The United Kingdom may not be the first country you think of when considering the best landscape photography destinations. Sure it may not have the scale of the landscapes in North America or wild nature of Iceland or New Zealand. But you could argue that there aren’t many countries that pack in so much variety to such a small space. There are tranquil rolling hills and valleys. Striking mountain ranges. Not to mention epic coastlines. So here are 10 UK spots that are perfect for a landscape photographer.
Sitting in the Scottish Highlands, Glencoe shot to fame a few years ago after appearing in the James Bond film, Skyfall. It’s no wonder that this stunning setting has been pulling in landscape photographers for years. Set amongst the imposing mountains are lonely cottages, beautiful waterfalls and serene lochs. But what makes Glencoe even more special is that it often looks even more dramatic in bad weather. A few storm clouds and low mist and suddenly the valley transforms into a moody scene that wouldn’t be out of place in a disaster movie.
Isle Of Sky
Further on from Glencoe is arguably the jewel in the crown of the beautiful Scottish landscape. The Isle of Skye feels like a different world. Maybe that is why it has been the setting for many sci-fi movies. Plan on at least 3 full days on this island because anything less will not be enough. The Isle of Skye has everything a landscape photographer could ever want. There is the stunning landscape of the Quiraing. The striking coast at Elgol. The iconic Old Man of Storr and the beautiful Neist Point with its own picture-perfect lighthouse. There’s also the miniature Fairy Glenn. If all of that is not enough, there is also the magical Fairy Pools that will keep you captivated for hours.
Heading west toward the tip of the United Kingdom will soon bring you to the county of Cornwall. An area teeming with history, myth not to mention some of the most stunning coastlines anywhere in the world. From Land’s End to the Lizard Peninsula, from the small fishing towns and villages to the impressive Bedruthan Steps, Cornwall is a landscape photographer’s dream destination. There are also endless beaches to explore as well as the unique Bodmin Moor. If that isn’t enough to convince you, how about age-old mines, ancient stone circles or the mighty St Michael’s Mount?
The Jurassic Coast sitting along the southern coast of the United Kingdom is a world heritage site. This diverse landscape is as historic as it is beautiful. A rugged and unique coast where dinosaurs once roamed, it is shrouded in mystery and beauty alike. This coastline really is a landscape photographers dream with its beautiful light and endless views. The most famous photography subject here is Durdle Door (pictured below). A natural limestone arch sitting in the sea. But that’s just one small location on this 95-mile stretch of coastline that covers Dorset and East Devon.
The Brecon Beacons are a mountain range in South Wales. It is said that they are named after the ancient practice of lighting signal fires on the mountains to warn of attacks by invaders. With its stunning walks offering beautiful views some amazing waterfalls and even the odd cave or two, Brecon Beacons National Park is one place that might not be top of your photography list, but it will surprise you.
You won’t find many UK landscape photographers who haven’t photographed the beautiful Lake District. Sitting in the North West of England, it is also known as the Lakes or Lakeland due to its many lakes. There are sixteen lakes in total with the largest being Windermere. If you are looking for those beautiful shots of tranquil lakes with a jetty leading to boats sitting on the water, look no further than this lake. But the other lakes are also worth photographing. Often these are surrounded by imposing mountains that add to the setting even more. When you have had enough of photographing lakes, head up on one of the many hikes up the mountains to get a glimpse from above. One of the most iconic of these views is Striding Edge!
The moors, valleys and hills of Yorkshire Dales are as quintessentially English as you could wish for. The area is teeming with natural sights like the limestone pavement of Malham Cove. Southeast, on the River Wharfe, the Bolton Abbey Estate includes the ruins of a 12th-century monastery. Malham Village features a towering cliff, and a footpath leading to Gordale Scar, a limestone ravine with waterfalls.
Heading to the North East of England will take you to the county of Northumberland. Filled with ancient castles, stunning coastlines, rugged moorland and friendly little market towns, it should be a must on any landscape photography trip in the UK. There is also the famous Hadrian’s Wall which became a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1987. It stretches 73 miles across the country and was built under the orders of Emperor Hadrian in AD122 and took 6 years to complete.
Situated on the west coast of Wales and covering 823 square miles of diverse landscapes, Snowdonia National Park is the largest National Park in Wales. Snowdonia also boasts the highest mountain in the UK outside Scotland. With mountains, lakes as well as a wealth of picturesque villages like Betws y Coed and Beddgelert, Snowdonia is an area steeped in culture and local history. It is also an area of the United Kingdom that lends itself beautifully to landscape photography especially in autumn and winter.
The great thing about the United Kingdom as a landscape photography destination is that it packs a huge variety of landscapes into a small area. In just a few weeks you could conceivably cover a pretty large area. So the next time you are thinking of a landscape photography destination why not give the United Kingdom a try. It may just surprise you.
Photo credits: Kav Dadfar – All rights reserved. No usage without permission. Dreamstime.