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The UK’s most picturesque places to move to

 

Britain is home to bountiful countryside, quaint villages, charming market towns and stunning cities, and with the UK property market enjoying a boom since last July, demand for property is still strong and prices are still on the rise.  

Our latest Home Improvement Trends Report revealed that more than a quarter of UK homeowners (29%) want to move house this year to get more outside space, and 25% want a bigger home.

So, to offer some inspiration for people looking to relocate, we analysed hashtags for over 500 towns and cities in the UK to reveal which are considered the most picturesque. Taking into account population size for each place, we’ve dug into which have the most photos taken per capita, to discover the most photographed places around the UK.

If you’re keen to upsize but would prefer to improve and not move, find local tradespeople who can help with kitchen extensions, loft conversions or take a look at our cost guides to see how much different jobs could cost.

The UK’s top 20 most picturesque places to live in

Our research shows Durham is the most Insta-worthy place to live in the UK. More than 2.5 million photos of Durham have been shared on Instagram; with a population of just over 50,000, that means for every inhabitant, 50 photos are shared online, making it the most photographed place in the UK.

Cornish surfing town Newquay follows as the second most scenic place in the UK with 42 photos shared per capita, and Stamford in Lincolnshire is third, with 32 photos shared per person.

Scarborough, with almost 2 million Instagram photos and a population of just over 60,000, boasts 31 photos per resident, which lands the North Yorkshire town in fourth. In fifth, with 30 Instagram shots per capita, it’s the northern city of Manchester, with a whopping 16.5 million shots and a population of just over 550,00.

The top 100 most photographed places in the UK (positions 1 -50)

RankCity/TownInstagram photosCountyRegionPopulationPhotos per person
1Durham2,601,061County DurhamNorth East51,83750.18
2Newquay909,883CornwallSouth West21,88941.57
3Stamford653,624LincolnshireEast Midlands20,55831.79
4Scarborough1,901,394North YorkshireYorkshire Humber61,52530.90
5Manchester16,468,992Greater ManchesterNorth West554,40029.71
6Brighton7,075,737East SussexSouth East241,99929.24
7Cambridge4,319,044CambridgeshireEast149,02328.98
8Falmouth684,587CornwallSouth West23,96828.56
9York4,554,540North YorkshireYorkshire Humber161,99428.12
10Warwick851,832WarwickshireWest Midlands32,71826.04
11Liverpool14,833,871MerseysideNorth West579,25625.61
12Oxford4,146,065OxfordshireSouth East163,96725.29
13Newcastle upon Tyne5,646,656Tyne and WearNorth East281,84220.03
14Edinburgh9,581,542EdinburghScotland488,05019.63
15London150,696,691LondonLondon8,907,91816.92
16Ely335,558CambridgeshireEast20,25516.57
17Canterbury1,028,006KentSouth East62,76716.38
18Torquay822,303DevonSouth West50,64516.24
19Margate870,828KentSouth East64,75713.45
20Inverness621,240HighlandScotland47,29013.14
21Chichester405,584West SussexSouth East31,83112.74
22Elgin314,565MorayScotland24,76012.70
23Salisbury582,638WiltshireSouth West46,30912.58
24Whitstable418,108KentSouth East33,50512.48
25Stirling466,113StirlingScotland37,61012.39
26Stratford-upon-Avon352,699WarwickshireWest Midlands29,56511.93
27Glasgow7,250,125GlasgowScotland612,04011.85
28Leeds5,680,914West YorkshireYorkshire Humber503,38811.29
29Cardiff 3,856,221South GlamorganWales350,558 11.00
30Norwich2,112,233NorfolkEast195,76110.79
31Bristol6,143,946BristolSouth West571,92210.74
32Seaford 246,106East SussexSouth East23,46310.49
33Buxton 234,963DerbyshireEast Midlands22,66110.37
34Belfast3,389,541County Antrim
County Down
Northern Ireland328,937 10.30
35Airdrie 381,749North LanarkshireScotland37,41010.20
36Nottingham 3,159,808NottinghamshireEast Midlands311,82310.13
37Worcester 1,032,706WorcestershireWest Midlands103,7699.95
38Blackpool 1,444,818LancashireNorth West145,7229.91
39Bournemouth1,937,855DorsetSouth West198,7279.75
40Preston 961,334LancashireNorth West99,1989.69
41Harrogate 715,478North YorkshireYorkshire Humber74,4269.61
42Lichfield 324,849StaffordshireWest Midlands33,8169.61
43Hastings896,002East SussexSouth East93,5929.57
44Exmouth 329,133DevonSouth West35,4389.29
45Hitchin335,888HertfordshireEast36,2029.28
46Hertford 261,531HertfordshireEast28,8609.06
47Broadstairs 220,558KentSouth East24,5438.99
48Cheltenham 1,058,353GloucestershireSouth West117,8438.98
49Ashford 255,472SurreySouth East28,6768.91
50Sevenoaks277,787KentSouth East31,4028.85

