The Top 10 Best UK (Great Britain) Waterfalls

Steall Falls
Virgin Atlantic airways


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INTRODUCTION

It's not easy to put together a Top Best Great Britain Waterfalls List because it's completely subjective and limited to each person's experience with the falls being named. This list is based on our own personal experiences, which makes it somewhat unique amongst most other lists you'll see in the internet. And in the case of Great Britain, we feel that we've visited so many waterfalls on this island (which was really composed of three countries or kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Wales) that we could put together a credible top 10 list like this one. And while there were a lot of waterfalls to choose from, we managed to filter down to ten standout waterfalls, where all three kingdoms were well represented. But we totally recognize that this list can easily change if we're fortunate enough to come back or have an opportunity to revisit our list after some time has passed (click here to see the itinerary of our first trip). So without further adieu, here they are in reverse order...


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10. EAS A'CHUAL ALUINN
[Sutherland, Scotland]

10. EAS A'CHUAL ALUINN [Sutherland, Scotland]
This waterfall presented quite a challenge in terms of earning a sighting of it. We could have done it as an arduous 13-mile return hike to get up to its top, but we ended up doing a boat trip getting the view you see in the photo. But this falls ultimately made this list because that boat trip made for a diverse experience as it also featured a lot of wildlife (especially seals) as well as mindblowing scenery around Loch Glencoul and Loch Beag. So it just edged out the numerous other waterfalls that were similarly rated but left off the list. I'm sure this falls might have even climbed higher on this list had we earned that closer look peering back towards the loch, but that'll have to be for next time.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.


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9. DAN YR OGOF SHOWCAVES WATERFALLS
[Powys, Wales]

9. DAN YR OGOF SHOWCAVES WATERFALLS [Powys, Wales]
This entry was really more like a series of waterfalls in the popular Dan-yr-Ogof Showcaves, which itself had three accessible caves in its complex. But perhaps the most beautiful and well-known one, which we're featuring on this list (especially since we're partial to subterranean waterfalls that are accessible), was the main double-barreled underground waterfall in the Cathedral Cave (the second cave). Perhaps fittingly or awkwardly, we were experiencing that waterfall while listening to wedding music throughout that cave. And while we were torn between being cynical about the kitschy clash of Jurassic Park meets Indiana Jones, we felt that the cave's natural beauty embodied by this falls still managed to overcome misguided attempts at "improving" upon Nature. And thus, we had no problem giving this waterfall a spot in the Great Britain Top 10.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.


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8. ABER FALLS (RHAEADR FAWR)
[Gwynedd, Wales]

8. ABER FALLS (RHAEADR FAWR) [Gwynedd, Wales]
This waterfall surprised me with its size as well as the overall experience. For not only was I staring at this 120ft (37m) waterfall, which seemed taller than what was being reported, but I also happened to experience a sheep herding, be treated to views of Aber Valley, revel in the views of the falls being surrounded by impressive cliffs and mountains fringing the valley, and see another waterfall called Rhaeadr Fach. I guess it just seemed like everything about this falls was all about surprises, and so it belongs on this list as I'm sure it can pleasantly surprise those willing to go out to this part of North Wales, which itself well known for impressive castles like Conwy and Caernarfon.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.


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7. GRAY MARE'S TAIL
[Dumfriesshire, Scotland]

7. GRAY MARE'S TAIL [Dumfriesshire, Scotland]
This was said to be one of the tallest waterfalls in Britain at 60m, but as you can see from this photo, it had more than its stats going for it. For starters, it was nestled at the head of a dramatic V-shaped gorge and valley that was viewable from many different positions. But our visit also just so happened to occur at a time when mats of purple heather decorated half the V-shaped valley adjacent to the falls creating a wonderfully colorful scene even despite the gray weather. Then, I even was able to extend the visit by hiking all the way to the shores of Loch Skeen (which was a lake sourcing the Tail Burn, which made its plunge as the falls) while seeing even more of this waterfall's hidden tiers as well as basking in the peace and tranquility at the loch, which itself was further backed by the Mid Craig and White Coomb summits. So for the overall experience and rare back-to-Nature feel of this place, it certainly deserved a spot on this top 10 list.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.


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6. SGWD ISAF CLUN-GWYN
[Powys, Wales]

6. SGWD ISAF CLUN-GWYN [Powys, Wales]
I singled out this waterfall, which was really part of the Brecon Beacons Four Falls Trail, because it was my subtle way of fitting four waterfalls in one entry. Indeed, this was the last of four waterfalls (as the trail's name would suggest) that I visited on the excursion, and it was probably the one that shattered my pre-conceived notions of a trail featuring quantity over quality. Instead, all of the other waterfalls (Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd yr Eira, and Sgwd y Pannwr) had a more cumulative effect on the overall experience as they grew upon me until it culminated in this dramatic multi-tiered falls. By the way, this hike turned out to be surprisingly difficult, and I guess that was what turned this seemingly benign hike into more of an adventure, which in turn made this even more memorable than what I bargained for. Indeed, every time I think about this experience, I keep realizing how much it had blown away my expectations, and it just proves that often times you have to just get out there and experience places for yourself before you can give in to pre-judgment.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.


