When traveling to far-flung corners of the world is off the table, never fear. With so much history seeping out of every pore in the U.K, you can always travel in time! The only question is: which period to transport yourself to first? Perhaps you could teleport yourself to Roman times in the ancient city of York? Or to the early twentieth century exploring the Titanic in Belfast? Whatever your preference, one thing’s certain: there are some real jewels here – quite literally, in the Tower of London! Here are some of the best historical days out for all the family.
- 1. Westminster Abbey
- 2. Windsor Castle
- 3. Tower of London
- 4. York: City Highlights Walking Tour
- 5. London: Royal Observatory Greenwich
- 6. Belfast: The Titanic Experience
- 7. Bath walking tour
- 8. Jack the Ripper Interactive Walking Tour
- 9. Cambridge: Guided Punting Tour
- 10. Kew Gardens
- 11. Cambridge University Guided Walking Tour with a Graduate
- 12. Oxford: University and City Walking Tour with an Alumni Guide
1. Westminster Abbey
You’ll need to tread carefully. After all, it’s the burial place of at least 16 monarchs, and 8 Prime Ministers. Yet, Westminster Abbey has also been the site of a good ol’ hoe down for the last 1000 years. That’s right, since William the Conqueror’s coronation in 1066, there have also been 16 royal weddings here!
2. Windsor Castle
Why not unwind where the Queen puts her feet up at the weekends? At Windsor Castle, you’ll have the chance to explore the longest-occupied castle in Europe. It’s also the burial site of Henry 8th, and where Charles 1st was imprisoned during the English Civil War. In fact, it’s so important that the Royals named themselves after it!
3. Tower of London
Any trip to the capital isn’t complete without seeing this gem – or the 23578 other gems it contains. Housing the British crown jewels, the Tower of London is also home to a family of ravens! William the Conqueror and co did a pretty good job back in 1086. After all, the tower has since become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
4. York: City Highlights Walking Tour
There’s a heck of a lot of history contained within its quaint city walls. 2000 years, to be precise! Everyone from the Romans to the Vikings has called York home. One walk through its Museum Gardens is a journey through history in itself. You’ll admire the remains of a Roman fortress and an 18th-century observatory. If that’s not enough, how about visiting the Minster – the largest gothic cathedral in the country!
5. London: Royal Observatory Greenwich
Where can you stand with one foot in the Western Hemisphere, and the other in the East? Greenwich, that’s where! On the world-famous Meridian Line at its Royal Observatory, you can pull off that feat. You’ll be surrounded by the grandeur of the home of British astronomy since the 17th century.
6. Belfast: The Titanic Experience
It famously met its tragic end at the bottom of the North Atlantic. But before it sank in 1912, the Titanic was the pride of its shipbuilders in Belfast. On this tour of the ocean liner’s fateful journey, you’ll experience the story every step of the way. From its construction in the shipyards to the ongoing explorations for its wreckage, you’re invited on board.
7. Bath walking tour
So-called because of its Roman-built baths, Bath is definitely worth dipping – ahem – into. After all, how many other cities have been granted World Heritage status in their entirety? And when you plunge into its spas, you’ll be following a tradition that began in the 17th century. Aristocrats first latched on to the health-giving properties of its waters in 1676!
8. Jack the Ripper Interactive Walking Tour
The mean streets of 19th century East London were a dark place to be. Especially with serial killer Jack the Ripper on the loose. Now’s your chance to play detective for the day as you are transported back to 1888. Visiting the real-life crime scenes around Whitechapel is enough to send chills up anyone’s spine. But it’s up to you to hold it together and investigate the murders.
9. Cambridge: Guided Punting Tour
Its university is over 800 years old. So, you’d expect a few notable alumni to have passed through its doors. Still, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Stephen Hawking already make for an impressive list. And punting gently along the River Cam, it’s hard not to be inspired to join their ranks.
10. Kew Gardens
Those Victorians sure had a taste for the exotic. Kew Gardens started life as a place to grow plant life discovered in foreign climes, in Britain. Since opening in 1840, it’s gone on to house the largest botanical collection in the world. With 326 acres of gardens and 14000 trees in its Arboretum, it’s no wonder it’s UNESCO-listed.
11. Cambridge University Guided Walking Tour with a Graduate
The tour might go something like this: ‘Over here is where DNA was discovered’. ‘And there, that’s where Isaac Newton studied’. Yep, on a visit to Cambridge University, it’s fair to say there won’t be a dull moment. It’s easy to see why Cambridge inspired so many great minds. Just take a look at the architecture of Trinity and Corpus Christi colleges!
12. Oxford: University and City Walking Tour with an Alumni Guide
‘Knowledge is power’ – so goes the old adage. Well, 28 prime ministers went to Oxford University en route to the top office. That makes the oldest university in the English-speaking world a pretty powerful place to study! And if you dream of winning the Nobel Prize, Oxford is your best bet. It’s turned out a whopping 72 Nobel laureates!