The UK is such a diverse nation and has so much to offer in all of its regions and countries. In this post we round up the best things to do in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and have come up with this ULTIMATE UK Bucket list!
Please Note: London is not included in this list because we have a whole other post on the Ultimate London Bucket list – you can check out the post here!
Ultimate England Bucket List
South East England Bucket List
Visit Bodiam Castle
It would be wrong to visit the UK and not steep yourself in history at one of the country’s castles. Bodiam Castle, near Robertsbridge, in East Sussex is the stuff of fairytales, princesses and knights in armour. It’s also one of England’s most beautiful moated (and photographed) castles and sits within a mirror-like moat protected by a sturdy drawbridge. The castle with its four castellated towers reflects beautifully into the water.
The castle was built between 1285 and 1388 by Sir Edward Dallingridge and had kitchens, cloisters, a well, gun room, chapel and servants quarters. Bodiam castle is located in gorgeous East Sussex with views across the countryside from the castle’s battlements. Kent and Sussex Railway is a five minute walk away so a ride on a steam train can be paired with your visit to the castle to make this a very special day out.
Nominated by Suzanne Jones at Sussex Bloggers
Leeds Castle is known as the Loveliest Castle in the World for good reason – it is simply breathtaking! A relatively small castle that could be mistaken more for a palace than a fortress, the castle has a colorful history. Previous occupants include Catehrine of Aragon, the castle is a great place to learn about English history through the ages! It is also one of the most photogenic castles in the world! It has a stunning moat and extensive grounds and there are even options to glamp in the grounds.
Visit Canterbury Cathedral
The whole of Canterbury’s historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site but the jewel in the crown of this beautiful city is undoubtedly the cathedral which attracts visitors from all around the world! Open from 9am and costing £12.50 for adults, £11.50 for over 65s or £8.50 for under 18s it is best to arrive first thing in the morning before the day tripping crowds and coach tours arrive. A must for every visitor is to stand on the spot of Thomas Beckett’s murder
South West England Bucket List
It’s inconceivable that someone would visit the United Kingdom and leave out seeing the mysterious Stonehenge rocks. After all, these are not any other rocks, Stonehenge consists of one of the most astounding Stone Circles created over 4500 years ago. No wonder today the calm and serene environment around which the circle stands is visited by all sorts of people – from curious travellers like me to mystical people to others for whom the place is of immense spiritual significance as well as a Wonder of the World whose true meaning has eluded historians to this date.
Reaching Stonehenge from London is best done through a local travel company that specialises in organising the tour. Public transport around the region is spotty although driving your own car can be an option. Once you take a walk around the circle, be sure to engage yourself at the visual display arena and wind it all down at the cafe nearby.
Nominated by Priyanko from Constant Traveller
Visit Salisbury Cathedral
Salisbury is a charming town in the south of England. Located close to London and Stonehenge, it is famous for its impressive Cathedral. We really liked this place – the town is peaceful, picturesque and the architecture is very interesting. There are many nice cafes and restaurants to have a rest and contemplate… medieval times. The town’s specific architecture and Salisbury cathedral make you feel like you have landed in a pleasant and friendly 14thcentury British settlement. The most important tourist attraction, which is simply a must-see (not only for believers) is Salisbury Cathedral. The Shrine is a real treat for architecture lovers and history aficionados. This Cathedral was built in 13thcentury. It is very big – it covers about 8 acres of area. It has also the tallest church spire in the United Kingdom – it reaches 123 metres! The most unique characteristic of this temple is the fact it is built almost entirely in just one architectural style – Early English Gothic. The architecture is really impressive and the interior was built with a great attention to detail. It is especially worth to visit the cloister. It is a beautiful open arcade where tourists can relax in the cafe and contemplate the majestic Salisbury Cathedral’s architecture.
Nominated by Over Here
Discover Street Art in Bristol
Bristol is one of the UK’s top spots for street art, attracting artists from all over the world. It’s the home of Banksy, and you can see a few of his original artworks around the city. Two of the best places to see street art are Stokes Croft and Bedminster. Stokes Croft features everything from graffiti to huge murals covering entire houses. If you head to the Canteen bar, you’ll see a Banksy just outside, as well as a huge mural of a breakdancing Jesus.
Bedminster is home to the annual UpFest, Europe’s largest street art and graffiti festival, which means it’s become a canvas for some of the world’s best street artists. You can simply wander round the areas yourself, or book yourself on a guided tour. Read more about the best things to do in Bristol.
