London alone has many famous landmarks, but if you travel further afield, there are many iconic landmarks in United Kingdom worth visiting.
So, how many famous UK landmarks are there and which is the most famous and why? Read on to see the top 30 must-see landmarks in United Kingdom you should consider visiting. No matter what your interests, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Did You Know?
- Great Britain and the United Kingdom are actually two different things. The United Kingdom includes Northern Ireland – but Great Britain doesn’t.
- Stonehenge is an iconic UK landmark and one of the most famous UNESCO sites in Europe.
- London is the most visited city in the United Kingdom – in 2019, over 21.7 million visits were made to the city by international tourists.
30 Famous Landmarks in United Kingdom
N.B. Alphabetical by country
Famous Landmarks in England
The Tower of London, London
Recommended by Bec at ‘Wyld Family Travel’
From weddings to beheadings, there is not much the Tower of London has not seen in its extraordinary lifetime. Visiting the Tower of London has to be one of the best things to do in London and is completely unmissable for anyone on holiday in the English capital. Located on the banks of the River Thames, you can easily see the Tower from the River.
Getting here is simple with so many public transport options. You can get one of the iconic Double Decker buses, the London Tube is within a short walk, a Black Cab from your London accommodation. Alternatively, get dropped off right out the front from one of the Riverboats where you will get a magnificent picture of the Tower as you approach it.
Set aside nearly a whole day to completely enjoy this complex of everything history. For first-timers and even regular visitors, a free tour with one of the Beefeaters is a must. Their information on the Tower is funny, heartbreaking and terrifying all in one but gives you a brilliant insight into what the Tower has seen over the centuries.
Battle the crowds to see the British Crown Jewels, and take time on Tower Green to remember Queen Anne, Lady Margaret Pole and all the others beheaded at the Tower. Inside the White Tower, you will find levels of English Military history with suits of armour, swords and below the dungeon.
Top Tip: A visit to the Tower of London is going to be busy in any season so be prepared to wait.
Tower Bridge, London
Recommended by Cath at ‘Passports and Adventures’
One of the most easily recognisable landmarks in England is Tower Bridge. Located close to the Tower of London, people often name this bridge incorrectly, calling it London Bridge. But that is wrong. However, it is an iconic landmark in the UK’s capital city.
Tower Bridge was built in the late 1800s and, as well as being a suspension bridge, it is also a bascule bridge, meaning it has two sides that can be raised and lifted to allow tall ships to pass through.
You can reach the bridge on foot from the Tower of London or from the Shard. The nearest underground stations are Tower Hill on the north side of the Thames, or London Bridge on the south.
You can actually go inside the bridge and walk from tower to tower via a glass walkway with a glass floor over the bridge itself. You can learn more about how the bridge was built and visit an engine room and learn how it lifts the bascules. This is a unique experience to do in London.
Whether you are looking for things to do in London with kids, or are going solo, Tower Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in London and is a must-visit when in the English capital.
St Paul’s Cathedral, London
Recommended by Greta at ‘London Dreaming’
St Paul’s Cathedral is without a doubt one of the most famous sights in the UK. Its huge dome towers over the rooftops of London, and is recognizable from anywhere in the city.
It’s located in the heart of London, and extremely well connected. Within a 5-10 minute walking distance you have St Paul’s, Mansion House, City Thameslink and Blackfriars Underground stations, as well as many different bus routes passing by it.
St Paul’s Cathedral dates back to the 17th Century. It’s an Anglican cathedral and the seat of the Bishop of London, as well as the mother church of the Diocese of London.
You can visit it from Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 4:30pm, and ticket entry costs 17 GBP if you pay online or 20 GBP on the day. There is an extra charge if you want to visit the dome, but given the spectacular views over London, I highly recommend also climbing the dome.
Being such an iconic London landmark, travellers and photographers flock to St Paul’s Cathedral to capture photos of it. If you want to take a bit of a different shot, head to One New Change, the nearby shopping mall and snap photos of St Paul’s reflected in the mirrors of the One New Change stores.
You can also go to the rooftop of One New Change, and admire the beautiful dome of St Paul’s from up close. This has become one of the most Instagrammable places in London, and it’s easy to see why.
Don’t miss out on this incredible UK sight, and add a visit to St Paul’s Cathedral to your UK trip!
The Globe Theatre, London
Recommended by Stephanie at ‘History Fangirl’
Located on London’s famous South Bank, the Globe Theatre is one of the most famous literary landmarks anywhere in the entire world. This London historical site is famous for being the site where some of the most famous plays in history premiered. The venue is considered to be the first public playhouse and the name originates from a nearby tavern called ‘The Globe’.
