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As travellers, we tend to neglect our roots and forget about the beauty that lives on our doorstep. We are so eager to jump on a plane and head to the more exotic locations that we miss some of the most stunning places that are within driving distance. I am guilty of this myself. So on my last trip home, I decided to explore the hidden gems within the UK.

Rievaulx Terrace & Temples

On the North York Moors National Park, lies the infamous Rievaulx Terrace. A wonderful stroll through the woodland will lead you to this serpentine terrace with a temple at either side. One of the less-known sites in the UK is almost forgotten about by most residents but tourists come from all over the world to visit one of Yorkshire’s most cherished heritages. The terrace was laid out in the late 1700s and overlooks the ruins of Rievaulx Abbey and the valley of Rye. This historic landmark costs just £4.80 and is accessible from March until late November.

Where to Stay: Marmadukes Town House Hotel

Location - Rievaulx,
Helmsley, York
YO62 5LJ,
United Kingdom

The Shell Grotto

70m of winding passages decorated with over 4 million shells is one England’s most astounding finds. The Shell Grotto was discovered in 1835 and has images of gods and goddesses crafted from shells. Still, to this day there is an undivided opinion of who created this wonderful landmark. With so much history and character, the mystical designs on the walls of this hidden passage make a wonderful day trip. You can visit the grotto from the 5th of April until the October half term.

Where to Stay: The Crescent Victoria Hotel

Location - Grotto Hill,
Margate
CT9 2BU
United Kingdom

The Shetland Islands

This subarctic archipelago is formerly known as ‘Zetland’ is situated between Great Britain, Norway and the Faroe Islands. With no shortage of wildlife, The Shetlands is every birdwatchers dream and rightly so. Hundreds of thousands of birds migrate here every year for the winter months and its a real eye-catching experience for you nature lovers. Let’s not forget that the famous shetland ponies also hales from here and you can catch a sight of them in there natural habitat on the lumpy hills that surround the island. The Shetland Islands can be visited all year round but is recommended in the winter months.

Where to Stay: Busta House Hotel

Location - The Shetland Islands

Kilchurn Castle

Built-in the 1400s by Sir Colin Campbell, Kilchurn Castle was abandoned in the 1700s and has since become a national treasure amongst the Scottish. You can enjoy the breathtaking views of amongst the backdrop of the castle that is guaranteed to give you an Instagram worthy picture to rack up the likes. Occasionally, the castle will close due to severe weather conditions so be sure to check  www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/hsclosure for any unexpected closures. 

Where to Stay: Muthu Dalmally Hotel

Location - Kilchurn Castle
Dalmally,
PA33 1AJ
United Kingdom

Cathedral Cavern

This was the main chamber between many quarries above Little Langdale and is becoming a more and more popular hotspot for tourists each year. Once you make your way through the entrance tunnel, you will reach the forty-foot chamber which is known as ‘The Cathedral’. There are many tunnels that you can access with the longest one being over 400ft long so make sure you have a source of lighting. This landmark which is now protected can be found in Cumbria and has strict rules that you must adhere too. Be careful and enjoy the beauty that lies within.

Where to Stay: Briery Wood Country House Hotel

Location - Cathedral Quarry
Ambleside
LA22 9PB
United Kingdom

Kyoto Gardens

A Japanese style garden filled with tranquillity and horticulture is every photographer’s dream, especially when you don’t have to fly to Japan to see it. The maple trees and stone lanterns add to the inspiring scenery that surrounds the park. Beautiful koi carps swarm the astonishing ponds and waterfalls give that blissful ring to your ears. The garden was a gift from the Japanese to commemorate a long friendship between the two countries. The gardens can be accessed daily from 7.30 am until 30 minutes before dusk.

Where to Stay: London Lodge Hotel

Location - Holland Park Ave, Kensington
London
W11 4UA
United Kingdom

If you are anything like me, you will be amazed by just how much history is situated right in front of you. I have now opened my eyes and seen first hand the beauty of my home country and I want to share just a few of the hidden gems that make this place my home. What is your favourite place in your own country? Let us know in the comments and share your experience.

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