Things to Do in England - page 3
Just outside the city center, Winterbourne House and Garden is a natural oasis and time capsule of the Edwardian arts and crafts era. The restored home is filled with antiques and historic timepieces, and the surrounding 7-acre (3-hectare) botanical gardens contain more than 6,000 plant species from across the globe.
Linking the two halves of Hertford College, the Bridge of Sighs (formally known as Hertford Bridge) arcs above New College Lane in the heart of Oxford. Despite its ancient-seeming exterior and leaded windows, it’s only a little over a century old. While it shares a name with the Bridge of Sighs in Venice, it actually looks much more similar to that city’s Rialto Bridge.
This historic site was discovered by accident, when it was scheduled to be destroyed. The oldest parts of Barley Hall date from about 1360, but until the 1980s the house was hidden under a more modern brick façade.
The medieval house was once home to the Priors of Nostell and the Mayor of York. The building has been fully restored to replicate what it would have looked like around 1483. A living museum, many volunteers work in costume to help recreate history. Visitors are allowed to touch objects, even sit in chairs to get a true feel of life in Medieval England.
Built in the early 18th century, this stately home is one of Britain’s grandest historical estates. It was gifted by Queen Anne to the Duke of Marlborough, General John Churchill, for his role in defeating the French at the 1704 Battle of Blenheim, and Britain’s beloved wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill was born here in 1874.
Opened in 1896 and still a popular spot for an adrenaline rush, the 42-acre (17-hectare) Blackpool Pleasure Beach is packed with fairground attractions, in addition to the 11 white-knuckle roller coasters and simulator rides, gentle family carousels and the UK's only Nickelodeon Land, where kids can meet characters such as the Rugrats and Spongebob Squarepants.
The most popular daredevil rides include the notorious Grand National mega coaster and the 85-mph Big One, Britain's highest coaster at 214 feet (65 meters). The fun park's stomach-churning Red Arrows Skyforce was designed in collaboration with the world-renowned Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team.
Indoor attractions include a Ripley's Believe it or Not!, skating performances at the arena, live musical shows, penny arcades and the Horror Crypt. Other activities include bowling, golf and talent shows, while more than 20 food outlets and shops are scattered across the park. There’s even luxury accommodation at the sleek Big Blue Hotel.
Blackpool's first-ever (and Lancashire’s only purpose-built) comedy club, the Comedy Station is the only comedy club in Blackpool that hosts a completely professional lineup. Here you can laugh along with comedians from around the world that have appeared on shows such asMock the Week,8 out of 10 Cats,Live at the Apollo, and more.
An architectural masterpiece with a magnificent dome, St. Paul's Cathedral is one of London’s most recognizable sites. The 17th-century cathedral boasts a rich history as host of the jubilee celebrations of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II, the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill.
Having never been widened to accommodate cars, The Shambles has retained its picturesque medieval form. Timber-framed Tudor buildings host tea rooms, taverns, and souvenir shops, and project out at the upper levels—a medieval building technique used to create extra living space.
Sitting on a 150-ft (46-m) volcanic outcrop overlooking the North Sea on one side and a cute little town of the same name on the other, Bamburgh Castle began life in Anglo-Saxon times as the fortified home of the kings of Northumberland. By the 12th century the massive stone keep was in place; this is the oldest part of the castle as most of what stands today is a Victorian folly. It is the result of rebuilding in the 19th century by the wealthy industrialist Lord Armstrong, who was also responsible for creating Cragside House nearby, where hydroelectricity was first used in 1863. Today Bamburgh is still the private home of the Armstrong family, and a tour of its interior winds through impressive staterooms laden with decorative arts from Sèvres porcelain to medieval weaponry.
Outside there are Victorian stables, gatehouses and towers to explore as well as the Armstrong and Aviation Museum in the old laundry, showcasing Lord Armstrong’s life alongside aircraft dating from the two world wars. The castle’s Anglo Saxon history is still being uncovered and archeologists work there throughout the summer; a series of family-friendly live events, from traditional craft displays to open-air theater, also take place on the Battery Terrace.
Rated as one of the finest castles in the UK, Bamburgh has spectacular views out to the Farne Islands, which are havens for seabirds, and Lindisfarne, where St Aidan founded a monastery in the seventh century.
From humble sea stars to giant sea turtles and mighty sharks, the marine world of SEA LIFE® Great Yarmouth will introduce you to many beautiful and fascinating creatures of the deep. Enjoy close-up views of marine life in environments that re-create their natural habitats and daily staff presentations that offer more in-depth information about the aquarium’s animals.
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Clifford’s Tower, a semi-ruined 13th-century remnant of York Castle, is also one of the few Norman relics in a city dominated by Viking influence. Nowadays, Clifford’s Tower is one of the most popular and emblematic sights in York, and the panoramic views from the tower’s ramparts make it an excellent starting point for first-time visitors to historic York.
