See the best views in Britain
There’s nothing quite like getting up high and taking in a magnificent view. Scramble to the top of Scottish mountains or look down on the great lakes of the Lake District from its highest peaks. If that sounds a little strenuous, catch a lift to the top of ‘The Shard’ and take in London...
Stonehenge is an icon of prehistoric Britain that’s recognised the world over. The stones are shrouded in druidic lore and speculation as to their original purpose continues. But Stonehenge’s power to inspire and mystify is beyond doubt.
The massive structure, so obviously not of this age, is a magnificent sight, even from the road. For the full effect, apply with English Heritage to gain access to the stone circle itself at dawn or dusk.
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The London Eye offers some of the most dramatic views over London, and an exciting ride at the same time. You can see up to 40km (25 miles) in all directions, as far as Windsor Castle on a clear day. On your 30 minute ‘flight’ you’ll see The Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral, ‘the Gherkin’ and more. Make your experience extra special with a champagne flight or private capsule.
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The South of England’s white chalk cliffs are an iconic sight and a symbol of Britain’s proud island history. And for our money, the most dramatic of these are the Seven Sisters along the Sussex Heritage Coast. To experience the ‘classic’ view, head for Seaford Head from where you get a sweeping panorama to the cliffs. For as long as anyone can remember their austere beauty has repelled invaders and welcomed home weary seafarers.
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Gloriously unspoilt and undisturbed, Ardnamurchan is accessed by a single-track road through some of Britain’s most enchanting scenery. Take the coast road from Arisaig to Morar to see otherworldly white-sand beaches with perfect views across the turquoise water to the ‘Small Isles’ of the Inner Hebrides in the distance. This most westerly tip of the British Mainland is remote but the views are well worth the trip.
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Edinburgh has one of Europe’s most instantly recognisable cityscapes, its blend of graceful Georgian and austere gothic architecture and rugged volcanic geography inspiring generations of writers and artists. And there’s no better place to see it than from Calton Hill. From here you get an almost 360 degree view of the city that takes in the castle, the Old and New Towns, Arthur’s Seat and the sea beyond. You can also admire the array of neoclassical monuments on Calton Hill that first inspired Edinburgh’s moniker as the ‘Athens of the North’.
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Glencoe, in the heart of the Highlands, is without doubt one of Scotland’s most famous and scenic glens. Travel from Glasgow on the A82 and you’ll pass right through. Stop at the numerous viewpoints to see a landscape of majestic, sombre beauty, and the scene of one of the most infamous episodes in Scotland’s history.
In 1692, 38 members of the MacDonald clan were murdered here by government troops, a terrible event in Highland History that charges this ghostly glen with extra atmosphere.
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The Lake District has long provided inspiration for poets, painters and writers. Wastwater is the deepest of all the region’s bodies of water, and also the most visually sublime – a 3-mile long ribbon of shining glass caressed on all sides by scree-strewn mountains and some of England’s highest peaks. The only road there is off the main coastal A595; its remoteness adds to the appeal.
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Newcastle’s river, the Tyne, has been the life blood of the city since the area was first settled nearly 2,000 years ago and it remains a focus for Newcastle’s cultural life today. From the top of the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art on the Gateshead side of the river, you get a fantastic view of the city that takes in the billowing Sage Centre, designed by Norman Foster, the famous arched Tyne Bridge and the striking Millennium Bridge. The Millennium Bridge, known as the ‘winking eye’ on account of its unique tilting mechanism, is the latest addition to one of the most dynamic city skylines in Britain.
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The view over Three Cliffs Bay in South Wales takes in a perfect semi-circle of marsh, cliffs and creamy white beach hugged by unique rock formations. If you stay at the popular Three Cliffs Bay Campsite, right on the cliffs, you can wake up to this romantic view each morning. If not, the best approach is from Southgate from where you can hike along the cliff top a mile or so to the bay.
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The tallest building in Western Europe opened to the public in February 2013. The Shard is now the most prominent building on the London skyline and the ultimate place to get a great view over the capital.
This is the only building in London tall enough to give you a view that takes in the entire city, and even lets you look down on other famous landmarks from above! The higher of its two viewing platforms is open-air, but one level down you can use the high-tech ‘tell:scopes’ to learn about the landmarks you’ll find on all sides.
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