The 10 Most Popular Heritage Sites To Visit In Britain

The 10 Most Popular Heritage Sites To Visit In Britain

If you’re considering where to go on a day out, and simply can’t choose between the many stunning locations Britain has to offer there’s no need to worry, we’ve done all the hard work for you! All the locations below are listed buildings, and we’ve brought you plenty of practical listed buildings advice so far, so we thought why not bring you a guide on the best ones to visit and enjoy for yourself? Expect lots of interesting information about each site, as well as useful facts like prices and opening times, so you’ve got everything you need to help you decide which beautiful heritage site to visit. Enjoy!

The Tower Of London

The Tower Of London is based on the North bank of the Thames and houses the Crown Jewels, which are estimated to be worth well in excess of 3 billion pounds.

The property was created to be a royal residence and prison combined, over 1,000 years ago in 1078. Throughout the years the Tower has been a palace, armoury and treasury as well as a prison. Hundreds of interesting and spooky tales lie within it’s walls, with it’s time as a prison being particularly gruesome and gory. Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard and Lady Jane Grey were all executed at the Tower Of London, and the last recorded execution on the grounds actually wasn’t so long ago, when German spy Josef Jakobs was dispatched in 1941.

Today, the Tower Of London is an extremely popular tourist spot and sees over 2 million visitors pass through it’s historical walls every single year. Visitors today can enjoy the grounds, see the crown jewels, Beefeaters, ravens of the tower and learn some of the many fascinating stories from its history, including the fact that a polar bear once lived there! Various exhibitions and events are held at the Tower throughout the year.

The Tower is open all year round apart from December 24-26 and January 1st. It is open Sundays and Mondays 10am-5pm, Tuesdays to Saturdays 9am-5.30pm and a day visit costs £24.50 for adults and £11 for children. Click here for more information – http://www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon/Default.aspx

St Pauls Cathedral

St Pauls Cathedral is one of the largest churches in the world sits at the highest point in the City of London on Ludgate hill. It is one of the most significant and iconic buildings in London and has played host to many important events throughout history including: Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral and Prince Charles and Diana’s wedding. It has also appeared in many famous films including; Mary Poppins, Sherlock Holmes and Harry Potter.

The cathedral was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and completed in 1710 following a rebuilding plan after the Great Fire Of London in 1666. There are 237 steps leading up to the famous dome which is 366 feet high and the second largest of its type in the world. Throughout the building there are various interesting things to see including a Whispering Gallery, where a whisper can be heard 100 feet away, and over 200 memorials for historically significant figures including Nelson, Wellington, Churchill and Florence Nightingale. There are also several famous people buried in the grounds including: Henry Moore, Christopher Wren and The Duke Of Wellington.

St Pauls Cathedral is open Monday to Saturday 9.30am-4.30pm and a day visit costs £18 for adults, £8.00 for children. The Cathedral is open for most of the year, but closes for special events which can be viewed on the events calendar on the website. For more information click here – https://www.stpauls.co.uk/

Chatsworth House

Chatsworth House, based on the East bank of the River Derwent near Bakewell is the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, having been passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family. It’s stunning gardens cover in excess of 105 acres, and the house is 3 stories tall, containing over 120 rooms. The architecture of the house has been continually changing over 5 centuries. The original estate was purchased by Sir William Cavendish in 1549 from the previous owners; the Agard family. Not long after the land was purchased, Sir William set about having Chatsworth House built and it was completed in 1557 by Bess of Hardwick, Sir William’s wife after he had passed away. Over 66 full time staff and 23 part time staff are employed by the estate and it has its very own fire brigade. The house has appeared in many TV adaptations and films over the years including Pride and Prejudice, The Duchess and The Wolfman.

Visitors today can enjoy a vast amount of modern and historical artifacts throughout the estate. You can visit 30 rooms (of the 120) across the 3 floors of the house and see art, architecture, sculptures and historically significant artifacts. Visitors can also enjoy the acres of vibrant gardens, maze, farm and adventure playground. There is also a picturesque courtyard and various shops and restaurants to stop at for refreshments.

The estate is officially closed from the 24th to the 26th of December and on the 1st of January. The house is open from 11.am-5.30pm (last entry 4.30pm), gardens 11am-6pm (last entry 5pm), farmyard and adventure playground 10.30am-5.30pm (last entry 4.30pm). Visiting the grounds is free, however access inside the house costs £22 per adult, £16 per child, the garden is £12 per adult, £7 per child and the farmyard and adventure playground is £6 per person (regardless of age). Combination tickets are available and information on special events are listed on the events calendar on the website. For more information click here – http://www.chatsworth.org/

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle, in Windsor, Maidenhead, was built after the Battle of Hastings by King William the first. Throughout the years, several monarchs have added towers, walls and buildings to the castle.The full Windsor castle estate covers a huge 13 acres and has around 1,000 rooms in total. Despite the Queen not being continually in residence at the property, it still employs over 150 staff required for its upkeep and is the largest castle in the world still being used by a living monarch. The Great Kitchen within the castle is the oldest working kitchen in the country and over the years it has served 32 monarchs, has 33 kitchen staff, 20 chefs, 3 pastry chefs and 10 porters and the clocks in the kitchen are always set five minutes fast, to ensure nothing ever gets served late. In 1992, 20% of the castle was destroyed in a fire and it took 15 hours for the fire to be put out and £40 million pounds to restore the damage.

