Top 10 Famous Buildings In The United Kingdom - Updated 2024

| 6 min read

The United Kingdom boasts a stunning array of attractions - both historic and modern. Some of the most famous attractions are Tower of London, National Gallery, London Eye, Tate Modern, and more. Apart from these options, travellers and locals alike can delve into the United Kingdom’s rich, versatile history by visiting some of the country’s buildings. From Buckingham Palace to Beetham Tower, the nation’s buildings have much to offer in terms of architecture, art and intriguing stories from the past. The United Kingdom has many buildings that are enjoyable for history buffs, royal fanatics, curious individuals, families, and children. Most of these buildings also host guided tours, workshops, and exhibitions that are suitable for local visitors and travellers. Read on for the top famous buildings in the United Kingdom.

1. St. Paul's Cathedral (from USD 31.75)

famous buildings in united kingdom | st. paul's cathedral

St. Paul’s Cathedral is known worldwide with its iconic dome standing tall against the London skyline for over 300 years. The cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of London and the mother church of the Diocese of London. It has tremendous historical and religious value, with the original church built on this site dating back to AD 604. Visitors can explore England’s history on the cathedral floor, head down to the crypt where national heroes are buried, climb the iconic dome to check out the unique acoustics of the Whispering Gallery, and enjoy unparalleled views of London from the Stone and Golden Galleries.

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London: St Paul's Cathedral Entry Ticket

5651 reviews

2. The Shard (from USD 43.19)

famous buildings in united kingdom | the shard

One of the most notable buildings along London’s skyline, The Shard is the bustling metropolis’ newest landmark. The Shard is a 95-storey skyscraper which stands a whopping 309.6 meters (1,016 feet) high. It was constructed in 2012 and has since been the tallest building in the United Kingdom. Visitors to The Shard can take in London in all its glory, from the Thames to the London Bridge and Big Ben, from the 360-degree viewing platform located 244 meters (800 feet) above the ground on the 72nd floor. This floor also hosts an open sky deck. History buffs and curious travelers can indulge in intriguing stories about London’s rich history through multiple multimedia screens.

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London: The Shard Entry Ticket

5637 reviews

3. Wales Millennium Centre

Wales Millennium Centre
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Thomas Duesing used under CC BY 2.0

Wales Millennium Centre is located in the nation’s capital city of Cardiff and has become home to the performing arts. Designed by Jonathan Adams, of local practice Percy Thomas Architects, Wales Millenium Centre boasts a stunning exterior as well as interior. Arguably the most eye-catching building along Cardiff Bay, the WMC has a massive hull-shaped, copper-colored roof, earning it the nickname - the Armadillo. The interior features three world-class theatres, several function rooms, practice rooms, and dance studios for performers along with a foyer filled with bars and restaurants. Visitors can admire the architecture of the building, head over to the ticketing office to buy tickets for a show, or head over to the restaurants, coffee shops, or bars in the lobby.

Wales Millennium Centre

Address: Bute Pl, Cardiff CF10 5AL, United Kingdom

Website: Wales Millenium Centre

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4. Beetham Tower

Beetham Tower Manchester April 2006
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Monki used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

While most of the buildings in this article are historic in nature, Beetham Tower in Manchester is a modern wonder. The 47-storey skyscraper cost GBP 150 million (USD 197 million) to build and was completed in 2006. The building is 554 feet (169 meters) tall and is the tallest fully complete building in Manchester. Due to its imposing height, the building can be seen from 10 neighboring English counties. Visitors can stay at the building with the first 22 floors being occupied by The Hilton Manchester Deansgate while a 4-meter (13.1 feet) cantilever marks level 23, where the famous Cloud 23 bar is located. All the floors above 23 have residential apartments leading up to a penthouse on level 47. The building is a must-see sight on everyone’s trip to Manchester.

Beetham Tower

Address: 301 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4LQ, United Kingdom

Website: Beetham Tower

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5. Caernarfon Castle (from USD 74.98)

famous buildings in united kingdom | caernarfon castle

Caernarfon Castle - often anglicized as Carnarvon Castle or Caernarvon Castle - is a medieval Welsh fortress located on the banks of River Seiont in Gwynedd, Wales. The castle was built in the late 11th century as a motte and bailey castle which was then converted into a fortress by King Edward I of England in 1283. The castle was borne out of a mixture of bitter rivalry between England Wales and the Welsh myth of Macsen Wledig. This mystical castle features 5.5-meter (18-foot) thick outdoor walls and was built in the imperial Roman style. One of the biggest attractions for visitors is Eagle Tower, where most royals’ chambers were. The splendid castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the “Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd”.

