The ultimate UK Bucketlist: 56 dreamy destinations

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When I moved to England, I decided that it was a good occasion to discover more of the UK. The country has always attracted me, but still I’d only been to London, Newcastle and Edinburgh! A bit skimpy, right?

There is so much to see in the UK that I decided to make a round up. And the best part is that I made it together with my Facebook followers who also gave their tips! Very handy, because soon I will be making some road trips through the country! This is the ultimate Great Britain bucket list: 56 dream places you should not miss. 

I have divided the destinations roughly by geographic location :-)

  1. Brighton

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One of the most popular beach towns in England, with an iconic Ferris wheel and a wooden pier.

Find the best hotels in Brighton here.

  1. Canterbury

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Source: Wikicommons, Hans Musil

A cute little town with a historic centre and a UNESCO-listed cathedral.

Find the best hotels in Canterbury here.

  1. White cliffs of Dover

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Source: Wikicommons, Emmanuel Giel

There’s little more impressive than just sailing and seeing these towering cliffs rise up on the horizon, I guess.

  1. Dover Castle

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Source: Wikicommons, Lievens Smit

I’ve heard that there is not much to do in Dover, but this castle looks like how you imagine a castle to be: grandiose and impressive. It was used as a defensive site for possible attacks from the sea.

Find the best hotels in Dover here.

  1. Bodiam Castle

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Source: Wikicommons, Wyrdlight

How much more ‘castle’ can a castle get? This is a castle with its own ditch and drawbridge. It was built in the 14th century by a knight whose order had been given to protect the environment against a French attack.

Find the best hotels in Bodiam here.

  1. Arundel Castle

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Source: Wikicommons, Cadmus

This is how I always imagined England to be: super chic. This castle was built during Christmas 1067. There are actually people living here: the family of the duke of Duke.

Find the best hotels in Arundel here.

  1. Windsor Castle

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Source: Wikicommons, Diliff

Windsor Castle is one of the houses of the royal family, who are here regularly. The Queen lives here on a parttime basis. The castle can be visited, but the village is also very cute.

Find the best hotels in Windsor here.

  1. Highclere Castle

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Source: Wikicommons, JB + UK_Planet

Fans of Downton Abbey will notice right away: this is where the series were filmed. I have not seen the series, but that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t want to go here anyway. What an extraordinary building! (Can you tell by now that I love castles?)

Find the best hotels in Highclere here.

  1. Bath

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Source: Wikicomons, Deliff

After London, Bath is the most tourist place in London and with a good reason: because it has Roman baths. It is one of the few places where you can admire Roman relics. (I’ve been there and LOVED the Roman Baths!)

Find the best hotels in Bath here.

  1. Stonehenge

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Everyone knows Stonehenge: a circle of stone from 2600 bc. No one knows how they got there exactly. I found my visit to be truly special.

Find the best hotels near Stonehenge here.

  1. Cornwall

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Source: Wikicommons, Keven Law

Cornwall is the South Western part of England, an area surrounded by rugged coastlines. It is a popular destination for locals.

Find the best hotels in Cornwall here.

  1. Scilly Islands

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Source: Wikicommons, Tom Corser

At about 27.96 miles from the tip of Cornwall, you will find the Scilly Islands. The archipelago consists of five inhabited and 140 uninhabited islands. The islands however have been in war with the Netherlands for 350 years, although in all those years not a single shot was fired.

Find the best hotels on one of the Scilly Islands here.

  1. St. Michaels Mount

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Source: Wikicommons, Nilfanion

St. Michaels Mount is a tidal island, meaning that at high tide you must take the boat to get there. At low tide you can get to the island by foot. By the way, not to be confused with Mont St-Michel in France ;-)

Find the best hotels near St. Micheals Mount here.

  1. Trerice Manor

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Source: Wikicommons, Alinea

Trerice Manor dates from the sixteenth century and is everything you expect from an English country house. Generations of nobility have lived there, and have undoubtedly strolled through the extensive gardens.

  1. Tintagel Castle

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Source: Wikicommons, Kerry Garratt

Well, it’s a little more than a ruin, but that doesn’t make it less spectacular. The original castle was built in the thirteenth century, but was later completely decayed.

