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UK Bucket List - Best things to do in the UK

Are you looking to explore more of the UK? Then you’re in good company, as our recent research uncovered that 78% of Brits are determined to explore more of the UK.

Don’t worry if you don’t know where to start, as we’ve partnered with Richard Madden, UK travel expert and author of The Great British Bucket List, to uncover the best things to do in the UK!  This research also found that a quarter of Brits have a dedicated bucket list of experiences that they would like to tick off, so we’ve built our ultimate UK bucket list.

If you can relate to the desire to explore all the the UK has to offer, build your own UK bucket list with the help of our guide to the best things to do in the UK.

Read on for a definitive list of UK bucket list ideas…

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The Ultimate UK Bucket List

As well as helping us comprise the ultimate UK bucket list, our study of 2,000 adults uncovered that 81% feel you don’t have to travel to far-flung destinations to expand your horizons.

“It’s great to see that travellers’ sense of adventure is just as strong while on a staycation as it is when abroad.

“During my time as a travel writer, I’ve discovered that the UK is not short of unforgettable locations, historic landmarks, unique experiences and impressive wildlife, and hopefully this new research will spark ideas for trips closer to home this year.”
Headshot of Richard Madden
Richard Madden
Travel Writer and Author

How many of these UK bucket list ideas can you tick off?

“There is so much on our doorstep when it comes to holidays and activities, with the UK boasting a whole host of exciting things to see and do.

Our research has shown that Brits have a strong desire to tick off a wide range of experiences in this country, including must-visit museums, natural phenomena and popular nature spots.

While the UK might be smaller in size in comparison to other countries, there is still plenty to pack into a staycation. Sometimes it’s just knowing where to start, but this jam-packed list should provide some inspiration.”
Headshot of Graham Donoghue
Graham Donoghue
CEO Sykes Holiday Cottages

The Top 10 Bucket List Things to do in the UK

Our research also found that 45% of Brits are still yet to explore interesting places within an hour’s drive of where they live. Factors causing this included money (50%), unpredictable weather (35%) and work commitments (22%).

If this is something that resonates with you, we’re sure that you’ll find something that appeals to you on our list of the best UK things to do. Read on to learn more about the top 10 fabulous UK activities…

1. Northern Lights on the Isle of Skye, Scotland

Northern Lights from the Isle of Skye

Taking the top spot on this UK bucket list is seeing the Northern Lights on the idyllic Isle of Skye. Also known as the Aurora Borealis, this breath-taking phenomenon can be best seen from areas with little light pollution, which is why the Isle of Skye is perfect!

Your best chance at ticking off this bucket list activity is between the months of September and March, when the sky is darker for longer. But you’re not just looking for dark nights, you’re also more likely to see the lights on a clear night when there is strong solar activity. 

Some of the best places to see the northern lights on the Isle of Skye include the Trotternish Peninsula and the northern end of the island such as the Old Man of Storr. There are also plenty of other places in Scotland to see the Northern Lights.

2. Visiting the Eden Project in Cornwall

The Eden Project

Our research found that the Eden Project in Bodelva, Cornwall is next on the list of best things to do in the UK. The former clay mine has been transformed into a beautiful garden – the perfect way to experience nature.

This world-famous UK attraction is best known for its iconic biomes that house exciting exhibits, including the world’s largest indoor rainforest and Mediterranean terrain. 

As well as indoor exhibitions that are perfect for rainy days, the Eden Project also runs an array of events such as immersive experiences, art exhibitions and live music events that have previously included Tom Grennan and Fat Boy Slim. With all this going on, it’s unsurprising that it is one of the best places to visit in the UK.

3. Visting the Titanic Museum in Belfast, Northern Ireland

The Titanic Museum exterior

Nestled across the Irish Sea in the heart of Northern Ireland‘s capital, Belfast, is the Titanic Museum. Overlooking the water in the city, this expansive museum is in the shape of a ship’s bow.

This intriguing UK activity is perched close to where the Titanic was designed, built and launched. A visit promises an authentic retelling of the Titanic’s story through more than ten galleries. Gain unique insights from sights, sounds and stories from real people affected by the tragedy.

You can also embark on the discovery tour, where you can learn all about how the ship was built, as well as the symbolism of the building and tragic stories from your personal tour guide.


Up next on our British bucket list is the iconic Stonehenge, nestled in Wiltshire’s breath-taking countryside. Dating back 5,500 years, Stonehenge is one of the oldest bucket list ideas on our list.

Spend your time exploring the magnificent stone circle, before stepping into the Stonehenge exhibition, where you can marvel at countless archaeological treasures including arrowheads, battle axes and cattle mandible.

If you’re looking for a truly unforgettable experience, book the Stonehenge Circle experience, where you can step into the past by heading into the centre of the circle. Be sure to tap into your guide’s knowledge to get the most out of this UK activity. 

5. Drive along the Isle of Arran‘s coast, Scotland

View of Isle of Arran's coast

The Isle of Arran is the largest island in the Firth of Clyde and comes in at number five on our list of UK bucket list ideas. As well as being one of the most beautiful of the Scottish Islands, the Isle of Arran is also renowned for being one of Britain’s top scenic drives.

