Although very little remains of the domestic buildings of Britain's prehistoric peoples, their graves, religious monuments and defensive structures can be seen throughout the islands.
Long barrows and chambered tombs, dated around 3000 BC were collective burial places. The round barrows which followed them in the second millennium BC were for individual burial.
Stone circles such as those at Avebury, Stonehenge, and Callanish date from around the same time as the round barrows but are often built on earlier timber monuments.
Causewayed camps, such as Windmill Hill date from the time of the long barrows. The hill forts of Cadbury Castle and Maiden Castle were built in the first millennium BC and lasted until the Roman invasion.
The invading Romans brought with them a wholly different lifestyle and the architecture which supported it. Towns such as Canterbury, Colchester, Lincoln, London and York included public buildings such as basilicas (law courts), baths and theatres. The most famous example of Roman military architecture is Hadrian's Wall, marking the frontier between Roman Britain and Scotland. The Roman Villa, generally a large and well-appointed building at the centre of a substantial estate was another major introduction to Britain. The largest, such as the "palace" at Fishbourne in West Sussex, had beautiful mosaic floors, their own bathhouses and central heating.
The "Dark Ages" after the decline of Roman Britain led eventually to a Christian Britain whose architectural remains include Celtic crosses and Saxon churches.
The Norman invasion brought a distinctive style of architecture seen in cathedrals such as Durham, Southwell and Winchester and in many castles such as Durham, London's White Tower and Newcastle.
In church architecture the Norman style developed during the Middle Ages, into Gothic, e.g, Lincoln Cathedral and then Perpendicular.
From the Tudor period the most significant building still remaining is Hampton Court Palace. Hardwick Hall, Longleat and Burghley House show how the wealthy and powerful were now, in more settled times, building great homes for themselves, rather than military strongholds and castles.
A major change came when James I commissioned Inigo Jones to build the Queens House in Greenwich. The restoration of the monarchy in 1660 brought one of the greatest periods of English architecture, dominated by Sir Christopher Wren. The Great Fire of London in 1666 gave Wren enormous scope for new work of which the most famous is St Paul's Cathedral.
During the Georgian period classical architectural styles became dominant. Landscaping became fashionable with Capability Brown and Humphrey Repton's design for Chatsworth, Blenheim and Stowe among the finest. Bath is one of the best examples of Georgian urban design.
Of the great houses, Chiswick House, built for Lord Burlington who had been impressed by Palladio's architecture during a visit to Italy, was particularly influential.
Victorian Britain saw completely new types of architecture: railway stations, town halls, factories and glass houses (Kew Gardens)
Two influential movements at the end of the Victorian age and in the early twentieth century were Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau.
Arts and Craft inspired by William Morris was a return to simplicity and is probably best known through the country houses of Sir Edwin Lutyens.
Art Nouveau was more influential in Europe than the UK, but Glasgow's Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a significant designer and architect in this style.
After the First World War one of the major influences on architecture was the Modern Movement. Its followers drew their inspiration from the USA and its skyscrapers and industrial buildings and, particularly, from Le Corbusier.
During the 1950s and 60s much inner city housing was torn down in slum clearance programmes and replaced by high-rise tower blocks. These failed as family housing and many, in their turn, were pulled down in the eighties and nineties.
Current architecture is characterized by the dramatic shapes and structures made possible by modern materials and computerized structural design. Sir Richard Roger's Lloyd's Building and Sir Norman Foster's Stanstead Airport and Air Force Museum are excellent examples.