Our travel experts reveal their favourite little-known UK gems | The Sun

THE UK is home to some amazing hidden gems that only the locals know about.

From secret gardens to off-the-beaten-track beaches, here are the best of the best, rounded up by The Sun travel team.

Bedgebury National Pinetum, Bedgebury -Caroline McGuire, Travel Editor

A truly magical place, just over an hour's drive from London, in the leafy High Weald, I first visited the Pinetum as a teenager and have
been coming back regularly ever since.

The Grade II listed landscape is home to the largest collection of conifers in the world.

Planted purposefully since 1925, as part of a collaboration between Kew Gardens and the Forestry Commission, they are spaced out in such a way that dappled sunlight reaches the ground wherever you walk.

It's not cheap to get in (£14.50 car parking charge) but as well as the pinetum, they also have a Gruffalo Trail for kids, a fantastic playground and Go Ape.

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Palm Bay, Margate – Kara Godfrey, Deputy Travel Editor

I was lucky enough to live in Margate for almost two years, and during that time learnt all about the local spots to avoid the crowds.

One of those was Palm Bay, a tiny beach the tourists always seem to forget about in favour of the main sands.

Tucked into the cliffs, it has the biggest sea lido in Europe, and a long stretch of sand.

Sure, it doesn't have the same amenities as the main strip does, but it has a nearby cafe and even a free sauna open sporadically.

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The best part is it remains crowd-free even during the summer months – and you'll only end up chatting to the locals, rather than tourists.

Alnwick Brewery Taproom – Ryan Gray, Travel Reporter

Alnwick is home to plenty of tourist attractions, including its castle, its gardens, its treehouse and one of Europe's biggest second-hand bookshops, Barter Books.

However, just outside of the town is a lesser-known spot where visitors can enjoy a local tipple, surrounded by the stunning Northumberland countryside.

Along a quiet road between Alnwick and Lesbury is the Alnwick Brewery Taproom, a place where visitors can not only see how the local beers are brewed, but also sample them.

Locally-made rum and gin are on the menu too, as is mead, made on the nearby island of Lindisfarne. 

Its beer garden is the perfect place to spend a warm summer's evening, while local restaurants and food companies take turns serving their food to guests on Friday evenings. 

Secret rooftop garden, Birmingham – Hope Brotherton, Travel Reporter

As a proud Brummie, I will sing the city's praises at the slightest opportunity.

While my hometown is famous for its busy shopping streets, there are plenty of other attractions that deserve some attention including a secret garden tucked away on the roof of Birmingham Library.

The city centre library is the biggest in the UK, and has ten levels housing books, archives, photographs, workspaces, studios, and theatres.

While most visitors head into the library to borrow a book or take a stroll among the shelves, you'd be silly to miss the secret garden.

The rooftop garden can be accessed via the seventh level of the library.

There you'll find views of the city's skyline as well as colourful flowers and several spots to sit and read.

And to make a visit even better, the library is completely free to enter. 

The Secret Garden, Crystal Palace – Giuli Graziano, Travel Writer

This quiet haven is only concealed by a fence off the main Crystal Palace triangle, where you can find bakeries, local coffee shops and independent stores.

Locals love to come here to relax and take a break from the city's noise.

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The garden has flowers, plants and a few benches to sit on to read books or chat with a friend. 

And if you fall in love with the gorgeous flower selection, you can even buy roses, shrubs and fruit trees.

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