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This 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.
East of England
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.
Verulamium, was the third largest city in Roman Britain and the museum, Verulamium, stands on the site of the Roman town. It is a museum of everyday life in Roman Britain, containing recreated Roman rooms, some amazing mosaics and several intriguing objects - as well as the Sandridge Hoard - a collection of 159 gold Roman coins discovered nearby in 2012.
Trinity College was founded by Henry VIII in 1546, combining two earlier colleges, Michaelhouse and King’s Hall, and has the largest court in Oxbridge. Michaelhouse had existed since 1324; King’s Hall had been established by Edward II in 1317 and refounded by Edward III in 1337. Trinity’s flag, flown on special occasions, has as its design the royal standard of Edward III. The oldest parts of the college are medieval, including the range behind the Clock Tower. The Great Gate was built at the beginning of the 16th century. The 17th century Wren Library, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, contains treasures that include 8th century copy of the Epistles of St Paul, works by Isaac Newton and the manuscript of Winnie the Pooh.
Famous alumni include Francis Bacon, John Dryden, Isaac Newton, Lord Byron, Alfred Tennyson, Earl Grey, Ernest Rutherford, Vaughn Williams, G M Trevelyan, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, AA Milne, Kim Philby, Guy Burgess, Anthony Blunt, Jawaharlal Nehru, Nicholas Monsarrat Antony Gormley, Eddie Redmayne and Prince Charles.
Thorpeness began as a whimsical fantasy holiday seaside village, the brainchild of Glencairn Stuart Ogilvie in the early part of the 20th century. There's a lot of mock Tudor architecture. It is famous for its House in the Clouds. There is a boating lake, a pub, golf course, tennis courts, walking - a very quiet, gentile, kind of place.
A statue of radical republican Thomas Paine stands in Thetford, ironically on King Street. It was erected, amidst some controversy, in 1964. Arguably, Paine is Thetford’s most famous son. He was born there in 1737, dying in New York in 1809. Paine inspired and participated in the American Revolution, was involved in the French Revolution and convicted of seditious libel in Britain. In the US, he is celebrated as one of the founding fathers. His statue shows him holding a quill (symbolic of the pen being mightier than the sword?) and a copy of one of his most famous works, The Rights of Man.
Post code is approximate.
The ruins of Thetford Priory are a short walk from the town centre. Thetford was one of the largest, richest and most important monasteries in East Anglia. It was founded in 1103 by Robert Bigod, the 1st Earl of Norfolk, a close friend of William the Conqueror, though building continued until sometime in the 1170s and alterations took place throughout the priory’s life. A gatehouse, probably the most impressive ruin remaining, was added in the 14th century.
In 1248, the Prior of Thetford, Stephen, was stabbed by a fellow monk and died just outside the west door of the church.
Thetford enjoyed a considerable degree of financial success thanks to a statue of the Virgin Mary, which was reputed to have miraculous powers and which attracted pilgrims by the drove. For 400 years, it was also the buriual place of the earls and dukes of Norfolk.
The priory was dissolved by Henry VIII’s commissioners in 1540, though the Prior’s Lodging continued as a private house for another 200 years.
The Round Church, or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in Cambridge is one of only four round churches in Britain. Influenced by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, Cambridge's round church was built in c1130 and is heavily Norman in style - though has been added to and restored at various times - particularly in the later medieval and Victorian periods. It hasn't been used as a parish church since 1994 and is now a study and visitor centre, with an exhibition about the story of Cambridge. The interior architecture of the round church is lovely - and there are some striking stained glass windows.
There are 18 (or 20) burial mounds at Sutton Hoo, which historians believe was the cemetery for the Wuffingas, the royal dynasty of 7th century East Anglia who claimed to be descendants of the god Woden. The greatest burial was possibly that of King Raedwald, an amazing ship burial unearthed just before the Second World War. Most of the artefacts are now in the British Museum in London, but there is an exhibition on site, plus replicas of some of the treasures. And you can visit Tranmer House, the home of the landowner, Edith Pretty, which has been refurbished in 1930s style.