Nominated by Bridges and Balloons
Explore Exeters’ Underground Passages
Below Exeter city centre are the remains of a network of medieval passages that used to supply the city with fresh drinking water. No other city in the UK has a system of tunnels of this kind which makes exploring them a very unique and must-do experience in the UK. The only way to explore Exeters’ underground passages is via a friendly and informative guided tour which take you deep under the city through the dark, narrow tunnels. The price of the guided tour is included in the £6 entry fee for the heritage centre which is full of interactive exhibits and information.
It’s a very interesting and exciting (and possibly a little scary if you’re claustrophic) activity to do if you’re visiting Exeter.
Nominated by Can Travel Will Travel
Cycle the Isle of Purbeck
One of the best ways to explore the Isle of Purbeck is by bicycle. There are many small roads that you can take to avoid the traffic, and to enjoy the nature. You can even ride off road and get to Old Harry Rocks on your bike, from where, on a sunny day, you can see the Isle of Wight. Further down, on the other side of the rocks, lays the town of Swanage – the gateway to the Jurassic Coast and home of the Durlston Country Park.
There are many places that you can visit whilst taking a day trip on your bicycle in the Isle of Purbeck, amongst which Corfe Castle, the ruins of a fortification built in the 11th century. Arne Natural Reserve is also nearby, a great place to explore if you love wildlife. Often you can see deer here.
Nominated by the World in My Pocket
Hunt for Fossils on the Jurassic Coast
The Jurassic Coast is a 96 mile (154km) World Heritage listed section of coastline in the south of England, running between Exmouth in Devon and Studland Bay in Dorset. So on an island surrounded by thousands of miles of coastline, why does this small section of coast deserve Bucketlist status?
Apart from enjoying the beautiful pebble beaches and stunning white, black and red cliffs and unique rock formations of the area, the main attraction of visiting the Jurassic Coast is given away by its name; hunting for prehistoric fossils.
The Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre and Lyme Regis Museum are visitor information centres where you can take guided tours of the best spots on the beach to find fossils and give you tips on what to look for. You can also head straight onto the beaches and try your luck at spotting your own piece of 185 million year old history. Anything you find is yours to keep, though reporting large finds for scientific purposes is recommended.
Never hunt for fossils in the cliffs themselves or directly underneath, as the area is prone to landslides, which we actually have to thank for the plethora of fossils waiting to be found.
Visit The Minack Theatre in Porthcurno
In Porthcurno, right at the tip of Cornwall, near Land’s End, you will find one of Britain’s best hidden gems. The Minack Theatre is a unique open-air theatre perched on the cliffs above the sea. If you want to travel abroad but can’t afford the flights, The Minack Theatre is the closest thing you can get to being abroad in the UK. Turquoise crystal clear waters, a botanical garden and an ancient Roman styled theatre await you.
From more traditional theatrical performances like Goodnight Mister Tom, Pride and Prejudice and some of Shakespeare’s many plays, to music concerts, ballet and circus shows, The Minack Theatre really offers something for everyone.
However, even if you don’t manage to catch a show at The Minack Theatre, you can still explore the theatre, exhibition centre, gardens, café and gift shop. Top tip: Be sure to also visit Porthcurno Beach, one of the UK’s most beautiful beaches, which is hidden just around the corner from the theatre.
Nominated by Faraway Lucy
Walk the South West Coastal Path
Love walking and stunning scenery? Then the South West Coastal Path (SWCP) is perfect for you. With around 630 miles of superb coastline, the SWCP is a National Trail that runs along the Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and Dorset Coasts. The entire path takes around 52 days to walk but if you are visiting the region you can opt to walk small sections of the path. Whether it is a day’s walk or a walk spread over a few days, you will find that the route is packed with excellent scenery, a variety of wildlife and rich heritage. It is definitely one of the best walking routes in England. My favourite section of the SWCP is the walk from St Ives to Penzance via Land’s End. It is an excellent trail that follows the coastline and takes you down to Land’s End, the most westerly tip of the UK.
