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Britain, places to visit, attractions, heritageThis is the place to search for places and things of interest to visit in Britain, by name, location, type, keyword – or just have a browse.  It is a growing directory – 700+ entries as of October 2019.  Most entries have links for further information.

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MILITARY INTELLIGENCE MUSEUM

A small museum telling the history of British military intelligence from the Boer War onwards. There are additional exhibitions dedicated to BRIXMIS, an intelligence gathering mission based in the former DDR during the Cold War, and to the Intelligence Corps' work with SOE, Special Operations Executive, during WW2.

The museum is on a military base. Visitors are welcomed but need to book visits in advance and brink photo ID with them - eg UK passport or driving licence.

Location/Address: Building 200
Chicksands
Shefford
County: Bedfordshire
Post Code: SG17 5PR
Main Historic Period: Modern
Link to featured article: A bit about Special Operations Executive
Useful Website Address: Military Intelligence Museum website
Tip/Nearby: Shuttleworth Collection, Woburn Safari Park
Primary Management: Military
WOBURN ABBEY

Woburn Abbey is one of the great treasure houses of Britain. It began life as a Cistercian abbey. The estate was given to John Russell, later Earl of Bedford, by Edward VI in 1547 and his ancestors became the Dukes of Bedford. Woburn Abbey is still the home of the Duke and Duchess of Bedford, but has been open to the public since 1955. The Palladian mansion contains a world-famous art collection, including works by Canaletto, Reynolds, Gainsborough, Hogarth, Lely, Rembrandt, Tintoretto and Van Dyck, as well as collections of porcelain and silver. The estate also includes gardens, a deer park and the Woburn Safari Park.

Location/Address: Woburn
County: Bedfordshire
Main Historic Period: Georgian
Useful Website Address: Woburn Abbey's website
Tip/Nearby: Woburn Safari Park, Bletchley Park
Primary Management: Private - open to the public
HIGHCLERE CASTLE

Home to the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, Highclere is a predominantly Victorian mansion set in extensive grounds in Hampshire - though, confusingly, the postal address is for neighbouring Berkshire. The house was redeveloped in Jacobean style by Sir Charles Barry, the architect responsible for the Houses of Parliament, from an earlier Georgian mansion which, itself, replaced a Tudor House. Before that, a medieval palace stood on the site, property of the Bishops of Winchester.  The property has earlier roots, however, and there is an Iron Age fort in the grounds.

The 5th Earl sponsored the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb by Howard Carter in 1922.

Highclere was used as the location for the TV series Jeeves and Wooster and, more recently, played the title role in the highly successful Downton Abbey.

NOTE: Highclere has limited opening - check details before making a special trip.

Region:
Location/Address: Highclere Park
Newbury
County: Berkshire
Post Code: RG20 9RN
Main Historic Period: Victorian
Useful Website Address: Highclere Castle's website
Tip/Nearby: About 5 miles south of Newbury
Primary Management: Private - open to the public
WINDSOR CASTLE

Windsor Castle was built in the 11th century by William the Conqueror and is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world. It has been used by the British monarchy for almost 1,000 years and is an official residence of Her Majesty The Queen, whose standard flies from the Round Tower when she is at home. Parts are open to the public, including the State Apartments and St George's Chapel. A further highlight is Queen Mary's Dolls' House.

However, because Windsor Castle is a working palace, opening arrangements are subject to change, sometimes at short notice, and you should check before making a special journey.

Region:
Location/Address: Windsor
County: Berkshire
Post Code: SL4 1NJ
Main Historic Period: All
Primary Management: Royal Collection Trust
MELLERSTAIN HOUSE

A grand Georgian house set in acres of parkland with formal gardens and an interior that includes works by Van Dyck and Gainsborough. George Baillie, an officer in William of Orange's army, commissioned William Adams to build the house in 1725. Only two wings were finished. The work was completed in 1778 by William's son, Robert, who linked the two wings and finished everything off in a sort of castle style. Mellerstain is said to be one of Scotland's finest stately homes.

Region:
Location/Address: Mellerstain
Gordon
County: Berwickshire
Post Code: TD3 6LG
Main Historic Period: Georgian
Useful Website Address: Mellerstain House website
Tip/Nearby: About 8 miles north of Kelso
Primary Management: Private - open to the public
BLETCHLEY PARK

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.

