UK's top 20 most photogenic streets

written by Joanne Owen
updated 11/21/2022
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While images of far-flung landscapes and tropical sunset spots

may stir the soul, the same can be said of unique photography that captures the streets that surround us. And the great thing is, armed with a smartphone, a smart eye, and smart intel about where to go and what to shoot, anyone can bag stunning shots of the UK's top 20 most photogenic streets.

To spark inspiration, and in collaboration with Sony, we’ve identified the UK's top 20 steets that look incredible in photographs — from arty urban hubs, to picturesque villages, to timeless ancient harbours.

If you’re looking for the perfect handset to match your passion for photography, you might want to check out the Sony Xperia 1 III.

1. London — Brick Lane, Tower Hamlets

Boasting cutting-edge street art, world famous curry houses, and countless galleries and bars, 21st-century Brick Lane in London

presents photographers with thrilling options at every turn.

Visit during the day to shoot the ever-changing street art, eclectic architecture and vintage stores while absorbing the hip(ster) and happening vibe.

Alternatively, arm yourself with our tips on night photography

and head here in the evening to capture this distinct district in all its neon glory. Afterwards, you could reward yourself with a legendary curry.

If you fancy sampling more local food, read up on alternative eating in Hackney

, another East London area with bags of character and plenty of cool places to eat, drink and make merry.

 Where to stay

  • Best for modern luxury: Pan Pacific. This gem brings Singapore style and flavours to London’s Liverpool Street. 
  • Best for cool couples: Crashpads Minilofts. Spacious, modern apartments close to all the Brick Lane action.
  • Best for families: Holiday Inn, Whitechapel. Conveniently located, and kids under 12 can eat and stay for free. 

Browse more places to stay in Tower Hamlets.

Brick Lane, London – taken on the Sony Xperia 1 III by @cmrileyphoto

2. London — Conduit Mews, Paddington

Though a mere hop, skip and jump from Paddington Station, Conduit Mews presents a rainbow of terraced houses that look like something from the set of a children’s TV show. This is thanks to the candy-coloured homes lining its stretch of quaint cobbles.

Though these days buying a pad here will set you back a packet, such mews used to be coach-houses and stables for the seriously wealthy. 

If you're not one of the super-rich who could afford to live here, read up on fab free things to do in London

. You can thank us later.

Where to stay

  • Best for groups: Westbourne Residence. A three-bedroom apartment with restaurants on the doorstep.
  • Best for walks in the park: Park Grand London Hyde Park. Cosy comfort close to Hyde Park and the station.
  • Best for boutique luxury: Roseate House. 48 rooms and suites spread across three Grade-II townhouses.

Discover more places to stay in Paddington.

Conduit Mews, London, one of the UK's top 20 most photogenic streets — taken on the Sony Xperia 1 III by @cmrileyphoto

3. London — Godwin's Court, Covent Garden, one of the UK's top 20 most photogenic streets

If it’s brooding Dickensian ambience you’re after, it doesn’t get better than Godwin's Court. This row of near-perfectly preserved Georgian houses occupies a site that was first mentioned in 1690.

Stepping onto this street from the pandemonium of Covent Garden (mime artists, magicians and shopping tourists) feels like you’ve slipped back in time. It's obvious why this is one of the UK's top 20 most photogenic streets.

Though you’ll most likely have this atmospheric alley to yourself, it’s best to visit early — some Harry Potter tour guides have been known to take groups here claiming it was the inspiration for Diagon Alley. More on that later.

Where to stay

Explore more places to stay in Covent Garden and wider London.

If you're looking to immerse yourself in the city, get your hands on a copy of The Rough Guide to London

. Planning a city break? The Pocket Rough Guide to London should suit you down to the ground.

Before you get the guidebooks, read up on the best walks in London

, and our guide to alternate London . These should serve you well when it comes to finding more photogenic spots.

