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Top five UK hidden gems

Lonely Planet's Tom Hall answers listeners' travel questions on BBC Radio 5 Live's Phil Williams programme.

On his latest appearance, Tom picked his top five hidden travel gems in the UK...

Northumberland and Berwickshire coast

"This beautiful stretch of coastline passes by in a flash if you're taking the train from Newcastle to Edinburgh. It's dotted with lovely beaches, castles and seaside towns and villages. This is big sky country that really rewards exploration.

I had a very lovely swim on Bamburgh beach, which appeared to be like the Caribbean! Then there's Alnwick Castle, Seahouses and just over the Scottish border there's Eyemouth and the River Tweed.

It’s a great part of the world and obviously it does have some people there, but in comparison to places that are equally beautiful, it doesn’t have big crowds. An underrated place, definitely."

White Park Bay, Antrim, Northern Ireland

"A lovely quiet stretch of sand in a popular part of Northern Ireland to explore.

It's reached via a walk long enough to leave most of the crowds behind."

Applecross, Wester Ross

"Few places on the British mainland offer the sense of isolation of Applecross.

This is due in large part to its relative inaccessibility - you either get in via a winding coast road or over the fearsome Bealach na Ba, the highest road pass in the UK.

Once here, there's the historic Applecross Inn, views over to Skye and plenty of Highland cattle for company."

Blackpool Sands, South Hams, Devon

"Dartmouth and Salcombe are well-know spots, but between them is this gem of a family-friendly beach.

There's a good cafe and calm water to splash around in with fewer crowds than you find elsewhere in this part of the world."


"Not so much hidden as far less well-known than other celebrated cathedral cities, Lincoln has a wonderful maze of medieval streets, ancient city gates and old buildings giving it exactly the sort of atmosphere many visitors to the UK are looking for.

The views from the castle are spectacular too."

Tom Hall is one of the Midnight experts on BBC Radio 5 Live, answering listener's questions with Phil Williams every Monday – Thursday from 00:00.

Lonely Planet founders top hidden gems