Where to find peace and quiet in the UK holiday cottages

Where to find peace and quiet in the UK

Jemima Kirkwood 14 January 2021

At Cottages in Northumberland, we have spent time thinking about what peace and quiet really means: being away from towns and cities, having minimal human contact, staying in low-traffic areas, basing yourself with plenty of surrounding nature, and enjoying large expanses of countryside and big skies.

So, we went on a mission to locate and identify the best places in the UK to find peace and quiet. We did this by breaking down the counties, council districts and regions throughout England, Wales and Scotland and gathered data on population count per square kilometre, as well as information on natural sanctuaries such as national parks, Dark Sky Parks and Dark Sky sites. This data helped us rank the areas to find the top locations in the UK for peace and quiet.

Concluding our research, we made some fascinating discoveries, some of which were completely unexpected. Best of all, we were delighted to learn that Northumberland took second place for peace and quiet in the UK! Read on discover the other top locations...

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The top 10 places to find peace and quiet in the UK 

Powys in Wales is the best place to find peace and quiet in the UK

With just 26 people per square kilometre, you can be promised a place where you can find plenty of space. A large proportion of Brecon Beacons National Park sits to the south of the Powys District where there is endless woodland, waterfalls, hills, moorlands, and heritage sites to explore.

Powys is the only district in the UK to boast two internationally recognised Dark Sky Reserves: Elan Valley and Brecon Beacons Dark Sky Park. This means there is little light pollution in the district and plenty of dark sky at night-time to see the stars, which is what ranked it higher in our research. As well as this, it has one Dark Sky Orion site and 10 Dark Sky Milky Way sites, ranking third in the whole of the UK for Dark Sky sites alone.

Northumberland in England is the second-best place for peace and quiet in the UK 

Home to Northumberland National Park and the internationally recognised Northumberland Dark Sky Park, this is a place where you will find miles and miles of untouched land and wide, open skies. Northumberland is well known for its excellent stargazing potential, boasting one Dark Sky Orion site and 22 Milky Way sites – more sites than anywhere else in the UK! 

The Highlands in Scotland is the third-best place to find peace and quiet in the UK

Looking at population density only, the Highlands has actually ranked first place - along with the Scottish Western Isles - in the whole of the UK with the lowest number of people per square kilometre (9 per square kilometre) So, if you go to the Highlands, in some of the most rural parts, you can expect to see no one!

The Cairngorms National Park is the centre for outdoor activity where you will find mountains, lochs, woodland forests, and rivers as well as small local villages which are lovely to explore. And whilst the Highlands does not have an internationally recognised Dark Sky Park, it does have 16 Milky Way sites, ranking it second in the UK for dark sky sites.


The Highlands also takes first place in Scotland’s top 5 quietest places. We will share the top 5 quietest places in Scotland soon…

Where else is in the UK's top places for peace and quiet? 

All of these places in the UK have been ranked for their low population density; they also have at least one National Park and at least one internationally recognised Dark Sky Park apiece.

  • 4th - Argyll and Bute in Scotland
  • 5th - Moray in Scotland
  • 6th - North Yorkshire in England
  • 7th - Pembrokeshire in Wales
  • 8th - Cumbria in England
  • 9th - Aberdeenshire in Scotland
  • 10th - Devon in England

North Yorkshire, Cumbria and Devon are the only counties in the UK that have two National Parks in them. This makes them really desirable spots for those who like to surround themselves with wilderness and explore rural and remote places. They offer true peace and quiet to anyone who visits.

But where are the quietest places to visit within England, Scotland and Wales?

We have looked into each country and have documented the top 5 quietest regions in each. Here is what we found…

Top 5 places to find peace and quiet in England

Northumberland has come out on top as being the quietest place in England! The county has a low population density with only 64 people per square kilometre, ranking as the 16th emptiest place in the whole of the UK.

Following closely behind is North Yorkshire which boasts two National Parks – North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales - and 11 Dark Sky sites. Cumbria takes third place with the Lake District National Park and Yorkshire Dales both covering the region.

Devon takes fourth place, home to Dartmoor National Park and Exmoor National Park, and Norfolk takes fifth, also ranking tenth in the overall UK count for the most Dark Sky Milky Way sites. 

Top 5 places to find peace and quiet in Scotland 

It will come as no surprise that the Highlands has been named the quietest place in Scotland. It is the largest area than any other region in the country, covering 25,657 square kilometres, and has the lowest population density at 9 people per square kilometre. It ranks in first place for the lowest population density across the whole of the UK.

The Highlands is also home to the Cairngorms National Park which also touches into Aberdeenshire (fourth) and Perth and Kinross (fifth). The Highlands also has the highest number of Dark Sky Parks in Scotland, and Moray is home to the Cairngorms Dark Sky Park which is the only internationally recognised Dark Sky Park in the country.

Top 5 places to find peace and quiet Wales

Wales has taken the crown for being home to the quietest place in the whole of the UK: Powys, which is its largest county. With only 26 people per square kilometre, you can be promised a quiet stay in this amazing place, and find a true escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Pembrokeshire in Wales sits in second place, boasting the beautiful Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and seven Dark Sky Milky Way sites. This district also made it into the top 10 quietest places in the UK, sitting seventh in the rankings.

Carmarthenshire is the third quietest place in Wales with one National Park – Brecon Beacons National Park – and two Dark Sky Milky Way sites. Gywnedd comes in fourth, an area home to Snowdonia National Park and the Snowdonia Dark Sky Reserve.

Ceredigion takes fifth place with a low population count of 41 people per square kilometre which ranks tenth overall in the UK for population density, along with Aberdeenshire in Scotland. 

So, there we have it: the top 10 places for peace and quiet in the UK! 

If you are interested in visiting Northumberland, the quietest place in England, we have lots of lovely holiday homes in remote places for you to stay in. From these, you can get out into the wilderness and experience the peace and quiet for yourself. Our collection of Kielder Forest cottages help you immerse yourself in the woodland, whilst our coastal cottages offer you peaceful retreats by the ocean, and are perfect for stargazing too! 

Browse the collection today and plan your next visit to the quietest place in England.

*Data collected in Dec 2020 from sources including the Office for National Statistics, Dark Sky Discovery Network and Wikipedia.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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