Region:
Location/Address: The Mansion
Sherwood Drive
Bletchley
Milton Keynes
County: Buckinghamshire
Post Code: MK3 6EB
Main Historic Period: Modern
Useful Website Address: Bletchley Park's website
Tip/Nearby: Woburn Safari Park, Military Intelligence Museum
Primary Management: Other
ROALD DAHL MUSEUM and STORY CENTRE

Spy, fighter pilot - but mainly author - Roald Dahl lived in the village of Great Missenden for 36 years and wrote his famous children's' stories there, in a hut in his garden. Situated in an old coaching inn, the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre holds the Roald Dahl archive, tells Roald Dahl's story (and the stories behind the stories) and includes his writing hut, lovingly relocated to the museum.

Region:
Location/Address: 81-83 High Street
Great Missenden
County: Buckinghamshire
Post Code: HP16 0AL
Main Historic Period: Modern
Useful Website Address: Roald Dahl Museum website
Tip/Nearby: Berkhamsted Castle
Primary Management: Other
Cambridge

Cambridge developed around an Anglo-Saxon bridge, the Danes used it as a trading post and William the Conqueror built a castle there.  The city’s greatest fame, however, derives from being home to Britain’s second oldest university, established sometime after 1209.  The first of Cambridge’s residential colleges, Peterhouse, was established in 1284 and it is these self-governing institutions that make up the university.  The entre of Cambridge is King’s Parade, where you’ll find King’s College (founded in 1441) with its breathtaking chapel and, close by, other colleges – like St John’s (1511) and Trinity (1544) – which can be visited.  In parallel with King’s Street are the Backs – a stretch of riverside gardens and lawns linking several colleges.  The university boasts more Nobel Prize winners than you can shake a stick at, as well as a multitude of well-known graduates including politicians, writers and entertainers.

Wander along in and out of colleges, , take a punt on the Cam, stop for a coffee, ice-cream, or a pint.  For visitors, Cambridge also offers notable churches (including one of only 5 round churches in England), outstanding botanic gardens, several museums with interests ranging from archaeology, computing, earth sciences and the polar regions – though the most famous is probably the astonishing Fitzwilliam Museum, which includes world-class artwork as well as major collections from antiquity.  Theatres and cinemas offer a variety of entertainment and there is a large general weekday market as well as specialist arts and crafts ones at weekends.  Nearby attractions include Duxford air museum, and the Cambridge American Cemetery just outside the city is a thought-provoking place to visit.

Location/Address: Cambridge
County: Cambridgeshire
Post Code: CB1 1PS
Main Historic Period: All
Useful Website Address: Cambridge tourist website
Tip/Nearby: Nearby towns include Ely, St Neots, Saffron Walden, Huntingdon and Stamford.
Primary Management: Local Authority
Cambridge American Cemetery

The Cambridge American Cemetery commemorates almost 9,000 Americans who died while based in the UK, or travelling here, during the Second World War. It is the only World War II American military cemetery in the United Kingdom. The site was established as a temporary military burial ground in 1943, on land donated by the University of Cambridge, and has been granted free use in perpetuity by HM Government. It was dedicated in 1956, covers 30.5 acres and lies on a gentle slope overlooking farmland. Simple, white marble, headstones – mostly crosses – mark the resting place of 3,811 of America’s war dead - the missing are listed on large panels. There is a fascinating, and moving, visitor centre as well as an impressive memorial building.

Location/Address: Madingley Road
Coton
County: Cambridgeshire
Post Code: CB23 7PH
Main Historic Period: Modern
Link to featured article: The Cambridge American Cemetery
Tip/Nearby: Just outside Cambridge
Primary Management: Other
Christ's College, Cambridge

Christ's College was first established as God's House in 1437 by William Byngham, a London parish priest, for training grammar school masters. However, its site was needed for King’s College, so it had to move to its present location in 1448.   Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII, decided to enlarge God's House and in 1505 the College was re-founded as Christ's College. Lady Margaret has been honoured ever since as the Foundress.  You can spot her coat of arms on the gatehouse and as pictured.  Christ's became one of the leading Puritan colleges of Elizabethan Cambridge. In 1625 it admitted the young John Milton. The Garden still boasts what is known as 'Milton's Mulberry Tree'.  Charles Darwin is another famous old boy.  Further noted alumni include JH Plumb, Lord Louis Mountbatten, Simon Schama, Roy Porter, Colin Dexter, CP Snow, Rowan Williams and Sacha Baron Cohen.

Location/Address: St Andrew's Street
Cambridge
County: Cambridgeshire
Post Code: CB2 3BU
Main Historic Period: Victorian
Useful Website Address: Christ's College website
Tip/Nearby: Central Cambridge attractions and colleges
Primary Management: Educational establisment
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