Stunning Insta-ready destinations from around the UK and how to visit them

Ever see a shot on Instagram so beautiful you can’t believe it’s of a real place?

You’re in for a happy surprise, as these stunning sights can all be admired IRL, and they’re right here in the UK.

From the rugged beaches of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast to the Forest of Dean, here’s where you can find some of Britain’s most instragammable locations.

And to make your life even easier, we’ve already planned how you can turn it into a proper trip, with recommendations of places to stay, local attractions and travel advice.

St Edward’s Church, Stow-on-the-Wold

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What am I looking at? Two gnarled yew trees flanking the door to St Edward’s Church in Stow-on-the-Wold, looking more like Middle-earth than Middle England in this image from @realrobbentley.

It’s no surprise, then, that this entrance is rumoured to have been Tolkien’s inspiration for the Elven Door in The Lord Of The Rings.

Tell me what to do! Potter around the Cotswolds village and pop into antiques shops, art galleries and boutiques, all housed in Insta-ready honey-coloured cottages.

If you get peckish, head to the market square and pick up some local produce from the farmer’s market (every second Thursday of the month), or sit down for a decadent vegan brunch at The Hive.

Can I make a trip of it? If you want more Cotswolds loveliness, picturesque Bourton-on-the-Water is up the road and there is even a mini version to admire in the form of the Model Village.

When you get bored of cutesy cobbled streets and dinky bridges visit the elaborate Sezincote house and gardens, built in the style of the Mughal palaces of 18th-century India.

Kingham (5 mi) and Moreton-in-Marsh (4.5 mi) are both a 15-minute bus journey from the village.

Cathedral, Forest of Dean

A huge stained-glass window in a vast, oak-lined aisle, reflecting sunlight as it filters through the woodland canopy above.

Better known as Cathedral, this ethereal art installation is one of the highlights of the Forest of Dean’s Sculpture trail, which turns 35 this year.

Tell me what to do! Start at Beechenhurst Visitor Centre and wander along the 4.5-mile trail as it winds past 16 extraordinary sculptures, all inspired by the natural beauty and rich history of this ancient woodland.

Look out for the trail’s newest addition, Soil Unsoiled, a blackened timber monolith etched with a poem about the racial inequality experienced by its creator, local resident Khady Gueye and poet Zakiya McKenzie.

If a three-hour walk is too much, check out the shorter Forest to Forest trail to see uplifting artworks from around the world (until Dec).

Can I make a trip of it? Stay in the Forest of Dean hike to the ancient hillfort at Symonds Yat Rock for views across the Wye Valley or delve into legend with a visit to King Arthur’s Cave in The Doward.

Gloucester Station (17mi) is easily accessible via a direct bus link from Beechenhurst Visitor Centre. See goodjourney.org.uk/attractions/beechenhurst.

Killiecrankie Gorge, Perthshire

What am I looking at? An explosion of rich, autumnal colour at Killiecrankie Gorge in Perthshire, Scotland, captured by John Murray (@johnmurrayjr).

Tell me what to do! Start with a gentle ramble around the National Trust park, keeping an eye out for red squirrels, before exploring the site of the Battle of Killiecrankie (1689), one of the bloodiest clashes of the Jacobite rising.

Downstream, you will find Soldier’s Leap, where a fleeing redcoat leapt across an 18ft chasm. Feeling brave yourself? Take a 40m plunge towards the River Garry with the UK’s first purpose-built bungee jump.

Can I make a trip of it? Stay in the charming spa town of Pitlochry, with its lively shopping, whisky distilleries and fish ladder, where leaping salmon are transported over a vast hydro-electric dam.

For true Scottish luxury, spend the night at the majestic Fonab Castle Hotel & Woodland Spa (rooms from £242pn).

Pitlochry is the gateway to the Cairngorms, making it an ideal base for hiking trips or adventurous mountain biking tours to Ben Vrackie, Schiehallion and beyond.

Pitlochry is a 15-minute bus ride away with direct links to Edinburgh, Crewe and London.

Glamorgan Heritage Coast, Wales

What am I looking at? Rugged rock formations leading to Nash Point on the Welsh Glamorgan Heritage Coast, snapped by Bristol photographer James Osmond (@josmondphoto).

Tell me what to do! Go back in time 300 million years to the Jurassic period with a walk along the nine-mile Heritage Coast Trail, exploring the limestone cliffs and caves, and fossil-hunting on its beaches.

To learn as you walk, download the AR app to see stories of the shore come to life. For more modern history, visit Nash Point Lighthouse, where you can learn about the area’s maritime history.

If you visit at 2pm on the first Saturday or third Sunday of the month, you will hear its deafening foghorn as it would have once sounded to warn sailors.

Can I make a trip of it? The medieval walled town of Cowbridge is a short bus ride away, with boutiques, cafés and a physic garden.

Gavin & Stacey fan? A short coastal train ride will take you to Barry Island, where you can make like Nessa and Smithy on the traditional rides at the Pleasure Park.

Llantwit Major and Bridgend stations have good bus links to the Glamorgan Heritage Coast

Honister Pass, Cumbria

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What am I looking at? The rust-red rolling hills and snow-capped peaks of Honister Pass, Cumbria, in all its autumnal glory as captured by Sheffield photographer Daniel Casson (@dpc_photography).

Tell me what to do! Follow an ambitious hiking trail from the top of the pass over to Haystacks, taking in sweeping views of Lake Buttermere, Crummock Water and Great Gable.

On the way you’ll pass Innominate Tarn, a spot so beautiful that Alfred Wainwright, the man who quite literally put the Lake District on the map, chose to have his ashes scattered there. Visit walkingbritain.co.uk/walk-1065-map for details.

Learn about the area’s fascinating industrial heritage at Honister Slate Mine, or for the really adventurous, sign up for one of the hair-raising climbing tours. Tackle the cliffside miner’s path on the via ferrata or cross the dizzying infinity bridge as it spans a narrow gorge, 1000ft above valley floor.

Can I make a trip of it? You can explore the entire Lake District on foot, trekking to its mirrored lakes, stunning waterfalls and great peaks. If all that fell-walking is a bit daunting, Mountain Goat tours will whizz you to all the best spots in a day’s minivan ride.

Penrith and Windermere stations are both accessible via bus from the Honister Park National Trust car park.

Lindisfarne Castle, Northumberland

What am I looking at? Perched atop a rugged tidal island off the coast of Northumberland, Lindisfarne Castle, shot here by Cheshire photographer Alan Novelli, looks as though it’s been lifted from the pages of a storybook.

Once a medieval fortress protecting the north-east from invaders, it was extensively renovated in the arts and crafts style by an eccentric magazine editor in the early 1900s.

Tell me what to do! Once you’ve made it over the causeway to Holy Island, climb the steep stone steps to Lindisfarne Castle and visit the museum to learn about the island’s astonishing history of Viking massacres and saintly miracles.

Don’t miss a new art installation, Limelight, which brings the castle to life through 3D lasers, light shows and sound (runs until October 31).

Then explore the ruins of the medieval Lindisfarne Priory. Check holy-island.co.uk for more information.

Can I make a trip of it? Continue on your fortress fix being visiting the castles at Alnwick and Bamburgh, or go wild with a boat ride to the nature haven of Farne Islands to see nesting puffins, seals and rare eider ducks.

There is a direct 40 minute bus service from Berwick-upon-Tweed (11 miles) to Holy Island coach park. Make sure to check days and bus times at bordersbuses.co.uk before you go.

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