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Hello and welcome to our mammoth UK bucket list! Let’s call it “The Great British Bucket List” badum bum tish … sorry, we really couldn’t resist that one!

From beautiful castles and palaces to interesting museums, escapes into nature and more, there are so many amazing activities, destinations and ideas to add to your UK bucket list.

We hope this list (advance warning: it’s a LONG one!) will help you to decide what to see and do either during your next trip to the UK or as part of an epic day trip from home once it’s safe to travel again.

Burrow Farm Gardens, Devon

UK Bucket List Ideas & Destinations

Below is a simple bulleted list of all the destinations and ideas we’ve included in our UK bucket list.

And make sure you keep reading this blog post to get all the details of how to make them happen!

  1. Visit London (England’s capital)
  2. Visit Bristol (home to Brunel, Banksy, balloons and the Clifton Suspension Bridge)
  3. Visit Bath (home to original Roman baths and Jane Austen locations)
  4. Visit Salisbury (to see a Magna Carta and 700 year old pubs and restaurants)
  5. Visit Exeter (where incredible stories and hidden gems abound)
  6. Visit Oxford (original inspiration for various authors)
  7. Visit Chester (to step back in time to the Middle Ages)
  8. Visit Cheltenham (the UK’s most complete Regency town)
  9. Enjoy a ride on the London Eye
  10. See the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London
  11. Speed along the Thames on a RIB boat
  12. Hear the dulcet tones of the Big Ben
  13. Appreciate a few zen moments at the Kyoto Garden in Holland Park
  14. Stroll through the pretty mews streets in London
  15. Watch an incredible theatre show in London’s West End
  16. Shop for vintage finds at Camden Market or Portobello Road Market
  17. Admire fossils and bones at the Natural History Museum
  18. Witness the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace
  19. Indulge in a delicious afternoon tea
  20. Snap a photo of the UK’s smallest police station in Trafalgar Square
  21. Admire the views from the Sky Garden
  22. Window shop along Oxford Street and Regent Street
  23. Wander around Hyde Park and Kew Gardens
  24. Climb to the top of the O2 
  25. Snap that iconic Beatles photo on Abbey Road
  26. Head to the top of The Shard
  27. Visit Tintagel Castle (birthplace of the legendary King Arthur)
  28. See the incredible Christmas lights and displays of Blenheim Palace
  29. Admire Highclere Castle aka Downton Abbey
  30. See Katherine Parr’s tomb at Sudeley Castle
  31. Take in the views from the 1000 year old Corfe Castle
  32. Tour the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace
  33. See Henry VIII’s home at Hampton Court Palace
  34. Admire Windsor Castle – the oldest and largest castle in the UK
  35. Visit even more castles and palaces:
    • Hever Castle in Kent
    • Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire
    • Arundel Castle in Chichester
    • Warwick Castle in Warwickshire
    • Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham
    • Château Rhianfa in Anglesey
    • Glamis Castle in Scotland
  36. Admire more manor houses and mansions:
  37. Visit Whitby Abbey (inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula)
  38. See the ancient stone circles of Stonehenge and Avebury
  39. Follow Hadrian’s Wall
  40. Go camping and hiking in the Lake District
  41. Visit multiple Beatrix Potter-inspired locations in the Lake District
  42. Try to find the Rufus Stone in the New Forest
  43. Cycle around the New Forest
  44. Visit Burley Village in the New Forest to walk in the paths of witches, pirates and dragons
  45. Watch the free-roaming ponies throughout the New Forest
  46. Take in the views from up high at Heddon Valley in Exmoor
  47. Walk beside waterfalls and bubbling “Devils’ Cauldrons” at Lydford Gorge in Dartmoor 
  48. Head to the top of Hay Tor in Dartmoor to see famous rocks shaped like a giant’s foot
  49. Find even more waterfalls in Dartmoor within the ancient woodland of Becky Falls
  50. Get lost in Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean
  51. Explore the Lost Gardens of Heligan
  52. Visit the dome-shaped biomes of the Eden Project
  53. Watch a show at Minack Theatre (an open-top theatre carved into the side of a cliff)
  54. Find the secret-gardenesque gate at Burrow Farm Gardens
  55. Spot the wildlife at WWT London Wetland Centre and WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre
  56. Head out on a day trip to the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour near London
  57. Enjoy a magical Harry Potter weekend in London
  58. Roam around England looking for all the most popular Harry Potter filming locations
  59. Head to Devon to find towns and places that inspired J.K. Rowling
  60. Discover all the Pride & Prejudice filming locations
  61. Discover London’s Love Actually filming locations
  62. Walk along the Jurassic Coast from East Devon to Dorset
  63. Cross the tides to St Michael’s Mount
  64. Relax on Porthcurno Beach
  65. Head to Land’s End in Cornwall
  66. Go thrift store shopping and relax on beaches in St Ives
  67. Sunbathe on the beaches of Bournemouth
  68. Take a day trip to Brownsea Island from Poole to see red squirrels and peacocks
  69. Stroll along the pier at Brighton
  70. Take in the pretty views at Lyme Regis
  71. Take your dog on holiday to Bude in Cornwall
  72. Stroll around the pretty seaside town of Ilfracombe in North Devon
  73. Go body boarding or surfing in Croyde Bay or Woolacombe
  74. Explore the coastal attractions of Lulworth Cove, Swanage and Durdle Door
  75. Go below ground at Cheddar Gorge, Clearwell Caves, Wookey Hole Caves or Bristol’s Giant’s Cave
  76. Go to Glastonbury Festival
  77. Watch 150 hot air balloons take to the skies in Bristol
  78. Laugh at Gloucester’s Cheese Rolling Festival
  79. Road trip around the Cotswolds
  80. Go on a Banksy walking tour in Bristol
  81. Catch all the festive feels at Britain’s most magical Christmas fairs and events
  82. Walk in the footsteps of Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon
  83. Go back in time in Canterbury
  84. Go on a weekend getaway to a British island
  85. Enjoy a city break to York
  86. Walk in the path of Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest
  87. Watch a game of tennis at Wimbledon
  88. Walk in the path of giants at Giant’s Causeway
  89. Cross the rickety Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge (just for fun!)
  90. Visit Belfast and the Titanic Museum
  91. Go on a Game of Thrones inspired trip in Northern Ireland
  92. Take a day trip to another country (aka the Republic of Ireland)
  93. Discover the secrets of Edinburgh Castle
  94. Hike to the top of Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat
  95. Road trip around the Isle of Skye
  96. Try to find the Loch Ness monster (aka “Nessie”)
  97. Canoe or kayak across Loch Lomond
  98. Wild camp or glamp in the Scottish Highlands
  99. Go hiking in Glen Coe
  100. Watch the Harry Potter train go over Glenfinnan Viaduct
  101. Enjoy walks and hikes in the Brecon Beacons
  102. Go stargazing in the Brecon Beacons (Wales’ first International Dark Sky Reserve)
  103. Go cave trampolining in Snowdonia National Park
  104. Take in the natural beauty of the Gower Peninsula
  105. Visit Penrhyn Castle, a 19th century fantasy castle 
  106. Discover the secrets of the 12th century Oystermouth Castle
  107.  Take in the views from the 12th century ruins of Pennard Castle
  108. Admire “the leaning tower” at Caerphilly Castle
  109. Photograph the fairytale princess turrets and spires of Castell Coch
  110. Discover the impressive medieval fortress of Conwy Castle
  111. Stroll around the unfinished medieval stronghold of Beaumaris Castle
  112. Take in the incredible ocean views from Harlech Castle
  113. Wander around the city castle of Cardiff
  114. Discover the secrets of the 12th century medieval Powis Castle
  115. See the original seat of the Earldom of Pembroke at Pembroke Castle
  116. Try (and fail!) to pronounce the longest place name in the UK: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantsysiliogogogoch
  117. Explore the Pembrokeshire Coast
  118. Get to the top of Snowdon

