Our Great Britain Bucket List: 40 Places not to Miss in England, Scotland and Wales
Seeing more of our new home country Great Britain has been part of our new years resolutions ever since we moved here in 2013, but I can’t say we’re really ticking things of the list just yet. We’ve only just seen small parts of England and even a tinier part of Wales (not counting the times we visited Great Britain as a kid)… so we have some ‘work’ to do here, haha. This is post is therefore a mental reminder to us and (with added places that we already visited) hopefully a handy tool to plan your next visit as well!
(destinations listed in no particular order)
Make sure to also click on the suggested links below each photo for great articles on each destination. We handpicked all the blogs ourselves (yes, that took us about 3 days), so they all link to resources that we believe are valuable and fun to read! Spread the Blogger ❤
#1 LONDON, ENGLAND
Most travel in Britain starts with a visit to capital of Enland: London. And it’s not hard to see why. Free museums, world food around every corner and characteristic neighbourhoods, you will never be bored here! Don’t miss our London Expat Guide for our personal tips on where to go and what to do.
Read more on: A Lady in London // 2 Foodtrippers // 20 Years Hence // A Taste Of Travel // Ashley Abroad // Borders of Adventure // Aussie on the Road // Angloitalian // Beer Time with Wagner // Cultural Xplorer // Creativelena // Contented Traveller // David’s Been Here // Ever in Transit // Finding the Universe // Girl Tweets World // The Fly Away American // Have You Heard Of It? // Nomadic Matt // Y Travel Blog // Sateless Suitcase // Need Another Holiday // The Little Backpacker // World of Wanderlust // Travelling Buzz // One Step 4Ward // Brendan’s Adventures // The Planet D // The Lazy Travelers // Don’t Fly Go // The Blonde Abroad // Changes in Longitude // Wonderful Wanderings
#2 YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND
The county Yorkshire in Northern England is know for its Roman and Viking heritage. But also expect Norman castles, medieval abbeys and 2 national parks. Walled city York was founded by the Romans and features a huge 13th-century Gothic cathedral that you don’t want to miss.
Read more on: A Dangerous Business // Adventurous Kate // Go Backpacking // No Place to Be // Rexy Edventures // Pommie Travels // One Penny Tourist // Pack Your Passport // Travelettes // One Step 4Ward // The Travel Hack
#3 BRIGHTON, EAST SUSSEX, ENGLAND
Brighton is English most popular seaside resort town, about 1 hour south of London. You won’t find sand on the beach though, but cobblestones (whaaaat?), but it’s made up for with an incredible amount of fun amusement arcades and rides on Brighton Pier. Also don’t miss the Royal Pavilion for some serious incredible architecture. We visited Brighton on our South-England weekend break and had a great day out!
Read more on: Jess on Thames // Tea was Here // Ashley Abroad // Emma’s Travel Tales // Girl Tweets World // Heart of a Vagabond // Lines of Escape // Need Another Holiday // Pack Your Passport // Our Oyster // Young Adventuress // Oh, The Places We Will Go! // Neverending Footsteps // Nomadic Matt // Rhyme and Ribbons // Travel with a Mate // The Fly Away American // Wild About Travel // Heather on her Travels // The Travel Hack
#4 CHANNEL ISLANDS: JERSEY AND GUERNSEY
Okay. Technically speaking are these places not part of Great Britain, but the Channel Islands (located between England and France) are quite worth a visit. These independent, English-speaking territories have a mix of British and French cultures and are known for their beaches, walking trails and inland valleys. Sounds like a Bucket List item to us!
Read more on: Big World Small Pockets // World of Wanderlust // 2 Backpackers // Big World Small Pockers // Global Grasshopper // Sophie’s World // Love Puffin Travel Blog // Lines of Escape // Heather on her Travels
#5 BATH, SOMERSET, ENGLAND
Nienke visited the city of bath as a child and remembers the beautiful Roman Baths, of course most famously the one below. The town is known for its natural hot springs and 18th-century Georgian architecture and a great relaxing weekend break from London. And you can do a guided tour these days, narrated by our favourite writer Bill Bryson, which must be hilarious!
