Technological Sights for Tourists in Europe

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Temporary Notes:
  • This is intended as a companion piece to the entry on scientific sights. At the moment it is just a collection of possibilities.
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Most guides for tourists concentrate on great art and architecture, or on the natural beauty of the landscape. Features which are of great interest from the point of view of engineering and technology are often ignored or barely mentioned. This entry tries to redress the balance.

The UK

Ironbridge Gorge - Shropshire

The world's first iron bridge, designed by Thomas Telford, at the picturesque, imaginatively named town of Ironbridge, near the equally imaginatively named town of Telford, in Shropshire, cradle of the Industrial Revolution.
(UNESCO World Heritage site)

Centre for Alternative Technology - Wales

Trencherfield Mill, at Wigan Pier Heritage Centre

The largest working mill engine in the world: Over a hundred years old, and used to be the sole driving force for seven stories of cotton mill engines. Fantastically impressive piece of engineering. Still in full working order and runs every day - you can hear the whistle clean across town.

The Falkirk Wheel

Currently under construction it will allow connection between 2 canals some 40 feet differnt in height. The "works" involve 2 cassions which will swivel around a central axis. Much construction is already done and the wheel is planned to be in action by the end of 2001 ready for use in summer 2002. It has its's own website or can be found through British Waterways

Forth Bridge

The must be worth a mention - its well worth a visit to North Queesnferry to admire the sheer awesome scale of the thing

Emley Moor television mast

Tallest structure in the UK - Easily visible by looking south from the M62 between Bradford and Leeds, or west from the M1 between Leeds and Wakefield.

Ditherington Flax Mill

The oldest steel-framed building in the world, and the "ancestor" of almost every skyscraper in New York, Chicago etc. - Ditherington Flax Mill, walking distance outside Shrewsbury town centre.

Neolithic Axe Factory

For a completely different era, the Neolithic axe factory under Pike o' Stickle, in the Langdale valley in the south Lake District.

More canal sights

Further afield, the Anderton Boat Lift is a stunning piece of machinery, and the Caen Hill flight of 16 locks on the Kennet and Avon Canal is pretty impressive as well - both at

While in london don't forget to take in the dome of St Paul's, designed for Wren by the great Robert Hooke, inventor of the reflecting telescope and father of microscopy. Hooke also designed the Monument. And don't neglect the London Underground - its prosaic purpose masks an incredible technological achievement far ahead of its time.

More bridges

the two bridges over the Menai Straits (engineering achievements of considerable quality) and probably the incredible Humber bridge as well.

A visit to Heathrow to see Concorde is also a must.


The Eiffel Tower, Paris

The Arche de la Défence, Paris


The Four Lifts on the Canal du Centre and their Environs, La Louvière and Le Roeulx (Hainault)

(UNESCO World Heritage site)

The Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes (Mons)

(UNESCO World Heritage site)

The Atomium, Brussels




The Netherlands

The East Schelde Storm Surge Barrier

(makes the Thames Barrier look very small)

The great dike.

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