It might be the shortest month of the year, but February is packed with things to do and places to visit. To get you through the month, here are some dates for your diary, blog posts to read, and a few facts to impress your friends with.
Did you know?
- The Roman month Februarius was one of the last two months to be added to their calendar. It derives from the Latin word for purification februum, as a festival of ritual cleansing was held at this time of year.
- Some people associate violets (Queen Victoria’s favourite flower) with the month of February.
- As it’s usually 28 days long, it’s the only month where it is possible to not have a full moon. The next time this will happen is 2018.
February Half Term
Fire up your family’s imagination with a visit to one of our historic sites – there’s plenty to do whatever the weather, and whatever your budget. Many sites are hosting family-friendly events throughout the week. A replica WWI bi-plane is coming to Stonehenge. Kids can try their hands at ancient crafts and archaeology, or learn what it takes to be a Victorian butler. And that’s just the start! There are over 20 events to choose from, all over the country.
Darwin Day – 12 February
Charles Darwin was born on 12 February 1809. It’s now known as International Darwin Day. We’ll be celebrating at his home, Down House, with a Big Bug Experience on the day itself and Discover with Darwin activity sessions for kids throughout half term.
Down House was where Darwin wrote ‘On the Origin of Species’. You can ponder on his theories in his study and stroll through the gardens that inspired him. Last year we re-created his bedroom, which has a soundscape of Emma Darwin reading out loud and costumes for dressing up in.
Here are 10 way to experiment like Darwin
Pancake Day – 28 February
This year, Shrove Tuesday falls on 28 February. We’ve asked our historical food writer Sam Bilton to russle up an alternative to your ususual pancake… coming soon! In the meantime, try out Mrs Crocombe’s recipe for a Victorian pancake. Or read about Saxon Easter customs and where they’ve survived.
Somewhere to visit this month: Kenilworth Castle
Kenilworth Castle in the West Midlands was once home to Robert Dudley, the great love of Queen Elizabeth I. Today you can walk in the beautifully recreated Elizabethan garden and scale the heights of the tower built to woo the Queen. But that’s not all. The castle was originally a medieval fortress with a mighty Norman keep and the ruins of an ornate Great Hall.
From medieval fortress to Elizabethan palace, Kenilworth Castle has been at the centre of England’s affairs for much of its 900 year history. Today, you can scale the heights of the tower built to woo Queen Elizabeth I and marvel at the mighty Norman keep. Explore the exhibition in the Gatehouse, and imagine the majesty of the Great Hall playing host to medieval monarchs and early Tudor kings. #englishheritage #heritage #kenilworth #castle #kenilworth #warwickshire #history #conservation #englishheritagesites
For daily inspirational places to visit, objects from our collection, and the stories of people at our sites, follow @englishheritage on Instagram.
On this day in history:
- 1 February 1884 – The first part of the Oxford English Dictionary was published. The final part wasn’t published until 1928.
- 2 February 1882 – Writer James Joyce was born. In later life he lived at 28 Campden Grove in London’s Kensington, which is now marked by a blue plaque.
- 3 February 1399 – John of Gaunt died. He was the 4th son of King Edward III, and transformed Kenilworth Castle into a sumptuous residence.
- 6 February 1783 – Landscape gardener and architect Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown died.
- 14 February 1929 – The bacteriologist Sir Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin. This is believed to be one of the greatest medical discoveries of all time.
- 16 Febraury 1923 – Archaeologist Howard Carter unsealed the burial chamber of the Egyptian Pharoah Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings.
- 24 February 1848 – ‘The Communist Manifesto’ by Karl Marx and Frederich Engels was published in London.
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