Top 5 Things To Do in November

Top 5 Things To Do in November

This November, we’ve got plenty of ideas to help you step into history.

Escape the cold in one of our elegant houses or palaces, participate in the 'hour of contemplation' or explore our sites from the air. Read on to discover fascinating people, must-see properties and captivating videos.

The Month In History

  • Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species was published on 24 November 1859. The work set out Darwin's now-famous theory of evolution by natural selection, the foundation of evolutionary biology. Much of Darwin's research was carried out at his family home, Down House.

  • Elizabeth I became Queen of England on 17 November 1558. Elizabeth was the only English queen never to marry, despite a string of noble suitors. One was the Earl of Leicester Rubert Dudley, who transformed Kenilworth Castle into a magnificent pleasure palace to impress her. The queen stayed at Kenilworth for 19 days of festivities in 1575.

  • Guy Fawkes was arrested beneath the Houses of Parliament on 5 November 1605, foiling a plot to kill King James I by blowing up the building with gunpowder. Learn more about the Gunpowder Plot

  • On 18 November 1852, an extravagant procession and state funeral was held for the Duke of Wellington. The Duke's body was carried on a 10-tonne carriage made from cannon bronze from the Battle of Waterloo. It passed his home, Apsley House, and Wellington Arch before continuing to St Paul's Cathedral.

  • Rock legend and Queen frontman Freddie Mercury lost his battle with pneumonia on 24 November 1991. This year marks the 30th anniversary of his death and 50 years since the formation of Queen. His family home in Feltham is commemorated with a blue plaque (which we'll be exploring on the English Heritage podcast later this month).

Waterloo Gallery, Apsley House

1. Escape the cold in one of our elegant houses or palaces

English Heritage looks after some stunning properties. This autumn experience the splendour of the past and warm up inside our glamorous palatial houses. Explore a vast assortment of elegant rooms containing some of the country’s finest collections of art.

Kenwood is one of London’s hidden gems, containing a magnificent interior created by famous 18th-century Scottish architect Robert Adam. The pinnacle of his work and star attraction is Kenwood’s Great Library. Kenwood also holds a world-class art collection which includes Rembrandt’s Portrait with Two Circles.

Eltham Palace offers art deco luxury and centuries of experience hosting celebrities. It’s worth exploring the magnificent medieval great hall built for Edward IV and the wartime basement bunker. If ornate jewellery and glittering enamels are for you, Ranger’s House contains The Wernher Collection. One of the greatest surviving private art collections in Europe, with over 700 works of art displayed in a stunning Georgian Villa.

Experience royal life at Osborne, wander in the grandeur of Audley End House and Gardens or be awed by the palatial wonder of Apsley House’s gilded glittering interiors. The latter - home of Waterloo’s Iron Duke - contains a wealth of fascinating memorabilia, with nearly 3000 fine paintings, sculptures and works of art in silver and porcelain.

Plan Your Visit
Rievaulx Abbey, home of St Aelred

2. Join in the 'hour of contemplation'

This Autumn, English Heritage introduced an ‘hour of contemplation’ at our former monasteries where we invited visitors to enjoy the final hour of public access to abbeys and priories in contemplative quiet. Although we are no longer holding this official hour of contemplation, we are still encouraging everyone - regardless of religious beliefs - to visit and enjoy the silence of our monasteries. It really can bring inspiration and renewal: enabling visitors to experience these spiritual buildings as they were intended.

As part of the event, Stephen Fry has participated in a video introducing the concept. He went on to read quotes from St Aelred, an extraordinary monk. Aelred was a prolific author, and thanks to his words we can discover much about the life of monks of the time. Were medieval monks really as silent as we’ve been led to believe?

If you’re interested in finding out more about the many breathtaking abbeys under our care, you can also check out this list of England’s top ten abbeys. Or listen to this English Heritage podcast episode on England’s monasteries.

Read More
Postcard from Brodsworth Hall and Gardens, Yorkshire

3. Explore our sites from the air

Why not use our stunning 'postcards' to help plan your next visit. These videos use drone technology to add a whole new perspective of our captivating sites and gardens.

Access the landscape in a way our ancestors could only dream of and view the tranquil secluded ruins of Lindisfarne Priory. Watch a striking sunset over coastal Pendennis Castle or gaze at the captivating gardens of Brodsworth Hall. Contrast the grand extravagance of Wiltey Court and Gardens with the imposing military might of Dover Castle. And of course, Stonehenge looks particularly striking from the air.

Use this video series to get up close to roofs, arches, and obtain a bird's eye view of the properties in our care. All from the comfort of your home!

Watch On Youtube
Image 1: Nurses and convalescents on the terrace steps at Wrest, Christmas 1914. Image 2: Group of soldiers and nurses on the terrace at Wrest in the spring of 1915.

4. Learn about the role of English Heritage properties in The First World War

11 November is the anniversary of the signing of the armistice between Allied and German forces. This signified an end to the Great War. This November, in honour of this momentous event, find out more about the wartime stories associated with our properties.

The military might of the coastal fortresses of Dover Castle and Falmouth’s Pendennis Castle defended England’s shores. Pendennis acted as the military headquarters for Falmouth, which was placed on a war footing as a Defended Port. A recent exhibit at Pendennis explores the war at sea and the personal accounts of those who trained at Pendennis. Dover Castle housed a command and control centre that played a vital role in safeguarding Dover as a garrison and naval base.

Even Stonehenge participated in the war effort. 1917 marked the building of an aerodrome on the ancient site. This base provided the final stage of training for pilots and observers before they were sent to the Western Front.

Country houses such as Wrest Park and Osborne became convalescent homes for wounded soldiers. Nurse Nan Herbert of Wrest Park kept a diary which gives us a valuable account of life for a Wrest Park nurse.

Read more about Wrest Park’s involvement

5. Prepare for our Enchanted Events

Our Christmas awe-inspiring Enchanted Events are back with bookings currently taking place. Gather your friends and family and experience the past in a spectacular new light.

This year, Audley End House and Eltham Palace are taking centre stage. The gardens brought to life with colour, light and sound. Warm-up with a glass of mulled wine, toast a marshmallow under the night sky or hop on a traditional fairground ride. There will also be the opportunity to stock up on a range of Christmas gifts, from traditional toys to award-winning food and drink.

These events are popular so book now to avoid disappointment.

Book Enchanted tickets

More to Explore

  • Autumn Days Out

    With hundreds of sites across the country waiting to be discovered, autumn is the perfect time to make the most of our past.

  • We're on YouTube

    From internet superstar Mrs Crocombe in her Victorian kitchen to animated history and exclusive documentaries, our YouTube channel is a treasure trove of discoveries.


    Take a closer look at some of our favourite historic places. Discover what we love about them, then plan your own adventure.

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