Windsor Castle is the largest occupied castle in the world that is still used by the monarchy. Since William the Conqueror built a wooden fortress here over 900 years ago, this has been a royal palace and residence. Despite its daily use for royal business, much of the palace is open to the public and well worth a visit.
With a history dating back more than 1,000 years and a serene setting on the banks of the River Avon, the Holy Trinity Church has long been renowned as one of England’s most beautiful and most visited parish churches. An architectural highlight of Stratford-upon-Avon, the Grade I listed church dates in part from the 13th century and is celebrated for its fine Clopton Chapel, Victorian stained glass windows and series of 26 ornately decorated misericords, as well as a first edition 1611 King James Bible on display.
The lavish interiors are impressive enough, but for most visitors the main draw to the Holy Trinity is its connection with William Shakespeare. The iconic playwright was famously born in Stratford-upon-Avon and was both christened and buried at the church. Visitors can view Shakespeare’s Grave for a small fee, as well as the graves of Anne Hathaway, Dr John Hall and his wife Susanna, and Thomas Nash.
Discover an underwater world filled with an array of marine creatures at SEA LIFE® Scarborough. From a face-to-face encounter with sharks to a hands-on rock-pool experience, each step reveals something fascinating, making for a fun and educational activities for all ages, whatever the weather.
With an area of 3.5 square miles (9 square kilometers), Ullswater is England’s second largest lake and one of its most beautiful, thanks to its zigzag shape and stunning setting. The area surrounding the lake is also famous for inspiring Wordsworth’s poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” sometimes also called “Daffodils.”
Children’s author Beatrix Potter lived in the 17th-century Hill Top farmhouse for most of her life, and bequeathed it to the National Trust on the condition that it was left “as if I had just gone out and they had just missed me.” The farm was a huge source of inspiration for Potter, who based many of her much-loved books here.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, with a legacy dating back more than 1,000 years, Westminster Abbey is among London’s most historic landmarks. The Gothic church is best known for hosting headline-grabbing events involving the British royal family, such as the Queen’s coronation, Princess Diana's funeral, and Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding.
Set on the site of a major Viking settlement, Jorvik Viking Centre whisks visitors back in time to ninth-century England. Glass floors reveal remnants of the original village uncovered by archaeologists in the 1970s, while a train ride takes passengers past detailed diorama-style displays that recreate typical scenes from Viking life—complete with animatronic figures, a soundtrack, and more.
Explore nearly 1,000 years of history at Oxford Castle & Prison, located near central Oxford. Originally built in 1071 by Normans who came across with William the Conqueror, the castle was later turned into a prison. Now a museum and tourist site, it also offers stunning panoramic views over Oxford from one of the city’s oldest buildings.
Castle Howard is one of Britain’s grandest stately homes. Built over the course of 100 years and still home to the Howard family, the castle was famously used as a filming location for Brideshead Revisited. Its 1,000 acres (405 hectares) of elegant grounds are located in the Howardian Hills—an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Famous as the stage where the Beatles made their debut in 1961, Liverpool’s Cavern Club has become a place of legend, hosting not only the Fab Four, but the Who, the Kinks, the Rolling Stones, Queen, Elton John, and many more household names. The influential club remains one of Liverpool’s top live music venues to this day.
World famous for its eponymous music festival, Glastonbury has a creative spirit that burns all year round. Steeped in history, the small town is known for its medieval abbey and links to King Arthur, as well as its lively markets, artisan boutiques, and thriving arts scene.
Trafalgar Square—the living, breathing, and beating heart of London’s West End—plays an integral part in local life as a site of celebrations, protests, performances, parades, and public gatherings. Overlooked by grand, stately buildings such as the National Gallery and St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church, this vast square is dotted with iconic fountains and statuary. Most famous among them is the 144-foot (44-meter) Nelson’s Column, which commemorates a British naval victory over France and Spain, and is guarded by four oversized bronze lions.
There are numerous neolithic stone circles in the Lake District and nearby areas, the most popular being at Castlerigg. This more-or-less round grouping of 38 boulders, with a rectangle of 10 more joining the inner edge of the circle, dates back some 5000 years, making it even older than Stonehenge. And like Stonehenge, the arrangement of Castlerigg Stone Circle is clearly linked to movements of the sun and moon, although the original ceremonial purpose of the stones is lost in time.
The stones themselves are impressive; add the majestic backdrop of Skiddaw, Blencathra and other mountains and you can see why this site has drawn admirers for millennia. An ideal spot to contemplate the mysteries of the past amidst the serenity of nature.
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- Things to do in Liverpool
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- Things to do in Oxford
- Things to do in York
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- Things to do in Cambridge
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- Things to do in Birmingham
- Things to do in Newcastle-upon-Tyne
- Things to do in Wales
- Things to do in Ireland
- Things to do in North West England
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