This 70-mile drive takes just under 3 hours to complete, but affords access to a plethora of exciting activities. Whether you’re looking to admire stunning beaches or you’d rather soak up the island’s history, this bucket list activity has something for everyone.

Must-visit attractions on the island include both Lagg and Lochranza distilleries, perfect for whisky lovers; the King’s Cave; Kildonan Beach, which boasts views across to Pladda; and Glenashdale Falls & Giant’s Graves, the home of one of the island’s largest waterfalls. 

Cheddar Gorge

Recognised as one of the best Somerset days out, it is unsurprising that this fantastic attraction features towards the top of our UK bucket list. As a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Cheddar Gorge forms part of the Mendip Hills and is England’s largest gorge.

A truly awe-inspiring site, head to Cheddar Gorge to explore the gorge and caves via a 3-mile cliff-top walk or by entering Gough’s and Cox’s caves. For spectacular views, climb Jacob’s Ladder to reach the Lookout Tower, where you will be rewarded with undiluted, far-reaching vistas of the Mendips and Somerset’s countryside.

If you’re looking for something more thrilling, you’re also in luck as this bucket list attraction offers rock climbing up the gorge, adventure caving over 40 feet down into the caves and the Black Cat Freefall, a leap of faith from 30 feet. Although not for the faint of heart, we’re sure that this is one of the best places to visit in the UK.

7. Spend a day in Portmeirion, North Wales


Up next in this UK bucket list guide is spending a day exploring the village of Portmeirion in North Wales. Created between 1925 and 1976, Portmeirion has become one of the most popular things to do in the UK and welcomes over 200,000 visitors each year.

Step into the Central Piazza, where an abundance of Riviera-inspired houses, ornamental gardens and campanile greets you. Marvel at the beautiful architecture, where you’re sure to find a fantastic photo opportunity around every corner. There is also a 10-hectare woodland brimming with exotic plants and flowering trees; a truly magical place to walk through.

Be sure to head down to the estuary to enjoy a walk along the golden sands of Dwyryd Estuary, where you can end your visit to this bucket list destination with an ice cream from Angel Ices Gelateria.

8. Round trip on the Jacobite Steam Train from Fort William to Mallaig

Steam train crossing aqueduct

Lovers of history, locomotives and Harry Potter will love the next entry on our guide to the best things to do in the UK. The round trip on the Jacobite Steam Train from Fort William to Mallaig offers a spectacular 84-mile journey that meanders through the awe-inspiring Scottish countryside.

Beginning in Fort William in the Scottish Highlands, this UK bucket list activity passes over the Glenfinnan viaduct and travels through Arisaig, before reaching its destination of Mallaig. This wonderful experience even stops in Glenfinnan, so you can explore the West Highland Railway Museum!

When the train reaches its destination in Mallaig, there are plenty more opportunities to explore. Board the MV Western Isles to enjoy a wildlife cruise where you have the opportunity to spot the dolphins, whales, basking sharks and seals that frequent these waters. You can also grab some fish and chips before hopping back on the Jacobite Steam Train to complete the trip.

9. Fossil Hunting on the Jurassic Coast, Dorset

Fossils on a beach on the Jurassic coast

Take the ultimate step back in time by venturing to Dorset to embark on our next UK bucket list entry – fossil hunting on the Jurassic Coast. Not only is the Jurassic Coast one of the most beautiful places to visit in the UK, the fossils that have washed up on its shores offer one of the greatest insights into the Jurassic Period.

The best places to find fossils on the Jurassic Coast are in the delightful coastal towns of Charmouth and Lyme Regis. Venture down to Charmouth Beach and keep your eyes peeled as fossils are littered across this shore; here you can also visit Charmouth’s Heritage Coast Centre, where you can admire fossil displays. 

There are even more chances to find fossils in Lyme Regis, where you can walk across millions of years of history at Lyme Regis Fossil Beach, better known as Ammonite Pavement. Be sure to head here when the tide is out to give yourself the best chance of spotting the fossils.

10. Watch Otters play in the Avalon Marshes, Somerset

Otters playing in water

Rounding off the top 10 best things to do in the UK is watching otters play in the Avalon Marshes in Somerset. With a face this cute, we can see why Brits voted for these guys as one of the best bucket list ideas.

The Avalon Marshes form part of the the Somerset Levels and Moors, and are brimming with fascinating wildlife. Head to Westhay Moor National Nature Reserve, Shapwick Heath National Nature pr Ham Wall National Nature Reserve to explore the area on foot or by bike.

Covering roughly 3,700 acres, not only will you have the chance to spot otters, but also other wildlife including owls, birds of prey, herons, brown hares, water voles and badgers. This bucket list idea prides itself on the vast array of flora laced through the reserves and promises a fun-filled day out for the whole family.

If this British bucket list has got you feeling inspired, book your next staycation with these self-catering holiday cottages and see how many you can tick off! You can also check out our Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring bucket lists for more inspiration.

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