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#CareCollective > The 22 Best Historical Places To Visit in the UK

The 22 Best Historical Places To Visit in the UK

Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds

From staggering cathedrals and other feats of architecture to pop-culture references and world-famous pubs, we’ve used our unique research to show you the best historical cities in the UK - as well as some of the must-see attractions for the whole family to visit.

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Find historical places to explore throughout the UK:

  1. Brighton and Hove
  2. Liverpool
  3. Leeds
  4. Bristol
  5. Manchester
  6. Birmingham
  7. Nottingham
  8. Cardiff
  9. Chester
  10. Sheffield
  11. Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Historical Cities To Visit in the United Kingdom

Our research has found the best historical places to visit in the UK, based on popularity, affordability, accessibility and how family-friendly they are. These scores have been combined to give an overall score. Listed below are the 11 best historical cities to visit and explore in the UK.

Overall Rank Location Popularity Score (Out of 11) Affordability Score (Out of 11) Accessibility Score (Out of 11) Family Friendly Score (Out of 22) Total (Out of 55)
1 Brighton and Hove 7 9 10 17 43
2 Liverpool 9 11 4 13 37
3 Leeds 6 4 9 15 34
4 Bristol 8 3 7 15 33
5 Manchester 11 5 3 14 33
6 Birmingham 10 7 2 12 31
7 Nottingham 4 1 11 15 31
8 Cardiff 3 8 6 9 26
9 Chester 2 10 5 7 24
10 Sheffield 1 2 8 9 20
11 Newcastle-upon-Tyne 5 6 1 6 18

Brighton and Hove

Our data found that Brighton and Hove is the best historical city to visit in the UK! Thanks to a low crime rate and a high number of Tripadvisor reviews, Brighton scored the best when it came to being family-friendly. Brighton also scored well for affordability and accessibility. Brighton is also home to some amazing retirement villages, including Gradwell Park.

It isn’t hard to see why Brighton was top on our list of the best historical places in the United Kingdom. Brighton is consistently voted as one of the best cities to explore in the UK, thanks to numerous famous landmarks, buildings and a fascinating history that dates back hundreds of years - making it something of an ancient city.

Annual Number of Visits (Popularity) Year on Year House Price Change (Affordability) Percentage of Accessible Housing (Accessibility) Crimes per 1,000 in Area (Family Friendly) Number of Tripadvisor Reviews (Family Friendly)
70,000 12% 43.60% 95 446,312

Duke of York’s Picturehouse

The Duke of York’s Picturehouse is the oldest built-for-purpose cinema in the UK that still operates! Over 100 years old, this cinema still retains many of its vintage Edwardian features.

Sea Life Centre

Originally called the Brighton Aquarium when it first opened all the way back in 1872, the Sea Life Centre isn’t just the United Kingdom’s oldest aquarium, but also the oldest in the world. Since opening, a huge amount has taken place here. During the 1950s and 1960s, the aquarium contained a music venue called The Florida. Among other musicians, The Who played a weekly Wednesday night show that cost the equivalent of just 15p!


Liverpool placed 2nd in our list of the best historical cities in the UK, scoring the highest (11/11) for affordability. Liverpool also scored well for popularity, with 139,000 yearly visitors. Liverpool also contains Brideoake Court - a popular retirement community.

Did you know that Liverpool is one of the busiest ports in the world? At 700 years old, it’s easy to see the influence of this historic landmark all over the city centre. Not only a world heritage site, Liverpool is also home to arguably the most famous band of all time - The Beatles. When exploring the city, you’ll find numerous locations connected to The Beatles, including the world-famous Cavern Club.

Annual Number of Visits (Popularity) Year on Year House Price Change (Affordability) Percentage of Accessible Housing (Accessibility) Crimes per 1,000 in Area (Family Friendly) Number of Tripadvisor Reviews (Family Friendly)
139,000 11.10% 40.40% 128 721,827

Royal Albert Dock

We already mentioned that Liverpool has one of the world’s busiest ports. In many ways, the Royal Albert Dock is at the heart of this - and is a cornerstone of English heritage. During the 18th and 19th centuries, these docks dominated global trade. Today, this iconic waterfront harbour has numerous attractions, while still proudly displaying its fascinating history.

Royal Albert Dock in Liverpool

Liverpool Cathedral

Expertly combining modernist and Gothic architecture, the Liverpool Cathedral stands proudly in the heart of the city centre. Impressively, this is the largest cathedral in Britain, as well as the fifth largest in the world. If you’re a fan of jaw-dropping designs, the Liverpool Cathedral is a must-see historic site.


