The UK is a beautiful and sometimes underrated destination. Cascading waterfalls, beautiful beaches and prehistoric monuments await. We reveal the 15 must-see places to add to your UK bucket list.
By Sophie Ritchie
- 1. Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye
- 2. Luskentyre Beach, Isle of Harris, Scotland
- 3. Micheldever Wood, Hampshire, England
- 4. Porthcurno Beach, England
- 5. Dark Hedges, Ballymoney, Northern Ireland
- 6. North Coast 500, Scotland
- 7. Stonehenge, England
- 8. Portmeirion, North Wales
- 9. Fingal’s Cave, Isle of Staffa
- 10. Isles of Scilly
- 11. South West Coast Path, England
- 12. Cairngorms, Scotland
- 13. Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
- 14. Snowdonia, Wales
- 15. Durdle Door, Dorset, England
1. Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye has a lot of beautiful areas, but the fairy pools are something special. Located near the village of Carbost, visitors can walk 2.4km from Glenbrittle to the collection of crystal-clear pools, which are all connected by small waterfalls. For the adventurous among you, you can even swim in the pools; but bring a wetsuit – it’s cold! And for those wanting a more relaxing trip, merely sitting by the falls and taking in the scenery is an adventure in itself and a wonderful photo opportunity.
2. Luskentyre Beach, Isle of Harris, Scotland
We know exactly what you’re thinking – how is this beach in Scotland?! With its white sand and azure water, Luskentyre Beach has been named one of the UK’s best beaches in the TripAdvisor Traveller’s Awards, definitely deserving a place on your UK bucket list. It is located on the north-west coast of the island, and stretches over 3 miles from the sand dunes of the Banks to the Corran Seilebost sand split. Everything from boat trips, hill-walking and cycling are available at the wild and remote beach. Those wanting to take a dip, don’t worry about the temperature – the water is warmer than it should be, thanks to the Gulf Stream! This is coastal scenery at its finest.
3. Micheldever Wood, Hampshire, England
When it comes to bucket list ideas for the UK, Micheldever Wood should be at the top of your list. Known as the ‘purple carpet’, Micheldever Wood is truly one of the UK’s most beautiful sights, especially for the nature lovers among us. Micheldever is a large and maturing beech wood, which has a stunning display of bluebells in the Spring. You might be able to spot croe deer, fallow deer and even several archeological sites which contain Bronze Age Earthworks. The sun streaming through the trees onto the bluebells accompanied by the cool crisp English air epitomise British springtime, ensuring this is something you don’t want to miss.
4. Porthcurno Beach, England
Porthcurno Beach is an award winning beach about 3 miles east of Land’s End on the South Coast of West Cornwall. Porthcurno is both a popular family beach, with a stream at the top ideal for children wanting to paddle, and also a place sought out by more experienced swimmers, attracted by its steep shelves. With its fine white sand and clear turquoise waters, it is easy to see how this is described by some as a paradise.
Looking for more beach destinations in the UK? Check out our guide to the best British beaches for your summer break.
5. Dark Hedges, Ballymoney, Northern Ireland
The Dark Hedges is a 200-year-old beech tree tunnel, located in Ballymoney in Northern Ireland. The trees were initially planted in the 18th Century by the Stuart Family to impress visitors on the route up to their mansion. Today, they are one of the most photographed natural phenomena in the UK. Architectural Digest even placed the hedges at number 7 in the top 10 most beautiful streets in the world. The keen eyed among you may notice that these iconic trees were used in the filming of ‘Game of Thrones’, (it’s the setting for the King’s Road). Just another reason to add the Dark Hedges to the top of your UK bucket list.
6. North Coast 500, Scotland
Forget Route 66, it’s all about North Coast 500! The North Coast 500 is a route just over 500 miles long that follows the main roads of the coastal edges of the Northern Highlands, taking you round villages and towns such as Ullapool, Durness, John O’Groats, Dornoch and Inverness, containing some of the most picturesque scenery found in Europe. It contains everything from secluded beaches to historic lochs, castles to wildlife, and mountains to artisan distilleries, all of which you cannot miss. Named one of the best coastal road trips in the world, this is the best way to discover the Highlands and something that is not to be missed.
