200 Top British Last Names: From Cool to Classy

Check your great British roots with this ultimate list of British last names.

Great British last names can be found worldwide, and we’re here today to uncover some of the most iconic UK last names out there.

We’re traveling right through the British Isles to give you these brilliant surnames, each with their unique traditional and sophisticated styles. Once you’ve learned their meanings, origins, and histories, you’ll never hear these familiar British surnames the same way again!

200 Traditional British Last Names

These typical English family names are perfect for any British lady and gentleman.

  1. Ackerley – a unique Old English name meaning “oak meadow.”
  2. Adams – or Addams, great for gothic families and “sons of Adam.”
  3. Alder – a nature-inspired surname after a sacred, protective, and magical type of tree.
  4. Allen – a Celtic name with various meanings, including “harmony,” “little rock,” and “handsome.”
  5. Anderson – meaning “son of Andrew,” a Greek name meaning “manly.”
  6. Andrews – like Anderson, Andrews also means “son of Andrew.”
  7. Armstrong – believe it or not, this British surname is designed for someone “with strong arms!”
  8. Arthur – one of the most legendary British last names and male given names, meaning “bear.”
  9. Ashton – a nature-inspired surname and male-given name, meaning “town of the ash tree.”
  10. Atkin – this one means “son of Atkin,” which is one of many versions of the given name Adam.
  11. Bailey – meaning “bailiff, porter,” this surname dates back to Middle English.
  12. Baines – a British family name of various origins, possibly meaning “bath,” “bones,” or “anvil.”
  13. Baker – of course, this common British surname meaning “baker” is full of comfort and warmth.
  14. Baldwin – meaning “brave, bold friend,” this English and Germanic surname is one to be proud of.
  15. Ball – another English name of various origins and meanings, including a place name or nickname, perhaps meaning “bald.”
  16. Banner – meaning “flag-bearer” or “banner-carrier,” Banner is a proud name to behold!
  17. Barber – this self-explanatory surname denotes a person working as a barber.
  18. Barclay – a UK bank and surname meaning “birch tree meadow.”
  19. Barker – an occupational surname for a tanner – a craft traditionally using tree bark.
  20. Barlow – a soft-sounding, familiar locational surname after a place in England.
  21. Barnes – traditionally used for a family who lives or works in a barn.
  22. Barton – meaning “barley town,” an Old English locational surname.
  23. Bates – perhaps a form of the given name Bartholomew, meaning “son of furrows.”
  24. Baxter – traditionally, Baxter was the female form of the occupational name “Baker,” now a familiar surname.
  25. Beckett – sharp and sweet, Beckett either means “little brook” or “beehive.”
  26. Bell – this Middle English occupational surname for a “bell” worker has quite a nice ring.
  27. Bennett – meaning “blessed,” this Latin-rooted name will be popular among British literature lovers.
  28. Bishop – meaning “overseer” after the religious occupation.
  29. Blake – an Old English name for a poet, with the juxtaposing meanings of “fair” or “dark.”
  30. Bond – best associated with the fictional spy hero, meaning “farmer.”
  31. Booth – derived from a type of shelter, Booth would traditionally denote a family living in a barn.
  32. Bradley – an internationally popular name of various usage, including a Celtic surname meaning “broad meadow.”
  33. Brooks – if you live near a babbling stream, Brooks would make a beautiful topographic surname.
  34. Brown – one of the most popular British family names, after the color, perhaps describing its owner’s features.
  35. Burgess – a Middle English name meaning “freeman, inhabitant.”
  36. Burton – a powerful and mysterious surname after a type of “fort” or “enclosure.”
  37. Butler – a British surname and job title derived from the French word “butuiller.”
  38. Cameron – a common surname and given name with the amusing meaning of “crooked nose.”
  39. Campbell – bet you never knew this common Gaelic surname holds the unusual meaning of “crooked mouth?”
  40. Carter – a presidential pick among British family names, traditionally used for someone who “carted” goods.
  41. Chambers – a name traditionally for a bedside, “chamber” servant of a nobleman.
  42. Clark – this surname meaning “secretary, clerk” is rooted in the Latin word “clericus.”
  43. Clinton – a presidential surname from the Old English town names of Glympton or Glinton.
  44. Coleman – the best surname for the guy who burns, gathers, or trades charcoal.
  45. Collins – meaning “hazel grove,” this romantic surname seems to shimmer with earthy wonder.
  46. Cook – traditionally used to denote a seller of cooked meats, this surname is also spelled Cooke.
  47. Cooper – a Middle English name for a “barrel maker” and a fun pick for “mini” car fans.
