UK scores 34 spots in top 500 best places in the world to visit, securing more than any other country


According to leading global travel authority Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel List released today, Petra in Jordan has been named as the number 1 place in the world to experience, outdoors adventure dominate the rankings and a total of 34 of the world’s best travel experiences can be found in the UK, making it home to more of the planet’s must-see places than anywhere else.

Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel List is the 2nd edition of the travel powerhouse’s bestselling coffee table book. It’s the definitive wish-list of the 500 most thrilling, memorable and interesting travel experiences in the world – ranked in order of brilliance.

“We’ve all got a list of places that we want to see for ourselves: places friends have enthused about, places we’ve read about, dreamed about. This is our list,” says Lonely Planet.

“And this second edition contains over 200 new entries,” the publisher boasts, with the highest new entry Ireland’s West Atlantic Way, in at No. 21. According to Lonely Planet the experiences and destinations are “a mix of knock-out new openings, sights that have upped their game, or places more relevant to the way we travel now.”

“We also changed the way we calculated the list,” says Lonely Planet’s VP of Publishing Piers Pickard. “For this edition we rewarded extra points to sights that are managing tourism sustainably.”

The Top 10 travel experiences on Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel List 2nd ed are…

  1. Petra, Jordan – channel your inner adventurer and explore the enigmatic “lost city”
  2. The Galápagos Islands – see the islands that changed the course of science
  3. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia – take life lessons from the traditional owners of the world’s most dramatic rock
  4. Okavango Delta, Botswana – experience slow travel on the sprawling flooded ecosystem
  5. Yellowstone National Park, USA – sniff out geysers and grizzlies in the world’s largest geothermal area
  6. Lake Bled, Slovenia – emulate erstwhile pilgrims by journeying to the planet’s most photogenic lake
  7. Iguazú Falls, Argentina-Brazil – marvel at the astounding power and furious force of this natural wonder
  8. Temples of Angkor, Cambodia – find Hindu heaven at the sprawling monument to devotion
  9. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia – with clouds above and clouds below strike out on the salt of the earth
  10. Annapurna Circuit, Nepal – take the classic Nepalese teahouse trek

A showcase of the Top 10 destinations featured on the list can be viewed at

There’s a decidedly alfresco flavour to Lonely Planet’s list, with almost half of the dream recommendations outdoors or wildlife experiences, reflecting the growing desire from travellers to experience the natural world.

The UK provides a delicious mix of open-air experiences and cultural highlights. Home to England’s deepest lake and highest peak, the beautiful Lake District topped the list of UK experiences ranking at No. 40 and natural attractions including the long-distance Wales Coast Path, which traces the Celtic countries entire coastline, scored the UK’s highest new entry on the list polling at #82.

While UK cultural attractions such as the British Museum, beat some of the world’s most iconic sights including the Eiffel Tower, Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia and China’s Terracotta Warriors.

The following brilliant UK travel experiences made the list:

Lake District

Lake District

St Paul’s Cathedral

British Museum

Scotland’s Northeast

Wales Coast Path

Christ Church

Giant’s Causeway

Tate Modern

Jurassic Coast

Tower of London

Natural History Museum

Brecon Beacons

Hadrian’s Wall


Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway

V&A Museum

Dundee’s waterfront

West Highland Way

Stirling Castle

Glen Coe

Royal Albert Dock

Seven Sisters Chalk Cliffs

St David’s Cathedral

Loch Lomond

Titanic Belfast


St Fagans National History Museum

Castle Howard

Skara Brae

York Minster

Edinburgh’s Royal Mile

Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

Bath’s Roman Baths

Castle Howard

Tower of London


How did Lonely Planet rank the 500 best places in the world?

The longlist was compiled from all the highlights found in every Lonely Planet guidebook over the years. Each attraction and sight recommended by Lonely Planet authors was included, before being whittled down to a shortlist. Everyone in the Lonely Planet community was then asked to vote on their 20 top travel experiences. With hundreds of votes cast, we ended up with a score for each entry and a definitive ranked list of the top 500 places to see around the world.

Did they take into account those places managing tourism sustainably?

During the scoring process Lonely Planet used this list: and cross referenced the site or destination against it. If it was recognised on that forum the nomination received bonus points. Additionally, Lonely Planet maintains an in-house list of over-touristed places and sites and any places on that list had a minus percentage subtracted from their total.

Lonely Planet’s VP of Print Publishing, Piers Pickard, said: “After seven months of staying at home, now’s the perfect time to start thinking about where and how to travel once normality returns. In putting together this book, we were excited by changes in both the ‘where’ and the ‘how’. We added 200 new entries into our list of the world’s Top 500. And we were both surprised and reassured by just how many of the Top 500 are working hard to create more sustainable visitor experiences.”

In addition, Lonely Planet will be giving users of its travel App Guides by Lonely Planet access to free destination content to over 100 locations featured on Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel List. Guides by Lonely Planet is available for download on iOS and Android. More information can be found here –

Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel List 2nd Ed
October 2020 | £19.99
Purchase at


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