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Big Ben in London

Top 5 photo backdrops in UK cities

Looking for the best photo backdrops in the UK? The landmarks you can’t miss, or the must-visit selfie locations? We’ve whittled down our top five photo backdrops in cities up and down the country, from London to Edinburgh – so you can head straight for these camera-ready locations when you’re on your travels. We’ve included guidebook favourites as well as some lesser-known gems, and you can get to every city by coach with megabus. Just don’t forget to tag us in your photos when you get there…

Circus Lane, Edinburgh
Even on a grey and drizzly day – which, let’s face it, isn’t exactly unheard of in Edinburgh – Circus Lane makes the perfect photo backdrop. Pretty mews houses lined with colourful floral displays line this cobbled street in the Stockbridge area of Edinburgh, and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you wander down it. It’s easily one of the city’s most famous locations, and people come from far and wide to fill their Instagram feed. That means a grey and drizzly day might just be your best bet if you’re craving a crowd-free photo.
For something totally different…
head up to Calton Hill and take a panorama of the whole city. See how many landmarks you can fit in one shot and aim for sunset if you’re after the best light.

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff
Wales Millennium Centre, affectionately known as The Armadillo, may be a relatively recent addition to Cardiff – a city with its fair share of castles and monuments – but it’s quickly become a modern landmark. Clad in 2,000 tonnes of reclaimed Welsh slate, it’s embellished with Celtic letters that double as windows – so you can get really creative with your shots both inside and out. The bilingual phrase emblazoned across the building translates to ‘In These Stones, Horizons Sing’, in case you’re wondering.
For something totally different…
take a detour onto Northcote Lane. This unassuming lane off busy City Road is wall-to-wall with graffiti and street art that’ll bring a bit of grit to the ‘gram.


Beach huts, Bournemouth Pier
Visiting Bournemouth? Nothing says ‘day at the seaside’ quite like a beach hut shot. Wander from Bournemouth Pier to Boscombe Pier for the pick of the bunch – the huts are painted in a rainbow of colours that can brighten up even the dreariest winter day. There are more than 250 of them lined up along Bournemouth’s seven-mile strip of sand, so you can get a selfie with the one that matches your outfit or try to tick off a whole kaleidoscope of colour in one reel.
For something totally different…
fill your feed with flowers in the city’s trio of Victorian gardens. Split into Lower, Central and Upper Gardens, they’re perfectly manicured all year round.

Quayside, NewcastleGateshead
Lining both sides of the River Tyne, the NewcastleGateshead Quayside makes an iconic photo backdrop – wherever you stand. Seven landmark bridges cross the water, including the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, which lights up at dusk to create photo-worthy reflections on the surface below. Choose your location wisely and you can get some of Newcastle’s biggest sights in your shot, too, including the Sage Gateshead and BALTIC building.
For something totally different…
get a pic sitting at the feet of the Angel of the North. Antony Gormley’s supersized sculpture is in Gateshead, on a hilltop by the A1. Basically, you can’t miss it.


Big Ben, London
If you’re looking for a London landmark, it’s got to be Big Ben. The capital’s giant clock is actually called Elizabeth Tower, but it’s better known by the name of the huge bell inside. Close-by Parliament Square is often crowded with people trying to photograph it, but the tower is so tall it can be tricky to get the whole thing in one shot. Cross Westminster Bridge to lose the crowds and get a whole lot more of London in your backdrop – including the River Thames.

For something totally different… head for platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station and get the obligatory shot of you pushing a half-submerged trolley through the wall, Harry Potter style. You’ll have to queue, but it’s worth it.