London, Grey, shutterstock

50 Shades of Grey Britain: The coolest & gloomiest locations in the UK

Check out 50 of the best grey locations in the UK

Published by

As the Great British summer weather reverted to type in 2021, HolidayPirates, the leading travel deals platform, has discovered just how cool and Instagram-friendly dramatic grey skies can be!

We analysed Instagram data and the use of hashtags such as #greysky and #moodysky, to reveal how London, Cornwall and Yorkshire are some of the gloomiest parts of the country, whereas no Welsh regions made it into the top ten!


1. London, England

Despite topping the list and being by far the most popular location for shots of the eerie, moody sky, the capital city has plenty to offer regardless of whether the sun is out or not. As home to endless museums, theatres, art galleries, indoor food markets, quirky cafes, and more, there’s always something to do and see in London.

Where to stay: One night (longer stays possible) at the 5* Waldorf Hilton in London is within easy walking distance to Covent Garden from £94pp (free cancellation – T&C apply).

2. Cornwall, England

Known for its glorious beaches and light that is perfect for artists, Cornwall is not immune to the changeability of the British weather. Fortunately, this most southwestern English county has a distinct Celtic culture and a unique history to explore on a not-so-sunny day.

Where to stay: One night (longer stays possible) at the transparent igloo dome located in Underlane in Cornwall from £87pp (free cancellation – T&C apply).

3. Yorkshire, England

Known as ‘God’s own country’, Yorkshire is renowned for its Roman and Viking heritage and outstanding natural areas with striking waterfalls which look particularly dramatic on dull, rainy days.

Where to stay: Four nights at the luxury Gamekeepers Lodge with a private hot tub located in Cottam, East Yorkshire, from £109pp (free cancellation – T&C apply).

4. Kent, England

Not every day can be sunny, but even the gloom can’t take away the charm from Kent. In fact, the Garden of England has particularly much to offer when there’s no sunshine in the sky.

Besides taking instagrammable shots of the county’s glorious coastline in a gloomy setting, the county has a burgeoning food and drink scene to discover with vineyards, breweries and distilleries as well as multiple cathedrals, castles, and even caves to explore.

Where to stay: Three nights at the seaside Ranch Cabin in Whitstable, Kent, from £88pp (free cancellation – T&C apply).

5. Sussex, England

From traditional country pubs and specialty coffee shops to independent cinemas and stately homes, there’s no need to wait for a sunny day to enjoy Sussex. Not to mention, the county offers plenty of glamping sites, ideal for a short autumn escape to the countryside.

Where to stay: Four nights at a Hill View lodge with a private hot tub in Lewes, East Sussex, from £139pp (free cancellation – T&C apply).

6. Highland, Scotland

Despite being known for its ‘dreich’ (dull and gloomy) weather, the area of Highlands and the Inner Hebrides, has ranked just outside of the top five greyest locations in the country. Looking through the dramatic snaps of the Isle of Skye and coastal villages like Durness, there’s no doubt though that the gloom makes it one of the most picture-perfect British locations.

Where to stay: Three nights at the Tianavaig House on the Isle of Skye with the views the Cuillin Mountains, Portree Bay and The Old Man of Storr, from £87.50pp (free cancellation – T&C apply).

7. Edinburgh, Scotland

Even though the city looks quite sombre and gloomy when the weather turns to the worst, many say that the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, is actually the prettiest when the sky is grey and the cobbled streets shine against the dark stone buildings after being washed down by the rain.

Where to stay: One night in Edinburgh, including a free bottle of wine and afternoon tea, from £44.50pp (free cancellation – T&C apply).

HolidayPirates analysed UK locations of 1,342 Instagram posts tagged with #greysky (or #greyskies) and #moodysky (or #moodyskies).

Top 50 Grey Britain destinations

  • London, England

  • Cornwall, England

  • Yorkshire, England

  • Kent, England

  • Sussex, England

  • Highland, Scotland

  • Edinburgh, Scotland

  • Devon, England

  • Argyll and Bute, Scotland

  • Suffolk, England

  • Dorset, England

  • Norfolk, England

  • Manchester, England

  • Glasgow, Scotland

  • Vale of Glamorgan, Wales

  • Cumbria / Lake District, England

  • Somerset, England

  • Pembrokeshire, Wales

  • Peak District, England

  • Gloucestershire, England

  • Stirling, Scotland

  • Snowdonia, Wales

  • Cambridgeshire, England

  • Hampshire, England

  • Oxfordshire, England

  • Durham, England

  • Hertfordshire, England

  • Northumberland, England

  • Na h-Eileanan Siar (Western Isles) , Scotland

  • Fife, Scotland

  • Gwynedd, Wales

  • Clwyd, Wales

  • Bristol, England

  • Liverpool, England

  • Worcestershire, England

  • Buckinghamshire, England

  • Derbyshire, England

  • Essex, England

  • Surrey, England

  • Warwickshire, England

  • Nottinghamshire, England

  • Ayrshire, Scotland

  • Ceredigion, Wales

  • Lincolnshire, England

  • Aberdeenshire, Scotland

  • Cheshire, England

  • Wiltshire, England

  • Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

  • Loch Lomond, Scotland

  • Cardiff, Wales

Methodology: HolidayPirates analysed UK locations of 1,342 Instagram posts tagged with #greysky (or #greyskies) and #moodysky (or #moodyskies).