Wonders of the United Kingdom
hroughout many centuries the United Kingdom has enjoyed relative political stability and wealth. As a result, humans have created here countless amazing and well-preserved values of art and history.
Some of the most amazing wonders of the United Kingdom are:
- Castles and fortifications – some of the most magnificent structures of this kind in the world. In medieval times islands experienced stiff warfare between many smaller states and clans, leading to the construction of numerous fortresses. It happens that descendants of these medieval rulers live in castles!
- Palaces. Only royalty and bishops have true "palaces" according to the British tradition. Others have stately homes, country houses, etc. Often there have been preserved valuable collections of art – a British country house may contain Renaissance or Impressionist paintings that would make any metropolitan museum proud.
- Churches. Britain is extremely rich with amazing, beautiful churches and it is not easy to select the best of them. The magnificent Gothic churches of the United Kingdom often have very large windows adorned with amazing stained glass, the intricate stone vaulting and ribs represent an early application of British engineering talent.
United Kingdom consists of four countries as well as of three crown dependencies and 14 overseas territories.
Countries and territories of the United Kingdom
These territories have separate pages in Wondermondo and are not described in this page.
- Ascension Island
- British Antarctic Territory (reviewed together with the whole Antarctica)
- British Indian Ocean Territory
- British Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands
- Falkland Islands
- Pitcairn Islands
- Saint Helena
- South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
- Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia
- Tristan da Cunha, including Gough Island
- Turks and Caicos Islands
Map with the described wonders of the United Kingdom
If you see this after your page is loaded completely, leafletJS files are missing.
Top 25 wonders of the United Kingdom
One of the most popular archaeological monuments in the world. It consists of a group of large standing stones in a circular setting, erected sometime around 2500 BC (?). Located in the middle of a dense complex of archaeological monuments.
Royal Church of the United Kingdom with numerous art values. Constructed in 1245 – roughly 1745, mainly in the Gothic style. One of the earliest representatives of Gothic architecture in England.
One of the major castles and palaces of the world. This castle was built by William the Conqueror and has since then been used as a royal palace. Longest occupied palace in Europe, and the largest inhabited palace in the world. Throughout the centuries the castle was largely extended, always trying to imitate early medieval designs. Beautiful interiors. Site of many important historical events.
Hampton Court Palace
England, Greater London
A royal palace, one of the most impressive palaces in the United Kingdom. Started in the late Gothic-Renaissance style in the early 16th century and continued in the Baroque style in the 17th century. This site of numerous important historical events contains a huge amount of valuable artwork, it is also a site of legends.
England, Greater London
The museum of human history and culture, one of the most comprehensive museums in the world. Established in 1753 and since then gradually expanded. Amazing architecture of the Great Court (2000), the main building is an important example of the Greek Revival from the middle of the 19th century. Contains numerous unique items of high importance to the culture of the world, such as the Rosetta Stone, a mummy of Cleopatra, Elgin Marbles from Parthenon, Discus-thrower, Cyrus Cylinder, cuneiform tablets from Ashurbanipal Library, drawings by Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Raphael, and numerous other renowned artists, Hoa Hakananai moai statue from Easter Island.
Natural History Museum
England, Greater London
One of the major natural sciences museums of the world, housing some 70 million specimens. Located in a beautiful building that was built in 1881. One of the most renowned specimens is 32 m long replica of Diplodocus carnegii.
Impressive building, one of the largest cathedrals in the United Kingdom, longest (169.5 m) Gothic cathedral in Europe. The present cathedral was constructed in 1079-1093 in the Norman style and rebuilt into a Gothic structure in several periods until the 16th century.
Enormous country house, the only non-royal and non-episcopal country house in England that is named a palace. Constructed in 1705 – 1724 in splendid English Baroque style and contains many valuable artworks. Home of the Churchill family for several centuries, now the property of Dukes of Marlborough.
One of the greatest Gothic-style cathedrals in England. The present building was started around 1133 and after several remodelings was built roughly in 1400. Most of it is in Decorative Gothic style with significant parts remaining from Norman times. Contains significant medieval artworks – 50 misericords, a unique minstrel’s gallery from roughly 1360, an astronomical clock, and priceless medieval books. The nave is adorned with the longest vaulted ceiling in England and represents a sight of unusual beauty.
One of the finest examples of Norman architecture, one of the greatest churches in the United Kingdom. Built by Norman conquerors in 1093-1133, in Romanesque style. It is interesting though that there (before its time) are used some elements of the next – Gothic style. Contains relics of several saints – St Cuthbert, head of St Oswald of Northumbria, and Venerable Bede.