Highclere Castle, England

Printable UK Bucket List (+ Blank Bucket List Template)

Enter your email address here and we’ll send you our UK bucket list as a printable PDF! We’ll also include a blank template for you to create your own bucket list.

And to say thanks, we’ll also send you our full range of printables and resources including ebooks, itineraries, packing lists and more!

GET THEM HERE! >>

The Great British Bucket List (By Country)

If you’re after detailed info on how you can make each of these UK bucket list activities happen, then keep reading!

England Bucket List Ideas

Make the most of a charming city break

There are so many charming cities to explore in England where cute cafés, historic buildings, interesting museums and more await.

The English cities that we think are absolute must-sees are:

  • London: England’s capital, which rightly deserves its very own bucket list (see below)
  • Bristol: Home to Brunel, Banksy, balloons and the Clifton Suspension Bridge
  • Bath: Home to original Roman baths, Jane Austen locations and a UNESCO city
  • Salisbury: Where you can see a Magna Carta and 700 year old pubs, bars and restaurants
  • Oxford: Made famous by its prestigious university but is also linked to famous authors including C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and Lewis Carroll
  • Chester: A stroll through the highstreet will feel like you’ve stepped into the Middle Ages
  • Cheltenham: Where majestic Regency buildings, pump rooms and pretty parks await
  • Exeter: Where incredible stories and hidden gems abound
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Explore England’s capital: London

Like most other cities around the world, London has two sides: the tourist hustle and bustle and the local charm

