UK offers a great number of historic, cultural and artistic treasures to experience. It was inhabited by by Stone Age peoples, Romans, Vikings, Normans and Anglo-Saxons. From splendid drawing rooms of Windsor Castle to the ancient ruins of Stonehenge.
For history lovers, UK is littered with a huge selection to choose from as they find that a treasure trove of exciting adventure awaits – royal places, massive cathedrals and mighty castles are the few to name. Here are the top 10 UK iconic landmarks that you should visit at least once in your lifetime.
1. Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace in Westminster, London, has been the official residence of the British monarch since 1837. It is the administrative headquarters of the monarch as well. This sprawling palace has 775 rooms. It was originally a large town house built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1705. It was bought by King George III as private residence for his queen. Buckingham palace is the not the monarch’s personal property, but is owned by the state. The palace is furnished and decorated with priceless works of art.
2. Big Ben
Big Ben is the name given to the massive bell inside the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament in London. It weights more than 14 tonnes, and has 4 faces that are illuminated at night. Each of the dials is 7 meters in diameter, and minute hands are four and half meters long! Big Ben was the largest clock when it was installed in the middle of the 19th century. The name Big Ben actually refers to the clock’s hour bell, the largest of the clock’s five bells. Big Ben first rang across Westminster on 31st May 1859.
3. Tower Bridge
The Tower Bridge is on the River Thames, right next to the Tower of London. In the middle of the 19th century, London was a very busy city, and the only place in the east to cross the River Thames was the London Bridge, which was always getting blocked because of the heavy traffic. The Tower bridge was the answer to the problem. When it was built, it was the largest bascule bridge ever completed. The bridge could be raised to allow ships to sail through. Tower Bridge is often mistaken for stone bridge, however it is a steel bridge.
4. 30 St. Mary Axe (The Gherkin)
30 St. Mary Axe is the address of a tall round office building in London that is known affectionately as The Gherkin, because of its distinctive shape that resembles the vegetable called gherkin. The Gherkin was designed by Sir Norman Foster, and opened in 2004. It is the heart of London’s financial centre. The exterior swirling striped pattern allows the air to flow up through spiralling wells, and is an energy saving measure. At the top its has a glass conical dome.
Salisbury Plain, in Wiltshire, England is the site of one of the most puzzling monuments in the world, the stone monuments or megaliths of of Stonehenge. This circular landmark of large, standing stones is a wonder to everyone, as Stonehenge probably dates back as far as 3100 BC. The stones are arranged in concentric circles, in a pattern whose astronomical significance is still being explored. One of the major mysteries of Stonehenge is how it is built.
6. Balmoral Castle
Balmoral Castle in Scotland is one of the Queen’s private residences. The castle is located on the large Balmoral Estate, a working estate which aims to protect the environment while contributing to the local economy. The castle was built around 1854 for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The original Balmoral Castle was built in 15th century, but it was considered too small, and so, it was rebuilt. Its architect was William Smith of Aberdeen.
7. Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is one of the residences of the British Royal family. It is located in the country of Berkshire, and the original castle was built by William the Conqueror after the Norman invasion. It has been used by a succession of monarchs. Windsor Castle was built over 900 years ago and the castle’s grounds cover nearly 5 hectares. There is a 15th century St. George’s Chapel inside the castle which represents the Gothic masterpiece.
8. Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle dominates the city of Edinburgh in Scotland. Perched on a rock, known as Castle Rock, it looks exactly like a castle should, and has been the home of Scottish kings of centuries. Built in the early 9th century, the castle has a complex history as successive rulers added to its grandeur and made modifications. The castle is the home of the Crown Jewels of Scotland, the Stone of Destiny, the famous 15th century gun Mons Meg, the One O’ Clock Gun and the National War Museum of Scotland.
9. Palace of Holyroodhouse
The Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh is the Queen’s official residence in Scotland. The palace closely associated with Scotland’s turbulent past, and with Mary, Queen of Scots, who lived here between 1561 and 1567. The palace was built by King David I of Scotland nearly 900 years ago. The palace was rebuilt by Chalres II, after the civil War. The events of Holyroodhouse have determined the fate of the three countries – England, France and Scotland.
10. Hadrian’s Wall
Hadrian’s Wall was built across Britain, beginning in 122, by order o the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Its purpose was to keep Roman Britain safe from hostile attacks by barbarians. The wall also marked the northern most boundary of the Roman Empire until early in the 5th century. Hadrian’s wall stretched from the North Sea to the Irish Sea, and was about 117 km long. It is one of the greatest monuments of the Roman Empire.