Top five most photographed places in the South East

One of the UK’s most famous seaside destinations takes the top spot in the South East. It’s no surprise really that Brighton, with two piers, an expansive beach and vibrant culture, is the most photographed place.

RankCity/Town Instagram photos County Region PopulationPhotos per person
1Brighton7,075,737East SussexSouth East241,99929.24
2Oxford4,146,065OxfordshireSouth East163,96725.29
3Canterbury1,028,006KentSouth East62,76716.38
4Margate 870,828KentSouth East64,75713.45
5Chichester 405,584West SussexSouth East31,83112.74

Top five most photographed places in the South West

Cornish surfer town Newquay boasts stunning natural scenery and one of the most famous beaches in the UK, Fistral Beach. Home to one of Europe’s biggest beach festivals and previously part of the professional surfing circuit, the quaint laid-back town also offers tropical gardens, a zoo and an aquarium.

RankCity/Town Instagram photos County Region PopulationPhotos per person
1Newquay909,883CornwallSouth West21,88941.57
2Falmouth684,587CornwallSouth West23,96828.56
3Torquay822,303DevonSouth West50,64516.24
4Salisbury582,638WiltshireSouth West46,30912.58
5Bristol 6,143,946Bristol South West571,92210.74

Top five most photographed places in Yorkshire and the Humber

Britain’s ‘original seaside resort’, Scarborough, averages 31 photos on Instagram per resident, the highest of all places in Yorkshire and the Humber. Boasting two beaches, exciting attractions and a rich history, visitors have been holidaying in Scarborough for almost 400 years!

RankCity/Town Instagram photos County Region PopulationPhotos per person
1Scarborough1,901,394North YorkshireYorkshire Humber61,52530.90
2York4,554,540North YorkshireYorkshire Humber161,99428.12
3Leeds5,680,914West YorkshireYorkshire Humber503,38811.29
4Harrogate715,478North YorkshireYorkshire Humber74,4269.61
5Sheffield3,841,995South YorkshireYorkshire Humber 544,4027.06

Top five most photographed places in the East Midlands

Widely regarded as one of the UK’s finest towns, Stamford has a host of 17th and 18th century stone buildings, old timber-framed buildings and five medieval parish churches – and with 653,624 photos posted on Instagram, and a population of just over 20,000, it’s the most photographed place in the East Midlands.

RankCity/Town Instagram photos County Region PopulationPhotos per person
1Stamford 653,624LincolnshireEast Midlands20,55831.79
2Buxton234,963DerbyshireEast Midlands22,66110.37
3Nottingham3,159,808NottinghamshireEast Midlands311,82310.13
4Skegness193,212Lincolnshire East Midlands25,2217.66
5Spalding264,080LincolnshireEast Midlands35,1357.52

Top five most photographed places in the West Midlands

Perched on the river Avon – the county town of Warwick, is known for its medieval castle, which was founded by William the Conqueror. Almost a million photos of Warwick have been shared on Instagram, which means it takes the top spot for the most photographed place in the West Midlands.

