From extraordinary medieval castles in Northern Ireland to the beautiful lochs of Scotland to awesome aqueducts in Wales to some of the most well-known icons in the world in London – here are 61 magnificent landmarks of the UK that you’ll be wanting to put on your travel bucket list.
Landmarks of the UK – England
Table of Contents
- 1 Landmarks of the UK – England
- 1.1 1. Stonehenge
- 1.2 2. Big Ben
- 1.3 3. Hadrian’s Wall
- 1.4 4. Avebury Stone Circle
- 1.5 5. Windsor Castle
- 1.6 6. White Cliffs of Dover
- 1.7 7. The Angel of the North
- 1.8 8. The Eden Project
- 1.9 9. Glastonbury Tor
- 1.10 10. Tower Bridge
- 1.11 11. Winchester Cathedral
- 1.12 12. Picadilly Circus
- 1.13 13. Blackpool Tower
- 1.14 14. St Paul’s Cathedral
- 1.15 15. Brighton’s Royal Pavilion
- 1.16 16. Nelson’s Column
- 1.17 17. The Seven Sisters Cliffs
- 1.18 18. Buckingham Palace
- 1.19 19. Brighton Pier
- 1.20 20. The Shard
- 1.21 21. York Minster
- 1.22 22. Natural History Museum
- 1.23 23. Borough Market
- 1.24 24. Palace of Westminster
- 1.25 25. The Old Royal Naval College
- 1.26 26. The Tate Modern Column
- 1.27 27. Blenheim Palace – England
- 1.28 28. Tower of London
- 1.29 29. Knebworth House
- 1.30 30. Sky Garden at the Walkie Talkie
- 1.31 31. Kensington Palace
- 1.32 32. Warwick Castle
- 1.33 33. Malmesbury Abbey and Gardens
- 1.34 34. 10 Downing Street
- 1.35 35. 30 St Mary Axe or The Gherkin
- 1.36 36. Battersea Power Station
- 1.37 37. Caerhays Castle and Gardens
- 1.38 38. Westminster Abbey
- 1.39 39. St. Michael’s Mount
- 1.40 40. British Museum
- 1.41 41. The London Eye
- 2 Landmarks in Wales
- 3 Scotland Landmarks
- 4 Northern Ireland Landmarks
- 5 Who Paid for What in this Post
This iconic British monument easily makes it to the top of the list of impressive landmarks in England. The prehistoric wonder is one of England’s most visited monuments and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Built over 5,000 years ago, the stone circle for which Stonehenge is best known was erected around 2,500 BC. Each stone is about 4 metres high, just over 2 metres wide and weighs about 25 tons.
Stonehenge is owned by the Crown but managed by English Heritage and became a UNESCO site in 1986. Today nearly 1 million visitors head to Stonehenge each year and crowds flock to see the Winter and Summer solstices set in each year.
It is possible to visit Stonehenge for free but alas you will struggle to capture a good photo from that distance. The standard tour of Stonehenge involves a 2.6 mile one way circular path with a handset filling you in on the history of Stonehenge.
The tour does bring visitors quite close to Stonehenge so it is possible to get some great photos. As always queues at Stonehenge can be lengthy so you may want to book a skip the line ticket for Stonehenge.
2. Big Ben
Big Ben is probably the world’s most famous clock, and when you see it, you’ll know why. The gothic architecture of the long silhouette is impressive and makes for great photo opportunities.
As the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, Big Ben is to London. Big Ben is actually a nickname that stuck. The name refers to both the clock and the clock tower that sits at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London. The tower is actually named the Elizabeth Tower. Big Ben is the name of the large bell within the tower, giving it the name it is recognised by today.
The tower was completed in 1859. At that time it was the largest and most accurate clock in the world. Big Ben became a UNESCO listed site in 1987.
In August of 2017 Big Ben was silenced. This market the beginning of a four year project to fully repair and restore bot the clock and the clocktower. They also plan to install a lift which should make life much easier for those charged with keeping Big Ben in good condition ongoing.
The exceptions to the silencing are New Year’s Eve and Remembrance Day. There are no public tours available during the restoration period. However, one clock face can still be seen through the scaffolding.
Discover how this tower came to be and it’s Royal history with a walking tour of Westminster.
3. Hadrian’s Wall
Hadrian’s Wall was built in AD122 and the ruins of this UNESCO World Heritage Site are still standing today. The wall stretches for 73 miles from Wallsend to Bowness. Hadrian’s Wall is very popular with walkers as there is much to explore from old Roman forts to stunning landscapes to traditional English pubs.
4. Avebury Stone Circle
Like Stonehenge, Avebury is a prehistoric site featuring a stone circle. Avebury Henge is actually larger than Stonehenge and is the largest stone circle in England. It was originally made up of around 100 stones. Avebury is part of a range of ceremonial sites that are located around the town of Avebury.
5. Windsor Castle
You can’t travel to the UK without a visit to Windsor Castle. Not only is this the Queen’s official residence but it’s the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world.
Known for its spectacular architecture and association with the royal family, you will be left captivated by the beauty of this castle. And if castles are your thing check out the best castles in Cornwall.
Lovely Windsor Castle is not only The Queen’s home away from home in the United Kingdom and it is also where Harry and Meghan were married.
Windsor is just over 25 miles west of London and easily reached by train on a 35-minute journey.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The chapel is open to visitors Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
⇒ As Windsor Castle is a working palace it is subject to last-minute closures. It is generally open most days between 10 am and 4 pm and closes at 3 pm in the Winter. Buy your Windsor Castle tickets ahead online to skip the queues.