Godwin's Court, London – taken on the Sony Xperia 1 III by @cmrileyphoto

4. Northern England — Main Street, Haworth

Clinging to a steep hill with the brooding Pennines rising behind, West Yorkshire’s

Haworth village may be remote, but it’s firmly on the map for its elite literary legacy. Notably, the Brontë sisters lived and worked here. It also has an abundance of photogenic allure.

You’ll most likely want to capture Haworth’s Main Street from both aspects. Stand at the top of the hill to take in its downward wind (and that dramatic moorland), then do the same from the bottom looking up.

A word of warning though — Haworth’s charms are no secret, so best come early.

Given the natural beauty of the region, photographers would to well to consider spending longer here. If you're into unique experiences, Yorkshire isn't short of unusual things to do, with plenty of practical info in The Rough Guide to Yorkshire

.

Where to stay

  • Best for couples: Weavers Cottage. Quaint and cosy with a garden, patio and top facilities.
  • Best for foodies: The Old Registry. Characterful rooms and a fine restaurant on Main Street.
  • Best for real ale: The Fleece Inn. An award-winning bar, local food and comfy rooms.

Browse more places to stay in Haworth.

Main, treet, Haworth © Nikonboy/Shutterstock

continued below

5. Northern England — Eastgate Street, Chester

Founded as a Roman fortress in the 1st-century, Chester

isn’t short of photo-worthy sites, with Eastgate Street and its celebrated Victorian turret clock sitting pretty (and we mean pretty) in the centre of town.

It’s immediately clear why it’s a listed landmark, and reputedly Britain’s most photographed clock after Big Ben. Built above a Georgian arch, it boasts a rich red-and-gold surround and lace-like ironwork that invites zooming-in for close-ups.

Eastgate Street is also home to the architecturally noteworthy Chester Rows. Dating from medieval times, these handsome half-timbered galleries are unique to Chester, making them another must-shoot.

Where to stay

Find more places to stay in Chester.

Eastgate Street, Chester, England © Marco Saracco/Shutterstock

6. Northern England — The Shambles, York

One of Europe’s finest-preserved medieval shopping streets, The Shambles in York

is a delight to amble, with your phone to hand to capture its old-world atmosphere.

The intriguing name derives from the Anglo-Saxon word “shammel”, which describes the shelves that used jut from the street’s open shop fronts.

Though no original features remain, restoration has been done with sensitive, historic accuracy. Supposedly JK Rowling’s inspiration for Diagon Alley, the entire meandering thoroughfare is ripe for getting creative with angles and light.

Given that York made it into our best city breaks in the UK

, it's well worth spending at least a few days here, with a copy of Rough Guide Staycations York on hand to enhance your trip.

Where to stay

  • Best for history buffs: Jorvik House. Super-stylish, this 1750s gem overlooks 11th-century St Olafs church.
  • Best for families: The Shambles Suites. Three bedrooms and top facilities in a top location.
  • Best for special occasions: The Grand. Stylish five-star with a vaulted spa in an iconic Grade II-listed building.

See more places to stay in York.

The Shambles, York © Shutterstock

7. The Midlands — Steep Hill, Lincoln

If you’re looking to capture quintessential British quaintness, Lincoln’s Steep Hill — the fourth steepest in England, no less — is the perfect place to start, preferably from the bottom.

Work your way up the winding cobbled route to shoot a seemingly endless stream of elegantly painted shops and beautiful brick and stone buildings of historic significance — the street’s architecture spans centuries.

And don’t miss the chance to focus in on half-timbered Harlequin building. Here an 18th-century inn has been transformed into a beautiful 21st-century bookshop, and a 12th-century Norman House is now a tearoom.

Where to stay

  • Best for couples: The Old Palace Lodge. Tradition meets modern style in the shadow of Lincoln Cathedral.
  • Best for rural peace: The Pyewipe. A canalside spot 20 minutes walk from the centre.
  • Best for central style: Charlotte House. Modern comfort in a central art deco building.

Read up on more places to stay in Lincoln.