When creating your own London bucket list, be sure to include hidden gems and lesser known places as well as the usual suspects.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Enjoy a ride on the London Eye
  • See the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London
  • Speed along the Thames on a RIB boat
  • Hear the dulcet tones of the Big Ben
  • Stroll through the pretty mews streets like Kynance Mews, Holland Park Mews, St Luke’s Mews and Warren Mews

Holland Park Mews, London

  • Watch an incredible theatre show in London’s West End
  • Shop for vintage finds at Camden Market or Portobello Road Market
  • Admire fossils and bones at the Natural History Museum
  • Witness the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace
  • Indulge in tea and cake during afternoon tea
  • Snap a photo of the UK’s smallest police station in Trafalgar Square
  • Appreciate a few zen moments at the Kyoto Garden in Holland Park
  • Admire the view from the Sky Garden
  • Window shop along Oxford Street and Regent Street
  • Wander around Hyde Park and Kew Gardens
  • Climb to the top of the O2 
  • Snap that iconic Beatles photo on Abbey Road
  • Head to the top of The Shard

Visit beautiful castles and palaces

Given that England has been unified since the 10th century and has had an established monarchy with ruling kings, queens and dukedoms ever since, it should come as no surprise that your UK bucket list should include trips to incredible castles and palaces. 

Here are some of our favourites (both well known and hidden gems):

Tintagel Castle in Cornwall: Now looked after by the English Heritage, the incredible clifftop castle of Tintagel is said to be the birthplace of the legendary King Arthur. Read more here >>

Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire: Once home to Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace is simply magical at Christmastime thanks to extraordinary themed decorations and an illuminated trail through the gardens. See what we mean >>

The Mad Hatter's tea party table at Blenheim Palace

Highclere Castle in Berkshire: Although still a family home to the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, Highclere Castle is open on certain days throughout the year and is most famous for being the principal Downton Abbey filming location. What few know is that there is an Egyptian exhibition in the basement related to the Tomb of Tutankhamun and the treasures found by the 5th Earl of Carnarvon and Howard Carter in 1922. Learn more here >>

Highclere Castle, England

Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire: Once home to Katherine Parr (Henry VIII’s sixth wife), as well as her final resting place. Sudeley is especially exciting to visit at Halloween thanks to ghost tours and other spooky festivities. Find out more >>

Haunted Sudeley Castle

  • Corfe Castle in Dorset: The 1000 year old Corfe Castle has been a Saxon stronghold, Norman fortress, royal palace and family home. It’s now in ruins but still offers incredible views across the Dorset countryside.
  • Buckingham Palace in London: Recognised around the world as the Queen’s home, Buckingham Palace is easily the most famous palace in England. And The State Rooms are open to the public for a couple of months each year.
  • Tower of London: Known for holding the dazzling Crown Jewels, not many people know that the Tower of London is also a castle and royal palace. Be sure to join a free guided tour when you visit as you’ll hear some interesting tales of torture, murder and treason.
  • Hampton Court Palace in Surrey: Once home to none other than King Henry VIII himself, Hampton Court Palace is majestic, grand and befitting of a Tudor royal. It’s just one hour from the centre of London so can easily be included in your London itinerary.
  • Windsor Castle in Berkshire: Founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world and is usually open to visitors on various dates throughout the year. Today, it’s owned by the Queen who spends most of her private weekends at the castle.

Get inspired by all the best National Trust and English Heritage places

Although we already have a bucket list dedicated to stunning National Trust places you should visit, we have yet to do the same for the English Heritage.

But we know it would definitely include Whitby Abbey, Stonehenge and Hadrian’s Wall as a bare minimum.

Stonehenge

If you live in the UK or are visiting for an extended period, then it’s well worth joining the National Trust, English Heritage or both, so you can visit amazing mansions and manor houses, ancient castles and stone circles for free. You can even park for free near some beaches and countryside escapes too!

Take a look at National Trust membership prices here >>
And English Heritage membership prices here >>

Enjoy the great outdoors

One of our favourite things about living in England are all of the beautiful and tranquil parks, forests, mountains and other outdoor spaces that are ripe for exploring. 

Alongside the incredible gardens owned by the National Trust we’ve mentioned in this post, here are some of our other favourite places to escape into nature…

National Parks

Despite the UK being a small country, there are as many as fifteen National Parks here! 

Although we have yet to discover them all, we have been to the Lake District, New Forest, Dartmoor and Exmoor… and only have wonderful things to say about our trips there.

