Inspire Me

10 Places That Made England


England's story has been made and shaped by the places where it happened, from palatial ruins that once hosted lavish Royal parties to ancient monuments that may have marked out the turning of time. 

Historian and presenter Dan Snow visited ten of the places that left a mark on England's history, uncovering their stories and exploring why they still fascinate us today. 

York Cold War Bunker

A spine-chilling subterranean bunker near the historic city of York. In active service from the 1960s–1990s, the York Cold War Bunker was designed as a nerve-centre to monitor fallout in the event of a nuclear attack.

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Iron Bridge

Erected in 1779, the world's first iron bridge — over the River Severn in Shropshire — marked a turning point in English design and engineering. After it was built, cast iron came to be widely used in the construction of bridges, aqueducts and buildings.

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Built around 2500 BC, in the late Neolithic period, these famous stones were brought here from as far away as the Preseli Hills in south-west Wales. While its exact purpose is unknown, the monument aligns with the movements of the sun, suggesting it may have been a form of prehistoric temple.

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Kenilworth Castle

Kenilworth Castle and Elizabethan Garden in Warwickshire was once one of the country’s most formidable medieval fortresses. The castle was later transformed into a spectacular Elizabethan palace by Robert Dudley in an effort to impress his queen — Queen Elizabeth I.

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Brodsworth Hall

Built in the 1860s for the Thellusson family, Brodsworth Hall and its gardens gradually fell into decline and disrepair as the family’s fortune diminished. Today, the Victorian pleasure gardens have been expertly restored to their former glory.

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Battle Abbey

Battle Abbey in East Sussex and the adjoining field were the site of an event that changed the course of England's story dramatically — the Battle of Hastings, in 1066.

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Portchester Castle

The fascinating castle at Portchester, overlooking Portsmouth Harbour, has been a Roman fortress, a Norman stronghold and even a prisoner of war camp during the Napoleonic Wars.

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Hadrian's Wall

Built to guard the northern frontier of the Roman Empire in Britain and stretching 73 miles from coast to coast, Hadrian's Wall is one of the most remarkable survivals of a deeply influential period of England's past.

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Down House

Located in rural Kent, the Darwin family's secluded country home was the setting of remarkable discoveries and even the writing of the famed naturalist's most important work — On the Origin of Species.

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Lindisfarne Priory

Today, Lindisfarne Priory on Holy Island, off the coast of Northumberland, is a tranquil and spiritual place. But in the late 8th century, it was the scene of a brutal raid that ushered in the beginning of England’s Viking age.

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