact of Methodism on Cornwall’s mining communities. Nowadays, of course, Cornwall’s most flourishing industry is tourism. The impact of the holiday business has been uneven, for instance cluttering Land’s End with a tacky leisure complex but leaving Cornwall’s other great headland, Lizard Point, undeveloped. The thronged resorts of Falmouth, site of the National Maritime Museum, and Newquay, the West’s chief surfing centre, have adapted to the demands of mass tourism, but its effects have been more destructive in smaller, quainter places, such as Mevagissey, Polperro and Padstow, whose genuine charms can be hard to make out in full season. Other villages, such as Fowey and Boscastle, still preserve an authentic feel, however, while you couldn’t wish for anything more remote than Bodmin Moor, a tract of wilderness in the heart of Cornwall, or the Isles of Scilly, idyllically free of development. It would be hard to compromise the sense of desolation surrounding Tintagel, site of what is fondly known as King Arthur’s Castle, or the appeal of the seaside resorts of St Ives and Bude – both with great surfing beaches – while, near St Austell, the spectacular Eden Project celebrates environmental diversity with visionary style.

In the crook of Towan Head, Towan Beach is the most central of the seven miles of firm sandy beaches that line the coast around Newquay. Town beaches such as this and Porth Beach, with its grassy headland, can get very busy with families in high season, and are popular with surfers all year, though the latter are more partial to Watergate Bay to the north, and Fistral Bay, west of Towan Head.

On the other side of East Pentire Head from Fistral, Crantock Beach – reachable over the Gannel River by ferry or upstream footbridge – is usually less crowded, and has a lovely backdrop of dunes and undulating grassland. South of Crantock, Holywell Bay and the three-mile expanse of Perran Beach, enhanced by caves and natural rock arches, are also very popular with surfers.

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4. Highland

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

The Highlands is a historical region of Scotland. Culturally, the Highlands and the Lowlands diverged from the Late Middle Ages into the modern period, when Lowland Scots replaced Scottish Gaelic throughout most of the Lowlands. The term is also used for the area north and west of the Highland Boundary Fault, although the exact boundaries are not clearly defined, particularly to the east. The Great Glen divides the Grampian Mountains to the southeast from the Northwest Highlands. The Scottish Gaelic name of A' Ghàidhealtachd literally means "the place of the Gaels" and traditionally, from a Gaelic-speaking point of view, includes both the Western Isles and the Highlands.

The Scottish Highlands are renowned for their natural beauty and are a popular subject in art (here depicted by Henry Bates Joel)

The area is very sparsely populated, with many mountain ranges dominating the region, and includes the highest mountain in the British Isles, Ben Nevis. During the 18th and early 19th centuries the population of the Highlands rose to around 300,000, but from c. 1841 and for the next 160 years, the natural increase in population was exceeded by emigration (mostly to Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, and migration to the industrial cities of Scotland and England.): xxiii, 414 and passim  The area is now one of the most sparsely populated in Europe. At 9.1/km2 (24/sq mi) in 2012, the population density in the Highlands and Islands is less than one seventh of Scotland's as a whole, comparable with that of Bolivia, Chad and Russia.

The Highland Council is the administrative body for much of the Highlands, with its administrative centre at Inverness. However, the Highlands also includes parts of the council areas of Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and Bute, Moray, North Ayrshire, Perth and Kinross, Stirling and West Dunbartonshire.

The Scottish Highlands is the only area in the British Isles to have the taiga biome as it features concentrated populations of Scots pine forest: see Caledonian Forest. It is the most mountainous part of the United Kingdom.

Alongside the natural drama, this is also an ancient landscape – Lewisian gneiss and Torridonian sandstone are some of the oldest rocks in the world – and with age come intoxicating stories. History in the Highlands is very much of the living, palpably raw variety.

This is not just wilderness, but rather a region shorn of its people in the notorious Highland Clearances of the 18th and 19th centuries. The sense of tragedy, of a land lost, of bonnie princes and hopeless causes imbues the hills with a unique sense of place and identity that goes much deeper than kilts and bagpipes.

Of course, there's plenty to do in the Scottish Highlands beyond the dramatic views. Nature walks and hikes, jaw-dropping train journeys, and iconic lake monsters are just a few reason to consider giving the Scottish Highlands your precious travel time.

