Every year, nearly 43 million passengers enter the UK via plane, train, or ship.
Visitors flock from around the world to experience everything this beautiful island has to offer!
Whether you’re planning a visit to the UK or you’re lucky enough to call it home, there are certain things you simply must see and do here.
From famous historical sites and stunning natural areas to some true hidden gems, you won’t be disappointed by the best experiences in the UK.
So then, where should you begin your Great British bucket list?
Keep reading for a long long list of bucket list UK ideas you have to see to believe!
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Classic Bucket List UK Ideas
Let’s begin with some of the most iconic landmarks and experiences to tick off your UK bucket list. These are a must for visitors and UK nationals alike!
1. See Big Ben & The Houses of Parliament
Various palaces and royal residences have sat on the banks of the River Thames since at least the 11th century, but the current Houses of Parliament are a sight to behold.
Constructed in Gothic Revival style in the mid-1800s, it’s home to the House of Commons, House of Lords, and the unmistakable tower clock known as “Big Ben.”
2. Enjoy Afternoon Tea in London
Perhaps one of the most enduring British traditions, there’s no place like London to enjoy high tea — which is much more than just a cup of tea.
Book your afternoon tea at one of London’s luxury establishments, such as the Savoy, the Ritz, or Fortnum & Mason.
You’ll enjoy luxurious finger sandwiches, cakes, tarts, and scones in a plush drawing room while sampling some of the world’s finest teas.
3. Mingle With Royalty at Buckingham Palace
Originally built in 1703, Buckingham Palace has been the centrepiece of the constitutional monarchy and the official London home of the royal family since 1837.
Book a tour and explore some of the palace’s 775 rooms, then snag your place out front to see the Changing of the Guards ceremony.
Finish your royal itinerary with a picnic and a leisurely stroll through St James Park, which faces the palace grounds.
4. Discover the Legend of Loch Ness
There are well over 30,000 freshwater lochs (lakes) in the Scottish highlands, but none are as famous as Loch Ness.
The soaring mountains, ancient fortresses, and stoic lighthouses surrounding the loch are ridiculously beautiful, but it’s not the scenery that keeps people coming back here.
The legend of the Loch Ness monster — known affectionately as “Nessie” — dates back to ancient stone carvings that depict a mysterious snake-like beast with flippers.
Over the centuries, many have claimed to see the enormous prehistoric-looking “Nessie” lurking below the water’s surface.
Will you see Nessie when you visit Loch Ness? There’s only one way to find out!
5. Travel Back in Time to the Roman Baths
In the appropriately named town of Bath, England, you’ll find some amazingly well-preserved baths that date back to the height of the Roman empire.
For more than 2,000 years, people have flocked to Bath to soak in the natural geothermal hot springs.
Tour the ancient Roman ruins and Bath Abbey, the site of the coronation of England’s first king in 973 AD.
Then book a relaxing soak in one of the town’s many spas and experience the historic baths for yourself.
Scenic Bucket List Ideas UK
Once you’ve seen the best of what the cities have to offer, hop on a train or rent a car and explore the most beautiful parts of the UK.
Here are some bucket list UK ideas to get you started.
6. Admire the Scenery at Lake District National Park
Located on the northwest side of England, the beautiful Lake District has been inspiring writers and artists for centuries.
Now a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Lake District is one of the best places in the UK for hiking, biking, boating, and exploring the great outdoors.
You don’t have to rough it with dining, either, as the park boasts four Michelin-star restaurants.
7. Experience the Charm of the Cotswolds
Listed as an AONB, or “Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty,” you’ll be awestruck by the rolling green countryside and charming villages nestled in the Cotswolds.
Hike, bike, or ride horses between the idyllic honey-coloured villages filled with old pubs, ancient abbeys, and stone bridges over babbling brooks.
You’re certain to feel like you’re strolling through a real-life fairy tale!
8. Solve the Mystery at Giant’s Causeway
Along the northern coast of Northern Ireland, you’ll find an unforgettable World Heritage Site known as Giant’s Causeway.
The coastline features a staggering landscape of 40,00 hexagonal basalt columns that were formed 60 million years ago.
Take a hike through the truly bizarre scenery and try to imagine the legendary (and fictitious) giants who tore up the coastline to go into battle with Scotland.
9. Go Wild at the Isle of Skye
Scotland’s most famous island is renowned for its rugged natural beauty.
Swim in the deep blue Fairy Pools, marvel at the pillar rock formations along the coast, and climb to the summit of Black Cuillin — the most challenging mountain range in the UK.
This is also your chance to visit the oldest continually inhabited castle in Scotland (and the ancestral home of Clan MacLeod), Dunvegan Castle and Gardens.
10. Watch a Show at the Minack Theatre
Located at the far southwestern tip of England, the Minack Theatre is an open-air venue perched on the side of a coastal cliff.
Since 1930, audiences have enjoyed live productions of classical operas, Shakespearean dramas, modern musicals, and everything in between.
The main attraction is the theatre itself, carved into the cliff some 100 feet above the crashing waves below.
Tour the magnificent venue and marvel at the stone steps and seats or, better yet, catch a live performance and watch the sun go down.
