Summer Solstice 2023: Top ten Stonehenge alternatives in the UK for the best sunrise views

Marking the longest day of the year, Summer solstice sees crowds flock to Stonehenge to watch the sunrise but there are many spectacular UK locations to try if you’d prefer to avoid the crowds.

As the sunny weather and soaring temperatures continue across the UK, people are getting into the summer spirit. However, we’re not quite there yet with the season not officially starting until the summer solstice next week.

Each year, the longest day of the year inspires celebrations across the northern hemisphere, where sun lovers gather to celebrate the marking of midsummer and the sun’s extended visibility. Believed to have been built with the solstice in mind, Stonehenge is one of the most popular locations for those wanting to view the sunrise on this day, with over 6,000 people attending last year

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However, that’s not the only option the UK has to offer. If you’re looking for a quieter spot to mark the annual event, holiday park operator, Verdant Leisure, has analysed Trip Advisor reviews, weather reports, social figures and distance from car parks to reveal the 10 best, and just as stunning, Stonehenge alternatives that offer the best views of the sun, at the start and end of each day.

So, what are the top locations you should head to to celebrate the summer solstice? Here’s everything you need to know.

Summer solstice: Top 10 locations to visit for the ultimate sunrise scenes

1. Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh, Scotland

Once an active volcano that now overlooks Edinburgh, the summit of Arthur’s Seat is one of the best literal seats in the house, to witness the beauty of a summertime sunrise or sunset. Boasting a rating of 4.5 on TripAdvisor, and 91,000 location tags on Instagram, the three-mile ascent will give you a chance to take in the post-dawn views of Holyrood Park, Edinburgh Castle, and the Lothians, and makes a fantastic selfie spot.

2. Primrose Hill, London

Formerly a location visited by the Pagans and Druids, Primrose Hill offers panoramic views of London, along with a spectacular show of the sunrise and sunset. With the nearest tube station only eight minutes’ walk away, this is a location that people flock to every year, to witness some of the best dawn and dusk scenes.

3. Dartmoor National Park, Devon

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A magnificent expanse of hills and moors, Dartmoor National Park in Devon is a special location to catch the first morning light. It’s Trip Advisor rating of 4.5, along with a staggering 91.8 million TikTok hashtags, reflects it’s a favourite amongst walkers and people wanting that outdoors experience. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can take an early morning hike up the Haytor Rocks for an astonishing 360-degree view of the park itself. For a flatter walk, you can venture through many of the fields, encountering the 75 stone rows or 18 stone circles, dating all the way back to the Neolithic era.

4. Ullswater, Lake District, Cumbria

There are several sunspots along the Ullswater Way path in the Lake District, that are peaceful places to take in the first rays of the day. With almost 15 million engagements across social, this spot has become the backdrop to many a sunrise snap.

You can venture to the Memorial Seat viewpoint, only a short 45-minute walk to the summit, which offers breath-taking views across Ullswater and the Helvellyn range. Or head over to the Duke of Portland boathouse, the most photographed location in the Lake District, nestled alongside the great Ullswater lake.

5. Seven Sisters, Sussex

The experience of witnessing the white chalky cliffs turning radiant gold is something you won’t want to miss at the Seven Sisters National Park in Sussex. With views across Birling Gap beach, all the way to the Beachy Head lighthouse, the five-star rated experience is idyllic for any surf and sand lovers who want to take in the fresh sea air whilst watching the sunrise.

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Only a short walk from the car park to the cliffs, the national park offers time to enjoy the morning view and incorporate a full day of adventure and activities, where if you’re there long enough you can also catch a magnificent sunset.