6. White Cliffs of Dover
Chalky white cliffs hugging the shoreline of Kent have got to be one of the most incredible natural views in England. The cliffs became a signal of hope for troops returning from World Wars across the English Channel. These days, they’re a symbol of the beauty of England.
There are also other great things to see along the cliffs, including the Victorian South Foreland Lighthouse. If you are heading to the White Cliffs of Dover, stay and explore Kent for a few days, and stay in one of the gorgeous boutique hotels in Kent.
7. The Angel of the North
This sculpture which stands over the city of Newcastle is probably the most famous piece of art in England. Created by Anthony Gormley, the statue was erected in 1998 in Gateshead. The Angel of the North is 20 metres high and 54 metres wide and thought to be the largest sculpture of an angel of anywhere in the world.
8. The Eden Project
The Eden Project is a large garden in Cornwall which is within tropical biomes. The area on which it sits is as large as thirty football fields. The Eden Project is a registered charity and its biomes house the largest rainforest in captivity in the world. In addition to this, the Eden Project runs exhibitions and events throughout the year.
9. Glastonbury Tor
Representing rich Pagan history and legend, you can see this unique structure from afar in the English countryside of Glastonbury. Tor means cone-shaped hill in Celtic and that’s exactly what you can expect to see when visiting this English landmark.
On top of the hill, you will find the magnificent ruins of a chapel dedicated to St Michael in the 14th Century. Visiting the monument is free of charge but if you would like to understand all aspects of this sacred site then book a private day tour to ensure that you get the full experience.
10. Tower Bridge
London is known for its grand structures and bridges and Tower Bridge has got to be one of the most picturesque of them all. With its fairytale look, the bridge is equally as beautiful at night when it is lit up, reflecting its beauty onto the River Thames.
Completed in 1894, Tower Bridge is perhaps the most iconic of all of London’s bridges. Let’s start with the fact that it is often confused with London Bridge, best known from children’s nursery rhymes.
Tower Bridge is quite beautiful whereas London Bridge is a bit more of a plain Jane. So London Bridge has the brand name fame but Tower Bridge is the supermodel in real life.
The bridge was originally painted in chocolate brown but in 1977 it was repainted in blue, white, and red for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. It looked so fantastic that those colours have remained.
Tower Bridge is also famous for the fact that it is both a suspension and a drawbridge – and that it continues to lift every day. The bridge is 244 metres long and is 42 metres above the Thames. It is both a road and a footbridge and 40,000 people cross it every day.
Unsurprisingly, the bridge takes its name its neighbour the Tower of London.
Take a look behind the scenes at the famous bridge and discover areas such as the machinery room, which houses the hydraulic system that allows the bridge to rise for river traffic.
Plan Your Visit to Tower Bridge to see if you can watch the bridge lift – check the website to find out the dates and times for scheduled bridge lifts.
Entry to Tower Bridge gets you into the engine room, up to some amazing views, and best of all access to the glass floor if you don’t suffer from vertigo. I highly recommend visiting the bridge for the views and that glass floor.
11. Winchester Cathedral
Construction of this world-famous cathedral was begun in 1079 by William the Conqueror. Indeed, Winchester was the first city which he visited after 1066 as it was the location of the treasury at the time.
William was keen to show the Saxons how amazingly advanced the Normans were and the construction of Winchester Cathedral was one of the ways – something we can still appreciate today.
Winchester Cathedral is still a working cathedral and a critical part of the Winchester community. The exterior of the building is stunning.
I found late afternoon was the best time to photograph the front of the cathedral. The interior is also very photogenic – particularly the stained glass windows.
Free guided tours of Winchester Cathedral run on the hour between 10 and 3. I took one of these and it is the best way to find out more about the Cathedral and to find some good photo opportunities.
It is easy to miss the lovely relatively newly restored stained glass windows in the east of the building.
Winchester Cathedral is literally in the heart of historic Winchester and almost impossible to miss. The Cathedral is open every day of the year.
There is no fee for those who are only coming to worship but there is a fee for those of us wishing to come and take photos.
Although the Cathedral is open every day, there are events on etc so do check which parts of Winchester Cathedral are and aren’t open on the day that you plan to visit.
The website for Winchester Cathedral is excellent and will tell you everything you need to know for a great visit. And once you buy your ticket it is valid for a year so you can visit the Cathedral at different times of the day and in different lights for photos.
And Winchester Cathedral now appears on the British £10 note – next to Jane Austen appropriately.
12. Picadilly Circus
Picadilly Circus is located in the heart of London and perhaps best known for its bright neon advertising display. The circus is also home to the Eros fountain. It is very easy to find as exiting Picadilly Circus tube station will bring visitors into the heart of Picadilly Circus.
Picadilly Circus is located very close to several well known parts of London. On one side is Regent Street, filled with some of the most prestigious shopping in London and famed for its beautiful architecture. Shaftesbury Avenue takes visitors into the heart of Soho and Chinatown. And Leicester Square is only a five minute walk away.
13. Blackpool Tower
Located on the shores of Lancashire, this 158m red tower is a much-loved British icon. Built-in 1894 and inspired by the Eiffel Tower, you can enjoy panoramic views of the area from the top of the structure. There is even a glass floor for the brave souls willing to walk along and see the streets below them.
The tower also features an impressive ballroom and dungeon which you can see when you visit. Avoid the queues on the day and book your entry tickets now.
14. St Paul’s Cathedral
This gorgeous Cathedral is a must-see in London, even if you are only there for a few days. Situated on Ludgate Hill, the highest part of the city, this English landmark is a gorgeous addition to London’s skyline.
For over 1400 years St Paul’s Cathedral has stood at the highest point of the City of London on Ludgate Hill. Do remember the actual City of London is a very small part – more like a suburb – of what the rest of the world thinks of as London so this still holds true.