When it comes to these particular areas, here’s what your UK bucket list simply has to include:

  • Go camping and hiking in the Lake District
  • Visit multiple Beatrix Potter-inspired locations in the Lake District as part of a literary escape
  • Try to find the Rufus Stone in the New Forest
  • Cycle around the New Forest
  • Visit Burley Village in the New Forest to walk in the paths of witches, pirates and dragons
  • Watch the free-roaming ponies throughout the New Forest
  • Take in the views from up high at Heddon Valley in Exmoor
  • Walk beside waterfalls and bubbling “Devils’ Cauldrons” at Lydford Gorge in Dartmoor 
  • Head to the top of Hay Tor in Dartmoor to see famous rocks shaped like a giant’s foot
  • Find even more waterfalls in Dartmoor within the ancient woodland of Becky Falls

Lake District Views - Living in England Pros

Devon & Cornwall Gems

Devon and Cornwall are our favourite English counties of all time. They offer a joyful mix of bustling market towns, coastal retreats and a neverending expanse of countryside to explore.

Here’s a quick namedrop for a few of our favourite places within these counties…

The Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project are just ten miles apart so can easily be included in any Cornwall itinerary – and are must sees for nature lovers

The Lost Gardens originally date back to 1766, but became neglected and completely overgrown during WWI. It wasn’t until 1990 when they were discovered again and renovated throughout the following decade.

Day Trips from Newquay - The Lost Gardens of Heligan

While the Eden Project consists of several dome-shaped biomes with thousands upon thousands of different plants, flowers and foliage to discover inside.

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Another favourite of ours in Cornwall is the Minack Theatre in Porthcurno, which offers a very different type of escape into nature as it’s an open-top theatre carved into the side of a cliff and overlooking the ocean. 

And it makes for one hell of a magical backdrop for any performance you watch here!

Minack Theatre, Porthcurno

We’ve also recently discovered Burrow Farm Gardens during a dog friendly weekend getaway to Devon. It was such a pretty place to walk around and full of secret-gardenesque gates, wild flower meadows and every type of plant, tree and flower imaginable.

Wetland Centres

Who doesn’t love feeding ducks and hearing birds tweeting on a warm summer’s day? 

We’ve been to both the WWT London Wetland Centre and WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre and had such a relaxing time strolling around the lakes, ponds and gardens watching the various wildlife.

We highly recommend it for a very special afternoon!

WWT London Wetland Centre

Go on a magical Harry Potter-inspired trip

Harry Potter is easily one of the UK’s biggest draws so any UK bucket list should include some day trips and weekend getaways inspired by Harry Potter.

Here are some ideas of what to do and where to go:

Hogwarts letters coming out of the fireplace

Visit other popular filming locations

It’s not just Harry Potter that has movie fans flocking to the UK by the bucketload! 

There are so many famous movies and period dramas that were filmed in England such as:

Rejuvenate with a relaxing coastal retreat

England might not scream “relaxing coastal retreat” to everyone, but you’d probably be surprised at how many beautiful places there are beside the sea here. Especially in Cornwall!

And while you might not be able to guarantee perfect beach weather every single time, there is so much more to a coastal escape than just beaches.

From the incredible views found along coastal paths to clifftop castles and even quintessential Victorian piers, here are some places along the English coast you simply cannot miss out on seeing:

  • The Jurassic Coast from East Devon to Dorset
  • St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall
  • Porthcurno Beach and the Minack Theatre in Cornwall
  • Land’s End in Cornwall
  • St Ives in Cornwall
  • Bournemouth in Dorset
  • Brownsea Island near Poole in Dorset
  • Brighton in East Sussex
  • Lyme Regis in Dorset
  • Bude in Cornwall
  • Ilfracombe in North Devon
  • Croyde Bay in North Devon
  • Woolacombe in North Devon
  • Lulworth Cove in Dorset
  • Swanage in Dorset
  • Durdle Door in Dorset

Lyme Regis

Go below ground in fascinating caves

Whether you enjoy adventurous caving expeditions or gentle strolls underground, there are a number of incredible caves in England to explore (many with interesting stories to tell).

UK Caves

Here are a few of our firm favourites:

  • Cheddar Gorge & Caves in Somerset: Ever wonder where Cheddar cheese comes from? Well none other than Cheddar in Somerset of course! During a visit to the caves, you’ll not only see the huge caves that are slowly being excavated but also where the cheese is made!
  • Wookey Hole Caves in Somerset: While the Wookey Hole Caves cater well to children (they’re said to be the home of a witch!), they’re fun to explore for all ages. Your ticket will also include a round of mini golf, entry to the arcade and more.
  • Clearwell Caves in Gloucestershire: Clearwell Caves in Gloucestershire aren’t usually included in roundups of caves in England. In fact, they’re still something of a hidden gem! But visit them at Christmas and you’ll be transported into a magical winter wonderland below ground complete with fairy lights, extensive displays and even a Christmas market!
  • Giant’s Cave in Bristol: Did you know that Bristol is said to have once been the home of two giants, Goram and Ghyston, and this is how Avon Gorge was formed? Whether you believe in magical legends or not, a trip to Giant’s Cave in Bristol also promises unique views of the Clifton Suspension Bridge! You’ll have to climb over 200 steep (and very narrow!) steps to the bottom and back up again though.