Tower of London
England, Greater London
Royal palace and fortress. White Tower – the central keep – was constructed in 1078 – 1087 by William the Conqueror and represents an outstanding example of Norman architecture. This enormous keep is 27.4 m high, with walls up to 3.4 m thick. Used as a prison already in 1100. Over the centuries extended with numerous buildings within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. A building of outstanding historical importance. Tower houses Crown Jewels. This well-known site of legends is reportedly haunted.
Enormous Gothic cathedral, constructed in 1185 – 1311. One of the most beautiful church buildings in the United Kingdom. For 249 years (1300 – 1549) was considered to be the tallest building in the world, until the 160 m tall spire collapsed. 148 m long building with a unique facade.
An enormous, beautiful Gothic cathedral, built in 1175 – 1490 on the site of the Roman mausoleum and older church. Very ornate facade, a rich collection of medieval stained glass, and other art values.
One of the most impressive medieval castles in England, constructed in 1068 by William the Conqueror. Site of important historical events. Part of the castle was turned into a country house in the early 17th century. Grounds contain the largest trebuchet in the world. Site of legends about ghosts.
England, Greater London
This is one of the largest libraries in the world that contains numerous unique books and artworks. More than 150 million items. Contains such printed items as Diamond Sutra (the earliest dated printed book from 868 AD), Lindisfarne Gospels, Codex Arundel – a manuscript by Leonardo da Vinci, and others.
One of the most impressive representatives of Early English architecture (Early Gothic style), built in 1220 – 1258. The spire of the church is 123 m tall. Contains the oldest working clock of the world, from 1386. Contains many valuable works of art.
Construction of the extremely ornate and symbolically rich chapel started in 1456. Recently gained unexpected popularity due to speculative theories regarding Freemasonry and the Knights Templar.
England, North Yorkshire
One of the most magnificent palace-like structures in Britain. This stately home has been constructed mainly in 1699 – 1712 in the Baroque style, designed by John Vanbrugh. 145 rooms, including the Great Hall which is 24 m high.
Eilean Donan Castle
Beautiful medieval castle on an island in the lake, connected to the mainland over a stone bridge from the early 20th century. Originally built in the 13th century to defend from Vikings. Demolished in 1719, restored in 1919 – 1932. Very picturesque structure.
Ancient, legendary castle, inhabited by lords of Glamis since 1372 (although existing before). Exquisite plasterwork ceilings in several rooms. Place, where William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth takes place. Unusual and weird stories about this castle, f.e. a story about the Monster of Glamis – a crippled child kept in the castle away from other people.
Scotland, Argyll and Bute
Once one of the largest religious centers in Western Europe. It was established in 563 and served as a center for the spread of Western Christianity. 48 kings of different Western European countries are thought to be buried here.
Impressive Romanesque-Gothic church building, constructed in 1272 – the 1530s. Possibly this site has been used by Christians since Roman times. The building has a complex structure, it is adorned with detailed carvings. Impressive interiors with valuable fittings and other items.
Ornate Romanesque-Gothic cathedral. Built on a foundation that was laid in 1089. Cathedral was completed in 1499. This beautiful building is 130 m long, the ornate central tower is 69 m tall. Cloisters have amazing fan vaults. Interesting details are the earliest images of golf games in stained windows from 1350 and a carved image of medieval football.
Enormous, richly decorated, and historically important cathedral, rebuilt numerous times since around 740, today mainly in Gothic style. One of the earliest representatives of the Gothic style in England.
Chatsworth House, Derbyshire
One of the most beautiful country houses in the United Kingdom, the seat of the Duke of Devonshire, home of the Cavendish family. Contains a unique collection of art values. Initially built from 1553 to the 1560s, rebuilt in the 17th century in the English Baroque style.
Fodor’s Essential Great Britain: with the Best of England, Scotland & Wales (Full-color Travel Guide)
Great Britain remains a perennial favorite with travelers, drawing almost 3 million Americans each year, many of whom will revisit the nation. People travel here for the hipness of London, the cozy thatched-roof villages of the Cotswolds, or the wild moors and lochs of Scotland, but all want the most worthwhile destinations and savvy travel tips at a glance. The full-color Fodor’s Essential Great Britain provides this with a selective collection of the best of England, Scotland, and Wales.
Explore the misty isle of Great Britain, from lively London to the lush fields of Wales and the craggy beauty of the Scottish Highlands. With Rick Steves on your side, Great Britain can be yours!