UK City Wonders by Private Jet Charter
Big Ben, Edinburgh Castle, and St Paul's Cathedral – these are some of the United Kingdom's most renowned visitor attractions, but there are less-famous marvels that have yet to step out of the shadow of Britain's major landmarks.
The United Kingdom has been synonymous with architectural splendour throughout history. Today, numerous classical structures and stylish modern shapes adorn the skylines of the country's urban areas, with natural sights providing the finishing touches to these concrete topographies.
Yet, only a select few locations make it into the itinerary of luxury travellers, or get the honour of being immortalised on postcards. While the UK has no shortage of sightseeing options, there are a few overlooked sites that are spectacular in their own right. Here are five city marvels worth visiting when you book private jet hire, to and around Britain.
The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester
It’s hard to believe that the Manchester Guardian in 1890 called this gallery "the most unsatisfactory of earthly institutions." What was once an unsophisticated structure on the Oxford Road campus of the University of Manchester, is now a bold representation of modern artistry.
The Whitworth Art Gallery was once home to the first Picasso on public display, but today the barrel-vaulted halls hold a collection of historic fine art alongside contemporary works. As you wander about the grounds, you realise that the building itself is a piece of art. Following recent renovations, the gallery upgraded its Jacobean style façade with extensions of glass and steel. The interior has shed its original layer and now boasts dazzling furnishings. An art garden, detailed to perfection, frames the rear of the building. This is one of the few places that blends heritage and innovation to provide an all-around visually pleasing experience.
Craigentinny Marbles, Edinburgh
Courtesy of e-Architect, an online architectural resource offering UK architecture tours in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, Cambridge, Oxford, Leeds and Sheffield.
This grand classical-style mausoleum is squeezed between rows of 1930s bungalows and the contrast between the towering historic stone decoration with plain suburbia is mesmerising. The large mausoleum structure is also covered in bas-relief marble sculptures. The name derives from the two sculptured marble panels depicting Biblical scenes, ‘The Overthrow of Pharaoh' and ‘The Song of Miriam’.
The Craigentinny Marbles were described at the time of erection as ‘the most remarkable pieces of sculpture executed during this century’ and ‘attracted artists from all parts to view them.’ The monument commemorates book collector William Henry Miller (1788-1848), who owned an estate in Craigentinny. He wanted to be buried in the open fields rather than in a churchyard, yet over time the fields gave way to a run-of-the-mill housing estate.
The Rooftop Gardens, Kensington
From the street there seems to be nothing extraordinary about the former Derry and Toms building. But, move up to the rooftop, and you'll be greeted with 1.5 acres of blossoming grandeur. This is the place to come if you want to indulge in the beauty and aroma of nature, while being treated to the vistas of London.
Three themed gardens create a dramatic oasis in this brick-and-mortar landscape: a Spanish garden with a fountain and vine-covered passages, a Tudor-inspired garden that boasts curved walkways and dangling wisteria, and an English woodland garden home to pintail ducks and flamingos. Nestled among the greenery is a two-storey Clubhouse that not only hosts exclusive events but is also home to the Gardens’ Private Members Club.
Lauriston Castle, Edinburgh
Courtesy of This Is Edinburgh, an official guide to the capital of Scotland.
If you want to explore one of Edinburgh’s lesser known castles, then Lauriston Castle is a beautiful choice. This hidden gem is situated near the quaint village of Cramond with spectacular sea views of the Firth of Forth. Lauriston Castle provides guided tours of the stunningly preserved Edwardian castle interiors and special costume performances, which will send you back into a gone-by era.
If you love tranquil gardens, you’re certain to enjoy a stroll through the gorgeous Japanese Peace Garden in the castle grounds. Here visitors can experience some peace and serenity with the small waterfall pond surrounded with traditional Japanese plants.
St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London
Jagged spires towering above the street, arched windows and walls decorated with gargoyles – how can passers-by and visitors not be wowed by the fairy-tale exterior of the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel?
While this Victorian Gothic design is attributed to Sir George Gilbert Scott (for what was then known as the Midland Grand Hotel) the building's current interior is the result of a six-year renovation. Inside, a treasure trove of luxurious treats awaits guests. There are 38 expansive Victorian Suites and 207 stylish bedrooms that form the Barlow House. And, with an upscale restaurant and spa facilities, the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel has all the lavishness one has come to expect from a five-star establishment.
Scottish Parliament Building, Edinburgh
Courtesy of e-Architect.
This intriguing building leaves many bemused. Some visitors struggle to love the stark concrete exterior, but few fail to be blown away by the sumptuous interior. Beautiful wooden screens and stairs curve and fold between the collection of buildings. The route up to the Debating Chamber is a joy to follow, weaving in and out between light and dark spaces, before emerging into one of the most beautiful public spaces in the UK.
Designed by the late Catalan architect Enric Miralles with Edinburgh architecture studio RMJM, it is located on the world-famous Royal Mile. The contemporary architecture style mixes Catalan and Scottish influences. The architects were not keen to explain the building’s symbology, leaving critics to pick through various hints. Miralles’ wife claimed the applied panels – in the shape of hair dryers or pistols depending on your point of view – screened windows like curtains blowing in the wind. Others claimed their form came from an ancient Spanish symbol for earth, and some suggested they mimicked the skater painting mentioned by Enric as an influence.
Canaletto Tower, London
This latest addition to London's City Road may not be a tourist attraction but it's still something to feast the eye on – or better yet, live in. The recently-completed Canaletto Tower flaunts an elaborate outer appearance, consisting of aluminium frames that connect floor-to-ceiling windows and glass terraces. These cover rows of exquisite apartments that are known as "individual neighbourhoods in the sky." This development has already attracted the attention of those looking to buy or rent a prime piece of property.
The Canaletto Tower's façade makes it an architectural icon in Islington, but each apartment has also been given every attention to detail. They feature a range of interior design elements and amenities ideally suited for a life of luxury. Whether you're intending to purchase an apartment as the main home or a vacation residence, you'll have your own private haven above the city's streetscapes.