Abbey Park is Leicester’s premier park and opened in 1882. It includes gardens, lakes, a café, sports pitches and facilities for bowling, tennis and boating. It is a place for families and lies about a mile north of the city centre. The River Soar divides it into two distinct parts – a Victorian park with shrubberies, boating lake and miniature railway, and the western part which includes the remains of the 12th century Leicester Abbey, where Cardinal Wolsey died and was buried, and the ruins of the 17th century Cavendish House, a mansion which was Charles I’s HQ before the Battle of Naseby. It was destroyed and plundered by Royalist troops.
All Saints', Brixworth, is the largest surviving Anglo-Saxon church in Britain. The Saxon builders re-used Roman bricks when constructing their arches. It is also known that a monastery was founded on the site toward the end of the 7th century, sacked by the Danes. The church includes Norman features, an 11th century round tower and a 15th century spire. It is also famous for the Brixworth Relic - a human throat bone that allegedly once belonged to St Boniface.
Sitting in acres of Northamptonshire countryside, Althorp has been the residence of the Spencer family for 500 years and is one of England's grand stately homes. It is packed full of treasures, including some fascinating portraits. The original Tudor house is still there, beneath the later restorations and refurbishments, but the overall feel of the place is distinctly 18th century. The gardens are lovely and regular events are held, including an annual literary festival. Althorp is, sadly, best known for the association with possibly the most famous Spencer, Lady Diana, whose last resting place is on an island in the Round Oval lake.
Althorp has limited opening - it is essential to check their website before making a special trip.
Very small, attractive, village between Daventry and Rugby. The Jacobean manor was owned by the Catesby family and the gatehouse is famous for being the place where the Gunpowder Plot was planned (neither the gatehouse nor the manor is open to the public). There is a wonderful medieval church, dedicated to St Leodegarius, a pub (the Olde Coach House) and a series of estate workers' cottages designed by Lutyens.
NB Warning notice that village website may be hacked, hence the link has not been included here.
The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) is an aerial display team flying historic aircraft. They appear at shows throughout the country, state occasions and at events commemorating the Second World War. The aircraft normally flown are an Avro Lancaster, a Supermarine Spitfire and a Hawker Hurricane. The flight is administratively part of No. 1 Group RAF, flying out of RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire. It is possible to see the aircraft at a visitor centre at Coningsby, though it is recommended you check which ones can be seen before making a special trip.
Astonishing Stuart mansion, mid-way between a castle and a country house, built to entertain and impress by the staunchly Royalist Charles Cavendish. The place is full of surprises, including some intriguing and lavish decoration, a beautiful garden, wall walk and an unusual riding house. There is an informative exhibition which puts things in perspective before you tour - and a great childrens' playground!
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.
Burghley is a grand 16th century house and estate on the edge of the charming East Midlands town of Stamford. The house was built by Elizabeth I's chief advisor and Lord High Treasurer Sir William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, and is still lived in by his descendents. The house contains an extensive collection of artwork and painted murals, including Verrio's 'Hell Staircase' (seen in 'The Da Vinci Code') and the hall has a magnificent hammerbeam roof. There are extensive gardens, statues and a fine park. Burghley is also famous for its annual Burghley Horse Trials, held in the autumn (best avoid visiting then!).