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UK Attractions to Add to Your Bucket List

Brimming with history, the UK offers travelers many exciting adventures. Whether you choose a day hike or plan to stroll over cobblestones, you will always find a site to explore. The United Kingdom bursts rich with tradition and modern conveniences. See ancient Roman sites, century-old castles, and architecture dating back to Medieval times.

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01Go back to prehistoric times at Stonehenge

Dusk at Stonehenge in the Spring jessicaphoto / Getty Images

Located 10 miles north of Salisbury, Stonehenge represents a prehistoric monument - an attraction so popular that visitors must buy a timed ticket to enter the site. Tourists first enter the visitor's center, which introduces guests to the site and how Stonehenge's megaliths were constructed during ancient times. Besides viewing the ancient stones, visitors also can explore Neolithic houses and ancient tools and implements used for everyday activities. Volunteers show how people used the tools from long ago. While you can't wander among the stones during the site's regular hours, you can reserve access in the early morning or late evening through the overseer of the site, English Heritage.

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02Admire the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London

Tower of London, view of the White Tower Maremagnum / Getty Images

Whether you want to regard it as a treasure vault or prison, the Tower of London is considered a top attraction historically. The World Heritage site sits along the Thames and is home to the White Tower, which was erected in 1078 by William the Conqueror. Amazing exhibits abound, including the unforgettable Crown Jewels. The Tower of London also features classic Yeoman tours.

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03Discover the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum

The Great Court, The British Museum, London, England Justin Pumfrey / Getty Images

Considered a top London attraction, the British Museum is the repository for the famous Rosetta Stone. The expansive museum holds a vast collection of over 13 million artifacts from all over the world, including places such as Egypt, Babylonia, the Roman Empire, and Greece. Dining and shopping are offered on-site as well.

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04Say hello to the penguins in Chester Zoo

Humboldt penguin pictured at Chester Zoo In The UK

Just a mile north of Chester City, Chester Zoo is the most-visited attraction outside of London in England. This family-friendly 125-acre menagerie is the home to 11,000 animals and award-winning gardens. Visitors can see the animals and tour the grounds via the zoo's monorail - a travel system that allows guests to see sites, such as the penguin pool and Chimpanzee Island. While you are in Chester, take time to explore the city's galleried walking paths known as Chester Rows. The city was established originally as a Roman fortress.

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05Take a boat trip to Lake District National Park

Misty October sunrise in Grasmere, in the English Lake District. 221A / Getty Images

The inspiration of some of England's best literary works, the land of Lake District National Park spans over 900 square miles. The site features some of the country's largest lakes as well as fells galore. You can also ascend Scafell Pike (3,210 feet), known as England's highest mountain. The villages dotting the area, such as Grasmere, are as charming as they are idyllic. Boat trips are also offered over Ullswater and Lake Windermere.

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06Visit Canterbury Cathedral and Canterbury Cathedral Lodge

Chapel filled with tombs and monuments, including the triple tomb to Lady Margaret Holland (who died in 1439) and husbands, in Canterbury, Kent, England. Bo Zaunders / Getty Images

Resting in the center of the city of Canterbury, the Canterbury Cathedral is considered the heart of English Christianity. You can take guided tours of the cathedral, whose building was inspired by St. Augustine, who converted Anglo-Saxons to the Christian faith in 597. To add to the experience, consider booking a room on the grounds at the Canterbury Cathedral Lodge. The city is also a great place to explore, playing host to refined dining and medieval buildings and galleries.

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07See the beautiful plants inside the Eden Project

Eden Sessions music concert at Eden Project eco visitor attraction in Cornwall, England. Nicole Kwiatkowski / Shutterstock.com

Take a detour from the UK's historical attractions for a while and visit the Eden Project. The attraction holds a unique collection of artificial biomes that plants from around the world. Sitting in a reclaimed quarry inside of Cornwall, this one-of-a-kind garden complex features large domed greenhouses that resemble igloos, with each futuristic structure holding thousands of plants, many of which thrive in Mediterranean or tropical settings.

