Some of our most iconic and well-loved sites have recently formed the focus of the BBC's new series National Treasures Live. But these aren't the only treasures within our care - from world famous monuments to hidden gems waiting to be explored; these awe-inspiring sights will stay with you long after your visit has ended.
1. Stonehenge – 5,000 Years on and Still Awe-Inspiring
The true meaning of this ancient creation has been lost in the mists of time. Was it a temple for sun worship, a healing centre, a burial site or perhaps a huge calendar? How did our ancestors manage to carry the mighty stones from so far away and then, using only the most primitive of tools, build this amazing structure?
The surrounding landscape of Stonehenge is filled with fascinating monuments and structures, including the mighty Iron Age fill fort of Old Sarum.
2. 1066 Battle Abbey – the Most Famous Date in English History
Within the atmospheric ruins of Battle Abbey, stand on the very spot where, according to legend, King Harold was struck in the eye with an arrow and the course of English history changed forever. In October the famous Battle of Hastings will come to life once again, in our annual dramatic re-enactment.
3. Dover Castle – the Key to England
Spectacularly sited above the White Cliffs, Dover Castle has guarded our shores from invasion for more than 20 centuries. From mighty medieval fortress to the nerve centre for the dramatic Dunkirk evacuation during WWII: discover the pivotal role the castle has played in shaping English history.
4. Hadrian’s Wall – Guardian of the Roman Empire
Covering 73 miles of the North East and North West of England, this celebrated World Heritage Site is the best known frontier in the entire Roman Empire. Along Hadrian’s Wall there are many impressive and fascinating sites, from Roman garrison towns to the most complete Roman fort in Britain.
5. Tintagel Castle – Birthplace of a Legend
Set on Cornwall’s dramatic windswept coastline, Tintagel Castle is a place of magic and myths where the legend of King Arthur was born. Once a stronghold for the Earls of Cornwall, you can now explore the 13th century castle ruins, visit nearby Merlin’s Cave and discover the castle’s connections with King Arthur and the tale of Tristan and Isolde.
6. Osborne House – Queen Victoria’s Seaside Palace
"It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot" - such were the words of Queen Victoria after her first visit to Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. The Queen’s seaside retreat offers a glimpse into the private life of the royal family, and a royal love story in the place which Victoria and Albert loved best of all.
7. Kenilworth Castle – Where Elizabeth I Fell in Love
Once an impressive medieval fortress, Kenilworth Castle is best known as the home of Robert Dudley, the great love of Queen Elizabeth I. Visit the spectacular castle ruins and the recreated Elizabethan Garden, first created by Dudley to impress the queen on her visit in 1575.
8. Wrest Park – Britain’s Greatest Secret Garden
After decades behind virtually closed doors, its treasures overgrown and largely unknown, Wrest Park, one of Britain’s largest and most important ‘secret’ gardens is now being restored. The first fruits of the restoration are already complete and on show – including restored rooms in the French-inspired mansion and revived Rose and Italian gardens.
9. Down House – The Home of Charles Darwin
Home of the Victorian scientist who revolutionised the world with his groundbreaking theory of evolution, Down House is a site of outstanding international significance. See the study where he wrote ‘On the Origin of the Species’, explore the gardens and hot-houses, and get an intimate glimpse into the lives of the great scientist and his family.
10. Wellington Arch & Apsley House – Number One London
Addresses don’t come much grander than 'Number One London', the popular name for Apsley House, home to the Duke of Wellington after his victory over Napoleon at Waterloo. The interior of the house has changed very little since the days of the Iron Duke. Opposite you can climb one of London’s most iconic landmarks, Wellington Arch, and enjoy panoramic views over London’s Royal Parks and the Houses of Parliament.
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