Read more on: Mrs. O Around the World // The Little Backpacker // A Dangerous Business // Gotta Keep Movin’ // Indie Travel Podcast // Lines of Escape // Landlopers // Nomadic Matt // Rhyme and Ribbons // Mrs O Around the World // Heather on her Travels // The Little Backpacker // Travel with a Mate
#6 SHETLAND ISLANDS, SCOTLAND
Nienke has always been intrigued with the Shetland Islands, probably because of their native Shetland Ponies that she loved as a child. Nick on the other hand thinks that the word ‘pony’ is the silliest word ever. But ‘Shetland Pony’ makes him cry with laughter – every time. Aaaanyway… The Shetland Islands is a subarctic archipelago of Scotland and definitely worth to visit. With or without Nick.
#7 BOURNEMOUTH, DORSET, ENGLAND
Bournemouth is a seaside resort on the southern coast of England. You will find 7 miles / 11 kilometer of beaches, Victorian architecture and buzzing nightlife. The resort is also home to Bournemouth Pier, an activity centre with an obstacle course, a climbing wall and a zip line. Yassssss. Also don’t miss the Bournemouth Gardens for amazing rock gardens, an aviary and apparently plant species from 3 continents.
#8 NEW FOREST NATIONAL PARK, ENGLAND
I (Nienke) remember that as a kid, we camped in the park and woke up with horses next to our tent. So cool! We went back for the second time on our most recent London weekend break and stayed in an Airbnb, which was really nice as well. The park has one of the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture land, heathland and forest with free running horses and deer. A really nice break from the city!
#9 PEMBROKESHIRE COAST, WALES
The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is a national park West Wales, established in 1952. It is the only National Park in the UK that has primarily been designated because of its spectacular coastline. Get ready for rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, wooded estuaries and wild inland hills. And did you know they have puffins here too? You’ll find them on Skomer and Skokholm island. So cute! The Wales Coast Path is a long-distance footpath which follows the majority of the coastline of Wales. Don’t try to do it al at once though (or maybe you want to); it’s 870 miles / 1400 kilometers. Bring good shoes, either way.
#10 GLASTONBURY, SOMERSET, ENGLAND
We all know this name because of the festival (which we also still would love to visit one day, see links below for more on that), but Glastonbury on its own has something special about it as well. It was inhabited since Neolithic times and is described as a ‘New Age community’ which attracts people with New Age and Neopagan beliefs. Ooohhhwww… You might also know it from myths and legends about Joseph of Arimathea, the Holy Grail and King Arthur.
#11 LEEDS, WEST YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND
To be honest, we don’t know much about Leeds (located in West-Yorkshire) to begin with, but when you read that they have the 3rd railway station and 16th busiest airport in England, there must be something to do, right? Well, Leeds has renowned galleries, many festivals and they even have their own Opera House and Ballet Company. There is also enough to see and do in the surrounding area. West Yorkshire is home to a number of historic towns and villages that seem a world away from the city centre.
#12 MANCHESTER, ENGLAND
We both visited Manchester briefly on separate occasions, but haven’t written about it yet. A shame, because it’s a really nice city in the northwest of England! The city has a rich industrial (textile) heritage and you can trace this history at the incredible Museum of Science & Industry, that you shouldn’t miss. Manchester has also great hotspots to grab a bite and drink!
Read more on: Cultural Xplorer // David’s Been Here // Gotta Keep Movin’ // Pommie Travels // Nomadic Matt // Monkeys and Mountains // Rexy Edventures // Travelling King // Travels of Adam // Brendan’s Adventures // Velvet Escape // Wanderlust Marriage
#13 NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, NORTHUMBERLAND, ENGLAND
We’ve both been to Newcastle (Nienke even 4 times times now: twice on a mini-cruise with mum, once for a conference and once to see Hadrian’s Wall and some hotspots) and still don’t think we’ve seen it all, there is a lot to see and do in this area. The city developed around the Roman settlement and was named after a castle built in 1080 and the port developed in the 16th century to one of the world’s largest shipbuilding and ship-repairing centres. Great to see how old and new gets together in this city. Can’t wait to go back soon.