Any time of year is a good time to visit, as each season brings its own joys, from watching the Highland Games in summer, to steaming the rails as autumn colours the land.

But if you’re ready to go now, springtime is ideal for hunting for machair wildflowers up in the Inner Hebrides (its northern isles fall under the Highland Council), while you could be among the first to tackle the new trails that are breathing fresh life into the glens and lochs.

5. Kent & Pembrokeshire

Photo: The Times
Photo: The Times

Kent is a county in South East England and one of the home counties. It borders Greater London to the north-west, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south-west, and Essex to the north across the estuary of the River Thames; it faces the French department of Pas-de-Calais across the Strait of Dover. The county town is Maidstone. It is the fifth most populous county in England, the most populous non-Metropolitan county and the most populous of the home counties.

Kent was one of the first British territories to be settled by Germanic tribes, most notably the Jutes, following the withdrawal of the Romans. Canterbury Cathedral in Kent, the oldest cathedral in England, has been the seat of the Archbishops of Canterbury since the conversion of England to Christianity that began in the 6th century with Saint Augustine. Rochester Cathedral in Medway is England's second-oldest cathedral. Located between London and the Strait of Dover, which separates England from mainland Europe, Kent has been the setting for both conflict and diplomacy, including the Battle of Britain in World War II and the Leeds Castle peace talks of 1978 and 2004.

England relied on the county's ports to provide warships through much of its history; the Cinque Ports in the 10th–14th centuries and Chatham Dockyard in the 16th–20th centuries were of particular importance. France can be seen clearly in fine weather from Folkestone and the White Cliffs of Dover. Hills in the form of the North Downs and the Greensand Ridge span the length of the county and in the Vale of Holmesdale in between and to the south are most of the county's 26 castles.

Pembrokeshire is a county in the south-west of Wales. It is bordered by Carmarthenshire to the east, Ceredigion to the northeast, and the rest by sea. The county is home to Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. The Park occupies more than a third of the area of the county and includes the Preseli Hills in the north as well as the 190-mile (310 km) Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

Historically, mining and fishing were important activities, while industry nowadays is focused on agriculture (86 per cent of land use), oil and gas, and tourism; Pembrokeshire's beaches have won many awards. The county has a diverse geography with a wide range of geological features, habitats and wildlife. Its prehistory and modern history have been extensively studied, from tribal occupation, through Roman times, to Welsh, Irish, Norman, English, Scandinavian and Flemish influences.

Pembrokeshire County Council's headquarters are in the county town of Haverfordwest. The council has a majority of Independent members, but the county's representatives in both the Senedd and UK Parliament are Conservative. Pembrokeshire's population was 122,439 at the 2011 census, an increase of 7.2 per cent from the 2001 figure of 114,131. Ethnically, the county is 99 per cent white and, for historical reasons, Welsh is more widely spoken in the north of the county than in the south.

6. Cumbria

Photo: Creative Tourist
Photo: Creative Tourist

Cumbria is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in North West England. The county and Cumbria County Council, its local government, came into existence in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972. Cumbria's county town is Carlisle, in the north of the county. The only other major urban area is Barrow-in-Furness on the south-western tip of the county.

The administrative county of Cumbria consists of six districts (Allerdale, Barrow-in-Furness, Carlisle, Copeland, Eden and South Lakeland) and, in 2019, had a population of just over 500,000 people. Cumbria is one of the most sparsely populated counties in England, with 73.4 people per km2 (190/sq mi). In late 2021, it was proposed that the administrative county of Cumbria would be abolished and replaced with two new unitary authorities; Westmorland and Furness (Barrow-in-Furness, Eden, South Lakeland) and Cumberland (Allerdale, Carlisle, Copeland).

Cumbria is the third largest county in England by area. It is bounded to the north-east by Northumberland, the east by County Durham, the south-east by North Yorkshire, the south by Lancashire, the west by the Irish Sea, the north-west by the Scottish council areas of Dumfries and Galloway, and the north by Scottish Borders.

