The British monarchy is one of the world’s oldest, and there is no shortage of historical landmarks in the country. While the country is loaded with natural beauty, you will also find plenty of historic buildings and museums.
Also, England is an ancient land that was inhabited by Anglo-Saxons, Normans, Vikings, Romans, and even Stone Age peoples. Best of all, England is not a huge country, so it’s entirely possible to spend a couple of weeks in the country and visit many of the most famous landmarks in England.
Are you ready to learn more? Let’s dive in and discover all of the best landmarks in England.
Famous Landmarks in England
1. The British Museum
One of the oldest museums in the world is located in London. The British Museum has been in existence since 1735, and the museum opened its doors to the public six years after it was founded.
As one of England’s most visited places, the British Museum welcomes more than seven million people annually.
In the museum’s permanent collection, you’ll find more than eight million artifacts, and the collection covers all of the history of humanity. Moreover, that number continues to grow constantly as even more artifacts are added. For example, the museum houses the famous Rosetta Stone.
The building itself is also a wonder to behold. It was designed to resemble Asia Minor’s temple of Athena Polias at Priene. The facade is Greek Revival and has 44 columns in the Ionic order. The columns are 45 feet tall.
2. Tower of London
The Tower of London is known officially as His Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London. This landmark isn’t just a tower. It’s actually a historic castle that’s located in central London on the north bank of the Thames River.
The Tower of London was founded as part of the Norman Conquest in 1066, and the name comes from the White Tower, which was built in 1078 by William the Conqueror. The White Tower is often considered the most complete 11th-century palace in Europe.
As one of London’s most famous landmarks, the Tower of London has been used as a palace, observatory, treasure vault, menagerie, and even a prison.
Since 1652, the Tower of London has been showcasing beautiful royal armor in the Line of Kings exhibit. The Tower is also where the Crown Jewels have been housed since the reign of Henry III.
3. Buckingham Palace
If you’ve visited London and not checked out Buckingham Palace, we recommend that you book another trip back to the country immediately.
Buckingham Palace is arguably London’s most famous landmark, and it’s the official headquarters of King Charles III and the Queen Consort.
Buckingham Palace was built by the Duke of Buckingham in the 18th century. In 1761, George III bought the palace for his wife, Queen Charlotte. Because this palace has been the headquarters of the monarch for hundreds of years, it looks exactly as you would imagine: like a royal palace.
If you visit Buckingham Palace on state occasions, you may catch a rare glimpse of the Royal Family as they gather on the balcony. Visitors also enjoy watching the solemn changing of the guard ceremony. Equally gorgeous is the immaculate gardens on the palace grounds.
If you mention England to anyone in the world, one of the things that will come to the minds of most people is Stonehenge. Located on the Salisbury Plain in Wilshire, Stonehenge was constructed in about 2500 B.C.
Some historians believe that Stonehenge may have been an ancient burial ground because human bone deposits from as early as 3000 B.C. have been found on the site. It was around this time that the bank and ditch were first dug, and this practice continued for minimally another 500 years.
How long have the stones been at Stonehenge? Radiocarbon dating was used to test the bluestones, and archaeologists believe the first ones were raised between 2400 and 2200 B.C.
However, the stones may have been in place since around 3000 B.C. Estimates suggest that the stone placements took place for about 1500 years.
5. Natural History Museum
It wasn’t until the 1850s that England had a Natural History Museum. It took workers about eight years to build the Roman-style building. Now, the Natural History Museum is one of the three Exhibition Road museums that are located in South Kensington.
The five main collections in the museum are comprised of more than 80 million items, including earth and life science specimens. Also, the Natural History Museum is the main research center that specializes in the identification, taxonomy, and conservation of natural artifacts.
One of the museum’s most popular places to visit is Hintze Hall, which houses special exhibits. If you manage to see all of the exhibits in the Natural History Museum, you can visit the other nearby museums, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum.
6. St. Paul’s Cathedral
Ludgate Hill is the highest point in London, and sitting on this hill is St. Paul’s Cathedral. Sir Christopher Wren built St. Paul’s Cathedral in the latter part of the 17th century.
If you have seen any video footage of the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, you may recognize this cathedral because it’s where the pair were married.
The original structure of St. Paul’s Cathedral was modeled in a Gothic style. However, in 1666, the Great fire of London claimed the cathedral, and it burnt to the ground. The current cathedral is the one that was built to replace the original.
When you visit St. Paul’s Cathedral, you can walk up the 259 steps to the Whispering Gallery that’s located within the interior of the dome. Outside, visitors can enjoy the Golden Gallery and views of the city.
7. Big Ben
The world-famous clock, Big Ben, is arguably one of the most well-known London landmarks. In fact, Big Ben is one of the country’s most visited landmarks. The clock tower was completed with the rebuilding of the Houses of Parliament in 1858.
Located at Westminster Palace’s north end, Big Ben used to be known as the Clock Tower. However, Big Ben was renamed in 2012 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Now, Big Ben is known as the Elizabeth Tower.
Big Ben has four clock faces and is tall enough to be seen from any location in Central Londen. This majestic clock tower was designed in a neo-Gothic style by Augustus Pugin.
At the time of its construction, Big Ben was the most accurate and largest clock of its kind in the world.
8. Peak District National Park
Located about 40 minutes from Manchester is the Peak District National Park. People from the earliest known eras of human activity inhabited the Peak, and artifacts found there include Mesolithic flint and items from the Bronze Age.
In the park, evidence of palaeo-environmental artifacts has been found, along with activity from the Neolithic era. The Iron Age is also represented in the park, and you can view hill forts such as Mam Tors.
Most archaeologists and historians believe the theory that the name of the park came from an Anglo-Saxon tribe known as the peaklanders, or Pecsaetan.
This tribe inhabited the northern and central parts of the park from about 6th-century C.E. At this time, the area belonged to the Anglian kingdom of Mercia.
9. Palace of Westminster
England’s political epicenter is located at the Palace of Westminster, and this building has been around since the 11th century. The original structure was built by the Danish King Canute the Great. It’s in this building that the House of Lords and House of Commons meet.
The new building was built by Sir Charles Barry in 1834, and this is the stunning architecture that you’ll see when you visit today. You can walk around the palace’s outskirts to see the grand building. The Palace of Westminster is located in the city of Westminster in Central London on the River Thames’ north bank.
Historically, the Palace of Westminster is significant because it is the location of many of the most infamous trials and political rallies in the country. The palace even survived the Gunpowder Plot.
10. Windsor Castle
In recent years, Windsor Castle has been most well-known as the place where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married. However, Windsor Castle was primarily used as the weekend retreat for Queen Elizabeth II.
William the Conqueror built Windsor Castle in the 1070s. The castle sits on the edge of the Saxon hunting ground high above the Thames.
Windsor Castle holds the distinction of being the world’s largest and oldest occupied castle. The castle has been used by reigning monarchs since the time of King Henry I, who was king from 1100-1135.
The castle is home to some of the world’s most lavish rooms, and St. George’s Chapel inside the castle is the place where Prince Harry married his bride. The chapel has hosted several royal weddings over the years.