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10 post-lockdown locations that Sony and Lonely Planet say you should shoot

Portmeirion - Sony Xperia 5 II
Portmeirion - Sony Xperia 5 II (Image credit: Sony Mobile, Lonely Planet)

Break free of the lockdown blues! The stay at home order in the UK lifted on 29 March, and on 12 April non-essential retail and hospitality open up again. So now is the perfect time to get out and start shooting again – but where do you go? 

Sony Mobile and Lonely Planet have paired up to publish a photo series revealing the UK's 10 least frequented destinations for 2021, so travelers can escape the mundanity of lockdown and reignite their sense of wonder and discovery. And you don't even need to pack all your camera gear; the images on this page were shot on the Sony Xperia 5 II, demonstrating how much photo power can be packed in your pocket.

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Destinations include the pristine sandy shores of Holkham Beach and the sub-tropical Tresco Abbey Gardens, which is home to exotic plants and foliage from around the world.

Craigievar Castle - Sony Xperia 5 II (Image credit: Sony Mobile, Lonely Planet)

Indeed, from old castles steeped in legend to quaint towns bursting with color, Britain is rich in stunning destinations. So it’s no surprise that as international travel continues to stay under review, Lonely Planet saw a significant rise in people staycationing – as well as an increase in interest travel to off-the-beaten-path destinations throughout 2020.

Far too often, these lesser-known tourist spots are forgotten, with staycationers opting for the bigger cities to satisfy their wanderlust. Only three in ten Brits say that they try to find places that are out of the way, rather than opting for the obvious tourist spots such as London and the Lake District. 

Perhaps more shockingly, of those polled, 10% admitted to never traveling within the UK at all. With 2021 in full flow, and lockdown travel restrictions lifting, this photo series gives inspiration to encourage Brits to explore their own shores – along with photography you can easily recreate yourselves.

Holkham Beach - Sony Xperia 5 II (Image credit: Sony Mobile, Lonely Planet)

Top 10 under the radar UK destinations

"London has always dominated tourism in the UK, and for good reason, but the entire country is overflowing with historic sites and natural wonders," said Lonely Planet's Tom Hall.

"The pandemic caused us all to pause and re-evaluate how we travel, and I think now is the perfect time to update that bucket list with some of these under-the-radar places you might have overlooked in the past." 

So, according to Lonely Planet, there are the top 10 off-the-beaten-path destinations from around the UK: 

1) Craigievar Castle, Alford, Scotland
2) Portmeirion, Wales
3) Tresco Abbey Gardens, Isles of Scilly
4) Oundle, Northamptonshire, England
5) Benmore Botanic Garden, Strath Eachaig, Scotland
6) Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa) from the quieter Rhyd Ddu Path, Wales
7) Howtown & Martindale, Cumbria, England
8) Lincolnshire Wolds
9) Holkham Beach, Norfolk, England
10) Marshwood Vale, Dorset

Oundle - Sony Xperia 5 II (Image credit: Sony Mobile, Lonely Planet)

5 phone photography tips for the Sony Xperia 5 II

These are Scottish photographer Chris Houston's top tips for budding travel photographers using the Sony Xperia 5 II…

1. Use the Photo Pro app to open up a whole range of additional settings to control the camera in a very similar format to the Sony Alpha and RX cameras.

2. Shoot in RAW format to produce the highest quality landscape photos. While the JPEG images produced by the camera are of a high standard, the RAW files offer a much higher quality output to really capture the detail when you’re traveling. For even higher quality, try the 4:3 aspect ratio.

3. Use the different camera lenses and adjust your positioning to get unique shots. The phone has 16mm, 24mm and 70mm lenses. The 24mm, for example, has the largest sensor and is most sensitive to light with its f/1.7 aperture; when using this camera, move closer or further away from your subject in order to frame your shot in a unique way. Meanwhile, 16mm is a super-wide focal length, making it great to confined spaces when you simply can’t get everything in the frame.

4.Use Program Mode in the Photo Pro app for further control. This enables you to control picture format, light sensitivity (ISO), metering mode, white balance and focusing mode – so you can make the most of whatever weather Mother Nature gives you.

5.Think outside the box when it comes to composing your shots. One of the great things about using a phone for photos is its size and handling. Get down low to the ground, hold your phone high above your head or position it in a place that you otherwise may not have been able to with a standard DSLR or mirrorless camera to get a different perspective.

(Image credit: Sony Mobile, Lonely Planet)

The Sony Xperia 5 II is priced at £799 SIM-free. Customers can take advantage of trade-in smartphone service Switch-Up, offering them the chane to trade in their unwanted phones and receive cash – or double that cash value in vouchers to spend on a wide range of Sony products when they purchase any Xperia handset.

With a wide range of accepted handsets from all major mobile brands, consumers can swap their unwanted devices for a higher return than other handset recycle programs on the market. For more information, visit myswitchup.co.uk.

Read more: 

Sony Xperia 5 II review
Sony Xperia 1 II review
Best Sony cameras
Best travel cameras

Alistair Campbell

Alistair is the Features Editor of Digital Camera magazine, and has worked as a professional photographer and video producer.