Ultimate United Kingdom Travelist

Hadrian’s Wall has been named the UK’s fifth most incredible sight by leading travel media company, Lonely Planet, in a new ranked list of the 500 most memorable, beautiful, surprising and compelling experiences to be had across Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands.

The UK’s four constituent countries and countless small islands comprise a powerhouse of history, culture and intrigue. Now for the first time, Lonely Planet’s community of travel experts have chosen the best sights and experiences and ranked them in order of their brilliance in Lonely Planet’s Ultimate United Kingdom Travelist.

Racing into the list in fifth position, “mighty Roman legacy” Hadrian’s Wall is described as leaving an “unforgettable impression” and is beaten only by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – named the UK’s top experience, London’s British Museum – described as “the envy of the world” – at number two, “timeless” and “unrepeatable” Giant’s Causeway at number three and Bath’s “sumptuous” Roman Baths at number four.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe staked its claim to the top spot because “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 the time of day, an acrobat, trapeze artist, contortionist or tried-and-tested bagpiping busker will be pleased to entertain you… Simply step through the looking glass and prepare to be dazzled by the greatest show of arts and culture on Earth.”

Sycamore Gap at night part of the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park

The sycamore of Sycamore Gap silhouetted against a star-filled winter’s sky, Northumberland, England

Northumberland National Park was also included the Travelist for its pristine dark skies. Lonely Planet said that “True wilderness is a rarity in the UK, which makes this gloriously remote national park even more special. And dark – its minimal light pollution saw the International Dark Skies Association award the area dark-sky status in 2013. Take in the celestial splendour of shooting stars, comets and constellations at around a dozen dedicated stargazing sites throughout the national park.” 

In total, 16 sights and experiences in Northeast England feature in the list, from contemplating 1000 years of ecclesiastical history at Durham Cathedral at number 21, to boarding Britain’s oldest afloat fighting ship in Hartlepool at 475.

To create Lonely Planet’s Ultimate United Kingdom Travelist, the Lonely Planet team compiled every highlight from the Lonely Planet guidebooks to Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Every sight, attraction and experience that had caught their writers’ attention over the years were included. Everyone in Lonely Planet’s London office, plus 20 leading figures in the country’s travel sector, were then asked to reveal their favourite spots and experiences before the voting began. Everybody in Lonely Planet’s UK community was asked to vote for their top 20 experiences. With hundreds of votes cast, Lonely Planet ended up with a score for each of the 500 experiences in the book.

Lonely Planet’s VP of Experience, Tom Hall, said: “Lonely Planet’s Ultimate United Kingdom Travelist brings together the UK’s most compelling sights and experiences, ranging from world-class museums and giant cathedrals to rollicking festivals, inky lochs and tiny pubs. We’re thrilled to name Hadrian’s Wall one of the UK’s very best sights – it’s a phenomenal feat of engineering and the sections that remain are a true testament to Roman ambition and tenacity.“