The Globe Theatre is the second-oldest surviving theatre in London. It was built by Samual Burbage and opened in 1599. A great fire destroyed the original building in 1613, and all that survives is an undercroft of one side of what was probably a three-sided building. In 1997, it was reconstructed as closely as possible to its original state with help from many academic specialists who studied historical documents describing how it looked when new.
If you want to see a show, you will need to plan your trip around the theatre’s performance schedule. Keep in mind that the stage is an outdoor theatre, so always take the London weather seriously and dress appropriately!
To get there, you can use a taxi or rideshare; however, it’s an easy ten to fifteen-minute walk from Blackfriars, Mansion House, London Bridge, Southwark, and St Paul’s stations.
If you’ll be in London during the winter, you can look for shows taking place at the adjacent Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, since performances here are indoors.
Top Tip: Don’t skip the gift shop! If you love finding unique souvenirs to take home from your travels, the Shakespeare-themed and Renaissance-themed goods on offer here are truly unique London finds.
Big Ben, London
The Houses of Parliament’s iconic clock tower, which houses the bell known as Big Ben, is one of London’s most famous landmarks.
Big Ben is located at the north end of Westminster Abbey on the bank of the Thames River. There are a number of ways to get to Big Ben. There are several London bus routes that go past the tower, and Westminster Tube station is directly across the road. Also, Westminster pier is next to the tower and is served by a number of ferry options.
When completed in 1859, its clock was the largest and most accurate four-faced striking and chiming clock in the world. The tower stands 96 metres (316 feet) tall, and the dials of the clock are 6.9 metres (22.5 feet) in diameter. The minute hands, made of copper sheet, are 4.2 metres long (14 feet) and weigh 100kg (220lbs). In addition, the numbers on the clock are approximately 60cm (23in) long.
All four nations of the United Kingdom are represented on the tower in shields featuring a rose for England, thistle for Scotland, shamrock for Northern Ireland, and leek for Wales.
While the tower is not open to visitors, the clock can be enjoyed and photographed from several angles at ground level and makes an excellent addition to a visit of nearby Westminster Abbey, Westminster Bridge and the Cavalry Museum.
Top Tip: If you would like to take some nice photographs, take shots of Big Ben from the Westminster Bridge nearby.
Buckingham Palace, London
Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s official residence, is one of the most-visited tourist attractions in the UK. Construction of the Palace began in 1703 and was completed in 1853 in the neoclassical architectural style.
It is one of the most historic royal palaces still open today in Europe with 775 rooms, including 19 State Rooms and 78 bathrooms, surrounded by a 40 acre garden. The State Rooms are richly-decorated and this is where the Queen receives and entertains her visiting dignitaries and subjects.
The Changing of the Guard, also known as Guard Mounting, does not happen every day so check for the ceremony schedule on the Household Division’s website for confirmed times. It is from 10:45am and lasts around 45 minutes, however, this event is very popular in London, so be sure to arrive early to secure a spot with a good view.
Buckingham Palace is ideally located in central London, in the city of Westminster. You can easily get there on foot from Trafalgar Square.
Visitors can booked guided tours of Buckingham Palace and visit the lavishly furnished State Rooms and see some of the Royal Collection’s greatest treasures. The Palace is only open to visitors during the summer so plan accordingly.
Top Tip: If there is a Union Jack flag at the top of the roof, that means the Queen is not in the palace. However, if the royal flag is flying, that means she is in residence.
London Eye, London
The London Eye, or the Millennium Wheel, is the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel, and is located on the south bank of the river Thames in London. This is one of the best ways to experience London from a height of 135 metres (443 feet) with unobstructed 360-degree views.
The gradual rotation in one of the 32 high-tech glass capsules takes approximately 30 minutes. Each capsule is fitted with an interactive guide allowing you to explore the capital’s iconic landmarks such as Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace.
Parking is limited in the centre of London so it is best to catch the Tube. The nearest station is Waterloo, but Charing Cross, Westminster and Embankment are also a short walk away.
Tickets to the London Eye must be pre-booked with a timed entry.
Top Tip: Download the FREE London Eye Guide to enhance your experience, as well as finding out more facts and the history behind London’s amazing skyline.
