Guide to Britain's best locations for landscape photography

From the spectacular Cornish coastline to the stunning vistas of the Lakes and rugged Scottish mountain ranges, Britain is spoilt for choice when it comes to dramatic landscapes. Our expert guide to the best locations for landscape photography in the UK

4th March 2018
Best locations for landscape photography

You don't have to head abroad to capture dramatic landscapes – here is a selection of the best places to photograph landscapes in the UK

Snowdonia National Park, Wales

Llyn (Lake) Idwal and the peak of Pen yr Ole Wen in the distance, Snowdonia National Park
Llyn (Lake) Idwal and the peak of Pen yr Ole Wen in the distance, Snowdonia National Park/Credit: Getty

Packed with great mountain climbs, idyllic river walks, lakeside rambles and coastal hikes, landscapes don't come much more inspiring for photographers than Snowdonia National Park. Try locations such as Capel Curig, Ogwen, Llyn Gwynant and Tall-y-Llyn for dramatic mountains mirrored in fantastically calm lakes and beautiful misty valleys. Snowdonia’s luminous greens and purples capture the best of dramatic landscape and moody weather, while Tall-y-Llyn is great for bluebells and in rusty red colouring in autumn.

Best for: Photographers looking for dramatic, Tolkien-esque scenery and skies

Beachy Head, South Downs National Park

Lighthouse and chalk white cliffs at Beachy Head
Lighthouse and chalk white cliffs at Beachy Head/Credit: Getty

The dramatic white chalky cliffs of Beachy Head in the South Downs National Park provides an iconic shot for photographers. From above and below, the contrast of blue, green, red and stark white of this famous cliff-side location in East Sussex has inspired many a photographer. Clear sunny days are probably the best time to capture the different colour variations.

Best for: Striking coastal shots – look out for mysterious sea mists shrouding the cliffs and the iconic lighthouse in the sea below


Yorkshire Dales National Park, Northern England

Sunset over Ribblehead viaduct on the Settle to Carlisle line in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Surrounded by the three peaks of Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-ghent
Sunset over Ribblehead viaduct on the Settle to Carlisle line in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Surrounded by the three peaks of Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-ghent/Credit: Getty

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is a medley of grassy mountainous terrain with strange ruins and rock formations that punctuate the landscape. See geological curiosities - the Norber Erratics near Crummock Dale, the steadfast Ribblehead Viaduct and Whernside - the highest of Yorkshire’s ‘Three Peaks’. Take in the top-of-the-world views from Simon’s Seat, the strange limestone pavement of the Southerscales Scar and see Ingleborough’s peak in the winter when covered in snow.

Best for: Curious rock formations and the rolling green hills of the Yorkshire Dales.

Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

Giants Causeway in County Antrim, Ireland
Giant's Causeway in County Antrim, Ireland/Credit: Getty

The Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, created through an ancient volcanic eruption. The hexagonal shapes of Northern Ireland’s honeycomb of rocks is breathtakingly weird and wonderful and creates fantastic light and shadows.

Best for: marvels of nature

Jurassic Coast, Dorset

View of Durdle Door, a natural rock arch on the Jurassic coastline of Dorset. Durdle Door is one of the most iconic sites in England/Credit: Getty
View of Durdle Door, a natural rock arch on the Jurassic coastline of Dorset. Durdle Door is one of the most iconic sites in England/Credit: Getty

The Jurassic Coast’s dramatic bays and cliffs are as famous as the fossils that give it World Heritage Site status. Some of the best places for photographs are Burton Bradstock – sunny days are best to capture the golden hue of the cliffs, the chalk sea stacks of Old Harry Rocks and the famous arch of Durdle Door. Chesil Beach and the Fleet are also very scenic, especially if photographed from the top of Abbotsbury Hill. 

Best for: looming cliffs and sandy coves with crystal-clear seas.

Lake District, North West England

A stunning long exposure of a clissic English Lake District scene. Loughrigg Tarn with Autumn trees at sunrise
A stunning long exposure of a clissic English Lake District scene. Loughrigg Tarn with Autumn trees at sunrise/Credit: Getty

Snowscapes in winter, brassy tones in autumn and crisp blue skies in spring and summer, the Lake District is a strikingly beautiful all year round. Striding Edge on Helvellyn in the winter is good for photos in the snow. Blea Tarn, Friars Crag, Ullswater and Haweswater are all good locations to make the most of the areas lakes. Also try Catbells for views and Castlerigg Stone Circle near Keswick.

Best for: panoramic views of lakes and mountains and lakeside shots

River Avon, South West England

View of River Avon from Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol
View of River Avon from Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol/Credit: Getty

The river Avon covers a large area of countryside in South West England. As well as the famous sections in Bath and under the Clifton suspension bridge in Bristol, the stretches from Trowbridge to Bath are very pretty – particularly near Freshford and Bradford-on-Avon.

Best for: quaint Victorian-style boating canals surrounded by flat grassy fields

Isle of Skye, Scotland

The Old Man of Storr looms over Portree, Isle of Skye
The Old Man of Storr looms over Portree, Isle of Skye/Credit:Getty

Explore Quiraing, Glenbrittle, Elgol, Point of Neist and Eilean Donan castle to find perfect places to photograph this enchanted island in Scotland.

Best for: fairytale scenery of lochs, castles, coast and mountainous hills

Wistman's Wood, Dartmoor

The mysterious Wistman's Wood, an ancient stunted pedunculate oak woodland high on the Dartmoor moorland, Dartmoor National Park, Devon
The mysterious Wistman's Wood, an ancient stunted pedunculate oak woodland high on the Dartmoor moorland, Dartmoor National Park, Devon/Credit:Getty

The green moss-covered boulders among the sprawling, stunted oaks of Wistman’s Wood in Devon make this a beautifully fantastical location for photos.

Best for: eerie, ancient woodland shots


Camber Sands, East Sussex

Camber Sands Beach, Essex
Camber Sands Beach, Essex/Credit:Getty

Situated on Camber Sands in Sussex, the biggest sand beach on the South East of England, the rolling Rye dunes are great for photos of sand patters and the different shadows caused by the dunes and grasses can be very striking.

Best for: dramatic beach scenes

New Forest, Hampshire

A view of a single pine tree at Bratley View in the New Forest
A view of a single pine tree at Bratley View in the New Forest/Credit: Getty

The gorgeous soft purple and russet brown colours of the New Forest are best in August and late October to early November. Vales Moor and Hasley Hill are covered in bell heather and have a lovely mistiness in morning and evening.

Best for: misty heath purples and pretty pond areas

Tresco, Isles of Scilly

Tresco Island and beyond. From the Isles of Scilly UK.
Tresco Island and beyond. From the Isles of Scilly/Credit: Getty

The island has a tropical feel to it and has lovely white sand beaches and aquamarine seas. It is best photographed in the summer to capture its summer holiday feel.

Best for: tropical island-style photographs of the English coast
 

 

Main image: Isle of Skye, Scotland/Credit: Getty

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