The top 20 hidden gems in UK National Parks - have you seen any of them?


New reports show that consumer spending on British hotels is growing for the first time since before the pandemic, as more people decide to holiday in the UK.

Many of us will be visiting the UK’s national parks, such as the Peak District, Cairngorms and Brecon Beacons, but overcrowding is a bigger issue than ever before due to outdoor enthusiasts flocking to open spaces after months of restrictions. It’s therefore understandable if you’re concerned about how much personal space you will have.

We’ve compiled the National Park: Hidden Gems study, to reveal the secret beauty spots in the UK which are frequented far less than the tourist traps. Each place listed is rated highly by those who have left a review on TripAdvisor and Google Reviews, despite having fewer than 1,300 Instagram tags.

Number one is Uath Lochan Lake in Cairngorms National Park, with an 86.81% five-star rating. Uath Lochan Lake has just 375 location tags on Instagram, compared to the likes of Mam Tor in the Peak District, which has 108,000.

The UK’s top 20 hidden gems in National Parks are:


  1. Uath Lochan Lake, Cairngorms

Instagram location tags: 375

No. of reviews on TripAdvisor and Google Reviews: 144

Average number of five-star reviews: 86.81%

A group of black pools hidden in the Inshriach Forest.



  1. College Valley, Northumberland

Instagram location tags: 792

No. of reviews: 43

Average no. of five-star reviews - 86.05%

A beauty spot which is home to wildlife and ancient hillfort ruins.



  1. Gaping Gill, Yorkshire Dales

Instagram location tags: 1,164

No. of reviews: 266

Average no. of five-star reviews - 84.21%

A stunning natural cave and the largest underground cave chamber in Britain.


  1. Angletarn Pikes, Lake District

Instagram location tags: 1,169

No. of reviews: 25

Average no. of five-star reviews - 84.00%

A fell in the Lake District which is home to a lake of the same name which resembles a fish hook in shape.


    5. Skirrid Mountain, Brecon Beacons (Also known as Ysgyryd Fawr)

Instagram location tags: 1,251

No. of reviews: 162

Average no. of five-star reviews - 82.72%

Known locally as ‘the Holy Mountain’, offering stunning views of the countryside on the summit.


  1. Muir of Dinnet, Cairngorms

Instagram location tags: 152

No. of reviews: 655

Average no. of five-star reviews - 80.31%

A national nature reserve full of woodland, moors, and incredible sculpture work.


  1. Denny Wood, New Forest

Instagram location tags: 1,156

No. of reviews: 78

Average no. of five-star reviews - 78.21%

A campsite and dog walking spot with beautiful scenery and situated in England’s largest ancient woodland.



  1. Ravenscar, North York Moors

Instagram location tags: 544

No. of reviews: 411

Average no. of five-star reviews - 78.10%

A coastal village in Scarborough, with a steep incline to the beach to spot fossils and seals.


  1. Stackpole Quay, Pembrokeshire

Instagram location tags: 1,019

No. of reviews: 131

Average no. of five-star reviews - 77.10%

A small harbour within the cliffs which reveals a stony beach at low tide with crystal clear waters.

  1. Grimspound, Dartmoor

Instagram location tags: 764

No. of reviews: 233

Average no. of five-star reviews - 75.54%

A Bronze Age settlement which consists of the remains of a set 24 stone hut circles, surrounded by a huge boundary wall.


  1. Yeoman Hey, Peak District

Instagram location tags: 977

No. of reviews: 36

Average no. of five-star reviews - 75.00%

This reservoir has amazing views over the calm body of water, with waterfalls and the rugged cliffs from Dovedale in the distance.


12. Falls of Pattack, Cairngorms

Instagram location tags: 166

No. of reviews: 325

Average no. of five-star reviews - 72.92%

The Falls of Pattack are one of the most dramatic waterfalls in the Cairngorms National Park.


13. Cambus O’ May, Cairngorms

Instagram location tags: 609

No. of reviews: 54

Average no. of five-star reviews - 72.22%

This woodland is a wildlife haven, and it’s a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest due to its geological features. Make sure you take a stroll over its suspension bridge!


14. Gormire Lake, North York Moors

Instagram location tags: 213

No. of reviews: 23

Average no. of five-star reviews - 69.57%

Gormire Lake is one of only a few natural lowland lakes in Yorkshire.


15. Solent Way, New Forest

Instagram location tags: 90

No. of reviews: 415

Average no. of five-star reviews - 68.19%

This 60-mile picturesque footpath in Hampshire will provide fantastic views of the Isle of Wight and Solent and is not one to be missed on a sunny day.


16. Catrigg Force, Yorkshire Dales

Instagram location tags: 365

No. of reviews: 37

Average no. of five-star reviews - 64.86%

This waterfall is a hidden gem for a good reason - it’s hidden from most walker’s views.

You’ll hear the waterfall before you see the amazing drop pool.


17. Gallox Bridge, Exmoor

Instagram location tags: 149

No. of reviews: 200

Average no. of five-star reviews: 64.00%

This medieval stone bridge which looks like it’s straight out of a period drama film was the route used to transport wool across to Dunster.


18. Loch Insh, Cairngorms

Instagram location tags: 433

No. of reviews: 389

Average no. of five-star reviews: 58.87%

This Highlands loch is not just a beautiful sight, but can be used for watersports such as canoeing and paddle boarding.



19. Frank Bruce Sculpture, Cairngorms

Instagram location tags: 208

No. of reviews: 80

Average no. of five-star reviews: 58.75%

These sculptures, many created from Scots pine and reclaimed wood from the Inshriach forest by the late Frank Bruce, add bags of personality to Cairngorms.


20. Snowdrop Valley, Exmoor

Instagram location tags: 13

No. of reviews: 38

Average no. of five-star reviews: 57.89%

This secret valley is closed in 2021, however they are hopeful it will open in 2022. The valley is named after the thousands of flowers with the same name which blossom each spring, creating a charming sight.



We first looked at the number of location tags for 180 spots in the UK’s national parks, to establish which are already the most popular. We then took those which had been tagged fewer than 1,300 times on Instagram and looked at the number of reviews they had on TripAdvisor and Google Reviews. Taking those with more than 20 reviews, we looked at the spots with the highest percentage of five star reviews, to reveal the hidden gems in UK’s national parks. Data is accurate as of July 2021.

Type: Consumer

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