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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.

World Heritage Site

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Enormous Neolithic stone henge and bank surrounding the entire village of Avebury.  Dates from c2600BC.  Part of a wider complex of prehistoric sites nearby. Get up close and personal with the stones - which you cannot normally do at nearby Stonehenge.

Location/Address: Avebury
County: Wiltshire
Post Code: SN8 1RF
Main Historic Period: Prehistory
Link to featured article: Avebury Henge
Useful Website Address: English Heritage listing for Avebury
Tip/Nearby: Huge number of prehistoric sites, including West Kennet Long Barrow, Silbury Hill and Windmill Hill, within walking distance. Stonehenge not far away by road.
Primary Management: National Trust

“Who can ever be tired of Bath?” Jane Austen enquired. Apart from being a favourite of one of England’s most-loved novelists, Bath is probably most famed for its Roman and Regency heritage. The Romans built extensive baths there and called the town Aquae Sulis (the waters of Sul, a local Celtic deity similar to Minerva). The remains of the complex were discovered in the 18th C, by which time the healing waters of Bath had again become fashionable, with the help of the dandy, Beau Nash, and the town evolved into a go-to Regency place. Thus Bath is also loved for its surviving honey-coloured Georgian architecture, not least its elegant Royal Crescent and unusual Pulteney Bridge over the Avon, designed by Robert Adam and containing shops built across its full span.  Among Bath’s many other attractions is the Gothic 15th C Abbey, where a monastery was founded in the 7th century. Bath is a World Heritage Site, one of Britain’s tourist magnets and features heavily on overseas visitors’ itineraries, as well as being a desirable romantic weekend destination.

County: Somerset
Post Code: BA1 1LT
Main Historic Period: Georgian
Useful Website Address: Visit Bath website
Tip/Nearby: Handy for the Cotswolds, Marlborough Downs and Mendips.
Primary Management: Local Authority

Enormous 18th century home of the Dukes of Marlborough.  The estate was given to the 1st Duke, John Churchill, as a reward for his military victories against the French.  The house was desuigned by John Vanbrugh and Nicholas Hawksmoor and the park was landscaped by Capability Brown.  Winston Churchill was born at Blenheim and has many associations with it - he proposed to Clementine in the Temple of Diana in the grounds.  The estate is a World Heritage Site and one of the 'treasure houses of England."

Location/Address: Woodstock
County: Oxfordshire
Post Code: OX20 1PP
Main Historic Period: Georgian
Useful Website Address: Blenheim Palace website
Tip/Nearby: Bladon Church
Primary Management: Private - open to the public

Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion and seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Cathedral was founded by St Augustine in 597AD, though the present building dates mostly from the late medieval period. Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered here in 1170 and it thereafter became a place of pilgrimage. The Cathedral is a holy place and part of a World Heritage Site.

Location/Address: Cathedral House, 11 The Precincts, Canterbury
County: Kent
Post Code: CT1 2EH
Main Historic Period: Medieval
Useful Website Address: Canterbury Cathedral website
Primary Management: Church authorities

Durham Cathedral's official name is 'the Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and St Cuthbert of Durham'.  It is the home of the shrine of St Cuthbert and burial place of the Venerable (aka 'Venomous') Bede.  The cathedral, along with Durham Castle, occupies a rocky promontory high above the river Wear - originally an excellent defensive position, now dramatic and picturesque.  It was founded in 1093 and the outstanding architectural feature (probably) are the massive, soaring, Romanesque/Norman arches in the nave. There's a wonderful simplicity about Durham Cathedral.

The Bishops of Durham - 'the Prince Bishops' used to wield temporal, as well as spiritual, power and effectively ruled the diocese for 850 years.  That did not stop Oliver Cromwell using the Cathedral to hold 3,000 Scots prisoner after the Battle of Dunbar in 1650; many of them died within the Cathedral.

Durham Cathedral, along with the adjacent Castle, is a World Heritage Site.

