Top 10 must-see towers in Britain


From Victorian engineering feats to today’s sky piercing mega towers, come with us on a trip around Britain’s top 10 towers.

Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth, England

This 170 metre-tall tower resembles a billowing sail fluttering elegantly over the South Coast of England. Taller then Big Ben, Blackpool Tower and the London Eye, it offers far reaching views over Portsmouth, the Channel and the Isle of Wight. Its View Deck 1 incorporates the largest glass floor in Europe where you can ‘walk on air’.

Spinnaker Tower

Spinnaker Tower

The Gherkin, London, England

The real name of this sci-fi cucumber is 30 St Mary Axe, but its affectionate nickname looks here to stay. Designed by celeb architect, Norman Foster from interlocking glass diamonds, it’s 180 metres tall – that’s more than three times the height of Niagara Falls. And, despite its rounded form, it uses only one piece of curved glass – the lens at the top of the building.


The 'Gherkin'

Blackpool Tower, Blackpool, England

Opened to the public in 1894, the Blackpool Tower was inspired by the Eiffel Tower that was opened in Paris in 1889. Constructed from steel and iron it soars above the seaside at a height of 158 metres and has a ballroom, a circus, an adventure playground and even a dungeon!

Blackpool Tower

Blackpool Tower

Perrott’s Folly, Birmingham, England

This brick-built folly, constructed in 1758, is unremarkable but for the fact that the young J. R. R. Tolkien grew up in its shadow on nearby Stirling Road in Birmingham. Perrott’s Folly and the nearby Waterworks Tower were the inspiration for the two towers after which his second Lord of the Rings book is named. Today the tower is being carefully restored and hosts regular events and exhibitions.

Perrott's Folly

Perrott's Folly

National Wallace Monument, Stirling, Scotland

A must for those interested in Scottish history, this vast, craggy tower emerging from lush forest commemorates Scotland’s famous hero, William ‘Braveheart’ Wallace. See his fearsome broadsword, dramatic reconstructions of his struggle for Scottish freedom and look out across the gorgeous countryside from the ‘crown’ atop the tower.

Wallace Monument

Wallace Monument

Castle Coch, near Cardiff, Wales

In a land of castles, it takes something a wee bit special to stand out from the crowd. This former 13th-century wreck, just west of Cardiff, was completely rebuilt by William Burges in the 1870s and the results embody the ultimate Victorian fairytale fantasy. Castell Coch’s Disney-style turrets poke mysteriously from a wooded hillside and the interiors are lavish, multicoloured and hopelessly romantic.

Castell Coch

Castell Coch

St Michael’s Tower, Glastonbury, England

Glastonbury is knee-deep in supernatural associations. It stands at the junction of ley lines, the supposed mystical motorways of spiritual energy and is said to be the final resting place of King Arthur. And slap-bang in the middle of this new age Eden is Glastonbury Tor, topped by St Michael’s Tower. Nobody can quite separate the facts from legend, but one thing’s for sure – the views across three counties from the top are gorgeous.

Glastonbury Tor

Glastonbury Tor

Glasgow Tower, Scotland

At 127 metres tall, the Glasgow Tower is currently the tallest tower in Scotland. It holds a Guinness World Record for being the tallest tower in the world which is capable of rotating 360 degrees. It turns into the prevailing wind so Glaswegians can always tell which way the wind is blowing! At the time of writing it is closed for repair.

Glasgow Tower

Glasgow Tower

Big Ben, London, England

This one really needs no introduction. Big Ben is an icon of British democracy: it’s the clock tower at the north end of the Palace of Westminster, the home of English politics. Technically, Big Ben is, in fact, the massive bell inside the clock tower, which weighs more than 13 tons (13,760 kg) and strikes out the hours over the capital. To visit the tower you have to be a UK resident and apply in advance through your Member of Parliament.

Big Ben

Big Ben

The Church of St Mary and All Saints, Chesterfield, England

This 14th-century church in Chesterfield is instantly recognisable for its twisting crooked spire. Corkscrewing into the heavens its shape is said to be caused by the absence of cross-bracing in the spire and the use of green timber. We prefer the traditional explanation that the spire was so amazed when a virgin was married in the church that it tried to spin round to get a better look.

Church of the Twisted Spire

Church of the Twisted Spire

Images via colinjcampbell, neilalderney123, ahisgett, Blissfullymuse

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12 Responses to “Top 10 must-see towers in Britain”

  1. Huw
    May 9, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    Great to see Castell Coch on the list. Sometimes take things like that for granted when you drive past it every day.

  2. Richard Cain
    May 11, 2011 at 8:32 am #

    It’s not Big Ben, it’s St Stephen’s Tower. Big Ben is the name of the bell that is struck to denote the hour.

  3. Paul
    May 30, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    How about The House In The Clouds in Thorpeness, Suffolk?

  4. Kate H
    June 18, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

    Great list. I think that Monument in London, could also be included. If you can manage the climb to the top you are rewarded with not only a fantastic view, but also a certificate to celebrate your achievement.

  5. Kevin Ward
    July 28, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    Great list, what about the Reculver Towers in Kent?

  6. trix
    December 20, 2012 at 1:13 am #

    My pal and I, are to cycle the 10 towers early 2013,,,, 2000 miles,, anybody else fancy it ????

  7. Jonas
    March 17, 2014 at 6:22 am #

    I am truly delighted to glance at this blog posts
    which consists of plenty of helpful information, thanks for providing these kinds of information.

  8. John Fox (@x333xxx)
    July 26, 2014 at 5:33 pm #

    How could you possibility limit yourself to a Top 10? You missed some rather more examples that were equally meritworthy, if not more so, than those you selected. King Alfred’s Tower in Wiltshire for example (


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