Last Updated on
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.
Concern about Britain's defences and fear of French invasion in the 1860s resulted in the construction of a string of massive forts protecting Portsmouth, the Royal Navy's premier south coast base. The forts were based on cutting edge Victorian military design and could even defend against a force attacking from inland. In the event, the threat never materialised and the forts were thereafter named, 'Palmerston's Follies', after the Prime Minister of the day. Fort Nelson has been restored and houses the Royal Armouries' artillery collection - big guns! Ramparts, tunnels and bunkers are also there to be explored.
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.
Also known as Clayhall Royal Naval Cemetery, this is the final resting place for some 1500 British sailors. It opened in 1859 and was the official cemetery for the Royal Naval Hospital, Haslar, which once stood nearby. For some time, the route between the hospital and the cemetery was playfully labelled known as ‘Dead Man’s Lane’ due to the high number of funeral processions from the former to the latter. There are graves from both world wars here, as well as the graves of the men of the submarine “L55”, sunk by the Soviets in the Baltic in 1919. In one corner of the cemetery are the graves of 26 Turkish sailors.
Hever Castle dates from the 13th century and, famously, was once home to the Bullen, or Boleyn, family. Anne Boleyn spent part of her childhood here. After the Boleyns fell from favour, Henry VIII gave Hever to Anne of Cleves. It passed through various hands until being acquired by the American millionaire, William Waldorf Astor, in the early 20th century. Hever Castle and its grounds today is really his creation. He renovated the castle and created a lake, maze and Italian garden.
The castle and grounds are open to the public and also house the museum of the Kent and Sharpshooters Yeomanry. Hever additionally offers accommodation, golf and conference facilities.
Home to the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, Highclere is a predominantly Victorian mansion set in extensive grounds in Hampshire - though, confusingly, the postal address is for neighbouring Berkshire. The house was redeveloped in Jacobean style by Sir Charles Barry, the architect responsible for the Houses of Parliament, from an earlier Georgian mansion which, itself, replaced a Tudor House. Before that, a medieval palace stood on the site, property of the Bishops of Winchester. The property has earlier roots, however, and there is an Iron Age fort in the grounds.
The 5th Earl sponsored the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb by Howard Carter in 1922.
Highclere was used as the location for the TV series Jeeves and Wooster and, more recently, played the title role in the highly successful Downton Abbey.
NOTE: Highclere has limited opening - check details before making a special trip.
HMS M33 was built as a Royal Navy monitor in 1915 and is one of just three surviving Royal Navy ships from the First World War. She served at Gallipoli and Salonika, and in 1919 was sent to northern Russia to support the anti-Bolshevik forces. In the 1920s, she was renamed 'Minerva' and given a mine-laying role and during the Second World War was a fuelling hulk renamed 'Hulk C23'. She has been restored and as of 2017 was moored next to HMS Victory in Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard as a visitor attraction.
Launched in Chatham in 1765, HMS Victory served in the American War of Independence, the French Revolutionary War and the Napoleonic War. She is most famous as the flagship of Admiral Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, when the Royal Navy defeated a larger combined French and Spanish force. Nelson died on board. Victory has been in dry dock since 1922 and is the world's oldest naval ship still in commission. Learn the origin of 'a square meal' and 'not enough room to swing a cat'. Be amazed at the conditions in which sailors lived and fought in the early 19thC.
HMS Warrior was world’s first armour-plated, iron-hulled warship, a 40-gun steam-powered frigate, albeit with sails too, launched in London in 1860. She rendered every other naval ship obsolete at the time, but was herself out of date by 1871. Warrior was rescued from use as an oil jetty and restored in Hartlepool to her 1860 condition over an 8 year period. She has been berthed in Portsmouth and open to the public since 1987.
Bosham is the oldest Christian site in Sussex and is mentioned by Bede, but settlement in the area probably goes back to at least Roman times. The oldest part of Holy Trinity, Bosham, is Saxon - the church is featured in the Bayeux Tapestry - with Norman and later medieval additions. A notable feature of the church is a grave, thought to be that one of King Cnut's daughters, who drowned in a nearby millstream. There is also speculation that Harold, last king of the Saxon English, was buried in the church after the Battle of Hastings.
Ightham Mote is a picturesque medieval-Tudor moated manor house, once a much-loved family home, wonderfully preserved and restored, with charming gardens and located in a lovely part of Kent. Ightham Mote also boasts Britain’s only Grade I listed dog kennel. And you probably need to know that Ightham is pronounced 'item'.