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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.
The Battle of Lewes took place on 14 May 1264, the first major battle of the Second Barons' War. The prelude to this was widespread dissatisfaction with the manner of King Henry III's reign, particularly over issues such as taxation and inheritance. Matters came to a head and a rebel baronial faction led by Simon de Montfort, the Earl of Leicester, took up arms against the king. De Montfort's force of about 5,000 approached Lewes, a royal stronghold with about 10,000 troops, from the downland to the north. The King's son, Prince Edward (later Edward I), rode out from Lewes Castle with heavy cavalry, engaged de Montfort's inexperienced left flank and chased it from the field. De Montfort, meanwhile, charged downhill at Henry's main army in the vicinity of Landport Bottom and won a decisive victory. Most of the fighting took place there, around the Black Horse pub on Western road, now a residential area and on the High Street. The king took refuge in Lewes Priory and was forced to surrender to de Monfort. Edward too was held captive - though later escaped. There is a link to a battlefield walk below. The address is for the Black Horse pub; walk from there up Spital Road, past the prison, and up onto the downs.
Lewes Castle was built by the Norman William de Warenne, the Earl of Surrey, sometime around 1069, initially in wood. The castle was held by the de Warenne family until 1347, after which it slowly declined. It is a rare example (only two in Britain, the other being at Lincoln) of a castle with two mottes - defensive hills. One, Brack Mont, is inaccessible and stands adjacent to what is now a bowling green, once the castle's tilting yard. The remaining keep has been repaired, was used as a residence in the 18th century, and is largely intact, with great views of Lewes and the surrounding hills from the top. The castle also has a fine 14th century barbican gate and tower. The Battle of Lewes, between King Henry III and the rebel baron, Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, was fought on nearby downland and in the fields surrounding the town on 14th May 1264. The castle is owned and managed by the Sussex Archaeological Museum, who also run a museum with artefacts dating from prehistoric to medieval times in Barbican House, opposite the castle, which is also the place to buy your tickets. Be wary of weddings and other events closing all or part of the castle - check the website before you make a special trip.
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.
Often described as 'The Key to England', Dover Castle is the largest castle in England and dates from 11th century, though there was probably an Iron Age fort on the site and the complex includes a Roman lighthouse and Saxon church. The fortress was garrisoned until 1958 and offers a unique insight into Britain's history. A medieval court has been recreated inside the Great Tower. Underneath the castle, deep inside the famous White Cliff, are tunnels which date from medieval times. During WW2, these were the HQ for the control of Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of Dunkirk, and there are vivid displays illustrating this. There is an underground hospital to visit too, and a WW1 signal station. Dover Castle has appeared in several film/TV productions, including 'The Other Boleyn Girl' and 'Wolf Hall'.
The evocative ruins of Sweetheart Abbey, a Cistercian house. It was founded by Lady Dervorgilla de Balliol as ‘New Abbey’ in 1273, in memory of her dead husband, John. The name evolved to ‘Sweetheart’ in honour of the husband and wife. John and Dervorgilla de Balliol were a powerful pair, and parents of the John Balliol who was, albeit briefly, King of Scotland. John Balliol senior is also credited with founding Balliol College, Oxford.
There's a good cafe, Abbey Cottage, next door.
Sweetheart Abbey is on the A710, about 7 miles south of Dumfries.
The gentle chalk downlands of Hampshire and Sussex along the south coast of England are close to some of the most populous parts of the country. It is a rich area of mixed farming, woodland, pretty villages, good pubs and walking without much altitude. The slopes will still test the muscles, though. It is also a grand place to meander on bike or by car and there is a multitude of attractions to visit.
Perfect Jacobean/Georgian house set amongst the South Downs, where Emma Hamilton apparently once danced naked on the tables and HG Wells spent part of his childhood (his mother was housekeeper). The National Trust spent millions restoring Uppark after a disastrous fire in 1989. The gardens are a particular feature. If you think it looks like a doll's house, you may be pleased to know that there's an 18th century one inside.
You’ll find Uppark on the B2146, about 6 miles from Petersfield and just south of the village of South Harting.
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.
The origins of Hampton court are medieval. However, it is famously the palace created by Thomas Wolsey, cardinal, Lord Chancellor of England and friend of King Henry VIII. The palace was 'acquired' by Henry and is often associated with him and Anne Boleyn. It has been a royal palace ever since and was extensively remodelled by Sir Christopher Wren on behalf of William and Mary in the late 17th century. Hampton Court is a highly popular visitor attraction which is also famous for its annual flower show.
Leeds Castle is said to be "the loveliest castle in the world." It is certainly one of the loveliest in Britain. And with eight centuries of history, including an association with six queens, beautiful gardens, a maze, fabulous playground for kids - you can easily spend a day at Leeds Castle.