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50 Hidden Gems to explore in England to escape the tourists

Updated: Jan 2

Your Ultimate Guide to exploring off-the-beaten track locations scattered across England.

England, with its rich history, picturesque landscapes, and vibrant culture, offers a tapestry of hidden gems waiting to be unveiled. Beyond the bustling cities and renowned tourist spots, this guide invites you to embark on a journey of discovery, where hidden gems await your exploration.

These hidden gems range from secret waterfalls located in hidden gorges to secluded beaches you can collect Vitamin D in peace!

In this article, we share 50 of the best hidden gems in England which you need to add to your bucket list this year!

Image of Stainforth Force in England

Waterfalls in England

Hardraw Force is England's highest single fall waterfall, and should definitely be up there on your waterfall bucket list. If you're ever in the Yorkshire Dales then this gem should be on your list. The only downside is there is an entrance fee in order to see the waterfall, and last time we heard it was around £4 per person.

If you're in the area we would definitely recommend checking out the Falling Foss Waterfall. If you want to climb down to the waterfall beware there is no recognised path, so you'll need to do a bit of scrambling (especially if you want a quick paddle!).

Image of Falling Foss in England

High Force Waterfall is a spectacular place to check out and is well worth a visit. You can visit during a drought and it'll still be pretty impressive. It's worth noting that there is a charge for parking and another small charge for the short walk to the waterfall itself.

Linhope Spout is a lovely little waterfall which is about an hours walk each way. It's slightly difficult to get to for certain people due to the amount of time it takes to get there. There's a lovely pool at the bottom of the fall which is perfect for a lovely dip.

Image of Linhope Spout in England

5) Routin Linn

Tucked away in a cute village in Northumberland is Routin Linn, a gorgeous hidden gem of a waterfall. There are various different spellings for this waterfall, in which the more-known one is Roughting Linn. It's a lovely little waterfall which isn't too far from the road so its definitely worth a visit.

Low Force Waterfall is another stunning waterfall in the North East. There's a nice little hike to walk to get to the waterfall, and is perfect for all abilities. There are loads of beautiful spots to stop and have a picnic close to the water.

Take a lovely walk from the car park to the waterfall, crossing the stream over 6 bridges before getting to the amazing Hareshaw Linn. There's a gorgeous little bench you can sit on with a great view of the waterfall, perfect for a picnic pit-stop!

Image of Hareshaw Linn in England

Hindhope Linn is an amazing waterfall perfect for everybody of all ages! The walk isn't too long or demanding, and is definitely a hidden gem in the enchanted forest (perfect for all you photographers out there!).

The hike to Holme Force can be quite challenging for some individuals, however it is definitely worth it. It is a stunning waterfall and is still fairly unknown to the majority of people so you'll more than likely have the whole place to yourself.

Image of Holme Force in the Lake District

Scaleber Force is a fantastic little hidden gem located only a stone throw away from the road. It's isn't that much of a walk from the main road however we recommend wearing appropriate footwear for those adventurous explorers wanting to get to the bottom of the waterfall.

A beautiful little waterfall which visitors can enjoy swimming in the clear turquoise water and admire the cute fairy caves. Janet's Foss is a great place for a bit of wild swimming if you're into that, especially if its a quiet day (although there is plenty of space to go around!). It can get slightly busy when the sun comes out to play, so if you're wanting to visit definitely get there early.

Image of Janet's Foss in England

An amazing waterfall which isn't too far from Bolton Abbey. The pathways to the waterfall may be a little dangerous for some, so take some proper shoes if you plan to explore this waterfall!

This waterfall is located deep within a wooded gorge and is a perfect secluded spot adored by everybody who has the pleasure of visiting. Visitors can enjoy a swim at Catrigg Force (beware of the freezing cold water!) however you do need to climb a few rocks to get to the actual falls.

Stainforth Force is a beautiful waterfall which offers a few jumping/diving spots. The water is very very cold, so for those who can be sensitive to the cold waters, we definitely recommend a body suit. There are some sudden drops into the fast flowing waterfalls so keep an eye on your children if you bring them here.

Image of Stainforth Force in England

Breath-taking waterfalls and nature is what visitors will find when they escape to this amazing hidden gem. You are able to swim in this waterfall but the water may be very cold! It's best to visit Cauldron Falls after heavy rainfall to appreciate the true greatness of it.

This gorgeous small waterfall is waiting for you in the Yorkshire Dales. It's an amazing gem hidden away in the middle of nowhere, and is normally missed by the majority of people. Visitors can also enjoy a refreshing but chilly dip if they decide to.

