The Ultimate UK Bucket List: 57 Dreamy Destinations

For the ultimate UK bucket list — here are all the destinations you need to know about!

When I moved to England, I decided that it was a good opportunity to discover more of the United Kingdom. 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! This is the ultimate UK bucket list– 57 dreamy places you should not miss. 

The Ultimate UK Bucket List

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

1. Brighton

brighton, united kingdom

One of the most popular beach towns in England, with an iconic Ferris wheel and a wooden pier. Don’t miss the Royal Pavilion (tickets here) or you can take a nice evening bike ride here.

Find the best hotels in Brighton here.

2. Canterbury

Canterbury Cathedral
Source: Wikicommons, Hans Musil

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

Find the best hotels in Canterbury here.

3. White Cliffs of Dover

White Cliffs of Dover
Source: Wikicommons, Emmanuel Giel

There’s little more impressive than just sailing and seeing these towering cliffs rise up on the horizon, I guess. Book a tour to the White Cliffs and Canterbury here

4. Dover Castle

Dover Castle
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. Get tickets here

Find the best hotels in Dover here.

5. Bodiam Castle

Bodiam Castle
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.

6. London

London

Can’t have a UK bucket list without London. This is my favorite city ever, and I’ve written extensively about it. Here are some to get you started:

7. Arundel Castle

Arundel Castle
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.

8. Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle
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. Get tickets here

Find the best hotels in Windsor here.

9. Highclere Castle

Highcler Castle
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?) Book a Downton Abbey tour here

Find the best hotels in Highclere here.

10. Bath

Bath, England
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!) Book a walking tour here

Find the best hotels in Bath here.

11. Stonehenge

Stonehenge

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. Get tickets here or book a day trip from London here

Find the best hotels near Stonehenge here.

12. Cornwall

Cornwall
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. Book a 3-day private tour here

Find the best hotels in Cornwall here.

13. Scilly Islands

Scilly Island
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.

14. St. Michaels Mount

St. Michaels Mount
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 ;-) Book a tour here or a guided hiking tour here

Find the best hotels near St. Micheals Mount here.

15. Trerice Manor

Trerice Manor
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.

16. Tintagel Castle

Tintagel Castle
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.

17. Devon

Devon
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.

18. Dorset

Dorset
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.

19. York

York
Source: Chris 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. Book a cruise along River Ouse here

Find the best hotels in York here.

20. Manchester

Manchester
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. Book a food tour here

Find the best hotels in Manchester here.

21. Liverpool

Liverpool
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. Book a walking tour here

Find the best hotels in Liverpool here.

22. Leeds

Leeds

Leeds is a charming city between Manchester and York that’s too often overlook. Check here for all the best places to visit in Leeds!

23. Cambridge

Cambridge
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. Too see how to do a day trip to Cambridge, check here.

Find the best hotels in Cambridge here.

24. Lake District

Lake District
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. Book a tour of the ten lakes here

Find the best hotels near Lake District here.

25. Cotswolds

Cotwolds

Nowhere is quite as charming as the villages in the Cotswolds. It is a collection of cute, charming cottages and reminds me of The Holiday. Here’s how I spent 3 days in the Cotswolds when I went.

Find the best hotels in Cotswolds here.

26. Oxford

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. Book a walking tour here

Find the best hotels in Oxford here.

27. Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle
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! Get a ticket here

Find the best hotels near Warwick castle here.

28. Newcastle

Newcastle

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.

29. Loch Ness

Loch Ness
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. Book a cruise to Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle here

Find the best hotels near Loch Ness here.

30. Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye
Source: Magdalena Kiczuk

An island near Scotland. Well… need I say more? Book a tour from Inverness here

Find the best hotels near Isle of Skye here.

31. Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle
Source: Marco Vonk

Isn’t this castle just like the end of the world? It’s magical. Book a tour from Aberdeen here

32. Glasgow

Glasgow

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). Book a whisky tour here and a city centre walking tour here

Find the best hotels in Glasgow here.

33. Culzean Castle

Culzean Castle
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! Get a ticket here

Find the best hotels near Culzean Castle here.

34. St. Andrews

St. Andrews
Source: Jihake~commonswiki

Sometimes nothing tops an ancient ruin. It has something 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. Book a tour from Edinburgh here

Find the best hotels near St. Andrews here.

35. Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle
Source: Wikicommons, Saffron Blaze

Seen on every postcard of Scotland. And truly a bucket list destination. Book a tour to Eilean Donan Castle and the Isle of Skye from Inverness here

Find the best hotels near Eilean Donan Castle here.