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5. STEALL FALLS
[Inverness-shire, Scotland]

5. STEALL FALLS [Inverness-shire, Scotland]
This Harry Potter waterfall seemed to be all about the drama. After all, the drive leaving Fort William through the scenic valley of Glen Nevis was dramatically majestic. The rocky hike leading through the Nevis Gorge to the wide open meadow where this 120m falls made its dramatic appearance while surrounded by majestic mountains (including Ben Nevis, which was the highest peak in Britain) was like a drama reaching its climax. But the drama continued as there was a scary three-wire bridge crossing the Water of Nevis to get all the way to the base of the waterfall. Heck, even the annoying and persistent swarms of midges added drama in a whole different way when it came to experiencing the falls. Indeed, there was nothing mediocre about this waterfalling experience so we just had to place it on our Top 10 List of Great Britain Waterfalls.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.


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4. PISTYLL RHAEADR
[Powys, Wales]

4. PISTYLL RHAEADR [Powys, Wales]
Besides the difficulty we had in trying to pronounce the name of this falls, it was also quite the challenge to go a bit out-of-the-way from most of the tourist attractions in North and Mid Wales. But after perservering through the long rural drives and the narrow single-lane road at the very end, it was all worth it once we finally saw for ourselves this towering beauty set amidst very tranquil and rural landscapes. Not only was this 240ft (73m) waterfall one of the tallest in Britain, but it also had a natural bridge going right across the Afon Rhaeadr between its two drops making this one of those rare places where waterfall and arch bagging can be combined in one shot! Thus, this waterfall was justifiably on the upper half of our Top 10 Great Britain Waterfalls list.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.


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3. FALLS OF GLOMACH
[Ross-shire, Scotland]

3. FALLS OF GLOMACH [Ross-shire, Scotland]
With a waterfall that roughly translates to "gloomy" in Gaelic, you know that you're going to a place that's very moody. But such was the allure of this remote falls, which I had to earn with a long hike that took me through scenic glens, then through tundra-like moors (or bealach in Gaelic), before dropping down to the abyss-like gorge where I was literally standing on narrow ledges fighting stomach butterflies as I was looking down at this dramatic waterfall that was so tall (113m or 371ft) that it couldn't even be seen in its entirety in one shot. And indeed, this experience evoked powerful emotions and sense of belonging that just naturally comes out when you're in a place that's so hauntingly beautiful and natural to begin with. All of this just adds to the aura of this mysterious falls, and I had no trouble putting this falls this high on our Top 10 Great Britain Waterfalls list.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.


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2. MEALT FALLS
[Inverness-shire, Scotland]

2. MEALT FALLS [Inverness-shire, Scotland]
There's something about waterfalls that plunge right into open bodies of water, and in the case of this Scottish waterfall, it was as scenic as they come. Not only was the Isle of Skye already full of natural beauty and history that compel us to long for a return trip to see more of it, but this waterfall itself was backed by the eccentric Kilt Rock, which can really resemble the famous Scottish garb with a little imagination. Moreover, it had surroundings that easily made us just want to linger to take in views of the sea all along tall cliffs as well as the reflective Loch Mealt. Even the scenery on the drive up here featuring Old Man Storr along with the Bride's Veil Waterfall further added to the atmosphere and scenic allure of this waterfall. So taking all these things together, it was really easy to see why this was Julie's favorite waterfall in the UK, and thus it could've easily been at the top spot of this list.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.


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1. GAPING GILL
[North Yorkshire, England]

1. GAPING GILL [North Yorkshire, England]
Few waterfalls can make the claim of being one of the tallest waterfalls of any region while being underground, but so was the case here as it was said to be the highest in England while plunging as three separate waterfalls into a large and cavernous potholed chamber that was well known to cavers. In fact, it really felt to me like two worlds colliding where cavers and waterfallers could share their passions in a place as uniquely special as this. Adding to the ambience and atmosphere of the whole experience was the adventure to even get to the cave entrance, where the changeable weather made its success a non-guaranteed affair. And this was further constrained by the fact that winch meets to drop down into the dark depths of the Gaping Gill only occurred on two different weeks out of the year. So adding up all these things (the adventure, the uncertainty, the uniqueness, and just the sheer grandeur), I just had to give this falls the edge over Mealt Falls to nudge its way into the top spot on the Great Britain Top 10!

Click here to read more about this waterfall.


If you're interested in seeing the rest of the waterfalls that we've been to in Great Britain, click here.





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