The recent discovery of King Richard III’s skeleton in a Leicester car park is another reminder of England’s rich and far-reaching history, and interested travellers can now take a Richard III break in Leicester to take in new exhibitions and see the associated sites.
This passion for historical connections is nothing new. A new app from VisitEngland sets out to find the top 101 Things to Do Before You Go Abroad and residents from far and wide have been submitting and voting on their top experiences to be had across the country. Here VisitEngland looks at some of the top History & Heritage experiences submitted so far.
Walk where Romans did at the Roman BathsAround the country’s only hot spring the Romans built a magnificent temple and bathing complex that still flows with natural hot water. See the water's source and walk where Romans walked on the ancient stone pavements around the steaming pool, the heart of Bath’s World Heritage Site.
Try your hand at code-breaking at Bletchley ParkImage: Draco2008, Flickr
Visit this historic site of secret British code-breaking activities during World War II. Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire produced high-level intelligence codenamed Ultra during the war, without which the conflict could have lasted for years longer and the outcome would have been uncertain. Explore the Enigma collection, the best known cipher machine of all time, and hear tales of spies and strategic deception.
Get a round in at the country’s oldest pubThe Jerusalem in Nottingham dates back to 1189AD, making it England’s oldest inn. Forget pork scratchings - enjoy your pint with a side order of history.
Go mudlarking at St Paul’s WharfImage: damo1977, Flickr
Walk by the shoreline of the Thames at St Pauls, Bankside or Canary Wharf and search for forgotten treasures in the banks at low tide. The Thames is tidal so each day new historical artefacts are churned up. Budding archaeologists will love it and children can easily find iron work and other artefacts to keep them entertained. There are four simple rules: no digging more than 3 inches, re-fill in any holes, report any find of value to The Museum of London, and dress to get dirty.
Admire Norman architecture at Durham CathedralImage: Glen Bowman, Flickr
An icon of North East England, Durham Cathedral is one of the greatest Norman buildings in the country. It is cherished not only for its architecture but also for its incomparable setting, inscribed together with the Castle as one of the first World Heritage Sites. Steeped in history, the castle is still home to a College of Durham University, and the elegant Cathedral cloisters were used to film the first Harry Potter movie.
Take a stroll along Ryde PierImage: Simon Haytack
Ryde Pier on the Isle of Wight is thought to be the oldest pier in the world. Built in 1813 and opened in 1814, the pier has recently been renovated to preserve its Victorian heritage.
Step back to 3100BC at StonehengeThis 5,000-year old circle is perhaps the most famous prehistoric monument in the world. The fact that nobody knows how it got there or what it represents makes it even more intriguing and mystical.
Think you can do better? Upload your top History & Heritage experience in England to VisitEngland’s 101 Things to Do Before You Go Abroad app and you could win a an overnight stay at the Francis Hotel in Bath, with a walking tour and passes to the city’s top attractions including the Roman Baths and the Jane Austen Centre.
For other historic breaks and activities in England, go to www.visitengland.com/en/Things-to-do/Historic-England