Famous British Explorers

Do you know what’s common between Sir Walter Raleigh, Henry Hudson, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Alexander Mackenzie? Other than the fact that each of them was a British explorer, they all were passionate about adventure. Had it not been for their ability to face the harshest conditions that explorations come with, the world wouldn’t have been the same as it is today. The indomitable attitude of the British explorers and navigators helped expand the borders of the world, conquering new lands, sea and mountains. Their achievements are beyond words as they helped the world come to a common platform exposing the culture and traditions of new lands. Their exploits are undeniably impressive and remarkable. Through their voyages, British explorers discovered a number of places which were previously unknown to mankind. While some survived the harsh conditions and unknown dangers, the others gave their life to explorations. It is to these heroes that we own most of our world to! Dig into this section and equip yourself with detailed information about the life and explorations of British explorers. Their adventures and explorations are sure to give you an adrenaline rush!

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite British Explorers

 1 James Cook

James Cook
0
Famous As: Explorer & Navigator
Birthdate: October 27, 1728
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Marton, England
Died: February 14, 1779

British explorer, navigator, and cartographer James Cook, who had also served the merchant navy and Royal Navy, was the first to complete an expedition around New Zealand. He explored areas in the South Pacific, such as eastern Australia and Hawaii. He was killed while trying to kidnap a Hawaiian king.

 2 Francis Drake

Francis Drake
0
Famous As: Navigator
Birthdate: 1540 AD
Birthplace: Tavistock, Devon
Died: January 27, 1596

Francis Drake was an English explorer and naval officer. He is remembered for his Raiding Expedition, a prominent historical maritime event which unfolded between 1577 and 1580. Although Drake is considered a hero in the United Kingdom, his privateering led the Spanish to refer to him as a pirate. His expedition has also had a major cultural impact in Britain.

 3 John Smith

John Smith
2
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: January 6, 1580
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lincolnshire, United Kingdom
Died: June 21, 1631

John Smith was an English explorer, soldier, colonial governor, author, and Admiral of New England. In the early-17th century, Smith played a major role in the establishment of the first indissoluble English settlement in America, which came to be known as the English colony at Jamestown. Apart from helping Jamestown survive various challenges, Smith's leadership also helped the colony flourish.

 4 James Clark Ross

James Clark Ross
0
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: April 15, 1800
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London
Died: April 3, 1862

 5 Walter Raleigh

Walter Raleigh
5
Famous As: Politician, Writer, Explorer, Aristocrat
Birthdate: January 22, 1554
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: East Budleigh
Died: October 29, 1618
English explorer Walter Raleigh is best remembered for his involvement in the Siege of Smerwick and for colonizing North America. He made smoking tobacco popular in England. His accounts of his first voyage to South America led to the legend of El Dorado. He was executed to please the Spanish.

 6 Sir Ernest Shackleton

Sir Ernest Shackleton
5
Famous As: Antarctic explorer
Birthdate: February 15, 1874
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kilkea
Died: January 5, 1922

Anglo-Irish Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton is remembered for leading three British expeditions to the Antarctic. He was a key figure of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. An expert in navigation, he had also been a part of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's Discovery expedition. He was knighted by King Edward VII for his achievements.

 7 Robert Falcon Scott

Robert Falcon Scott
0
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: June 6, 1868
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Plymouth
Died: March 29, 1912

Robert Falcon Scott was an explorer and Royal Navy officer. He is remembered for leading two expeditions to the Antarctic regions, the second of which was the ill-fated Terra Nova expedition. Although Scott and his companions died during the second expedition, they helped discover the first Antarctic fossils, which proved that the place was once forested.

You May Like

 8 Henry Hudson

Henry Hudson
0
Famous As: Navigator and Explorer
Birthdate: 1565 AD
Birthplace: England, United Kingdom
Died: 1611 AD

 9 Ben Fogle

Ben Fogle
0
Famous As: Explorer, Television presenter, Writer
Birthdate: November 3, 1973
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London

 10 Ranulph Fiennes

Ranulph Fiennes
0
Famous As: Explorer, Writer, Athletics competitor
Birthdate: March 7, 1944
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Windsor

 11 John Rolfe

John Rolfe
0
Famous As: English settlers of North America
Birthdate: May 6, 1585
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Heacham, United Kingdom
Died: 1622 AD

 12 Charley Boorman

Charley Boorman
5
Famous As: TV presenter
Birthdate: August 23, 1966
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wimbledon, London, England, UK

 13 Alfred Russel Wallace

Alfred Russel Wallace
0
Famous As: Naturalist, Explorer, Geographer, Anthropologist and Biologist
Birthdate: January 8, 1823
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Llanbadoc
Died: November 7, 1913

 14 Henry Morton Stanley

Henry Morton Stanley
0
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: January 28, 1841
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Denbigh
Died: May 10, 1904

Henry Morton Stanley was a Welsh-American explorer, journalist, colonial administrator, soldier, politician, and author. He is remembered for his exploration of central Africa and his search for the source of the River Nile. Stanley received an honorary title of knighthood in 1899. His life and career inspired the 1939 movie Stanley and Livingstone, where Stanley was played by Spencer Tracy.

