Salivary gland tumours are relatively rare and comprise a diverse range of neoplasms. The aim of this study was to determine the range and demographics of all histologically diagnosed salivary tumours in a European population. All entries for salivary gland tumours from 1974 to 2005 inclusive were retrieved and analysed for each diagnosis including number of specimens, male:female ratio and age range. These data were then analysed for the distribution of benign and malignant salivary tumours in major and minor salivary glands. 58,880 specimens were received; of these, 741 cases (1.3% of all specimens) were diagnosed as salivary gland tumours with a male to female ratio of 0.7:1. There were 481 (64.9%) benign and 260 (35.1%) malignant neoplasms, with the most common tumours being pleomorphic adenoma and mucoepidermoid carcinoma, respectively. Our study provides demographic data on a large series of salivary gland tumours in a European population. Accurate diagnosis is essential as salivary lesions have diverse clinical and prognostic outcomes. This study has confirmed that some tumours have a predilection for certain sites and that the risk of malignant disease is also greater at specific sites within the oral cavity.