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Bucket list for Summer

If you’re looking for ideas to fill up your summer bucket list then don’t worry, our guide to the best things to do in the UK in summer has you covered!

We’ve teamed up with the award-winning author of The Great British Bucket List, Richard Madden, to conduct research into what Brits think are the best things to do in summer. 

From coastal havens to fun-filled days out, after reading our guide your bucket list will be brimming with exciting activities!

Read on to find our UK summer bucket list and begin planning today…

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15 Summer Bucket List Ideas in the UK

1. Driving along the Isle of Arran‘s coast in Scotland

Isle of Arran Coast

Kicking off our exciting UK summer bucket list is a fun-filled road trip along the Isle of Arran’s breath-taking coast. Considered one of the most popular Scottish Islands, this Scottish gem offers the perfect blend of attractions and stunning scenery.

Whether you island hop before tackling this 70-mile drive or you choose to visit specifically for this summer bucket list idea, there’s plenty for you to enjoy.  Begin in Brodick, where you can explore Brodick Castle and Country Park, before heading south to discover Lamlash Bay and Holy Isle. Dating back to the 6th century, you can now experience retreats on the island or marvel at wildlife such as Eriskay ponies and Saanen goats!

This amazing thing to do in summer also passes the awe-inspiring Glenashdale Falls and Giants’ Graves, before meandering through Kildonan and Blackwaterfoot. You will also pass through Lochranza, the home of a famous whisky distillery, and Sannox, where you can end your trip on the shores of Sannox Bay.

2. Visting the New Forest in Hampshire

New Forest National Park

Best known for its unbelievable beauty and the wild horses that roam its landscapes, the New Forest National Park is a haven for lovers of the great outdoors. Where else would you rather be on a summer’s day?

There are plenty of things to do in summer in the New Forest; look forward to exploring the park’s 140 miles of trails on foot, by bike or even on horseback. This dense woodland is also home to the New Forest Water Park, where you can take to the water on standup paddleboards and kayaks!

Although best known for its woodland, this summer holiday bucket list destination also houses 43 miles of coast. Stretching from Barton on Sea to Southampton Water, you can delight in coastal towns such as Lymington and Milford on Sea, which both boast incredible views across Christchurch Bay. A summer’s day in the New Forest wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the beaches Milford on Sea, Lepe and Calshot.

3. Seal Spotting at Blakeney Point in Norfolk

Seal spotting Blackeney Point

Blakeney Point in Norfolk is home to England’s largest grey seal colony and spotting these beautiful animals is another of the best things to do in summer in the UK. 

The National Trust estimates that around 4,500 pups are born between the end of October and January every year; the perfect time to admire these spectacular animals. Hop on one of the many boat tours in the area including Temple Seal Trips and John Bean Boat Trips, you’ll get a far better view of the seal from a boat!

Departing from Morston Quay, these boat trips provide views across Norfolk’s coast and also offer an insight into local history and the migrating seabirds that call Blakeney Point their home. A truly unforgettable activity, this is a must on your UK summer bucket list.

4. Hiring a canal boat along the Kennet and Avon Canal

Canal Boat on the Kennent and Avon Canal

Hiring a canal boat to cruise along the Kennet and Avon canal is next on our guide to the best UK summer bucket list ideas. Spanning 87 miles from Bristol to Reading, this summer bucket list activity can take up to two weeks to complete, but can be done in smaller chunks too!

Stop off in the Georgian city of Bath, where you can meander along the Royal Crescent, pay a visit to the world-famous Roman Baths and explore Bath Abbey.

Not only are there plenty of attractions tucked away in towns, there is also plenty of excitement on the canal itself! Experience the Caen Hill Locks, the longest continuous flight of locks in the country, with a whopping 29 locks rising 237 feet across two miles.

5. Visiting Stonehenge in Wiltshire


Perhaps the most famous entry to our bucket list for summer in the UK is Stonehenge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that brings in visitors from across the world.

With almost 800,000 visitors a year, it’s unsurprising that Stonehenge features highly on the summer bucket list of the Brits we asked. Dating back 5,000 years, we still don’t know what Stonehenge’s initial purpose was, however, today visitors flock to walk around the stone circle, before heading to the exhibition to admire archaeological treasures found nearby.

This wonderful must-visit attraction in summer also hosts a plethora of events including pop-up planetariums, archaeological digs for children and solstice events for both summer and winter. You can also experience something unique by booking the Stonehenge Circle experience, allowing you to step into the the centre of the stones.