  48. Corbin – meaning “crow,” this cool English surname has quite a mysterious feel.
  49. Cox – a cool, short name meaning “from the hills,” also a type of apple and rowing position.
  50. Cross – a word name after a stone or physical cross, not so much the angry emotion.
  51. Curtis – a posh-sounding surname for a “well-bred” or “polite” person of “good education.”
  52. Dandridge – an Old English surname believed to mean “from the hill.”
  53. Darcy – a great surname and unisex given name, with the alluring meaning of “dark one.”
  54. Darwin – a brilliant science name with the lovely meaning of “dear friend.”
  55. Davies – or Davis, both popular UK last names for a “son of David,” from Welsh.
  56. Dawson – translating as “son of Dawe,” with Dawe an ancient nickname form of David.
  57. Dean – derived from the Old English for “valley,” this is a beautifully earthy and homey surname.
  58. Dixon – “Dick” is a nickname for Richard, hence why this surname means “son of Richard.”
  59. Dunn – a Middle English word name meaning “dark.”
  60. Edwards – meaning “son of Edward,” this regal name is nice and kingly.
  61. Elliott – this surname is actually rooted in Hebrew, meaning “the Lord is my God.”
  62. Ellis – a Welsh-rooted name meaning “benevolent.”
  63. English – a “proper British” family name, traditionally used to denote a person from England.
  64. Evans – this one means “son of Evan” – a Welsh male name meaning “God is gracious.”
  65. Fisher – of course, this was traditionally an occupational surname for a “fisherman.”
  66. Ford – traditionally given to those who lived near a shallow ford or from a place named Ford.
  67. Forster – if you live or work in a forest, this earthy British family name could be for you!
  68. Foster – a fun surname and variant of Forster, with an earthy, woodland basis.
  69. Fox – it may be short, but this British family name has all the cunning, wit of a fox.
  70. Gardner – an occupational surname for a green-fingered “gardener.”
  71. George – is kingly yet humble with its “farmer” meaning and a popular given, middle, and surname.
  72. Gray – another English color surname, interestingly using the American spelling of the word “grey.”
  73. Green – a vivid color from Old English, for a family living near a village green or grass area.
  74. Hale – a pretty and earthy surname for a family “from the valley.”
  75. Haley – a rare English surname from the same stem as the female name Hailey, meaning “hay meadow.”
  76. Hall – meaning “hall,” this would denote a person who worked or lived in an elegant manor.
  77. Hamilton – a locational name best loved today among American historical rap musical lovers.
  78. Hammond – this English surname has the reassuring meaning of “home protection, high protection.”
  79. Harper – an occupational name for a musician with rather angelic connotations.
  80. Harris – a shorter variation of British surnames meaning “son of Harry.”
  81. Harrison – or Harries, both happy-sounding English last names to denote a “son of Harry.”
  82. Henderson – meaning “son of Henry,” this patronymic surname is long but friendly.
  83. Henry – a common surname and regal given name, meaning “home-ruler.”
  84. Hill – this pretty surname was a way of denoting families who lived “on a hill.”
  85. Hodgson – meaning “son of Hodge,” this name came about as a nickname from Rodger.
  86. Holmes – one for the sleuths among us, meaning “island.”
  87. Hughes – meaning ” fire, inspiration,” Hughes is ideal for a pioneering family on to epic things.
  88. Hunt – used as an occupational name for a “hunter,” this one is quick and cunning.
  89. Jackson – another patronymic surname, meaning “son of Jack.”
  90. James – a timeless classic of a British given name and surname, meaning “supplanter.”
  91. Jenkins – rooted in Cornish, this fun surname means “little John” or “son of John.”
  92. Johnson – you guessed it, this common British last name also means “son of John.”
  93. Johnston – it looks very similar to Johnson, but this name means “John’s town.”
  94. Jones – the second most common of British family names, meaning “son of John.”
  95. Kaur – this Indian surname meaning “princess” or “lioness” is commonly heard in the UK.
  96. Kelly – rooted in Irish, this fun surname and female given name means “bright-headed warrior.”
  97. Kent – meaning “from Kent,” this common British surname has rather fancy undertones.
  98. Khan – a Turkic name for a military leader, commonly heard throughout Britain.
  99. King – a regal pick for the finest little British noblemen and women.
  100. Knight – a Middle English name that makes us think of Arthurian legend, castles, and jousting.
  101. Lambert – meaning “bright land,” this surname has roots in English, French, and German.
  102. Lane – another short English topographical surname referring to a “lane” or “narrow alleyway.”
  103. Lawrence – a Middle English name derived from the Latin Laurentius, meaning “laurel leaves.”