Trafalgar Square, London
Recommended by Christine at ‘Live Love Run Travel’
Trafalgar Square is one of the most easily recognizable sights in the UK and typically part of any first time to London itinerary. Take the Tube to Charing Cross to get to Trafalgar Square and find yourself in the middle of London in front of one of the most famous statues in the United Kingdom.
Nelson’s Column pays tribute to Admiral Horatio Nelson who died in the Battle of Trafalgar. He is atop a 170 foot column surrounded by four statues of lions designed by Edwin Landseer and nicknamed, “Landseer’s Lions.”
There are several other statues in the square as well, but it is also known for being a place of public protests. The Mayor of London allows protests and demonstrations to take place here at different times throughout the year.
If you visit during Christmas, there is a special story behind the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square, one of the best spots to see Christmas lights in London. Each year, a 25 foot tall tree is cut down in Norway and shipped to London to stand tall in Trafalgar Square. This is a thank you gift each year from Norway to the people of London for their support during World War II.
Trafalgar Square doesn’t take long to see, but there are plenty of museums, shops, and restaurants in the area if you have more time to spend here. For example, you can visit the National Gallery which is nearby and completely free to enter. While you are in the area, stop by to see the famous square and get a picture of the famous statues before moving to the next part of your London itinerary.
Recommended by Kirsty at ‘Lost in Landmarks’
Stonehenge is recognised the world over and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the UK. It’s located in Wiltshire in the south of England, about 90 miles West of London. It’s open all year round except Christmas Day.
For me, what makes Stonehenge special is the wonder of how the site was built. Imagine people working together to create this monument and realising how much of a feat that was with the size of the stones involved and lack of technology! You only really can appreciate the scale of the stones when you get closer to them and it’s a real eye opener.
Travelling by car is the easiest way to get to Stonehenge and to also take in those other ancient sites in the area. If you’re based in London you’ll find plenty of day trips and tours to the site or you could take a train to Salisbury and from there you can get a bus to the stones.
Top Tip: When visiting Stonehenge, make the most of your time and arrive early when it opens in the morning or be one of the last visitors of the day. You’ll miss the main throng of visitors that can make the site really overwhelmed and it will give you some time to also explore the surrounding area which also has a lot of historical sites that are worth a look.
Hadrian’s Wall, Brampton
Recommended by Paul at ‘Anywhere We Roam’
Hadrian’s Wall was built by the Roman Empire to defend the northwest of the country and remains today one of the most famous sights in the UK. The wall stretches for 73 miles from coast to coast along the north of England and comprises 158 turrets, 80 guard posts and 17 forts. Some of the forts still have the original ancient floor plans intact, and archaeological discoveries are still being found to this day.
The best-preserved section of the wall is found at Walltown Crags in Northumberland. In places the wall has been restored to its original height, so you get a good feeling for what it would have looked like when it was built. The area around here is also perfect for enjoying a day hike around Hadrian’s Wall.
Don’t miss the Vindolanda Roman Museum which has an active archaeological team onsite who you can chat to and ask questions about their recent finds.
The best way to get to Hadrian’s Wall is to drive, giving you the opportunity to stop off at several different viewpoints. Alternatively, the most convenient train stations are at Haltwhistle and Hexam. Buses run hourly to the wall from both train stations.
Roman Baths, Bath
Recommended by Sydney at ‘A World in Reach’
Located in the aptly-named city of Bath, England, the beautifully-preserved Roman Baths are one of the most famous sights in the United Kingdom. The baths were constructed around 70 AD and were used for bathing and socializing for centuries. Today, visitors flock to the site to learn more about the history of the Baths and admire the preservation of the centuries-old structure.
While at the Baths, you’ll be able to explore the Great Bath, the Sacred Spring, the Roman Temple, and exhibits detailing the history of the baths. You can also sample the unusual tasting water pumped from the baths. Though you can’t get in the water here, you can do so at the nearby Thermae Bath Spa.
Visiting Bath is an easy day trip from London; trains run between the two cities and there are also several options for guided tours. The Baths are open year-round, and special events are held throughout the year.
Top Tip: After your visit to the Baths, make sure to hop into The Cornish Bakery to sample a delicious Cornish pasty!
Durdle Door, Dorset
Recommended by Helen at ‘Helen on her Holidays’
Durdle Door is a magnificent natural stone arch in Dorset, on England’s south coast. This stretch of the Dorset coast is known as the Jurassic Coast and is famous for its cliffs and rock formations, the most iconic of which is Durdle Door.