Find the best hotels near Tintagel castle here.

  1. Devon

Ilfracombe

Source: Wikicommons, Arpingstone

Devon is a country with an ancient history, and its southern coast is also known as the English Riviera. Do with that knowledge what you want.

Find the best hotels in Devon here.

  1. Dorset

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Source: Wikicommons, Saffron Blaze

Dorset is east of Devon, and possibly has a more impressive coastline. It is a region that was led by many different peoples over the centuries, which doesn’t only makes the region beautiful, but also interesting.

Find the best hotels near Dorset here.

  1. York

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Source: Chirs Downer

Everyone made me promise to visit York, so I won’t let me tell this for the eighteenth time. York is a county with a cute, cozy centre and a beautiful church.

Find the best hotels in York here.

  1. Manchester

ManchesterCore

Source: Wikicommons, Brylcreem2

Manchester is known for its friendly vibe and many bars and restaurants. I also have some friends living here. I really enjoyed my visit to this cozy, small city.

Find the best hotels in Manchester here.

  1. Liverpool

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Source: Flickr, Beverley Goodwin

Heavily underrated, says guest blogger Wesley. And yes… it has my attention. I certainly want to give Liverpool a chance and see what there is to discover. Especially the harbour sounds like fun.

Find the best hotels in Liverpool here.

  1. Cambridge

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Source: Wikicommons, Azeira

For as long as I can remember the ancient English universities are on my wish list. The more grandiose and more English, the better. Cambridge also has gondolas, where you can go for an unique look at the city from the water.

Find the best hotels in Cambridge here.

  1. Lake District

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Source: Wikicommons, Diliff

I’m a sucker for landscapes with mountains, hills and beautiful lakes. Give me a car for road trips, a camera for beautiful photos, great company and I am a happy person. Lake District is considered one of the most beautiful national parks of England. 65555555555555555555555555

Find the best hotels near Lake District here.

  1. Cotswolds

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Source: Wikicommons, Diliff

Until a few weeks ago I had never heard of it: the Cotswolds. It is a collection of cute old villages with charming cottages, it reminds me of The Holiday. I really can’t wait to wander here in the summer!

Find the best hotels in Cotswolds here.

  1. Oxford

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Source: Wikicommons, SirMetal

The other classical university, and possibly my favourite. The more dramatic, the better. It gives me a Harry Potter vibe (not crazy: there has been filmed for the movies). I absolutely loved my visit to this tiny town.

Find the best hotels in Oxford here.

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  1. Warwick Castle

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Source: Flickr, Peter Broster

Speaking of Harry Potter: this castle was also a film location for the movies, and is therefore worth a visit. The castle dates originally from the 11th century!

Find the best hotels near Warwick castle here.

  1. Newcastle

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The fact I’ve already been here doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be on the list of must visits, because Newcastle really surprised me. I didn’t expect it to be so nice, but the city is full of atmosphere and good restaurants. Definitely a recommendation for the weekend.

Find the best hotels in Newcastle here.

  1. Loch Ness

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Source: Wikkicommons, Sam Fentress

You have to experience that piece of folklore while you’re around, right? Scotland has a lot of lakes, such as Loch Ness, so at this point I want to put all the lakes in Scotland on the list.

Find the best hotels near Loch Ness here.

  1. Isle of Skye

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Source: Magdalena Kiczuk

An island near Scotland. Well… need I say more?

Find the best hotels near Isle of Skye here.

  1. Dunnottar Castle

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Source: Marco Vonk

Isn’t this castle just like the end of the world? It’s magical.

  1. Glasgow

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Source: Flickr, Jim Nix

I always hear that it loses the fight against little brother Edinburgh, but that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t like to visit the capital of Scotland. I’m curious how much I enjoy the city (because Edinburgh was one of my favourite cities).

Find the best hotels in Glasgow here.

  1. Culzean Castle

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Source: StaraBlazkova

You don’t get more castle than this, I guess. Besides the castle you can also visit the beautiful castle gardens. You can even spend the night here!