Our research shows that Leeds is a great city to visit and explore. Low house price growth points towards Leeds being a really affordable city, while it also gets over 50,000 visitors every year. Just ouside of Leeds you'll find Matcham Grange, a retirement living community from McCarthy Stone.

Leeds boasts a rich historical heritage and some of the best historical sites, many of which simply have to be seen in person. These historical places include ancient feats of architecture that are now steeped in culture.

Annual Number of Visits (Popularity) Year on Year House Price Change (Affordability) Percentage of Accessible Housing (Accessibility) Crimes per 1,000 in Area (Family Friendly) Number of Tripadvisor Reviews (Family Friendly)
53,000 14.60% 43.60% 153 470,081

Kirkstall Abbey

Dating back to 1152, Kirkstall Abbey is one of the most historically significant places in Leeds. Despite being almost 900 years old, the ruins are still largely intact and are a brilliant place to take photos.

Thornton’s Arcade

The oldest arcade in Leeds (an arcade is a covered passage with arches along one or both sides), Thornton’s Arcade was first built in 1878 by Charles Thornton. Leeds is well known for its arcades dotted around the city centre and this is definitely one of the most interesting!


It isn’t hard to see why Bristol scored so well in our rankings of the best historical cities in the UK. For one, Bristol receives just over 100,000 visitors every year and has a huge number of Tripadvisor reviews, further pointing towards this popularity. Bristol is also really family-friendly and has a low crime rate. Meanwhile, Pegasus the Vincent is one of Bristol's most popular retirement communities.

When it comes to history, Bristol is possibly best known for its maritime past. As one of Britain’s major trade ports, historical landmarks like the M Shed Museum and Brunel’s SS Great Britain brilliantly encompass Bristol’s history on the waterways.

Annual Number of Visits (Popularity) Year on Year House Price Change (Affordability) Percentage of Accessible Housing (Accessibility) Crimes per 1,000 in Area (Family Friendly) Number of Tripadvisor Reviews (Family Friendly)
106,000 14.70% 41.40% 94 373,327

Brunel’s SS Great Britain

Often regarded as Bristol’s best historical place, Brunel’s SS Great Britain is a superb steamship with numerous rooms that can be explored by history lovers. These include the old ship’s galley, dining salon and surgeon’s quarters.

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Much of Bristol’s history can be traced back to Isambard Kingdom Brunel - a world-famous engineer who was known for his pioneering work during the Industrial Revolution. The 76-metre-high Clifton Suspension Bridge was designed by Brunel and is undoubtedly one of Bristol’s most famous landmarks.

Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol


In our ranking of the UK’s most historical places, Manchester takes the crown as the most popular city. This is down to the number of annual visitors it gets - over 300,000! This is further backed up by the high number of Tripadvisor reviews for Manchester-based attractions. Again, it has more than any other city on our list. Pegasus Chapelwood in nearby Wilslow is a brilliant place for older adults to spend their golden years.

Many people don’t realise that Manchester was actually the birthplace of the industrial revolution. When digging a little deeper, you’ll discover Greater Manchester’s interesting industrial history. Meanwhile, the canals winding their way through the city serve as another reminder of trade that once took place here.

Annual Number of Visits (Popularity) Year on Year House Price Change (Affordability) Percentage of Accessible Housing (Accessibility) Crimes per 1,000 in Area (Family Friendly) Number of Tripadvisor Reviews (Family Friendly)
306,000 13.60% 40.40% 126 730,982

Chetham’s Library

Did you know that Manchester contains the oldest public library in the English-speaking world? Chetham’s Library has remained in the city centre since first opening in 1421. This library originally served as a college of priests and later a prison during the Civil War, before being officially converted into a public library in 1653.

Victoria Baths

Upon opening in 1906, the historically significant Victoria Baths were described as “the most splendid municipal bathing institution in the country” and “a water palace of which every citizen of Manchester can be proud”.


Next up, Birmingham comes in as the 2nd most popular historical city in the UK, with around 205,000 annual visitors. Birmingham is also seen as quite an affordable city, with house prices showing a lower annual growth rate than many of the other cities on our list. Birmingham also contains Hagley Road Village - a later living community that's packed with some amazing facilities.

Birmingham was home to several great scientists and inventors, including people like Matthew Boulton and James Watt. These famed residents led to Birmingham being the world’s first manufacturing town. Among other things, the first operational steam engine and the anchor of the Titanic were built here.

