The clocks go back in October, making the month an hour longer. Which is just as well, because there’s an awful lot to pack in…
More than 600 warriors will descend on Battle Abbey on the weekend of the 12th–13th for our much-loved Battle of Hastings re-enactment. Plus there’s creepy castles to explore, a full programme of thrilling Halloween events over the half term week, and brand new episodes of our podcast and YouTube series.
Did you know? 🤔
- The BBC was formed on 18 October 1922. A London blue plaque marks the Corporation’s former studios from where the world’s first high-definition TV service was transmitted.
- The Women’s Social and Political Union was founded by Emmeline Pankhurst on 10 October 1903, campaigning for women’s suffrage in Great Britain, a fight that was eventually won with laws passed in 1918 and 1928. A London blue plaque commemorates Emmeline and her daughter Christabel, who was also instrumental in the campaign for suffrage. Discover more women who made history
- The Battle of Hastings was fought on 14 October 1066, between the armies of Harold Godwinson and William of Normandy. William was victorious, becoming king on Christmas Day and changing the course of England’s history forever. Today you can stand on the battlefield where it all took place, at Battle Abbey in Sussex. Plus, don’t miss the popular anniversary re-enactment this month.
Here’s our top 5 things to do this month…
1. See Yorkshire’s Whitby Abbey like never before 💡
This October half term, see one of England’s most spectacular abbey ruins illuminated in a sea of light and colour. Our Illuminated Abbey event returns for another year and is set to be the biggest and brightest yet. See the story of Dracula brought to life, meet witches and witch-finders and enjoy hot food and drink beneath the stars.
Book your tickets before Friday 18 October to get 20% off.
There’s also a full programme of Halloween events taking place across the country, so don’t miss out. The whole family can enjoy creepy crafts and witch-themed quests. Plus, grown-up visitors can join us after the sun goes down to explore the darker side of history…
2. Re-live one of England’s greatest battles ⚔️
More than 950 years after the Battle of Hastings, hear the clash of swords and feel the thundering of hooves as England’s most pivotal battle is re-imagined on the very battlefield where it took place.
More than 600 warriors will clash in our famous 1066 re-enactment on 12–13 October, the anniversary weekend of the day that changed England’s story forever. Speak to Norman and Saxon soldiers to learn about 11th century life. See displays with birds of prey and expert cavalry soldiers. Try your hand at archery and muster the kids for the junior Battle of Hastings.
Our biggest and most spectacular event of the year sells out fast, so don’t miss out. Book your tickets before Friday 4 October and get 10% off.
3. Visit a creepy castle this Halloween 👻
Nowhere in England are tales of ghosts and ghouls more prevalent than the nation’s castles.
So where better to spend Halloween?
Climb the Captain’s Tower at Carlisle where skeletons were found in the walls. Explore Farleigh Hungerford Castle with its human-shaped lead coffins and death masks. Dare you enter the Jacobite mansion of Bolsover Castle, where the ghost of Charles Cavendish is often reported?
4. Go behind the scenes at ‘the real Downton Abbey’ with our latest podcast 🎧
The Downton Abbey film hit cinemas in September, delighting fans of the much-loved show. But what was life really like in a Victorian country house?
In the latest episode of the English Heritage podcast, go behind the scenes at Brodsworth Hall in Yorkshire with curator Eleanor Matthews. Discover how Brodsworth’s inhabitants lived, the role of staff and servants, and how the hall was saved for the nation.
Listen now on our website, or find it on your favourite streaming platform.
5. See genuine Roman cosmetic kits, and try your own Roman look at home 💄
In the past month, it was discovered that objects from Wroxeter Roman City in Shropshire previously identified as Roman pendants are in fact cosmetic sets used for eye makeup. Now on display for the first time, see them for yourself when you visit Wroxeter.
Inspired by the discovery? Create the Roman look at home with our latest history-inspired makeup tutorial, available now on YouTube.
History through your lens 📷
Our photo of the month this month was shared by @bohorthaboathouse on a visit to St Mawes Castle in Falmouth, Cornwall.
“Growing up I thought St Mawes castle was the most magical place (I still do), with its perfect clover shape, huge doors […] I still think it’s amazing that it’s stood proudly on the hill protecting the coast for almost 500 years. No visit to The Roseland is complete without seeing St Mawes Castle.”
St Mawes and its bigger sister, Pendennis Castle, were built by Henry VIII in the 1540s as part of a widespread set of defenses built against the threat of Catholic invasion. The two castles are beautiful examples of the Henrician ‘clover’ design, and together guarded the anchorage of Carrick Roads and the port towns below for over 400 years. A ferry service connects the two sides, making for a history-filled day out in the coastal town.
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