Northern exposure

The limestone scenery of the Yorkshire Dales puts it among the UK's beauty spots, alongside the Lakes and the Peak District.
The limestone scenery of the Yorkshire Dales puts it among the UK's beauty spots, alongside the Lakes and the Peak District.
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The top half of our country is far more photogenic than the south, a survey by Nikon reveals. Sarah Marshall reports.

Anyone who still believes it’s grim up north could soon find themselves in a minority. In a new survey commissioned by Nikon to discover the UK’s most scenic spots, the north of England scooped the top five places.

Two thousand people were asked to select the UK’s best well-known beauty spots, with 38 per cent agreeing that Windermere in the Lake District is undoubtedly the most picturesque location.

Not far behind in second place was the Yorkshire Dales (34 per cent), an area of rolling green pastures latticed by low stone walls and with high heather moorland.

In third place was the Peak District (33 per cent), the Derbyshire National Park popular with hikers and with attractions including historic homes such as Chatsworth and Bolsover Castle.

Next up was Snowdonia in Wales (32 per cent), known as the place of eagles by local residents. There are nine mountain ranges to explore in the National Park with some peaks rising above 915m.

The Scottish Highlands featured in fifth place, with Loch Ness being the favoured photographic spot (30 per cent).

The final two places on the table were taken by beauty spots in the South: Stonehenge and the White Cliffs of Dover scored a joint 26 per cent.

Reassuringly, the survey revealed that 72 per cent believe the UK possesses some of the most striking landscapes in the world, which helps explain why an increasing number of people are choosing to take staycations.

What’s more, the possibility of bad weather was considered by many budding snappers to be a plus point, with 70 per cent saying overcast skies made for a better picture.

Landscape photographer Jeremy Walker said: “For me, variety is what makes our countryside so brilliantly British. From the Yorkshire Dales with its brooding, bleak moorland, gentle rolling hills and dry stone walls to the drama of Snowdonia National Park, which is unlike anywhere else you would find in the UK, there’s so much on offer for the photographer.”

Those looking for lesser-known beauty spots should try the Isle of Skye, Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula and the Pistyll Rhaeadr Waterfalls in Wales, which all topped an alternative destination chart.

And what subject matter should you include for that quintessential British photograph? A red phone box or post box were the key icons, according to 86 per cent, followed by a pub, cricket green or countryside village.