Location/Address: The Cathedral Office,
The College
County: Co Durham
Post Code: DH1 3EH
Main Historic Period: Norman
Link to featured article: Durham Cathedral
Useful Website Address: Durham Cathedral's website
Primary Management: Church authorities

The Houses of Parliament is the home of the UK Parliament and consists of two 'houses' - the Commons (elected) and Lords (unelected). It is possible to take a tour, even take tea, or watch a debate. Information about visiting can be found on the UK Parliament's website - link below.

The Houses of Parliament is situated on the site of Edward the Confessor's 11th century palace and is still known as 'the Palace of Westminster'. It has been the traditional home of the English parliament since medieval times and much of the UK's parliamentary democracy developed here. However, most of the current building dates from the 19th century and was designed by Charles Barry, following a disastrous fire in 1834 that destroyed most of the old palace. The oldest building on the site is the magnificent Westminster Hall, which has witnessed 900 years of British history.

Location/Address: Westminster
County: London
Post Code: SW1A 0AA
Main Historic Period: Victorian
Tip/Nearby: Whitehall, Westminster Abbey, Churchill's Bunker, Embankment, St James's Park...
Primary Management: HM Government

Charming and now relatively peaceful Shropshire town at the heart of the Industrial Revolution, spanning the river Severn and a beautiful gorge with its famous 18th century iron bridge. There are many museums in the town and nearby, as well as walks.

Location/Address: Ironbridge
County: Shropshire
Post Code: TF8
Main Historic Period: Georgian
Link to featured article: Ironbridge - cradle of industrialisation?
Useful Website Address: Visit Ironbridge website
Primary Management: Local Authority

England’s Jurassic Coast is a World Heritage Site encompassing 95 miles of lovely coastline from Exmouth in East Devon to Old Harry Rocks in Studland Bay in Dorset.  It actually covers three geological time periods - the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous which together make up the Mesozoic Era, from around 250 to 65 million years ago. The coast includes some wonderful geological features, like Durdle Door and Chesil Beach, dramatic views and seaside towns and resorts such as Bournemouth, Poole, Swanage, Lyme Regis and West Bay.  Walk, bathe and hunt for fossils for free.

Managed by the Jurassic Coast Trust

Main Historic Period: Prehistory
Useful Website Address: Website of the Jurassic Coast Trust
Tip/Nearby: Towns of Poole, Swanage, West Bay, Lyme Regis, Exmouth.
Primary Management: Other

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a World Heritage Site set in 300 acres beside the River Thames between Richmond and Kew in south-west London.  It boasts 6 glasshouses, the great pagoda, a range of landscapes and the "largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world".  There is also a large, specialist, library. One highlight of a visit is Kew's Rhizotron and Xstrata Treetop Walkway which takes visitors underground and then 59 feet (18 metres) high up in the air.

The botanic gardens were founded in 1840, though its roots (pun intended) go back much further, to at least 1759 when Princess Augusta, mother of King George III, established a nine-acre botanic garden within the pleasure grounds at Kew.  However, this part of the world has been a bit of a Royal Playground for centuries.

Kew Gardens has its own small police force, the Kew Constabulary, operational since 1847. Entry into the gardens also gives entry to Kew Palace, managed by Historic Royal Palaces. Kew, and the botanic gardens at Wakehurst, Sussex, are managed by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, a government sponsored internationally important botanical research and education institution.

Location/Address: Kew
County: Surrey
Post Code: TW9 3AE
Main Historic Period: N/A
Tip/Nearby: Richmond Park, Strawberry Hill, Hampton Court
Primary Management: HM Government

The Lake District is the largest and most visited national park in England. It includes England's highest peak (Skafell), as well as its longest (Windermere), and deepest (Wastwater), lakes. It is a mountainous region of great beauty - but it can also be a harsh environment. The mountains were eroded by glaciation and the retreating ice formed the lakes in a radial pattern.  The area is also known as 'the English Lakes' and is popular with walkers, cyclists, campers, families - as well as outdoor enthusiasts of all types, including serious climbers.

Location/Address: Lake District National Park Authority
Murley Moss
Oxenholme Road
County: Cumbria
Post Code: LA9 7RL
Main Historic Period: N/A
Link to featured article: Britain's National Parks
Primary Management: National Park
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