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Top 5 Underrated UK Attractions

Top Underrated UK Attractions  

We’ve all been there - it’s the weekend, you want to do something fun and different. We have all been locked up for a while now and that can certainly make you feel a bit stir-crazy. While international holidays may still be a bit of a way off, there are plenty of underrated things to see and do right on your own door step. A day out in the sun shine, exploring a new place and learning something new can be a terrific way to blow away the cobwebs and kick your weekend into top gear. 

We have compiled a list of underrated attractions in the UK, cutting out the legwork so you can skip the research and get right to the fun! 

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Calke Abbey

For a day soaked in history and culture, Calke Abbey, Ticknall, Derbyshire is the place to go. Described as ‘The un-stately home’ featuring peeling paintwork and overgrown courtyards, Calke Abbey tells the story of the dramatic decline of a country house estate. Parts of the house and stables have been restored, many abandoned areas tell a dramatic story of a period in the 20th century when many country houses did not survive to tell the tale. 

Learn about the family who collected an incredible collection of hidden treasures. Visit the beautiful, yet faded walled gardens and explore the orangery, auricula theatre and the kitchen gardens. Escape into the ancient and fragile habitats of Calke Park and its National Nature Reserve. Tunnels, invisible corridors, a secret garden - there’s so much to discover in Calke Abbey.

The parkland and gardens at Calke Abbey are open. We advise booking your visit in advance, especially at busier times such as weekends and bank holidays. If you do not book we cannot guarantee admission. The prices are shown below:

  • Adult: £8 
  • Child: £4
  • Family (2 adults, 3 children): £20
  • Family 2 (1 adult, 3 children): £12

Address: Ticknall, Derby, Derbyshire, DE73 7JF

Find it with What3Words: ///countries.boggles.walking

*Please note that there are currently road closures in place in the nearby village of Melbourne; we advise checking your route before you travel.

To learn more, visit the National Trust website here.

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Brownsea Island

For a true escape, look no further than Brownsea Island. A cornucopia of nature and wild life, be sure to bring you binoculars (and your bug spray) to truly take in and appreciate the sheer beauty of the natural environment. The local red squirrel, deer and peacocks that make the area there home make for a terrific view and a unique photo op. 

Brownsea Island will be open this year from April 21st to October 31st and can be reached via a very scenic ferry. If you're planning a trip to Brownsea, then you'll need to catch a foot ferry. This year will see a half-hourly service daily from Poole Quay only. You will need to pre-book your visit to the island by booking your island entry in advance. Ferry spaces will be guaranteed for visitors in accordance with the visiting slot you have booked, so you don’t need to worry about pre-booking the ferry. You must however travel on the designated ferry service times to and from the island, as per your island admission ticket.

The ferry fare is payable to the ferry company operating the service to the island on your chosen date, as detailed on your island admission ticket. Cash and card is accepted, although card payment is preferred.  The prices shown below are for a return journey:

  • Adult: £12.50 
  • Child: £7
  • Family (2 adults, 3 children): £32
  • Family 2 (1 adult, 3 children): £19.50

Departure Point Address: Greenslades Pleasure Boats (orange kiosk), Poole Quay, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1HJ

Find it with What3Words: ///either.taken.icon

Parking: If you are travelling by car follow signs to the Quay visitors multi-storey car park, where you can use pedestrian signage to locate the quay - a 5 minute walk away. 

To learn more, visit the National Trust website here.

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Lanhydrock is the perfect country house and estate, with the feel of a wealthy but unpretentious family home. After a devastating fire in 1881 the Jacobean house was refurbished in high-Victorian style, with the best in country house design and planning and the latest mod-cons.

Discover two sides of Victorian life: from the kitchens, nurseries and servants' quarters, which offer a thrilling glimpse into life 'below stairs', to the luxurious family areas, elegant dining room and spacious bedrooms which reveal the comforts of ‘upstairs’ living. Make sure you take a stroll around the extensive gardens and enjoy their year-round colour. There are beautiful herbaceous borders, a fabulous formal parterre and colourful higher gardens filled with camellias, magnolias and rhododendrons.

