UK A-Z: Climb aboard for a scenic tour of the kingdom

The first set in a two-part series making up an alphabetical tour of famous landmarks of the United Kingdom will be released on October 13.

Part one of the UK A-Z comprises 12 1st class stamps showing photographs of sights starting with the letters from A to L, making it the biggest single commemorative set yet issued by Royal Mail.

Part two, covering the letters M to Z, is set to break that record with a 14-stamp set in April 2012!

The stamps were designed by Robert Maude and Sarah Davies (who were also responsible for the Aerial Post miniature sheet in September), and were printed in lithography by Cartor in sheets which yield se-tenant strips of six.

They show eight locations in England, two in Scotland, one in Wales and one in Northern Ireland.


COMMEMORATIVE WORTH    A pointless second crack at the unloved British Journey series of 2003-06?

Well-chosen images have plenty of life and colour, and succeed at stamp size

Likely to get local hearts beating, but not the whole nation spellbound

1st class Angel of the North
This contemporary steel sculpture located just outside Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, overlooks the A1 road and the East Coast Main Line railway. Designed by Antony Gormley and finished in 1998, it is 20m (66ft) tall with a wingspan of 54m (177ft).

1st class Blackpool Tower
Inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, this Lancashire seaside tourist attraction opened in 1894. Built of steel and rising to a height of 158m (519ft), it has an observation deck at the top and a circus at the bottom.

1st class Carrick-a-Rede
This National Trust property near Ballintoy in County Antrim features a spectacular rope suspension bridge originally built by salmon fishermen to link the tiny Carrick Island with the mainland. It spans 20m (66ft) at a height of 30m (100ft).

1st class Downing Street
House No10 in this London cul-de-sac has probably the most famous front door in the world, being the official residence of the Prime Minister. The townhouse was built by Sir George Downing in 1682-84.

1st class Edinburgh Castle
Dominating the skyline of Scotland’s capital from its position atop the volcanic Castle Rock, this impressive fortification dates in part from the reign of King David I in the 12th century, and was a royal residence until 1603.

1st class Forth Railway Bridge
This railway bridge over the Firth of Forth between Lothian and Fife was opened in 1890 and is a total of 2,529m (8,296ft) long. Designed by Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker, it still has the world’s second longest cantilever span.

1st class Glastonbury Tor
This hill rising above the Somerset Levels, topped by the 14th-century St Michael’s Tower, has been used as a fortification and a religious centre since prehistory, and is associated with the cult of King Arthur.

1st class Harlech Castle
Built in Gwynedd by King Edward I in the late 13th century, this castle served as the de facto capital of an independent Wales from 1404-09 when it was held by Owain Glyndwr, and endured a seven-year siege during the Wars of the Roses.

1st class Ironbridge
This small town on the River Severn in Shropshire boasts the world’s first cast-iron bridge, built by Abraham Darby in 1779. A symbol of the Industrial Revolution, it crosses the river with a 30m (100ft) span.

1st class Jodrell Bank
The giant Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, 76m (250ft) in diameter, was the biggest steerable radio-telescope in the world when it was built in 1957, it is still the third largest.

1st class Kursaal
Built as an entertainment venue in 1901, this 26-acre site in Southend, Essex, became famous in the 1920s and 1930s as the fairground of the East End of London, featuring the latest attractions and rides as they were developed.

1st class Lindisfarne Priory
An island off the Northumberland coast, equally known as Lindisfarne or Holy Island, is the site of a monastery founded by St Aidan in the 7th century, where the spectacular illustrated Lindisfarne Gospels were created.

Travel journalist Simon Calder takes a tour of the set’s attractions in the presentation pack, and there are two different Royal Mail first day covers offered, one for stamps A-F and the other for stamps G-L.
As ever, a full set of stamp cards is also available.


Set of 12 stamps    £5.52
Presentation pack    £6.05
Stamp cards    £5.40
First day envelope    £0.30
First day cover A-F    £3.79
First day cover G-L    £3.79
TOTAL    £24.85