#14 OXFORD, OXFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND
A couple of years ago, Nienke visited a friend living here and got a private tour of the university and part of the city. Of course the grand University of Oxford is amazing to see on its own, but what was also interesting to see was that all the buildings in the city show great examples of every English architectural period since the late Saxon period. Hard not to like it here!
Read more on: Travellous World // Deep Culture Travel // Finding the Universe // Gotta Keep Movin’ // Jess-on-Thames // Lines of Escape // No Place to Be // Nomadic Matt // Rhyme and Ribbons // The Travel Hack // Travelous World // Travelling Buzz
#15 THE COTSWOLDS, ENGLAND
Ahh… the Cotswolds. This rural area of South/Central England covers parts of 6 counties and is recognizable by its rolling hills and medieval villages, churches and stately homes built of distinctive local yellow limestone. Great for a road trip, or to go hiking!
#16 CAMBRIDGE, CAMBRIDGESHIRE, ENGLAND
We were here a couple years ago and we liked it, but we visited in the busiest time of the year. #FAIL Incredible amounts of school groups, wowza! We did enjoy watching the punting (people trying not to crash and drown in long wooden boats), which of course was nowhere near as quiet as shown below. Perhaps back in a quieter time, because the University and surrounding buildings are really quite brilliant to see.
Read more on: Dave’s Travel Corner // Oh, The Places We Will Go! // Rhyme and Ribbons // Global Grasshopper // Landlopers // Solo Traveler Blog // Nomadic Matt // Wonderful Wanderings // The Hostel Girl
#17 EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND
Hilly Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital and consists of a medieval Old Town and a Georgian New Town. ‘Arthur’s Seat’ is an extinct volcano in Holyrood Park with sweeping views from its peak. Another sight you don’t want to miss is hilltop Edinburgh Castle, home to Scotland’s crown jewels and the ‘Stone of Destiny’. Oooohhhww…
Read more on: 48 Hour Adventure // Adventurous Kate // Borders of Adventure // Angloitalian // Beer Time with Wagner // Camels and Chocolate // Budget Traveller // The Expert Vagabond // Finding the Universe // Flirting with the Globe // Jess-on-Thames // Four Jandals // Grantourismo // Girl Tweets World // Lee Abbamonte // Landlopers // Our Oyster // MeganOTravels // Y Travel Blog // Need Another Holiday // Top Sport Travel // The Travel Hack // Brendan’s Adventures // One Step 4Ward // The Lazy Travelers // The Chaotic Scot // Changes in Longitude // Travelettes // Heather on her Travels // Wanderlust and Lipstick // Travel2Next // World of Wanderlust // Uncornered Market // Velvet Escape
#18 GLASGOW, SCOTLAND
A friend of us studied here and says it’s such a great city, so of course we want to check it out! Glasgow is a port city on the River Clyde in Scotland’s western Lowlands. Famous for its Victorian and art nouveau architecture and a national cultural hub. Institutions include the Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet and National Theatre of Scotland and there are many acclaimed museums and a thriving music scene. Sounds good to me!
Read more on: 48 Hour Adventure // A Dangerous Business // Adventurous Kate // Angloitalian // Girl Tweets World // Gotta Keep Movin’ // Landlopers // MeganOTravels // Mallory on Travel // Need Another Holiday // The Lazy Travelers // World of Wanderlust // Travel2Next // Travelettes // The Travel Hack // Brendan’s Adventures
#19 ISLE OF SKYE, SCOTLAND
The Isle of Skye is connected to Scotland’s northwest coast by a bridge and as you can see, it has an amazing landscape. Add some medieval castles and you’ve got a fairytale place for your bucket list!
Read more on: A Dangerous Business // A Little Adrift // Adventurous Kate // Camels and Chocolate // Our Oyster // Wonderful Wanderings // Where’s Sharon // Travelling King // Brendan’s Adventures // One Step 4Ward // Travel with Bender // Heather on her Travels
#20 BRISTOL, ENGLAND
Lots of maritime history in Bristol, but you can also find plenty of culture and hotspots here. All restaurants, shops and cultural institutions are located in the harbour’s 19th-century warehouses. We also definitely want to check out their spacey looking planetarium that you can see below.