Cumbria is predominantly rural and contains the Lake District National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site considered one of England's finest areas of natural beauty, serving as inspiration for visual artists, writers and musicians. A large area of the south-east of the county is within the Yorkshire Dales National Park, while the east of the county fringes the North Pennines AONB. Much of Cumbria is mountainous and it contains every peak in England over 3,000 feet (910 m) above sea level, with the top of Scafell Pike at 3,209 feet (978 m) being the highest point in England. An upland, coastal and rural area, Cumbria's history is characterised by invasions, migration and settlement, as well as battles and skirmishes between the English and the Scots. Notable historic sites in Cumbria include Carlisle Castle, Furness Abbey, Hardknott Roman Fort, Brough Castle and Hadrian's Wall (also a World Heritage Site).

The Lake District is England’s most hyped scenic area, and for good reasons. Within an area a mere thirty miles across, sixteen major lakes are squeezed between the country’s highest mountains – an almost alpine landscape of glistening water, dramatic valleys and picturesque stone-built villages. Most of what people refer to as the Lake District lies within the Lake District National Park, which, in turn, falls entirely within the northwestern county of Cumbria. The county capital is Carlisle, a place that bears traces of a pedigree that stretches back to Roman times, while both the isolated western coast and eastern market towns like Kendaland Penrith counter the notion that Cumbria is all about its lakes.

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7. Norfolk

Photo: TripAdvisor
Photo: TripAdvisor

Norfolk is a rural and non-metropolitan county in East Anglia in England. Norfolk is the fifth largest ceremonial county in England, with an area of 5,371 km² (2,074 sq mi). It borders Lincolnshire to the northwest, Cambridgeshire to the west and southwest, and Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea and to the northwest, The Wash. The county town is the city of Norwich. With an area of 2,074 square miles (5,370 km2) and a population of 859,400, Norfolk is a largely rural county with a population density of 401 per square mile (155 per km2). Of the county's population, 40% live in four major built up areas: Norwich (213,000), Great Yarmouth (63,000), King's Lynn (46,000), and Thetford (25,000).

The Broads is a network of rivers and lakes in the east of the county, extending south into Suffolk. The area is protected by the Broads Authority and has similar status to a national park.

Norfolk possesses a different kind of beauty than that of Britain’s more mountainous regions. Its peaceful Broads, windswept marshlands and blissfully empty beaches have the power to make travellers feel that they are well and truly away from it all – a rare feat in what is actually one of the most crowded countries in Europe. Whether you’re wildlife watching on the tranquil riverbanks or exploring the quaint flint villages, you won’t be competing for space with other tourists. If the isolation gets too much, you can always head into Norwich, where a buzzing cultural scene, a handful of big-name sights and some excellent food and drink will ease you back into civilisation.

England’s west coast bears the brunt of the country’s rain, which means that lucky Norfolk – which is on the east coast – is a drier county than most. Summer days are warm and you can usually plan time outdoors without ending up waterlogged. The beaches are popular during English school holidays in late July and August, but there are miles upon miles of them so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding your own spot of sand. September is often still warm enough for beach days.

In winter the towns are given over to Christmas markets, ice-skating rinks and open fires to ward off the cold. Spring is a happy medium between the two, offering increasingly warm weather, bright colours in the countryside and fewer people in the beaches and towns. Visit in May for one of the country’s oldest arts celebrations, the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, where you can watch live music, theatre and orchestral concerts in venues across the region.

  • Trundle around the beautiful Broads on the Bure Valley Railway, a narrow gauge steam railway that winds through some of Norfolk’s prettiest landscapes. If you really love vintage transport, head to the Wells and Walsingham Railway for another charming journey on a steam train through the fields.
  • It’s almost inevitable you’ll spend a little time in Norfolk’s wetlands, so it’s well worth learning about the ecosystems before you go. One of the best places to find out more is at Green Quay, an interactive museum about the county’s diverse wildlife. You can see the animals that live in the waters of the region and learn about the effects of climate change on the beautiful Norfolk wetlands.
  • Fancy a day of exploring noble family homes and elegant gardens? You’re in luck – Norfolk has lots of National Trust properties. Most visitors make a beeline for Blickling Hall, and indeed this red-brick mansion is one of the most attractive heritage sites in the county. But there are other, less well-known buildings you shouldn’t miss, namely the moat-encircled Oxburgh Hall, whose history is particularly compelling and the less-often explored Felbrigg Hall, which features grand mahogany libraries and carefully kept gardens.
  • The Norfolk Broads is a network of tranquil waterways that link a series of pretty villages. While here, don’t just stay on the water; some of the small village, such as St. Olaves, are well worth disembarking for. You can spend a day exploring its medieval priory and an old mill before dining in a village inn with views of the winding River Waveney.
  • If you want a solitary rambles along deserted shores, there’s no better place for it than the Winterton Dunes National Nature Reserve. If you’re there during December and January, look out for the resident grey seal colony who will be cooing over their newly arrived and extremely adorable pups.