Visiting Durdle Door is an unmissable part of any Jurassic Coast break. The easiest way to get to Durdle Door is to drive to the cliff top car park (access is through a caravan park) and then walk a few minutes down to the viewing point. Alternatively, you can walk along the South West Coastal Path from Lulworth Cove, just over a mile away.
The view of Durdle Door at the top of the cliff is epic, but the view from the beach below is just as special. The beach is mostly shingle, but the amazing setting means it does get busy on sunny days. If you’re lucky enough to have sunny weather when you visit the Jurassic Coast, try visiting Durdle Door early in the morning or late evening for beautiful light and peace and quiet.
Osborne House, Isle of Wight
Recommended by Zoe at ‘Together in Transit’
One famous building that is a must-see when visiting the United Kingdom is Osborne House, located on the Isle of Wight. This royal home was once the summer house of Queen Victoria, who spent every summer with Prince Albert and the family on the island. It’s a special royal place to visit if you want to see how the British royalty spent their summers. It’s a gorgeous location to enjoy!
Built in 1845, Osborne House is located in East Cowes, at the top of the island, which you can arrive by car or easily with public transport. It is open all year round, but can be busy on bank holidays so try visiting on weekday or early morning to avoid crowds. It’s also accessible for all, with all facilities needed to enjoy a visit, including a shop, cafe and restaurant.
While visiting, you can see the main house and royal chambers, the Swiss Cottage, the private beach area and surrounding gardens. You can also visit the gardens for free if you wish for a beautiful walk, where dogs are also permitted while on a leash.
Top Tip: Bring a picnic to enjoy in the park area, perfect for a summer’s day on the Isle of Wight!
Malham Cove, North Yorkshire
Recommended by Hannah at ‘Get Lost Travel Blog
Malham Cove in North Yorkshire is an impressive and unforgettable sight. This sheer cliff face is 80 metres high and 300 metres wide. It was formed by a waterfall carrying meltwater from glaciers at the end of the last ice age.
You can admire Malham Cove from a shady spot at the bottom or climb 400 steps to the limestone pavement at the top. Tiptoe your way across the cracks in the pavement for sweeping views across the Yorkshire Dales. You might recognise this spot from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
The easiest way to get to Malham Cove is to drive. Pay & Display parking is available at Malham National Park Centre (BD23 4DA). Alternatively, you can catch a train to Settle then take the Malham Dales Bus 881.
You can visit Malham Cove year-round, but it gets especially busy on weekends and during the summer months. If possible, try visiting in the shoulder seasons around June or September to avoid the school holidays. This gives you an opportunity to enjoy the area with fewer crowds.
Malham Cove is just one of the spectacular natural sights in the area. To get the most out of your visit try out a circular walk that includes other popular spots such as Janet’s Foss, Gordale Scar and Malham Tarn. You can spend an entire day exploring the beauty of the Malham area!
Radcliffe Camera, Oxford
Recommended by Toti and Ale at ‘Italian Trip Abroad’
The Radcliffe Camera is a superlative landmark of Oxford, the symbol of the city and centrepiece of University life. Visiting Oxford, you can’t miss roaming around the cobblestone alleys around the worldwide famous colleges. At the centre of the chessboard is easy to recognize the Radcliffe Camera, a rounded neo-classical building established in the 17th Century.
The stunning architecture matches perfectly with the other surrounding buildings, perfectly amalgamated within the St. Mary the Virgin Church, the Bodleian Library and the other college’s wings.
n have a perfect overview of the Radcliffe Camera from the front of the building, however, the best view of the structure is from the top of St. Mary the Virgin Church Tower. Instead, visiting the inside of the Redcliffe Camera will surprise you, the details of the interior are just unique.
To access inside you need to book in advance a 90-minute tour of the Bodleian Library, which also includes a visit to the underground Gladstone link. This is a special corridor running between the two buildings. The tour is available only on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday and the tickets go fast.
The best time of the year to spend a day in Oxford is in late spring or early autumn. Is very easy to reach Oxford from London, taking the train at Paddington Station or Marylebone for a journey of about 1 hour or less.
Old Harry Rocks, Dorset
Recommended by Kitti at ‘Kitti Around the World’
Forming the eastern point of the Jurassic Coast, Old Harry Rocks is definitely an iconic landmark in the UK. It’s a set of three chalk formations that once used to be connected to the Needles on the Isle of Wight. Located to the east of Studland in Dorset, it’s easily accessible by parking your car at Studland Bay or by taking a bus from Bournemouth. The area is also designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are countless angles from above where you can admire the massive cliffs of Old Harry Rocks. You’ll be able to easily identify Old Harry, Old Harry’s Wife, St Lucas’ Leap, No Man’s Land and The Pinnacle. However, you can only see the classic view of the cliffs if you’re on a boat, a helicopter, or a kayak.