  104. Lee – from the Old English “leah,” relating to a beautiful meadow or clearing.
  105. Lewis – a surname and given name meaning “leader,” spelled Louis in French.
  106. Lincoln – another presidential surname, meaning “town by the pool.”
  107. Lloyd – a friendly given, middle, and surname, with the wise meaning of “gray-haired.”
  108. Long – originally a nickname for a tall, skinny person; now a common surname throughout Britain.
  109. Mann – a common British surname meaning “man, person.”
  110. Marlowe – a classy British boy name and surname, meaning “dweller at the lake.”
  111. Martin – very common in France and Britain, derived from the Roman god Mars.
  112. Mason – a name as tough as the stony medium of a “mason’s” hard work!
  113. Mathers – an unusual occupational name for a reaper or grass cutter.
  114. Matthews – meaning “son of Matthew,” this name is beautifully biblical in tone.
  115. May – an internationally common surname of various origins and meanings, but beautiful for a summer-loving family.
  116. McDonald – or MacDonald, derived from the Gaelic name Domhnall, best associated with burgers and fries.
  117. Miller – an occupational name for a person who worked in a mill.
  118. Mills – similar to Miller, yet typically used for someone who lived near a mill.
  119. Milton – this English place name and charming surname means “mill town.”
  120. Mitchell – from the same stem as the Hebrew Michael, meaning “who is like God?”
  121. Moore – a Middle English locational name for a family residing near a moor or open, boggy land.
  122. Morgan – a romantic Welsh surname that oozes mythical appeal, meaning “of the sea.”
  123. Morris – derived from the Latin name Maurice, meaning “dark.”
  124. Moss – refers to the green, squashy earthy stuff or is derived from the Hebrew boy’s name Moses.
  125. Murphy – this “sea warrior” name is the most common in Ireland and a popular pick in Britain.
  126. Nelson – a “triumphant” pick for a “son of Neil,” also a place name in Great Britain.
  127. Newton – one for the science fans, this Old English name means “new town.”
  128. Nicholson – means “son of Nicholas,” a “conqueror of people.”
  129. Oakley – a recognizable surname derived from elements meaning “oak clearing” in Old English.
  130. Oliver – a surname and the most popular male name in the UK, meaning “elf army” or “olive tree.”
  131. Osborne – an English surname derived from Old Norse influences, meaning “god, warrior, bear.”
  132. Palmer – this beautiful surname signifies a “palm bearer,” a person undertaking a spiritual, religious pilgrimage.
  133. Parker – meaning “park-keeper,” this occupational name extols the virtues of the outdoors.
  134. Patel – this Sanskrit surname meaning “village chief” is one of Britain’s most common last names.
  135. Pearson – meaning “Pier’s son,” after an early form of the name Peter, meaning “rock.”
  136. Perry – an earthy English and Welsh name meaning “pear tree” and a type of alcohol.
  137. Philipps – meaning “son of Philip,” after a Greek-rooted male name ideal for a “horse-loving” family.
  138. Potter – the most magical of English surnames given to someone who made pottery.
  139. Powell – this typically Welsh family name means “son of Hywel.”
  140. Preston – meaning “priest’s town,” heard as a surname, given name, and place name in the UK.
  141. Price – a common surname from Welsh, meaning “son of Rhys.”
  142. Pritchard – from Welsh, this surname means “son of Richard.”
  143. Randall – a medieval surname with the feisty meaning of “shield-wolf.”
  144. Reid – a Scottish surname meaning “red.”
  145. Reynolds – a famous surname for a “son of Reynold” or “son of Reginald.”
  146. Ripley – meaning “a strip of land clearing,” after various UK and U.S. places.
  147. Roberts – another patronymic surname, taken from the Germanic male name Robert, meaning “bright fame.”
  148. Robinson – with the cute meaning “son of Robin,” this name has a warming, wintertime appeal.
  149. Robson – a shorter form of Roberts or Robinson, yet with the same meanings.
  150. Rose – floral surnames aren’t as common as first names, so we adore this delicate “pick.”
  151. Ross – this one has various meanings, including “horse-keeper,” “from the headland,” or even “redhead.”
  152. Russell – like the sound of leaves, this surname means “red, reddish.”
  153. Samson – or Sampson are both beautiful surnames from the biblical given name, meaning “of the sun.”
  154. Sangster – a loud surname for a “singer, musician.”
  155. Saunders – from the same stem as Alexander, with the cool meaning of “defender of men.”
  156. Savage – a fun Norman surname, especially if your family could be described as “wild, fierce, and uncontrolled.”
  157. Scott – an amazing name to honor Scottish heritage, meaning “from Scotland.”
  158. Sharp – a quick-witted name for a “smart, sharp” individual.
