Love Where You Live - UK Quirky Hidden Gems

One of our favourite things about exploring the UK is the incredible range of amazing hidden gems to be found. There are so many things just waiting to be discovered over and over again as new people come across them for the first time! This November, we’re celebrating why we love where we live by taking a look at just 10 of thousands of quirky spots in the UK that you can include in your next totally awesome day out.

Here’s our Top 10 UK Quirky Hidden Gems:

No.1 A Mysterious Pit

What?

Gwennap Pit. Once a strange, natural depression in the ground, this tiered amphitheatre is a heritage site of historical and spiritual importance (plus it’s fun to run around all of the rings!).

Where?

In the tiny village of Busveal, Cornwall, located between Redruth and the mining villages of St Day and Carharrack.

Make a totally awesome day out of it:

Have a look at the outdoor displays and take a peek in the visitor centre if open. You’re already at the first destination on the View From Carn Brea Spy Mission, so crack the sneaky clues and head off on a journey around mid-Cornwall with this driving Trail. Make sure you pack some flasks of hot chocolate – the last stop on your mission is the perfect spot to pause and watch the sunset.

What?

Stacks of Duncansby. These superb seas stacks have been standing for 600 years (try saying that super fast)! They tower high above the sea, right at the edge of the Scottish mainland.

Where?

Along the coastline just to the east of John o’ Groats, Northern Scotland. We recommend parking at Duncansby Head Lighthouse.

Make a totally awesome day out of it:

From the lighthouse, follow the path out towards the stacks – don't worry, you can’t miss them! Once you’ve gawped at them for a bit, the bravest adventurers could continue along the coast path a little way to soak up the Scottish sea air. Back at your expedition vehicle, pull out your quest documents for the Caithness North-East Coastal Treasure Hunt and enjoy the stunning drive, picking up clues in John o’ Groats, Thurso and Scrabster as you go.

No.3 An Unexpected Garden

What?

Kyoto Garden. One of two Japanese-style landscaped gardens within Holland Park – there are few better places to relax in the city. Can you spot the koi carp and the wandering peacocks?

Where?

Find the tranquil Kyoto Garden and Holland Park in Kensington, London.

Make a totally awesome day out of it:

Once you’ve had your refreshing walk around Kyoto garden, it’s time to explore the rest of Holland Park, with its playground – perfect for mini adventurers to let off steam – and cafe. If you’re lucky, you might catch an art display at the Ice House or a performance on the opera stage. Nearby, delve into the local history with a tour of Leighton House or check out the wonderful exhibits at the Design Museum.

No.4 Giant Art You Can Explore

What?

The Coldstones Cut. An art installation above a quarry with awesome views, secret paths to explore and a viewing platform. Learn more at thecoldstonescut.org

Where?

Find it on the B6265 between Skipton and Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire. You'll see the brown sign and small parking area about 2 miles west of Pateley Bridge. 

Make a totally awesome day out of it:

This quirky massive sculpture is the fifth of seven stops on the Yorkshire Dales The Coldstones Cut Treasure Trail. This driving Trail with lots of mini walks is a full-blown day of adventure on your quest for the treasure! Stop off at Appletreewick, Hebden or Stone Cross Caverns for a bit to eat to keep you well-fuelled, and be prepared for stunning views. Oh, and whatever the weather, it's always windy up at The Coldstones Cut, so keep hold of your hats as you admire the scenery and gaze down at the working quarry.

No.5 A Surprise Temple

What?

Baps Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. Impressive doesn’t even begin to explain the wonder that is London’s BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. Carved entirely out of stone by artisans using traditional techniques, this Hindu temple should be on everyone’s must-see list.

Where?

Neasden, on the outskirts of Brent Park, northeast London.

Make a totally awesome day out of it:

While access to the interior of the temple is currently restricted, you’ll still be able to see the outside of the building in all its glory – keep an eye on their website for updates on guided tours resuming. Once you’ve thoroughly soaked up the sights, travel to Harrow - just a few miles away – and try your hand at the spy mission there, then head across to Fryent Country Park or Brent Reservoir for a peaceful end to your day.

No.6 Moss Covered Bridges

What?