To make the most of your visit you should consider completing a short circular walk around Old Harry Rocks. This way you’ll be able to see other stunning locations such as Studland Bay Beach, Studland Hill and Swanage Bay.
Top Tip: To fully appreciate the white cliffs, the blue water and the pop of yellow from seasonal flowers, you should time your visit during the sunnier spring and summer months. You won’t go home disappointed.
York Minster, York
Recommended by Maja at ‘Away With Maja’
York Minster is one of the top attractions in York, and one of the most beautiful landmarks in the country. Located in the heart of the historic, charming city of York, a visit to York Minster simply can’t be missed. York is easily accessible by train from London, Edinburgh, and major cities in the north of England, or you can drive to the city. Much of the city is compact and pedestrianized, so once you get to York it’s best to head to the Minster on foot.
York Minster is one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe, and much of the present structure dates back to the 14th Century. Don’t miss the stunning Great East Window, which is one of the best collections of medieval stained glass in Europe, or the beautiful Chapter House.
Climb up to the tower for a fantastic view over the city of York, then head underground to the Undercroft Museum – where you can see a culvert from the former Roman foundations, which still has running water. One of the best views of the Minster is from the City Walls, on the stretch between Bootham and Monkgate Bar. There are plenty of historic sights to discover in York, but the magnificent Minster is one of the best.
Castle Comb, Cotswolds
Recommended by Mal at ‘Raw Mal Roams’
One of the most beautiful Cotswolds villages, Castle Combe, is situated in county Wiltshire and within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Beauty. It is just over 20 miles from Bristol and 104 miles southwest from London. You can get there by train from London’s Paddington Station to Chippenham Station from where you can continue your journey by a local bus or a taxi.
The best time to visit Castle Combe is the autumn time when the kids are back in school, and autumn foliage is at its best. Another good time is spring.
Castle Combe is a historic village where time has stopped in the middle ages where the Cotswolds area was a bustling centre for wool production. If you want to enjoy the authentic British countryside, look no further. Stroll along the iconic honey-coloured cottages, 13th Century St. Andrew’s church and a picturesque stone bridge that is one of the most photographed spots in the Cotswolds.
Top Tip: For a fine dining experience, visit The Bybrook restaurant at the Manor House Hotel.
St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall
Recommended by Claire at ‘Go South West England’
With a Medieval castle and lush tropical gardens located on its own island, St Michael’s Mount is one of the best places to visit in Cornwall.
Located in Marazion near Penzance, the tidal island is connected to the mainland by a causeway, and it has been a site of religious significance and pilgrimage since the early medieval period. It came into possession of the same people who own Mont St Michel in Normandy, France, in the 12th Century, and a similar castle was built in the same style.
This is one of the best castles in Cornwall for history and religion. On a visit, you’ll learn about its dynamic history as well as the family who still call it home today. St Michael’s Mount was a site of conflict in the Civil War, and cannons there warned the mainland about the approaching Spanish Armada.
Since the 17th Century, it has been a lot more peaceful, and the St Aubyn family who purchased it in this period still reside there today.
It is a popular tourist attraction, so you should pre-book your tickets. Depending on tide times, you may be able to walk to the island, or you might need to take a boat over.
Top Tip: On a visit, you can explore the castle and gardens – you will need to buy a combo ticket to see them both. If you want to see the best of the island but don’t want to spend too much money, I would recommend buying just a castle ticket.
The gardens are nice, but not spectacular, and you can see a lot of the island with just a castle ticket. Of course, if you are a National Trust member, you can see it all for free!
Angel of the North, Gateshead
Recommended by Mandi at ‘East Anglia Family Fun’
If you are ever driving ‘Up North’ from the south along the A1, then I recommend a stop off at The Angel of the North. Created in 1998 by Antony Gormley, it is a distinctive rusted steel structure which stands at 20 metres, which is not a small statue. The most impressive part is the wingspan which is 54 metres across and looks stunning, although you cannot appreciate the true size of it until you are actually stood at the bottom of it looking upwards. It is actually quite breath-taking and did make me feel a little dizzy when looking upwards. It actually feels like it is moving in the wind.
The famous statue is perched on top of a grassy knoll. There is quite a large car park next to it, which usually has a coffee van so you can grab a hot drink if you are there on a cold day (although that apart of the country is usually a few degrees cooler than down south anyway!).
