Thought Britain's preened and polished attractions were the only must-sees? The UK is home to some breathtakingly beautiful sites that have been abandoned for years, adding to their allure and mystery.
Castles, towers and even villages lie derelict in many of the country's secluded beauty spots, and in some cases in the middle of crowded cities.
The giant concave Sound Mirrors in Kent were built as a form of defence during WWII to detect enemy aircrafts. Discarded with the invention of radar, though an unsuccessful tool of warfare, these striking concrete structures are a must-see if you're visiting Romney Marsh.
In Northern Ireland, Dunluce Castle sits dramatically close to a headland that plunges straight into the sea and once had a village surrounding it, which was destroyed by a fire in 1641, after part of it fell into the sea on a stormy night in 1639 and it was soon abandoned.
We've rounded up a few of our favourite abandoned sites around the country. Click through our gallery to see the pictures.
Abandoned places in Britain
Abandoned places in the UK: Beautiful sites to explore
Near the small village of Purton lies a ship graveyard left for nature to take its course. Lying on the muddy banks of the River Severn, the broken wooden ships under a sea of wild grass is a sight for sore eyes. On a low tide, you can even spot the wreck of an old cargo ship which sunk in the middle of the river.
West Pier in Brighton, built in 1866 is an iconic symbol of this Victorian seaside destination. Closed and deteriorating since 1975, the silhouette structure bobbing in the water at sunset and circled by starlings is simply magical.
Located dramatically close to a headland that plunges straight into the sea, along the North Antrim coast, Dunluce Castle was the headquarters of the MacDonnell Clan. There is archaeological evidence of a village that surrounded the castle which was destroyed by a fire in 1641. The site was also witness to the sinking of a colony ship that broke up on the rocks off Islay in 1857 with the loss of 240 lives. Constantly fought over, it eventually succumbed to the power of nature, when part of it fell into the sea one stormy night in 1639. It was abandoned shortly afterwards.
Built as a form of defence during WWII, these giant concave mirrors were erected to detect enemy aircrafts. Discarded with the invention of radar, though an unsuccessful tool of warfare, these striking concrete structures are a must-see.
The Cistercian abbey of Tintern is one of the greatest monastic ruins of Wales. From 1131 until 1349 the Abbey was thriving and then the Black Death arrived. This badly affected Abbey life, but it managed to operate until 1536, when it was part of the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII. Within a few years the lead was stripped from the roof and the building began to decay.
Immortalised in pop culture, most notably on the cover of Pink Floyds’ Animals, Battersea Power Station is a significant symbol of London. Now a decommissioned coal-fired power station, it boasts being Europe’s largest brick building with lavish art deco interiors.
Located in the heart of Northumberland International Dark Sky Park stands the guardian fortress between Scotland and England, Harbottle Castle. First built on the orders of King Henry II, it over the centuries it has fallen to ruin, but in the midst of twilight beneath a blanket of stars, visitors can still catch a glimpse of the once proud citadel.
One of the capital’s old Tube stations, the Strand’s station has long been popular as a filming location and has appeared in a number of films. In recognition of its historical significance, it is now a Grade II listed building.
This beautiful expanse of water hides a ghostly past. The remains of a derelict flax mill run down to the shore but beneath the reservoir lies a whole village. When the water is low, the ruins of the village begin to surface, shedding light on the old church, school, cottages, country lanes and garden walls. It is a beautiful spot for wildlife and has been immortalised in crime writer Peter Robinson’s A Dry Season.
Appuldurcombe House was once the grandest house on the Isle of Wight, but now just its shell remains. Positioned on the edge of the village of Wroxall, the front of the partially restored building remains an impressive example of Baroque architecture.
The extensive and picturesque ruins of Minster Lovell Hall are located in a beautiful rural setting beside the River Windrush. Originally home to Richard III's henchman Lord Lovell, one of the richest men in England, it was designed to serve as a symbol of great wealth, but after several changes of hands only the fascinating remains stand today. Approached from the north through the adjacent churchyard, the 15th century site comprises of a fine hall, tower and complete dovecote nearby.
Closed after WWI, Devil’s Dyke covers the deepest dry valley in the world and 200 acres of splendid views into Sussex, Hampshire and Kent. It’s distinctive topography proved it to be a very popular tourist destination in the Edwardian era, boasting two bandstands, an observatory, a camera obscura and fairground rides. Records show that Devil’s Dyke welcomed 30,000 visitors on the August bank holiday of 1893.
Tyneham is Dorset's famous 'lost' village. Left uninhabited for forces training during WW2, the intervening years have left their mark on Tyneham where now only the old church and school house remain. With names on the pegs and schoolwork on the desks, it feels as if only minutes ago the children had run outside to play.
Built originally as a hospital-cum-chapel in the mid-late 10th century, following the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the Old Grammar School in Coventry was set up as a free school under the ruling of King Henry VII. Later moving the school, the old site was visited by Queen Elizabeth I who donated for its upkeep in respect that her father started the foundation.
Devenish Monastic Site was founded in the 6th century by Saint Molaise on one of Lough Erne’s many beautiful islands. During its history it has been raided by Vikings (837AD), burned (1157AD) and flourished (Middle Ages) as a parish church site and St Mary’s Augustine Priory. The island is home to ancient ruins and an impressive 12th century round tower.
Culver Hole is a large sea cave that is believed to date back to the 13th Century. Its entrance is sealed off by a 60ft high wall. Inside is a staircase that leads to four floors, and it is said to have had links to the castle that once stood in Port Eynon. Today, its only inhabitants are pigeons and seagulls.
These small fortified towers were built in the Thames Estuary during World War II to help defend Britain. They were operated as army and navy forts, and were decommissioned in the late 1950s. Their entry ladders were sawn off to prevent trespassers and charity Project Redsand is dedicated to maintaining the towers.
St Kilda was once populated by the unique and hardy Kildians, who due to poverty and starvation were forced to leave these islands in Scotland's Outer Hebrides in the last century. There is an abandoned village on the island where the houses are still relatively intact and stories and folklore about life on St Kilda has been preserved.