It’s a leap year, which means there’s a whole extra day to enjoy England’s historic places this month!
From getting hands-on through the ages to cooking up Victorian pancakes for Shrove Tuesday, here’s our top 5 things to do with English Heritage in February.
Did you know? 🤔
- The original Roman calendar only had ten months, and January and February were added in the 700s BC. The names of the months were also more descriptive in the past. February was known in Old English as Solmonath (meaning ‘month of mud’), and in some cases as Kalemonath (‘month of cabbage’!)
- The great English landscape gardener, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, died on 6 February 1783. Brown designed over 170 gardens and parks in England, including parts of the grounds at Wrest Park in Bedfordshire and Audley End House in Essex. (Read on for our winter garden highlights…)
- Charles Darwin was born on 12 February 1809. At his family home, Down House in Kent, he wrote On the Origin of Species, the book that first proposed his theory of evolution by natural selection. Today you can explore the house and gardens, including Darwin’s favourite ‘thinking path’, for yourself.
1. Get hands on with history this half term 🖐️
This February half term, get hands on with history and take part in fun-filled family events.
Discover castle life, hear legendary stories of brave heroes and formidable foes, brush up on sword skills or discover life upstairs and downstairs in a historic house.
There are all sorts of history-inspired activities to enjoy together as a family.
2. Rediscover the romance of the past 🌹
We look after some of the most romantic historic places in England.
Discover the windswept headland of Tintagel Castle and its association with the tragic love story of Tristan and Iseult. Explore Osborne, a beautiful island retreat for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on the Isle of Wight. And who could forget one of history’s most famous love stories — that of Lord Robert Dudley, who transformed Kenilworth Castle into a grand palace to win the heart of Queen Elizabeth I.
3. Keep cosy in our cafés and tearooms ☕
On these chilly winter days, there’s nothing better than getting your hands around a nice cup of something hot and a slice of something delicious.
That’s exactly what our many cafés and tearooms offer, with a range of coffee and tea options, hot and cold lunches and homemade sweet treats.
We’ve even picked out our top 21 tearooms across the country to help you find your nearest warming retreat.
4. Try the Victorian Way this Pancake Day 🍳
Shrove Tuesday is on 25 February.
So this year, why not try frying up some pancakes the Victorian Way. Our Victorian cook, Mrs Crocombe, shows you how they were made for Lord and Lady Braybrooke at Audley End House. Keep it traditional with a sprinkle of sugar or apricot jam, or use layers of your favourite filling.
Get the recipe in the video below.
5. Walk in a winter wonderland with historic gardens 🌷
There’s nothing like a fresh winter walk through a beautiful historic garden.
Enjoy fresh air and sparkling wintry views in the grounds of our castles, halls and stately homes this month and discover the unique garden features that each place has to offer.
At Audley End House and Gardens in Essex you’ll find the intricate ‘cloud hedge’ of yew and box, which looks beautiful with a covering of snow or frost. Brodsworth Hall in South Yorkshire is home to more than half a million snowdrops and 200,000 aconites which paint the woodland’s lawns with a blanket of whites and yellows from late January.
History through your lens 📷
We love to see your photos of adventures at England’s historic places. This month we’ve picked out this atmospheric shot from Michael (@turbotapeworm) on Instagram, showing Clifford’s Tower with the moon behind. Thanks for sharing, Michael!
Clifford’s Tower in York is almost all that remains of William the Conqueror’s York Castle. It has served as both a prison and a royal mint, and now offers unrivalled panoramic views over the city of York.
Tag us in your photos on social media using #EnglishHeritage.
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