From lavish royal parties to inspiring the character Dracula, these historical landmarks have a rich and fascinating history. If you’re considering hopping in your car and exploring somewhere new, have a look at our selection of the best historical places to visit in the UK.
We’ve all heard of it, or at least seen the famous pictures of a ring of giant stones, known as Stonehenge. Archaeologists believe it was constructed many years ago, from 3000 to 2000 BC. This legally protected location even made it to UNESCO’s list as a World Heritage Site.
But what do these stones mean, and how did they get here? It is believed that Stonehenge could have been a burial ground in its earliest days. However, it still puzzles scientists about the nature of its true origin.
If you are considering visiting, visit the ‘Heel Stone’. At the Summer Solstice, an observer who stands within the circle, looking northeast towards the entrance, can see the sun rise roughly in the direction of this stone. So, you will get a stunning view of the sun shining over the stone.
This unique landmark atop stunning landscapes is a photographer’s fantasy!
When it comes to rich historical UK destinations, it’s hard to top Warwick Castle. Originally built by William the Conqueror, this beautiful castle was initially used as a stronghold until the early 17th century. However, it was then used as a country house by the Earls of Warwick for some time, before being bought by the Tussauds Group in 1978.
Ring a bell? Yes, we’re talking about that Tussauds Group who own the famous wax statue museum in London. In fact, they opened the castle as a tourist attraction, and you can even find multiple wax figures of historical individuals in some of the apartments open to tourists.
The ownership of this castle has changed since then, but fear not! You can still find those wax figures if you want to snap a picture or two.
The Tower of London
You guessed it. It’s another famous castle – but this one was built on the north bank of the River Thames in London. This castle is now protected as a World Heritage Site and has an intense history. It was besieged numerous times as controlling it was important to control the country!
It was even used as a prison for many years, and in the 16th and 17th centuries, many well-known figures who had been disgraced were even held there. Take Elizabeth I before she came queen, for example.
It has even been used as an armoury, treasury, menagerie, a public record office, home of the Royal Mint, and it even holds the Crown Jewels of England. Some would say it’s quite useful!
This castle stands on Castle Rock, which is a volcanic plug. Yes, you read that right.
From the 15th century, its residential role lessened, and by the 17th century, it was used as military barracks. The Edinburgh Military Tattoo is hosted there annually. If you visit during that time, you can witness a parade with pipes and drums, as well as enjoy performances from guests invited from all over the world.
Now a tourist attraction, you can have a bite to eat in one of the restaurants, visit the shops to get some souvenirs or even enjoy some of the historical displays held there. Or feast your eyes on the stunning Scottish Crown Jewels, also known as the Honours of Scotland.
The picturesque view of the tall castle against the scenic backdrop of hills is a must-see.
Originally a 7th-century Christian monastery, Whitby Abbey eventually became a Benedictine abbey. Located in North Yorkshire, it towers above the North Sea on the East Cliff above Whitby.
The abbey was confiscated by the crown under the rule of Henry the VIII. The ruins of the abbey continued to be used by sailors as a landmark.
These gothic ruins are thought to have even inspired the famous novel ‘Dracula’, where Count Dracula runs in the shadow of the ruins of Whitby Abbey. Visit the museum to find out more about this abbey, including a deeper look into the author of ‘Dracula’.
This charming location overlooking the North Sea presents striking views worth seeing.