Views of Clifton Suspension Bridge from Giant's Cave in Bristol

Have fun at a festival

Throughout the year, towns and cities across England are known for their incredible events and festivals – from the musically inclined to the downright weird and wonderful.

Although you could easily fill up an entire year with festivals, here are a few we seriously recommend adding to your bucket list:

  • Somerset’s legendary Glastonbury Festival
  • Bristol’s International Balloon Fiesta
  • Gloucester’s Cheese Rolling Festival
  • London’s British Summer Time Hyde Park

International Balloon Fiesta

Road trip around the Cotswolds

Thatched roofs, rolling green hills, colourful bunting and pretty little cottages are the perfect concoction of a quintessential English village – and it’s probably the Cotswolds you’re thinking of right now!

You can easily road trip around some of the Cotswolds to see multiple villages in one day (or across several days). 

Be sure to add Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-World, Bibury, Chipping Campden, Lacock and Castle Combe to your list when you do.

Chipping Campden

Choose between traditional and themed afternoon teas

While England is known for its majestic palaces, bunting-filled villages and rambling countryside, it’s also known for its afternoon tea

Afternoon Tea

Beginning in the year 1840, afternoon tea was introduced to the heights of English society by the 7th Duchess of Bedford.

And it’s a delightful spread of finger sandwiches, cream scones and delicious cakes (often served on a tiered cake stand) with tea served in dainty tea cups.

We are of course describing what a traditional afternoon tea offered by the likes of The Ritz, Fortnum & Mason and The Shard looks like. 

But it’s also possible to enjoy a unique afternoon tea too:

And then of course you can hop on Brigit’s Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus Tour around London too!

Visit Bristol: Banksy’s place of birth

While everyone and their dog has heard of Banksy, not many people know that he was born and grew up in our hometown of Bristol.

Here, you’ll find a huge number of his earliest works as well as some more recent pieces, so you can create your very own self-guided street art walking tour!

Catch festive feels from all the incredible Christmas activities

Alongside the sparkle and wonder of the likes of Knightsbridge, Oxford Street, Covent Garden, Hyde Park and Kew Gardens in London at this time of year, there are plenty more Christmas-themed events and places to add to your bucket list like…

Christmas at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire

Every year, Blenheim Palace holds an extraordinary Christmas event and it’s like seeing all the festive sparkle and magic you know and love… on steroids. 

There’s fairytale-inspired glitz and glamour inside, thousands of twinkling fairy lights and fun projector shows outside and even row upon row of Christmas market chalets in the courtyard with the palace’s grand facade as their backdrop.

We visited last year when an Alice in Wonderland theme took over the palace – and it was all sorts of magical!

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Christmas at Tyntesfield in Somerset

Tyntesfield is another majestic house that pulls out all the stops at Christmas. Their ‘A Very Victorian Christmas’ event really is like stepping back in time…

From traditional trees and decorations to yuletide songs and games and even a full cast of actors portraying various Victorian characters, a trip here at Christmas is a lot of fun and is sure to get you in the festive spirit!

Festival of Light at Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire

Each year, Longleat Safari Park hosts the “Festival of Light”, which is home to giant light displays throughout the park. 

So not only will you spot interesting animals here, but incredible lights too! 

A few years ago, the theme was ‘Chinese New Year’, which was INCREDIBLE (but the theme changes each year so you’ll never get bored!)

Longleat Festival of Light

Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt Arboretum

Whenever we read newspaper articles or blogs about the best Christmas displays in the UK, Westonbirt Arboretum is always included. 

And it’s easy to see why!

Each year, the staff place lights, music and other attractions among the trees to turn the arboretum into a magical Christmas wonderland. It’s beautiful and really does make for a magical evening… especially for children and couples!

Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt Arboretum

Not only is there the illuminated trail through the trees to enjoy, but there is also an entire Christmas village complete with food and mulled wine stations, fairground rides, market stalls and an indoor picnic area.

Scott taking a photo of the Christmas Village at Westonbirt Arboretum

Mousehole Light Displays

The small seaside town of Mousehole in Cornwall is a wonder at Christmas-time as the harbour comes to life with floating Christmas scenes and light displays. It’s magical!

Bath Christmas Markets

Every year, Bath hosts one of the largest Christmas markets found in the UK. There are hundreds of stalls spread all around Bath Abbey. 

Whether you’re after some locally sourced cheese (Cheddar anyone?), delicious wine or handmade gifts, this is a great Christmas market to come to year after year. 

