It may be a small country, but Britain travel certainly has some big attractions that the whole family can enjoy, that are beyond just a London visit. Here are some not to miss:
At 135m tall and weighing 1,700 tonnes, the London Eye is the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe, and one of the UK’s most popular tourist attractions. See the city lights and spot famous landmarks from high above the city skyline in one of the 32 sealed oval pods, each representing one of the boroughs of London. Why not enjoy your 30-minute aerial ride with a glass of champagne — the perfect way to add a touch of sparkle to a theater break in London.
Big Ben Clocktower
Big Ben is the nickname for the bell that sits in the Palace of Westminster’s iconic clock tower, the third tallest free-standing tower of its kind in the world. Completed in 1858, it has come to be symbolic of the UK capital, its recognisable chimes ringing in the New Year and introducing nightly news programmes. Overseas visitors are not permitted to climb the 334 stairs to the tower’s top, but no London break would be complete without a visit to see this quintessentially British city landmark.
Angel of the North
Overlooking the main roads that lead into Tyneside, this seraphic steel structure stands at 20m tall, with outstretched wings spanning 54m across. Designed by the artist Anthony Gormley, and built at a cost of £1 million, this modern British monument has become an icon for Northern England. Situated atop a panoramic hilltop, the artwork can be clearly seen by more than 90,000 drivers and commuters every day — that’s more than one person a second!
This Wiltshire structure has the tallest church spire in the UK, towering above the historic city at a whopping 123m. Visitors can take a tour of the interior, climbing the 332 spiral steps to look out over the surrounding countryside. The cathedral also has the largest cloister, the world’s oldest operational clock and a surviving copy of the Magna Carta, making it an unmissable ministry for visitors to Britain.
Built as a memorial to the Great Fire of London, this immense obelisk was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke. Completed in 1677, the colossal colonnade is the tallest isolated stone column in the world at a whopping 62m. Situated close to London Bridge, it is exactly 62m from the site where the fire originally started. After admiring the Latin inscriptions, visitors can climb the 311-step stone staircase for breathtaking views of the surrounding city.
Inspired by the Eiffel Tower, Blackpool built its own iron-and-steel structure right on its popular seafront. The beach-based landmark draws in thousands of visitors every year, particularly during the annual illuminations, in which the entire promenade is decorated with multi-coloured light displays for a stretch of six miles. There are 563 steps from the roof of the tower to its very top, and repainting the colossal construction takes seven years to complete.
Situated in Wiltshire, this circular set of mysterious mega-monoliths stands at over 7.3m tall, towering over surrounding countryside. Thought to be around 4500 years old, these pagan pillars are linked to Arthurian legend and believed to have supernatural significance. It’s not known whether it was originally an astronomical observatory or a burial site, but it’s certainly an intriguing attraction to visit and a highlight of the South West of England.
This medieval royal residence is the largest inhabited castle in the world and the largest in Europe, comprising 13 acres and featuring fortifications plus a small town in addition to the palace. Over 500 people live and work at the splendid stately home, where the Queen officially resides from March to April. With lots of galleries and exhibitions to explore, as well as the sumptuous State Apartments and Queen Mary’s Doll House Collection, it’s well worth a day out with the family. A great day trip outside London.
Head to Teeside to see this tremendous public art piece, made up of two giant steel rings linked by a mesh of woven steel wire. The super-sized sculpture, created by experimental artist Anish Kapoor, is 50m high and 110m long, and is the first of five civic art installations planned as part of the Tees Valley Giants scheme. Located on the Middlesborough docks, the delicate mesh cables weigh 20 tonnes in total and are designed to fit in with the industrial landscape they occupy.
This strange steel spire in Stratford’s Olympic Park is part of the lasting legacy of the 2012 Olympic Games. At 115m high, it is the largest piece of public art in Britain, and was unveiled to a mixed reception on 11 May 2012. Another Anish Kapoor design, some say the radical knotted-and-looped construction looks like an enormous shisha pipe, while others compare it to a monstrous helter-skelter.Rumor has it it’s going to be converted into the country’s largest slide!
Use the London tube map to get there.
Created as an observation tower, the skyscraping structure has two viewing platforms, which sit at the top of a 455-step spiral staircase.
These big British attractions were suggested by Show and Stay, providers of cheap theater breaks for the West End.