Five Beautiful Places In The United Kingdom
Walking in the Mountains
This is me with good friends, Fleur and Helen, on a mountain side overlooking the town of Keswick in the Lake District. It was summer, July in fact. It was windy and there were a few showers on the hills. But, a great day of walking, with stunning views.
Here, I offer you some information about awesome places to visit around the UK. We have historic cities and towns, beautiful national parks, hills, mountains, lakes, rivers, and some curious towns and villages with bizarre names.
Have a look at the photos, imagine breathing the fresh air, maybe plan a trip...
For cheap accommodation, check out the Youth Hostel Association website
The Peak District - The White Peaks and the Dark Peaks
Unless otherwise stated, the photos on this page are my own. Please contact me first, if you wish to re-use any of them.
The Peak District was our first National Park. It is a very special place, attracting millions of visitors from aound the United Kingdom and the rest of the world. The Peak District is a stunning place to walk, cycle or sail. There are 1867 miles of 'rights of way', over 50 miles of cycle trails and 202 square miles of open access land. The Pennine Way, the Pennine Bridleway and the Trans-Pennine trail are major routes passing through the Peak District.
The Dark Park is the northern part of the Peak District - more remote, wilder and higher than the southern section, the White Peak.
For great local produce, and a selection of excellent pubs and restaurants, visit the peak district towns of Matlock, Buxton and Bakewell.
Views of the Peak District - if you wish to use any of my photos, please contact me firstClick thumbnail to view full-size
How to get to the Peaks
Sports & Handheld GPS Devices
A handheld GPS is very useful when you're hiking or exploring the mountains. Find out exactly where you are, the altitude, and the distance you've walked.
I love the Foretrex 401 wrist-mounted GPS navigator. It's great for outdoor activities that require you to keep your hands free, like skiing and climbing. It has a high-sensitivity waterproof receiver, with an electronic compass and altimeter.
The Lake District - The beauty of lakes and mountains
"The Lakes" are in Cumbria, in the north west of England. Cumbria is a rural county, including not just the Lake District, but also part of the Yorkshire Dales, the Eden Valley and the North Pennines.
The Lake District is an intense experience of lakes and mountains. The beauty of the Lakes has inspired many writers and poets. The Lakes School of the 'Romantic Movement' included William Wordsworth, Robert Southey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, as well as Dorothy Wordsworth, Thomas De Quincey and others.
Many of us learnt the first verse of Wordsworth's 'Daffodils' at school:
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
It's still possible to visit Dove Cottage, Wordsworth's home from 1799 to 1808.
Geology of the Lake District
The geology of this spectacular area has been studied extensively. It stands on a granite batholith, formed from cooled magma. The low density of this rock has pushed everything up the to form an upland massif. The granite can be seen at the surface in several places, such as the Skiddaw, Eskdale and the Shap granites.
Geologists divide the area into three, with bands running southwest to northeast, and the rock ages being less from northwest to southeast. The northwestern band is mainly mudstones and siltstones of marine origin. Skiddaw is in this area of relatively smooth-sloped mountains, and has a large scree field around the summit. Skiddaw slate was first identified on Skiddaw - it has a grey hue and was traditionally used for buildings in Keswick, in the Lake District.
The central band is the result of the geological turmoil which occurred as the former lapetus ocean was subducted under the Scottish border area. It is a mix of volcanic and sedimentary rocks. Lava flows produced the northern central peaks, such as Great Rigg. Then, a series of pyroclastic eruptions produced a series of calderas, including Scafell Pike. All this pyroclastic activity resulted in the craggy landscapes typical of the central fells.
The southeastern band is made up of mudstones and wackes (dull-coloured sandy rocks). These are less resistant to erosion than the rock sequences to the north.
The map is courtesy of the Ordnance Survey:
Contains Ordnance Survey data
Views of the Lake District - if you wish to use any of my photos, please contact me firstClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Lake District In Print
A handy guide to pop in your pocket or backpack - make sure you don't miss those local secrets!