Annual Number of Visits (Popularity) Year on Year House Price Change (Affordability) Percentage of Accessible Housing (Accessibility) Crimes per 1,000 in Area (Family Friendly) Number of Tripadvisor Reviews (Family Friendly)
205,000 12.20% 39.90% 137 628,512

Cadbury World

Located just south of the city centre, Cadbury World is one of Birmingham’s must-see historical places. As the name suggests, this museum details the famous Cadbury family who are known all over the world for creating some truly delicious chocolate. This family started small in 1824, with just a single shop selling chocolate drinks and cocoa.

Warwick Castle

Built by a king and a crucial stronghold during the War of the Roses and the English Civil War, Warwick Castle has a huge amount of significant British history attached to it. Not only that, but Warwick Castle is also one of the UK’s most impressive Mediaeval castles - and it has been continuously inhabited since the Middle Ages! Special events and guided tours are regularly held here.

Warwick Castle near Birmingham


Nottingham placed 1st as the most accessible historical city in the UK. Our data has also shown Nottingham to be a brilliant family-friendly city to explore, scoring 15/22 for this category. Just south of Nottingham, Catherine Place is a really popular retirement development with options to buy and rent.

Nottingham has a rich history, some famous monuments and heaps of museums covering a wide range of topics. There’s more to Nottingham than just Robin Hood, with plenty of cultural and historic heritage hidden behind seemingly modern-day structures.

Annual Number of Visits (Popularity) Year on Year House Price Change (Affordability) Percentage of Accessible Housing (Accessibility) Crimes per 1,000 in Area (Family Friendly) Number of Tripadvisor Reviews (Family Friendly)
43,000 15.70% 44.10% 114 269,244

Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem

Numerous traditional English pubs are clamouring for the title of the country’s oldest. Of these, we’d have to say that Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem has the strongest claim. Sources and dates vary, but many say that the site of this iconic pub dates back to 1189.

The name is steeped in history as well, with Richard the Lionheart and his men having been said to gather at the tavern before heading to Jerusalem for the Crusades.

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem in Nottingham

Wollaton Hall

A magnificent work of Elizabeth architecture, Wollaton Hall is known for its impressive scale, as well as housing the UK’s largest dedicated natural history museum.

There’s plenty to do for the whole family all year round when visiting Wollaton Hall. Not only can you explore this noble palace, but you can also check out the Grade II-listed walled garden and Nottingham Industrial Museum - all of which are set amongst 500 acres of idyllic parkland.


Cardiff scored the best for affordability (8/11). House prices are currently increasing by 12% year on year, while other amenities in and around the city centre are really well priced when compared to other UK cities.

With so much to see and do, Cardiff is one of the best historical places to explore. Wales’ long-standing association with castles means that many of Cardiff’s historical sites are just as impressive as they are fascinating to explore!

Annual Number of Visits (Popularity) Year on Year House Price Change (Affordability) Percentage of Accessible Housing (Accessibility) Crimes per 1,000 in Area (Family Friendly) Number of Tripadvisor Reviews (Family Friendly)
37,000 12% 41.30% 96 365,577

Castell Coch

Wales is packed with castles. Over 600 in fact - 427 of which are still standing! One of the most interesting is Castell Coch (Red Castle). This Victorian castle was built on top of 13th-century ruins and can be found in the north of Cardiff.

Welsh National War Memorial

You’ll find the Welsh National War Memorial in Cardiff’s Alexandra Gardens. This memorial was completed in 1928 and serves as a vital memory to those who fought and died during World War One. Later down the line, a commemorative plaque was added to remember those who died during World War Two.


Chester scored even better than Cardiff for affordability, placing 2nd out of 11. Much like other historical cities that scored well in this category, Chester has lower house prices and a city centre packed with reasonably priced places to visit. Roman Court in Cheshire is a retirement village with a close-knit community and bright apartments.

With historical landmarks such as the UK’s most complete city walls, the oldest racecourse and the largest amphitheatre, Chester has heaps of history to learn about! It also contains a 1,000-year-old cathedral and the 700-year-old Rows (which is sure to satisfy your retail cravings).

Annual Number of Visits (Popularity) Year on Year House Price Change (Affordability) Percentage of Accessible Housing (Accessibility) Crimes per 1,000 in Area (Family Friendly) Number of Tripadvisor Reviews (Family Friendly)
35,000 11.40% 40.40% 86 262,022

Chester City Walls

The city walls spanning Chester are the longest and most complete in Britain. They’re the oldest as well, with some sections having been built almost 2,000 years ago. When walking the walls, you’ll also be able to learn more about Chester’s long and storied history.