Nominated by The Globetrotter
Hit the Beach in Cornwall
The seaside county of Cornwall is one of England’s holiday hotspots, mostly thanks to its beautiful beaches. You simply must experience them for yourself! Newquay and St Ives are particularly popular beaches, and families from all over the UK flock to their sandy shores during summer. Even as an Australian living in Cornwall, I have to admit these beaches are really something — and I’m told the surfing in Newquay rivals our hotspots Down Under. Although these beaches are gorgeous, I also really love the more hidden gems, like Gunwalloe right down near the Lizard Peninsula. Even these are pretty lively during peak tourist season, but in off-season you can have the beautiful bays all to yourself. Looking up at the dramatic cliff-faces and rocky coastlines is a constant reminder of Cornwall’s fascinating history of pirates and smugglers. If you’re interested to learn more, a stop by the famous Jamaica Inn (former haunt of pirates and Cornwall’s favourite author, Daphne de Maurier). Year-round, Cornwall is popular with artists and creatives, so there is an abundance of charming markets and shops to browse. There are many great restaurants (most famously Rick Stein’s), and Falmouth boasts great nightlife thanks to its hearty student population
Nominated by Journey with Georgie JourneywithGeorgie.com
Eat a Cornish pasty in Cornwall
My recommendation for a UK bucket list is to try a cornish pasty in Cornwall. Cornish Pasties are British pastries traditionally filled with beef, potatoes, swede, and onion. Although, they now come with a variety of fillings, including steak & blue cheese and cheese & onion. The pasties were originally eaten for lunch by tin miners who would hold onto the pasty by the outer crimped crust, which would keep the rest of the pasty free of the dirt and grime on their hands. Recently, the cornish pasty gained Protected Geographic Indication, which means that nothing can be called a Cornish Pasty unless it’s made in Cornwall. Although they ship Cornish Pasties all over the UK, there’s nothing like getting one fresh out of the oven. I’d recommend checking out Rowe’s Cornish Bakers, which specializes in Cornish Pasty and has locations all over Cornwall.
Nominated by Adrienne Clement from Bucket Half Full (www.buckethalffull.com)
The Midlands Bucket List
Explore the beautiful colleges of Oxford University
Oxford University is one of the best and most famous institutions in the world and tourists flock to explore this beautiful university town every day. It’s unique because of its collegiate system which means the university is made up of 38 different colleges, many of which are open to visitors. One of the best to visit is ChristChurch, which is where numerous Harry Potter scenes were filmed and the idea for Alice in Wonderland was born. It’s one of the richer and bigger colleges with beautiful architecture that dates back centuries. It even boasts its own cathedral! However, at peak times entrance costs as much as £9pp so it is also the most expensive college to visit. Alternatively, you can visit Worcester College and this is one of the best free things to do in Oxford It’s an absolutely stunning college with extensive gardens and grounds (26 acres!) despite its location in the centre of Oxford city. Here you’ll find medieval cottages alongside eighteenth century architecture and if you venture further in there’s even a lake. Have your cameras at the ready!
Nominated by What’s Hot Blog
Hiking the Cotswolds Way
The Cotswolds is a beautiful area of the UK and one that should definitely be on your UK bucket list! The main draw of the Cotswolds is exploring the pretty, honey coloured villages dotted through the countryside. The scenery is among the prettiest in the UK; think gently rolling, sheep-covered hills and valleys. The Cotswolds Way is a public trail 100 miles long and takes you from Chipping Campden in the north of the region down to the city of Bath in the south. It’s mainly set along the top of the highest hills which gives you great views of the countryside as you walk. You probably won’t want to walk the whole length (although it’s certainly possible!) so I’d recommend the area around Chipping Campden and Broadway. Kids will love climbing Broadway Tower, for amazing views across the Cotswolds, and they’ll love the playground in the town itself even more!
Nominated by Kids and Compass
Tolkien’s Marvelous Middle Earth in Birmingham
It may surprise you to know that the inspiration for Middle Earth and the wonderful world of Hobbits, Ents and The Shire was created in Birmingham. Tolkien grew up in the city, and today you can take the trail to explore the places that live so vividly through his words. Start at Sarehole Mill, where you can buy bread made from freshly milled flour, then stroll across the road to the Shire Country Park. Here your steps take you beside the river where the sounds are the crunch of twigs underfoot and the calls of birds. Birmingham’s one million inhabitants might as well be on another planet.
Don’t forget to spend time at Moseley Bog, chattering to the squirrels and exploring more of Tolkien’s realm. You’ll find the Two Towers of Lord of the Rings in Edgbaston: castle-like Perrott’s Folly and the ornate construction that is Edgbaston Waterworks. The Eye of Sauron? That’s Birmingham University’s clock tower, as seen by Tolkien in a fever. It’ll make you see Birmingham, the city of a thousand trades, in a whole different light.
Nominated by A Packed Life
Visit Chatsworth House
If there is an archetypal English stately home then look no further than the beautiful Chatsworth House and Estate! Home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, Chatsworth House will be recognizable to most as it is frequently used in TV series most famously as a backdrop for Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. There is so much to do at Chatsworth as you can not only explore the house but can explore the gardens, either by foot, carriage or train and for those traveling with littles there is a fantastic farm and adventure playground to explore!
Eat a Bakewell Tart in Bakewell
The Bakewell tart is a British favourite, and just like drinking a Guinness in Dublin, a Bakewell really has to be tried in Bakewell to be appreciated in all its glory. The original dessert was the Bakewell pudding, which is slightly sweeter than the tart as you may imagine. Deep into the Derbyshire Dales you can not only taste an original Bakewell, but be taught how to make one yourself too! If bakery isn’t for you, then you can book in the evening and be treated to a lovely traditional 2 course dinner, followed with a presentation of your very own Bakewell, fresh from the oven. You will see that they really do taste better in Bakewell!