Find the best hotels near Culzean castle here.

  1. St. Andrews

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Source: Jihake~commonswiki

Sometimes nothing tops an ancient ruin. It has s6666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666omething raw and rough, like people lived well. So well that nothing’s left. I like that. It also leaves plenty of room for your own imagination of what it may have looked like.

Find the best hotels near St. Andrews here.

  1. Eilean Donan Castle

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Source: Wikicommons, Saffron Blaze

Seen on every postcard of Scotland. And truly a bucket list destination.

Find the best hotels near Eilean Donan Castle here.

  1. Glencoe

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Source: Ad Meskens

……. (no words)

Find the best hotels near Glencoe here.

  1. Edinburgh

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I once went completely unprepared to Edinburgh. I had seen some great pictures on Pinterest, it looked quite nice, I heard good stories, so I went. And holy moly, Edinburgh immediately became one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited.

Find the best hotels in Edinburgh here.

  1. Scottish Highlands

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Source: Flickr, JD Rucker

So, Glencoe lies in the Scottish Highland, but I think that this region still deserves its own mention. Because let’s face it, isn’t this unearthly beautiful?

  1. Jacobite Steam Train

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Source: Mary & Angus Hogg

The ‘real’ Harry Potter train rides in Scotland: how bucket list is that?

  1. Aberdeen

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Source: Flickr, Vero Villa

Scotland is not only known for its impressive nature, but also for the many castles that the region counts. And as a real Disney fan you don’t hear me complaining. The city doesn’t only appear to have a nice vibe for students, it also can be a good start for your castle tour.

Find the best hotels in Aberdeen here.

  1. Alnwick Castle

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Source: Flickr, Phil Thomas

This is, after Windsor Castle, the largest inhabited castle in England, although the family only lives in a small part of it. The castle is open for visitors. Does it seem familiar to you? It was part of the Harry Potter movies!

Find the best hotels near Alnwick castle here

  1. Lindisfarne Castle

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Source: Flickr, Matthew Hunt

This castle, shining epic on a small hill, dates back to the sixteenth century. I’m getting a huge Game of Thrones vibe when I see this, and I immediately imagine how the castle itself must have been used to defend against attacks from the sea.

  1. Guernsey

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Source: Flickr, Steve Johnson

The island Guernsey is located just off the French coast and is a popular holiday destination for Brits due to the milder climate and beautiful beaches.

Find the best hotels near Guernsey here.

  1. Hay-On-Wye

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Source: Wikicommons, Nexxo

This is the book town of Wales. Everywhere you’ll find bookstores and bookcases. Seems obvious that I should move here, right?

Find the best hotels in Hay-On Wye here.

  1. St Davids Cathedral

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Source: Wikicommons, Alan Thomas

St. David is the patron saint of Wales and the cathedral is seen as the most impressive of Wales. It’s not hard to see why!

Find the best hotels near St Davids cathedral here.

  1. Brecon Beacons National Park

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Source: Flickr, Alan Newman

A nature park in the east of Wales, with beautiful views and fields so green that your eyes almost hurt.

Find the best hotels near Brecon Beacons National Park here.

  1. Pembrokeshire

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Source: Wikicommons, JKMMX

Enough said.

Find the best hotels near Pembrokeshire here.

  1. Cardiff

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Source: Cardiff Harbour Authority

The capital of Wales! I don’t think it’s exactly the prettiest city, but I have heard good things about the night life :-)

Find the best hotels in Cardiff here.

  1. St Fagans

1200px-Celtic_Village_St_Fagans_01

Source: Wikicommons, Emmanuel Giel

An open air museum, fully furnished as how the people of Wales would have lived. I love these kinds of museums, so keep it coming!

  1. Llandudno

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Source: Wikicommons, Noel Walley

I have no idea how to pronounce it, but it is seen as one of the best piers in the UK. I would like to spend a summer evening here.

Find the best hotels near Llandudno here.

  1. Snowdonia & Mount Snowdon

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Source: Jeff Buck

Snowdonia (with the mountain Snowdonia as a literal highlight) is considered one of the most beautiful nature parks in the country. I can’t miss this!

