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Bucket-list adventures: Dream trips to make you feel like a famous explorer

© Shutterstock / Sophie DoverFitz Roy Mountain, Patagonia
Fitz Roy Mountain, Patagonia

If you could choose just one place to visit, anywhere in the world, where would it be? What if money was no object or if you had to make a list of dream destinations you are determined to see in your lifetime?
Would it be a luxury hut on the Indian Ocean in the Maldives, or a cruise to Antarctica to follow in the footsteps of Scott and Shackleton?
Whatever your idea of a bucket-list adventure, we’ve rounded up some of the best once-in-a-lifetime trips to inspire you.

Kudadoo © Shutterstock / Video Media Studi
Kudadoo Island resort


Kudadoo is a five-star private island in the Maldives with 15 overwater villas and 15 underwater butlers to match. The adult-only resort is packed with one-of-a-kind experiences and bespoke indulgences.
Perfect for novice and experienced divers alike, you’ll have your very own underwater concierge to take you diving at whatever time of day.
Dive with Pro Divers, a PADI five-star dive centre and their experienced multilingual PADI instructors and you’ll have access to more than 60 nearby dive sites, exploring caves, drop offs and shipwrecks, and watching mantas.
Prices start from £1,124 per night booking through

Siyam World, Maldives

Siyam World is an unapologetically quirky, all-embracing five-star all-inclusive island destination that transcends cultures and borders to offer guests an ever-expanding array of never-seen-before experiences – from the Indian Ocean’s biggest floating water park to the Maldives’ first resort horse ranch.
Barrhead Travel has seven nights on premium all-inclusive departing Glasgow on July 17, 2024 staying in an overwater villa with pool and slide including transfers for £3,219 per person. Book with

Gobi desert

One of the traditional yurts, known as gers © SYSTEM
One of the traditional yurts, known as gers

Delve into the local Mongolian culture and heritage, staying in a luxury yurt on a visit to the Gobi desert. Flanked by beautiful peaks of the Gobi Altai Mountains and bordering the largest national park in the heart of Mongolia’s boundless Gobi desert, Three Camel Lodge is a wilderness oasis that honours the country’s rich cultural heritage, surrounded by dramatic landscapes where horseback remains the primary mode of transport.

The luxurious rooms are traditional yurts (known as gers) furnished with cosy wool carpets, plush camel-hair blankets and hand-carved furniture. Explorers are given opportunities to learn about Mongolian traditions and customs. Other activities include nomadic archery, yoga, mountain biking, horse riding and cookery.

Price available upon request.
or call 800 998 6634 or 609 860 9008


© Shutterstock
Chinstrap penguins in Antarctica

Follow in James Weddell and Sir Ernest Shackleton’s wake to discover skyscraper-sized icebergs and marine wildlife on a breathtaking cruise to Antarctica.
This 15-day tour takes guests on a trip to one of the most remote regions of Antarctica, the Weddell Sea – a place where waters have been declared by scientists as the clearest on Earth. Tour highlights aboard the polar expedition vessel the Sylvia Earle on a full-board basis include the chance to witness humpback whales, Weddell seals and Adelie penguins, plus guided hikes, and boat safaris. Journeys will be facilitated by incredible insights from experts in the field.
Price from £11,399pp, departing March 23 2024 for 15 days.


© Shutterstock / Sophie Dover
Fitz Roy Mountain, Patagonia

This Gentle Adventure in Aysen (five-night, four-day) tour offers the chance to explore the heart of Patagonia in a little-known region with glacier-filled horizons. On this action-packed road trip, you have the chance to kayak to the Marble Caves of Puerto Rio Tranquilo. Drift through smooth arches that have been carved out over thousands of years, where the water beneath is almost turquoise and the light reflects across the pinks, blues and greens that run through the marble.
Prices start from £2,240.50 per person. See

Circumnavigate the Arctic circle and explore the magic of Svalbard on board tall ship Noorderlicht. A bucket-list location, special permits are required to navigate this snowy wilderness and sailing is one of the least impactful ways to discover this enchanting land. Eyes out for whales, polar bears and the phenomenal Northern Lights.
16 days’ full board £5,700pp departing July 15.

Northern Lights

© Shutterstock / Denis Belitsky
Northern lights and young woman on mountain peak at night

Since 2010, huge shoals of herring have overwintered in the fjords around Tromso, Norway, which has attracted many orca and humpback whales. This photography expedition has been timed to give guests the greatest chance of seeing the magnificent cetaceans, but also to capture the dancing light show of the Aurora Borealis.
From £4,995pp based on two sharing, including five nights’ accommodation, most meals, transfers and guided activities. Flights extra. Depart November 8 2024., or call 01962 302086.


One of the Royal Caribbean boats, Icon of The Seas

No list of dream holidays would be complete without a Caribbean cruise. Royal Caribbean are the undisputed masters of the luxury cruise and their seven-night Bahamas & Perfect Day Cruise is not to be missed.
Leaving from New Jersey on April 7, highlights onboard their Anthem of the Seas ship include visiting a lighthouse on an island in the ocean and a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see a partial solar eclipse.
From £1,133 per person

Climb aboard expedition boat Tecla in Ullapool for an adventure to Iceland, exploring the Orkneys, Shetlands and Faroes before sailing across the North Atlantic. One for true adventurers, this is an incredible chance to explore as our ancestors once did.
22 days’ full board £4,485pp departing June 19.

New Zealand
Home to some of the most stunning natural wonders, spread across its two main islands, the north and the south, New Zealand’s remote location in the far-flung tip of the southern hemisphere means it is perfect for a once-in-a-lifetime road trip. A 13-night New Zealand Grand Traveller Self-Drive tour is priced from £2,979pp based on two sharing, this includes return flights, motel accommodation, car hire throughout, tour pack, private transfers to and from Auckland airport and the Interislander ferry from Wellington to Picton.
New Zealand Sky, 01343 310581,

There’s no better place to start an Aussie bucket list adventure than Cairns in North Queensland. Highlights include rainforest lodges, a four-wheel-drive adventure, an indigenous walking tour, stunning waterfalls and, of course, Australia’s incredible wildlife and beaches.
Far North Escapes offers various options including the nine-day 4WD Cape York Tour – Safari from £3,204pp, excluding international flights. Visit

If getting on your feet is your idea of a dream trip, then why not explore the magnificent, diverse landscape of Greece’s largest island with this seven-night walking holiday from tour operator Jules Verne. From roaming through its olive groves, majestic mountains and ancient villages, this is a stunning holiday.
Prices from £1,845, with departures in April and October 2024. Visit or call 0203 553 3722 to speak to a Jules Verne specialist.


© PA
Disney Dreams night-time show at Disneyland Paris

For pure magic, a visit to Disneyland is hard to match, and with the five-star Disneyland Hotel just reopened after a full makeover, perhaps this is the year to make that dream visit. From Cinderella to Frozen, The Sword in the Stone and Moana, guests at Disneyland Hotel will meet the characters and be part of an immersive fairytale experience.
Reservations are now open at

You don’t need to travel the length of the planet for a bucket-list adventure. Scotland is one of the most stunning destinations on the planet and, with multi-generational trips continuing to rise in popularity, a family together could be the ideal holiday. One of the very best is a rural retreat in Aberdeenshire at the Scottish baronial mansion of Candacraig, former home of Billy Connolly.