Nominated by More Passport Stamps
Go Hiking in the Peak District
Green rolling hills, dry stone walls, quaint country cottages and old pubs serving real ale in front of a roaring fire. This is the England that I love. With the kids dressed in puddle suits and hiking boots, we love nothing better than a long family walk in the Peaks. Our favourites are the Nine Ladies Circle through Stanton Moor Peak or the walk starting next to The Robin Hood pub in Baslow, with spectacular views from Birchen Edge. These walks are only 2km long, perfect for little legs and are detailed in my post – Short walks for young kids in the Peak District. After a walk in the hills, it’s then an absolute must to pop into a local pub for a local ale and roast. The perfect day.
Nominated by Travelynn Family
Go Punting in Cambridge
No trip to Cambridge is complete with a trip down the River Cam on a traditional punting boat. Take in the beauty of Cambridge University from the water as you learn about the history of colleges from your tour guide and admire some of the university’s most iconic buildings. Alternatively, hire a punting boat with your friends, pack a picnic, and learn to steer the boat yourself! Punting is a great day out and by far the best way to see Cambridge. Some companies, such as Scudamores, are also dog friendly, so the whole family can join!
Nominated by A Pair of Passports
Go Boating on the Norfolk Broads
Boating on the NorfolkBroads
TheNorfolkBroads is a National Park that is made up of a network of rivers and lakes. The best way to explore the Broads is by boat. Of course, you could do a boat tour, but it will be more fun if you hire your own boat. Luckily, you don’t need to be an experienced boat driver because the water is calm and the speed limits are low.
You have over 120 miles worth of waterways to explore. Along the way, you can stop at St.Benet’s Abbey, Ranworth Village, or even grab a bite and a pint at a pub. Also, keep an eye out for wildlife, you may spot some rare birds. Make sure you bring some sunscreen and bug spray just in case. Boating on the Broads is an experience that must be on your UK bucket list!
Nominated by Two Travelling Texans
North West England Bucket List
Discover Football in Manchester
Manchester is all about football and music! It’s home to the UK’s National Football Museum, which is an interesting insight to this sport that dominates modern British culture. After this overview, it’s time to visit Old Trafford, home of Manchester United. There’s an interesting museum and stadium tour. If you are sufficiently bipartisan, you can then hop across town to Etihad Stadium, home of their fierce rivals, Manchester City, for another stadium tour.
After all that football, it’s time to stop in at a pub and enjoy the other export Manchester is famous for – music. Many famous musicians grew up in Manchester and it always has a lively music scene. This is often centered on the many pubs that dot the town. My favorite is the Old Wellington Inn in the center of town. It is the oldest pub in Manchester, dating from 1552, though it was actually moved to its current location in 1999. In winter, the dark interior is cozy and in summer, there is a large outdoor section to sit with a pint and watch the world go by.
James Ian at Travel Collecting
Walking The Chester Wall
Chester is a beautiful and unique city in the North West of England, and for me walking the Chester Walls is a must for a trip to the UK. The walls were once a defensive structure, protecting England from the Welsh. Now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, walking the walls is a great way to see Chester. If you simply walk the walls, it takes roughly 1 hour to complete the 2 mile circuit. However, you can easily make it stretch out for an entire day by stopping off at other attractions along the way. As you walk you will see many of Chester’s sites. You pass under the Eastgate Clock, pass Chester Racecourse, walk by the Dee Estuary and have a great view of the Roman Amphitheatre (the largest stone built military Amphitheatre in Britain). The walls are full of history too. Along the walls you can find stories of Charles I, Captain Morgan and discover the story behind the local phrase “When the daughter is stolen, shut the Peppergate”.
Nominated by Natpacker
Hiking to the top of England’s tallest mountain Scafell Pike
In most countries, climbing the tallest mountain is reserved for serious mountaineers – those who are at ease with using ropes and traipsing through deep snow. You won’t need any of that for England’s highest mountain, in fact you can climb to the summit and still be back in time for lunch! Scafell Pike is located in the heart of the Lake District and is a beautiful walk from start to finish. If you’re looking for the easiest route we’d recommend taking the trail from Wasdale Head, which is the steepest but the shortest with the best formed path. It won’t take long before you get high enough to see the stunning panoramic view back to Wast Water – England’s deepest lake and a beautiful valley. The hike will take you up close to England’s second highest mountain too – Scafell – before the path to the summit.If you’re lucky with the weather, you’ll get one of the best views in the country, looking over the many mountains and lakes of the Lake District and as far as Scotland in the north and Blackpool in the south. The climb up Scafell Pike from Wasdale head is just over six miles long and took us four hours from start to finish. We recommend starting as early as possible as it is very popular, especially in summer.