Steep Hill, Lincoln © ollymet/Shutterstock

8. The Midlands — Main Road, Hathersage

Located at the eastern end of Hope Valley, the pretty Derbyshire village of Hathersage has long been loved by hikers and literary types.

Charlotte Brontë has links to it — it appears in Jane Eyre as the village of Morton — while Robin Hood’s right-hand man, Little John, is buried in St Michael and All Saints Church.

Hathersage’s Main Street is a bustling hub with stacks of charisma. Its stunning grey-stone buildings provide a fine focus for town-based shots backed by a romantic rural landscape.

Where to stay

  • Best for central location: The George. Home comforts and hearty food in the heart of Hathersage.
  • Best for family occasions: The Maynard. Two miles from the centre, with family rooms and access to activities.
  • Best for romantic adventurers: The Fox House. Style and fine food near outdoor activities and a ski village.

Discover more places to stay in Hathersage.

Hathersage © Andy J Billington/Shutterstock

9. East England — Elm Hill, Norwich

A rewarding joy to shoot at any time of the year, medieval Elm Hill comes especially recommended for responsible-minded photographers

 who are keen to take out of season trips (and photos).

Visit this quaint lane of former merchants’ buildings in autumn to capture canopies of russet leaves. Then, come winter, cheering seasonal vibes emanate from the cute cafes and independent boutiques, with ambient street lighting adding to the atmosphere.

A highlight here is the early-Tudor Britons Arms building. The only survivor of the 1507 fire that pretty much decimated the rest of the village, you’ll see right away why it’s a sought-after movie location.

For more info about the region, read The Rough Guide to Norfolk and Suffolk

, and find out fifteen reasons to visit Norfolk .

Where to stay

Take a look at more places to stay in Norwich.

Pretty as a picture — Elm Hill, Norwich © Shutterstock

10. Southwest England — Gold Hill, Shaftesbury

As revealed by the oft-repeated 1970s TV ad for Hovis bread, Shaftesbury’s Gold Hill is a scenic showstopper.

Another incredible (and incredibly steep) example of rural England’s romantic charms, the hill's incline snakes up a cluster of thatched and stone cottages. Given that they really do seem to be conjured from the pages of a fairy tale, there's little wonder why this is one of the UK's top 20 most photogenic streets.

After you’ve huffed and puffed your way to the top, you’ll be rewarded with stirring views across the Dorset countryside.

At the summit, don’t miss the chance to shoot 14th-century St Peter's Church, and Gold Hill Museum. Its award-winning cottage garden is a great spot for macro shots.

Interested in the wider area? Check-out The Rough Guide to Dorset, Hants & the Isle of Wight

.

Where to stay

  • Best for couples: The Grosvenor Arms. Central and quietly stylish, with a cosy bar and bedrooms.
  • Best for foodies: La Fleur De Lys. Smart rooms and an award-winning restaurant in the heart of town.
  • Best for pets: The Grove Arms. Pet-friendly, with a restaurant, bar and garden.

See more places to stay in Shaftesbury.

Gold Hill, Shaftsbury © Artistic Ahry/Shutterstock

11. Southwest England — Gandy Street, Exeter

Like The Shambles, there are claims that Exeter’s Gandy Street was Rowling’s inspiration for Diagon Alley. A narrow, winding nugget of indie boutiques, bars and cafes, it's also one of the reasons visiting Exeter earned a spot in our feature on the best things to do in Devon

.

As is usually the case with stunning street locations, it’s best to head here early on a weekday if you prefer fewer shoppers in your shots.

Alternatively, come at night to capture the attractive ambience of lights glowing from cocktail bars and brassieres.

Fancy a longer stay? Discover more about the region in The Rough Guide to Devon and Cornwall

. For shorter trips, Rough Guide Staycations Devon and Cornwall may well have everything you need.

Where to stay

  • Best for romantics: Mill on the Exe. A quaint converted mill on the river, ten minutes walk from the cathedral.
  • Best for families: Woodbury Park Hotel. Book a Swiss-style lodge in this out-of-town, activity-rich joint.
  • Best for central comfort: Leonardo Hotel Exeter. Modern amenities close to sights and shops.

