Britain’s best happy places close to our hearts, cosy corners & dramatic beaches

We need your help to find the city, town, village or entire county everybody should know about and visit at least once.

From cosy corners to dramatic beaches, top-notch pub or restaurant, honey-stone streets or a warm wonderful hillsides, everybody has a favourite place. It’s time to pick yours and cast your vote.

Our sister website, 2Chil l is running a nationwide poll to find the UK’s Favourite Place. Votes can be cast at with the winner announced on Friday (September 10).

Here our writers champion those places closest to their hearts.


By Charles Gray

This county doesn’t have one big identity, but lots of little ones in villages, towns and cities, from north to south, east to west.

North gets mocked for being posh. South gets the most stick for accents. West Yorkshire has competing cities that square up to each other over football, the best accents, the best place to be.

View of Whitby Harbour from the 199 stairs down to the harbour


Getty Images/iStockphoto)

But what does unite us all is a sense of pride in our little (not so little) corner of the world, and the weird and wonderful words, traditions and experiences that only we understand and that we passionately keep alive.

Whether you’re in a bustling city like Leeds, Sheffield, Hull, Bradford or York, a rural village nestled in the North York Moors or Yorkshire Dales or sat on one of the beaches in Scarborough or Whitby, there’s always the unmistakable sense of being in Yorkshire.


By Molly Dowrick

It’s easy to see why people fall in love with this city.

Plymouth Hoe, Mount Edgecumbe and Central Park are perfect spots to relax in with friends and loved ones.

The Box museum, The Barbican area, Drake Circus The Barcode leisure destination has so much to see and do for the whole family, not to mention a variety of gorgeous cafes, bars and restaurants to visit.

Plymouth Hoe and Smeatons Lighthouse


Adam Gerrard / Daily Mirror)

The Hoe is stunning, Janners (people from Plymouth) are very welcoming and friendly, there are lots of lovely beaches and coves a short drive away.

The place is steeped in history. You can step back in time to learn about Sir Francis Drake, Plymouth’s naval history or how the city fared during the Second World War.


By Lucy Marshall

Walking by the water at Hull’s marina with the sun glistening, it feels like you are in a luxury port abroad.

Honestly, I don’t think there’s any difference between Hull’s port and that of Cannes, in the South of France.

Humber Street offers cuisines for everyone – fish, street food, lunch bites, baked goods, gourmet, and a la carte dishes. Isn’t everyone’s dream to live by the sea?

Hull Marina and Queens Gardens


Katie Pugh)

View of the Humber Suspension Bridge and river


Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Close to the Humber river a walk by the sea is a regular occurrence for a Hull local. You can watch the boats float on the water and it almost feels like you have escaped to a hidden island.

And the communities here are so strong.

It really is a fantastic place to bring up a family.


By Gary Armstrong

Even on a brief holiday, Glasgow is one of those places you can’t help but miss. Find us another place with as many beautiful, lush parks right on our doorstep? It’s known as the Dear Green Place for a reason.

And what about the architecture? Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson and their pals have left us behind some absolute belters – they tell you to ‘look up’ in Glasgow and if you do when you’re next out about in the city centre, west end or any corner of the city, you’ll understand why.

Kelvin Bridge and The Lansdowne Parish Church, notable for its giant spire


Getty Images/EyeEm)

But, the real reason? The people. It might be clichéd but you really can’t replicate the gallows humour, the side-splitting patter, the sense of community and that strong Glasgow spirit anywhere.


By Jane Lavender

Barrow is a town like no other. Its wholly undeserved reputation as the poor cousin of its more chocolate box neighbours in the Lakes hides a wealth of beauty, history and a stunning coastline.

And I’m yet to have better fish and chips than at the York Street chippy and Barrow also recently boasted the country’s best pie shop in Greens.

My personal favourite it Martin & Smith – try one of their steak and kidney pies and you won’t disagree.