Not everyone is a fan of art, but I have yet to meet anyone that isn’t impressed by the sight of the Angel of The North
Top Tip: Wrap up in warm clothes as its pretty bracing standing underneath the Angel.
Famous Landmarks in Northern Ireland
Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim
Recommended by V Kay at ‘Travel Addicted Unicorn’
The Giant’s Causeway is located on the north coast of Northern Ireland, United Kingdom. It’s an area with about 40,000 basalt pillars that were created by volcanic activity. However, according to the famous legend, a giant named Finn MacCool built the causeway in order to meet and fight a Scottish giant called Benandonner (across the North Channel).
The most common way to get to the Giant’s Causeway is from Belfast, which is the capital of Northern Ireland. It’s located about an hour and a half from Belfast. The Giant’s Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a very unique, world-known geological marvel. Surprisingly, tourists are allowed to climb on the pillars and take a closer look at the hexagonal stones which are around 60 million years old.
Keep in mind that there aren’t many other things around the area, there is only the Visitor’s Centre which has restrooms and a gift shop. There is a small bus that connects the Visitor’s Centre and the Giant’s Causeway, or you could walk (10-15mins).
Considering how far up north this landmark is located, the best time to visit would be in the summer months. It rains a lot in this area and it could be very windy even in the summer. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes as the rocks can be very slippery and prepare for rain – bring a raincoat or umbrella.
Top Tip: Visiting early in the morning and on a weekday will help you avoid the huge crowds.
Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, Ballintoy
Recommended by Amanda at ‘Toddling Traveler’
The Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge is a unique United Kingdom landmark located in Ballintoy, Northern Ireland. It’s located along the Causeway Coastal route and it is a can’t miss stop as part of any Northern Ireland road trip itinerary.
The Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge is a National Trust site that was first built as a walkway for Salmon fishermen in the 1700s. Today, the rope bridge is known for beautiful views of the coast, and it’s a unique experience for those who dare to walk across the bridge to get to the Rocky Island. Parking at the car park is free, but a ticket is required if you want to cross the rope bridge.
The rope bridge is typically open all year round, but it can be best enjoyed on a calmer day without heavy winds or rain. While you’re there, be sure to spend some time on the walking path along the coast. Other sites close to Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge include Ballintoy Harbour, Giant’s Causeway and Bushmills Distillery.
Top Tip: Purchase your Carrick-A-Rede tickets online in advance to avoid a long queue prior to entry.
Planning a trip to Ireland? Read about the famous landmarks in Ireland here.
Famous Landmarks in Scotland
Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh
Recommended by Fiona at ‘Travelling Thirties’
Feel the wind brush your face and listen to the call of the pipe as you stand at the top of Edinburgh Castle overlooking the gorgeous city of Edinburgh.
Located on Castle Rock at the top of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh is the 900-year-old Castle. When visiting Edinburgh, it is hard to miss the castle as it sits high above the city.
Edinburgh Castle is easily accessed on foot from Princes Street, the Old Town and the New Town. Despite once being a Fort and destroyed in several battles against the English, today, Edinburgh Castle serves as a museum and houses Scotland’s Crown Jewels.
Even if you don’t want to enter the castle and look at the exhibitions, you must take a stroll up to the forecourt and marvel at this beautiful landmark. If you visit at night time, after everyone has gone home for the day and a calm has rolled in over the city, you will have the whole place to yourself.
For one of the best views of Castle, head into Princess Street Gardens and look up at the Castle with the Ross Fountain in the foreground.
Edinburgh Castle is open all year round but in August the forecourt becomes home to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Whilst you won’t experience anything like the Military Tattoo, buy tickets for one night’s performance, it is not the best time to see the castle as it is hidden behind grandstands.
If you are travelling in the United Kingdom and looking for some beautiful landmarks, you cannot go past Edinburgh Castle.
Eilean Donan Castle, Loch Duich
Recommended by Pamela at ‘The Directionally Challenged Traveler’
As one of the more famous castles in Scotland, Eilean Donan’s history dates back to the 12th Century when a small fortress was built here as part of the defences against invading English forces. Spanish soldiers helped to hold the castle during the Jacobite revolution. Once the English found out, they blew up the castle using over 300 barrels of gunpowder to blue up the castle.
The original structure has been replaced many times over the years but today you can still see its impressive walls and towers standing proud above the surrounding landscape. The castle grew and shrunk in size based on needs and maintenance.