St Paul’s has dominated the London skyline for over 300 years with its famous dome. It is 111 metres high and was the highest building in London until 1963. It is still the highest dome in the world.
St Paul’s has been home to some of the most historic religious events in English history from the funeral of Winston Churchill to the wedding of Price Charles and Lady Diana.
The highlight of a visit to St Paul’s Cathedral London is climbing the 560 steps to the top of the Dome and the Whispering Gallery. This circular enclosure provides fantastic views of the inside of the Cathedral. The outdoor viewing platform offers fantastic views of London.
If you’re visiting on a weekday try to time your trip for 5pm when a choral evensong takes place. The church bell’s at St Pauls are rung on Sundays.
Book your ticket for St Paul’s Cathedral online before you go to save time spent in the queue and for a small discount.
A great way to experience the Cathedral is with a guided walking tour of St Paul’s which also covers the Westminster area.
15. Brighton’s Royal Pavilion
This seaside palace was created by John Nash and is now one of the most famous buildings in the UK. The Royal Pavilion is stunning front and back so make sure you check out both sides.
Before you enter the Pavilion there is a lovely garden in front of the main entrance. The garden in the foreground and the pavilion in the background makes for a lovely photo.
Once inside there are displays of furniture and art inside. If you are into that kind of thing then head on in. Otherwise, the best bit of the Pavilion is the exterior and you can use the money you’ve saved for fish and chips.
Or The Brighton Museum and Art Gallery are conveniently located next door to the Royal Pavilion if you’re keen on more culture.
⇒ Brighton is also near Eastbourne – if you like a cute English seaside town check out the Top 10 Things to do in Eastbourne.
16. Nelson’s Column
Nelson’s Column is the name of the statue which sits in London’s Trafalgar Square. This London monument was built to commemorate Admiral Horatio Nelson who died in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
Nelson’s Column was completed in 1843 and refurbished in 2006. This monument in London is just under 52 metres tall and is decorated with four bronze panels.
Trafalgar Square, the home of Nelson’s Column, was established in the early 19th century. The area had been one of significance since the 1200s.
Today it is the home of the National Gallery, St Martins in the Field Church, Canada House, South Africa House and its beautiful fountain.
17. The Seven Sisters Cliffs
Calling all avid hikers – do not miss out on this stunning coastal walk from Seaford to Eastbourne to experience the chalky cliffs of the Seven Sisters. The walk is about 22km and can take anywhere between 5-7 hours.
You don’t need to be extremely fit to do this walk, but just note that there are a couple of steep cliff inclines and equally steep declines. But with that comes rewarding coastal views and a whole lot of adventure.
If you aren’t keen on a full day of walking, get yourself to Birling Gap (by car, bus or train) and take a short walk to The Seven Sisters. A day trip from London is also a great idea for those wanting to see more of the area.
18. Buckingham Palace
Home to the Queen of England, Buckingham Palace is perhaps the most well-known palace in the world. The palace was originally known as Buckingham House and was purchased for the queen by King George III in 1761.
It became the London residence of the British monarchy when Queen Victoria took the throne in 1837. Today Buckingham Palace is home to Queen Elizabeth and a must on any European bucekt list.
The highlight of many special occasions in the United Kingdom is seeing the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family gather on the balcony at Buckingham Palace to greet the crowds.
⇒ Buckingham Palace is only open to the public between July and October. Visitors can see the State Rooms and the gardens. If you are visiting at other times of the year the closest you can get is outside the gates (which still allows for some good photos), seeing the free changing of the guard, or visiting the Royal Mews.
19. Brighton Pier
No Brighton Day Trip would be complete without heading to Brighton Pier. This is perhaps the most famous pier in the UK and it is LOUD. Wander down the pier and try your hand at some of the amusement parlors and get some old fashioned photos.
If you have any room grab some cotton candy (although I do think Brighton has much better food options on offer). If you are visiting on a weekend it will be crammed with people. There are many games to play and rides to go on if you are so inclined.
Otherwise, walk down and walk back and get yourself to the Lanes. But don’t forget to get a photo where you stick your head through one of the classic beachside frames before you go.
Travel Expert Tip: If you are around Brighton at sunset the burnt-out old pier makes a great photo
20. The Shard
This 72 storey skyscraper was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano. At just over 309 metres tall The Shard is the tallest building in the United Kingdom and the seventh tallest building in Europe.
The “Shard of Glass” opened in 2012 and the observation deck, the View from The Shard, in 2013. The open-air observation deck of The Shard is on the 72nd floor and it has jaw-dropping views over London. The View from The Shard is the highest view in the UK.
Most of the floors of The Shard are office space. However, it is also home to three excellent restaurants – Aqua Shard, Oblix and the particularly well rated Hutong.
My favourite way to experience The Shard is through the wonderful Shangri La Hotel, which takes up floors 34 to 52. Of course, the ultimate experience is to spend the night at this beautiful hotel, but there are several not as expensive ways to experience the views.
One of the best ways to experience the sunrise in London is to book the 630am slot at Ting, the Shangri La restaurant on the 35th floor. The breakfast is also outstanding. Or enjoy a classic English high tea mid afternoon at Ting.
My personal favourite way to watch the sunset in London is at Gong. Gong at the Shangri La Hotel is the highest hotel bar in Western Europe. Located on Level 52 of the Shard Building, this is perhaps the highest sunset view in London.
The Gong is also a fantastic cocktail bar. I have visited several times. It is a beautiful bar but it is also quite comfortable. There is, of course, a bar as well as little tables that have all been placed next to floor to ceiling windows to ensure full appreciation of the amazing view.