Adventurous UK Bucket List Ideas
There’s much more to the British Isles than high tea and historical sites.
Get your blood pumping with these modern, off-the-beaten-track and adventurous bucket list ideas in the UK.
11. Take a Hot Tub Boat Cruise at Canary Wharf
How would you like to pilot your very own hot tub “boat” through central London?
These tiny boats feature woodburning stoves that heat the water and make it an awesome experience at any time of year.
Grab your significant other or a group of friends (or both), head over to Skuna Boats at Canary Wharf, and then cruise down the Thames in a private floating hot tub or cook your own dinner in a BBQ boat!
12. Set a Speed Record on Zip World’s Velocity 2 Zipline
Are you ready to experience the fastest zipline in the world?
Head over to Penrhyn Quarry Lake in Snowdonia, Wales, and get ready for the rush of a lifetime.
The Velocity 2 zipline reaches speeds of over 100 MPH and travels a distance of 1.5 kilometres.
Up to four people can zip along the parallel lines above the lake, so bring your adrenaline junkie friends along for the ride!
13. Ride the Waves in Newquay, Cornwall
Known as the UK’s adventure sports playground, outdoor lovers would be hardpressed to find a better bucket list experience on this list.
Consistent swells batter the windswept beaches and cliffs, making it a world-class surfing destination year-round.
Back on land, you can hike along miles of gorgeous coastal trails or find your Zen at a trendy yoga studio in town.
14. Climb to the Summit of Skellig Michael
Made famous by its role as Luke Skywalker’s “island” in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it’s worth venturing off the beaten path to this hidden gem off the west coast of Ireland.
Take a boat from the mainland and get ready to scale epic, otherworldly cliffs as you climb to the 6th-century Gaelic monastery.
600 stone steps take you to the summit of the tiny but beautiful island, where you’re rewarded with spectacular views of mainland Ireland.
15. Marvel at the Enigma of Shell Grotto
First discovered in 1838, the mysterious Shell Grotto ranks right up there with Stonehenge as one of the UK’s biggest mysteries.
More than 4.6 million seashells line 70 feet of tunnels, creating a floor-to-ceiling mosaic that covers some 2,000 square feet.
An ancient pagan religious temple? A meeting place for a secret sect? Or a whimsical underground venue for extravagant parties?
Sign up for a tour and decide for yourself why this magical grotto was built!
Best Experiences in the UK for Families
If you’re travelling through the UK with children or teenagers, add some of these family-friendly bucket list UK ideas to your itinerary!
16. Sign up for a Harry Potter Tour
Kids and adults alike will geek out over the “Making of Harry Potter” Tour at Warner Brothers Studios in Watford, just a short drive from London.
You’ll see the Great Hall, Dumbledore’s Office, the Cupboard Under the Stairs, and much more.
After that, take a road trip to some of the major filming locations used for the film series. Top sites include Durham Cathedral, Gloucester Cathedral, Alnwick Castle, Lacock Abbey, the University of Oxford, and Glenfinnan Viaduct.
17. Watch Science Come to Life at the Natural History Museum
Dinosaurs, whales, and volcanoes — oh my! You’ll find these fan favourites and much more at London’s Natural History Museum.
Wander the halls and explore exhibits about outer space, the ocean depths, prehistoric animals, and early human history.
There are dozens of interactive exhibits everyone will enjoy and — best of all — admission is free.
18. See Stonehenge With Your Own Eyes
Perhaps one of the most recognisable sights on earth, you can’t leave the UK without seeing Stonehenge.
Located on the Salisbury plain, this neolithic structure has been puzzling scientists and historians for centuries.
The iconic circle was built around 2500 BC with giant stones brought over from Wales.
To this day, however, no one knows exactly why Stonehenge was built or what it was used for.
19. Get Involved with the Eden Project
Not only is this one of the best bucket list UK ideas, but it’s also a great cause!
The Eden Project in Cornwall, England, is an educational charity that’s a) located in a crater the size of 30 football fields and b) offers a one-of-a-kind nature experience.
Unique biome domes feature trees, plants, and flowers from all over the planet, from tropical rainforests to the Mediterranean coast.
Learn more about the natural world through rotating exhibitions or kick things up a notch with ziplining, ice skating, and seasonal events.
20. View the Wild Ponies at New Forest National Park
Did you know you can still see wild horses in the UK?
Horse-crazed kids (and their parents!) can tick this epic item off their UK bucket lists with a visit to New Forest National Park.
Like other national parks in the UK, there are ample opportunities to explore ancient woodlands and wide-open moors.
The star attraction, however, is the thousands of New Forest ponies that roam freely throughout the park.
Admire them from afar along with other wildlife that lives in the park, including deer, birds, foxes, and butterflies.
What’s on Your Great British Bucket List?
By now, I hope you’re well-versed in the very best experiences in the UK!
Which items do you want to tick off your bucket list first?
Will you wander the halls of Buckingham Palace or marvel at the seaside cliffs in Cornwall? Trek across Giant’s Causeway or cruise down the River Thames?
Honestly, it doesn’t matter which items you choose first, as long as you make plans to hit every item on your Great British bucket list!
These bucket list UK ideas aren’t the only topics of discussion on the table today.
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