Whether you are interested in Wordsworth & the Lakeland Poets, Beatrix Potter's inspiration, cycling or walking through breath-taking scenery or sampling the best foods that the Lake District has to offer, this book presents it all. Includes 24 tour suggestions, 30 maps, hundreds of photos and a tear-resistant foldout map.
Snowdon - North Wales
The copyright on this image is owned by John S Turner and is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license.
Snowdonia National Park covers 823 square miles in Wales. It includes mountains, sheltered valleys, beautiful lakes, rivers and waterfalls, ancient oakwoods and forests. Swallow Falls and Craig y Deryn are worth seeing. The latter, also called Bird Rock is a landlocked former sea-cliff, still home to seabirds. If you have plenty of time, you could walk the newly-opened Wales Coast Path, with stretches 870 miles from Chepstow to Chester.
The crowning glory has to be Mount Snowdon itself. At 3560 ft, Snowdon is the highest summit in Wales and England. There are six documented "official routes" up Snowdon. All of these routes are about 8 miles for the round trip. All are great walking with beautiful and dramatic views, so try the Pyg Track, the Llanberis Path, Miners' Path, Rhyd Ddu Path, the Watkin Path or Snowdon Ranger for a great day on the Welsh mountains.
Views of Snowdonia - if you wish to use any of my photos please contact me firstClick thumbnail to view full-size
How to get to Snowdonia
The Rough Guide to Wales reviews the best restaurants and accommodation, and covers all price brackets. It covers all the regular tourist places, but also tells you about lesser known alternatives.
This Rough Guide is a superb guide to the beautiful country of Wales. It is printed in full-colour, and cover all the essentials with practical and helpful tips.
Ben Nevis - Scotland
The highest UK mountain is Ben Nevis, in the Scottish Highlands. The north face has cliffs around 2300 feet high - real attraction for serious climbers. The summit is 4409 feet above sea level, and sometimes above the clouds. There is a ruined observatory at the summit, where meteorological data was collected from 1883 to 1904.
Cairn Gorm is another well-known Scottish mountain. At 4084 feet, it is the sixth highest UK mountain. It is popular with skiers, during the winter months. The Cairngorm range became a national park in 2003.
This image is by wfmillar and is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license.
How to get to Aviemore
This book offers inspirational photos and detailed walking routes, with 53 clear and easy to use maps. The in-depth background information and useful planning tools will help you make the most of your visit to this beautiful, history-filled country.
Mountains in the UK
Which is your favourite UK mountain?
The Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland
A view of the Giant's Causeway, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland. The photo is from the Wikimedia Commons, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
About 40000 basalt columns make up the The Giant's Causeway. Most are hexagonal, but some have 4, 5, 7 or 8 sides, with the tallest being nearly 40 feet high. This World Heritage Site came into being as the result of a volcanic eruption. There are similar basalt columns at Fingal's Cave, on the Isle of Staffa in Scotland. These are part of the same ancient lava flow.
The tops of the columns look like stepping stones leading from the foot of the cliff into the sea, and towards Scotland. Because of this odd formation, a legend grew up about the Irish warrior Fionn mac Cumhaill. Also called Finn McCool, it was said that he built the causeway to reach Scotland where he would fight his Scottish rival Benandonner. Various versions of the legend exist, but all seem to involve the Scottish warrior crossing the causeway, then fleeing back to Scotland, tearing up the causeway, as he went.
Whatever the origin, the Giant's Causeway has been named as the fourth greatest natural wonder in the UK. It is Northern Ireland's most popular tourist.
Curious Flag-map of the United Kingdom
For more information...
- Home | Cairngorms National Park Authority
Mountains, native forests, spectacular rivers and lochs, moors and wildlife - this a very special place to visit.
- Visit Cumbria
Information about accommodation, restaurants, places to visit and things to do in Cumbria.
- Visit the Peaks
Website for the Peak District and Derbyshire
- Visit Snowdonia
Snowdonia National Park
- Youth Hostels Association
Youth Hostels in the UK | Adventure holidays & city breaks
- Giant's Causeway
Wikipedia article on the Giant's Causeway