 15 John Franklin

John Franklin
0
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: April 16, 1786
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Spilsby
Died: June 11, 1847

 16 Colin Baker

Colin Baker
0
Famous As: Actor, Explorer, Film actor
Birthdate: June 8, 1943
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Waterloo

 17 Ed Stafford

Ed Stafford
0
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: December 26, 1975
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England, UK

 18 Richard Francis Burton

Richard Francis Burton
0
Famous As: Translator
Birthdate: March 19, 1821
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Torquay
Died: October 20, 1890

 19 William Adams

William Adams
0
Famous As: First ever Western Samurai
Birthdate: September 24, 1564
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Gillingham, England
Died: May 16, 1620

 20 Alexander Mackenzie

Alexander Mackenzie
2
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: 1764 AD
Birthplace: Stornoway, Lewis, Scotland
Died: March 12, 1820

 21 Ellen MacArthur

Ellen MacArthur
0
Famous As: Sailor
Birthdate: July 8, 1976
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Whatstandwell, England

 22 George Vancouver

George Vancouver
0
Famous As: Explorer, Officer
Birthdate: June 22, 1757
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: King's Lynn
Died: May 10, 1798

 23 Matthew Flinders

Matthew Flinders
0
Famous As: Voyager
Birthdate: March 16, 1774
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Donington
Died: July 19, 1814

 24 Mungo Park

Mungo Park
0
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: September 11, 1771
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Selkirkshire
Died: 1806 AD

 25 William Dampier

William Dampier
0
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: September 5, 1651
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: East Coker, Somerset, England
Died: February 29, 2017

 26 Martin Frobisher

Martin Frobisher
0
Famous As: Sailor
Birthdate: 1535 AD
Birthplace: Altofts, England
Died: November 21, 1594

 27 Robert FitzRoy

Robert FitzRoy
0
Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: July 5, 1805
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ampton
Died: April 30, 1865

 28 Robin Knox-Johnston

Robin Knox-Johnston
0
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: March 17, 1939
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Putney

 29 H. Saint John Philby

H. Saint John Philby
0
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: April 3, 1885
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Badulla, Sri Lanka
Died: September 30, 1960

 30 Gavin Menzies

Gavin Menzies
0
Famous As: Explorer, Submariner, Historian, Writer
Birthdate: August 14, 1937
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London

 31 Humphrey Gilbert

Humphrey Gilbert
0
Famous As: Adventurer
Birthdate: September 9, 1539
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: England
Died: September 9, 1583

 32 Sir Francis Chichester

Sir Francis Chichester
0
Famous As: Aviator
Birthdate: September 17, 1901
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Barnstaple, England
Died: August 26, 1972

 33 John Hanning Speke

John Hanning Speke
0
Famous As: Discoverer of the source of the Nile
Birthdate: May 4, 1827
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Somerset
Died: September 15, 1864

 34 Christopher Newport

Christopher Newport
0
Famous As: explorer
Birthdate: November 30, 1561
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Limehouse
Died: 1617 AD

 35 Nathaniel Bacon

Nathaniel Bacon
0
Famous As: Colonist
Birthdate: January 2, 1647
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Suffolk, England
Died: October 26, 1676

 36 Richard Hakluyt

Richard Hakluyt
0
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: 1553 AD
Birthplace: London, England
Died: November 23, 1616

 37 Joseph Dalton Hooker

Joseph Dalton Hooker
0
Famous As: Botanist
Birthdate: June 30, 1817
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Halesworth, Suffolk, England
Died: December 10, 1911

 38 Freya Stark

Freya Stark
0
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: January 31, 1893
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 9, 1993

 39 Sir Wilfred Thesiger

Sir Wilfred Thesiger
0
Famous As: British explorer
Birthdate: June 3, 1910
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Died: August 24, 2003

 40 Charles Sturt

Charles Sturt
0
Famous As: British explorer
Birthdate: April 28, 1795
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bengal
Died: June 16, 1869

 41 Mary Kingsley

Mary Kingsley
0
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 13, 1862
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Islington, London, England
Died: June 3, 1900

 42 Robert Dudley

Robert Dudley
0
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: August 7, 1574
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Richmond Palace, Surrey, England
Died: September 6, 1649

 43 George Bass

George Bass
0
Famous As: Explorer, Surgeon
Birthdate: January 30, 1771
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Aswarby
Died: April 22, 2017

 44 Edward Whymper

Edward Whymper
0
Famous As: Mountaineer
Birthdate: April 27, 1840
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Died: September 16, 1911

 45 Frederick Selous

Frederick Selous
0
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: December 31, 1851
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 4, 1917

 46 Nicholas Briggs

Nicholas Briggs
0
Famous As: Explorer, Actor, Voice actor, Composer, Film director, Screenwriter
Birthdate: September 29, 1961
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London

 47 George Grey

George Grey
0
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: April 14, 1812
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lisbon, Portugal
Died: September 19, 1898

 48 Edward John Eyre

Edward John Eyre
0
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: August 5, 1815
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Whipsnade, England
Died: November 30, 1901

 49 George Anson, Baron Anson

George Anson, Baron Anson
0
Famous As: First Lord of the Admiralty
Birthdate: April 23, 1697
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Staffordshire, United Kingdom
Died: June 6, 1762

 50 Edward Adrian Wilson

Edward Adrian Wilson
0
Famous As: Explorer, Ornithologist, Painter, Scientist
Birthdate: July 23, 1872
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cheltenham
Died: March 29, 1912