Eilean Donan Castle sits on the west coast of Scotland, at the entrance of the Scottish Highlands, in a bay called Loch Duich. It’s about an hour’s drive from Oban or you can take a bus from Glasgow.
The castle was in ruins after the Jacobite revolution for 200 years. Lt. Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap purchased it in 1911 and the MacRae family are still Constables today. Visiting Eilean Donan Castle is a step back in time and a must-do when in Scotland.
Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye
Recommended by Helena at ‘Discover More UK’
Located on the Isle of Skye in the Scottish Highlands, Old Man of Storr is an iconic natural landmark that towers over the east side of the island.
Old Man of Storr is a large hill topped with unique rock pinnacles which can be seen from miles around on a clear day and is a popular trail for walkers.
Many people choose to do the Old Man of Storr walk simply by parking at the car park at the base of the hill and following the marked route. Alternatively, more experienced hikers may choose to hike Storr as part of a longer walking route on Skye’s Trotternish Ridge – an area created by a massive landslide thousands of years ago.
The ancient landslip has left huge jagged pieces of rock and steep hills which pierce the landscape and make Old Man of Storr one of the most unique, and most recognisable, sights in the UK.
The Isle of Skye itself is reachable by ferry from Mallaig or via the land bridge at Kyle of Lochalsh. To reach Old Man of Storr, it’s just a short 15 minute drive from the main town of Portree.
Top Tip: Generally summer months in Scotland are the best time to visit as you’re more likely to have good weather for walking and hiking. However, even the summer can bring unpredictable weather, so be prepared with the correct clothing and footwear and always tell someone where you’re going.
Glenfinnan Viaduct, Fort William
Recommended by Tracy at ‘UK Travel Planning’
For fans of Harry Potter or those who simply enjoy scenic rail journeys, a trip over the Glenfinnan Viaduct in the Highlands of Scotland is a truly memorable experience.
The Glenfinnan Viaduct along the West Highland line is probably the most famous railway viaduct in the world and is instantly recognisable as the line taken by the Hogwarts Express by Harry Potter and friends. To recreate this experience book a ride on the Jacobite stream train and enjoy the views of Loch Shiel and Glenfinnan Monument.
If you are planning a Scottish road trip including a visit to the viaduct is easy. Located a 30 minute or 17 mile drive from Fort William along the A830. Once you arrive, park at one of the two car parks at the visitor centre next to the viaduct. Park up and follow the path up the hill to get a stunning view of the entire bridge.
If you time it right (or are incredibly lucky), you can snap a photo of the Jacobite steam train as it crosses the viaduct.
Top Tip: Visit in winter if possible as there are less visitors and competition for a car parking space!
Ben Nevis, Fort William
Recommended by Annie at ‘Into The Bold’
Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the UK, is located near the town of Fort William in Scotland. The vast majority of the time the peak is covered by clouds, but you might get lucky on a summer day and get to see the whole mountain in all of its majesty.
You can get to Fort William by train from Edinburgh, or by rental car, which offers the ultimate flexibility. The Ben Nevis Visitors Centre is a short 5 minute drive from the centre of Fort William.
For the adventurer, the hike is a strenuous 9.8 mile up and back. The weather can change quickly and dangerously so be prepared! For a different take on Ben Nevis, visit the distillery in town where you can sample the Scotch bearing the same name.
Top Tip: A window seat at the Glen Nevis restaurant offers views of the mountain or you can book a cruise from the Town Pier with Crannog Cruises for sightseeing from the water.
Dunnottar Castle Centre, Aberdeen
Recommended by Victoria at ‘Guide Your Travel’
Dunnottar Castle is located in Scotland near the small town of Stonehaven and is only around 30 minutes from the larger city of Aberdeen. You can either walk to the famous castle along a beautiful coastal route which begins in Stonehaven or just drive there directly. A free parking lot is available on site.
Dunnottar Castle is open almost all year round but can sometimes be closed due to bad weather conditions. Therefore, you should always check their website to make sure it’s open before visiting.
If you’re short on time you should buy your ticket online to avoid standing in line at the cash desk.
It is also recommended to wear sturdy shoes since you have to climb a few steps to get to the entry point of the castle. Keep an eye out for dolphins and seals that can be spotted just off the coast. Taking your camera is an absolute must-do.
Famous Landmarks in Wales
Millennium Centre, Cardiff
Recommended by Cath at ‘Wales with Kids’
One of the most iconic landmarks in Wales is the Wales Millennium Centre. This imposing building is located in Cardiff Bay and overlooks the water. The first part of the building was opened in 2004, while the second part was completed in 2009. It is an arts centre that has several concert halls and often hosts ballets, musicals, operas and more.