8. Sussex

Photo: Britannica
Photo: Britannica

Sussex, from the Old English Sūþsēaxe (lit. 'South Saxons'), is a historic county in South East England that was formerly an independent medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdom. It is bounded to the west by Hampshire, north by Surrey, northeast by Kent, south by the English Channel, and divided for many purposes into the ceremonial counties of West Sussex and East Sussex.

Brighton and Hove, though part of East Sussex, was made a unitary authority in 1997, and as such, is administered independently of the rest of East Sussex. Brighton and Hove was granted City status in 2000. Until then, Chichester was Sussex's only city. The Brighton and Hove built-up area is the 15th largest conurbation in the UK and Brighton and Hove is the most populous city or town in Sussex. Crawley, Worthing and Eastbourne are major towns, each with a population over 100,000. Sussex has three main geographic sub-regions, each oriented approximately east to west. In the southwest is the fertile and densely populated coastal plain. North of this are the rolling chalk hills of the South Downs, beyond which is the well-wooded Sussex Weald.

Sussex was home to some of Europe's earliest known hominids (Homo heidelbergensis), whose remains at Boxgrove have been dated to 500,000 years ago. Sussex played a key role in the Roman conquest of Britain, with some of the earliest significant signs of a Roman presence in Britain. Local chieftains allied with Rome, resulting in Cogidubnus being given a client kingdom centred on Chichester. The kingdom of Sussex was founded in the aftermath of the Roman withdrawal from Britain. According to legend, it was founded by Ælle, King of Sussex, in AD 477. Around 827, it was annexed by the kingdom of Wessex and subsequently became a county of England. Sussex played a key role in the Norman conquest of England when in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, landed at Pevensey and fought the decisive Battle of Hastings.

A closer look at the varied landscape shows reveals flower filled meadows, orchards, hop gardens, sandstone outcrops. The varied landscape supports a wide array of wildlife in the area.

The ‘Weald’ means wilderness or forest and the High Weald was once an untamed, wooded area, with patches of wild grassland and heath land, it now has the highest proportion of ancient woodland in the country. This area is constantly evolving and ensures an ever changing sight.

The High Weald remains a mainly medieval landscape and is one of the very few left in the country.

The historic town of Arundel is located in the heart of the South Downs in Sussex, 10 miles from Chichester. Famous for the Norman castle and Gothic cathedral, this quaint town is full of character and a favourite with visitors.

It has cobbled streets, traditional tea rooms along with galleries, restaurants and specialist shops. The countryside here quintessential English with its green and pleasant land, the lush meadows and picturesque scenery make this a pretty town.

The South Downs area provides many miles of dramatic scenery and some charming village pubs that are located all over this region.

The town has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere to it and is a good place to wonder around you can make in an afternoon tea at one of the tearooms and visit the Farmer's Market that takes place in the Town Square.

Arundel Castle was complete shortly after the Norman Conquest, it has since been added to and restored over the years. It is the country’s second biggest castle has been home to many noble dynasties, highlights include Barons Hall and the Library, the castle is located in 40 acres with beautiful surroundings.

Hastings is a seaside town located 35 miles east of Brighton; is a town that is known the world over for the battle of 1066. When William the Conqueror arrived on English shores in 1066 Hastings was a busy, flourishing port.

The celebrated Battle of Hastings took place a few miles to the north at a place that has been named Battle. Over the years Hastings grew and became a fashionable seaside resort during the Victorian era. The town still carries on its maritime tradition and is still home to the largest fishing fleet in Europe.

The Old Town consists of narrow streets and timbered buildings, visitors can learn about local history at the Old Town Hall Museum. Local attractions include the Jerwood Gallery with exhibitions of 20th and 21st century British art works.