On our last visit, we found the most incredible stall selling handmade fudge. We tried Chocolate Orange with real milk chocolate and Raspberry White Chocolate with great big chunks of creamy white chocolate… yes please!

Runton Road in Poole – The UK’s Most Festive Street

Ever wondered where the most festive street in the UK is? 

Look no further than Runton Road in Poole, which has been dubbed this accolade every year for the past 25 years! 

A word of caution though – if you don’t appreciate houses that are COVERED in lights, this one may not be for you. But we’d recommend seeing this street come to life at least once!

Northern Ireland Bucket List Ideas

Walk in the path of giants at Giant’s Causeway

Giant’s Causeway is easily one of the most famous landmarks in Northern Ireland and the UK – and rightly deserves its place on your bucket list.

Scott at Giant's Causeway

This famous landmark gets its name from a fascinating legend involving two giants: Finn McCool and Benandonner. We urge you to grab a cup of tea and have a read of it before your visit!

Despite its name written in legend, the 40,000 large basalt columns found here were actually created by molten lava cooling as it reached the sea.

But regardless of whether you believe in legends or not, Giant’s Causeway is a fascinating place to discover.

Read our detailed blog here to find out how you can make the most of your visit.

Traipse across the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge

Found just twenty minutes east of Giant’s Causeway is the National Trust-owned Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

This unique attraction is where you can follow coastal paths to a rickety old rope bridge, which connects two parts of the Northern Irish coast.

Not too many people know about it (yet!) as it’s often overshadowed by its legendary neighbour, but it’s great fun to see the bridge and walk across it. 

Note that you’re not allowed to walk across the bridge on particularly stormy or windy days. Yep, it’s that rickety!

Visit Belfast and the Titanic Museum

Belfast is a small city but is the capital of Northern Ireland and so must have a space on your Northern Ireland bucket list.

In particular, the Titanic Museum here is well worth a visit as you can learn more about how the ship was built, how and why it sank and you can even see Titanic’s sister ship SS Nomadic as well, which ended up being the last ship that White Star Line ever built.

Go on a trip inspired by Game of Thrones

There are so many places throughout Northern Ireland that were used as filming locations in the hit TV show Game of Thrones, that a GoT-inspired trip is now a very popular idea to add to your bucket list.

Here are some must-see Game of Thrones filming locations in Northern Ireland:

  • The Dark Hedges in Ballymoney: Found along Bregagh Road in County Antrim, The Dark Hedges are twisted and gnarled trees that have grown into an arch shape across the road. They featured in the Game of Thrones as the King’s Road when Arya Stark escaped from King’s Landing disguised as a boy.

The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland

  • Ballintoy Harbour in Ballycastle: Ballintoy is a small fishing village on the coast in between Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. It was used in Game of Thrones during Theon Greyjoy’s return to Lordsport Harbour.
  • Portstewart Strand in County Londonderry: This beautiful sandy beach was used as the coast of Dorne when Jamie Lannister was tasked with bringing back Cersei’s daughter Myrcella to King’s Landing.
  • Binevenagh in County Londonderry: This impressive mountain dominating Northern Ireland in the north appeared in Game of Thrones as the Dothraki Grasslands where Daenerys Targaryen can be seen being rescued by her dragon, Drogon.
  • Downhill Beach in County Londonderry: This 7-mile long sandy beach is where Stannis Baratheon rejects the Seven Gods of Westeros, allowing Melisandre to make an offering to the Lord of Light. 
  • Castle Ward in County Down: This impressive 18th century mansion and estate is owned by the National Trust and famously stood in for Winterfell throughout the Game of Thrones series.
  • Tollymore Forest Park in Newcastle: Tollymore was the first state forest park in Northern Ireland and stood in for The Haunted Forest in Game of Thrones.
  • Cushendun Caves in Ballymena: Remember when Melisandre gave birth to that weird shadow creature? She was inside Cushendun Caves on the north eastern coast of Northern Ireland when it happened.
  • Murlough Bay in Country Antrim: The incredible nature reserve of Murlough Bay (near Tollymore) features in Game of Thrones several times. Once when Davos Seaworth was shipwrecked and later rescued and again when Jorah came ashore on Slavers’ Bay and was accosted by slavers.

Take a day trip to another country (aka the Republic of Ireland)

Another popular activity for your Northern Ireland bucket list is to take advantage of the current lack of border control between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Whether you drive, take a train or join a coach tour, it’s really easy to travel to a whole other country (complete with a different currency) – and there’s a lot to see.

Check out this post all about Ireland day trips for some ideas of where to go and what to do.

Scotland Bucket List Ideas

Walk in the path of kings in Edinburgh

As the capital of Scotland, no Scotland bucket list would be complete without mentioning Edinburgh

Your Edinburgh bucket list simply must include its infamous castle with views across the city. 