Explore more places to stay in Exeter.

Gandy Street, Exeter – taken on the Sony Xperia 1 III by @lloydevansphoto

12. Southwest England — Christmas Steps, Bristol

Dating back to the 1600s, Bristol’s

Christmas Steps Art Quarter is suffused in a magnetic magic that’s more than worthy of its Yuletide name.

Comprising seven charming streets and the steps themselves, the Quarter is a warren of medieval walkways that deliver fresh photogenic opportunities at every turn. Don't miss snapping the views down the flagged steps, or the lantern-style street lamps.

For extra atmosphere, visit at dusk when fairy lights add an extra dusting of magic to an already enchanting scene.

Looking for more reasons to visit? Discover why Bristol is the coolest city in Britain, and uncover the many faces of Bristol

.

Where to stay

  • Best for families: Moxy Bristol. Cool and friendly, with family rooms and a central location.
  • Best for big occasions: Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa. Boasts an award-winning restaurant and complimentary gin and sherry.
  • Best for couples: Brooks Guesthouse. Take your pick from luxurious bedrooms, or vintage caravans on the roof.

Browse more places to stay in Bristol.

Christmas Steps, Bristol – taken on the Sony Xperia 1 III by @lloydevansphoto

13. Southeast England — Mermaid Street, Rye

With a steep incline of shiny cobblestones framed by quaint crooked cottages and half-timbered buildings, Rye’s

Mermaid Street is another “have I actually stepped back in time?” kind of place.

Besides taking a shot from the top of the hill to capture the overall old-time allure, the foliage festooning the buildings and their weather-worn signs are every bit as photogenic.

For example, don't miss the sign that creaks and sways outside Mermaid Inn. This iconic hotel and hostelry has been serving thirsty locals since the 12th-century.

Where to stay

  • Best for atmosphere: The Mermaid Inn. Norman cellars, secret passageways, and an award-winning restaurant.
  • Best for cosy comfort: The Ship Inn. Top location, satisfying breakfasts, and an on-site restaurant.
  • Best for country charm: Flackley Ash Hotel. A Georgian country house spa with an award-winning restaurant.

Find more places to stay in Rye.

Mermaid Street, Rye — taken on the Sony Xperia 1 III by @an.item.explores

14. Southeast England — Harbour Street, Whitstable

Photographers will be spoiled for choice when it comes to finding subjects in and around Whitstable Harbour.

Being a working harbour, its appeal runs deeper than your standard chocolate-box scene, which makes it all the more interesting for photographers who like to inject more individuality to their shots.

Backed by bright little beach huts and former fisherman’s huts (notable for their distinctive black clapboard façades), the shingle beach has buckets of charm, not least at sunset.

A little back from the water, Harbour Street’s higgledy-piggledy jumble of shops and cafes is ideal for shooting interesting architectural details and street scenes.

As such, this might just be the UK's most photogenic street if you like your pics to have personal, quirky edge.

Where to stay

  • Best for families: Whitstable Fisherman's Huts. Iconic holiday homes right by the sea, with top amenities.
  • Best for trad charm: Hotel Continental. Across from the beach, this overlooks the Thames Estuary.
  • Best for foodies: The Marine. Perched on Tankerton Cliffs, with an à-la-carte restaurant and spacious rooms.

Peruse perfect places to stay in Whitstable.

Harbour Street, Whitstable - taken on the Sony Xperia 1 III by @an.item.explores

15. Wales — Smithfield Street, Dolgellau

Located in Snowdonia

National Park, Wales , the market town of Dolgellau may be small in size, but it’s immense in history and photogenic appeal.

Formally the centre of the thriving Welsh wool industry, and famed for Welsh gold through the 19th-century, the town is home to over 200 listed buildings. Most of these were constructed from striking dark slate and grey stone.

Photographers with an eye for light and shade would do well to stroll Smithfield Street to shoot dozens of these stunners. The rich tones of their natural materials shift throughout the day.