Chester city walls

Chester Cathedral

A Mediaeval building in Chester that’s absolutely worth checking out is the Chester Cathedral. This must-see historic attraction is a vibrant community of worship, an ancient abbey and an architectural marvel - all rolled into one. As a result, thousands of people visit this cathedral every single year.


Our research found that Sheffield performed well for accessibility (8/11). Not only does Sheffield have an age-friendly city status, but 43.6% of its housing options are classed as accessible (and disability friendly), with only Nottingham having a higher percentage.

As the 4th biggest city in England, Sheffield is a significant industrial and cultural centre. It might be thought of as a modern city when compared to others, but Sheffield still has plenty of history to get stuck in with. Most notably, its role in producing steel during the industrial revolution, garnering it the nickname of the ‘Steel City’.

Annual Number of Visits (Popularity) Year on Year House Price Change (Affordability) Percentage of Accessible Housing (Accessibility) Crimes per 1,000 in Area (Family Friendly) Number of Tripadvisor Reviews (Family Friendly)
33,000 14.70% 43.60% 91 253,521

Warsend Cemetery

The Warsend Cemetery is the final resting place of almost 30,000 people from Sheffield and the surrounding areas. This cemetery is housed within the Warsend Cemetery Heritage Park. Here, you’ll also find the idyllic River Don gently flowing at the base of the hill, along with a wide variety of flowers that have grown and blossomed over the last 150 years.

Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet

The Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet is the perfect place to explore the steel industry that had such an impact on Sheffield’s history. At this historical site, you can immerse yourself in steelworks from as far back as the 1700s.


Newcastle scored well for both affordability and popularity. In terms of popularity, Newcastle gets around 53,000 visitors each year (which is pretty impressive when you consider its relatively remote location for many people in the UK). Newcastle also contains Elderton Place - a lovely coastal retirement community.

With historic sites and stunning architecture, it isn’t hard to see why so many people think of Newcastle as a beautiful historical city. Newcastle has had many identities over the years, with early settlements acting as a figurehead for the Roman Empire, while Northumbria was known as the cradle of Christianity.

Annual Number of Visits (Popularity) Year on Year House Price Change (Affordability) Percentage of Accessible Housing (Accessibility) Crimes per 1,000 in Area (Family Friendly) Number of Tripadvisor Reviews (Family Friendly)
53,000 13% 38% 114 337,872

Hadrian’s Wall

Stretching 73 miles from coast to coast, Hadrian’s Wall was originally built by Roman Emperor Hadrian to defend the northwest section of the Roman Empire. Today, you can explore history as lengthy as the wall itself, as well as the often stunning landscapes that accompany it on either side.

Hadrian's Wall stretching across the north of England

Newcastle Castle

The aptly named Newcastle Castle is a great reminder of Northern England’s often stormy past and military history. This castle is actually where the story of the city began - and where its name comes from.

At this castle, armies would regularly gather and criminals would be imprisoned. You can learn about this castle’s history, as well as explore ancient passageways, chambers and seemingly endless hidden stories.


We sought to find the best historical locations in the UK for all generations, based on several crucial factors. Data was gathered from a number of sources, with overall scores (out of 55) being based on the following:

1. Popularity using ONS Travel Data Trends for 2021 to find the most visited towns and cities in the UK. Each location was given a score from 1-11, with 11 going to the location with the most visits

2. Affordability using Land Registry data to analyse house prices in each area and find the Year on Year (December 2021 to December 2022) house price change for each location. Each location was ranked from 1-11. Locations with a lower percentage increase were scored higher than locations with larger house price increases over the last year

3. Accessibility using Centre for Ageing Better data. This dataset highlighted cities that are recognised as being ‘age-friendly’, meaning these are some of the most accessible locations in the UK. ONS Disability Housing data was used to analyse locations with the highest percentage of accessible housing/accommodation. The location with the greatest proportion of accessible housing was given a score of 11 and vice-versa

4. How family-friendly a location is by analysing crime rates (number of annual crimes per 1,000 residents). Locations with lower crime rates were given a lower score (up to 11). Tripadvisor reviews were also analysed for each location. Locations with a higher number of reviews were given a higher score (starting from 11). These two scores were then added together to give a ‘family friendly’ score out of 22

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