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The Britain Unlimited website covers the lives of 250 of Great Britain’s most famous people

Photomontage of Britain

We have chosen two hundred and fifty iconic Britons to tell the story of Britain itself. Each page gives you an easy to read guide about who the person was and what they were famous for. It tells you what they did and where they went in a chronological biography and also lists relevant locations so that you can follow in their footsteps for research or purely for pleasure. Select the information you need from one of the menus for either surname or a subject, or you can just visit the Full List of 250. We cover people from the Roman Empire to those who died before the end of the Twentieth Century and with our historical timelines you can see how they fitted into the world around them.

On Britain you’ll also find museums dedicated to their memory, places they lived in or visited and examples of the works they achieved. You’ll find lists of the books they wrote and the pictures they painted. In fact everything you need to know to get a flavour of the people that made Britain great. This site is dedicated to individual people so you will not find Kings and Queens although the timelines relate a person to a particular reign to make it easier to distinguish a period. If you want to see who was the Prime Minister at the time you can choose the year from this list.

Follow the links in the top menus for further information about the United Kingdom itself and the organisations and companies that can help you find out more on your chosen subject.


  • 50 years ago in 1973 saw Great Britain join the European Economic Community (EEC). It is also the year that J.R.R. Tolkien died.
  • 100 years ago saw the election of the first Labour Government under Ramsey MacDonald. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) also makes the first outside Broadcast. 
  • 200 years ago in 1823 saw the completion of Thomas Telford’s Caledonian Canal from Loch Ness to Fort William. Edward Jenner the pioneer of vaccination also died in this year.
  • 250 years ago saw the Boston Tea Party which started the Wars of Independence in the USA. Samuel Johnson makes his famous tour of the Scottish Highlands also in 1773.
  • 300 years ago in 1723 saw the death of Sir Christopher Wren.
  • 400 hundred years ago in 1623 saw the publication of all of Shakespeare’s plays in the First Folio
  • 650 years ago in 1373 English Merchants were legally obliged to use the tonnage and poundage weights when selling goods.
  • … and finally 700 years ago a thirteen year truce was agreed between England and Scotland.

We like to see who the most popular characters are on Britain Unlimited and each year we check to see who has been most read. In 2022 the top ten Britons were as follows:

  1. John Milton. Seventeenth century poet.
  2. Robert Hooke. Seventeenth century scientist.
  3. John Donne. Seventeenth century poet.
  4. John Keats. Romantic Poet.
  5. John Baskerville. Pioneer of printing type.

6. King Arthur. Legendary King.

7. Grace Darling. Nineteenth century lifeboat heroine.

8. T. S. Eliot. Twentieth century poet and playwright.

9. H. G. Wells. Twentieth century science fiction writer.

10. Ben Jonson. Sixteenth/seventeenth century playwright.

Here you will find previous top tens going back to 2016.

...and if all that wasn’t enough there’s information on hotels and accommodation, travel tips, tours and how to find historic houses. Please see the menus at the top of the page.

Enjoy reading Britain Unlimited and maybe you’ll discover something new today about the Britain you love.