Edinburgh Castle

When you visit, be sure to join one of the free tours of the castle as you’ll learn so much about its history, including the fact that the Scottish Crown Jewels were lost in the castle for over 100 years before being found by Sir Walter Scott and his friends in 1818.

Another must-do in Edinburgh is to hike to the top of Holyrood Park to see Arthur’s Seat (a 251-metre high extinct volcano). The hike is strenuous but boasts great views across the city and surrounding countryside.

Holyrood Park & Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh

Road trip around the Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye is one of the islands found on the west coast of Scotland – and is probably the most famous one.

Seeing it during our Scottish road trip was easily the highlight. Just one day here will allow you to see lots of incredible coastal views, ancient ruins and mystical waterfalls. 

But if you’re going to do it properly, then definitely spend a few days on the Isle of Skye – you won’t regret it!

Isle of Skye, Scotland

Be amazed by the thousands of mysterious lochs

Scotland is infamous for its sprawling and cavernous lochs but did you know that there are as many as 31,460 freshwater lochs in Scotland?!

That’s crazy! But it also means you can easily add one or two of them to your Scotland bucket list. 

The two largest ones are Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands (home of the legendary Loch Ness Monster) and Loch Lomond in Trossachs National Park (which you can hike around and even canoe or kayak on!)

Loch Lomond, Scotland

Scott canoeing on Loch Lomond

Wild camp (or glamp!) in Scotland

Wild camping is legal in Scotland, which means you can easily wake up to incredible loch-side views or the beautiful Highlands countryside every morning.

Be sure to familiarise yourself with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code before you do, but one of the most important laws to abide by is the ‘leave no trace’ policy.

Wild Camping

If wild camping isn’t for you, then there are also lots of proper campsites and glamping pods in Scotland. 

Either way, camping and glamping are a lot of fun and are a great way to experience the Scottish countryside right on your doorstep!

Hike Glen Coe

Of all the hikes in Scotland you can enjoy, the impressive nature reserve of Glen Coe is not to be missed!

From mountains and tors to lochs and rivers, you’ve got a lot of choice about where to hike in Glen Coe. 

This roundup from Scottish travel blogger Watch Me See is full of ideas.

Watch the Harry Potter train go over the Glenfinnan Viaduct

If you’re a Harry Potter fan (like us!) then you simply must add Glenfinnan Viaduct to your Scotland bucket list. 

It’s a famous Harry Potter filming location and is where you can watch the Jacobite Steam Train (aka Harry Potter Train) go past.

Check out our guide here to read all about it!

Harry Potter Train, Scotland

Wales Bucket List Ideas

Get outside in Brecon Beacons National Park

Brecon Beacons National Park is not to be missed when you’re in South Wales.

Although it’s a mountain range, there are lots of different walks and hikes you can enjoy.

The views from Pen y Fan

Here are a few of our favourites:

Alongside walks and hikes, the Brecon Beacons was also the first International Dark Sky Reserve in Wales and is full of incredible stargazing opportunities.

Go cave trampolining

Out of all the Wales bucket list items on this list, this has to be one of the most unique things to do in Wales (and our favourite!)

Head to Conwy in Snowdonia National Park to bounce on trampolines inside underground caves with Zip World Bounce Below

There are six trampolines in total and the highest one is at the height of two double decker buses… so much fun!

Cave Trampolining

Explore the Gower Peninsula

Covering 70 square miles, the Gower Peninsula in South Wales was the UK’s first declared Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

From stunning beaches and clifftop views to wild moors, salt marshes and ancient oak woodlands, there’s a lot to see on the Gower.

Some absolute must-sees are Rhossili Bay, Worm’s Head and Three Cliffs Bay. 

But you could easily spend a long weekend discovering all the hidden gems here. Check out our South Wales itinerary for some ideas!

Justine and Kai looking at Rhossili Beach

Visit historic castles and palaces

Just like England and Scotland, Wales also has incredible castles to discover including:

  • Penrhyn Castle in Bangor: Stunning 19th century fantasy castle owned by the National Trust in North Wales.
  • Oystermouth Castle in Mumbles: 12th century castle overlooking the delightful seaside town of Mumbles and Swansea Bay. Since being built, it has been burned by an invading Welsh King, witnessed upteen sieges and passed from Lord to Lord until as late as 1927.
  • Pennard Castle in Pennard: 12th century ruins on the Gower Peninsula overlooking the valley of Pennard Hill and Three Cliffs Bay.
  • Caerphilly Castle in Caerphilly: Medieval 13th century moated fortress and the biggest castle in Wales. It even has its very own “leaning tower”!
  • Castell Coch in Cardiff: Pretty 19th century Gothic Revival castle complete with fairytale princess turrets and spires. 
  • Conwy Castle in Conwy: Impressive medieval fortress in North Wales built by Edward I between 1283 and 1289.
  • Beaumaris Castle in Anglesey: Medieval stronghold dating back to 1295, but one that was never finished!
  • Harlech Castle in Gwynedd: Majestic Grade I-listed medieval fortification overlooking Bae Ceredigion and built by Edward I between 1282 and 1289.
  • Cardiff Castle in Cardiff: Beautiful medieval castle and Gothic Revival mansion in the heart of Cardiff. The original motte and bailey castle were built in the 11th century by Norman invaders on top of a Roman fort from the 3rd century.
  • Powis Castle in Welshpool: 12th century medieval castle, fortress and grand country mansion owned by the National Trust.
  • Pembroke Castle in Pembroke: Stunning medieval castle overlooking the town of Pembroke and was the original seat of the Earldom of Pembroke.
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Try (and fail!) to pronounce the longest place name in the UK: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantsysiliogogogoch

Another quirky thing to do in Wales and definitely one for your bucket list is to snap a photo of the village or railway signs of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantsysiliogogogoch – officially the place with the longest name in all of the UK.

It’s a village on the island of Anglesey, and in English, roughly translates as “St Mary’s Church in the Hollow of the White Hazel near a Rapid Whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio near the Red Cave”.

Wondering why such a long name? It was brought in as a PR gimmick in the 1860s… looks like it worked!

Even More Ideas From Our Own UK Bucket List

Even though we’ve done a lot and seen a lot in the UK ourselves (we’ve even launched a second travel blog: Wanderers of the Kingdom to celebrate that fact), there are still plenty of places left on our own UK bucket list. 

Here they are in case they give you even more inspiration:

  • Walk in the footsteps of Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Visit even more castles and palaces:
    • Hever Castle in Kent
    • Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire
    • Arundel Castle in Chichester
    • Warwick Castle in Warwickshire
    • Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham
    • Château Rhianfa in Anglesey
    • Glamis Castle in Scotland
  • And more manor houses and mansions:
  • Explore the Pembrokeshire Coast
  • Get to the top of Snowdon
  • Go back in time in Canterbury
  • Have a weekend getaway to the islands:
    • Isle of Wight
    • Isles of Scilly
    • Isle of Man
    • Lundy Island
    • Channel Islands
  • Enjoy a city break to York
  • Walk in the path of Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest
  • Watch a game of tennis at Wimbledon
  • Find hidden gems in the Cotswolds:
    • Winchcombe
    • Tetbury
    • Painswick
    • Woodstock
    • Burford

And there you have it… a mammoth list of 100+ UK bucket list destinations and ideas! What’s at the top of your list? And have we missed anything awesome out? Let us know in the comments below…

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10 thoughts on “100+ Incredible UK Bucket List Ideas & Destinations

  1. madhu sharma says:

    Wow this is a great post and so informative.one stop solution for all UK destinations

  2. Sandra // BlueMarble Vagabonds says:

    That’s one amazing bucket list article! I love England and I’m soooo saving it up for later! 😀

  3. Omg WOW! this is so so epic thank you for sharing! (even if i am now craving cream tea XD) I am happy to say that I’ve actually already done a few but there is soooo much more of the UK that I need to explore!

  4. Cristina says:

    This is a great bucket list! 🙂 I live in the UK, but there are so many places I still need to visit.

  5. Wow, what a list! As a Brit I couldn’t resist counting up my checklist…58! I’m OK with that, and happy that there’s still loads to explore of my home country.

  6. Bliss says:

    This is such a great guide! I want to do Blenheim castle and Christmas and the bounce below in Wales.

  7. Ophelie says:

    This list is massive! I did a few of those ideas, especially in London, but there are definitely plenty of ideas for my next trip to the UK!

  8. Emma says:

    Such an amazing list. Some I’ve been to, others I need to visit. I love the history that the UK has to offer. I spent my childhood being dragged from castle to castle to stately home by my parents and even though I always enjoyed our domestic holidays I thought I was missing out by not going to Spain like all my friends. But I know now I was the lucky one. My parents did good.

  9. Paulus says:

    Cambridge, Canterbury, Durham, York, maybe Liverpool (WHS site) are generally ranked above some of your bucket list english cities (Chestelham, Salisbury, Exeter).

    May I ask your review about those cities?

    1. We haven’t had the pleasure of visiting those cities ourselves yet so we didn’t feel right to include them until we’ve experienced them ourselves.
      That said, Canterbury is on our own bucket list so we included a mention of that one within the list. As for the others, we do hope to visit them one day (especially York), so once we do, we can hopefully include them and write a bit about them 🙂

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