The word ‘hidden gem’ has become utterly overused within the travel writing community. Most places that are described as ‘hidden gems’ are often not so hidden, or gems for that matter. However, HomeToGo has created a data-heavy list of UK’s best hidden gems including 24 villages that present outstanding natural beauty. The study scored each location based on rainfall, scenery, outdoor activities, pubs, price and a special under-the-radar score.
All mentioned scenic villages were classed as UK’s best hidden gems as none of them appeared in the list of 500 most-searched destinations. Areas such as Cornwall, Dorset, Strangford Lough and the Suffolk Coast & Heaths scored at the top, but the quaint Scottish village of Arrochar also made the list. Arrochar is located at the head of Loch Long in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.
With Ben Lomond gracing the village on the one side, and of the rocky summit of The Cobbler within the Arrochar Alps on the other, Arrochar sits at the banks of the lakes making it the perfect place to relax after a long day of adventuring. For an outdoorsy staycation, Arrochar Alps are worth a bash: while the hikes up the summit can be a tricky, there are also some easier paths.
If you’re after an easier one-hour walk, follow the Tarbet Link Path by starting at the Loch Long car park and follow an uphill path marked by the yellow way markers. Along the way, you will see the remnants of the second world war torpedo testing station, and some views of The Cobbler and Beinn Narnain.
And if you want to actually climb The Cobbler, the path is around 11km and should take four to six hours to complete. Start on the opposite side of the road of the Succoth car park and follow the (barely marked) red way markers. The path will be tricky at times and once you reached the summit (unless you’re a rock climber) come back down the same way you came up.
The village of Arrochar is also abundant in wildlife: one can spot birds, grey seals and even rare sightings of whales or dolphins can be witnessed. There are also ample opportunities for kayaking, diving and paddling. For visitors who are after some divine pampering, Cameron House Carrick Spa near Loch Lomond is a place to leave the world’s troubles at the door and enjoy a day of treatments with stunning views.