These days, one of the first things I do before travelling is seek out Instagram accounts from the destination to follow for inspiration and guidance of where to go, what to do, best eateries and the things that bring the city and region to life. Here’s a look at Instagram-able Britain that will encourage you to grab your camera and head to Blighty.
A 360 degree timelapse of Londons skyline
For travel-photography enthusiasts, this work has been referred to as a bit of a holy grail: a 360-degree time-lapse image of London’s famed skyline. It’s apparently the first gigapixel image and comprises 6 240 individual images taken at a rate of 260 an hour, over a 24-hour period. Each image, showing everything from London Bridge to the Shard, the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral and other landmarks, comprises 7 billion pixels.
The image is so big that it wouldn’t run on your average laptop. Capturing it needed a robotic arm on the roof of the 50-storey One Canada Square, also known as Canary Wharf Tower, the second-tallest building in the UK, and the two-person photography team spent chilly hours making sure it all ran smoothly.
But while this timelapse is breaking boundaries, getting your travels pics will be less demanding, and they’ll be easier to share with your social circle. You also won’t need to shiver on a skyscraper or carry heavy equipment around to get what you need. I asked Sue Petrie, British Airways’ Commercial Manager for Southern Africa, to recommend her favourite spots in the UK to capture moments that will light up an Instagram feed.
Britain’s Most Photogenic spots
The Lake District: the mountainous area of northern England that inspired William Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter and John Ruskin is a UNESCO Heritage Site and Britain’s biggest national park, with soaring mountains, ancient forests and deep lakes. It’s a haven for lovers of nature and landscape photography, and also has good road access. The historic town of Carlisle has a castle and cathedral, and there are good restaurants and gastropubs. Petrie’s tip: after documenting the majesty of the landscape, tour the Lakes Distillery and sample its espresso liqueur, before having lunch at the distillery’s bistro, with salted caramel vodka ice-cream for dessert.
The Lake District in Cumbria.
The Isle of Skye: The spectacular scenery of the Outer Hebrides Islands can stop you in your tracks at almost every turn and the changing light and often robust weather conditions – you may be bathed in sunshine and rain-drenched a minute later – mean that opportunities can quickly pass photographers by. Skye’s stark beauty has drawn crowds in recent years, but it’s still worth visiting for its variety of stone circles, rocky coastlines, lochs, cliffs, waterfalls, castles, goofy-looking Highland cows, and of course the famous rock spires of the Old Man of Storr.
The Isle of Skye, Scotland.
Durham: If the lush, gentle scenery and ancient stone buildings seem familiar, it’s because some of it appeared in the Harry Potter films, in which Durham Cathedral doubled up as Hogwarts School. While photography is restricted in the cathedral itself, the grounds invite exploration, and the area’s cobbled streets, bridges and river offer spectacular photo-opportunities. The entire area of north-eastern England is full of architecture from Roman and medieval times, through the Industrial Revolution, and its land- and seascapes inspired the artist John Turner.
The ceiling of Carlisle Cathedral in Cumbria.
London: It’s may be a bit of a cliché to describe the city’s skyline as iconic, but it does have many instantly recognisable features, old and new. Millions of visitors have documented the city’s red Routemaster buses, its black taxis and Thames bridges, and its tidal flows of people and traffic have been treated with every variation of tilt-shift, time-lapse and image enhancement. But its scale and variety is almost endless, and its excellent public transport system makes it easy for visitors to get to its myriad photogenic attractions, including parks, riverside walks and cityscapes. Petrie’s tip: spend time in Little Venice, a tranquil, leafy area north of Paddington, with narrowboats, a junction of three canals, and pubs and coffee-shops.
Wimbledon Park, London.
A London street scene.
London by night.
** Pics sourced on Pixabay. Top pic: A view across the Thames River in London. In collaboration with British Airways.