Find the best hotels near Snowdonia and Mount Snowdon here.

  1. Tenby

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Source: Ray Jones

I literally can’t get enough of cute villages, so Tenby must be on the list. This lovely coastal village lies in Wales.

Find the best hotels in Tenby here.

  1. Powis Castle & gardens

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Source: Alexander Forst-Rakoczy

It’s funny how I can name so many castles and yet they all look different. This castle is famous for its beautiful gardens that are especially worth a visit in the spring and summer!

Find the best hotels near Powis castle here.

  1. Portmeirion

1200px-Portmeirion_view_of_central_plaza

Source: Michealmaggs, Wikicommons

Is it a theme park? Is it an Italian village? Nobody knows, and that is why this little village in Wales is so much fun!

Find the best hotels near Portmeirion here.

  1. Belfast

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Source: Wikicommons, Roger Price

Ofcourse we can’t forget Northern Ireland. I have wanted to visit Belfast for quite a while, because I have heard so many fun stories! From a hipster-vibe, fine dining and the heavy but interesting history of the Titanic and IRA: I can’t wait to explore the city!

Find the best hotels in Belfast here.

  1. Carrick-a-rede Ropeway Bridge

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Source: Wikicommons, Van Helsing

SO EXCITING. No, but seriously, it seems quite exciting to walk across this bridge with my fear of heights. A gust of wind and whoosh, there goes Milou. But the view is worth it, I guess.

Find the best hotels near the Carrick-a-rede Rope-way Bridge here.

  1. Giants Causeway

Basalt Columns of Giant's Causeway

Source: Flickr, 一元 马.

And last but not least: the Giants Causeway. A nature phenomenon that you really must have seen in Northern Ireland. But don’t do it when the wind is blowing too hard :-)

Find the best hotels near Giants Causeway here.

Pfewww, that was a big blog post! I seriously spent days putting it together, haha. I really can’t wait to see more of my beautiful, diverse new homeland. If you liked this post, please give it a share!

EXPLORISTA.NET-13

Which English bucket list destination have you already visited?


Tips for your trip to the UK:

14 comments

  1. Tanya Harris

    No mention of Glastonbury? I would recommend it.

    Reply

  2. K Cutler

    I beg to differ about Cardiff! It’s a
    very pretty city, it has a completely different vibe than other cities in the UK. Also lots of culture and history in a tiny city. A fantastic place to spend a weekend!!

    Reply

    1. Daisy

      Totally agree with K Cutler, Cardiff is a beautiful city! I was there in the summer time, and it was such a great day, a lovely city I’d definitely recommend. :)

      Reply

    2. Sally Jones

      That’s comment confused me also. Cardiff is compact, has everything you need without having to walk miles, friendly, safe and stylish, with a beautiful Bay.

      Reply

  3. Barbara

    I’d like to go to Seaham Beach to collect some sea glass.

    Reply

  4. Ind

    you seem to have a thing about castles, also sorry to point out but Glasgow isn’t the capital of Scotland…

    Reply

  5. John

    You must visit Clovelly in Devon.

    Reply

  6. Nicola B

    Was Warwick Castle really featured in some of the Harry Potter movies? I live about 20mins drive from the castle, massive HP fan but didn’t know this!

    Reply

    1. Explorista

      My research says it has been :-)!

      Reply

  7. Carol Proctor

    Have been to many of these places. England has so many beautiful places to visit.

    Reply

  8. Holly

    The isle of wight is beautiful definitely one of the best places in england!

    Reply

  9. Lauren

    Warwick castle was not used as a location for Harry Potter. No mention of the midlands and the Black Country; both extremely important when discovering the history of the UK.

    Reply

  10. Adrian

    Great article, has inspired me to see more of the country!

    FYI though, Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and the mountain in Snowdonia is named ‘Snowdon’.

    Source: I live in Edinburgh and I grew up in North Wales… also pretty sure google will back me up!

    Will be using this pin as a travel list :-)

    Reply

    1. Explorista

      Thanks so much for your contribution!!

      Reply

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