21. York Minster
Since the 7th century, York Minster has been the centre of Christianity in the north of England and is one of the most magnificent cathedrals in the world.
It is still an extremely active working church and it is a fascinating place to visit.
Free guided tours of York Minster are run daily. Each weekday at 130pm a special free tour is run which focuses on the stained glass windows of the Cathedral.
I highly recommend taking this tour. The stories that the stained glass windows tell are utterly fascinating.
The Hidden Minster Tours are also well worth taking. It is possible to go inside the Cathedral roof and see how the church was built – and to understand how difficult it would be to restore.
22. Natural History Museum
London’s Natural History Museum is one of the three major museums in South Kensington. The other two museums are Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
The Natural History Museum is one of my favourite buildings in London. It has an ornate terracota facade that was intended to represent the diversity of nature in both the past and future. The current version of the museum opened fully in 1883.
There are over 80 million items in the museum representing life and earth sciences. One of the things from which the Natural History Museum is best known is its dinsoaur skeletons.
Today, the Natural History Museum is also home to a gorgeous skating rink over the Christmas period. And each year it hosts one of my favourite exhibits in the London, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
There is no fee to enter the Natural History Museum but some exhibits do charge fees.
23. Borough Market
Borough Market is one of the oldest and largest food markets in the United Kingdom. Markets have been held on this location since the 12th century.
However, there is nothing old-fashioned about Borough Market today. Borough Market has a strict policy about the vendors it allows into the market, ensuring all suppliers are of the highest quality. Many of London’s top restaurants source their ingredients at Borough Market at places like the Ginger Pig.
The area is also home to some of London’s best restaurants like Roast, El Pastor and Padella. As Borough Market is so large, going on a food tour is a great way to experience the market in a short time frame – and to make sure that you get lots of good samples.
24. Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster is located in London, England and is where the two United Kingdom Houses of Parliament meet: the House of Lords and the House of Commons. It was named after nearby Westminster Abbey.
Westminster Palace is 900 years old. From 1087 to 1100 the Palace of Westminster was the home of the monarch and the Palace of Westminster is still owned by the Crown.
Much of the palace was destroyed in a fire in 1834. The palace was rebuilt after the fire and this is the London landmark that we now know so well.
Today the palace is known as the Houses of Parliament or often just Westminster. It is the centre of UK parliamentary life and its most well known tower is of course Big Ben, another European landmark.
There are several ways to visit the Palace of Westminster. If you are a UK resident you are able to take a free tour called the Democratic Access Tour. If you’re not a UK resident guided paid tours are held on weekdays when Parliament isn’t in session and on Saturdays.
Book a skip the line ticket to the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.
The Old Royal Naval College was a training establishment for the British Royal Navy between 1873 and 1998 and was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. It was also used as a retirement home for sailors – a rather nice one on the banks of the Thames!
⇒ When there isn’t a pandemic on there are tours of the Old Royal Naval College daily. They were also running a special tour behind the scenes tour focussing on how the college has been used in film and tv (including The Crown) on the last weekend of the month.
26. The Tate Modern Column
The Tate Modern is one of London’s best known art galleries. Located on London’s south bank, in addition to outstanding modern artworks and exhibitions, the museum has a viewing deck on its top floor which has free entry on its 10th floor.
This London museum is part of the Tate Group which includes Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, Tate St Ives and Tate Online. The building where it is housed was originally Bankside Power Station thus the magnificent column.
Opened in 2000, the Tate Modern is one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the world. It is the most visited art museum in Britain and the sixth most visited art museum in the world.
There is no fee for admission to the general collections at the Tate Modern. There are admission fees for the different temporary exhibitions held at the museum.
On Friday and Saturday evenings the Tate Modern often stays open until 10pm, offering the opportunity to absolutely enjoy the sunset even in the middle of summer.
27. Blenheim Palace – England
Blenheim Palace is the only non-Royal, non-Episcopal house in England to be called a palace. It is the principal residence of the Duke of Marlborough. However, I think the most notable thing about Blenheim Palaces is that it was the birthplace and the ancestral home of Winston Churchill.
There is an excellent exhibition of Winston Churchill in the suite of rooms in which he was born.
Today, Blenheim Palace is a UNESCO site, has been used as a location for many films and it serves a Champagne afternoon tea! Plus there are beautiful gardens as well as a park to visit. Book your Blenheim Palace tickets online before you go.
28. Tower of London
The Tower of London was built 1000 years ago by William the Conqueror. At the time, England had seen nothing like it before. His intention was to create a building that would both defend and proclaim his royal power.
The stones which built the Tower of London came from Caen in France and it took 20 years to construct. Over the centuries, Kings and Queens have used the Tower to protect both themselves and their possessions.
The Tower of London also used to control the supply of money in England. All coins were made at the Tower until 1810. It has always been tradition for the valuables of the Royal Family to be kept at the Tower, which is still the case today with the Crown Jewels.
Almost as recognisable as the Tower of London are the Yeoman Warders who were originally part of the Monarch’s team of bodyguards. Henry VIII decreed that some of these bodyguards should base themselves at the Tower.
Today, the Yeomans or Beef Eaters continue to guard the Tower and carry out ceremonial duties. They also carry out some very entertaining tours of the Tower of London.
The darker side of the Tower of London is that it was a prison for over 800 years. Being “sent to the Tower” was a terrifying fate. Perhaps most famously, Anne Boelyn was held her before her death which took place on Tower Green.
The best way to visit the Tower of London is to pre-book your ticket and arrival time online. Tickets cover entry to all areas including the Crown Jewels.
29. Knebworth House
This Grade II listed house and gardens are located in Hertfordshire. Knebworth House is commonly used as a filming location for movies and tv programs. The house and gardens are also open to the public and include an adventure playground and dinosaur park. It is perhaps best known for the annual Knebworth Music Festival.