#21 ISLE OF MAN, ENGLAND
The Isle of Man is a self-governing British Crown dependency in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland. Again, nothing short of rugged coastlines and medieval castles like the other isles in this post. Explore the island’s Celtic and Viking heritage at the Manx Museum in the capital city of Douglas.
#22 CANTERBURY, KENT, ENGLAND
Canterbury is famous for its iconic cathedral that was founded in 597 A.D. The city used to be a major pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages and you can still see ancient walls that were originally built by the Romans all around the medieval centre with cobbled streets and timber-framed houses. We visited it recently (Nienke also with her my parents when she was about 10 -she actually got lost here, don’t mention it). Don’t skip the fun ‘Canterbury Tales’ to get some good stories from back in the days.
#23 THE HIGHLANDS, SCOTLAND
This historic region of Scotland doesn’t have clear boundaries, but The Great Glen divides the Grampian Mountains to the southeast from the Northwest Highlands. The area is very sparsely populated, with many mountain ranges dominating the region, and includes the highest mountain in the British Isles, Ben Nevis. Ready to conquer it?
Read more on: The Blonde Abroad // The Lazy Travelers // The Hostel Girl // The Little Backpacker // The Chaotic Scot // Travelettes // Uncornered Market // Wanderlust and Lipstick // Camels and Chocolate // Flora the Explorer // House of Anaïs
#24 ISLE OF WIGHT, ENGLAND
We were so close to it on our recent visit to the New Forest area, but we didn’t have enough time to cross by ferry to the Isle of Wight. This county is the largest and second most populous island in England. It was the home of Queen Victoria, the location of the world’s first hovercraft and the testing and development of Britain’s space rockets. Sounds like an interesting place to visit!
#25 LAKE DISTRICT, CUMBRIA, ENGLAND
The Lake District is a region and England’s largest National Park . Here, you will find deepest glacial lake Wastwater and highest mountain Scafell Pike, but also thriving communities like Keswick and Bowness-on-Windermere, which makes for a great visit during a weekend trip.
Read more on: Travel Freak // Borders of Adventure // Quirky Traveller // Adventurous Kate // Contented Traveller // A Little Adrift // Don’t Fly Go // Emma’s Travel Tales // Indie Travel Podcast // Landlopers // Need Another Holiday // Solo Traveler Blog // Nomadic Matt // Pommie Travels // The Quirky Traveller // Mallory on Travel // The Planet D // Travel with a Mate // Velvet Escape // One Step 4Ward // Velvet Escape // Travelettes
#26 DEVON, ENGLAND
The county Devon in southwest England encompasses sandy beaches, fossil cliffs, medieval towns and moorland national parks. Woohoo! Along the coast, you will find a series of picturesque harbour villages as Torquay, Paignton and Brixham. Follow the South West Coast Path and enjoy the towering cliffs of the northern Exmoor Coast and rock formations on the fossil-rich southern Jurassic Coast.
Read more on: Heather on her Travels // Pommie Travels // Mrs O Around the World // Skimbaco Lifestyle // The Little Backpacker // One Step 4Ward // Wanderlust and Lipstick // Oh, The Places We Will Go! // Four Jandals // Gotta Keep Movin’ // Mallory on Travel // Changes in Longitude
#27 BIRMINGHAM, WARWICKSHIRE, ENGLAND
Birmingham grew from a medium-sized market town in the medieval period to international prominence in the 18th century. Now it’s the largest and most populous British city outside London. During the 1960s Birmingham was the home of a music scene comparable to that of Liverpool with many groups gaining international success. We would love to check out the Selfridges Building (see below), which costed £60 million to build. It’s seen as a major contribution to the regeneration of Birmingham.
#28 JURASSIC COAST, DEVON TO DORSET, ENGLAND
This World Heritage Site on the English Channel coast of South-England is amazing! We only saw part of it on our weekend break from London, but it stretches from Orcombe Point in East Devon to Old Harry Rocks in East Dorset, a distance of 96 miles / 155 kilometers. Incredible!
