From time to time we could all do with a bit of space alone to focus on ourselves.
But when we talk about ‘finding ourselves’ on solo trips, what jumps to mind is often a yoga retreat in Bali or backpacking around the vast landscapes of New Zealand.
The good news is, you don’t have to travel to the other side of the world for a fulfilling solo adventure. These are five of the best UK destinations for a soul-searching solo trip.
The Scottish Highlands
One of the best ways to do a bit of soul searching is to take to the open road and explore The Scottish Highlands.
While the UK has a lot of amazing countryside destinations, the Highlands has some of the most remarkable, unique and vast landscapes you can find. From winding, narrow back roads, to long stretches of coastal views, driving around the Scottish Highlands is a great chance to lose yourself for a few days.
There are many different routes you can take to explore the beauty of Scotland, but one of the most well-known is the North Coast 500. The route is a complete loop — starting at Inverness, it travels up along the coast towards the very top of Scotland at John o’Groats, before continuing around Scotland’s coast, through Dingwall and back to Inverness.
Overall, it’s about 516 miles of road, and should take you about five to seven days of driving with regular stops to take in the views. While it is suitable for a spur of the moment trip, a bit of planning will help you to hire a car or campervan, and book accommodation along the way — or you can pack up your camping gear for a truly solo adventure.
If you don’t have a week to dedicate to your trip, then there are many other scenic drives in Scotland that work just as well for some serious soul-searching.
Start at either Edinburgh or Glasgow and take one of Scotland’s most famous routes through Glencoe, with mountains, lochs and castles. Or take the Three Lochs Forest Drive — with views of Lochan Reòidhte, Loch Drunkie and Loch Achray, you could also pack up a picnic and take a short hike in the forest.
If the Scottish Highlands is a little bit far to travel for your solo-trip, then you can get your fill of stunning scenery and remote walks in Dartmoor National Park.
The 368 square miles of almost untouched remote landscapes are home to castle ruins, local myths and legends, tors, amazing walking routes, and hidden spots for wild swimming.
As for accommodation, you can have your pick of campsites, caravans or cosy B&Bs on the moors, from which you can venture out for some incredible hikes and a bit of self-reflection.
You could spend entire days roaming the moors; the options for walking and hiking on Dartmoor are almost endless. Need some day-trip inspiration to get you started? Find an abandoned medieval village at the base of Hound Tor, or explore Haytor Quarry with its hidden lake full of wildlife.
Just be careful not to get too lost — take a map and a compass with you to make sure you can find your way back to your base without any phone signal.
Just past Swansea in South Wales, you can find the Gower Peninsula, which was the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Starting from Mumbles, the peninsula has 19 miles of beautiful coastline, with huge bays and beaches, windswept cliffs, as well as moors — making it another UK destination that’s ideal for a soul-searching solo trip.
If you need some alone time, The Gower is perfect for long coastal walks and contemplation — the rugged landscape and sea making a dramatic backdrop for your wanderings. And if you want more of an adventure solo trip, you could spend a day in the sea surfing, or try your hand at climbing, abseiling, or coasteering.
While it’s quite a popular area for holidaymakers and visitors during the summer months, there are some remote spots like Nicholaston Burrows or Pwll Du Bay Beach that are often a lot quieter, particularly in the autumn or winter months, making them perfect for a peaceful solo trip.
Soul-searching doesn’t necessarily require remote locations or impressive landscapes, so you might want to get lost in the hustle and bustle of a vibrant city like Brighton.
Brighton is a great place to explore on your own, with plenty of nooks and crannies full of character to keep you occupied. Spend your time wandering through the independent shops, peering into vintage stores, and rummaging through retro flea markets. One of the best spots to explore is The Lanes — cobbled alleyways full of antique shops, jewellers and designers.
Then you can eat your way through Brighton’s best restaurants and street food markets, before taking yourself down to the beach for a walk along the promenade. After that, you’re spoilt for choice with drinking spots — Brighton is packed with eccentric cocktail bars and cosy pubs to spend a night people-watching and sipping your wine.
So if you’re looking for a city break, Brighton has more than enough to keep you entertained on a solo trip — and it’s unique, creative spirit will help you with your self-reflection.
Covering an area of nearly 800 square miles with rolling hills, stunning views, and quaint English villages, the Cotswolds has a lot to offer for solo travellers.
There are many beautiful spots to choose from but one of the most picturesque places in the Cotswolds is Bibury.
With iconic rows of sand-coloured cottages and steeply pitched roofs, the beautiful Bibury is the perfect place to hole up for a few days and do some soul-searching (preferably with a good book and a coffee). In fact, 19th-century artist and craftsman William Morris called Bibury “the most beautiful village in England” when he visited. If you’re going to find yourself, you might as well do it in a village that looks like it belongs in a watercolour.
Close by, Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water are small market towns, ideal for exploring in a morning, before heading out into the countryside for a long wholesome walk in the rolling green hills.
Whether you want to get lost on the moors, hike along coastal paths or immerse yourself in a busy city, if you’re planning a soul-searching solo-trip, then these are five of the best UK destinations.