Knebworth House is located north of London near the town of Stevenage. A train from London to Stevenage takes about 30 minutes. Once at Stevenage station you would need to take a taxi to get to Knebworth House.
⇒ Knebworth House is open most days during the Summer. Outside of the summer period it is often open on weekends but make sure to check their website before visiting and tickets to Knebworth House can be purchased online.
30. Sky Garden at the Walkie Talkie
Sky Garden is London’s highest public garden. Its viewing gallery sits on the 43rd floor of the ‘Walkie Talkie’ building and boasts incredible 360-degree views of the city’s iconic skyline. Laden with leafy green foliage and floor-to-ceiling glass windows, it’s an incredible space to enjoy the sunset in a vibrant social setting.
Experience London from panoramic viewpoints on the open-air terrace. Nestled in a lush urban jungle with views reaching over the River Thames, it’s the perfect place to watch a London sunset.
Sky Garden is open till 6pm on weekends and 9pm on weekends. Depending on the time of year you should be able to book your entry to match sunset. However, if you are visiting in the summer do make sure to book at least two weeks ahead to get those sunset times.
31. Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace was the royal residence for Prince Charles and Princess Diana and was very much known as Diana’s home in London. It was also the birthplace of Queen Victoria.
Today it is the London home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as well as the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. As a tourism attraction, Kensington Palace re-opened in 2012 and visitors are now able to access several exhbitions.
Kensington Palace also borders onto Hyde Park, one of London’s loveliest parks to visit.
⇒ Several areas of Kensington Palace are open to the public. Visitors can walk through the King’s State Apartments, the Queen’s State Apartments, and the Gardens.
There are also fashion exhibitions that feature items from the wardrobes of Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, and Princess Diana. The Palace often holds exhibitions and the Orangery does a lovely afternoon tea.
32. Warwick Castle
This medieval English castle was developed from a wooden fort built by William the Conqueror in 1068. Today Warwick Castle England and its grounds cover 64 acres.
In 2007 Warwick Castle was purchased by the Tussauds Group and is now operated as an entertainment venue. There are a big range of activities and events on offer.
There are live shows, it is possible to stay overnight at this castle in England, afternoon tea is on offer and for those who prefer more gruesome activities, there is a Castle dungeon.
Warwick Castle is in the town of Warwick which is about a 2-hour drive from London. The castle is open every day of the year apart from Christmas.
Closing times vary depending on the time of year. There are different types of tickets with entrance to the Dungeon requiring a different ticket type.
⇒ Planning a trip to England or Wales? Don’t miss my posts on the 40 Top English Landmarks, The Crown Filming Locations, Most Beautiful Castles in Cornwall and Boutique Hotels in Cornwall, Boutique Hotels in Kent, Where to Stay in the Cotswolds, 61 Magnificent Landmarks of the UK, Places to Visit in South Wales, Fun Things to do in Cardiff, Luxury Hotels in Yorkshire, Spa Hotels in the South West, Day trip to Brighton, Things to do in Exmouth, Cafes in Exeter, Pubs with Rooms in the New Forest, Ockenden Manor Spa and the Best Things to do in Winchester.
33. Malmesbury Abbey and Gardens
Malmesbury is England’s oldest borough and known as the “Queen of the Hilltop Towns”. It is over 1000 years old.
It was originally intended to be a fort based on its hilltop location and the fact that it was encircled by two rivers.
It has a busy main street with lots of restaurants and shops. I enjoyed a delicious quiche and salad lunch at The Summer Café. If you feel like Italian the Birdcage is virtually next door and comes highly rated.
Malmesbury Abbey originated in the 12th century and is in the centre of town at the top of the High Street – virtually impossible to miss. The abbey contains an actual café so you can enjoy coffee and cake whilst in this beautiful building.
But the highlight of my trip to Malmesbury was the stunning Malmesbury Abbey gardens. These gorgeous gardens are like something out of a storybook.
The gardens have over 1300 years of history. Apparently, the first “King of all England” is buried somewhere here, two saints were apparently thrown down the well and lots of other good stories.
They are beautifully sculptured. I visited in May and the tulips were out and stunning. This is also a great place to take photos of the Abbey with the gardens bursting in the foreground.
Plus the garden has some nice sculptures that are very photogenic. The gardens are located next to the Abbey and have an entry fee. To my mind, they are one of the best places Cotswolds.
34. 10 Downing Street
Anyone can visit near to the famous black door of 10 Downing Street, home to the Prime Minister in London. Get off the tube at Westminster or Charing Cross station and walk down Whitehall. You will then be able to look down Downing Street with the Thames at your back and hopefully snap a photo.
35. 30 St Mary Axe or The Gherkin
The Gherkin is the nickname given to the building that is at 30 St Mary Axe in the City of London. It is a commercial skyscraper with a modern design that opened in 2004. Personally, I am a big fan of its modern style.
Elevators heading up the Gherkin move at a speed of 6 metres per second. The buiding is covered by 24,000 square metres of glass which is the equivalent of five football pitches.
The Gherkin has 41 floors. On the 40th floor is the Iris Bar and the Helix Restaurant. Friday and Saturday nights at the Iris Bar are Apertivo time. Cocktails and snacks are served with awesome sunset views.
36. Battersea Power Station
Okay I have to come clean – Battersea Power Station is my personal favourite English landmark. There is just something about this magnificent building sitting on the Thames that always gets me.
At its peak, Battersea Power Station supplied 1/5 of London’s electricity. From the 1930s to the 1980s it was a working power station. It was so important to London’s electricity that a problem at the power station in 1964 even brought the BBC to a stop.
