The countryside in the Yorkshire Dales

The UK’s Most Instagrammable Countryside Locations

UK’s Most Beautiful Countryside Locations

We live in a world that bustles with the energy of urban living, while the serene beauty of the countryside is often overlooked or simply forgotten. With this in mind, we have set out to unveil the top countryside locations in the UK.


By analysing the number of Instagram hashtags for quaint countryside towns, historic castles, picturesque trails, and nature reserves around the UK, we unveil the top outdoor locations that summon explorers and photographers with their charm and adventure.

Where are the most beautiful countryside counties and towns in the UK?

According to data from Instagram, these are the top three countryside counties and towns in the UK. From the rugged southwest to the charming hills of the north, these counties stand out for their natural splendour and scenic beauty. 

The Most Beautiful Counties in the UK

A rock formation in a snowy field

Devon (South West): Taking the number one spot in the study with an astounding 8.1m Instagram hashtags to its name, is Devon. Nestled in the captivating landscapes of South West England, Devon boasts a variety of natural wonders. From the cliffs of the Jurassic Coast to the sands of its pristine beaches, Devon offers a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and sun-seekers. In Devon, visitors get to explore quaint coastal towns like Salcombe and Dartmouth, or venture inland to discover the wild beauty of Dartmoor National Park.

Cornwall (South West): Coming in second place with an impressive 6.6m hashtags is Cornwall. This charming county exudes a unique charm that captivates travellers with its rugged coastline, pristine beaches, and small fishing villages, Cornwall is the ideal backdrop for exploration.

Cheshire (North West): And rounding in at third place with almost 7m hashtags, Cheshire is steeped in history and epitomises quintessential English charm. Cheshire’s towns and villages are famous for their markets and cobblestone streets, while the green, deer-friendly hills of Tatton Park make for the perfect escape to the countryside.

The Most Beautiful Towns in the UK

The sea at Folkestone in Kent

Folkestone, Kent: With an impressive 443,491 Instagram hashtags, Folkestone in Kent secures the top spot as the most beautiful town in the UK. Folkestone offers a perfect blend of seaside charm and cultural richness. Visitors are able to explore the historic Folkestone Harbour, take leisurely walks along the picturesque Harbour Arm, or soak in the inspiring views from the iconic Leas promenade.

Tamworth, Staffordshire: Ranking a close second with an impressive 442,798 Instagram hashtags is Tamworth in Staffordshire. Now a vibrant market town, this British gem has existed since Saxon times and is home to the historic Tamworth Castle and Moat House, Drayton Manor and Snow Dome.

Wilmslow, Cheshire: Coming in third with 440,226 Instagram hashtags to its name, Wilmslow in Cheshire offers a sense of elegance and sophistication. This affluent town is known for its leafy suburban streets, upscale boutiques, and fine dining establishments. Visitors can explore the town's boutique shops, relax in its scenic green spaces like The Carrs Park, or explore nearby attractions such as Quarry Bank Mill and Tatton Park.

What are the Most Beautiful Outdoor Locations in the UK?

From serene nature reserves to historic castles, we looked at a range of different types of beautiful rural locations in our study. However, excluding towns and villages, the top three most Instagrammed outdoor locations overall were all nature reserves:

The forest of Dean

Forest of Dean: Topping the list with an eye-opening 340,289 Instagram hashtags, the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire is a paradise renowned for its woodlands, scenic trails, and diverse wildlife. Adventure seekers can embark on cycling excursions along the family-friendly Forest of Dean Family Cycle Trail or explore the mystical atmosphere of Puzzlewood, an enchanting forest that has become known for its otherworldly landscapes.


Sherwood Forest: With an impressive 181,195 Instagram hashtags, Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire captures the imagination, with its association with Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Visitors can take a walk beneath the canopy of ancient oak trees, explore the winding pathways of the Major Oak Nature Reserve, and discover the rich biodiversity of this historic woodland habitat.


Dungeness: Securing the third spot with 157,401 Instagram hashtags, Dungeness in Kent offers a unique landscape and is one of the largest shingle landscapes in Europe. This designated National Nature Reserve boasts a strong yet mesmerising beauty, with its expansive shingle beach, diverse birdlife, and iconic lighthouse creating a striking contrast against the backdrop of the English Channel.


Whether exploring rugged coastlines, traversing ancient woodlands, or delving into centuries of history, these outdoor destinations promise unforgettable adventures and timeless beauty.

Most Beautiful Castles

Warwick Castle

The UK is home to a wealth of historic castles, and each comes with its own intrigue and grandeur. 


  • Leading the pack in our study is Warwick Castle in Warwickshire, boasting 134,063 Instagram hashtags. This medieval fortress offers visitors a glimpse into centuries of history, with highlights including the impressive Great Hall, the eerie dungeons, and stunning views from atop its ramparts.


  • Following closely behind is Cardiff Castle, with 116,094 Instagram hashtags. This iconic landmark combines Roman and mediaeval architecture, featuring elaborate interiors, lush gardens, and captivating guided tours that delve into its rich past.


  • Rounding out the top three is Leeds Castle in Kent, with 115,928 Instagram hashtags. Known as the "loveliest castle in the world," Leeds Castle is located in a scenic parkland and surrounded by a moat, offering visitors a instagram-worthy setting for exploration and relaxation.

Most Beautiful Hiking Trails

The West Highlands Way

If you are looking to hike across the UKs most Instagrammable trails, based on our study, these are the trails for you. 


  • West Highland Way comes in first place, boasting an impressive 150,971 Instagram hashtags. This iconic trail spans 96 miles through the rugged beauty of the Scottish Highlands and offers breathtaking views of lochs, mountains, and moors along the way.


  • Next up is the Thames Path, with 129,080 Instagram hashtags. Following the course of the River Thames, this scenic trail offers walkers the opportunity to explore the tranquil countryside and historic landmarks that line the riverbanks.


  • And in third place is the South Downs Way, with 88,746 Instagram hashtags. Stretching across the hills of Southern England, this long-distance trail showcases magnificent landscapes, charming villages, and diverse wildlife, making it a favourite for outdoor enthusiasts.

Most Beautiful Country Estates

Castle Howard in North Yorkshire on a sunny day

  • Leading the way is Castle Howard in North Yorkshire, with 68,865 Instagram hashtags. This magnificent stately home boasts stunning architecture, landscaped gardens, and a rich history that dates back centuries.


  • Following closely behind is Highclere Castle in Hampshire, with 65,545 Instagram hashtags. Familiar to fans of the TV series Downton Abbey, this iconic estate offers visitors the chance to explore its opulent interiors, large grounds, and captivating art exhibitions.


  • And in third place is Water House in Greater London, with 64,845 Instagram hashtags. Located in the bustling city, this historic estate provides a getaway for visitors to enjoy scenic walks, lush gardens, and architectural splendour.

Explore the Great Outdoors with Cotswold Outdoor

If you’re planning on heading into the great British outdoors, Cotswold Outdoor offers the ideal products and clothing for all your outdoor adventures. 


Whether you're embarking on a hiking adventure along the trails or exploring historic castles and nature reserves, Cotswold Outdoor has everything you need to make your outdoor experience unforgettable. 


From durable clothing designed to withstand the elements to the best camping gear for your overnight stays, Cotswold Outdoor has you covered. Explore our range of outdoor clothing, camping equipment, and walking essentials to ensure you are fully prepared for your next outdoor adventure. 

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