July is named after Julius Caesar – significant in the rise of the Roman Empire – who was born on 12 or 13 July in the year 100 BC.
So it’s fitting that we invite you to witness Roman soldiers clashing in battle amid the impressive landscapes of Hadrian’s Wall country this month. You can also learn to build the ultimate sandcastle with our interactive workshops, and see beautiful rhododendrons in bloom in our historic gardens. There’s lots to explore this July.
Did you know? 🤔
- On 1 July 1838, Charles Darwin presented a paper to the Linnean Society which outlined his theory on evolution by natural selection. Written at his home in Kent, the paper was developed into the book for which he is best known today – On the Origin of Species.
- The Roman Emperor Hadrian died on 10 July 138. Hadrian is best known for the country-wide wall built under his orders to defend Roman England against invasion. Hadrian’s Wall is still home to some of Britain’s best-preserved Roman settlements and forts.
- Through the years Henry VIII had a tumultuous relationship with July. His former ally Sir Thomas More was executed on 7 July 1535 after refusing to recognise the king as head of the Church. Henry’s fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, died of natural causes in July 1557. The king had Thomas Cromwell executed and married Catherine Howard in the same day on 28 July 1540, and in July 1545 saw his beloved flagship the Mary Rose sink in the Solent, killing 700 people.
Witness the clash of Romans in combat ⚔
This month two teams of Roman soldiers will descend on Hadrian’s Wall to clash in spectacular combat tournaments. Visit Birdoswald Roman Fort in Cumbria on Sat 21 and Sun 22 to witness the thrilling contest of speed, courage and skill. From spear throwing to full-impact shield charges, our two teams of Romans will be battling for victory at the site of the longest remaining stretch of Hadrian’s Wall.
Get a taste of the weekend’s action in the video below.
See a real live joust 🐎
The thunder of hooves, the clash of wood splintering on steel. See brave medieval knights in all their glory this summer. Experience a thrilling medieval spectacle at one of our jousts or knights’ tournaments across the country this summer.
Our competing knights charge at up to 40mph before lowering their lances to shatter on the opponent’s armour.
Discover England’s castles 🏰
We care for more castles than anybody else. This month we invite you to explore the story of the nation’s finest forts and visit them for yourself.
From Norman earthworks to mighty royal fortresses and from Cornwall to Northumberland, these castles and forts tell the turbulent and often surprising story of power, war and siege in England.
So explore the history of castles through time, learn more about medieval life, and plan a memorable day out at a castle near you.
Learn to build the ultimate sandcastle 🏖
Join us for a fun and inspiring family masterclass in sandcastle building with sand sculpture experts Sand in Your Eye. All age groups and skill levels are welcome. Have heaps of fun as you learn the secret recipe of the ultimate sand and water mix, and the very best way to build a sandcastle. Buckets and spades provided!
Get hands-on with history 👐
Taking place all over England from mid-July, our family events are a chance for all ages to get hands-on and experience history in interactive ways.
Meet Charles Darwin at his country home in Kent to learn about the rare plants found in the garden. Join Roman soldiers to be trained in the art of combat at Wroxeter Roman City on Hadrian’s Wall. Try your hand at the pirate’s life with crafts, activities and stories at Dartmouth Castle in Devon. Or enrol in Soldier School at Brodsworth Hall in Yorkshire. With more than 150 events across the country, there’s a great family day out to suit all ages this month.
Plan a summer break in history 💼
Our travel guides give you everything you need to plan a getaway to one of our historic places. Covering everywhere from Wiltshire and Cornwall to Cumbria and Hadrian’s Wall, get a detailed itinerary of places to visit each day and tips for how to get there, where to stay and what to see. Plus, why not extend your trip and stay at one of our holiday cottages in the grounds of historic places?
If you’re planning a day trip, we also have walking guides. Plan a historic hike through the ancient Stonehenge landscape, or walk from Dover Castle to two of Henry VIII’s mightiest fortresses at Walmer and Deal.
See rhododendrons in full bloom 🌸
Belsay Hall in Northumberland is beautiful all year round, but visitors in July can enjoy a special treat – the spectacular rhododendrons in bloom. Our gardeners say that June and July are great months to see these popular flowers in all their glory.
The peaceful Quarry Garden is also home to exotic ferns, vast Gunnera leaves, plus beautiful Eucryphia and Foxgloves. Explore the expansive grounds for sensory delights throughout the month.
History through your lens 📷
This month, our favourite pic comes from Instagram user Mel (@melbocks) who enjoyed a recent visit to Chiswick House and Gardens in London. Thanks for sharing, Mel.
“Standing in front of Chiswick House which is among the most glorious examples of 18th-century British architecture and makes a fascinating day out in West London. The third Earl of Burlington designed the Roman-style Palladian villa, which was inspired from his Grand Tours of Italy. The gardens around the house are stunning too!”
Thinking of visiting? Explore our London Travel Guide to plan a full weekend of discovery in the capital, taking in Chiswick House, Eltham Palace, Wellington Arch and more.
Tag us on Instagram using #englishheritage and we might ask to feature your photo here next month.