Nominated by Walk My World
Yorkshire and North East England Bucket List
See the Stained Glass at York Minster
The Minster is the most iconic site in the beautiful city of York – my favorite city in the whole of the UK! The Minster is the highest structure in York and it is worth exploring all of the intricate carvings not the outside of the building. Inside, you should spend time admiring the beautiful stained glass rose window and for those who are more actively inclined I recommend climbing to the top of the Minster Tower for unrivaled views of the UK’s most beautiful city!
Visit Wentworth Woodhouse
Wentworth Woodhouse is the largest private home in the United Kingdom and is twice the length of Buckingham Palace! The house is located in the town of Wentworth in northern England. The earliest part of the house dates back to the 17th century and it was built by Thomas Watson-Wentworth. The Wentworth family would become one of the wealthiest families in England by the late 18th century because of their coal operations. At the height of their success the family had around 1,000 staff working at the house or on the grounds! The family’s fortune would begin to decline after WWII and parts of the house would eventually fall into disrepair. It was not until 2012 that it was first opened to public tours, and today there are active restoration efforts in the works to try to bring this house back to its former glory. Laurence and I did the tour a few years ago and really enjoyed it. The house contains around 360 rooms and a guided tour here is a great way to get a sense of the house’s immense size and lavish interiors. If you are fascinated by shows like Downton Abbey, I’d recommend putting this house on your itinerary!
Nominated by Independent Travel Cats
Visit the Coastal Village of Staithes
Add visiting the sleepy coastal village of Staithes to your ultimate UK bucket list. Race up the little stone steps towards Cowbar Cottages to experience one of the most instagrammable places in Yorkshire. The view above the river, overlooking the cliffs and harbour is quite breath-taking. After taking many photos walk back down the little stone steps past the pretty cottages into the village. Enter some of the lovely independent shops before enjoying a drink by the harbour. If you are lucky, you may spot a cormorant playing in the waves. Many tourists do not venture this far up the Yorkshire coast meaning that Staithes does not attract as many crowds as nearby Whitby or Scarborough. Staithes is very pretty and not as touristy as its southern neighbours so make sure you add this coastal village to your ultimate UK bucket list.
Nominated by My Travel Scrapbook
Broomstick Training at Alnwick Castle
Alnwick (pronounced Annick) is a market town in the North East of England with a mighty castle bearing the same name. This hulking behemoth, dating back to 1096, is home to the Duke of Northumberland, and the town’s main attraction. While its substantial historical significance and stunning gardens are enough to lure visitors, the castle’s doublelife as a movie star is another major draw. Having appeared in Transformers, Downton Abbey, Elizabeth and, of course, the first two Harry Potter films this place is a mecca for movie lovers and wannabe wizards. The castle and its grounds provided not only the original celluloid entrance to Hogwarts and the site where Ron crash-landed the Weasley’s flying car, but the pilgrimage-worthy location of Harry’s first Broomstick lesson. Today, the magical and muggle worlds collide at Alnwick, and young visitors can take their turn at mastering the broomstick. Kids will love tucking one of the castle’s custom broomsticks between their legs as they run wildly about the sprawling kid-friendly grounds. Once they get comfortable, Alnwick’s masterful teachers will tutor them in a series of wizardly skills that will soon have them broom levitating and eventually airborne.
Nominated by Boy Eats World
Wales Bucket List
Be Transported to Italy in Portmeirion
You may be in Wales but at Portmeirion you will feel like you have been transported to a quaint Italian village! The village was the brainchild of Sir Bertram Clough Williams-Ellis who turned the land he purchased into a colorful Mediterranean town – but in Wales! Portmeirion is also famous as the setting of the cult classic TV series, The Prisoner! Today you can visit Portmeirion for the day, and explore the buildings, have a fabulous lunch or wander along the beach and for those with more time on your hands you can stay in one of the apartments on site!
Visit the Finding dragons at Caerphilly Castle
No UK bucket list would be complete without hunting for the Caerphilly Castle dragonsin Wales. In 2016 a large red dragon by the name of Dewi appeared on the banks of Caerphilly Castle and promptly made it his home. A year later, a lady dragon, Dwynwen, joined him and together they’ve had babies.
The dragons sometimes tour the country on holiday but for most of the year they live in their dragon’s lair within the grounds of Caerphilly Castle. You can learn some of the history of the castle while gazing at the family. Just be warned, little ones might be wary of the smoke coming from the dragons and the claps of thunder in the background.
