The British countryside has inspired painters, writers, and many other artists throughout the centuries. Today, escaping to the countryside is the dream of many city dwellers, so in this article we have listed some of the UK’s best-rated (and less crowded) rural destinations. You are guaranteed to find a place that tickles your fancy whether you are coming from the North, the capital, or the West of the country.
Tourists flock to Cumbria to explore the Lake District National Park, which is one of the finest examples of natural beauty in the United Kingdom. The attractive towns and villages of the area offer visitors the possibility to stay in charming cottages or in rural retreats.
However, if you want to beat the crowds and enjoy the peacefulness and splendor of the Cumbrian countryside, head to the Pennines, a spectacular mountain rage that rises almost 3,000 feet above sea level. This is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty made up of valleys, moorlands, limestone caves, and a few picturesque villages, like Alston or Garrigill, where visitors can stay overnight.
Although the Home Counties might be listed as one of Britain’s top tourist destinations, the area is not short of attractions, especially for lovers of rural life and traditional English heritage. Bedfordshire is home to several outstanding market towns, such as Ampthill, Biggleswade, and Sandy. Bedford itself has been a market town for over eight centuries. Woburn Abbey is also worth stopping by, as this fine estate is surrounded by 30 acres of carefully manicured gardens and by a 3,000-acre forest and deer park.
The Luton Hoo Hotel in Bedfordshire is a good base for visitors interested in touring around the Bedfordshire countryside. This 5-star hotel, golf resort, and spa is conveniently located a few miles away from Luton, although its location amidst 1,000 acres of woodlands means that the venue is perfect to escape the pressures of everyday life.
The Black Mountains
Located right at the border between England and Wales, the Black mountains are generally overlooked by tourists. Narrow valleys, ridges, hiking and cycling trails, medieval castles and priories, and delightful villages are some of the area’s attractions. The charming market town of Hay-on-Wye is a pleasant stop for those travelling to or from the Black Mountains. The town (also known as the United Kingdom’s book capital due to its large number of bookstores) offers an interesting range of accommodation options, which includes inns, lodges, hotels, and bed and breakfasts.
Other places worth visiting in the area include the town of Talgarth, where you can go pony trekking and gliding in and above the mountains, and Crickhowell, a quaint market town half way between the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons National Park.