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08Trek Cotswold Way in the Cotswolds

Color image depicting a traditional English village in the Cotswolds area of southwest England. The cosy little brick cottages line the narrow road, and there is also a quaint bridge spanning a little stream. Room for copy space. coldsnowstorm / Getty Images

The Cotswolds are the epitome of the English countryside and are therefore best explored on foot. Covering around 785 square miles, the area spans over some of the loveliest counties in England, including Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, and Somerset. Acclaimed as an "Area of Outstanding Beauty," the attraction is noted for its limestone, beech forests, and quaint towns and villages, such as Chipping Norton and Castle Combe. One of the best paths to explore is Cotswold Way, which provides stupendous views of the Vale of Evesham. You can catch the trail just about anywhere in the area.

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09View the art of the Dutch masters at the National Gallery

Trafalgar Square and The National Gallery Scott E Barbour / Getty Images

The second most visited attraction in London, the National Gallery displays a wide collection of paintings from around the world with particular emphasis on the European paintings covering the period of 1260 to 1920, especially Italian works and the art of the Dutch Masters. Leonardo da Vinci's Madonna and Child is an important work featured at the museum.

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10Attend a medieval fair at Warwick Castle

A female knight charging around an arena holding a rose flag on a horse at a reenactment of the war of the roses at Warwick castle. David Cardinez / Shutterstock.com

If you want to escape, for a while, to Medieval England, Warwick Castle is the place to go. The castle, which is in the city of Warwick next to River Avon, has been an exclusive landmark in the area for over 900 years. Warwick Castle holds reenactments of medieval-themed events, including demonstrations of Medieval jousting and Medieval-themed fairs. The setting is the perfect spot to set as your base for exploring Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, and the Cotswolds area.

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11Enter the dark hedges to Gracehill House

Road through the Dark Hedges tree tunnel at sunset in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom miroslav_1 / Getty Images

Located less than an hour's drive from Belfast, Northern Ireland, the Dark Hedges was made additionally famous in The Game of Thrones. The beech trees that represent the Dark Hedges were planted 3 centuries ago, serve as sentries, lining the way to Gracehill House. Erected circa 1775, James Stuart, who built the estate, named it for his wife, Grace Lynd. Today, the entrance that leads to the house also takes visitors to a golf course and popular dining establishment.

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12Amble across the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is a rope suspension bridge near Ballintoy, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Peter Unger / Getty Images

The most famous rope bridge in Northern Ireland, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, is open year-round, weather permitting. It is near Ballintoy in County Antrim and links the mainland to Carrickrede, a small island. The rope bridge, which is 65 feet wide and 98 feet over the rocks, is not for the faint-hearted.

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13Climb and hike in Snowdonia National Park

Obsolete lighthouse on this island of myth and legend. Image recorded at sunset. DaveBolton / Getty Images

One of the most beautiful natural attractions in Wales, Snowdonia National Park is a popular hiker's paradise in the UK. The park's range of mountains in the county of Gwynedd highlight 14 peaks above 3,000 feet. Visitors travel by train up the most well-known mountain, the 3,546-foot Snowdon. The vacation-friendly destination attracts around 4 million visitors annually. Snowdonia National Park features approximately 1,4780 miles of trails, including activities such as horse riding and mountain biking.

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14See the great hall at Edinburgh Castle

Long exposure image of Edinburgh Castle in the evening. HPuschmann / Getty Images

An icon of Scottish history, Edinburgh Castle has been voted a top UK Heritage Attraction and is the number one paid visitor attraction in Scotland. The oldest part of the castle, St. Margaret's Chapel, dates back to the 1100s, and the Great Hall of the complex was built in 1510 by James IV. The castle houses the Crown Jewels of Scotland, also known as the Honours.

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15View the splendid wood carvings at Windsor Castle

You really can't take a trip to the UK without visiting Windsor Castle. Located in the historic town of Windsor, the castle is a quick ride by train from London. The largest inhabited castle in the world, Windsor Castle has been the home base for the royal family for over 1,000 years. Constructed by William the Conqueror in 1078, castle highlights include the State Apartments featuring the Queen's Gallery and splendid wood carvings and painted ceilings. The fortress serves as a working palace for the queen as well as her Royal residence and private home.

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