Experience the breathtaking white chalk cliffs and rolling green hills of the Seven Sisters Country Park. Enjoy scenic walks, picnics, and panoramic views of the English ChannelExperience the breathtaking white chalk cliffs and rolling green hills of the Seven Sisters Country Park. Enjoy scenic walks, picnics, and panoramic views of the English Channel
Experience the breathtaking white chalk cliffs and rolling green hills of the Seven Sisters Country Park. Enjoy scenic walks, picnics, and panoramic views of the English Channel

6. Mam Tor, Peak District, Derbyshire

For a more determined walk but an ever-so rewarding view, Mam Tor located in the Peak District is the ultimate place for hikers wanting to take in the beauty of the rolling hills of Hope Valley. The grandeur but tranquillity of the peaks, in particular Mam Tor, has gripped the attention of social media, boasting 13.5 million hashtags on TikTok and 145,000 location tags on Instagram.

7. Malvern Hills, Herefordshire

At an astounding height of 1,394ft, the Malvern Hills portray the perfect sunrise setting for you to enjoy. The Worcestershire Beacon, which is the hills’ highest point, offers striking scenery across both Herefordshire and Worcestershire, which are known for being extremely rich in greenery. Officially recognised as an area of natural beauty, this location is a must-visit for nature and wildlife lovers, which is evident from its 5-star rating, and over 1,000 reviews on TripAdvisor.

8. Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland

Stretching a vast 73 miles, Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland is the ideal coast-to-coast sunrise location across the northern region of the UK. The historical stones built in the Roman period follow a trail encountering places such as Housestead Cragg, which offers a stunning easterly sunrise view. You can see why people are keen to snap photos and videos of the scenery, with this location proudly holding 8.3 million hashtags on TikTok and a rating of 4.5 on Trip Advisor.

9. Belhaven Beach, East Lothian, Scotland

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The iconic setting of the ‘bridge to nowhere’, and a beach favourite among many Scots, Belhaven Beach is a small paradise within Dunbar, East Lothian, which is only a short distance from Edinburgh. With a 4.5 rating on Trip Advisor, this is a must-see sight for sunrise seekers who also want to take in views of the coast.

Another spot in East Lothian appears on the list but this time it’s by the sea. Found amongst the rolling hills of John Muir Country Park, Belhaven Beach is the ideal spot for a beach saunter whilst taking in the scenic views of the Forth Estuary. The bay, which has been given a 4.5 star rating on TripAdvisor with little reports of rain, offers grasslands, sand dunes and rich salt marsh which spans all the way from Belhaven to the north of the River Tyne. A sandy stroll here will also mean you’re in with a chance to spot some ancient castle ruins, adding a bit of history to your walk.Another spot in East Lothian appears on the list but this time it’s by the sea. Found amongst the rolling hills of John Muir Country Park, Belhaven Beach is the ideal spot for a beach saunter whilst taking in the scenic views of the Forth Estuary. The bay, which has been given a 4.5 star rating on TripAdvisor with little reports of rain, offers grasslands, sand dunes and rich salt marsh which spans all the way from Belhaven to the north of the River Tyne. A sandy stroll here will also mean you’re in with a chance to spot some ancient castle ruins, adding a bit of history to your walk.
Another spot in East Lothian appears on the list but this time it’s by the sea. Found amongst the rolling hills of John Muir Country Park, Belhaven Beach is the ideal spot for a beach saunter whilst taking in the scenic views of the Forth Estuary. The bay, which has been given a 4.5 star rating on TripAdvisor with little reports of rain, offers grasslands, sand dunes and rich salt marsh which spans all the way from Belhaven to the north of the River Tyne. A sandy stroll here will also mean you’re in with a chance to spot some ancient castle ruins, adding a bit of history to your walk.

10. Whitby Abbey, Yorkshire

Set atop a hillside overlooking the seaside town of Whitby, the abbey is a 17th century monastery of gothic tales. Famously known for inspiring Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula, bats can often be seen soaring through the Abbey’s ruins. With a 4.5 rating on TripAdvisor and over 3 million views on TikTok, Whitby Abbey is not only a sunrise hotspot, but a site of cultural and historical fascination. Soak in the sun as it sets on the coastline, while discovering the history of Viking raids, Saxons and more.

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