Read More on: Heather on her Travels
#29 KINGSTON-UPON-THAMES, GREATER LONDON, ENGLAND
Kingston was the ancient market town where Saxon kings were crowned and it lies just 10 miles/16.1 km south of Charing Cross in London. It’s a great place for shopping and eating out. The ancient market is still held daily in the Market Place and you can find fish, jewellery, exotic foods, local foods and flowers here. We visited here recently for a conference and really enjoyed the ‘Riverside Edge’: a converted multi-storey car park that features five ‘pocket kitchens’ which will change every 6-12 months.
#30 STRATFORD-UPON-AVON, WARWICKSHIRE, ENGLAND
Ah, the 16th-century birthplace of William Shakespeare, what’s not to like? The Royal Shakespeare Company still performs his plays in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and adjacent Swan Theatre on the banks of the River Avon. I visited here as a child, would love to go back again!
#31 STONEHENGE, WILTSHIRE, ENGLAND
On our South England road trip, we visited Stonehenge (Nienke almost 15 years after visiting it for the first time as a kid) and it’s one of those must-sees in England. This prehistoric monument in Wiltshire attracts millions of visitors, even though the reason for building this stone circle can only be speculated.
Read more on: Finding the Universe // Travels of Adam // A Dangerous Business // Goats on the Road // Jess-on-Thames // Lee Abbamonte // Rhyme and Ribbons // Seattles Travels // Solo Traveler Blog // Sophie’s World // Heather on her Travels // Travel with Bender // Travel. Experience. Live. // The Road To Anywhere // Wanderlust and Lipstick // Nomadic Matt
#32 DOVER, KENT, ENGLAND
You’ll know Dover from the iconic White Cliffs that you can see from the ferry coming across from France or Belgium, I remember loving that view as a child! The town itself features a medieval castle that overlooks the town and houses the extensive Secret Wartime Tunnels. Love to explore them!
#33 LIVERPOOL & BLACKPOOL, LANCASHIRE, ENGLAND
Both Liverpool as Blackpool have a rich maritime history. On top of that, Liverpool is the hometown of The Beatles and a UNESCO world heritage site, whereas Blackpool features the ‘Blackpool Pleasure Beach’, an old-school amusement park with vintage wooden roller coasters. There is plenty more to see and do in both places, so take a good weekend and go explore!
#34 SNOWDONIA NATIONAL PARK, WALES
Snowdonia is a region in northwest Wales concentrated around the mountains and glaciers of massive Snowdonia National Park. As a kid, Nienke went up the mountain with the historic Snowdon Mountain Railway, such fun! You can get views across the sea all the way to Ireland! The park is great for hiking and has over 100 lakes and peaks.
#35 CARDIFF, WALES
We were pleasantly surprised by Cardiff when we visited around Christmas time. Cardiff Bay has had a complete overhaul and you can find some great architecture here. The city centre is perfect for shopping and enjoying the great food, but there are also many museums and galleries to enjoy.
#36 HADRIAN’S WALL, ENGLAND
Another fantastic historical sight in England that you don’t want to miss. Nienke visited (only a small part) of Hadrian’s wall for a couple of days and loved all the Roman forts and strongholds that you can find here. The wall, by the way, was a defensive fortification in the Roman province of Britannia. They begun building it in 122 AD during the reign of the emperor Hadrian.
#37 CORNWALL, ENGLAND
This destination is perhaps highest on our ‘to-see’ list. You’ll find the county of Cornwall on England’s southwestern tip. It forms a peninsula with wild moorland and hundreds of sandy beaches, great for surfing as well! Sounds incredible, right? We got the tip to visit St. Yves here, a little seaside town and have set our mind to it to actually go here this year :)
Read more on: Global Grasshopper // Pommie Travels // Bridges and Balloons // Budget Traveller // Indie Travel Podcast // David’s Been Here // Eurotribe // Global Grasshopper // Jess-on-Thames // Lines of Escape // Pommie Travels // Nomadic Matt // Our Oyster // Oh, The Places We Will Go! // Travel Unmasked // One Step 4Ward // Wonderful Wanderings // Heather on her Travels
#38 WINCHESTER & PORTSMOUTH, HAMPSHIRE, ENGLAND
Hampshire is the county where the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force were founded and Winchester is the former capital city of England. A place of historic importance, it seems! But there is more: Winchester also has the largest Farmers’ Market in the UK and in maritime Portsmouth you can admire the Spinnaker Tower (see below), a 560 feet / 170 meter landmark which stands as the UK’s 11th tallest structure. Portsmouth Historic Dockyard exhibits over 800 years of naval history within the surroundings of its working docks.
