05 March 2015

10 Wonders of the UK

We asked you to share the special places that can make a trip around the UK as inspiring as any adventure abroad. Here are 10 of your favourites: an inspiring, insider’s guide to the wonders of the UK:

1. Stonehenge, Wiltshire

“Shrouded in mystery, it remains an enigma,” said Brian of the world’s most iconic stone circle. Jane called it “Britain's pyramids” and, as Modupe explained, it’s an architectural feat that stays with you: “The standing stones come from South Wales, 250 miles away. There were about 80 of them, weighing up to four tonnes each, all aligned with the sunrise. Mind-blowing.” Jan, who stood in the circle on summer solstice, agreed: “As the top of sun's disc became visible, the only sound was the drawing of breath by thousands at the wonderful sight.”

2. Cheddar Gorge, Somerset

“Our very own Grand Canyon,” is how Chris described England's deepest gorge with its limestone walls towering over 150 metres. “Underneath it has these networks of caves with magnificent stalactites,” said Parishka. “And it was here that Britain’s oldest human skeleton, the 9,000 year-old ‘Cheddar Man’, was found.” James agreed: “The beautiful, mysterious landscape is a wonder for wildlife and history, but it also has a quaint village and a fantastic visitor centre showing how they make the famous cheese.”

3. Minack Theatre, Cornwall

“A spectacular open-air theatre carved into the natural stone, on top of the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic,” said Susan of this Cornish gem. The Minack is a place of pilgrimage for theatre-lovers and plenty of others besides. Emily revealed: “I was dragged there in bad weather but it turned out to be the experience of a lifetime.” Set among beautiful Tropical gardens, it’s also a wildlife haven - as Simon explained: “You can watch dolphins or birds diving for fish by day, and then Shakespeare at night with flashes of lighthouses over the headlands, and the ghostly glow of vessels anchored offshore.”

4. Flatford Mill, Suffolk

Immortalised by John Constable’s famous painting, Hay Wain, this stretch of cottage, watermill and the winding River Stour is just as beautiful and pastoral in the flesh. “It remains very, very peaceful, “ Linda said. “Like nowhere else.” Emma-Louise agreed: “There are wonderful views across the countryside, dotted with black and white cattle. Take a rowing boat down the river with the sun glittering on the water and birds flying overhead and you can’t help but feel this is a true wonder of the UK.”

5. Major Oak, Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire

“It does not matter where I go in the world, everyone knows the legend of Robin Hood,” said Lisa as she gave her vote to this 1,000-year-old tree reputed to have been the outlaw’s hiding place. “It's the legend of many films and songs but I love the Major Oak too because it is something from my childhood that still stands proud and majestic. And I hope it exists for many generations to come.”

6. Holy Island, Northumberland

"Crossing over the tidal causeway to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne you know you’re somewhere special,” said David. “You can imagine the Vikings sailing across the bay, and the castle, the priory, the museum and church are fascinating.” This is a place where the lure of nature – especially seals and seabirds – combines with that of human history. “It feels like a Famous Five adventure,” said Helen. “It instantly captured the imagination of three generations. Wonderful and unique.”

7. Malham Cove, North Yorkshire

“A massive, natural amphitheatre appears before you in a most unexpected, dramatic surprise,” explained Richard of this ancient limestone cliff, once the backdrop to a huge waterfall. “You can wander down to see the river flowing from its base or cross the glints and grykes formed in its famous pavement at the top.” The wildlife is breathtaking too. “We saw green woodpeckers, peregrine falcons and a dipper in the stream,” Mahzad revealed. “It will stay in my memory for ever.”

8. Giant’s Causeway, Antrim, Northern Ireland

“The most stunning rock formations, a wild climate, and a mythical history,” said Lesley of this startling array of basalt columns stretching out into the sea. “Whether you choose to believe the folklore tales of Finn McCool building the causeway or the scientific explanations of lava from an ancient volcano, it is always a stunning sight and experience.”

9. Norfolk Broads, Norfolk

Samuel picked out the Norfolk Broads network of navigable rivers and lakes as his wonder, describing it as a “beautiful, man-made place that has developed into a nature heaven.” Angus agreed, calling it: “Unforgettable and timeless with its gorgeous sunsets, enchanting riverside cottages and windmills spread over 125 miles of waterways.”

10. Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye

The almost magical setting of this series of streams and waterfalls has many of you under its spell. “Located at the foot of the Black Cuillin mountains they are a mix of beautiful colours,” explained Sandra. “From lavenders to sea greens, the waterfalls are lovely against the background of stunning crags and blue skies.” The water is refreshingly cool and according to David, “perfect for skinny dipping...if you're brave enough!”

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