6. Visit Godrevy Beach near St Ives in Cornwall

Godrevy Beach

When we think of summer we think of the beach, which is why the next entry on our guide to the best things to do in summer shouldn’t be surprising. Godrevy Beach near St Ives is often recognised as one of the best beaches in Cornwall and provides the perfect backdrop to a summer adventure.

With views across the sea to St Ives and Godrevy Lighthouse, you’ll be in awe of this summer bucket list idea’s beauty. On warm days, bask in the sun on the beach’s golden sands, build sandcastles on the shores or take a refreshing dip in the sea.

This spectacular UK beach is also backed by idyllic coastal walks! Explore the Portreath Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or join the famous South West Coast Path, where unbeatable views across the Cornish coast are in abundance. 

7. Visiting the Gower Peninsula in Glamorgan, Wales

The Gower Peninsula

Visiting the Gower Peninsula in South Wales is another of the best things to do in summer in the UK. If you’re looking for a coastal escape and breath-taking views then you’re in luck as Gower was the first place in Britain to be named an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Best known for the abundance of picturesque beaches lining the peninsula’s shores, you’ll find some of the best beaches in Wales here! Explore the idyllic Rhossili Bay, which was once voted one of the best beaches in the world. Delight in walks across three miles of golden sand, splash around in the sea and spot the Worms Head headland, which peeks out of the sea.

Gower is home to some of the best surfing in Wales; whether you’re a beginner or a surfing pro, there’s a wave for everyone to catch. You can also join the impressive Wales Coast Path, which spans 870 miles and affords some of the best views in the whole of the UK.

8. Watching a play at the Minack Theatre, Cornwall

The Minack Theatre

Carved into the breath-taking Cornish coastline is the Minack Theatre, a spectacular, open-air theatre dating back to 1930 that overlooks the idyllic Porthcurno Bay. 

Open daily from 10am, you can visit the Minack Theatre to explore this impressive structure and admire its unbeatable views. You can enjoy a guided tour around this UK summer bucket list attractions to gather insights into the theatre’s history. There is also an impressive sub-tropical garden across the upper levels of the theatre that you can explore.

This spectacular open-air theatre showcases a variety of plays such as Sense and Sensibility, As You Like It and The French Lieutenant’s Woman, as well as music events and comedians. Check what’s on at the Minack Theatre before your trip so you can book in advance. There’s nothing more spectacular than a night at the theatre under the stars!

9. Visiting Chatsworth House, Derbyshire

Perched in Derbyshire’s countryside, Chatsworth House is a glorious stately home and another attraction that you must add to your summer bucket list.

Overlooking the River Derwent, this Grade I listed property dates back to 1687, when construction started. Today this breath-taking attraction welcomes visitors to explore its 105-acre garden, where you can admire historic waterways, stroll through the rose garden and admire Paxton’s Rock Garden. 

You can also explore all that the majestic house offers. Stroll through the painted hall, where exquisite paintings adorn the room from floor to ceiling; be sure to take time to appreciate the artwork on the ceiling itself! The Devonshire collection is also housed here, providing you with a unique chance to admire artwork spanning 4,000 years.

10. Visiting Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Yorkshire Sculpture Park can be found on the edge of West Bretton in West Yorkshire. Winner of Yorkshire’s Tourist Attraction of the Year in 2023, this attraction has to be added to your summer bucket list for the UK. 

There is a constant stream of exhibitions on display in the Yorkshire Sculpture Garden. Past exhibits include Bharti Kher’s Alchemies, Daniel Arsham’s Relics in Landscape and works by Damien Hirst. The park also runs an array of events including Rainbow Adventure, Yoga and Sound Bath Relaxation, and Sculpture Baby, a creative session that the littlest of visitors will love.

Not only is the artwork in the park beautiful, the landscapes are also truly breath-taking. While trying to uncover all of the exhibits, you’ll get to explore the 500-acres where you can enjoy a turn around the Lower Lake and a wander through the woods up the hill to Longside. Soak in the panoramic views before heading to The Kitchen Café, where you can tuck into a meal; the perfect way to end a trip to this summer bucket list destination.

11. Surfing in Newquay, Cornwall

Surfing in Newquay

We’ve already established that visiting the beach is one of the best things to do in summer, but why not take it one step further and take to the open water and ride the waves in the surfing capital of the UK, Newquay in Cornwall?