Visitors today can enjoy the grounds, look at the State Apartments, see semi-state rooms, St George’s Chapel, the changing of the guard, various castle shops and view paintings by many famous artists including Rembrandt, Rubens and Gainsborough as well as taking a look at Queen Mary’s Dolls House.

The house is open throughout the year apart from the 25th and 26th of December, and for half a day on the 23rd of October. The state apartments and chapel close at certain times of the year which can be viewed on the website. Between March and October the Castle is open from 9.45-17.15 and between November to February it is open from 9.45-16.15. For a day visit it costs £19.20 per adult, £11.00 for a child under 17 and children under 5 go free. For more information click here – https://www.royalcollection.org.uk/visit/windsorcastle

Sudbury Hall

Sudbury Hall in Ashbourne, enables visitors to enjoy two different fantastic experiences, all in one day. Visiting Sudbury Hall you will of course get to see inside the beautiful hall itself built in the early 17th Century. The manor of Sudbury was interestingly listed in the Domesday Book and remains in the hand of Vernon descendants to date.

By the hall there is also a church to visit, which was restored by George Devey for the 6th Lord Vernon. Today, the hall itself is an incredible example of craftsmanship, featuring detailed plasterwork, murals and wooden carvings. Inside visitors can also enjoy the Great Staircase, Long Gallery and many interesting tales about the hall’s history.

Visiting Sudbury Hall you will also get to enjoy the Museum of Childhood which has eight different galleries celebrating childhood experiences and artifacts from different eras.

In the Museum of Childhood there is something for all ages to enjoy including the various historical experiences where you can become a scullion, Victorian school pupil or chimney sweep. There are also various interactive displays throughout, making the museum a completely immersive experience.

The Hall and Museum are open throughout the year, with specific closing dates listed on the website. It is advisable to check the hall is open on the day you plan to visit as it remains closed on Mondays and Tuesdays at several weeks throughout the year. On open days the hall is open between 1pm and 5pm, the grounds are open 10am-5pm and the museum is open 11am-5pm. For a day visit it costs £15.00 per adult and £7.50 per child for entry to the grounds, hall and museum. Tickets for just one area of the estate are available at a lower cost. For more information click here – http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sudbury-hall-and-museum-of-childhood/

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle dominates the city skyline and is based on Castle Rock in Edinburgh, Scotland. The rock the castle sits on was created by a volcano eruption which took place over 340 million years ago. Castle Rock is known to have been both a royal residence and military base for hundreds of years with historical documentation showing Edinburgh Castle being built in the 12th Century, however the exact time the castle was built remains unknown.

During it’s history the castle was often under siege and was home to many major battles between England and Scotland.

Following the Wars of Independence the Castle needed extensive repairs which were mostly completed in the name of David II, and because of this David’s Tower was added to the Castle.

In the 18th Century the Castle was used to house military prisoners and it became a national monument in 1814 after many of those prisoners escaped, proving the castle to be an unsuitable prison. Visitors today can enjoy viewing the Castle itself, as well as various interesting artifacts within it. Mons Meg Cannon, Lairds Lugs, The Stone Of Destiny, Chapel and Dungeons are all popular areas and artifacts of interest within the Castle grounds. The castle is also known to be one of the most haunted buildings in Scotland, is home to the famous Military Tattoo, and has many popular myths and legends attached to it.

The Castle is open throughout the year apart from the 25th and 26th of December. Daily opening times are 9.30am-5pm in Winter, 9.30am-6pm in Summer. It is advisable to check the opening times on the website to check the Castle is open on the day you plan to visit.

For a day visit it costs £16.50 for an adult and £9.90 for a child. Ticket prices are subject to change depending on special events throughout the year. For more information click here – http://www.edinburghcastle.scot/

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle in Warwick, Warwickshire, is a medieval castle with over 1000 years worth of history.

Although records of a walled building in Warwick can be traced back to the Saxon times, the earliest records of Warwick Castle as it is are in 1264 where the castle was recorded to have been attacked during battle. It was also dramatically besieged in 1642 and then extensively damaged by fire in 1871.

It was owned by the Earls of Warwick and Greville Family as a private home until 1978 when it was taken over by Merlin Entertainments Group. Today the castle is one of the most visited stately homes in the UK and contains an armoury collection second only to that held in The Tower Of London. Hundreds of celebrities are known to have visited the castle, including many who have performed as part of open air concerts on the estate. Just some of the famous names to have played at the castle are: Cliff Richard, UB40, Paul Weller, Tom Jones and The Beach Boys.

Visitors today have plenty to be excited about when it comes to visiting the popular tourist attraction. You can see the world’s most powerful catapult, birds of prey, medieval re- enactment displays, battlements and turrets. Adults will especially love the Merlin Exhibit – The Dragon Tower – which is based on the popular TV series, and kids will go wild for the daily Horrible Histories stage show.