Caerphilly Castle is the second largest castle in the UK, dating from the 11thcentury and has a tower that leans to a greater degree than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. There are rooms such as the Great Hall, towers and battlements to explore along with a maze at the back of the castle. Caerphilly town itself is small, is situated north of Cardiff and can easily be combined with a visit to the Welsh capital.
Nominated by Passports and Adventures
Conwy was my very first destination on my trip to Wales and I cannot deny completely falling in love with the city. As it is located by the ocean you’ll always feel a light and salty breeze. There are a handful of things I really loved doing in Conwy, the one I enjoyed the most was travelling through time visiting Conwy Castle. The city’s walls are also worth your time and maybe you’ll find Britain’s smallest house while exploring the old part of Conwy. If you are into a longer walk or a light hike, make sure to pay Mynydd Dref a visit and enjoy the best views over Conwy, the bay and Llandudno.
Nominated by Chronic Wanderlust
Hill Walking and Scrambling in Snowdonia
The home to Mount Snowdon – the highest peak in Wales – Snowdonia is one of the most breathtaking mountaineering destinations in the UK, boasting almost 1500 miles of public footpaths. The most popular route is up the 1085-meter Mount Snowdon. I’ve climbed Snowdon twice and honestly, I think it’s one of the most pleasant mountains to climb in the UK. There’s a convenient hostel at Pen-Y-Pass, right at the start of the trail. For the hardcore, a scrambling ridge known as Crib Goch runs towards Snowdon’s peak and is considered one of the toughest scrambling challenges in Britain. It involves traversing an arete with a sheer 400ft drop on either side. So, I wouldn’t recommend it for those without previous scrambling experience. Another mountain I’d recommend is Tryfan. The route up is both hiking and scrambling, but it’s actually quite fun and much less dangerous than Crib Goch. At the top are two tall boulders called Adam and Eve. It’s traditional to make a leap across from Adam to Eve but beware of the sheer drop behind the rocks, making it risky.
Snowdon is also the starting point or ending point of those who partake in the 3-peak challenge. This involves climbing the three highest peaks in each of England, Scotland and Wales in 24 hours, driving between them. My sister and I didn’t quite do it in 24 but we made it in 27.
Nominated by Being a Nomad
Visit Powis Castle
For a rich, multi-layered day out of town, you can’t beat Powis Castle – set in a deer-park with a magnificent prospect over the lush landscape of the Mid-Welsh border. Terraces of old brick and limestone retaining walls cascade down to the south. Here, lead statues and lichen-covered balustrades are interspersed with old-fashioned flower borders and the soft cloud-like forms of 300-year-old yew trees.
Founded over seven centuries ago, The castle is now an imposing red sandstone mansion, remodelled from Elizabethan times. Crossing a small courtyard (tea rooms, peacocks, climbing plants) you enter the castle – a rabbit warren of reception rooms and bedchambers – each more richly decorated and furnished than the last. The interior’s riches follow the rollercoaster fortunes and aspirations of its owners through the centuries. The Clive Museum, housed in a former ballroom – holds a stunning collection of 17th to 19th-century Indian craftsmanship. Our whole family happily spent a day befriending deer, wandering the gardens, and treasure-hunting priceless works of art in the interior. We will certainly be going again.
Powis Castle near Welshpool is owned by the National Trust. A family ticket for the Castle, Gardens and Museum costs £33-75 for non-members
Nominated by The Traveling Twins
Seeing Wild Puffins on Skomer Island
Just off the Pembrokeshire Coast sits the wild and rugged Skomer Island, a destination that should be on every nature-lover’s bucket list! In summertime, this small Island is teeming with bird life, boasting large and healthy colonies of Atlantic Puffins which visitors can see right next to the walking path. An organized boat ferries people to Skomer from Lockley Lodge Visitor’s Center three times per day – be sure to arrive at least an hour before opening time to ensure yourself a spot! Once on the Island, there is plenty of time to explore the meadows and rocky cliffs while stopping to view the tens of thousands of sea birds that call the Island home. Skomer is only accessible from 1 April to 30 September, and it is closed on Mondays – don’t miss the opportunity to experience this one-of-a-kind destination in beautiful Wales!
Nominated by Expedition Wildlife
Scotland Bucket List
Visit Culloden Battlefield
If you’re visiting the UK making the trip to Scotland, a visit to Culloden Battlefield is a must for any true Scot enthusiast. This moor is where the Jacobites made their final stand against the British in that fated battle of 1745. This National Trust Site is very well done with a museum that walks you through the Jacobite uprising and the events that lead up to the battle on Culloden Moor, a pivotal battle in Scottish and British history both for military and cultural reasons. At the museum, you can watch the 360 reenactment video of the Battle of Culloden which can be scary for small children so beware. Walk the beautiful, sad battlefield and look at the different clan stones. Be sure to visit the standing stones at the Clava Cairns next door and explore the rest of Inverness.