Battersea Power Station was officially closed in 1983. In 2007 it was upgraded to be a Grade II listed site. In 2012 the site was purchased by developers with exciting plans.
As I write this post today Battersea Power Station is a good chunk of the way through a new modern incarnation as one of London’s newest, best located, new neighborhoods. There will be a considerable amount of residential property, a new tube station and restaurants and bars.
Several bars and restaurants are now open in the Circus West Village which can be easily accessed from the southern end of Chelsea Bridge. My personal favourite is the fantastic Vagabond Wine Bar.
⇒ Heading to London? Check out my posts on 13 Unusual Experiences in London, the best London Food Tours, my virtual London Travel Blog, some great Earlsfield restaurants, 14 Things to do in Notting Hill, restaurants near Clapham Junction and Victoria Station restaurants, 16 Famous Landmarks in Europe, a mad hatter afternoon tea party and a day trip to Brighton, 18 Landmarks of London from a local, 15 Places to see Sunsets in London, 9 Places to watch the Sunrise in London, 10 Bridges in London Not to Miss and Cotswolds tour from London options. [separator type=”thick”]
37. Caerhays Castle and Gardens
This lavish castle and its gardens are exceptionally beautiful. This impressive building was built as a private residence and is not a royal castle with ancient history. Dating back to the early middle ages the home was owned by the noble Arundell family.
It was later inherited by the Trevanion family who commissioned famous architect John Nash to add to the castellated mansion. The debt incurred by the Trevanion family caused them to flee to Paris and the castle was bought by a local member of Parliament, Micheal Williams.
The castle is tucked within a Cornish Cove surrounded by beautiful wooded land and never-ending views of Porthluney beach. The gardens and castle are open to the public during the summer months and also make for a dreamy wedding venue.
38. Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey is perhaps best known for the weddings it has held. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip and Prince William and Kate Middleton were married at Westminster Abbey in London.
The Abbey dates back to 1050 when Benedictine monks first travelled to the site to set up a coronation church. The version of Westminster Abbey which we see today was constructed between 1245 and 1272.
Westminster Abbey is still a working church today. It is also open to the public. The Royal Tombs and the Poet’s Corner are the most popular sections. They are home to the resting places of well known names such as Mary Queen of Scots, Charles Dickens, John Keats and many others.
⇒ Westminster Abbey is usually open to visitors Mon-Sat from 930am to 330pm. Tickets for Westminster Abbey can be purchased online. The Westminster Abbey website also offers free online virtual tours.
39. St. Michael’s Mount
This iconic Cornwall castle is easily recognized for its grand and dramatic appearance. Situated on an island in Mount’s Bay, you can’t miss a visit to this architectural masterpiece.
It is estimated that the first structure was built on the site in the 12th Century. The impressive structure has since been built up over time to be the size that it is today.
The castle is open to the public and you’ll be in awe as you learn about its history. It has endured and survived military action in a number of wars, including two sieges.
The castle isn’t the only thing you’ll enjoy about visiting the tidal island. It is also home to charming winding streets, quaint shops and wonderful restaurants. A trip to St Michael’s Mount makes for a magical day of sightseeing.
40. British Museum
Founded in 1753, the British Museum was the first public museum in the world. The museum covers all fields of human knowledge and entry remains free of charge.
When it opened in 1759 it was intended by Parliament that it would open its doors for “all studious and curious persons”. Today, the British Museum receives over 6 million visitors a year.
The museum is located in the heart of Bloomsbury in London. It has four wings and 43 columns inspired by Greek temples. It was intended to emulate Greek architecture.
Highlights of any visit to the British Museum include visiting the Reading Room which was completed in 1857 and the considerably newer Great Court, which opened in 2000.
The Great Court is certainly my favourite area of the British Museum. It is a two acre space enclosed by a beautiful glass room and the Reading Room sits at the middle.
The magnificent glass roof is made up of 3,312 individual panels, and no two panels are the same shape. The roof is just over 26 metres above floor level at its highest point, giving a fantastic feeling of space to the area.
The museum is divided into different galleries which are organised by periods of time or locations. As you would expect, the British Museum gets very busy.
Tickets must be booked online whether they are for the general free admission or for paid exhibitions.
41. The London Eye
What better way to see a London than from the London Eye – nestled in the heart of the city. Choose from one of the 32 capsules to soar above the city, drinking in a 360-degree view of London and the ever-changing skies.
Rising before the South Bank, the iconic Ferris wheel allows its visitors to catch views of the River Thames, glimpse Buckingham Palace, and Big Ben. And on a clear day, you’ll be able to see as far as Windsor Castle in the distance.
Sunset rides on the London Eye are especially popular, so don’t forget to book your seat in advance if you want a guaranteed ride during sunset.
If you don’t get a spot on the wheel, why not take a London Eye River Cruise on the River Thames to catch the stunning sunsets.
Landmarks in Wales
42. Cardiff Castle
Did you know that Wales has more castles than any other country in Europe? I was very surprised to read that.
But the Welsh capital’s castle is beautiful as are the grounds and very photogenic – especially with that moat around the castle.
The part I most enjoyed was walking the tunnels that were used during WW2 for raids – one of the fun things to do in Cardiff. The city asked the owner of the castle to open it up to the city’s residents for protection.
Today the spirit and feel are kept going with the use of WW2 era music and posters.
The cost of a ticket to Cardiff Castle includes a free audio guide and map. The castle offers a range of specialist tours which I didn’t have time to do.
The most popular is the House Tour which takes you inside Cardiff Castle’s decadent rooms. These tours run every day on the hour and last just under one hour.