RankCity/Town Instagram photos County Region PopulationPhotos per person
1Warwick 851,832WarwickshireWest Midlands32,71826.04
2Stratford-upon-Avon352,699WarwickshireWest Midlands29,56511.93
3Worcester1,032,706WorcestershireWest Midlands103,7699.95
4Lichfield324,849StaffordshireWest Midlands33,8169.61
5Kenilworth 183,299WarwickshireWest Midlands21,4908.53

Top five most photographed places in the East

Well known for its prestigious university, Cambridge is perhaps one of the UK’s most famous cities. It’s not surprising so many visitors flock here every year. Located on the river Cam, just 55 miles from London, Cambridge offers punting on the river, exquisite architecture and a world-leading university.

RankCity/Town Instagram photos County Region PopulationPhotos per person
1Cambridge4,319,044CambridgeshireEast149,02328.98
2Ely335,558CambridgeshireEast20,25516.57
3Norwich2,112,233Norfolk East195,76110.79
4Hitchin335,888Hertfordshire East36,2029.28
5Hertford261,531HertfordshireEast28,8609.06

Top five most photographed places in the North East

According to our research, Durham is the most picturesque place to live in the UK, and it’s also the most photographed place in the North East, with a whopping 50.18 photos taken per capita. Locals are spoilt for choice, with Durham’s cathedral, castle, River Wear and botanical gardens all providing perfect backdrops for photographs.

RankCity/Town Instagram photos County Region PopulationPhotos per person
1Durham2,601,061County DurhamNorth East51,83750.18
2Newcastle upon Tyne
5,646,656Tyne and WearNorth East281,84220.03
3Whitley Bay233,235Tyne and WearNorth East37,0586.29
4Tynemouth307,664Tyne and WearNorth East68,5304.49
5Seaham100,665County DurhamNorth East22,5794.46

Top five most photographed places in the North West

Steeped in industrial history, Manchester was a textile powerhouse in the 18th century. Often dubbed the capital of the north, Manchester is not only the city that gave birth to Oasis, it’s rich in culture and Victorian architecture and it makes a great place to explore or live in. 

RankCity/Town Instagram photos County Region PopulationPhotos per person
1Manchester16,468,992Greater ManchesterNorth West554,40029.71
2Liverpool
14,833,871MerseysideNorth West579,25625.61
3Blackpool1,444,818LancashireNorth West145,7229.91
4Preston961,334LancashireNorth West99,1989.69
5Wilmslow322,718CheshireNorth West37,4008.63

Top five most photographed places in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland’s capital, Belfast, with well over 3 million photos posted to Instagram, is the most photographed place in Northern Ireland. Famously, it was also the birth place of the Titanic.

RankCity/Town Instagram photos County Region PopulationPhotos per person
1Belfast
3,389,541County Antrim
County Down
Northern Ireland328,93710.30
2Bangor367,570County DownNorthern Ireland61,4015.99
3Derry/Londonderry458,755County LondonderryNorthern Ireland83,1255.52
4Antrim121,718County AntrimNorthern Ireland23,3535.21
5Newry104,184County Armagh
County Down
Northern Ireland26,8933.87

Top five most photographed places in Scotland

The Scottish capital, Edinburgh, is also the most photographed place in Scotland. Home to one of the world’s top universities, along with Scotland’s crown jewels and the majestic Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh is steeped in history and it’s a magical place to live or visit.

RankCity/Town Instagram photos County Region PopulationPhotos per person
1Edinburgh9,581,542EdinburghScotland488,05019.63
2Inverness621,240HighlandScotland47,29013.14
3Elgin314,565MorayScotland24,76012.70
4Stirling466,113StirlingScotland37,61012.39
5Glasgow
7,250,125GlasgowScotland612,04011.85

Top five most photographed places in Wales

Wales’ capital, Cardiff, was recently described as the ‘epitome of cool’ by the Lonely Planet Travel Guide. The cosmopolitan city is a friendly, affordable and exciting destination that’s home to around 350,000 residents. With almost 4 million photos shared to Instagram, it’s also the most photographed place in Wales.