Nominated by Wanderlust Crew
See the Fairy Glen of Uig, Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye is a magical place, filled with stories, some from imagination and some factual. Whether it is fables from imagination or not, the idea of fairy’s habitats on the Isle of Skye is fun and even more fun to explore and bucket list worthy.
Finding a Fairy Glen not far from the town of Uig was pure luck on our part. Driving to have a Puffin experience and being a little early, opened up an unexpected opportunity to explore. Going up and up a narrow road you soon come to an area you find out on your own, this must be the place because you can’t go any farther. Out of the car and a short hike up some hills and we found it! Greenery, stone formations (I like to think from fairies and not tourists) and a beautiful view of the Isle of Skye is what greets you. Magical and mystical all at once.
Nominated by Travel by a Sherrie Affair
Hiking the Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye in Scotland is an outdoor playground, with its dramatic mountains and stunning coastline. As a family we love spending time outdoors and Skye is the perfect place for hiking and outdoor fun. Hiking with kids is often best when there’s more than just a trail to follow – kids love rocks to scramble on, water to splash in, a bit of climbing, along with those stunning views.
There are numerous family friendly hikes on the Isle of Skye ranging from easy walks to longer, more challenging hikes. Among our favourites are the easy walk to the Claigan Coral Beaches, for a taste of the Caribbean on Skye. The Fairy Pools, is another easy walk to a series of beautiful, icy clear pools and cascading falls. Any trip to the Isle of Skye wouldn’t be complete without hiking to the Old Man of Storr and the Quiraing, more challenging, longer hikes, more suitable for older children. For a hike with a difference take a boat road from the west coast of Skye to Loch Coroisk where you can choose to enjoy the amazing scenery or take a hike.
Nominated by Go Live Young
Hunt for Harry Potter in Edinburgh
Calling all Harry Potter fans! You may have discovered some of the film locations in Oxford, England…but how about venturing to the root of the inspiration for the books in Edinburgh Scotland! J.K. Rowling lived in the heart of Edinburgh whilst writing these unforgettable magical novels. As a result, there is plenty to see and marvel at, so that you can enjoy where her stories emerged. I recommend visiting these 3 top spots: Victoria Street, Greyfriars Kirkyard and The Elephant House.
Victoria Street is where J.K. Rowling gained inspiration for Diagon Alley.
Greyfriars Kirkyard is a fascinating cemetery with the names of some of our favourite characters. See if you can find Thomas Riddle and 4 others.
Finally, The Elephant House is a delightful cafe which J.K. Rowling frequented regularly whilst penning down her novels. Good luck getting a seat. It’s popular!
Nominated by Teacake Travels
Mull of Galloway
Most tourists travelling to Scotland head north to the Highlands but the south of the country has lots of rewards too. Mull of Galloway is the most southerly point in Scotland which is reason enough to visit. However, an excursion to this part of the coast will reward you with dramatic clifftop scenery and walks that rival anywhere in the north of the country.
The Mull of Galloway Lighthouse is open to the public and you can climb 115 steps to the top platform for views of Scotland, England, Ireland and the Isle of Man. An exhibition about the history of the lighthouse is situated on the ground floor and is also worth a visit. The surrounding area is an RSPB nature reserve where you can spot a wide variety of birds, rare butterflies ans the occasional porpoise swimming in the water below.
Once you have finished exploring, enjoy a cream tea at the Gallie Craig Coffee House with its distinctive turfed roof. If the weather is sunny there are few better spots to enjoy lunch with a view
Nominated by Adventures Around Scotland
Drive the North Coast 500
The North Coast 500 is Scotland’s answer to America’s Route 66. This stunning road trip, around the very north of Scotland leaves from Inverness, cuts across the centre of Scotland then loops around the top back to Inverness. You’ll find some of the most jaw dropping scenery in Scotland, Jurassic-like landscapes, vast white sand beaches, remote villages, castle ruins, ancient brochs and many other gems that you’ll just love. People drive this route in anything from a VW campervan to a three-wheeled bike, but whichever way you decide just know that you’ll be amazed by the sites you’ll see. Cute villages, Highland coos, mystical lochs and island views, this 517 mile road trip is one of the best in the world.
Nomniated by Funky Ellas Travel
Try Whisky in Scotland
Attention, whisky lovers! You can do a lot better than drink at a crowded whisky-themed gallery in the heart of Edinburgh. You should see how it’s made on a distillery tour – it’s not as difficult to get to one as it may seem. No driving needed and you shouldn’t be taking the wheel anyway.