Beaches in England

17) Benoath Cove

An amazing beach with multiple different caves which you can take a look at. Each cave is unique and exciting to explore. We recommend to check tide times when visiting at its best to arrive at low tide, and it's also quite tricky to get down too so keep this in mind before visiting.

18) Kingsdown Beach

Kingsdown Beach is a lovely secluded beach which is perfect for those looking for a peaceful walk along the seafront. It's often described as a little treasure buried away in Kent as it offers amazing picturesque views with a great atmosphere.

Image of Kingsdown Beach in England

19) Trevellas Cove

Another lovely secluded beach which is Trevellas Cove is definitely up there with one of our favourite hidden beaches. You'll have the pleasure of very scenic views with ruins of Blue Hill Tin mine nearby and a stream. The beach has crystal clear water and is also great for rock pooling.

20) Tregardock Beach

A challenging journey brings you to this secluded beach. It is only accessible by a challenging footpath and we don't recommend it for anybody with mobility issues. Again with the above beach, we recommend visiting at low tide as if visiting at high tide there'll be no beach to visit! The walk back up is more difficult so don't wear yourself out too much.

Image of Tregardock Beach in England

21) Shakespeare Beach

A gorgeous secluded beach perfect for those looking to escape the crowds in Dover. It's worth noting that Shakespeare Beach is a shingles/pebbles beach, so if you're after a golden sandy beach you might want to keep scrolling!

22) Trevone Bay

You definitely have to visit this beach if you're in the area, as its nicknamed 'The Best Beach in Cornwall'. It's a stunning sandy beach with plenty to do and loads of rock pools to jump in and explore. It's also a perfect suntrap for those looking to get a bit of Vitamin D too.

23) Samphire Hoe Beach

A really unique beach and it's a great spot to get another perspective on the enormity of the white cliffs. It's a pebbly beach so make sure to wear appropriate footwear, and also be prepared for freezing water!

Image of Samphire Hoe Beach in England

24) Fox Cove

This secluded cove offers a small beach at low tide & scenic water views. Before visiting we definitely recommend checking out the tide times as it comes in very quickly here. A good spot for photographers looking for some new snaps for their portfolio.

25) Pentire Steps Beach

A gorgeous beach to visit to escape the crowds at Bedruthan Steps. It can be quite dangerous to get down to the beach due to the bad conditions of the steps so please be careful. Apart from that, it's definitely worth visiting if you're looking for some peace and quiet whilst topping up your Vitamin D levels.

Image of Pentire Steps Beach in England

26) Seasalter Beach

Seasalter Beach is an 85% pebbly beach however when the tide goes out you'll get a large area of flat golden sand. It's a great alternative to escape the crowds of the neighbouring beaches such as Broadstairs Bays and the Westgate-on-Sea. Seasalter Beach is divided by wooden groynes that can provide protection for those windy days!

27) Poly Joke Beach

Poly Joke Beach is a remote beach that's always quieter than the other nearby beaches around it. It's about a 10-15 minute walk from the nearest car park but once you're there its definitely worth it. Also, for those who have fluffy companions, it is also a dog-friendly beach.

Image of Poly Joke Beach in England

28) Menabilly Beach

A lovely secluded beach which most people don't know about. It offers spectacular scenery and a pleasant walk along the coast path. Menabilly Beach is perfect for those who love swimming and want to enjoy a nice peaceful day at the beach.

29) Porthluney Bay

A beach described as 'magical', Porthluney Bay should absolutely be on your Cornwall beach visit list. It's a dog friendly beach, and has lots of caves and rock pools for the kids to explore. If you want to make a day off it, you may as well visit Caerhays Castle too.

30) The Warren Beach

The Warren Beach near Folkestone is the perfect beach for those who enjoy exploring some proper rock pools! It's also popular with fossil hunters as over the last 100 years they have been some interesting finds here.

Image of The Warren Beach in England

Wild Swimming Spots in England

Standing at the head of Great Langdale; the Whorneyside Force is a stunning hidden gem of a waterfall which is waiting for you to jump and swim in! It's situated in a secluded and dramatic setting in the shadow of Crinkle Crag, and is every wild swimmers dream.

Enjoy one of the quietest and peaceful walks in the Lake District, with some amazing waterfalls and pools (the pools are shallow too so perfect for the younger ones!). The water is so clear, and you'll be awarded with some stunning views across the fields more notably Scafell Pike.

Galleny Force is an amazing waterfall to visit, with pools deep enough to swim in. The water is crystal clear, and it is perfect swimming conditions for the young kids too. It may be a bit difficult to get too, but it is totally worth it!

Image of Galleny Force Waterfall in the Lake District

The infinity pool at Buttermere is stunning. The water is glisteningly clear and took on a light green hue when exposed to the sun. Behind it is a decent-sized waterfall that would be a great place to take a dip even without the view.