Known for its idyllic golden beaches, there are plenty of opportunities to experience the swells of the Atlantic. Head to Fistral Beach, one of the best beaches in Cornwall, to rub shoulders with the pro’s in the water. The northern end of this beach is more popular with advanced surfers due to the bigger waves and the rip, whereas the middle and southern end are better for beginners.

Other popular surfing beaches in Cornwall include Newquay Bay, Towan Beach, Great Western and Watergate Bay. There are also plenty of places where you can hire surfboards as well as vendors that offer lessons for all abilities. Make the most of the coast by adding surfing in Newquay to your bucket list for summer.

12. Bird watching at St Abb’s Head National Nature Reserve in Berwickshire, Scotland

The next summer bucket list idea in our guide lies just across the border in Berwickshire, Scotland. St Abb’s Head is best known for its dramatic sea views and seabird colonies that attract avid birdwatchers.

Venture to this cliff-top nature reserve to bask in the sea air and admire the rugged cliffs that make up this section of Scotland’s coast. Take advantage of the summer weather and spend hours roaming the cliffs and trying to spot the thousands of seabirds that call St Abb’s Head their home.

The nature reserve’s location on the mainland makes spotting birds far easier than its island counterparts. Keep your eyes peeled for guillemots, kittiwakes, razorbills, shags, herring gulls and fulmars; you might even spot northern gannets, who bred here for the first time in 2017. 

13. Visiting the National Trust’s Cliveden House, Buckinghamshire

Cliveden House

Overlooking the River Thames in Buckinghamshire is Cliveden House, an impressive Italianate mansion that borders the Chiltern Hills AONB.

Summer is the perfect time to explore Cliveden’s vast garden, where you can admire the rose garden and skip across the pond on stepping stones in the water garden. There is also a walled garden and a long garden home to over 500 plants, including an array of vegetables.

After enjoying all the garden has to offer, venture into the main house, which was built in 1666. Join a guided tour between March and October to hear stories of the Astor dynasty, as well as famous guests including Winston Churchill and George Bernard Shaw. On the western side of the Parterre, you can find the Octagon Temple, a grand chapel housed in a beautiful domed building. You can spend a full day exploring all Cliveden has to offer.

14. Cycling or walking The Ridgeway in Wiltshire/Buckinghamshire

The Ridgeway National Trail

Taking the penultimate position on our guide to the best things to do in summer is The Ridgeway National Trail that stretches across Wiltshire and Buckinghamshire. 

As one of the best walks in the UK, this impressive trail stretches 87 miles, beginning in Avebury, Wiltshire and ending in Ivinghoe Beacon, Buckinghamshire. It is also considered Britain’s oldest road and follows the same route that has been used since prehistoric times. 

Along this route, you’ll find an array of monuments like Bronze Age round barrows, Iron Age forts and Stone Age long barrows. Not only is this trail steeped in history, it is also one of the most beautiful, as it passes through the North Wessex Downs AONB. Admire far-reaching views across the countryside, rolling chalk downland and of the Chiltern Hills. If you’re looking for a walk to do in summer, this could be it!

15. Visiting Mottisfont Abbey House and Gardens, Hampshire

The Grade I listed Mottisfont Abbey House and Gardens in Hampshire is last, but definitely not least, in our UK summer bucket list guide. With a medieval priory at its heart, this fantastic attraction is one of the best places to visit in summer.

Mottisfont Abbey dates all the way back to 1201, when an Augustinian priory was erected. You can still catch glimpses of this history throughout the whole house. As well as uncovering history, you can also discover two beautiful mosaics and a secret panel in the bedroom that leads to the priory. Volunteers and staff’s favourite pieces of the Derek Hill collection are also on display.

After exploring the history of the house, venture out into Mottisfont’s vast estate, which comprises 1,600 acres of countryside. There is an abundance of walks woven through the estate; join the 5-mile route along the River Test or head into Sprearywell Woods, which is perfect for cyclists! If you’re looking for a summer day out that combines history and the beauty of nature, this summer buck list activity is perfect for you.

UK Summer Bucket List Map

If our Summer bucket list has you excited about your next adventure, book one of these delightful summer holiday cottages near these things to do! We also have inspiration for the whole year – check out the ultimate UK bucket list or our autumn, winter and spring bucket lists.

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