For example, Auchentoshan and Glengoyne are just outside Glasgow’s city centre and easily reached using the public bus. The same goes for Glenkichie near Edinburgh. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a train to Oban or Dalwhinnie, or a ferry to the Isle of Arran (as I did) or even Islay. A little walking may be needed (in the rain if you’re unlucky) but all good alcohol is worth it. In fact, the journey is a bonus because many of them are in scenic countryside locations.
The best part of any tour, though – after viewing the stills, seeing some reserved casks and learning about how each distillery treats its whisky a bit differently – is the dram (or three) that you get to savour at the end.
Nominated by Rambling Feet
Northern Ireland Bucket List
Hike to the Top of Carrauntoohil
There’s nothing better than being able to say you have summited the highest peak of a country. Add Carrauntoohil, Irelands highest mountain to your UK bucket list so that you too can join this club. Although not for beginners this hike is accessible to those with a moderate to high level of fitness. Situated 1,039m above sea level this 12km hike first passes through an open valley and two small lakes. From the second lake, there are three main routes to the summit, the most popular one being along the Devil’s Ladder, where the trail climbs steeply. During this section of the hike be prepared to use your hands for a scramble until you reach the upper ridgeline. The total hike time is between 4-6 hours depending on your level of fitness and hiking speed.
Carrauntoohil is located in County Kerry, 25 minutes drive from the closest city of Killarney. To access the area you do need a car to reach the trailhead or to arrange a guided hike. Ensure you have proper footwear and carry additional layers in case of sudden changes in weather conditions.
Nominated by Curiously Erin
Walk the Derry City Walls
Derry, also known as Londonderry, is one of the best examples of a walled city in Europe. The Walls were built in the 17th century and are completely intact and surround the old town. They were built as a defence structure for the English and Scottish settlers, and played a big part in the famous historical event of the Siege of Derry. Today you can bring that history back to live by taking a walk on the walls all around the old town. My favourite part is the promenade and Double Bastion, from where you can enjoy great views over the Bogside area of the city and the old town The Walls are one of the most important attractions in the city, and even though there is a lot more to do and see here, they are one of the many reasons why people should visit Derry.
Nominated by Brogan Abroad
See the Titanic Quarter in Belfast
Without a doubt, the Titanic Quarter in Belfast should be on everyone’s UK bucket list! Few other events in the 19th century have inspired as much emotion and speculation as the sinking of the Titanic. And visiting the site upon which the Titanic was built is an incredible way to discover what life is like on board for everyone.
You also get to learn more about how it was built and to realise just how much of a feat of engineering the ship was. In my onion, the best way to experience the Titanic quarter is as a part of a whole Belfast sightseeing tour. The bus tours run all day throughout the city and you can get on and get off at any tourist spots in Belfast that interest you.
Or, if you’re looking to take your Titanic experience to a whole new level, then they offer a few other wonderful surprises. Such as afternoon tea inside of a recreation of the dining room on board. As well as this, they have a full scale replica of the iconic staircase, and many choose to actually say their vows and get married there!
Nominated by Dream Big, Travel Far
Drive the Causeway Coastal Road
If you’re in Northern Ireland and looking for a spectacular road trip – look no further than the Causeway Coastal route. This route runs for almost two hundred miles along the Northern Ireland coastline from Belfast in the south to Londonderry in the north.There are multiple highlights along the way, from medieval castles through to white sandy beaches, epic coastal views, formal gardens – and even Game of Thrones filming locations! The Causeway Coastal route is also not too far of a drive, meaning you can comfortably do the whole trip and see most of the sights in around 3 days – although there is lots to see along the way, so you can definitely take longer if you want! Definitely a bucket list item for your trip to the UK.
Nominated by Finding the Universe
Learn Archery at Castle Ward and Game of thrones in Northern Ireland
One of the best memories we have from our UK trip was the awesome archery class we had at Castle Ward, in Northern Ireland. Well, first of all, this is the place where they filmed the scenes of Winterfell (only the first season, though) for Game of Thrones. We, the parents, wanted to go and visit the castle but we also wanted the kids to enjoy it even without ever watching the series, so we found this awesome class. We watched a short film showing how and where the scenes were filmed, then we were lent some costumes, swords, and were taken to the place where we’d shoot. It was a lot of fun, Jamie, our instructor, taught us how to use the bow, the safety measures, gave each kid a lot of individual attention and in the end, we played a game. Whoever got the fewer points was to be decapitated and oh, how my kids loved decapitating each other. It’s definitely worth it. A visit to the castle grounds is paid and the class isn’t cheap but you can stay the whole day just on the grounds and still miss a lot!
How many of these UK Bucket list Items have you done? What else is on your UK Bucket List?