The UK has an infinite amount of incredible things to experience, sights to see and things to do, and knowing where to start can be intimidating.
If you’re gearing up to tackle the best that the UK has to offer, travel guide Lonely Planet has ranked the 500 “unmissable experiences and hidden gems” across the UK for the ultimate UK travel guide.
Scotland comes out on top
Topping Lonely Planet’s list is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, making it the number one of the 500 “memorable, beautiful, surprising and compelling experiences” to be had across the UK.
Lonely Planet’s VP of Experience Tom Hall said, “We’re thrilled to name the world’s largest arts festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the UK’s top experiences - it’s one of the most exciting and diverse destinations on the planet.”
Edinburgh also makes another appearance in the top 20 list of the ultimate United Kingdom travelist, with Arthur’s Seat coming in at number 19.
Scotland is recognised for a third time in the top 20 with the Highland and Islands Glencoe.
In the full list of 500 experiences, Scotland appears 68 times, with experiences like discovering Harry Potter on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile (number 24), searching for monsters at Loch Ness (number 228) and ceilidh like a pro at the Feis Ile festival of music and malt (number 451).
The top five unmissable experiences in the UK
If you’re looking for inspiration of things to do in the UK, these are the top five unmissable experiences in the UK according to Lonely Planet.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh
The guide states that the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the “greatest show of arts and culture on Earth”.
It says, “The Fringe floods the city with art and nowhere beats it for spectacle or scale.
“There is theatre, comedy, dance, circus, cabaret, opera, music and spoken word, and whatever time of day, an acrobat, trapeze artist, contortionist or tired and tested bagpiping busker will be pleased to entertain you.”
British Museum, London
At number two is London’s British Museum, branded “the envy of the world”.
The first public national museum in the world, the British Museum is dedicated to human history, art and culture. It boasts a permanent collection of eight million works which is amongst the largest and most comprehensive in existence.
It owns some of the most famous objects in the world and offers a dazzling insight into the world.
Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
Giant’s Causeway is Northern Ireland’s first UNESCO Heritage site. Discover Northern Ireland describes it as a “geological wonder and home to a wealth of history and legend.”
Visitors to the incredible site can explore market trails and enjoy the coastal scenery whilst being accompanied by an audio guide that’s available in 11 languages.
You’ll be rewarded with the jaw dropping sight of 40,000 of hexagonal-shaped pillars, which date back to the volcanic age almost 60 million years ago.
Bath, Southwest England
The Lonely Planet’s website describes Bath as a place with “graceful architecture and rich culture” as well as “centuries of history”.
Their top experiences in Bath includes hitting the city centre to check out the Roman Baths. Lonely Planet says: “Set alongside a temple dedicated to the healing goddess Sulis-Minerva, the baths now form one of the world's best-preserved ancient Roman spas, and are encircled by 18th- and 19th-century buildings.”
With Bath known as a location for many of Jane Austen’s novels, such as Persuasion, another recommendation from Lonely Planet is to explore Jane Austen’s life in Bath, who lived there for five years, from 1801 - 1806.
Hadrian’s Wall, Northeast England
This 73 mile long wall was built to separate the Romans and Scottish Picts, and was built between AD 122 and 128.
Visitors are invited to “explore the bath houses, turrets and shrines, visit galleries and museums, and to watch as live excavations uncover fresh details of ancient Roman Britain before your eyes”.
Lonely Planet says, “Milecastles are numbered right across the country, starting with Milecastle 0 at Wallsend – where you can visit the wall's last stronghold, Segedunum – and ending with Milecastle 80 at Bowness-on-Solway.”