Anyone who still believes it’s grim up north could soon find themselves in a minority. 

In a new survey commissioned by Nikon to discover the UK’s most scenic spots, the north of England scooped the top five places, demonstrating that most amateur British photographers prefer to focus their attention – and cameras – on the top half of the country.

Two thousand people were asked to select the UK’s best well-known beauty spots, with 38% agreeing that Windermere in The Lake District is undoubtedly the most picturesque location.

Dramatic mountain silhouettes, mirror-like lakes and tempestuous skies capture the imaginations of photographers, who visit throughout the year.


Not far behind in second place was the Yorkshire Dales (34%), an area of rolling green pastures latticed by low stone walls and high heather moorland.


In third place was the Peak District (33%), the Derbyshire National Park popular with hikers and boasting attractions including the historic homes Chatsworth and Bolsover Castle.

Peak District

Next up was Snowdonia in Wales (32%), known as the place of eagles by local residents. There are nine mountain ranges to explore in the National Park, with some peaks rising above 915 metres. Visitors also come for river gorges, waterfalls and forests filled with ash and oak trees.


The Scottish Highlands featured fifth, with Loch Ness being the favoured photographic spot (30%). The loch extends for 23 metres, and contains more fresh water than all the lakes of England and Wales combined.

Loch Ness

The final two places on the table were taken by beauty spots in the south: Stonehenge and the White Cliffs of Dover scored a joint 26%. The famous Neolithic monument in Wiltshire, estimated to be 5,000 years old, has mystified onlookers for centuries.


The White Cliffs of Dover in Kent, meanwhile, will be forever etched in popular memory thanks to Vera Lynn’s classic wartime song.


Reassuringly, the same survey revealed that 72% believe the UK possesses some of the most striking landscapes in the world, which helps explain why an increasing number of people are choosing to take staycations.

What’s more, the possibility of bad weather was considered by many budding snappers to be a plus point: 70% said overcast skies made for a better picture.

Nikon ambassador and landscape photography expert Jeremy Walker said: “For me, variety is what makes our countryside so brilliantly British. From the Yorkshire Dales with its brooding, bleak moorland, gentle rolling hills and dry stone walls to the drama of Snowdonia National Park, which is unlike anywhere else you would find in the UK, there’s so much on offer for the photographer.”

Those looking for lesser-known beauty spots should try the Isle of Skye, Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula and the Pistyll Rhaeadr Waterfalls in Wales, which all topped an alternative destination chart.

And what subject matter should you include for that quintessential British photograph? Eighty-six percent agreed a red phone box or post box were the key icons, followed by a pub, cricket green or countryside village.

Photo credit: Jeremy Walker 

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