The centre is recognisable thanks to its façade, whose bronze dome is inscribed with two lines from a Welsh poem in both Welsh and English. In English it reads “In these tones, horizons sing”. The building also infuses materials from across the country that have dominated its history including metal, wood, glass and slate.
While the exterior consists mostly of slate, metal and glass, the interior is mainly wood, with the main Donald Gordon Theatre being dominated by hardwood linings. As well as concerts, there are also exhibitions, workshops and other performances to enjoy.
The Wales Millennium Centre is best reached by car. There is an NCP car park opposite the centre and you can also park in the Red Dragon centre car park. There are also public transport links by bus between Cardiff City Centre and the Millennium Centre.
Even if you aren’t going to venture inside, the Wales Millennium Centre is an iconic building to photograph and easily one of the most recognisable in Cardiff.
Snowdonia Mountain Railway, Caernarfon
Recommended by Bec at ‘Wyld Family Travel’
Riding the Snowdonia Mountain Railway is one of the best ways to get to the top of Mount Snowdon for epic views over the gorgeous Welsh countryside. Most people think the destination is the top attraction, but anyone who has sat in the carriages knows it is just part of the journey.
The Mount Snowdon Railway is a steam engine that leaves from the quaint town of Llanberis and the train station is where you start your amazing journey. You can take the time to sit in the sunshine and grab a snack or a drink before you get in line to board the train at your departure time. Tickets are available easily online and you must make sure you book in advance. The railway is very popular in the summer months which is the best time to go due to the weather being better and more predictable on the mountain. It is a risk if you do not pre-book your tickets as you may not be able to ride the train that day.
After you have had some time at the picturesque station, your journey up the mountain begins. As you leave the station you are treated to some amazing scenery as the train gets higher and higher up the mountain. At times you are able to wave to the hikers who are walking alongside the train.
There are 4 stations all the way to the summit and the journey takes you about 45 minutes all up. If the weather is bad, you may unfortunately only get 3/4 of the way up to the Clogwyn Station, rather than the Mount Snowdon Summit. You are still able to get epic views over the valley’s below but there are no facilities at the Clogwyn Station.
If you are able to get all the way to the top, you have 30 minutes to explore around the top of the Mountain and get all the way up to the cairn that is also there. There is a cafe and viewing area at the Summit Station.
All of this is before you then make your way down the mountain again. If you are able to, sit on the opposite side you went up on as the scenery is completely different!
Top Tip: Parking is available slightly down from the train station. You can pay with coins or notes and you need to display your ticket on the dashboard of your car. After your ride up the mountain, take the time for a little wander around Llanberis.
Tintern Abbey, Monmouthshire
Recommended by Larch at ‘The Silver Nomad’
The dramatic ruins of Tintern Abbey sit on the banks of the River Wye. Abandoned nearly 500 years ago, the abbey is one of the most popular landmarks in Monmouthshire.
Starting as humble timber buildings in 1131 by Cistercian monks, Tintern developed into a simple stone church with cloisters. Work began on a new abbey church in 1269 and the gothic masterpiece was created.
In 1536, Tintern Abbey was one of the victims of Henry VIII’s English Reformation. The abbey was abandoned and fell into decay.
In the 18th Century it was resurrected as a tourist destination. It is now run by Cadw, who look after many of the historic buildings in Wales.
Despite its great age, you can still see the nave with its impressive arches and the stunning west front which has a seven-lancet window. The layout of other buildings including the infirmary, kitchens and dormitories can be seen in the remains of the low walls.
Tintern Abbey is quite easy to find. After coming across The Severn Bridge, carry on the M48 to A466 until you see signs towards the abbey.
A visit to Tintern Abbey makes a great day out if you are staying in nearby Abergavenny, or travelling around the south of Wales. There is plenty to see for all ages.
In Summary – 30 Famous Landmarks in United Kingdom
With so many amazing landmarks in United Kingdom to visit and experience, you will be spoilt for choice! Whether you’re looking to visit monuments and buildings with historical significance, amazing nature or stunning coastline, there’s plenty of landmarks to visit when you’re in the United Kingdom.
Are you planning a holiday to the United Kingdom? Have you visited any of the famous landmarks in United Kingdom listed above, or have we missed a landmark in United Kingdom we should add to this list? Post your tips and questions below.
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