  159. Shaw – a rustic pick among British family names for a clan who “dwells by the wood.”
  160. Shepherd – an Anglo-Saxon name for a person who herded or reared sheep.
  161. Sidney – from Old English, this surname and given name mean “wide watered land.”
  162. Slater – a rocky surname for a person who trades or works with a slate.
  163. Smith – the most common surname in Great Britain, meaning “blacksmith,” derived from the verb “to smite.”
  164. Stanley – meaning “stone clearing,” after the Old English elements “stan” (“stone”) and “leigh” (“clearing”).
  165. Stevens – meaning “son of Steven,” after the Greek-rooted male name meaning “crown” or “wreath.”
  166. Stevenson – like Stevens, Stevenson also means “son of Steven.”
  167. Stewart – from Old English, this trustworthy male name and surname means “guard, steward.”
  168. Stuart – a common variant of Stewart, notably borne by the 19th-century British royal family.
  169. Sutton – a place name meaning “southern farm.”
  170. Taylor – a super-popular given, middle, and last name, after the “tailor” occupation.
  171. Thomas – a common surname and ever-popular given name, meaning “twin.”
  172. Thompson – or Thomson, with both British surnames meaning “son of Thomas.”
  173. Tracy – a British and Irish-rooted surname with the fiery meaning of “fighter.”
  174. Tucker – an occupational surname after the now rarely-practiced art of “tucking,” also known as “fulling.”
  175. Turner – this occupational surname from Normandy refers to a craftsman who used a “turning” machine or lathe.
  176. Walker – an occupational surname, where “walking” was a traditional process of cleansing textiles for cloth making.
  177. Walsh – an Irish surname meaning “foreigner,” often referring to a person from Wales.
  178. Walters – a sweet English surname for a ” warrior,” meaning “son of Walter.”
  179. Ward – a vintage pick from Old English, Ward has the watchful meaning of “guard.”
  180. Watkins – means “power ruler,” a pretty badass pick among British family names derived from “Walter.”
  181. Watson – meaning “son of Walter,” after the Germanic-rooted male name meaning “army ruler.”
  182. Webb – even Spider-Man wishes he had this cool surname, meaning “to weave.”
  183. West – another celebrity surname denoting a person “from the West.”
  184. White – another English color surname describing someone with a light complexion or hair.
  185. Whittle – a romantic name derived from Middle English, meaning “white hill.”
  186. Wilkinson – from the same stem as William, this common name means “son of Wilkin.”
  187. Williams – meaning “son of William,” a “resolute protector” of a common Victorian surname.
  188. Williamson – a variation of Williams, also meaning “son of William.”
  189. Willis – shorter than both Williams and Williamson, but with the same patronymic meaning.
  190. Wilson – a very common pick among British surnames, meaning “son of Will.”
  191. Windsor – the reigning royal surname, from Old English meaning “windy hill, riverbank.”
  192. Winthrop – from various English place names, meaning “wine village” or “friend’s village.”
  193. Wood – an earthy, almost magical family name for a clan living or working near a forest.
  194. Woolf – or Woolfe, this cool and cunning surname means “wolf.”
  195. Wootton – an Old English name for a “place by the wood.”
  196. Wright – taken from an Old English word for a “craftsman” who dealt with wood.
  197. Wyatt – a strong Old English surname for a bearer who is “brave at war.”
  198. Yates – meaning “gates,” this name would have been given to a gatekeeper.
  199. York – a locational surname after the British city in the picturesque Yorkshire county.
  200. Young – this surname would have been used to distinguish a “young” son from a father.

British Last Names FAQs

Where do British Last Names Come From?

English surnames have various origins, but you’ll notice many of the surnames on this list fall into the following categories. Occupational surnames denote a kind of job like Baker, Fisher, or Shepherd. Locational surnames derive from different place names, such as Kent or York. Topographic surnames refer to a specific local landmark or feature, such as Wood, Brooks, or Lane. Patronymic surnames such as Nicholson, Harrison, Davis, or Johnson are given to honor a father’s name.

What are the Most Common Surnames in Great Britain?

The top most common surnames in Great Britain are Smith, Jones, Williams, Taylor, and Brown. Davies, Evans, Thomas, Johnson, and Wilson are also other highly-popular picks.

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About the Author

Madeleine Lily Webb

Madeleine is a writer from somewhere near Manchester, England. Madeleine's background in languages and linguistics has led to baby names becoming one of her favorite topics to write about. When she's not fallen down a rabbit hole of stories behind unique names, Madeleine can be found hanging out with her cat, taking photos of flowers, or dancing.