10 new ways to Instagram Britain’s icons

From the red telephone box to the real-life Hogwarts Express, Britain is chock-full of fabulous photo opportunities. Avoid the crowds by snapping them from a different perspective to the norm.

1. Take an unexpected phone call

Despite public phone boxes being more or less redundant these days, Britain’s famous red versions serve an important purpose – selfies! You can find them everywhere, but perhaps the most surprising location is slap-bang in the middle of Mayfield Lavender Farm, where a single red box stands out vividly against the purple blooms, making an unusual shot.

Mayfield Lavender Farm, Banstead

2. … or find a bleached version of the icon

Hull in northern England is the only place in the UK where phone boxes are cream rather than crimson, which makes for a striking sight – and photo – in the hip and happening former UK City of Culture.

Hull, northern England

3. Paddle your way to Parliament

Kayaking, River Thames, London

Not many people capture the Houses of Parliament’s gothic spires from the Thames itself. No, we’re not suggesting you jump into the river with your camera in a snap-lock bag – coast along it in a kayak and spot several London icons, including Parliament, from this serene perspective. 

Houses of Parliament, London

4. Tea to go, tea to Instagram

Peggy Porschen

Two quintessential London experiences combine on the Afternoon Tea Bus London Tour, where you not only ride a double decker bus around the city, but enjoy an oh-so-pretty afternoon tea as you go. And while traditionalists still love The Ritz for tea, chic bakery Peggy Porschen is an Instagrammer’s dream, with blooms cascading from the roof and cakes that look – almost – too good to eat.

Peggy Porschen Cakes, London

5. Snap a Banksy

You don’t have to go into a gallery to contemplate art in hushed reverence, with your camera firmly away in your pocket – Britain is awash with street art to get right up close to and photograph. Anonymous artist Banksy hails from Bristol, and has long used the city’s walls as his canvas; get a shot of his Masked Gorilla, who pouts behind a colour-popping pink mask at Fishponds Road, as well as dozens of other works all across the UK.

Fishponds Rd, Bristol

6. Outsider art

The Rooftop St. James, Trafalgar St. James Hotel

One of the best places to spy contemporary works in London is Trafalgar Square – yes, the National Gallery is there, but it’s the Fourth Plinth just outside the gallery that’s worth inspecting. While the three other plinths in the square hold traditional, centuries-old statues of historic figures, the Fourth Plinth changes every few years, usually hosting an eye-catching work that reflects or comments on contemporary events.

Trafalgar Square, London

7. Stumble on Strumble

Strumble Head Lighthouse, Pembrokeshire, Wales.

Being an island, Britain isn’t short on seaside photo ops, but for something special head to Pembrokeshire in Wales, home to the UK’s only coastal National Park. The charmingly-named Strumble Shuttle takes you to Strumble Head, where you can snap a pic of romantic Strumble Lighthouse, perched out on a tiny island and connected to the mainland by a suspension bridge. It feels gloriously remote, and if you visit in the springtime yellow gorse flowers make the scene even more swoon-worthy.

Strumble Head Lighthouse, Pembrokeshire

8. All the whisky

The Scotch Whisky Experience

No trip to Scotland is complete without a wee dram of whisky, but 3,384 bottles of the stuff makes for an even more impressive photo. Head to the Scotch Whisky Experience to snap the historic collection and sample the golden nectar in situ.

The Scotch Whisky Experience, Edinburgh

9. Swap Abbey Road for Penny Lane

The Beatles Statue, Pier Head, Liverpool, Merseyside, UK.

Many Beatles fans head to the Abbey Road pedestrian crossing in London for their Fab Four snap, but Liverpool’s Penny Lane road sign makes for a graphic shot and is connected to other brilliant Beatles locations around their home city of Liverpool; see them all on the Magical Mystery Tour.

Penny Lane, Liverpool

10. St Paul’s, multiplied

Man in front of St Pauls, London, England

St Paul’s Cathedral is imposing at the best of times, but there’s a way to triple its impact: keeping fashion store Mango on your left as you approach, look up to see the dome reflected not once, but twice, in the tall mirrored glass buildings on either side. Classical meets modern, and the result is picture-perfect.

St. Paul's Cathedral, London
17 Mar 2020(last updated)