Top 10 British Bucket List Locations
Take a leap this Leap Year and enjoy some of the nation’s most bucket-list-worthy destinations by train, for less
Iconic landmarks, breathtaking scenery, bustling cities, and a rich and diverse culture, destination Great Britain has it all – our only challenge? Deciding where to visit next!
To help inspire you, we asked the British public which locations should be top of your British travel list in your lifetime. Featuring the regal allure of London’s historic landmarks, the mystique of Stonehenge and the untamed beauty of the Scottish Highlands, each destination on this Top 10 bucket list promises an unparalleled experience.
So, whether you’re looking to plan a weekend break somewhere new, or need a last-minute travel recommendation, check out our guide to Britain’s Top 10 most lusted-after locations below, including how to get there by train, for less.
Don’t forget – Advance tickets allow you to save up to 43% off your journey when you book up to 12 weeks in advance of your trip. What’s more, combine your ticket with a Railcard for a further 1/3 off the cost of your journey to your bucket list location of choice. All that’s left is to choose your destination!
Top 10 Bucket List locations by train
1. The Isles of Scilly
An island paradise off the southern tip of Cornwall, you’d be mistaken for thinking you were in the Caribbean when arriving at this subtropical archipelago. If you’re planning a trip this year, think about travelling between mid-April and July, when puffin spotting season is in full swing.
How to get there: Great Western Railway’s Night Riviera sleeper train runs six days a week from London to Penzance. After a great night’s sleep in your own private room, hop off the train and onto a boat straight into island paradise.
Nearest station: Penzance
An easily walkable city packed full of history, Edinburgh makes for the perfect weekend getaway - be sure to visit Edinburgh Castle or climb up to Arthur’s Seat for unparalleled views of the whole city.
How to get there: From London, the journey by train takes just over four hours and boasts scenic views, before arriving right at the heart of the city. The London to Edinburgh route even allows for a special stop at Platform 9 ¾ in Kings Cross Station.
While you’re there, check out some Edinburgh attractions and get 2FOR1 entry with National Rail’s Days Out Guide(external link, opens in a new tab).
Nearest station: Edinburgh
3. The Lake District National Park
England’s largest national park, the Lake District features the highest mountain in the country and a rich literary history. There’s plenty to keep every type of traveller happy, from incredible hikes to cosy pubs.
How to get there: The national park is well connected via Oxenholme station to main hub train stations such as Manchester, London Euston and Edinburgh, with several local train and bus routes leaving each day.
Nearest station: Oxenholme
4. The Tower of London
One of the capital’s most iconic landmarks, explore 1,000 years of history at the Tower of London, featuring the historical castle, a secure fortress and an infamous prison. Prepare to be dazzled by the world-famous Crown Jewels which have been on display here since 1661.
How to get there: The landmark is a short walk from nearby London Bridge train station. Those travelling to the capital from elsewhere in Great Britain can also arrive via Euston Station, Fenchurch Street Station, Kings Cross Station or Liverpool Street Station.
Nearest station: London Bridge
5. The Scottish Highlands
There’s so much to explore in the Highlands it’s hard to know where to start, from the infamous Loch Ness to the lofty heights of Ben Nevis or the remote Cairngorms National Park. Wherever you decide to venture, it’s best to start in Inverness, the cultural and economic hub of the Highlands.
How to get there: Don’t miss the West Highland Line - best recognised as the iconic route taken by the Hogwarts Express. For a little extra slice of adventure, take the Caledonian Sleeper which connects London to Scotland.
While you’re there, check out Scottish Highlands' attractions and get 2FOR1 entry with National Rail’s Days Out Guide(external link, opens in a new tab).
Nearest station: Aviemore
6. Exmouth, Devon
A lively town situated on the east coast of Devon, where the River Exe meets the sea, this unique spot has one of the warmest climates in Britain and an incredible range of places to enjoy fresh seafood.
How to get there: Head to Exeter St David’s, where you’ll find plenty of connecting trains to Exmouth Station. The railway runs along the eastern bank of the River Exe for most of the journey, offering picturesque views across the water.
Nearest station: Exmouth
This ancient walled city is home to a thriving cultural scene, countless museums and top-quality restaurants, making it the ideal spot for a weekend getaway. At the heart of the city is York Minster, one of the most impressive Gothic cathedrals in the world, and the Shambles - the inspiration behind Harry Potter's Diagon Alley.
How to get there: York Station is very well connected and serves as an important junction for many connecting routes, alongside sitting in a handy location halfway between London and Edinburgh.
While you’re there, check out York’s top attractions and get 2FOR1 entry with National Rail’s Days Out Guide(external link, opens in a new tab).
Nearest station: York
8. Snowdonia, Wales
Featuring Snowdon Mountain, over 60 miles of coastline, remote waterfalls and magical woodlands, visitors will feel miles away from home in this incredible landscape.
How to get there: The North Wales Coastline from Crewe to Holyhead connects train travelers to Bangor, at the north-western edge of the national park. Once there, don’t forget to enjoy the Snowdon Mountain Railway, a heritage service which takes visitors up Mount Snowdon!
Nearest station: Bangor (Gwynedd)
You’ll find a new photo spot at every turn in this charming, picturesque city. Alongside visiting iconic sights such as the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey, make time for Sally Lunn’s tearoom located in Bath’s oldest house (c. 1483) to try their famous Sally Lunns Buns.
How to get there: Travelling to Bath by train couldn’t be easier, with a journey time of only an hour and a half from London. Or go from Cardiff, which is only an hour away.
Fans of Netflix’s Bridgerton can explore the streets of Bath where the show was filmed, with 20% off the Bridgerton tour of Bath with National Rail’s Days Out Guide(external link, opens in a new tab).
Nearest station: Bath Spa
If you’ve not made it to one of England’s most-photographer attractions yet, make 2024 your year. For a visit without the crowds, head to this incredible sight during the week, and make sure to pick a sunny day for memories you’ll treasure forever.
How to get there: The landmark is easily accessible from Salisbury Station, which is connected to London Waterloo, Bristol Temple Meads and Exeter St David’s. From there, simply jump on a bus or take a taxi and you’ll be marveling at the awe-inspiring sight in no time.
Nearest station: Salisbury
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Buy yours today for just £30 and you’ll make the cost back in 1 or 2 trips!