Wild places to get away from it all

It’s easy to forget – from in front of our screens or behind our desks – that the UK has thousands of islands, hundreds of hills and rivers, and a coastline almost 20,000 miles long.

We live in an increasingly populated and urban country, but there are still areas of wilderness to be found where you can really get away from it all. We’ve picked some of the best wild places for you to get out there and enjoy.

Sunset over Morston Quay at Blakeney National Nature Reserve, Norfolk

Blakeney National Nature Reserve, Norfolk 

At the heart of the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Blakeney NNR (National Nature Reserve) boasts wide open spaces and uninterrupted views of the wild and beautiful North Norfolk coastline. The salt marshes provide a perfect habitat for a vast array of residential and migratory birds, and the area is also home to England's largest seal colony.

Please note that due to coronavirus, the seal trip providers are currently running with reduced capacity to allow for social distancing.

Pony at Carding Mill Valley and the Long Mynd, Shropshire

Carding Mill Valley and the Long Mynd, Shropshire 

This wildlife-rich heathland has stunning views across the Shropshire Hills and beyond. You don’t have to venture too far to find some solitude, and if the night sky is your thing, you can see the Milky Way with the naked eye from here. There's something on offer in every season, whether you take a short stroll through Carding Mill Valley or a more rugged route to the top of the hill.

Walker on top of Little Trowlesworthy Tor, near Cadover Bridge, Upper Plym Valley, Dartmoor National Park, Devon.

Dartmoor, Devon 

The woodland, rivers and rock formations of Dartmoor are wonderful places to explore on foot. You can choose a well-signposted and gentle amble along the banks of some of Dartmoor’s most beautiful and ever-changing rivers: the Teign, Bovey and Plym. Or perhaps a more demanding walk across the wild, open moorland from Cadover Bridge in the upper Plym area.

Coastline at Dunwich Heath and Beach, Suffolk

Dunwich Heath and Beach, Suffolk 

Tucked away on the Suffolk coast, Dunwich Heath offers peace and quiet, and a true sense of being at one with nature. A rare and precious habitat known as coastal lowland heath, this remote and beautiful area is home to many special species, such as the Dartford warbler, nightjar, woodlark, antlion, adders and much more.

Trail path through woodland at Heddon Valley, Devon

Exmoor, Devon 

With its remote and romantic landscapes, Exmoor is also home to some of Britain’s largest mammals and most beautiful insects. You might encounter the wild Exmoor ponies or the large herds of red deer that roam freely in the area. The National Park covers 267 square miles of dramatic coastline, open moorland, ancient woods and valleys, clear rivers and tumbling streams. There are excellent hiking opportunities across wild landscape and among the stone circles and ruins of ancient inhabitants.

View of Craglough at Hadrian's Wall and Housesteads Fort, Northumbria

Hadrian's Wall and Housestead Fort, Northumberland 

There are fewer places steeped in history and natural beauty than Hadrian’s Wall. Stretching 80 miles from the Solway Coast in Cumbria to Wallsend, near Newcastle upon Tyne, it's a place to get away from it all, reconnect with nature and is quite impressive itself. Take in the views, gather your thoughts and marvel at the rugged wild landscapes.

View from Freshwater Bay of Tennyson Down, Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight 

Take in dramatic views and wild open spaces in the Isle of Wight. Chalky paths wind along spectacular stretches of coastline, once the scene of shipwrecks and smuggling. Plunge down into ancient holloways or stride out across huge stretches of downland and heath with 360-degree views. We care for the Island’s only National Nature Reserve, at Newtown – a misty, magical landscape where estuaries and old salt lagoons attract thousands of colourful visiting birds.

Walkers at Kinder Scout, High Peak Estate, Derbyshire

Kinder, Edale and the Dark Peak, Derbyshire 

Enjoy the misty valleys and sunlit hilltops of this rich moorland habitat – it’s the perfect isolated spot to appreciate big open skies, dramatic sunsets and far-reaching horizons. Enjoy a challenging and exhilarating walk high on the windswept Kinder plateau, one of the great upland areas of the gritstone Dark Peak. Or explore the mysterious rock formations in the area and look out for a fantastic range of wildlife.

Two visitors and their dog walking in Murlough National Nature Reserve, County Down

Murlough National Nature Reserve, County Down 

This fragile, 6000-year-old sand dune system became Ireland’s first nature reserve in 1967. The spectacular location at the edge of Dundrum Bay and the Mourne Mountains make it excellent for walking and bird watching. The dune fields at Murlough are the best and most extensive example of dune heath in Ireland. Over 600 species of butterflies and moths have been recorded, including the rare Marsh Fritillary butterfly.