With a name and a voice that has become synonymous with wildlife, nature, and travel, the great Sir David Attenborough is as much a global expert as he is a global icon. In his 60+ years as a broadcast journalist, the UK native has notched up more stamps on his passport and film rolls in his camera that the rest of us combined can merely dream of.
If there's any living man on Earth who knows the north pole from the south, and the barren Saraha from the flourishing Amazon Rainforest, it is without a doubt Sir David. So, for someone who's been there, done that more times than our planet has revolved around the run, which destinations stand up above the rest?
10 Far North Queensland, Australia
It’s no surprise that Far North Queensland is Sir David Attenborough’s favorite spot, because anyone who’s had the privilege to check it out is likely to say the same. Following a visit, the great man himself labeled Australia’s tropical Far North as “the most extraordinary place on earth” (flightcentre.co.uk), and it’s not hard to see why - it’s the only place on Earth that features two side-by-side World Heritage sites, the sprawling Daintree Rainforest and the renowned, biologically diverse Great Barrier Reef.
Just a few hours’ drive further south sits some of the world’s most picturesque beaches as well - the Whitsundays - so why not knock it all out in one trip?
9 London, England
As Sir David Attenborough’s home city, it’d be impossible to leave the British capital off of this list. Not only is this his familiar locale (in case you haven’t been able to decipher that infamous accent), but according to the man himself, it has plenty to offer in a tourist sense as well - ''London has fine museums, the British Library is one of the greatest library institutions in the world... It's got everything you want, really.'' (telegraph.co.uk)
It’s not like you needed David to tell you to visit London though, did you? There’s a reason why it sits atop so many bucket lists.
8 Wales, UK
Sharing the western side of the main UK landmass with the border of England, Wales is a place of truly underrated beauty. It’s always been one of David Attenborough’s vacation destinations, partly because of the convenience but also due to its unique organisms such as trilobites and graptolites.
As the television legend states himself, “My favourite place to go on holiday has always been the west of Wales. That stems back to the time when I was in the Royal Navy in the 1940s” (via Travel Weekly)
7 The Amazon Rainforest
Alongside the Great Barrier Reef in Far North Queensland, the monstrous South American Amazon rainforest is, according to Sir David Attenborough, one of the “two incredible places I never want to contemplate not visiting again.” (Travel Weekly)
The rainforest, which is by far and away the world’s largest, spans over two million square miles across Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. It plays host to a plethora of rare wildlife, unique ecosystems, and incredible biodiversity. For any nature lover, the Amazon should sit at the top of the bucket list.
6 Cley Marshes, Norfolk, England
Over on the eastern side of England, Mr. Wildlife himself David Attenborough considers Norfolk’s Cley Marshes to be “one of the great places in Britain to see wildlife” (Travel Weekly). Only a few hours drive from London, it can provide a much-needed breath of fresh air from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
The great man has spoken about how this area, although protected, is severely at risk of change due to its proximity to the coast and effects of climate change. Attenborough has also stated the ironic pleasantry that the Norfolk Wildlife Trust was founded the same year he was born - 1926.
5 The Galapagos Islands
Belonging to the South American nation of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands are a world-renown volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean which offer marine biodiversity unlike any other location on the planet. Its list of native animals is as long as a child’s letter to Santa, with species such as the flightless cormorant, Galapagos flamingo, Galapagos penguin, and Darwin finch just a few of the stunning creatures.
When asked by Travel Weekly which place Sir David would recommend above all others for nature enthusiasts, his response was simple: “I would recommend the Galapagos Islands to anybody if they have the means to go there. Flying over the volcanoes in a helicopter, though logistically difficult, was such a thrilling thing to be able to do.”
4 Leicestershire, England
The landlocked county nested in the English midlands has been a favorite destination for Sir David Attenborough for decades, having collected his first fossils from the area back when he was just a young boy of six or seven - many of which are on display these days at Leicester University (Travel Weekly). As told by the great man, the area was abundant with Jurassic rocks, which he loved.
While it’s certainly not a revered holiday destination like your Londons and New Yorks, Attenborough's love for Leicestershire comes from the personal significance it holds.
3 Skeleton Coast, Namibia
Sir David Attenborough does admit that, unfortunately, travelers are widely put off from visiting certain parts of Africa thanks to its representation in the media. He counters that in Travel Africa Mag, however, saying that despite there being places of which our judgment is clouded, like the Atlas Mountains, “there’s still so much to explore. Me, I want to explore the mythical tundra of the Skeleton Coast in Namibia. There is so much to see and do.”
The Skeleton Coast is as barren as it is majestic, with striking red hues and a vast, dazzling contrast between sand and sea.
You’d be hard-pressed to find any fan of David Attenborough who hasn’t binge-watched Planet Earth I and Planet Earth II time and time again. In the 'Jungles' episode of Planet Earth II, Attenborough ventures into the tropical rainforests of the small, yet incredibly biodiverse nation of Madagascar.
It’s no secret that the great man has an undying affinity for all of Earth’s creatures, big and small - and, incredibly, more than half of the world’s species call the small African island home. It’s a wildlife haven unlike any other on the planet, so it makes perfect sense why it sits high up on Sir David’s list.
For the final stop on our Attenborough-inspired journey around the world, let’s hope that you’ve packed your mittens and coat, cause it’s gonna be a cold one. When filming Planet Earth and Blue Planet, Attenborough and his team made the long journey down to the south pole territory of Antarctica.
Considering that it’s such a vast, mostly desolate, isolated, and largely untouched landscape, the wildlife that struts around in the world’s coldest regions are a little camera shy. For anyone who does dare make the trip, however, Emperor penguins, killer whales, snow petrels, and many more stunning species await.