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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 – over 750 entries as of February 2020.  Most entries have links for further information.


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Ventnor developed as a seaside health resort in Victorian times and still retains some of that atmosphere. It was a favourite childhood place of Winston Churchill’s. The town is in a lovely location, built on a steep slope beneath St Boniface Down, has a good beach and, though a little flaky in parts, it also has a quirky character, some nice little shops, decent amenities and is deservedly popular. In the 19th century, Ventnor was referred to as the 'English Mediterranean' and its relatively sheltered location does actually create its own favourable microclimate, with more sunny days and fewer frosts than other places on the Island. It boasts its own botanic gardens on the site of the former Royal National Hospital for Diseases of the Chest.

County: Isle of Wight
Post Code: PO38 1EJ
Main Historic Period: Victorian
Useful Website Address: Visit Isle of Wight website
Tip/Nearby: Bonchurch is lovely. Nice walk to Steephill Cove and the Heritage Museum is interesting.
Primary Management: Local Authority

The clue is in the name.  Steephill Cove is a charming treasure, tucked away under the cliffs west of Ventnor.  There are old fishermen’s cottages, lobster pots, deckchairs, rock pools and, in season, cafes serving locally caught seafood. Great place to unwind and watch the waves.

County: Isle of Wight
Post Code: PO38 1AF
Main Historic Period: N/A
Tip/Nearby: You need to walk. Ventnor Botanic Gardens is nearby.
Primary Management: Local Authority

Portsmouth was for generations the most heavily defended town in England. The city, unsurprisingly, developed round its port and naval facilities. Whilst the original harbour and military base was located around Portchester, where the Romans built a fort, by the medieval period the major settlement was at the harbour mouth, the area now known as ‘old Portsmouth’. Here, and at various points eastward along the seafront, are the scattered remains of fortifications, some of which were in use from the 14th century as defence against French attacks, right through the Tudor period, when Henry VIII built Southsea Castle, to the Second World War. Also along the sea front are many memorials that give hints of Portsmouth’s maritime heritage. There is free access to many of these fortifications, possibly best starting off near Portsmouth’s Broad Street, where the 15th century Round and Square Towers are situated. Under parts of the walls, where ammunition was once stored, are cafes and pop-up galleries. There are fine views of the harbour and sea traffic from the walls here - and the Round Tower is the place for front-row views of major ships entering or leaving port.

Location/Address: Broad Street
Old Portsmouth
County: Hampshire
Post Code: PO1 2FS
Main Historic Period: Victorian
Useful Website Address: Portsmouth Museum website
Tip/Nearby: Garrison Church, Southsea Castle, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Primary Management: Local Authority

The pretty Cornish village of Polperro has been a fishing port since at least medieval times and a magnet for visitors, including artists, for as long as anyone can remember. Narrow streets between quaint old flower-decked cottages mean that tourists are not able to drive their cars to the harbour, but there are carriages available – and boat trips too, when you get there.  The village’s name probably derives from the old Cornish ‘porth’ for ‘harbour’ and means ‘harbour of a man called Pyra’, but what is certain is its notoriety for smuggling in the 18th and 19th centuries – which has contributed to a rich folklore and is illustrated in the Polperro Heritage Museum of Smuggling and Fishing overlooking the harbour.  Pilchards, apparently, were once a particular speciality for Polperro’s fishermen, while other members of the family were employed in processing them.  It is still a working fishing port as well as a popular tourist destination.  There is an annual Art Festival in June and the village has a renowned Fishermen’s Choir.

NB Don't rely on your Sat Nav - park outside the village and walk or take a carriage to the harbour.

County: Cornwall
Post Code: PL13 2RB
Main Historic Period: All
Useful Website Address: Local Polperro website
Tip/Nearby: Polperro Heritage Coast
Primary Management: Local Authority

Coastal stretch running along the B8008 road between Arisaig and Morar, part of the old Road to the Isles to Mallaig and famous for its stunning beaches. There are also wonderful views across to the Isles of Muck, Eigg and Rum. The Silver Sands of Morar were featured in the movie, Local Hero (1983).