Jesmond Dene: Away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre lies this unique riverside woodland – the perfect spot for wildlife, nature lovers and explorers alike.

Where?

Along the Ouse Burn between Jesmond and Heaton, northeast of Newcastle.

Make a totally awesome day out of it:

There’s so much to see in Jesmond Dene; it’ll keep your whole band of adventurers entertained for hours on end! Cross numerous bridges, pass the ruined waterwheel and gaze in awe at the waterfall as you follow the nature trail. Then, take a peek inside the visitor centre to learn more about this area, followed by refreshments in the café. Of course, you can’t miss the Pets Corner with its alpacas and pot-bellied pigs!

No.7 Fabulous Follies

What?

Hawkstone Park Follies. One for your 2022 to-do list! There is so much to discover in this woodland valley, with networks of tunnels and caves, and numerous follies and monuments to track down. 

Where?

A short drive away from the village of Weston-Under-Redcastle, north of Shrewsbury, Shropshire.

Make a totally awesome day out of it:

A trip to Hawkstone Park Follies is a day out on its own! There are twisting tales to discover as you follow the route around the Follies – we recommend the full route if you’re able (approx. three hours walking) so you don’t miss out on any monuments. The views from Swiss Bridge are stunning... If you’re brave enough! Don’t forget to try your hand at den building and check out what other activities are running during your visit.

No.8 City Ruins

What?

St Dunstan in the East. The Blitz may have damaged most of this 900-year-old church, but it certainly wasn’t destroyed, with the grounds turned into a unique, tranquil garden in the heart of the city. 

Where?

In the City of London, between London Bridge and Tower Bridge, tucked away just off Lower Thames Street.

Make a totally awesome day out of it:

When investigating the gardens and ruins, it’s easy to forget you're right in the centre of London, with tonnes of activities to choose from! There are more green spaces to explore nearby at Trinity Square and Tower Hill Gardens, plus the iconic Tower of London is just a stone's throw away. Make the most of your time in the city with a London Trail adventure – there are plenty to choose from, and you’ll be sure to spot all the landmarks and hidden gems along the way.

No.9 A Spectacular Theatre

What?

Minack Theatre. A little different to your usual theatre hall – this breath-taking open-air theatre is nestled right on the Cornish clifftops!

Where?

Porthcurno, Cornwall.

Make a totally awesome day out of it:

Check out what’s on at The Minack – it’s an amazing experience if you can catch a performance, but the theatre and gardens can be explored outside of shows, too, if booked in advance. Scramble down the hill to Porthcurno to check out the PK Museum with its hands-on exhibits, sink your feet into the sand on the award-winning beach and trek along the coast path with the Porthcurno Circular Treasure Hunt, dropping you right back outside The Minack!

No.10 A Spooky Road

UK Hidden Gems - The Dark Hedges

What?

The Dark Hedges. This impressive avenue of beech trees launches you into a dark fairy tale with the way the branches twist and bend to form a tunnel. Are you brave enough to venture down it? 

Where?

Between the villages of Armoy and Stranocum, northeast of Ballymoney, Northern Ireland.

Make a totally awesome day out of it:

Take time to walk all the way down to the far end of the avenue so you can really soak up the atmosphere! We recommend visiting early or later in the day to avoid crowds. After that, you’ll need to refuel, so take a trip down to Ballymoney for a bite to eat and the options of soaking up history at the town museum or exploring the spectacular Riverside Park.

The Hidden Gem Badge

Treasure Trails Colour Badge

The hidden gem badge is just one of 100s of Special Badges you can unlock when you complete your next Treasure Trail. But remember, you won't know which badge your Trail will unlock until you've submitted your answer. Over forty of our Trails will earn you the hidden gem badge, so the odds of you getting this one are quite high! You can find out more about our Trail Blazer Badges and Footsteps Rewards here.

Why do we love hidden gems so much? Knowing that the same hidden gem will be seen for the first time by so many over and over again is what keeps us passionate not only writing new Trails, but ensuring that even the very first Trail written way back in 2005 is in tip-top condition too! 

Happy Trailing!

Love Where You Live Treasure Trails

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