Lonely Planet ranks the 500 most unmissable experiences and hidden gems across Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands for the first time in the ultimate UK travel hitlist

Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway has today (Tuesday 13 August) been named the UK’s third 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 third position, the Giant’s Causeway is described as “timeless” and “unrepeatable” and is beaten only by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which has been named the UK’s top experience, and London’s British Museum – described as “the envy of the world” – at number two.

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.”

In total, 20 sights and experiences in Northern Ireland feature in the list, from sipping Guinness at the Crown Liquor Saloon in Belfast at number 154, to spotting puffins and seals on Rathlin Island at 194.

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 Travelistbrings 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 the Giant’s Causeway one of the UK’s very best sights – alongside many other wonderful experiences in Northern Ireland including spotting puffins and seals on Rathlin Island and riding a boat through Co Fermanagh’s Marble Arch Caves.”

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