The post code is for a local golf club.

Location/Address: Arisaig
County: Highland
Post Code: PH39 4NT
Link to featured article: The Silver Sands of Morar
Tip/Nearby: The A830 Road to the Isles from Fort William is known for its scenery and takes in the Glenfinnan Monument.
Primary Management: Local Authority

In the Middle Ages, the small village of Blakeney was a thriving port handling exotic products like spices. Silting of the harbour changed its fortunes and it’s now an attractive tourist destination and a good base for exploring north Norfolk. It is in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the North Norfolk Coastal Path passes through the village and the whole area is a magnet for walkers and wildlife lovers. The harbour and surrounding marshes are owned by the National Trust and is a nature reserve. Within the village are the remains of the medieval Blakeney Guildhall, the twin-towered medieval St Nicholas church as well as pubs and restaurants. The largest seal colony in England can be visited by boat to Blakeney Point, which (with restrictions to protect wildlife) can also be walked to from nearby Cley-next-the-Sea. Samphire is grown on the point and, as well as seals, ringed plovers, oystercatchers, brent geese and common teal can also be spotted.

County: Norfolk
Post Code: NR25 7NE
Main Historic Period: All
Useful Website Address: Norfolk tourist site
Tip/Nearby: Nature reserve, seal spotting, Holkham Hall, Castle Acre...
Primary Management: Local Authority

One of Britain's largest colonies of common and grey seals is at Blakeney Pont, a 4 mile spit that sticks out into the North Sea. It is a national nature reserve, and a favourite spot for birds, native and foreign, as well as seals. Various companies run boat trips to see the seals. The trips last about an hour and tend to depart from Morston Quay.

The link below will take you to one operator - but there are others - no recommendation is implied.

Location/Address: Morston Quay
Nr Blakeney
County: Norfolk
Post Code: NR25 7BH
Main Historic Period: N/A
Link to featured article: Seals at Blakeney
Tip/Nearby: Blakeney village, Cley
Primary Management: Other

The dramatic ruined castle of Thomas of Lancaster, executed for treason in 1322, stands on a rocky headland jutting into the North Sea. The castle went on to witness fierce fighting during the Wars of the Roses, but now the predominant sound is the shrieking of seabirds. A short, sometimes bracing, walk from either Craster or Embleton.

Location/Address: Craster
County: Northumberland
Post Code: NE66 3TT
Main Historic Period: Medieval
Link to featured article: Craster to Dunstanburgh
Tip/Nearby: About 8 miles north east of Alnwick.
Primary Management: English Heritage

Marsden Bay is part of a stunning limestone cliff coastline between South Shields and Sunderland. It is a favoured nesting place for seabirds, particularly cormorants, fulmars and kittiwakes, much frequented by families and dog-walkers and admired by geologists. There is a famous and historic cave bar and diner, Marsden Grotto, attached to the cliff, which gets mixed reviews.

Location/Address: Coast Road
South Shields
County: Tyne and Wear
Post Code: NE34 7BS
Main Historic Period: N/A
Link to featured article: Marsden Bay isn't quite the Algarve
Tip/Nearby: Souter Lighthouse
Primary Management: Local Authority

Victorian lighthouse operational from 1898 until 1984. It and the keeper's cottage are open to visitors - access is between tides over a causeway. It is surrounded by rock pools and something of a nature reserve. The closest dry mainland is called Curry's Point, named for a Michael Curry who was hung from a gibbet on the spot in 1739.

Location/Address: St Mary's Island
Whitley Bay
County: Tyne and Wear
Post Code: NE26 4RS
Main Historic Period: Victorian
Tip/Nearby: Seaton Delavil Hall. Close to Newcastle upon Tyne.
Primary Management: Local Authority
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