Where Life Becomes Art: Five Gallery-Worthy UK Destinations

Where Life Becomes Art: Five Gallery-Worthy UK Destinations

Want to walk in nature’s art gallery? We’ve explored Constable Country, watched sunset in the Yorkshire Dales and gazed upon a bucolic rendering of a Game of Thrones film location to bring you the UK destinations that are works of art both on and off the canvas.

are a magical sort of people: they see things the rest
of us cannot; they have an uncanny ability to make the ordinary
arcane; and they turn what seems hieroglyphic into such beautiful
simplicity. Few wield such powers, but you’ll find five of the
wizarding sort below who have managed to skilfully capture the
British landscape’s sundry personalities, immortalising them in art

The oldest artist in this collection has long since left us; the
rest are still drawing inspiration from their surroundings today.
Regardless of dates and eras, what you’ll soon notice is that the
locations’ depictions are the very carbon copy of those sites. And
walking through those places is like stepping into the frame.

En route, you’ll encounter beaches that hosted medieval battles,
harbours that brought the Game
of Thrones
to life, streams long since etched onto our artistic
consciousness and towns that the Brontës called home.

One of the main drags about hallowed sites is that the
surrounding area often falls prey to change, development or
deprivation. But this is not the case with any of the five you’ll
see here. Revered for their natural beauty, these landscapes and
their environs have been protected and preserved to an admirable
degree, so much so that the difference between even the oldest
painting and modern photograph is nearly indiscernible.

Ballintoy Harbour by George Callaghan

County Antrim, Northern Ireland

It’s a testament to Ireland’s olde-worlde charm and wild,
cinematic landscapes that fantasy epics should choose these shores.
Ballintoy Harbour sets the scene for Theon Greyjoy in Game of
Thrones when he arrives at the Iron Islands, where he first meets
his sister, Yara, and where he later admires his ship, the Sea

Though you may not see Greyjoy on your visit, you probably will
see many of the wildlife species that grace this stretch, including
Atlantic seals, black rabbits, puffins, dolphins and one of
Ireland’s rarest birds, the chough.

George Callaghan, born in Country Antrim in 1941,
adeptly captures the tumbling hillsides of his native Emerald Isle.
He now lives in the medieval French village of Lherm with his wife,

STAY: The Salthouse

Sun Setting on Watlass Moor by Simon Palmer

North Yorkshire

Simon Palmer may have been torn away from the
Yorkshire countryside as a child when his family decided to move
south, but his northern connection had already been too firmly
rooted for him to stay away. For the past 40 years, Palmer has
lived and taken inspiration from his home in Wensleydale and the
surrounding Yorkshire

Watlass Moor in Thornton Watlass, Ripon sits innocuously on the
fringes of the Dales, a devastatingly beautiful and charismatic
little part of England, instantly recognisable by its hedgerows,
dry-stone walls, narrow country lanes and tumbling agricultural
fields. And from this seemingly ordinary and domesticated setting,
Palmer has drawn out elements of the fantastical and the

Yorkshire’s longstanding capacity to captivate and beguile was
certainly not lost on the Brontë sisters, who were born in
Thornton, in a building now aptly named Emily’s café. The sisters
lived at the Thornton Parsonage until the eldest sister, Charlotte,
was almost four years old when the family moved to Haworth where
they crafted their most famous works.

Wensleydale Heifer

The Mill Stream by John Constable


Suffolk is known fondly as Constable Country. One of Britain’s
most celebrated landscape painters, Constable was a self-taught
artist, who instinctively brought the romantic pastoral scenes of
his hometown to life on canvas.

Today, you can follow the Constable trail, on which you’ll pass Flatford
Mill on the banks of the River Stour and the site of his other
famous work, The Hay Wain. And, as Constable did, you’ll look out
over the Stour Valley and Dedham Vale. When you reach Dedham,
revive yourself at the Old Bakery Café before journeying back through
tree-lined footpaths.

STAY: Milsom’s

Pwll Deri by Helen Lush

Pembrokshire, Wales

If your grasp of the Welsh language is shoddy, the name Pwll
Deri won’t mean that much to you. But what if we told you it means
“pool of oaks”? Yes, now you’re beginning to feel the magic and
majesty commanded by these 120m cliffs gazing over the St Georges

For stalwart adventurers willing to brace the icy seas, nearby
Whitesands Bay is ranked as one of the UK’s best
surfing spots
. And for the land-lovers among you, there’s the
staggeringly beautiful 300km Pembrokeshire Coast Path to

was born in County Durham and spent her childhood
immersing herself in the natural world, from which she developed
her interest in botany and landscape. She now lives in South Wales
where her muses lay right on her doorstep.

STAY: The Grove

Blackpool Sands by Jeanette Smith

South Devon

This Dartmouth seascape is as close a facsimile as a piece of
art can be to the real thing. It’s the type of painting that makes
you double-take to check that it isn’t actually a photograph.

Though these shores may look serene and peaceful today, they
were once the arena for a 15th-century invasion attempt by the
French that culminated in the Battle of Blackpool Sands.

grew up in the fishing port of Brixham in
, where she spent her childhood looking out at the
seascape, trying to capture even the movement of a ship’s sails.
Her life-long immersion in the Devon countryside and her meticulous
attention to the landscape’s every detail imbues her paintings with
a remarkable realness.

STAY: Gidleigh Park

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