Read More on Portsmouth: The Road To Anywhere
#39 NORWICH, NORFOLK, ENGLAND
During the 11th century, Norwich was the largest city in England after London and one of the most important places in the kingdom. The wealth generated by the wool trade throughout the Middle Ages financed the construction of many fine churches. These days, Norwich still has more medieval churches than any other city in Western Europe north of the Alps. Time to go and see them soon!
#40 PARIS, FRANCE
Whaaaat? No, we didn’t fail geography class and know this city is not in Great Britain. But what we didn’t so much realize, is that now that we live in London, Paris is just 2 hours away by train! That is almost the same distance as travelling from Amsterdam (where Nienke’s family lives) to Venlo (where Nick’s family lives) in The Netherlands… cool! Definitely have to do this, but of course after we’ve seen all the places in Great Britain above first :)
With our own bucket list finished, of course there is plenty more to explore. Have a look on these awesome blogs for more tips on what day trips from London to make and where to go in England, Wales and Scotland.
Bloggers about Places to go in England & England Road Trips:
An overview of suggested places in England by our favourite bloggers:
Global Grasshopper // Beyond Blighty // Archaeology Travel // Curiosity Travels // Bald Hiker // David’s Been Here // Anna Everywhere // Travellous World // The Trusted Traveller // Ashley Abroad // Alison Chino // Budget Traveller // This Battered Suitcase // Dream Explore Wander // Emma’s Travel Tales // Europe A La Carte // Finding the Universe // The Travel Hack // Food and Photos RTW // Green Global Travel // Give for Granted // The Blonde Abroad // Travel on the Brain // Indie Travel Podcast // Goats on the Road // Hippie in Heels // House of Anaïs // Landlopers // Skimbaco Lifestyle // Solo Traveler Blog // One Penny Tourist // Pommie Travels // The Quirky Traveller // The Planet D // Wild Junket // Travelettes // World of Wanderlust // One Step 4Ward // Traveldudes // A Lady in London // A Dangerous Business //Go Backpacking // Man versus World // Travel Unmasked
Bloggers about Places to go in Wales & Wales Road Trips:
An overview of suggested places in Wales by our favourite bloggers:
The Travel Hack // Backpacks and Bunkbeds // World of Wanderlust // Gotta Keep Movin’ // Ashley Abroad // Globetrotter Girls // Gotta Keep Movin’// Global Grasshopper // Helen in Wonderlust // House of Anaïs // Live Share Travel // Landlopers // Lines of Escape // Need Another Holiday // Ordinary Traveler // Sophie’s World // Rhyme and Ribbons // The Planet D // Wonderful Wanderings // Wanderlust and Lipstick // Travelettes // Travel with Bender // One Step 4Ward // The Travel Hack
Bloggers about Places to go in Scotland & Scotland Road Trips:
An overview of suggested places in Scotland by our favourite bloggers:
Angloitalian // Indiana Jo // A Dangerous Business // A Pair Of Boots And A Backpack // A Couple Travelers // Adventurous Kate // Monkeys and Mountains // Don’t Ever Look Back // Gotta Keep Movin’ // Landlopers // Live Share Travel // Stop Having a Boring Life // Nomadic Samuel // Solo Traveler Blog // Ordinary Traveler // The Planet D // The Chaotic Scot // The Little Backpacker // World of Wanderlust // Jessie on a Journey // The Travel Bite // The Travel Hack // Time Travel Turtle // One Step 4Ward // Travelettes // Travels of Adam
Have a look on our Pinterest Board for more suggestions to add to your Great Britain Bucket List:
What is number 1 on your Great Britain Bucket List?