35) Buckstones Jump

A moderately steep 30-45 minute walk up through fields with sheep will take you to this stunning little wild swimming spot. It's deep enough to dive in and majority of the time you will be there by yourself! It's great for those wanting to try their first wild swim.

36) Thirlmere Infinity Pool

The Thirlmere Infinity Pool is on par with the Buttermere Infinity Pool, but which one is better? Out of the two, Thirlmere is our favourite pool to wild swim, and it's no surprise why - have you seen those views?

Image of Thirlmere Infinity Pool in the Lake District

37) Lumb Hole Falls

The Lumb Hole Falls is a stunning example of true Yorkshire beauty. It's very easy to get to with a pleasant walk, and at the end is this stunning waterfall which cascades into the plunge pool below. Perfect for a dip!

38) Chee Dale

Described as one of the most beautiful walks in the Peak District, Chee Dale is best known for its stepping stones. However what most people don't know is that wild swimming can easily be done here! Obviously it depends on the previous day of rainfall/if enough water is flowing about, but it's definitely a great place to swim!

39) Mermaid’s Pool

Mermaid's Pool is a gorgeous hidden gem which is best visited after a day of heavy rainfall. The hike up is challenging, but its really fun! Especially if you stick to the stream itself and don't mind getting a bit wet.

Image of Mermaid’s Pool in the Peak District

40) Blake Mere Pool

The Black Mere Pool is a great spot for a bit of photography and the story behind the location is great, depending on which tale you go with! There is however signs saying no swimming due to dangerous objects under the water, so please do take extra care.

41) Slippery Stones

Slippery Stones is a gorgeous stone bridge located over the River Derwent. It's an amazing spot for a picnic, and of course a cheeky wild swim on a warm day! It's described as one of the best wild swimming spots in the Peak District, so you should definitely check out this spot the next time your in the Peaks.

More Hidden Gems in England

42) Rydal Cave

Carved out by nature, this ancient cavern invites intrepid visitors to venture inside and marvel at its rocky formations and eerie atmosphere. As you wander through its winding passages, you'll be surrounded by the echoes of the past, creating an otherworldly experience.

Image of Rydal Cave in the Lake District

43) Dacre Castle

This lesser-known mediaeval castle features sturdy stone walls, a magnificent tower, and a courtyard that reflects its storied history. As you explore the castle's atmospheric ruins, you can imagine the tales of knights, nobles, and battles that once unfolded within its walls.

44) Ashness Bridge

Framed by stunning vistas of Derwentwater and Skiddaw, the bridge offers a postcard-perfect scene that captivates visitors' imaginations. Its rustic charm and scenic backdrop make it a popular spot for photographers, nature lovers, and those seeking a moment of tranquillity amidst the region's captivating landscapes.

Image of Ashness Bridge in the Lake District

45) Cathedral Cave

As you enter the cave's vast chambers, you'll be greeted by towering rock formations and an ethereal atmosphere. The cave's acoustics lend themselves to mesmerising echoes, earning it the name "Cathedral" for its resemblance to a grand place of worship.

46) Mirehouse & Gardens

Set against the backdrop of the surrounding fells, the house showcases elegant architecture and a captivating collection of artefacts, inviting visitors to step back in time. As you wander through the well-tended gardens, you'll discover peaceful woodland walks, vibrant flower displays, and stunning views over the lake.

47) Honister Pass

This iconic route traverses the rugged landscape, offering an exhilarating journey through towering peaks, cascading waterfalls, and breathtaking vistas. As you navigate the winding road, you'll be treated to panoramic views of the surrounding fells, with the majestic Honister Crag commanding attention.

Image of Honister Pass in the Lake District

48) Robin Hood's Stride

This striking rock formation consists of two towering gritstone pinnacles, said to resemble the giant strides of the legendary outlaw, Robin Hood. As visitors approach this natural landmark, they are captivated by the sense of grandeur and awe-inspiring beauty that it exudes.

49) Winnats Pass

This steep and narrow limestone gorge carves its way through the heart of the Peak District, enveloping visitors in a world of geological marvels. Towering limestone cliffs create a dramatic backdrop, while the winding road that winds through the pass offers a thrilling driving experience.

50) Ladybower Reservoir

This reservoir not only serves as a vital source of water but also offers a picturesque retreat for nature enthusiasts and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Visitors can enjoy leisurely walks along the reservoir's shores, cycle through the scenic trails, or even embark on water-based activities such as kayaking or sailing.

Image of Ladybower Reservoir in the Peak District

We hoped you enjoyed discovering the local finds and less known places which are scattered around England. We are confident that visiting some of these hidden gems will make your adventure around England even more memorable!

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