If that wasn’t enough, the town sits beneath the awe-inspiring Cader Idris (Chair of Idris) mountain.

For more on this stunning region of Wales, Rough Guides Staycations Snowdonia

is packed with maps, tips and recommendations. The same goes for our feature on the best things to see and do in Snowdonia National Park .

It's also worth knowing that Snowdonia (and Wales as a whole) has plenty to offer travellers who are looking to travel more responsibly, and that applies to all types of traveller

.

If travelling better is on your mind, download your FREE Rough Guide to Responsible Wales

eBook, discover ways to travel more responsibly in Wales , and be inspired by five eco-friendly holiday ideas .

Where to stay

See more places to stay in Dolgellau, and read up on ten places to stay in Wales for a sustainable trip

.

Dolgellau, Wales © Keith W/Shutterstock

16. Wales — Lower Gate Street, Conwy

The historic Welsh town of Conwy presents a uniquely captivating juxtaposition of the big and the small. There’s no missing the huge UNESCO Heritage Site castle that looms large over town, or the chunky 13th-century wall that encircles it.

For contrast, down on the quayside, Britain’s smallest house is tucked in a terrace of cottages on Lower Gate Street.

Alongside taking fun photos of this cute attraction, the quayside presents great opportunities to shoot Conwy Castle — a stunner that earned a place in our run-down of the top five Welsh castles

.

From the quay you can capture the castle's medieval mightiness with Snowdonia’s majestic mountains rising in the distance. 

Plan your trip to Wales with the in-depth Rough Guide to Wales

. Or you could contact one of our experts to customise an unforgettable trip to Wales .

Where to stay

  • Best for couples: Quay Hotel and Spa. Stylish airy rooms with specially quarried Welsh slate and sea views.
  • Best for local flavour: The Castle Hotel. Elegant bedrooms in a 300 year-old coaching inn, plus great local ale.
  • Best for historic charm: Gwynfryn. This converted chapel B&B exudes history and contemporary style.

See more places to stay in Conwy.

Conwy Castle, Wales © Richard Hayman/Shutterstock

17. Scotland — Mary King's Close, Edinburgh

Steeped in otherworldly ambience, exploring Edinburgh’s Mary King’s Close is a highpoint for visitors who like to delve deep into the destinations they visit. The reason? This warren of atmospheric alleyways is located beneath the City Chambers.

Laying bare how its inhabitants lived, worked and died between the 16th and 19th-centuries, the tunnels are almost a buried time capsule. Along the way, stories of the plague, local legends and ghostly goings-on are revealed.

Dimly lit, Mary King’s Close presents photographers with tonnes of chances to conjure countless cool and creepy shots. All of which makes this the UK's most photogenic street for photographers who love to play with light and shadow.

Best to visit early and out of season, though — it's not for nothing that Edinburgh

features in our reader survey of the most beautiful places in Scotland .

For more inspiration, the pictorial Rough Guide to the 100 Best Places in Scotland

is packed with stunning photos and pithy expert information.

Alternatively, if you're seeking practical info to help plan your trip to Edinburgh, the Mini Rough Guide to Edinburgh

will help you do exactly that. The comprehensive Rough Guide to Scotland is on hand for longer trips.

If you're not big on planning, browse our customisable Scotland tailor-made trips

. Suggested itineraries cover the likes of Scotland's wildest natural scenery , and family adventures that take in Loch Ness and Harry Potter landmarks.

Mary King's Close, Edinburgh © Julye/Shutterstock

18. Scotland — The Royal Mile, Edinburgh

Running through the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, the Royal Mile is the artery that connects Edinburgh Castle with the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

The castle itself is a stunner, and offers excellent opportunities to take panoramic shots from its elevated position.

Along the Mile, there's a huge variety of subjects to be inspired by — the towering tenements that flank it, the tiny lanes that slip away from it, the bronze reliefs on historic buildings, the lofty statues.