The castle is open throughout the year 10am-6pm however it is closed on certain dates and opening times change depending on the season. It is advisable to check opening times on the website before planning a visit. For a day trip it costs £24.60 per adult and £21.60 per child to visit, online booking discounts are available. For more information click here – https://www.warwick-castle.com/

Stonehenge

Stonehenge in Amesbury, Wiltshire, is thought to be the most well known famous prehistoric monument on the planet. Records show it was created as a simple earthwork enclosure, and was created across various different stages of development. The earliest part of stonehenge is thought to be over 5,000 years old and was on the site where people buried the cremated remains of their loved ones. The full circle was placed in 2500 BC and formed a central monument to local people, who built burial mounds nearby. Roman pottery, metal items and stone have been found during excavations of the site, and various sciences and groups have taken an interest in the site throughout the years including astronomers, historians. spiritualists and mystics with many believing the stones carry a special ‘energy’ or significance.

There are 83 stones at Stonehenge which are made of two different types of stone. The larger ones are sarsens and the smaller ones are bluestones. Within the circle there is a circle of 56 pits, which remain a mystery in regards to their purpose.

Visitors today can enjoy various different parts of Stonehenge including the stone circle, neolithic houses, an interactive ‘standing in the stones’ experience, a cafe, stonehenge exhibition and of course the stunning surrounding landscape.

Stonehenge is open throughout the year with closure on certain dates specified on the website. Advanced booking is necessary to obtain a ticket. In Summer the site is open between 9am and 8pm, however opening times change during the different seasons. It costs £14.50 for adults and £8.70 for children to visit Stonehenge. Members of the English Heritage get in for free. For more information click here – http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, was built in the 18th Century. It was created as a celebration of the British victory over the French in the War of the Spanish Succession.

It was also built as a present to John Churchill who led the Allied forces in the Battle of Blenheim in the 1700’s.

There are several parts of the estate which have been added over time including; the Column of Victory built in 1730, the Temple of Diana built in 1773, the Temple of Health built in 1789, the Boat House built in 1888 and the Will’s Organ built in 1891. There have also been several historically significant events at the palace over the years including the birth of Winston Churchill and the use of the palace as a hospital for wounded soldiers in WW1.

Blenheim Palace officially opened its doors to visitors in 1950 and visitors today can enjoy strolling through the grounds and gardens, enjoy champagne in the champagne bar, visit the Long Library and look through the Churchill Memorial Garden. Various different types of tours of the palace are available, including a special behind the scenes tour detailing all the different movies filmed on the grounds.

The Blenheim Palace park is open every day of the year apart from Christmas Day. The Palace and Formal Gardens are open all year apart from certain times in Winter for maintenance (details available on the website). The Palace is open 10.30am-17.30am, the Park 9am-18.00pm, the formal gardens 10am-17.30pm, the Pleasure Gardens 10am-17.30pm and the visitor centre 9.30am-18.00pm. You can buy two different types of tickets for the Palace. Type one is park and gardens only which is £13.80 per adult and £6.70 per child. Type two is park, gardens and palace which is £23.00 per adult and £12.50 per child. For more information click here – http://www.blenheimpalace.com/

The Houses Of Parliament

The Houses of Parliament stands on the banks of the Thames and is also known as the Palace of Westminster. Decisions made within the building have shaped Britain into the country we know it as today, and naturally, it is a place of immense historical significance.

The building was built around 1097 and was the largest hall in England at the time. All the way up until the 1500’s the site was renovated and extended by many different royals who stayed there. However, in the 1500’s it quickly stopped being used as a royal residence when a fire in 1512 completely destroyed the private chambers and Henry VIII chose to relocate to another building, meaning the royal occupants moved out and Parliament properly moved in.

The site was the key location for the Courts of Law since the end of the 15th century and many famous trials were held there. The most famous trial ever to take place at the Houses of Parliament is the trial of Guy Fawkes, who was tried and executed in 1606 for the Gunpowder Plot, something which we still celebrate in England today on bonfire night, otherwise known as Guy Fawkes night which is a celebration of the anniversary of the date his plot was foiled.

In 1834 the structure was redesigned and built by Sir Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin to contain 1,100 rooms, two courtyards and of course, Big Ben in the main building clock tower.

Since its rebuild the palace has remained one of the most, if not the most iconic buildings in the UK and is still making history today.

Visitors today can enjoy a tour of the palace where the Queen’s Robing Room, Royal Gallery, Lords Chamber, Commons Chamber, Members Lobby and Central Lobby as well as St Stephen’s Hall where Guy Fawkes was tried. Audio tours, guided tours and special tours with afternoon tea are all available – pre booking is recommended.

Visiting times vary greatly, however all available visiting dates are listed on the website. Tours start every 15-20 minutes and begin throughout the day between 9.20am and 4.30pm. Audio tours cost £18.00 per adult and £7.20 for children over 5. Other types of tour are available at a different price. For more information click here – http://www.parliament.uk/visiting/