I realise that making such a superlative claim will inevitably provoke many readers to respond, “Well, but you haven’t been to…”
Fair enough, I’ve only lived in Britain for a little over a year now, but I’ve seen a fair bit of this island. I’ve walked along the Seven Sisters and I’ve sailed on Loch Ness, and seen quite a bit in between. There are so many places that are beautiful in such different ways — the charming Cotswolds, majestic Ben Nevis, mystical Stonehenge — that you almost forget how tiny this island is.
But I now think I’m prepared to award the coveted “David’s Most Beautiful Place in Britain Prize.”
And the winner is…
Where do we begin? The mountains are the most obvious attraction. We climbed all the way up Snowdon, and whilst I’m sure the view is fantastic, we were completely in the clouds well before we reached the summit, so we couldn’t see much. Nevertheless, there’s quite a lot to see even in the lower vales of Snowdonia, and the clouds just add to the mystique of the place.
There’s also castles. This area was one of the last strongholds of the Welsh princes who resisted English domination in the 13th century (the mountains probably had something to do with that), and there are a number of castles that were built during that era, both by the Welsh princes seeking to fend off the advancing English forces, and by Edward I, in order to consolidate his rule over the rebellious Welsh.
There’s also the charming Welsh-ness of the place. Whilst I quite enjoyed south Wales, it didn’t feel so terribly different from anywhere in the Midlands or the West Country. But in many of the towns and villages in Snowdonia, over 80% of the population still speak Welsh, and you’ll regularly hear it spoken by both young and old (although not so much by the middle-aged).
Finally, whilst the Industrial Revolution was generally unkind to landscapes anywhere, even the bits of Snowdonia that were scarred by slate mining have a certain impressive rugged aura.
In short, THIS is the most beautiful place in Britain.