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From Llandudno: Portmeirion, Snowdonia and Castles Tour

Duration: 9.0 hour

187 reviews

6. King's College Chapel (from USD 264.0)

Arguably the most notable and recognized buildings in Cambridge - a city approximately 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of London. The chapel might be the best example of Perpendicular Gothic English architecture and was built from 1446 to 1515 by several English monarchs. Further additions, like the large-stained glass windows and early Renaissance rood screen, were made until 1536. The chapel is mesmerizing because of both its exterior and interior beauty, with over 16 large windows on all sides of the chapel, a detailed stone ceiling, and an organ - supported by a large wooden rood screen. The massive building is still used as an active place of religious worship for students at King’s College and visitors.

Tip from tour guide

King's College Chapel

King's College Chapel was founded in the 15th century by Henry VI. Although he wasn't a good king, he was a very religious man, and all he wanted to do was study and pray. So he built this chapel with a ceiling that looks like a lady's fan and is 24 m (78.74 f) high. All the way around, it's got 26 beautiful stained glass windows, which were finished in the middle of the 16th century by Henry VIII, one of the Tudor kings.

In King's College Chapel, what is important is the choir stalls. There is a very famous carol concert that takes place every year on the 24th of December, which is Christmas Eve. It's called the Nine Lessons and Carols, and it is sung by the beautiful choir of King's College, which has 30 boys. 16 of them are boys whose voices haven't broken yet, and the other 14 are graduates or undergraduates whose voices have broken. They sing a beautiful carol concert that is broadcast throughout the world on television and radio. 

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King's College Chapel and Historic Cambridge

Duration: 2 hours

45 reviews

7. Royal Pavilion (from USD 24.15)

royal pavilion

Royal Pavilion is also called Brighton Pavilion because of its location in the seaside city of Brighton and Hove. This lavish palace was commissioned by King George IV and construction began in 1787. The Palace has been hosting royals for over 200 years but has also been used as a civic building and a First World War hospital. Built in the Indo-Saracenic style, mostly prevalent in India in the 19th century, Royal Pavilion has become a must-see attraction in London due to its awe-inspiring interiors. Visitors to the pavilion can get a taste of the royal lifestyle as they walk through royal bedrooms, a saloon, the Great Kitchen, the music room, and more. A stunning exhibition of over 120 artworks, commissioned by King George IV, is also ongoing.

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Brighton: Royal Pavilion Admission Ticket

633 reviews

8. Edinburgh Castle (from USD 21.0)

edinburgh castle

Standing tall against the skyline of Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh Castle dates back to the 12th century. There have been many additions to the castle since the initial construction. The castle was one of the most important strongholds in the Kingdom of Scotland and has witnessed many wars such as the Jacobite rising of 1745 and the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century. Edinburgh Castle, located high atop Castle Rock, is Scotland’s most-visited paid tourist attraction with its panoramic views of the city below, historic tours that cover the wars and royal residents throughout history, and the stunning Crown Jewels.

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Edinburgh Castle Ticket

Duration: 1 day

7160 reviews

9. Buckingham Palace (from USD 134.0)

Buckingham Palace is arguably the UK’s most well-known landmark along with the Big Ben, London Bridge, and London Eye. The Palace is the official London residence of Queen Elizabeth II and is steeped in centuries of British royal history. Featuring 775 rooms and London’s largest private garden, the Palace’s staterooms often host official events such as state visits and other events involving royal family members and charity. Visitors to Buckingham Palace can walk through the luxurious staterooms and marvel at the grandiose decorations, custom-made furniture, and historic art from July through September. A favourite among visitors is also the Changing of the Guard ceremony. The world-famous ceremony takes place at 11am daily in June and July, and Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays from August to May.

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Buckingham Palace Tour with Changing of the Guard Ceremony

Duration: 4 hours 45 minutes

10 reviews

10. Lincoln Cathedral

One of England’s most highly regarded religious landmarks, Lincoln Cathedral was commissioned by William the Conqueror in 1075. The massive Gothic-styled building is also named Lincoln Minster, the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lincoln, and St. Mary’s Cathedral. This under-rated masterpiece is around 230 kilometers (143.5 miles) away from London and once hosted one of the four remaining copies of the original Magna Carta, which has since been moved to Lincoln Castle. Lincoln Castle is highly regarded by architects from all over the world for its breath-taking exterior and interior design. Must-see attractions at the cathedral include the Blessed Virgin Mary statue, The Lincoln Imp, the Boole Window, Duncan Grant Chapel and a lot more.

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Skip the Line: Entry to Lincoln Cathedral including Floor Tour Ticket

Duration: 2 to 3 hours

Picture-perfect architecture

Discover the United Kingdom like never before by visiting the stunning historic and modern buildings spread across nations. From extravagant palaces to picturesque cathedrals and castles, the United Kingdom is never lacking in historic buildings known for their breath-taking architecture. Modern marvels are present across various cities such as The Shard in London and Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. Visitors are bound to be mesmerized by their visit to the different styles of buildings in the UK.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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