The estate is well worth exploring too, with ancient woodlands and tranquil riverside paths. There are also off-road cycle trails, with special routes for families and novice riders, and you can even hire a bike from us to make the most of this opportunity.

To avoid disappointment, please book in advance for busier times such as weekends and bank holidays. However, where there is space on weekdays, pre-booking may not always be necessary. If you do not book, we cannot guarantee admission. 

  • Adult: £10
  • Child: £5
  • Family: £25
  • Family 2 (1 child): £15

Address: Bodmin, Cornwall, PL30 4AB

Find it with What3Words: ///friday.outgoing.mourner

Parking: Pay and display parking available in the Lanhydrock car park

To learn more, visit the National Trust website here.

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Dunster Castle and Watermill

Dramatically sited on a wooded hill, a castle has existed here since at least Norman times, with an impressive medieval gatehouse and ruined tower giving a reminder of its turbulent history. The castle that you see today became a lavish country home during the 19th century for the Luttrell family, who lived here for 600 years.

The terraced garden displays varieties of Mediterranean and subtropical plants, while the tranquil riverside wooded garden below, with its natural play area, leads to the historic working watermill. There are panoramic views over the Bristol Channel and surrounding countryside from the castle and grounds.

The castle is also home to the National Collection of strawberry trees, which have to be seen to be believed. The medieval village the castle once used to protect is well worth a visit too.

The garden, parkland, shop and pop-up cafe at Dunster Castle are open. We advise you to book your visit in advance especially at busier times. If you do not book we cannot guarantee admission. Please follow government guidance on travel.

  • Adult: £10 
  • Child: £5
  • Family (2 adults, 3 children): £25
  • Family 2 (1 adult, 3 children): £15

Address: Dunster, near Minehead, Somerset, TA24 6RL

Find it with What3Words: ///recliner.postings.jotting

Parking: Parking: 300 yards. £5.50 all day

To learn more, visit the National Trust website here.

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Wimpole Estate

A working estate still guided by the seasons, with an impressive mansion, parkland, gardens and Home Farm

A working estate still guided by the seasons, with an impressive mansion, parkland, gardens and Home Farm From Iron-age roundhouses to a sophisticated, modern estate, this site has been lived on and farmed for over 2,000 years.

Over the centuries, Wimpole has been owned by several families, and each has left its mark. The Civil War, a true love match and a collection of priceless manuscripts that formed the core of the British Library are just some of its stories.

One of Wimpole’s owners was Attorney-General Philip Yorke. His opinion that an enslaved person did not become free on reaching English soil governed legal thought on slavery for nearly half a century. The present house, at the heart of this estate, was the vision of Elsie Bambridge. Wimpole had been an empty shell until she filled it with pictures and furniture, bringing it back to a welcoming home in the 1930s.

Intimate rooms contrast with beautiful and unexpected Georgian interiors, including Soane's remarkable Yellow Drawing Room and wonderful plunge bath. The fascinating basement corridor offers a glimpse into life below stairs.

The Farm, Park, Gardens and Shop are now open at Wimpole, visits can be booked by timed ticket. You should note however that some areas of the wider estate are currently being used for filming. To avoid disappointment please book in advance, essential at weekends and bank holidays.

  • Adult: £15 
  • Child: £7.50
  • Family (2 adults, 3 children): £37.50
  • Family 2 (1 adult, 3 children): £22.50

Address: Arrington, Royston, Cambridgeshire, SG8 0BW

Find it with What3Words: ///eyepieces.accented.hinted

Parking: They have a new entrance and free car park accessed from Old Wimpole Road approximately 500yrds nearer the A603, lookout for signs directing you to the new way in.

To learn more, visit the National Trust website here.

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