Why stick to the UK? Here are 15 awesome adventures you must experience once in a lifetime.
7. Stonehenge, England
Stonehenge, located 2 miles west of Amesbury in Wiltshire, England, is one of the wonders of the world and is also the best-known prehistoric monument in the whole of Europe. First, an early henge monument was constructed 5000 years ago, and then the unique stone circle was later built in 2500BC. It is one of the most famous landmarks in the UK, with each standing stone around 13 feet high. The structure is easily recognisable over the world.
8. Portmeirion, North Wales
Portmeirion is a colourful and quaint tourist village in Gwynedd, North Wales. It was designed and built between 1972-5, with the intention of resembling an Italian village. While it may look like Positano, it actually overlooks the Irish Sea! Perfect for families, this unique coastal resort has hotels, cafes, shops for its visitors. The explosion of colours, dreamy Italian architecture, and abundance of beautiful flowers and palms ensure that Portmeirion should be something that is on your bucket list.
9. Fingal’s Cave, Isle of Staffa
Fingal’s Cave is a sea cave, located on the uninhabited volcanic Isle of Starra, south-west of the Isle of Ulva. Discovered in 1772, the cave is made up of angular columns that create melodious acoustics from the waves, and was known to the Celts as ‘The Cave of Melody’. Weather and waves permitting, boats can enter this surreal place, that has been an inspiration to everyone from Queen Victoria, Jules Verne and Pink Floyd.
10. Isles of Scilly
The Isles of Scilly are a collection of islands that lie just off the coast of Cornwall. There are 5 inhabited islands and countless uninhabited ones to explore. The golden sands and clear, azure waters make the beaches on these islands (such as the Great Bay on St Martins) resemble that of the Caribbean. With the island’s incredible ancient history and archaeology, amazing wildlife and delicious local seafood, the Isles of Scilly are a place like nowhere else in England.
11. South West Coast Path, England
At 630 miles, the South West Coast Path is England’s longest waymarked footpath, running from Somerset through the coasts of Devon and Cornwall, to Poole Harbour in Dorset. Whether you’re taking an afternoon stroll or hiking the entire South West Coast, you will be mesmerised by the inspirational and unparalleled views of the sea, coast, heritage and wildlife surrounding you.
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12. Cairngorms, Scotland
This is one for the skiers out there – The Cairngorms are a mountain range in the Highlands of Scotland, which form part of the Grampians mountain range. Best to visit in winter, skiers travel to Lecht and Glenshee, where the deep and powdery snow on the highest peaks can always be relied upon. The stunning mountainous scenery and challenging terrain make the Cairngorms rival the Alps, but without the crowds or prices.
13. Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
Giant’s Causeway is located off the coast of Antrim and formed of 40,000 basalt columns, Whilst science affirms that the rocks were the result of a volcano eruption, the site has a strong sense of mythology. Legend has it that the columns are a causeway built by a giant, constructed so that Irish and Scottish giants could meet and fight. Famed for its dramatic cliffs and fascinating history, this is a must-see place to visit.
14. Snowdonia, Wales
Snowdonia is a mountainous region and a national park in Wales, and the view from the summit of the region has been voted as the best view in the UK. While some may think that Snowdonia is just a place for walkers and hikers, there are a multitude of other activities, such as cycling, canoeing, fishing, with additionally many photographers and artists immersing themselves in the spectacular scenery. With so much to do and the best view in the UK, Snowdonia is somewhere you can’t miss.
15. Durdle Door, Dorset, England
Durdle Door is a stunning natural limestone arch, situated on the Jurassic Coast between Swanage and Weymouth in Dorset. Set in the beautiful Lulworth Cove, it has a sloping beach which is fantastic for sunbathing and snorkelling. It’s is a perfect place for a day at the beach – bucket and spade ahoy.
There we are, the ultimate UK bucket list? Have any suggestions? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
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