RankCity/Town Instagram photos County Region PopulationPhotos per person
1Cardiff3,856,221South GlamorganWales350,55811.00
2Swansea1,288,549West GlamorganWales184,4366.99
3Penarth165,831South GlamorganWales29,3885.64
4Wrexham240,722ClwydWales61,5483.91
5Rhyl74,511ClwydWales25,9942.87

The top 100 (positions 51-100) most photographed places in the UK

RankCity/Town Instagram photos County Region PopulationPhotos per person
51Wilmslow322,718CheshireNorth West37,4008.63
52Bedford790,115BedfordshireEast92,4058.55
53Kenilworth183,299WarwickshireWest Midlands21,4908.53
54Exeter1,051,152DevonSouth West123,3798.52
55Reigate 197,200SurreySouth East23,3918.43
56Shrewsbury618,135ShropshireWest Midlands73,8388.37
57Weymouth446,520DorsetSouth West55,1748.09
58Aberdeen1,620,727AberdeenScotland200,6808.08
59Royal Tunbridge Wells466,152KentSouth East60,5707.70
60Skegness193,212LincolnshireEast Midlands25,2217.66
61Farnham204,691SurreySouth East27,0567.57
62Spalding264,080LincolnshireEast Midlands35,1357.52
63Hereford 473,444HerefordshireWest Midlands63,6897.43
64Caterham 168,727SurreySouth East23,0137.33
65Frome 199,857SomersetSouth West27,3727.30
66Southampton
1,960,004HampshireSouth East269,2317.28
67Portsmouth1,805,654HampshireSouth East248,4797.27
68Sheffield
3,841,995South YorkshireYorkshire Humber544,4027.06
69Swansea1,288,549West GlamorganWales184,4366.99
70Birmingham
8,043,092West MidlandsWest Midlands1,153,7176.97
71Altrincham382,523Greater ManchesterNorth West55,5316.89
72Southport642,176MerseysideNorth West93,4266.87
73Redhill255,295SurreySouth East37,3836.83
74Yate208,728GloucestershireSouth West30,6266.82
75Loughton221,392EssexEast32,6606.78
76Guildford576,543SurreySouth East85,2086.77
77Whitefield141,720Greater ManchesterNorth West21,1476.70
78Maldon146,112EssexEast21,8106.70
79Huntingdon171,950CambridgeshireEast25,9086.64
80Weybridge199,653SurreySouth East30,1456.62
81Cleethorpes259,248LincolnshireYorkshire Humber39,1886.62
82Dundee962,887DundeeScotland148,2806.49
83Faversham132,043KentSouth East20,4686.45
84St Albans559,102HertfordshireEast86,9616.43
85Whitley Bay233,235Tyne and WearNorth East37,0586.29
86Stroud212,673GloucestershireSouth West34,1736.22
87Berkhamsted133,184HertfordshireEast21,4356.21
88Ramsgate263,329KentSouth East42,6326.18
89Falkirk220,653FalkirkScotland35,8506.15
90Clevedon128,379SomersetSouth West21,1176.08
91Formby141,779MerseysideNorth West23,3656.07
92Folkestone320,464KentSouth East52,9546.05
93Bangor367,570County DownNorthern Ireland61,4015.99
94Eastbourne673,275East SussexSouth East113,6465.92
95Newbury246,088BerkshireSouth East41,8835.88
96Bury St Edmunds246,331SuffolkEast41,9405.87
97Whitehaven136,994CumbriaNorth West23,6685.79
98Penarth165,831South GlamorganWales29,3885.64
99Doncaster635,297South YorkshireYorkshire Humber114,9005.53
100Derry/Londonderry458,755County LondonderryNorthern Ireland83,1255.52

Methodology

To create the index of the most picturesque places in the UK, Instagram hashtag data was calculated for the 500 largest towns and cities in the UK. Population data was sourced from: https://www.thegeographist.com/uk-cities-population-1000/.

Some place names were removed from the analysis if the word was associated with something else, for example Rugby had to be discounted as many of the photos on Instagram were related to the sport and not the place.

The total number of photos for each location’s key hashtag, for example #London, #Truro, #Ely, was then divided by the population for that place to reveal the Instagram photos per capita. The higher the number, the more picturesque the place.

Data correct at 15.08.21

Sources:

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