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The Best Historical Places in the UK

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There’s a reason why the UK is one of the most visited countries in the world. It’s steeped in rich history, from the Roman invasion nearly 2,000 years ago to the Second World War in the 20th century. But what makes it even more remarkable is that there are locations dotted around Britain where you can experience this past, whether it’s wandering along Hadrian’s Wall or discovering some of the earliest computers at Bletchley Park.

If you’re looking to discover more about this small island’s past, these are the best historical places in the UK you can visit today.

Stonehenge on a cloudy day

How was it built? Aliens? Giants? Some other unknown source? Probably not – although we’re still unsure as to how Stonehenge was built thousands of years ago, we know it’s a manmade structure. The unknown has added to the mystery around what is one of the most famous and fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Visit during the summer or winter solstice for the annual festivals.

Hever Castle & Gardens, Kent

Steeped in rich history and famously recognised as the home of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife, Hever Castle is one of the best historical attractions in the UK. Stunning architecture, a range of mazes and an adventure playground makes it a perfect day for the whole family. There’s a depth of history to learn inside, giving you plenty of information about this historical ancestral seat.

Warwick Castle, Warwick

Some castles are perfect for taking a step back in history, while others are just a great family day out. Warwick Castle is both, with a knight school, Horrible Histories maze, birds of prey display, and castle dungeon all surrounded with steep history. The grounds are stunning, with gardens, towers, and historic rooms that give you a sense of the castle’s grandiose history. Glamping tents, lodges, and suites are all available to make a whole weekend of it.

Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes

Most historical places on this list date back hundreds – sometimes even thousands – of years. While Bletchley Park has a more recent history, it’s by no means less important. The country estate was originally the home of the Leon family in the late 1800s, but in 1938 its role changed to a British intelligence centre. Codenamed Station X during the Second World War, it was the site in which the British managed to decipher the Enigma code, helping the Allies win the war. Explore it today to learn more about its history-changing machines.

Roman Baths, Bath

The Roman Baths in Bath

Few landmarks have given birth to a city’s name, but the Roman Baths in – you guessed it – Bath have that honour. Built around 70AD, the bathhouses are steeped in rich history and are still explorable today. Visit late on a winter’s day for the ultimate experience: steam, fire torches and stunning architecture.

Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh

One of the oldest fortified castles in Europe and one of the most impressive in the world, Edinburgh Castle is a beacon of Scotland’s capital. Edinburgh Castle dates back to at least the 12th century – the oldest section, St Margaret’s Chapel, was erected around 900 years ago. Hear the One o’clock Gun, discover the Stone of Destiny, or marvel at Mons Meg. You can search for the castle’s secrets yourself or take a guided tour to ensure you don’t miss a thing.

Hadrian’s Wall, Northern England

Hadrians Wall covered in snow

Stretching 73 miles from coast-to-coast, Hadrian’s Wall is one of the most historical places in the UK. The UNESCO World Heritage Site was built around 2,000 years ago to guard the north-west frontier of the Roman Empire, and today it’s a hub of temples, rare artefacts, and ancient workshops. Wander alongside the wall and within its turrets and forts to get the best experience of the attraction.

The Tower of London, London

Palace, prison, zoo, fortress. The Tower of London has had many purposes during its near-thousand-year existence, but today is most widely recognised as a historical site and home to the Crown Jewels. Visit today to walk the stone walls, climb the White Tower, see the famous local ravens, and explore the exhibits and displays. Tower Bridge and London’s East-End are within touching distance for a great day out.

Caernarfon Castle, Wales

With 13 stunning towers surrounding an incredible fortress, Caernarfon Castle is one of the most impressive historical sites in the UK. It was built in the 13th century by King Edward I, but today is home to information-rich exhibits, tours, and even important events – the Investiture of the Prince of Wales took place here. Make sure you take a photo from outside the grounds – it’s beautifully situated next to the River Seiont and Menai Strait.

Hampton Court Palace, London

Hampton Court Palace is a unique glimpse into Tudor life. One of the homes of King Henry VIII, the palace is brought to life with costumed speakers and interactive exhibits, making it perfect for curious kids. The grandiose and pink architecture is iconic, and the differences in style (Tudor and Baroque) tells the rich history of this outstanding historical site.

 

If you’re planning a trip to one of the best historical places in the UK, don’t forget to book an Advance ticket via our website or our Train Tickets app. You can also find information on how to get cheaper train tickets via our special offers page. If you need more information, you can contact us here.

The UK is bursting with fun activities. Whether you’re visiting one of the best castles in the UK, the best theme parks in the UK, or the best waterparks in the UK, you can always travel by train. CrossCountry has services running up and down the country to ensure you can get to the places you need to be.

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