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The United Kingdom is 94,000 square miles and has 67 million permanent residents. Tourism is a significant industry in the country, with over 40 million people visiting the UK annually. You may know the United Kingdom as the birthplace of some pretty notable figures, such as Shakespeare and The Beatles. But this country is also known for its higher education, sports teams, architecture, art, and the royal family. Discover the nine largest cities in the United Kingdom by area and learn about their attractions.
Note: This article covers the largest cities in the United Kingdom by area. Check out this article for the three most populated cities in the United Kingdom.
Land Size: 607 sq. miles
Population: 8.9 million
Location: London is the capital of England and the largest city in the United Kingdom by population and area. It is located in Southeast England, where it sits on the River Thames.
What It’s Known For: London has been a significant city in the world for two millennia and is renowned for its commerce, art, fashion, entertainment, science, education, health care, diverse culture, landmarks, architecture, museums, media, and cuisine.
Best Tourist Attractions: Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, London Eye, The British Museum, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, The National Gallery, Tower Bridge, and Victoria and Albert Museum
Land Size: 146 sq. miles
Location: Swansea is the second-largest city in Wales and it lies along Swansea Bay in Southwest Wales. The area has diverse scenery with coasts, mountains, and valleys.
What It’s Known For: Swansea is notable for its performing arts, festivals, local cuisine, literature, sports, museums, leisure activities, beaches, and nightlife.
Best Tourist Attractions: The National Waterfront Museum, Swansea Marina, Plantasia Tropical Zoo, Clyne Gardens, Gower Peninsula, Three Cliffs Bay, Oystermouth Castle, Penllergaer Valley Woods, and Langland Bay
Land Size: 103 sq. miles
Population: 1.1 million
Location: Birmingham is a major city in West Midlands County in England. It is the second-largest city in the United Kingdom by population. Birmingham is 100 miles from London.
What It’s Known For: Birmingham is famous for its higher education, orchestra, ballet, theater, fine art, literature, culinary, auto industry, museums, galleries, nightlife, festivals, architecture, sports, and media.
Best Tourist Attractions: National SEA LIFE Centre, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, The Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Cadbury World, National Trust, Library of Birmingham, Birmingham Hippodrome, Winterbourne House & Garden, and Symphony Hall
Land Size: 102 sq. miles
Location: Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and the seventh most populous city in the United Kingdom. It lies in Scotland’s Central Belt on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth.
What It’s Known For: Edinburgh is a city with a lot of charm and character. It is notable for its medieval streets, castles, churches, festivals, theater, museums, shopping, universities, and sports.
Best Tourist Attractions: Edinburgh Castle, National Museum of Scotland, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Royal Botanic Garden, Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, The Royal Yacht Britannia, St. Giles’ Cathedral, The Real Mary King’s Close, and Scottish National Gallery
Land Size: 84 sq. miles
Location: Newport is a city in wales on the River Usk and has been a port since medieval times. Outside of the city’s core, there are numerous rural areas with small villages.
What It’s Known For: Newport is notable for its castle ruins, cathedrals, shopping, art, sports, bridges, leisure activities, and nightlife.
Best Tourist Attractions: Newport Transporter Bridge, RSPB Newport Wetlands, Belle Vue Park, Caerleon Roman Fortress Baths, Beechwood Park, Newport Indoor Market, Fourteen Locks Canal Centre, National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon Ampitheatre, and Newport City Centre
Land Size: 72 sq. miles
What It’s Known For: Aberdeen is well-known for its cathedrals, shopping, architecture, landmarks, open spaces, concert halls, museums, performing arts, and sports.
Best Tourist Attractions: Aberdeen Maritime Museum, Aberdeen Art Gallery, The Gordon Highlanders Museum, St. Machar’s Cathedral, Aberdeen Science Centre, Duthie Park, Provost Skene’s House, Cruickshank Botanic Garden, and The Tolbooth Museum
Land Size: 67 sq. miles
Location: Glasgow is the most populated city in Scotland and the fourth most populated in the United Kingdom. It makes up the largest economy in Scotland, growing from a small rural settlement to an essential seaport. It is located in West Central Scotland on the banks of the River Clyde.
What It’s Known For: Glasgow is an impressive city center and notable for its architecture, retail districts, theaters, restaurants, hotels, bars, museums, parks, cathedrals, football, curling, opera, art, libraries, music, and media.
Best Tourist Attractions: Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow Cathedral, Hunterian Art Gallery, Pollok Country Park, People’s Palace, George Square, Glasgow Botanic Gardens, and Glasgow Necropolis
Land Size: 55 sq. miles
Location: Preston is a city in Lancashire, England, on the River Ribble’s north bank. The river provides a southern border for Preston, while the Forest of Bowland lies to the northeast. The city and its surrounding areas have evidence of ancient Roman activity.
What It’s Known For: The city has a rich Roman Catholic Christian history, evidenced in its tradition and architecture. Preston is also known for its monuments, shopping centers, canals, education, parks, museums, and art galleries.
Best Tourist Attractions: Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Avenham and Miller Park, Ribble Steam Railway & Museum, Brockholes, St. Walburge’s Church, Owl & Bird of Prey Sanctuary, and Moor Park
Land Size: 54 sq. miles
Location: Cardiff is the capital and largest city by population in Wales. It was a small town until the 19th century, when it became prominent as a port for coal mining. Cardiff’s center is flat, but it is surrounded by hills on three sides.
What It’s Known For: Cardiff is a popular area for Roman Catholic cathedrals, business centers, shopping, higher education, landmarks, museums, castles, festivals, concerts, visual arts, recreation, and sports.
Best Tourist Attractions: Cardiff Castle, Wales Millennium Centre, St. Fagans National Museum of History, National Museum Cardiff, Principality Stadium, Caerphilly Castle, Bute Park, Llandaff Cathedral, and Techniquest Science and Discovery Centre