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This is the place to search for places to visit and things of interest in Britain, by name, location, type, keyword – or just have a browse. It is a growing directory – over 780 entries have been listed as of July 2020. Most entries have links for further information.
All Souls College was founded By Henry Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Henry VI in 1438. It doesn’t have any students. Its purpose is to allow graduate fellows to undertake further studies and pray for the souls of all the faithful departed. The entrance exam is said to be one of the hardest in the world and is followed up with an interview. Past fellows include Christopher Wren, TE Lawrence, Leo Amery, Cosmo Lang, AL Rowse, Keith Joseph and John Redwood. Many college buildings, including the chapel, date from 15th and 16th centuries. The Codrington Library was completed in 1751.
Every hundred years, All Souls holds the ritual of 'hunting the mallard', in commemoration of the chase after a huge wild duck which flew from a drain during 15th-century building works. Archbishop Chichele is said to have had a premonition about the duck in a dream - as you do. The last commemoration took place in 2001, late at night and allegedly after much drinking and eating, when some of the finest minds in the world marched around their college behind a wooden duck held aloft on a pole.
Anne of Cleves' House formed part of Anne’s annulment settlement from Henry VIII in 1540. Anne of Cleves was Henry's 4th wife - divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived. The house is a fine example of a late medieval timber-framed Sussex building, dating from the late 15th century with additions and improvements made over the next 200 years. Some of the rooms have been furnished in contemporary Tudor style. The house also contains the Museum of Lewes History and the Wealden Iron Gallery. There is a small garden, also inspired by the Tudor period, and a cafe. The house and museum is managed by the Sussex Archaeological Society.
Begun in the early 18th century as the seat of the Worsley family, Appuldurcombe was once the grandest house on the Isle of Wight. Sir Richard Worsley, the 7th baronet, gained notoriety for a 1782 court case in which his wife, Seymour, admitted to having had 27 lovers. Appuldurcombe was a masterpiece of English Baroque architecture. Following war damage, it is now a graceful shell, but still retains some of its former dignity and many fine architectural details. The celebrated landscape designer 'Capability' Brown enhanced the rolling grounds in the 1780s. Now, they're a great place for a picnic.
Photo via Pixabay
Arundel Castle, dating from 1068, has been the seat of the Duke of Norfolk, head of the powerful Howard family, for over 850 years. The Howards have been soldiers, sailors, poets - and plotters. The Duke of Norfolk is considered the premier duke of England and has the hereditary title of Earl Marshal of England, responsible for major state occasions - such as coronations. The castle was besieged twice in the Civil War (once by each side) and was greatly restored in Victorian times and looks like something from a Hollywood movie. It is famous for its artwork, furnishings, armoury and includes attractive gardens. Not to be missed is the medieval Fitzalan Chapel, the burial place of the Dukes of Norfolk.
Ashdown Forest is a 65,000 acre area of Outstanding Natural Beauty 30-or-so miles south of London, near East Grinstead. It was a hunting forest in medieval times but is now largely accessible to the public, with a myriad of walks, open spaces and wonderful views. Though it does contain woodland, most of it is actually heathland, a rare and protected habitat. Its most famous resident was Winnie-the-Pooh.
Oxford University's museum of art and archaeology, with objects dating from 8,000 BC. Particular collections include ancient Egypt, the only Minoan collection in Britain, Anglo Saxon artefacts (including the Alfred Jewel) and contemporary artwork from around the world. The Ashmolean is the oldest public museum in Britain, founded in 1683.
Balliol is one of the colleges of Oxford University. It was founded by John de Balliol in 1263, has occupied the same site ever since and claims to be the oldest college in Oxford, and the world. Its attractive buildings are predominantly Victorian, however. Balliol's widow Dervorguilla of Galloway, established a permanent endowment and their son, John, was King of Scotland. Balliol has an impressive list of alumni, which includes writers, politicians and scientists. A few random examples: Boris Johnson, Robert Peston, Herbert Asquith, Harold Macmillan, Edward Heath, Aldous Huxley, Graham Greene and William Beveridge.
Visitors can tour the grounds and some of the buildings, except when college events take place.
The Bat and Ball, Hambledon, sits on a junction between the villages of Hambledon and Clanfield, though is marginally closer to the latter. It is a wonderful location and the pub, as well as serving excellent ale, is famous as being 'the cradle of English cricket'. This is the place where the modern rules of the game were drawn up by Hambledon Cricket Club, which played on Broadhalfpenny Down, opposite the pub, in the 18th C. The captain of HCC was one Richard Nyren (1734-97), who was also landlord of the pub. 'Tis said that the 'formidable' Hambledon team played All England elevens on 51 occasions, winning 29 of the matches. I wonder how they'd have got on against Australia?
Photo: Courtesy of The Bat and Ball.
Battle Abbey was built on the orders of William the Conqueror, in penance for the bloodshed, on the traditional site of where some of the fiercest fighting during the Battle of Hastings took place on 14th October 1066. The high altar is supposed to mark the spot where Harold, last King of the English Saxons, fell. The abbey was dissolved and largely ruined in 1558. It then became a country house and, later, a school. The school is still there and not normally open to the public, but the abbey ruins, which include store rooms and wonderful vaulted ceilings, can be visited and there is a particularly fine 14th century gatehouse.
The abbey is managed by English Heritage alongside the battlefield of 1066.