9. Dorset

Photo: Rossi Writes
Photo: Rossi Writes

Dorset is a county in South West England on the English Channel coast. The ceremonial county comprises the unitary authority areas of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and Dorset. Covering an area of 2,653 square kilometres (1,024 sq mi), Dorset borders Devon to the west, Somerset to the north-west, Wiltshire to the north-east, and Hampshire to the east. The county town is Dorchester which is in the south. After the reorganisation of local government in 1974, the county's border was extended eastward to incorporate the Hampshire towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch. Around half of the population lives in the South East Dorset conurbation, while the rest of the county is largely rural with a low population density.

The county has a long history of human settlement stretching back to the Neolithic era. The Romans conquered Dorset's indigenous Celtic tribe, and during the Early Middle Ages, the Saxons settled the area and made Dorset a shire in the 7th century. The first recorded Viking raid on the British Isles occurred in Dorset during the eighth century, and the Black Death entered England at Melcombe Regis in 1348. Dorset has seen much civil unrest: in the English Civil War, an uprising of vigilantes was crushed by Oliver Cromwell's forces in a pitched battle near Shaftesbury; the doomed Monmouth Rebellion began at Lyme Regis; and a group of farm labourers from Tolpuddle were instrumental in the formation of the trade union movement. During the Second World War, Dorset was heavily involved in the preparations for the invasion of Normandy, and the large harbours of Portland and Poole were two of the main embarkation points. The former was the sailing venue in the 2012 Summer Olympics, and both have clubs or hire venues for sailing, Cornish pilot gig rowing, sea kayaking and powerboating.

Dorset has a varied landscape featuring broad elevated chalk downs, steep limestone ridges and low-lying clay valleys. Over half the county is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Three-quarters of its coastline is part of the Jurassic Coast Natural World Heritage Site due to its geological and palaeontologic significance. It features notable landforms such as Lulworth Cove, the Isle of Portland, Chesil Beach and Durdle Door. Agriculture was traditionally the major industry of Dorset but is now in decline and tourism has become increasingly important to the economy. There are no motorways in Dorset but a network of A roads cross the county and two railway main lines connect to London. Dorset has ports at Poole, Weymouth and Portland, and an international airport near Bournemouth. The county has a variety of museums, theatres and festivals, and is host to the Great Dorset Steam Fair, one of the biggest events of its kind in Europe. It is the birthplace of Thomas Hardy, who used the county as the principal setting of his novels, and William Barnes, whose poetry celebrates the ancient Dorset dialect.

10. Gwynedd

Photo: LovetoEscape
Photo: LovetoEscape

Gwynedd is a county and preserved county (latter with differing boundaries; includes the Isle of Anglesey) in the north-west of Wales. It shares borders with Powys, Conwy County Borough, Denbighshire, Anglesey over the Menai Strait, and Ceredigion over the River Dyfi. The scenic Llŷn Peninsula and most of Snowdonia National Park are in Gwynedd. Bangor is the home of Bangor University.

As a local government area, it is the second largest in Wales in terms of land area and also one of the most sparsely populated. A majority of the population is Welsh-speaking. Gwynedd also refers to being one of the preserved counties of Wales, covering the two local government areas of Gwynedd and Anglesey. Named after the old Kingdom of Gwynedd, both culturally and historically, Gwynedd can also be used for most of North Wales, such as the area that was policed by the Gwynedd Constabulary. The current area is 2,548 square kilometres (984 square miles), with a population of 121,874 as measured in the 2011 Census.

In the past, historians such as J. E. Lloyd assumed that the Celtic source of the word "Gwynedd" meant "collection of tribes" – the same root as the Irish fine, meaning "tribe". Further, a connection is recognised between the name and the Irish Féni, an early ethnonym for the Irish themselves, related to fían, "company of hunting and fighting men, company of warriors under a leader". Perhaps *u̯en-, u̯enə (strive, hope, wish) is the Indo-European stem. The Irish settled in NW Wales, and in Dyfed, at the end of the Roman era. Venedotia was the Latin form, and in Penmachno there is a memorial stone from c. AD 500 which reads: Cantiori Hic Iacit Venedotis ("Here lies Cantiorix, citizen of Gwynedd"). The name was retained by the Brythons when the kingdom of Gwynedd was formed in the 5th century, and it remained until the invasion of Edward I. This historical name was revived when the new county was formed in 1974.

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