There’s lots going on at England’s historic places this month.
Join us for nights of stargazing in the grounds of houses and castles, plan a romantic Valentine’s Day adventure and keep cosy in our popular cafés and tearooms.
Here’s our top 5 things to do this month…
Did you know? 🤔
- Valentine’s Day is celebrated in England on 14 February. The day’s exact origins are unknown, but are thought to stem from both Christian and ancient Roman traditions. In Victorian England, flowers given to a loved one formed a symbolic language of their own.
- Queen Elizabeth I signed the death warrant of her cousin, Mary Stuart, on 1 February 1587. Mary had been tried in October of the previous year for her involvement in an assassination plot against the Queen.
- The landscape gardener Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown died on 6 February 1783. His work at country houses including Audley End, Wrest Park and Appuldurcombe House contributed to his being known as “England’s greatest landscape gardener.” Brown is commemorated with a London Blue Plaque.
- Charles Darwin was born on 12 February 1809 in Shrewsbury. He went on to develop the theory of evolution by natural selection at his home in Kent, where his recreated study and original artifacts can be seen today. Darwin also has a London Blue Plaque at the site of his former home in Bloomsbury.
1. Step out under starry skies 🔭
For thousands of years people have been captivated by the night sky. Our neolithic ancestors even built earthworks and monuments (most famously Stonehenge) to predict celestial events such as the winter solstice.
This month, see the places where history happened in a new (star)light. With the skies dark for longer during winter, February is a great month for stargazing*.
Join us at two of our historic sites in February for 7 nights of celestial wonder. Take a closer look at the constellations, guided by expert astronomers.
(*subject to the British weather!)
Dark Skies events are taking place at:
2. Treat that special someone to a romantic day out ❤️
Plan a day out to remember with your loved one this Valentine’s Day. Our five most romantic places to visit include the castle extended to win the heart of Elizabeth I and even Queen Victoria’s beloved island holiday home. Both these places are open on Saturdays and Sundays in February.
Looking to get away for longer? Our holiday cottages located in the grounds of historic places make for the perfect romantic break.
3. Step back in time for half term 👪
Get them away from the Nintendo this February half term: the whole family can raid a Norman castle with sword and shield, train for combat with a Roman soldier and join WWII detectives to crack secret codes at Dover Castle.
Our action-packed family events are taking place everywhere from Falmouth to Northumberland throughout the school break, with something for all ages to enjoy together.
GET SET FOR ADVENTURE ⚔️
Be ready for a half term adventure by making your own cardboard sword or shield inspired by historical weaponry. Follow our step-by-step guides to make yours.
4. Get away for the weekend 🚗
Looking for a short break that won’t break the bank? Discover England’s history on your own doorstep or hit the road to explore the past further afield.
Our travel guides have everything you need for a weekend away in Cumbria, Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and more, plus walking guides for a hike through history. And don’t settle for service station queues en route: we’ve picked out the best scenic stops near motorways for your road trip, from Roman forts to Norman castles.
5. Keep cosy in our cafés and tearooms ☕
In cold weather, sometimes you just want a nice cup of coffee and a cake. Well, we’ve got that covered. Sip your tea with spectacular views of Rievaulx Abbey in the new tearoom, or enjoy locally sourced hot and cold food and drink at Wrest Park‘s popular cafe.
Many of our tearooms are open 7 days a week from mid February, ideal for warming up on those cold days.
Somewhere to visit this month 💡
Warkworth Castle is a mighty fortress crowning the hilltop above the River Coquet in Northumberland.
The castle was once home to Sir Henry Percy (‘Harry Hotspur’). Immortalised as a rebel lord by Shakespeare in Henry IV, Percy was also the man who gave his name to Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.
Explore the floors and rooms in the magnificent cross-shaped keep, and enjoy views across the rugged Northumbrian coastline from the high castle walls.
Open at weekends until 17 February, then daily.
History through your lens 📷
Our pick of the pics this month is this great shot of Stonehenge, captured by Lindsay (@__lindsayslife) on Instagram when she visited the stones in the New Year.
Keep up to date 📱
Find more inspiration for days out and things to do on our website.
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