Top 40 UK staycations to enjoy before you're 40

New research has revealed the 40 UK travel experiences to try before you turn 40 – including a night under Northumberland’s International Dark Sky Park, a road trip along Scotland’s North Coast 500 and Birmingham’s Balti Triangle – as shortlisted by travel experts and voted on by Brits.

Canal boats set off from the Melbourne Arms on Pocklington Canal to navigate a new two-mile stretch of the canal
Canal boats set off from the Melbourne Arms on Pocklington Canal to navigate a new two-mile stretch of the canal

The research, commissioned by bank NatWest to launch of their new Buy Now Pay Later product, found 84% of the nation admitted there are many places they have ‘yet to explore’ in the UK, with 56% keen to rectify this before they reach the big 4-0.

Other experiences include walking round the picturesque village of Portmeirion, Wales, and visiting Devon and Dorset’s stunning Jurassic Coast to discover prehistoric fossils.

Top 40 UK travel experiences to try before you're 40 are ...

Stay the night at the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park and stargaze into the darkest skies in England

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    Take the ultimate road trip on Scotland’s North Coast 500 and see spectacular wildlife, landscape and imposing Dunrobin Castle

    Travel to Birmingham’s Balti Triangle, the culinary birthplace of the famous Balti, for a uniquely British-Asian foodie experience

    Explore the UK’s 2,000 miles of canals and rivers with a staycation on a canal boat

    Learn bushcraft and survival skills on a wilderness course in the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District

    Go seal spotting for common and grey seals at Blakeney Point Nature Reserve

    Bask in the early morning sunshine on the golden sands of Porthcurno Beach after an overnight stay in Cornwall

    Savour world class English wines and book a vineyard tour in Kent

    Explore the Puzzlewood in the Forest Of Dean, the landscape that inspired Tolkien’s ‘Middle Earth’

    Climb the basalt steps of the Giant’s Causeway in Country Antrim, Northern Ireland

    Swim in the crystal-clear waters of Pentle Bay, Tresco, and stay by the white sandy shores on the Isles of Scilly

    Go hiking in the vast, wild Epping Forest, Essex, and get back to nature in a camping pod

    Take a stroll round the picturesque and colourful Italian style village of Portmeirion, Wales

    Watch the headline act at Glastonbury Festival, Somerset

    Hire a traditional punt and sail under the Bridge of Sighs on the River Cam, Cambridge

    Visit the Turner Contemporary Gallery in the trendy and kitsch seaside town of Margate, Kent

    Enjoy nature with a touch of luxury whilst glamping in the New Forest

    Hike up Mount Snowdon in the Snowdonia National Park, Wales – the highest mountain in England and Wales

    Taste-test a cream tea from Devon and neighbouring Cornwall and decide which is best!

    Sandboard down ‘The Big Dipper’, Europe’s second largest sand dune, in Methyr Mawr, Wales

    Visit Devon and Dorset’s stunning Jurassic Coast to discover prehistoric fossils

    Tour a former mine 300ft underground at the Big Pit National Coal Museum, Blaenavon, Wales

    Breathe in the fresh sea air during a coastal hike along the Seven Sisters, Sussex

    Take a scenic drive from Glasgow to Fort William up the A82 for peak Scottish views

    Cycle along a former railway line, the Tissington trail, in the Peak District

    Join the parade at Notting Hill Carnival in London, celebrating the UK’s Caribbean history

    Get a taste of the upper class and visit the real Downton Abbey; Highclere Castle in Hampshire

    Take a trip to Windsor Castle, Berkshire, and see one of Her Majesty’s residences

    Book tickets to explore the magnificent palace, park and gardens at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

    Go on a whiskey tasting tour at a Scottish distillery in Campbeltown, Highland, Islay, Lowland or Speyside, in Scotland

    Relive history by walking the 5000-year-old Neolithic Ridgeway in Oxfordshire, the oldest road in England

    Hire a kayak off the beautiful beaches of the Isle of Lewis in Scotland

    Book a walking gin tour through the iconic pubs and artisan distilleries in Belfast

    Party in an old brick warehouse in the Baltic Triangle; the thriving cultural hub of Liverpool

    Take a trip to Manchester and dance the night away in one of the many gay bars lining Canal Street

    Join the lively London Pride parade as it goes through London

    Experience the history of the Thames at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London

    Travel on the oldest, steepest inland electric funicular railway in England on the Bridgnorth Cliff Railway

    Get an adrenaline rush whilst coasteering cliffs, caves and rockpools in Pembrokeshire

    Go surfing on the 19 miles of coastline in North Devon

    The shortlist of experiences was compiled by a group of travel experts including Cassam Looch from Culture Trip; Pat Riddell, editor of National Geographic Traveller (UK); Darren Burn, CEO of OutOfOfficeCom and TravelGay.com; MD and Wellness Travel Coach Dr Noreen Nguru and travel journalist Lisa Francesca Nand, before being put to a public poll of 2,000 Brits aged 18 to 40.

    Travel expert and journalist Lisa Francesca Nand said: “A life well lived is a life filled with experiences. Now more than ever, we’re all looking to invest in moments to create brilliant memories either solo or with friends and family, and travel is a key part of that – whether it’s getting back to nature, seeing amazing architecture, learning about new culture and history or just going on a fantastic road trip".

    The key motivation for wanting to travel the UK was that Brits simply enjoy being outdoors (40 per cent) while a quarter want to explore destinations to tick them off their bucket list and 22 per cent are keen on learning something new from their adventures.

    But finances are a top barrier for Brits to make their travel dreams a reality, with 34 per cent of adults saying cost is the key issue when choosing their travel experiences, as well as lack of transport (26 per cent), inconsistent weather (20 per cent) and being too busy (18 per cent).