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Museums and galleries
The Battle of Hastings took place on 14th October 1066. It is probably the most famous battle in British history, when the invading Normans under William the Conqueror beat the English (Saxons) led by King Harold. The battle actually took place several miles north of Hastings adjacent to and within where the pleasant little town of Battle now is. Though the precise location of the battle has been much debated, wandering through the traditional site is worthwhile - and very pleasant when the weather's fine.
The battlefield of 1066 is managed by English Heritage alongside Battle Abbey, which was built as a penance and memorial afterwards.
A museum that, literally, tells the story of the Beatles - from childhood, to when Paul met John, the early days in Hamburg, the Cavern, meeting Brian Epstein, George Martin, worldwide success, messy divorce and solo life afterwards. The Beatles Story claims to be the biggest permanent exhibition dedicated to the Fab Four. In any event, it is excellently done, with walk-through life-like displays, fascinating exhibits and plenty of music - an absolute must for any fan of John, Paul, George and Ringo - or anyone wanting to know about the world's greatest rock 'n' roll pop band.
The Beatrix Potter Gallery in the attractive village of Hawkshead holds a collection of the author's original drawings and exhibits these in an annually changing exhibition. The building is 17th century and was once the office of her husband, local solicitor William Heelis.
Opened in January 2019, the Biggin Hill Memorial Museum tells the story of the famous RAF airfield, the people who served there, the local community and its residents from 1916 to 1951. The collection has a particular focus on the Battle of Britain, in which RAF Biggin Hill played a pivotal role. Many of the objects in the museum's collection are personal and have been donated by people who served or lived at Biggin Hill, or their relatives.
Bletchley Park was the home of the top-secret code breakers of World War Two, whose work had a profound impact on the war; it has been claimed that their success in intercepting enemy signals and breaking codes shortened the war by two years. For years, very few people knew about their work, most famously centred on German Enigma cipher machines, but information started to become more available in the 1970s. Bletchley Park was in a poor state when taken over by Milton Keynes Borough Council in 1992. A trust was set up to conserve the site and turn it into a museum and it opened its doors to the public in 1993. A massive restoration project took place and BP is now a major tourist attraction.
Bletchley Park also includes the National Museum of Computing and has featured in several films and TV productions.
Blists Hill is an open air museum, recreating a Victorian town on an industrial site that included mines, blast furnaces and a section of the Shropshire Canal. Some of the buildings are original, others have been relocated and some are replicas. It's a 52 acre site. There's a fascinating range of things to see, from shops, a bank and public house, to industrial premises. Costumed staff keep the whole thing themed and there are various demonstrations and events etc. It's a good day out for all ages.
Blists Hill is one of 10 museums in the area run by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust.
Site of the decisive battle on 22nd August 1485 where King Richard III was killed and the victor, Henry Tudor, started a new dynasty as Henry VII. There is a heritage centre with an exhibition/museum, shop and café. It is possible to walk round the battlefield on a well-signposted trail. Events are held including an annual re-enactment of the battle.
The British Library receives a copy of every publication produced in the UK and Ireland. In addition to books (including early printed books), the collection includes manuscripts, maps, newspapers, magazines, prints , drawings, music scores, patents, sound recordings and stamps. Particular treasures include Magna Carta, the Lindisfarne Gospels, Leonardo da Vinci's notebook, the first edition of The Times from 18 March 1788 and Beatles manuscripts. As well as being open for research, the Library holds free exhibitions and events.
Established in 1753, the British Museum specialises in history, art and culture. It is one of the largest collections in the world, with millions of objects - many of which originated from the former British Empire, though many have also been found in these islands. There is an enormous area devoted to the ancient classical civilisations of the Middle East, Egypt, Greece and Rome. The British Museum is regularly the most visited attraction in Britain.
Entry is free.
The Brontë family moved to Haworth in 1820, when Patrick Brontë was appointed ‘perpetual curate’ of the parish church. They lived in the Parsonage, where the three immensely talented sisters wrote some of the finest literature in the English language. Though it will overwhelm those who do not actually worship the Brontës, the Parsonage Museum is fascinating. And the town of Haworth is always worth a visit anyway. Don't miss the Gothic splendour of the churchyard!