Britain’s most peaceful places

Ever feel like really getting away from it all? Here is our travel guide to the most peaceful places in Britain, where you can escape the modern world and recharge your batteries.

BNK574 St Martins; looking towards Tresco; Isles of Scilly

From remote islands to windswept moors and secret urban retreats, we’ve explored the length and breadth of the country to find Britain’s most peaceful places.

1

Iona, Inner Hebrides

Coast of iona looking towards mull

Iona is home to a lively community of 177 people, there’s one proper shop and few cars; instead, locals ride bikes along the only road, which leads from the jetty to the north of the island. At the top of the Island, past sheep fields that sloped down to the jewel-blue sea, you will find a white soft sand beach known as the White Strand of the Monks. For those who are seeking calm water and tranquillity, this is the place to be.

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Stony footpath beside the river Dove in Wolfscote Dale on a sunny summers day. Alder trees along the bank are reflected in the water.

2

North York Moors,Yorkshire

Roseberry Topping, North Yorkshire (Getty)
Roseberry Topping, North Yorkshire (Getty)

There’s a reason why Cathy and Heathcliff run wild on the North York Moors in Wuthering Heights – the stark beauty of the largest heather moorlands in Britain thrills the soul. The weather on t’moors may be bracing at best, but if you’re feeling an urge to stride around and breathe in fresh sweet air, this is where to do it. Pretty Staithes is nearby when you feel ready to face civilisation again. northyorkmoors.org.uk

3

Ring of Gullion, County Armagh

FFJJ5C View from Slieve Gullion Ring of Gullion South Armagh Northern Ireland
View from Slieve Gullion Ring of Gullion South Armagh Northern Ireland

Here be giants. The ring dyke – a collapsed caldera – that surrounds Slieve Gullion mountain in County Armagh is a wild and ancient place, where giant Finn McCool is said to have been bewitched into swimming in the lough by a beautiful woman. Word has it that if you swim here your hair will turn white, so hike instead; forest trails surround the mountain. ringofgullion.org

4

Newborough Warren, Anglesey

Llanddwyn Island Lighthouse in Snowdonia National Park at sunset, North Wales.
Llanddwyn Island Lighthouse in Snowdonia National Park at sunset, North Wales.(Getty)

Sand between your toes and snow-capped mountains across the water – Newborough delights the senses. To reach the ocean, walk along shady forest paths to Newborough Warren, ecologically important sand dunes that are home to wild birds. From the long expanse of beach, look across at the tall peaks of Snowdonia. naturalresources.wales

5

Helvellyn, Lake District

A snow topped Helvellyn mountain viewed from a clear Thirlmere water in Autumn time with a curved Autumnal tree.Taken November 2012.Lake District National park.
A snow topped Helvellyn mountain viewed from a clear Thirlmere water in Autumn time with a curved Autumnal tree.Taken November 2012.Lake District National park. (Getty)

It doesn’t matter how warm and sunny the lower valleys of the Lake District are, on the ridge of Striding Edge (above) on the mountain of Helvellyn you’re always at the mercy of the weather. There’s something very calming about hiking high above towns and standing on a knife-edge of rock with hills sweeping below you, and the challenge of the nine-mile ridge hike clears the mind of other worries. lakedistrict.gov.uk

Blue Lagoon at Abereiddy, Pembrokeshire, South Wales

6

Fairy Glen, Skye

Robert Lukeman DSC02313-HDR-Edit-X3

Never was there a place better deserving of its name than Fairy Glen, a strange and beautiful mini-landscape above Uig village on the Isle of Skye. From afar it looks like the island itself carved in miniature, with grassy hillocks, tiny tree-strewn valleys and deep lochans. There are often people wandering here but it still feels peaceful. Look for stone circles, floral offerings and even robed druids. isleofskye.com

7

St Martin’s, Isle of Scilly

St. Martin's
St. Martin’s (Getty)

The Isles of Scilly are like a children’s book version of Britain, and arguably the loveliest is St Martin’s, where you’ll find sandy beaches, seal colonies and subtropical gardens but, blissfully, no cars. visitislesofscilly.com

8

Farne Islands, Northumberland

DG9EG1 St Cuthberts Chapel on Inner Farne, in the Farne Islands, Northumberland, UK.
DG9EG1 St Cuthberts Chapel on Inner Farne, in the Farne Islands, Northumberland, UK. (Getty)

You can only reach the Farne Islands, just off the Northumberland Coast, by boat. Now cared for by the National Trust, the islands were once home to monks and hermits, including St Cuthbert, whose tiny 14th-century chapel (above) still does battle with the weather on Inner Farne. Now the small archipelago’s main draws are puffins and seals instead of salvation, but the islands are almost as untouched and peaceful as they were in medieval times. nationaltrust.org.uk/farne-islands

9

River Avon, Somerset

MKCMKT Warleigh Weir on the River Avon near Bath in Somerset.
Warleigh Weir on the River Avon near Bath in Somerset.

Why not escape by bike from Bristol along the Avon; once it winds out of the city, its river banks are shady oases, such as Saltford Weir and Warleigh Weir (above). Visit the nearby River Boyd at Bitton, where you can picnic, spot moorhens or even dive in and float gently downstream. riveravontrail.org.uk

10

Applecross Peninsula, Highland

United Kingdom, Scotland, Highland, Great Britain, Wester Ross, British Isles, Sgurr a Chaorachain on the Applecross Peninsula
United Kingdom, Scotland, Highland, Great Britain, Wester Ross, British Isles, Sgurr a Chaorachain on the Applecross Peninsula
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This peninsula on Scotland’s west coast rewards with snow-capped mountains, rugged coastline and the iconic Bealach na Bà road. If you dream of dramatic landscapes, this is the place. applecross.uk.com