The UK's Ultimate Bucket List

There’s nothing quite as exciting as exploring somewhere new. Immersing yourself in a new culture, tickling your taste buds with a new cuisine and getting to grips with a new language are all undeniable treats.

Whether you dream about scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, would love to stroll around the streets of Paris, or you’re itching to climb Everest, most people have a list of dream destinations that they’d like to visit in their lifetime mapped out.

We wanted to know which incredible experiences were topping bucket lists in the UK – so we decided to find out.

By asking people from across the UK to select their top 10 ideas from a list compiled by the world’s top travel professionals*, we were able to create the UK’s ultimate bucket list.

According to our research, Brits would most like to:

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  • 1. Admire the Northern Lights (44.4%)

    Just under half (44%) of all Britons surveyed selected seeing the Northern Lights as their top bucket list activity. Despite 15% more women than men including witnessing this shining spectacle in their top 10, it was still undeniably a firm favourite amongst both genders. Iceland, northern Canada, Norway and Finland all offer great aurora-spotting opportunities!

  • 2. Visit the Grand Canyon (28.6%)

    Claiming second place with 28% of the vote, it’s Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park. Home to millions of years of geological history, this unique and ever-changing scenery is one you don’t want to miss. Striking viewpoints include Mather Point, Yavapai Observation Station and architect Mary Colter’s Lookout Studio and Desert View Watchtower.

  • 3. See the Pyramids in Egypt (22.3%)

    The Pyramids in Egypt follow closely behind in third place. From each age group surveyed, at least 19% wanted to see these ancient structures in all their glory. While there are about 80 pyramids currently still standing in Egypt, the three largest and best-preserved are those in Giza.

  • 4. Go on a Wildlife Safari in Africa (20.3%)

    According to our survey results, taking a wildlife tour around Africa is the UK’s fourth favourite bucket list idea. Whether it’s elephants, lions or zebras you’re after, the world’s second largest continent has over 1,100 different species of mammals and over 2,600 species of birds, so you’ll be sure to catch a glimpse of something magical.

  • 5. Walk a length of the Great Wall of China (20.3%)

    Also taking joint 4th place is the Great Wall of China. This feat of human engineering was built more than 2,000 years ago during the Qin Dynasty to defend off invasions from the north. If there’s a moment in history you’d like to relive, this may just be it.

  • 6. Explore New Zealand’s South Island (20%)

    New Zealand’s South Islands are renowned for their beauty and quite rightly deserve their place at number 6. Whether you want to sip the day away at one of many wineries, explore glacial valleys or gaze at star-filled skies, there’s something for everyone, no matter your interests.

  • 7. Take a trip to Canada’s Rocky Mountains (17.5%)

    Reaching for heaven at number 7, it’s the highest peaks in North America – The Rocky Mountains. 18% of Brits surveyed want to explore this breath-taking Canadian landscape and with activities such as mountain climbing, hiking, camping and fishing, who can blame them?

  • 8. Experience City Life in the Big Apple (16.2%)

    Often hailed as one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities, New York offers visitors a huge selection of things to do. From bustling round Times Square, to staring out of the top of the Empire State Building and even chilling in Central Park, your itinerary will be jam-packed. With a world-famous nightlife and collection of architectural treasures like nowhere else, there’s no surprise urban wanderers from the UK selected this to be in their ultimate bucket list.

  • 9. See the Sights of Rome (16%)

    The only other European city apart from Iceland to make the top 10 was Italy’s capital, Rome. We found that people living in Wales are most likely to book a mini trip to this romantic and inspiring urban area, with one quarter (25%) of all Welsh participants keen to lap up the dolce vita lifestyle.

  • 10. Discover the Amazon Rainforest (15.9%)

    Welcome to the Jungle! Did you know that the Amazon Rainforest has more water than the next eight largest rivers combined? An unravelled habitat for a remarkable array of life, this awe-inspiring place is unlike any other bucket list location, and is most sought-after (20%) by millennials aged 18-22.

If seeing the Northern Lights is on your bucket list, a trip to Iceland should definitely be on the cards. Many travel websites advise visiting Iceland between September to mid-April when the nights are darker and longer, often resulting in clearer visibility of the Aurora Borealis. If Iceland doesn’t take your fancy, then northern Canada, Norway and Finland are pretty magical too and offer great Northern Lights spotting opportunities!

Other popular bucket list ideas included visiting the Grand Canyon (29%), seeing the Egyptian Pyramids (22%), and walking a length of the Great Wall of China (20%).

The difference between sexes

One of the most interesting findings from this survey was the difference between men and women who wanted to take part in animal experience days. More females favoured going on a wildlife safari or gorilla trekking in Africa, and 14% of the women surveyed included volunteering at an elephant sanctuary in their top 10, compared to just 4% of men.

What’s more, men appeared to be more likely to want to engage in physically enduring activities, including embarking on an expedition to Antarctica, trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp and hiking through volcanoes in Hawaii.

The difference between age groups

It was the 18-34-year olds that travel for the ‘gram, having opted for typical destinations such as the Great Barrier Reef and Paris. Conversely, 34+ year olds voted for the more culturally rich activities like visiting historic Havana, Petra and the Mayan Ruins.

Perhaps most surprisingly, the older were keener to take part in a drinking experience than millennials. Those between the age of 35-44 years old were most likely to want to drink a beer at Oktoberfest in Germany or try wine tasting in Bordeaux.

The difference between regions

There were also some stark similarities in regional responses. Participants from the North East were keen to stick to their northern roots and travel to colder climates such as Antarctica, the North Pole and Swiss Alps.

Comparatively, people living in London and the South East would rather travel to more exotic countries such as Bali, Australia and South America. Wales and Scotland were the only countries to include two European destinations in their ultimate bucket list, suggesting a desire to stay closer to home.

So, there you have it – the UK’s ultimate bucket list and a breakdown of the interesting findings! All the above destinations are easy to get to with a little help from our travel providers. To help you make your way to your dream location, make sure you check out the below offers or explore the deals over on our travel page.

Notes to editors:

Between the 13th and 14th June 2018 One Poll conducted an online survey among 1000 randomly selected UK adults


To view the full data-set, including regional, gender and age splits, see:

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