The UK boasts a rich and diverse history. It’s been invaded and conquered by countless civilisations, tribes and empires, and it went on to create the largest empire the world has ever seen. Many UK landmarks give you an insight into the nation’s long and turbulent past. But which historic sites are worth your attention? Here’s a list of landmarks that deserve a place on your must-visit bucket list.
Tower of London
The Tower of London was established in 1066 shortly after the Norman Conquest, and it played a crucial role in the history of England and the UK. Today, the Tower of London houses the Crown Jewels, the legendary ravens and plenty of exhibits that detail the fortress’s history. Historically, this staggering castle has been used as a royal residence, prison, execution site, Royal Mint, and more. If you’re visiting the Capital, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to tour the Tower of London.
Many people believe that Hadrian’s Wall marks the border between England and Scotland. In reality, that’s not the case, and it never has been. The wall was actually built by Emperor Hadrian shortly after the Romans conquered much of Britain. It served to deter incursions from northern rebels and marked the northern frontier for the Roman Empire. Many parts of the wall date back to the 2nd century AD.
The medieval market town of Stratford-upon-Avon is a historic site in itself, famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare. You can visit many sites of historical interest in Stratford-upon-Avon, such as the birthplace of the famous playwright and the home in which he died. While you’re here, you can dive into the world of Shakespeare by watching a performance at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
Situated on top of Castle Rock, Edinburgh Castle towers above Scotland’s capital city. In some form or another, Edinburgh Castle has existed since the 6th or 7th century AD. It served as a residence for royals including King James VI and Mary Queen of Scots. However, for most of its life, it’s been used as a military fortification. Today, the castle is open to the public for tours. It’s home to the Scottish Crown Jewels and the city’s oldest building, the 12th-century St Margaret’s Chapel.
Caernarfon Castle is one of Britain’s most impressive medieval fortresses, with 13 medieval towers and structures that date back to the 13th century AD. The Menai Strait and the River Seiont act as effective natural defences. During the Tudor Dynasty, tensions between Wales and England began to diminish, and the castle was left to fall into a state of disrepair. Fortunately, the castle was repaired during the 19th century, and it now forms part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Stonehenge is one of the most impressive Neolithic monuments in the world and attracts over a million visitors per year. Its precise origins and use remain debated, but most archaeologists agree that the structure is at least 4,500 years old, though probably closer to 5,000. It’s the only lintelled stone circle still standing, and the fact that it’s shrouded in mystery only adds to its tourist appeal. Stonehenge forms part of a unique ancient landscape. Around 350 burial grounds and prehistoric sites are located nearby.
Would you like to learn more about the iconic Stonehenge? Take a look at our selection of Stonehenge tours.