The lighthouse on Walney Island, Cumbria,


Getty Images)

Anyone who has ever crested the hill of the ‘new’ (now 27 years old) bypass and stared down at the green fields running into Walney Channel, to the northern tip of Walney Island and the glittering Irish Sea beyond knows the beauty of Barrow.

Not bad after driving up the UK’s lengthiest cul-de-sac.


By Hannah Graham

Newcastle is big enough to be vibrant, small enough to be homey. A 25-minute ride on the metro takes you to one of Britain’s best beaches.

We’ve got the wild expanse of the Town Moor (bigger than Hyde Park and Hampstead Heath combined) or the beautiful, jungle-like ravine that is Jesmond Dene – both hardly your average city centre park.

A view of the Millennium bridge at sunset with the Tyne Bridge in the background


Getty Images)

If it’s beauty you’re after, what can beat the Quayside and our iconic bridges? Want to get outdoors? Why not kayak down the Tyne under those spectacular bridges?

And I challenge you to find a nicer bunch than Geordies. I moved house recently and within days had a flood of “new home” cards from my neighbours. How many other cities have people who are that welcoming?


By Elliot Ryder

A sense of importance is key to Liverpool, its very way of life. Not in the way it thinks of itself, but in how everything matters here. Or rather, Scousers know what matters to them – producing a compelling aura that can be felt on both the inside and outside of the city.

Liverpool won’t be forced or pushed. It’s a city that lives at its own pace and where the weekend is sacred, much to the joy of its growing array of pub landlords, club owners and restaurateurs.

A statue of the Beatles stands in central Liverpool


AFP via Getty Images)

Many will come to the city, climb to the top of Everton Park, or snap a photo of its remarkable waterfront.

But the picture that will always last the longest is one of the city’s heart, its compassion and desire to do things inclusively, but always in its own, Liverpool way.

Greater Manchester

By Daisy Jackson

We have 10 boroughs to explore, each as proudly individual as the last.

Breathe “Salford, in Manchester” to find out how fiercely proud our residents are of their home towns.

It’s a city-region that keeps you on your toes. You can be eating lunch in a Michelin-star restaurant, and within 30 minutes of paying the bill be surrounded by the rolling hills of the Peak District.

Indian restaurants along Manchesters curry mile on Wilmslow Road in Rusholme


Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images)

How about a wander around a world-class art gallery in The Whitworth then a night spent exploring Rusholme’s Curry Mile?

There are a couple of big football teams, you might have heard of them.

The world is always watching our city – and the grass really is greener on this side. Might be something to do with all that rain.


By Portia Jones

We have a Welsh word – Hiraeth – that has no direct English translation, but to us it means a nostalgic longing for our homeland.

To me, it encapsulates how many of us feel about the glorious place we live that has the most extraordinary beauty as well as a rich heritage of myths and legends and Celtic history. It’s easy to fall in love with Wales, with its unique mix of towering mountains, medieval castles, thriving cities, historic market towns, arts and culture icons.

Estuary of the River Taf with Laugharne Castle in the background Carmarthenshire, Wales


Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Think of the legendary poet and writer Dylan Thomas and extraordinary actor and Welsh activist Michael Sheen, and the roar of passionate rugby crowds singing Calon Lan.

And show me a better flag than one with a mythical, fire-breathing dragon on it.

I’ll wait.


By Jilly Beattie

Most certainly Belfast leads the way as the UK’s favourite place when it comes to smiles and laughter, old friends, new friends, light humour, dark humour, irony and a good dose of self-flagellation.

Game of Thrones stained glass installations in Northern Ireland


William Cherry/Presseye)

Then there’s our food, fun and folklore, our heritage and hope, our historic shipyard, the people and plans, the laughter and our determination to hold out the hand friendship and, yes, our drive to survive. There’s Our TV and film industry – Game of Thrones, The Fall, Line of Duty, Marcella. Not to mention Jamie Dornan, Rory McIlroy, Kenneth Brannagh, Eamonn Holmes, Van Morrison. And of course George Best.

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