If you’re someone who’s got the ‘travel bug’ but, like most of us, don’t have the cash to plan elaborate trips around Europe, we’ve got some hidden gems much closer to home.
Jessie Moore is the founder of the award-winning luxury travel blog Pocket Wanderings, and — after literally travelling the whole of the UK — she has revealed the ultimate top 10 bucket list destinations for 2024.
She knows exactly where we should be heading on our staycations next year and the following list is packed full of stunning scenery and history.
So, in no particular order, here are the UK’s 10 must-visit destinations…
First on travel expert Jessie’s list is none other than the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site — The Jurassic Coast.
Situated on the Dorset and Devon coastlines, it offers ‘a journey through 185 million years of Earth’s history’.
Jessie tells Metro.co.uk: ‘It’s the only place on Earth where rocks from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous eras can be seen in one place, which is why I consider this to be a must for any UK bucket list in 2024.
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‘Spanning from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset, this 95-mile stretch is a geological wonder. It features dramatic cliffs, fossil-rich beaches, and unique formations – you’ve probably heard of the likes of Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove.
‘I love that visiting the Jurassic Coast feels like stepping into a natural history museum but out in the open.
‘It’s a paradise for nature lovers, hikers, and palaeontology enthusiasts who I know will love the rugged landscapes, golden beaches and breathtaking views.’
Next up, we’re headed to Scotland for our bucket list destinations in 2024, to the stunning Isle of Skye.
‘It may not be the quickest place to get to, but I think that’s part of the Isle of Skye’s appeal, alongside its mesmerising natural beauty,’ says Jessie.
‘It’s known for its rugged landscapes, including the iconic Cuillin mountain range and the mystical Fairy Pools, Skye captivates with its blend of mountainous terrain, serene lochs, and dramatic sea cliffs.
‘The island’s rich Gaelic heritage adds cultural depth, while wildlife lovers will be in their element with plenty to spot from eagles to otters.
‘I’d recommend the Isle of Skye for outdoor enthusiasts, photographers, and anyone seeking to immerse themselves in some breathtaking scenery.’
For our third UK bucket list destination for 2024 we’re headed to Canterbury in Kent.
It’s ‘famed for its magnificent Canterbury Cathedral’ which, like the Jurassic Coast is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is ‘the heart of the Anglican Communion’.
Jessie says: ‘Rich in medieval history, the city’s ancient walls, originally built by the Romans, enclose a maze of cobbled streets and timber-framed houses.
‘I love that Canterbury offers a captivating blend of history, culture, and architecture, plus a bustling city centre that’s filled with quaint shops and lively restaurants.
‘Don’t miss a visit to Westgate Gardens – whenever I share any content from these gardens, people cannot believe that such a fairytale spot exists in England. I’d recommend visiting on a sunny day when you can enjoy a punt down the river and a picnic in the gardens.’
The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland is up next, which Jessie describes as a ‘natural marvel’.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site is famed for its roughly 40,000 interlocking basalt columns formed by ancient volcanic activity.
‘I think it’s well worth a visit for its almost otherworldly landscape that you can’t find anywhere else,’ Jessie adds.
‘Legend adds to its allure, with tales of giants walking the causeway. The site offers breathtaking coastal scenery, captivating rock formations, and unique flora and fauna.
‘If you’re lucky, you may even be able to spot a pod of dolphins in the water! I’d recommend the audio guide, which offers a fun and informative way to learn about this incredible site.’
Next up is a rather small pinpoint on the UK’s map, but it’s well worth a visit, according to Jessie, who describes it as a ‘hidden gem’.
‘St David’s in Wales is the UK’s smallest city and I love that it offers a unique blend of historical significance and natural beauty,’ she says.
‘Renowned for its splendid St David’s Cathedral, a pilgrimage site dating back to the 12th century, the city has a charming ambience – and I don’t think enough people know about this hidden gem.
‘St David’s is nestled within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, so it’s perfect for combining a spot of cultural exploration with stunning coastal walks and wildlife watching.
‘This charming city, with its art galleries, independent shops, and cosy cafés, is a dreamy haven on the Welsh coastline.’
We’ve all heard of the
being a must visit, but Jessie explains that what she loves about this region is the ‘diversity of experiences it offers’.
Interstingly, Jessie thinks it earns a spot on the UK bucket list for 2024 because of its delicious food offerings.
‘It’s understandably popular with adventure and hiking enthusiasts, with plenty of breathtaking scenery to discover. But there’s more to this part of the UK than its fantastic walks,’ Jessie says.
‘If you’re a foodie then it’s an absolute haven for fine dining, with an impressive 10 Michelin-starred restaurants and a plethora of other award-winning restaurants – from cosy gastropubs to high-end restaurants.
‘It’s also a fantastic travel destination for some of the UK’s best luxury hotels and spas. Even if you’ve visited before, the Lake District is a place you can visit time and time again, and have a different experience each time.’
‘Cambridge is one of my favourite cities to visit in the UK and if you haven’t yet visited, I’d definitely recommend adding it to your 2024 UK bucket list,’ says Jessie.
‘Cambridge, renowned for its prestigious university, is a quintessential English city steeped in history and intellectual charm.
‘Its architectural splendour is showcased in the university’s ancient colleges, like King’s College and its iconic chapel.
‘Don’t miss the opportunity to go punting along the serene River Cam for a unique perspective of these historic buildings and lush gardens.’
Jessie also suggests visiting the Fitzwilliam Museum and timing your trip there to coincide with the Cambridge Folk Festival.
‘With a number of truly wonderful hotels, restaurants and cosy cafés, I think this city is a must on any UK bucket list,’ Jessie says.
Up next, is a destination some of us might not be familiar with, despite it once being the backdrop to iconic 1960s TV show The Prisoner, but is well worth the trip.
Jessie tells Metro: ‘For a slice of Italy in the UK, I’d recommend visiting the delightful Portmeirion in Wales. Designed by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, this unique village is styled like an Italianate resort, showcasing vibrant Mediterranean colours and whimsical design.
‘This fairytale village blends art and architecture with stunning natural landscapes, including exotic gardens and serene beaches. It really doesn’t feel like it belongs in the UK!
‘I’d recommend exploring its picturesque squares, charming cottages, and boutique shops. Beyond its aesthetic allure, Portmeirion also hosts cultural events and offers outdoor activities like woodland walks and coastal explorations.’
‘From a slice of Italy in the UK to a slice of the Caribbean, the Isles of Scilly is a true hidden gem with an almost subtropical feel,’ says Jessie.
Situated just off the coast of Cornwall — a beloved UK staycation spot — Jessie explains it has ‘crystal-clear azure waters, white sandy beaches, and a tranquil, slower pace of life’.
‘I love that it really feels like a paradise far removed from mainland Britain,’ she adds.
‘I’m sure that nature lovers will be in their element here, with abundant wildlife, including rare birds and seals, as well as lush and diverse landscapes. The islands offer a variety of activities like walking, snorkelling, and exploring historic sites.’
Another destination in the abundance of offerings Scotland has is the Cairngorms.
Its national park is the second largest in the UK and boasts stunning scenery and wildlife.
Jessie says: ‘It boasts a diverse landscape of ancient forests, rolling hills, rugged mountains, and crystal-clear lochs. This vast wilderness is home to an array of wildlife, including red deer and golden eagles.
‘As I’m sure you can imagine, the park offers endless outdoor activities, from hiking and mountain biking to skiing and snowboarding in winter. For those seeking tranquillity, I think the park’s sweeping vistas and quiet, natural beauty provide a perfect backdrop.’
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