43. Conwy Castle Wales
Conwy Castle was built by Edward I between 1283 and 1289. It was part of a project to convert Conwy into a walled town. Conwy Castle was involved in quite a few battles over the next few centuries.
Once the area was conquered by Parliamentary armies the castle was stripped for iron and other elements to prevent it being used again in any further revolutionary activities.
Now a UNESCO world heritage site, restoration work was carried out the in second half of the 19th century to turn the castle into a tourist attraction.
Conwy Castle has a spectacular setting at the entrance to the town of Conwy via the Conwy suspension bridge. Its spiral staircases have been restored so you can walk around the castle and enjoy the views.
44. Mount Snowdon
Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales and England at 1,085 metres. Only Ben Nevis is higher than it in the United Kingdom. The mountain is located in the North of Wales and the countryside around it is absolutely stunning.
More than 400,000 people walk to the top of Snowdon each year. There are several different routes to take up and down Snowdon but on average it takes between 5 and 7 hours to summit and return. I have personally done the walk to the top of Snowdon and it is an intense but fantastic experience.
Unlike many summits, Snowdon has catering at the top with a restaurant and bathrooms. If you don’t feel up to the climb the Snowdon Mountain Railway will take you up and down the mountain in a trip that takes one hour return.
45. Caernarfon Castle
This UNESCO world heritage site sits on the River Seiont in the North of Wales and is recognised as one of the great buildings of the Middle Ages. Caernarfon Castle was one of the castles built by Edward I as part of his “ring of iron” to intimidate other Welsh princes. The current stone structure was built in 1283.
Today Caernarfon Castle receives over 200,000 visitors a year. It is also where Prince Charles was given his title of the Prince of Wales.
46. Tintern Abbey
Tintern Abbey was founded on the banks of the River Wye in 1131 by Cistercian monks. The Abbey was originally built with timber but in 1269 work on a new church began in an extravagant gothic style.
During the Reformation of King Henry VIII Tintern Abbey fell into disrepair. Today it is still without a roof but it does receive visitors – book your tickets to Tintern Abbey online before you go.
47. Caerphilly Castle
Caerphilly is the largest castle in Wales and the second largest castle in Britain after Windsor Castle. It is built on a 30-acre site and has towers, a maze, a dragon’s den, a Great Hall and much more. The design of the castle is based on a concentric ring of walls and it also has an extensive moat.
It was built between 1268 and 1271 by Gilbert de Clare. Caerphilly has received many attacks over the years but none broke its boundaries. An attack from Oliver Cromwell’s roundheads did manage to to hit one of the towers which still leans as a result.
The castle is open to the public – do book your tickets online ahead of your visit.
48. Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
Pontcysyllte means the bridge that connects and is a UNESCO world heritage site. The bridge was designed and built by Thomas Telford and Williams Jessop and crosses the River Dee in northeast Wales.
This stone and cast iron bridge was completed in 1805 after a ten-year build. It is 3 metres wide and is the longest aqueduct in Britain and the highest canal aqueduct in the world.
A walk across the aqueduct takes about 45 minutes. Or take a boat trip across it in the same amount of time.
49. Culzean Castle
Culzean Castle is big. The size of the grounds of this castle is quite staggering. The castle was built between 1777 and 1792. It overlooks the Firth of Clyde on the Ayrshire Coast of Scotland – a stunning location.
The castle went through a major refurbishment and re-opened in 2011. The refurbishment was funded by William Lindsay, an American millionaire. He was fascinated by the fact that Dwight Eisenhower had spent holidays at Culzean Castle.
It will take several minutes to drive through from the entrance of the castle to the parking area. Once out of the parking area there is a large complex with the Home Farm Restaurant. There are 40 buildings across the Culzean Castle estate.
There are then a couple of paths you can follow to Culzean castle itself. There are castle tours – don’t miss the knife collection.
A great Instagram opportunity is the little boat launch. There are also several other walks etc throughout the grounds of Culzean Castle.
50. Eilean Donan Castle
The stunning Eilean Donan Castle is literally on the A87 road not far before it heads over to the Isle of Skye in Scotland. The castle is on a small tidal island that is located where three different lochs meet and it is extremely photogenic.
The area where the castle lies was first inhabited in the 6th century. It became a fortified castle for the first time in the 13th century. Four different versions of the castle have been built since then.
After lying in ruin for a couple of hundred years, the Eilean Donan Castle was restored in and re-opened in 1932. The castle is open all year round apart from Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and the month of January.
It is possible to visit the inside of the castle with a paid ticket. However, the castle itself is just stunning from all angles and can be enjoyed – and photographed – without entry.
If you’re visiting the Isle of Skye you will pass Eilean Donan Castle on your way to Skye and on your way back. As the weather in Scotland can vary so much it is quite good to have two opportunities to see this beautiful castle in Europe.
51. Edinburgh Castle Scotland
Human occupation of Castle Rock in Edinburgh Scotland can be traced back to the Iron Age. A royal castle first appeared in the 12th century and by the 17th century, this Scottish castle had become a military barracks.
Today Edinburgh Castle is the most popular paid tourist attraction in Scotland and the second most popular paid attraction in the United Kingdom with over 2.2 million visitors.
Highlights of a trip to Edinburgh Castle are seeing the Scottish Crown Jewels, the Royal Apartments and the gorgeous little St Margaret’s Chapel. Edinburgh Castle also provides stunning views over Edinburgh.
And at 1pm every day Mons Meg, the cannon at Edinburgh Castle, takes fire.
⇒ Heading to Scotland? Check out my Scotland Itinerary 10 Days, Scotland Itinerary 7 Days, Glasgow Tours, Edinburgh vaults tour, things to do in Dumfries and Galloway, things to do in Ayrshire, my guide to Climbing Ben Nevis, 11 Places to Experience the Sunset Edinburgh style, 18 Beautiful Places in Scotland and 9 great Spa Breaks Scotland.
52. Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle
Beautiful Loch Ness is of course home to the Loch Ness monster as well as the beautiful 1000 year old Urguhart Castle, said to be the greatest castle in the Scottish highlands.
Today it is possible to visit the castle and to climb Grant Tower in the ruins. In addition to seeing a gloomy old prison cell there are some fantastic views over Loch Ness. For a great view of the castle head to the comfortable cafe.
53. Ben Nevis
Sure Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the UK. But it’s up and back in the day. And I’ve done Kilimanjaro. I’d climbed Snowdon the year before and whilst it was a big day it was manageable.
I really didn’t think climbing Ben Nevis would be that big a deal. I was very wrong.
Fort William is the outdoor capital of the United Kingdom. There is rock climbing, ice climbing in the winter, trekking, canoeing, kayaking – you name it and Fort William probably offers it.
The reason that Fort William has become the outdoor capital of the United Kingdom is that it is home to Britain’s tallest mountain, Ben Nevis.
I have written a separate blog post on climbing Ben Nevis which I highly recommend you read if you’re interested in taking on the mountain.
The key things to remember are that the weather can change unbelievably fast, it is quite a challenging climb and I highly recommend you go with a guide or in a group.
54. Stirling Castle
Stirling Castle was once the favourite residence of the Steward kings and queens who enjoyed elaborate celebrations at the castle. Today Stirling Castle is open to visitors and features costumed characters in the various roles that would have been in place in the castle in the 16th century.
The castle also has many fantastic sculptures and beautiful gardens. The restaurant at Stirling Castle, the Unicorn Cafe, has some fantastic views and there are three gift stores for some serious souvenir shopping.
55. The Kelpies
These amazing equine sculptures are located in the Helix, a parkland area located between Falkirk and Grangemouth 23 miles from Edinburgh. These works of art were designed by artist Andy Scott and represent Clydesdale horses.
Each horse weighs more than 300 tonnes and is 100 feet tall. It is free to visit the Kelpies. And it is even possible to go inside the Kelpies on a tour to get a real understanding of their engineering.
56. Glenfinnan Viaduct
The Glenfinnan Viaduct carries the railway to Glenfinnan Station across 1,000 feet at a height of 100 feet from the ground. The viaduct is at the head of Loch Shiel and makes for an amazing vista. In the summer months, steam trains from here from Fort William to Mallaig – regular trains run along the viaduct through the year.
The Glenfinnan Viaduct reached new levels of fame when it appeared in the movies for both the second and the third Harry Potter Books.
Northern Ireland Landmarks
57. Devil’s Causeway
Located in County Antrim, the Giant’s Causeway is one of Northern Ireland’s most impressive landmarks. It’s famous for its odd-looking hexagonal rock columns.
There are approximately 40,000 of these basalt columns along 6 kilometres of the Antrim plateau, resulting from an ancient volcanic fissure eruption. There are typically five to seven irregular sides jutting out of the cliff faces.
Legend has it that this strange formation was built by the Irish warrior Finn McCool (Fionn mac Cumhaill) to fight the Scottish giant Benandonner. Finn accepted the challenge and built the causeway across the North Channel so the two giants could meet.
The Giant’s Causeway is an enjoyable place to visit, and there are plenty of day trips and tour options to choose from. Some highlights not to be missed here include the Giant’s Boot, the wishing chair (a natural throne), and of course, the largest of three rock outcrops, the Grand Causeway. And if you’re an avid hiker, there are some incredible cliff-top trails along the causeway.
Access to this landmark is free of charge. There is, however, an entrance fee to the visitor centre.
58. Dunluce Castle
One of the most picturesque and romantic of the Irish Castles, Dunluce has a spectacular location on the dramatic cliffs of north County Antrim. The castle was built by the MacQuillan family around 1500. It was seized by the MacDonnell clan in the 1550s and became the seat of the earls of Antrim in the 17th century.
Today it is a key tourist attraction in the area. Don’t miss Magheracross Viewing Point for some great views of Dunluce Castle in its amazing location.
59. Carrickfergus Castle
Another spectacular castle in County Antrim with a great location, Carrickfergus Castle sits on the northern shore of Belfast Lough. The castle played an important military role until 1928. It was besieged by Scots, Irish, English and even the French.
The castle is 800 years old and one of the best preserved medieval structures in Ireland. Don’t miss the Great Hall at the top of the Great Tower.
60. Carrick-A-Rede Bridge
This rope bridge was first erected by salmon fishermen in 1755. It is suspended almost 100 feet above sea level and connects Carrick-A-Rede island to the mainland.
It is possible to cross the bridge with a clean drop to the Atlantic Ocean underneath – not advisable if you have a fear of heights. The island is home to just one building which is a restored fisherman’s cottage.
61. Titanic Museum and Quarter
Situated in the heart of Belfast, the Titanic Quarter is home to where the notorious Titanic ship was first created. Today, it houses a state-of-the-art Titanic-themed museum to pay tribute to the world-famous cruise liner.
Visitors’ experience at this museum is second to none, with interactive exhibits and world-class art galleries enabling you to explore the world of the Titanic. Here you can uncover the building processes right through to the disastrous events and the underwater remains. Head to the slipway to find some unique souvenirs and to see where the Titanic, and her sister Olympic, were built and first launched.
I highly recommend you book entrance tickets to explore the fascinating history of the Titanic in this magnificent museum.
Who Paid for What in this Post
I covered all of the costs involved in writing this post. This landmarks of the UK post includes affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.