Things to Do

Top 5 Things To Do in December

As 2020 draws to a close, we've brought together our top 5 ideas for things to do with us this month. 

Join us at sites across the country for our Christmas Adventure Quests, finding hidden clues to unlock stories of the past. Tune in to see the Winter Solstice live from Stonehenge with thousands of others from around the world. Plus, how to cook up a delicious Victorian treat and inspiration for your Christmas shopping.

The Month in History

  • William, Duke of Normandy, was crowned King of England on Christmas Day 1066 after victory at the Battle of Hastings
  • On 27 December 1831, the naturalist and explorer Charles Darwin set out from Plymouth on the HMS Beagle for a five-year scientific expedition. Darwin collected plant samples and fossils, some of which he analysed at his family home in Kent.
  • The first aerial attack on British soil took place on 24 December 1914, when a German monoplane dropped a single bomb on the seaside town of Dover. Nearby Dover Castle is one of England's most iconic coastal forts and went on to serve vital roles in the conflicts that followed. 

1. Wrap up warm and embark on a festive adventure

Throughout the 'Twixmas' week this year, you're invited to explore the grounds of England's castles, abbeys, houses and parks on a Christmas Adventure Quest. 

Take the whole family along to hunt for clues and QR codes that will unlock tales from the past. Then, sit back and unwind with a hot chocolate or mulled wine in beautiful historic surroundings. It's a great way to make the most of the outdoors this Christmas. 

Christmas Adventure Quests are taking place from 26 December – 3 January at 15 historic sites all across the country. Please remember to book your visit in advance by visiting the page of the place that you would like to visit. Numbers are limited to allow for social distancing, so book early to avoid disappointment.

Find out more

2. Join us for the Winter Solstice live from Stonehenge

Though we're unable to welcome you to Stonehenge for the Winter Solstice celebrations this year, our live coverage of both sunset and sunrise means you won't miss a moment of this special occasion. 

Tune in on YouTube, Facebook or Twitter on Sunday 20 December to be transported to the ancient monument. We'll be sharing the best views from both outside and inside the stones as the sun sets and rises on the shortest day of the year. 

If you have a YouTube account, you can set a reminder now so that you won't miss it. Just click 'Set Reminder' on the stream pages below. 

Sunset (Sunday 20 December)

Sunrise (Monday 21 December)

What is the Solstice?

3. Explore the places of England's past without spending a penny

Purse strings can be a little tight at this time of year, particularly in 2020. But did you know that more than 250 of our historic places are free to visit? 

From enigmatic stone circles and the remains of ancient villages to stately homes and beautiful churches, most of these places are open-access during daylight hours so there's no need to book. 

We've picked out some of our most spectacular free-to-enter sites in this new photo collection. Combine them with a more significant castle, abbey or stately home to make a full day out in history.

More free-to-enter sites

4. Make a Fig Pudding The Victorian Way for Christmas

Christmas pudding is a staple of the traditional festive dinner table and many of us enjoy this delicious treat after a seasonal roast. But did you know that Christmas pudding was also known by the Victorians as 'figgy pudding' despite containing no figs whatsoever? 

For a history-inspired alternative to your shop-bought 'figgy pudding' this year, why not try making a fig pudding as described by our own Victorian cook, Mrs Crocombe? Join Kathy Hipperson (who portrays Mrs Crocombe in our YouTube videos) and Dr Annie Gray (author of How to Cook The Victorian Way with Mrs Crocombe) as they guide you through this alternative post-turkey treat.

Watch on YouTube

5. Get the Christmas shopping all wrapped up from home

Are the kids' stockings looking a little empty? Can't find the perfect gift to spoil Mum this Christmas? Need something that will put a smile on a friend's face? Look no further. 

Our online shop is stocked for the season with mountains of gift ideas for history lovers of all ages. 

Keep young history buffs entertained with exclusive English Heritage varities of popular board games including Monopoly, Cluedo and Guess Who? Show who's boss with our chess-design King and Queen line of mugs, notebooks and keyrings. Plus, there's our ever-popular range of food and drink from ancient ales and Victorian gins to delicious jams and preserves.

Explore our online shop

More to Explore

  • Christmas 2020

    From days out with the family to history-inspired recipes and home crafts, explore our pick of things to see and do this Christmas with English Heritage.

  • 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.

  • Join Today and Save

    As a charity, we rely on your support now more than ever. By becoming a member, you'll help to keep the story of England alive for future generations while enjoying unlimited entry to more than 400 historic places. 

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