Aerial photographs

Historic England hold over 4 million aerial photographs covering the whole of England and dating from the early 20th century to the present day.

The National Collection of Aerial Photography is one of the largest collections of aerial imagery in the world, containing tens of millions of images featuring historic events and places around the world.

Britain from Above features images from the Aerofilms collection, dating from 1919 to 2006. It includes the largest and most significant number of air photographs of Britain taken before 1939.

The Cambridge University Collection of Aerial Photography is the result of airborne survey campaigns which were started in 1947 by the pioneering JK St Joseph. Virtually the whole of Britain has been covered.

Historical maps

Old Maps Online is a gateway to historical maps in libraries around the world.

The British Library has one of the largest collections of maps, plans and topographical views in the world.

A wide range of maps from the National Library of Scotland, including Ordnance Survey maps 1840s – 1960s.

William Smith’s maps. The first geological map of England and Wales from 1815.

Tithe maps of Wales  from the National Library of Wales. Search and browse over 300,000 entries and their accompanying apportionment documents using original and present-day maps.

Historic Environment Records

The Heritage Gateway provides links to the historic environment records of the counties of England

Archwilio provides public access to the historic environment records for each local authority area in Wales.

Canmore contains more than 320,000 records and 1.3 million catalogue entries for archaeological sites, buildings, industry and maritime heritage across Scotland.

The Historic Environment Record of Northern Ireland holds information on all elements of Northern Ireland’s historic environment in the form of databases, written records, maps, photographic, drawn and digital material


The National Archives at Kew is the official archive and publisher for the UK Government, and for England and Wales.

The Archives Hub brings together descriptions of thousands of archive collections held at over 350 institutions across the UK.

Picturing Places provides access to the British Library’s holdings of topographical materials, including prints, drawings, paintings, books, maps, letters, notes and ephemera.

Environmental mapping

The Geology of Britain viewer is a simple tool, aimed at the general public, which helps you explore the geology where you live.

The Soilscapes viewer provides a summary description of the soils at specified locations across England and Wales.

The UK Soil Observatory is an online archive of UK soils data from nine research bodies. It provides a map viewer and a range of static maps.

The MAGIC website provides authoritative geographic information about the natural environment from across government. The information covers rural, urban, coastal and marine environments across Great Britain.

Landscape character areas

National Character Areas divide England into 159 distinct natural areas. Each is defined by a unique combination of landscape, biodiversity, geodiversity, history, and cultural and economic activity.

LANDMAP is an all-Wales landscape resource where landscape characteristics, qualities and influences on the landscape are recorded and evaluate.

Landscape Character Types for Scotland.

History and archaeology

Victoria County History. The histories of counties in England. Includes links to those published volumes that are available online.

A Vision of Britain through time. Maps, statistical trends and historical descriptions of Britain from 1801.

Archaeology Data Service. The leading accredited digital repository for heritage data generated by UK-based fieldwork and research.

Know Your Place (West of England). A digital mapping project linking HER records, local history and other heritage and landscape information, for Devon, Somerset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and the Bristol region.