In the past we sent postcards, today we share Instagram images: the social network is transforming the way we travel. Its millions of active global users, who share millions of posts each and every day, is opening up new parts of the world to a sprawling online community where people share their life experiences.
Now, we all know the big names, but what are some of the most unexpected Instagrammable sights around the UK? We head out of London to find some of the best-kept secrets and little-known sites outside of the capital…
Anfield, the home of Liverpool FC
Would you associate a football stadium with being Instagrammable? Perhaps not. But according to research carried out by Expedia, it very much is. Anfield, the home of Liverpool FC, is one of the most popular destinations on Instagram — it was captured more than 490,000 times last year alone and is the second most papped UK sight, according to the travel experts. The many emotions conjured in the stadium, the raucous home support and the thrill of live football all combine to make the stadium a rich source of imagery for Instagram users.
Seven Sisters, Brighton’s chalk cliffs
Expedia, who have gathered together data on the most Instagrammed UK sights of 2017, say the much-loved chalk cliffs were snapped and shared more than 155,000 times last year. And it’s not all that hard to see why: this is some of the most stunning unspoilt coastline in Britain. The cliffs, formed where the South Downs greet the sea, are part of the Seven Sisters Country Park, a beautiful oasis of river valley and grassland, and a popular destination for cycling, hiking and bird-watching.
Stonehenge, the gateway to Britain’s prehistory
credit: Nicholas E Jones
Instagram has a way of ripping places from the pages of history and bringing them into life in the present. That’s definitely what’s happened with Stonehenge in Wiltshire, where the famous stone circles were ‘grammed a whopping 454,861 times in 2017 alone. What is probably the most famous prehistoric monument in the world is the perfect setting for an Instagram post — Stonehenge shrouded in early morning mist, dusk or during the solstice has to be seen to be believed.
Giant’s Causeway, a geological wonder
The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland featured in Instagram posts more than 166,000 times last year. That’s some serious social traction. This geological marvel — a landscape of dramatic cliffs and stone columns resulting from volcanic eruptions millions of years ago — draws millions of visitors every year. The Causeway, a UNESCO Heritage Site, has, for years, helped inspire creative works and conjure scientific debate, and in today’s social media age, it’s the source of Instagram travel inspiration too.
Windermere, the beauty of the Lake District
credit: S. Greg Panosian
Windermere, the largest natural lake in England, is the jewel in the Lake District’s many-feathered crown. Pictures of this natural beauty were shared more than 294,000 times in 2017 as visitors flocked to see the lake – its name comes from the Scandinavian for ‘lake of a man called Vinandr’. Windermere’s surroundings are Instagram-perfect too – from the Beatrix Potter attractions and the mountains to picturesque towns and villages like Ambleside and Waterhead.
York Minster, our Medieval past
Many of the UK’s beautiful buildings are frequently featured on Instagram posts, and York Minster is no exception, inspiring more than 89,000 shares last year. One of the finest Medieval buildings in Europe, if not the finest, the building is an incredibly important one for York and Britain’s wider history – remains of the Basilica, the ceremonial centre of the Roman fortress, have been found beneath the Minster building.