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The Best UK Hidden Gems in 2023, According to the Internet

17 March 2023


The UK is home to all kinds of hidden gems, with everything from top-secret white sandy beaches to picturesque forests to explore. This year, more UK holidaymakers than ever before are expected to holiday within Britain, opting to search for new adventures ‘local’ rather than take a flight abroad. 

In light of the growing interest in domestic holidays, interest in UK hidden gems has risen considerably over recent years, with many potential travellers turning to TikTok for a new source of inspiration. As a result, the hashtag #ukhiddengems has 138.2M views (March 2023), while content tagged with #hiddengemsuk has been seen 8.6M times. 

Many Brits are now choosing to stay within the UK this year, which is down to several different factors. Everything from the rising cost of living to lifestyle changes brought about by the pandemic has initiated a shift towards UK holidays and mini breaks.

It’s no secret that there are plenty of great holiday destinations to enjoy in the UK, but the latest research suggests that Brits are moving the focus to lesser-known spots and hidden gems. In fact, monthly searches for the phrase “UK hidden gems” have continued to grow, increasing by over 325% since November 2021.

The Best UK Hidden Gems in 2023

As experts on the latest travel trends, we always have an eye on the next big thing in travel. As part of ongoing research into travel preferences and UK trends, we have analysed data by identifying the most popular UK hidden gems and how they trend on social media. From one of Europe’s “last untouched natural habits” in Scotland to Historic locations in Bristol, these are the UK’s top hidden gems for 2023.  

Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland – Score: 76.51

According to a our research looking at social media interest and search volume, Wild Atlantic Way places firmly as the top UK Hidden Gem in 2023. Spanning 1600 miles (2600 km) in length, it’s one of the world’s longest defined coastal route winding along the Irish west coast from Inishowne Peninsula in the north, down to the town of Kinsale, County Cork in the South.

Outer Hebrides, Scotland – Score: 35.41

Scotland’s Outer Hebrides offers something for everyone, with plenty of activities ranging from walking and cycling to attractions like the Butt of Lewis Lighthouse and Scarista Beach. 

Ladybower Reservoir, Peak District & Derbyshire – Score: 26.64

There’s so much to explore in the Peak District, but one of the attractions creating a buzz on social media this year is Ladybower Reservoir. The beautiful reservoir is well worth a visit, as is the surrounding countryside. 

Montrose Beach, Scotland – Score: 26.22

If you’re looking for seaside escapes, our top tip is Montrose Beach. This beach is famed for its golden sandy shores, but it’s also quite the hidden gem – so you won’t have to battle crowds during the warmer summer months. 

Nanjizal Beach, Cornwall – Score: 18.92

Cornwall is one of the UK’s top destinations for beach trips, but many of its best beaches can get incredibly busy. So, go off the beaten track and head to Nanjizal Beach. Situated in a peaceful, quiet cove, this beach has incredible crystal clear water. 

Rievaulx Abbey, Yorkshire – Score: 17.89

The UK of course has a rich and intriguing history, which is why many of our top hidden gems are historical attractions. Rievaulx Abbey is a prime example. The ruin has attracted plenty of attention on social media already this year. But, for those who love walking, there are plenty of scenic walking routes around Yorkshire to take.

Lundy Island, Devon – Score: 16.35

Off the coast of North Devon you’ll find Lundy Island, an inspiring and impressive island that’s open to visitors. Take the ferry over to the island for a day trip like no other. 

Old Sarum, Salisbury – Score: 14.68

Many of our top hidden gems are free to enter. Take Old Sarum in Salisbury, for example. There’s no charge to explore the site of this mighty Iron Age hill fort. And if you’re interested in seeing more, you can buy a ticket to venture inside the Norman Castle. 

Loch Awe, Scotland – Score: 12.21

An amazing haven for wildlife, Loch Awe really lives up to its name. This is the longest freshwater loch in Scotland. It’s perfect for sedate weekends embracing nature. 

St Dunstan-in-the-East, London – Score: 11.96

You might be surprised to hear that London has any hidden gems left to discover, but this church garden is definitely one of them. The unique garden can be found within a ruined church, it’s a real oasis in the capital. 

Golitha Falls, Cornwall – Score: 10.78

Golitha Falls is actually a series of waterfalls that visitors can see as they journey along the River Fowey. We’d definitely recommend taking a trip here if you’re heading to Cornwall this year. 

Lydford Gorge, Devon – Score: 10.75

Looking for a challenge? Then head to Lydford Gorge in Devon. Here you’ll find a three-mile long walking trail that, while treacherous in places, promises amazing rewards for those brave enough to attempt it. 

Sgwd Henrhyd (Henrhyd Falls), Wales – Score: 9.86

Wales is home to some jaw-dropping scenery, and Sgwd Henrhyd is a prime example. The tallest waterfall in southern Wales, it has a 90ft drop and really is a sight to behold. 

Mullion Cove, Cornwall – Score: 8.26

At high tide the beach of Mullion Cove all but disappears, but visit during low tide and you’ll be treated to an incredible sandy beach in the heart of Cornwall. The Victorian harbour is well worth a visit too.

Clifton Observatory, Bristol – Score: 7.85

Situated in a former mill, Clifton Observatory is one of Bristol’s best kept secrets. The historic building sits above the Avon Gorge, and visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the Clifton Suspension Bridge from within it. 

Dolphin spotting at Chanonry Point, Scotland – Score: 7.53

Scotland offers some great opportunities to enjoy wildlife in its natural habitat. Head to Chanonry Point just after low tide and you may spot the resident Moray Firth Dolphins.

Lauriston Castle, Scotland – Score: 7.32

Escape the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh city centre and venture into Lauriston Castle, one of the city’s best hidden gems. The tranquil castle offers the perfect opportunity to explore, with plenty to keep visitors entertained. 

Pontefract Castle, Yorkshire – Score: 7.27

Pontefract Castle dates back to 1070, and if its walls could speak they’d definitely have some stories to tell. The Yorkshire castle is a great spot for days out in any weather, and there are some great outside spaces for youngsters to enjoy. 

Marloes Sands, Wales – Score: 6.92

One of the most spectacular beaches in the UK, Marloes Sands is another hidden gem that’s getting plenty of attention on social media. Stretching for 1.5 kilometres, the sandy beach is surrounded by cliffs and boasts amazing views over to Skokholm Island. 

Newgale Beach, Wales – Score: 6.28

Newgale Beach is well known amongst surfers, but it’s also great for seaside holidays and weekend escapes. The two-mile long beach has beautiful golden sands, making it one of our favourite spots for UK holidays on the coast. 

UK holidaymakers are spoilt for choice, with so many incredible destinations and attractions just waiting to be explored. If you’d like to find out more about any of the hidden gems we’ve mentioned, or you need help booking your next UK break, contact a member of our team. 

We’ll be happy to advise you on everything from the best accommodation near our top attractions, to similar hidden gems in the area you’re planning to travel to. Get in touch to find out more. 

Research accurate as of March 2023

Methodology:  We used various articles on UK Hidden gems to create an initial seed list. We then pulled TikTok views, Instagram hashtag data and search volume for each hidden gem, and assigned each a value, before finding the average of these scores to create the final score and ranking.

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