A new year is here, and there are many ways to enjoy it in the places where history happened. Take a winter walk through England’s most beautiful historic landscapes, or cook up some Victorian winter recipes that are sure to keep the chill out. It’s all here in our monthly round-up.
Plus, need some inspiration for your New Year’s resolutions? Look no further.
🕑 Some of our historic places have different opening hours in winter. Check the Prices and Opening Times page of your favourite site for full details before planning a day out.
Did you know? 🤔
- Elizabeth I was crowned queen regnant of England and Ireland on 15 January 1559. Her relationship with Lord Robert Dudley is famed, and the queen granted him Kenilworth Castle in 1563.
- On 10 January 1863, the London Underground came into operation. It was 70 years later that Harry Beck designed the iconic map of the network, which has since inspired similar metro maps around the world. Beck is commemorated with a blue plaque.
- On 14 January 1878, Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated his new invention – the telephone – to Queen Victoria at Osborne, her holiday home on the Isle of Wight. Calls were made to Cowes, Southampton and London, as well as the Swiss Cottage within Osborne’s grounds.
1. Take a winter walk ❄️
Many of us like to get out in the fresh winter air for a countryside walk, and our new PDF walking guides mean you won’t be relying on mobile signal for a hike through history.
New this month: Trek from Berry Pomeroy Castle to Totnes Castle with wonderful views of rural Devon, walk to the iconic Iron Bridge from nearby Wenlock Priory or try a more urban adventure in the city of York.
Find a walk near you:
- Devon: Berry Pomeroy Castle to Totnes Castle
- North Yorkshire: Rievaulx Abbey to Helmsley Castle
- North Yorkshire: York Cold War Bunker to Clifford’s Tower
- Shropshire: Wenlock Priory to the Iron Bridge
2. Discover our collections 💎
Keeping out of the cold doesn’t mean you can’t explore England’s history. Did you know that our historic places are home to some of the country’s most important and fascinating collections of ancient objects?
Down House, Kent
The former home of Charles Darwin and his family is also home to an array of personal objects and scientific tools that belonged to the father of evolutionary theory. See instruments from Darwin’s voyage on the Beagle, specimens from his studies and correspondence letters between the scientist and his friends. Explore more
Eltham Palace, London
Eltham was the home of Stephen and Virginia Courtauld, wealthy arts patrons who transformed the medieval palace into a unique art deco mansion. As well as paintings by John Crome and Jan Wijck, you can see original 1930s furniture, a beautiful Chinese lacquer screen thought to date from the 17th century and a stitched leather wall map depicting Eltham and the surrounding area. Explore more
Hadrian’s Wall, North of England
The northern frontier of the Roman Empire in Britain stretched 73 miles from sea to sea. Today, four key sites along its length tell the story of Roman Britain and house collections of amazing Roman finds. The Victorian museum at Chesters Roman Fort first opened in 1896 and includes many of John Clayton’s discoveries from jewellery to religious altars. Corbridge Roman Town is home to some of the most remarkable Roman finds in the world, including the famous Corbridge Hoard of armour, weapons and personal items. Explore more
3. Enjoy a family day out for under £20 💸
If the Christmas period has left your pockets a little light, fear not. Plenty of our historic places offer an affordable day out for the whole family.
From the landing place of William the Conqueror’s army at Pevensey Castle to the home of the powerful Percy family at Warkworth Castle in Northumberland, explore our guide to the top family days out for under £20.
Join us for a year of history
Membership gives you unlimited access to over 400 historic places for a whole year, your ticket to stand in the places where history happened. Pay from just £3.83 a month by Direct Debit.
4. Upgrade walkies 🐶
We love dogs as much as you do, so there’s no reason to leave your furry friend at home. We’ve got lots of options for dog friendly days out at our castles, abbeys and historic gardens this month.
From the open expanses of clifftop castles to the 112 acres of parkland at London’s Kenwood, your four-legged friend will love a day out with us.
Remember to check the opening times before visiting, and see the webpage of a specific property to check where your pooch can and can’t go.
5. Cook up a winter warmer 🍳
Home cooking is a favourite way to keep cosy on these cold winter nights, and it was no different for the Victorians.
Join our Victorian cook Mrs Crocombe at Audley End House to rustle up some 19th century staples and treats. Try a cup of tea the Victorian way with authentic Victorian biscuits. Or how about a hearty roly poly pudding to keep the January chill at bay?
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