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The UK loves it’s culture and history and all over the country you can find crumbling relics and ruins of times gone by with a scattering of incredibly preserved buildings still standing in some of the busiest cities. The Vikings, Romans, Saxons and Normans all at one point called the UK their home and the influences can still be seen across architectural beauties and protected structures up and down the country.
If you want to take a stroll back in time, we’ve included some of the best historic locations to visit across the UK, providing you plenty of places to visit on your next weekend away.
Adventure with the Romans
Although occupying Britain over 2000 years ago, we can still see evidence of the Romans across England and Wales, with some sites remaining in Southern Scotland. Most notably are the long, straight Roman roads – the first paved roads of their kind in the UK that stretched between key locations in the country. The main Roman roads are still in use today as major roads as part of the UK road network and largely use the original layout, with some adjustments made to accommodate bad weather situations up north.
Excellent Roman sites you shouldn’t miss include:
The city walls in York, this is the longest stretch of preserved Roman city walls in Britain and stretches for 2 miles, taking approximately two hours to enjoy an elevated walk around the city.
The Roman Baths in Bath, incredibly preserved bath houses built around natural hot springs, although you can’t swim in the original baths, you can enjoy a dip in the nearby Thermae Bath Spa which uses treated water from the same natural hot springs to provide a relaxing Roman-bath experience.
Houseteads Roman Fort is one of the most preserved Roman forts in Britain and can be enjoyed in all its glory at Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site in the north of England. Explore some of the remaining barracks and hospital and look out over incredible landscape views from the remains of the Wall.
Exploring Through Anglo-Saxon Areas
After the Romans, Britain welcomed the Anglo-Saxons in the early Medieval period who built churches, monasteries and cathedrals after their conversion to Christianity. Lots of religious buildings remain in some capacity and one of the most impressive is St Paul’s Church in Jarrow, Tyne and Wear. Only the chancel from the 7th century remains but an incredible site it is, boasting the original Latin dedication stone and the striking Anglo-Saxon windows.
Other Anglo-Saxon sites that provide a glimpse into early Medieval Britain include;
The Church of St Mary the Blessed Virgin in West Sussex is one of the only surviving Anglo-Saxon towers boasting a Rhineland Helmet style roof. It’s quite iconic compared to modern-day churches and is a prominent representation of the Germanic influences at the time.
Lindisfarne Priory on Holy Island is widely regarded as one of the most important British locations in the history of early Christianity and is where the Vikings first landed back in 793AD. Here you can learn more about the Viking raids and explore the many Anglo-Saxon monastery ruins.
Visit Victorian Britain
Jump ahead now to the time of the Victorians under Queen Victoria’s reign, a time of prosperity, increased industrialisation and expanding trade across the world. It’s a time often referred to as Britain’s ‘Golden Years’ when the UK was recognised as a leading centre for advanced science and engineering.
Many of the landmarks built in London during Victorian Britain still stand today including Big Ben, Trafalgar Square and the Houses of Parliament. Influences and architecture can still be seen all across the capital, from Crystal Palace to the East End, home to London’s greatest mystery – Jack the Ripper. Although many related locations to the Ripper have undergone development, the area still offers a glance into what the childhood of this Victorian serial killer may have been like, in a time of gas lamps and smog.
For a true Victorian Britain experience, take a day out to Blists Hill Victorian Town, a recreated Victorian town at the Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire. The open-air museum provides a variety of activities to see and do and provides a truly hands-on view into Victorian life over one hundred years ago.
These are just a handful of historic experiences the UK has to offer and with more areas becoming protected every year, there are endless amounts of exciting heritage to discover.