36. Glencoe

Glencoe, Scotland
Source: Ad Meskens

……. (no words)

Find the best hotels near Glencoe here.

37. Edinburgh

Edinburgh, Scotland

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. Check here for all the best things to do in Edinburgh!

Find the best hotels in Edinburgh here.

38. Scottish Highlands

Scottish Highlands
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?

39. Jacobite Steam Train

Jacobite Steam Train
Source: Mary & Angus Hogg

The ‘real’ Harry Potter train rides in Scotland: how bucket list is that? Book a tour through the Highlands on the Jacobite Express here

40. Aberdeen

Aberdeen
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.

41. Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Castle
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! Get tickets here

Find the best hotels near Alnwick castle here

42. Lindisfarne Castle

 Lindisfarne Castle
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.

43. Guernsey

Guernsey
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.

44. Hay-On-Wye

Hay-On-Wye Bookshop
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.

45. St. Davids Cathedral

St. Davids Cathedral
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.

46. Brecon Beacons National Park

Brecon Beacons National Park
Source: Flickr, Alan Newman

A nature park in the east of Wales, with beautiful views and fields so green that your eyes almost hurt. Book a day tour from Cardiff here

Find the best hotels near Brecon Beacons National Park here.

47. Pembrokeshire

Green Bridge of Wales - Pembrokeshire
Source: Wikicommons, JKMMX

Enough said.

Find the best hotels near Pembrokeshire here.

48. Cardiff

Cardiff Bay at Night
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 :-) Book a local private tour here

Find the best hotels in Cardiff here.

49. St Fagans

St. Fagans
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!

50. Llandudno

Llandudno Pier
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.

51. Snowdonia & Mount Snowdon

Mount Snowdon
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.

52. Tenby

Tenby
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.

53. Powis Castle & Gardens

Powis Castle and Gardens

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.

54. Portmeirion

Portmeirion

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.

55. Belfast

Belfast

Of course we can’t forget Northern Ireland. Belfast is the capital of the country, so it’s a good start for any trip there! There’s so much to see in the Titanic’s birthplace from a museum about the infamous ocean liner to beautiful architecture, and more. Get tickets to the museum here and try a black taxi history tour here.

Find the best hotels in Belfast here.

56. Carrick-a-rede Ropeway Bridge

Carrick-a-rede Ropeway Bridge

SO EXCITING. No, but seriously, it seems quite exciting to walk across this bridge with my fear of heights. The bridge is about 20 meters across and 30 meters high, and it connects Carrickarede island to the mainland. 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.

57. Giants Causeway

Giants Causeway

And last but not least– the Giants Causeway. A natural phenomenon of nearly 40,000 basalt columns that you really must have seen in Northern Ireland. But don’t do it when the wind is blowing too hard :-) Check out how to spend one day along the Causeway Coastal Route here.

Find the best hotels near Giants Causeway here.

Pfewww, that was a big blog post! I seriously spent days putting it together, haha!

Which UK bucket list destination have you already visited?

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21 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. Timpani

      Another vote for Cardiff. It’s a lovely city: castle and gorgeous parks right in the centre, both modern and historical architecture including the council and university buildings, a view towards the hills and mountains behind the city, and the Bay in front. Also a huge history, particularly in the Bay Area, which has been tastefully and carefully transformed. The barrage adds even more to the city now. And yes, it is a pretty city!

      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

    1. Timpani

      Agreed, as do Wales, Scotland and N. Ireland! The Uk is a great place!

      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

  11. Chloe

    Might I recommend adding Norwich to your list? It’s a lovely city with two cathedrals, plus it’s close to the Norfolk Broads and sandy beaches.

    Oh…and by the way, we have a Castle! 😉 Which is now a museum that even has a teapot exhibit! Enjoy exploring!

    Reply

  12. Molleigh Cook

    Such a good list and I am lucky enough to have visited quite a few. The UK certainly is special!

    Reply

  13. Vannesa

    Thanx for the compilation , have been to some but will try and do a few more with this good weather

    Reply

  14. Kat

    51 is a sink hole? lol
    Of the 20 I haven’t done, I’d only want to do 11.
    (One can do too many castles and state rooms.)

    Reply

  15. Coralie

    Interesting list but factually incorrect in places.

    Number 18 York – you say “York is a county with a cute, cozy centre and a beautiful church.”.
    York is a city not a county. The City of York is in the county of North Yorkshire. York Minster is also one of the most famous cathedrals in the country – not just a beautiful church.
    Number 41 Guernsey – shouldn’t be on this list as Guernsey (and the other Channel Islands) are not part of the United Kingdom. They are part of the British Isles, but not part of the UK – a big difference!

    Reply

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