To get off the beaten track — let’s face it, there’s nothing new about treading the Royal Mile — take a de tour into gorgeous Dunbars Close Garden.

Accessed via a quaint cobbled path, and landscaped in the style of a 17th-century garden, it’s a truly tranquil place, with lots of elegantly nurtured nature to inspire photographers.

Staying on the subject of straying from well-travelled paths, discover ways to explore Edinburgh's quirky side

— following these suggestions is sure to present more fine photo opps.

Where to stay

Explore more places to stay in Edinburgh.

Royal Mile, Edinburgh, Scotland © f11photo/Shutterstock

19. Scotland — Ashton Lane, Glasgow

What a combo. Classic cobblestone charm, plus piles of contemporary cool makes Glasgow’s

Ashton Lane a picturesque playground for photographers who like to mix things up.

Visit during the day to capture the lane’s funky (and thought-provoking) street art in natural light, including work by Scotland’s answer to Banksy, The Rebel Bear.

Come dusk, a canopy of fairy lights adds extra magic as bars and restaurants take it up a notch (or ten).

With so many vibrant places to hang out, it’s the ideal spot to take some lip-smackingly attractive shots of food and drink. Think elegant cocktails, decadent fondue, Shetland mussels, and haggis curry.

Like we said, Glasglow somewhere to mix things up and get creative. It's also a place you voted one of the world's friendliest cities

.

All that considered, you might want to find out why Scotland's city of cool should be your next weekend break

, and read our insider's guide to Glasgow .

Where to stay

  • Best for modern style: The Z Hotel. Right by George Square, with cool rooms and public spaces.
  • Best for budget travellers: Euro Hostel Glasgow. A modern, central hostel with a lively bar.
  • Best for culture vultures: Brunswick Merchant City Hotel. Located in an arty district near top eateries.

Find more accommodation options in Glasgow.

Ashton Lane, Glasgow © DrimaFilm/Shutterstock

20. Scotland — Main Street, Tobermory

Candy-coloured buildings backed by wooded hills and fronted by a curvaceous bay — Main Streets don’t come much more scenic and serene than Tobermory.

Capital of the Isle of Mull

, this picture-perfect fishing port found fame as the location of the hit children’s TV show Balamory.

While the iconic buildings look a dream at any time of day, there’s something special about capturing them as the sun slips low and lights begin to twinkle on the water.

Head to the pier for a sweeping shot that takes in the harbour and soul-stirring views of the Scottish mainland.

For more detail on the Isle of Mull and wider region, read The Rough Guide to Scottish Highlands and Islands

.

Where to stay

  • Best for bay views: Western Isles Hotel. Overlooking Tobermory Bay, this serves great local food.
  • Best for nature-lovers: Park Lodge Hotel. Comfort in the quieter upper area of town; well-sited for walkers.
  • Best for budget travellers: Tobermory Youth Hostel. Modern, with a shared kitchen, lounge and bathroom.

Discover more places to stay in Tobermory and the Isle of Mull.

Tobermory, Isle of Mull, Scotland © Stefano_Valeri/Shutterstock

To aid your mission of snapping the best of Britain, get yourself a copy of The Rough Guide to Great Britain

. Practical and comprehensive, it'll enhance every step of your journey, with plenty of off-the-beaten track coverage.

That said, with a huge range of guidebooks (with free accompanying eBooks) covering dozens of UK regions, you could browse our shop

to find a book that suits your travel style. Or contact our local experts to curate a personalised trip.

On the subject of travel style, our new personalised travel books

service enables you to create unique mementoes of your trips. These beautiful, picture-packed hardbacks also make great gifts for the travel-lovers in your life.

Once you've shot the UK's top 20 most photogenic streets, check out the most photogenic places in the world

.

We may earn commission when you click on links in this article, but this doesn’t influence our editorial standards. We only recommend services we genuinely believe will enhance your travel experiences.

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written by Joanne Owen
updated 11/21/2022
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Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her @JoanneOwen on Twitter and @joanneowenwrites on Instagram.

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