Things to Do

Top 5 Things To Do in February

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

Prepare something special for the one you love on Valentine’s Day, learn about LGBTQ+ history and enjoy a fun-filled February half-term. Read on to discover fascinating people, must-see places and captivating videos.

1. Make history this half-term

This half-term get active outdoors and enjoy fun-filled family activities at your favourite castles, abbeys and historic houses.

At several sites there will be the opportunity to join characters from the past for historical high jinks and hands-on shenanigans. Be transported back in time to the 17th century at Bolsover Castle and enjoy fascinating historic tales that range from the stealing of the Crown Jewels to England's smallest man. Find out what life was like during the Neolithic period at Stonehenge by testing your spear-throwing skills and by making your own slingshot. Or step back in time to the medieval period and learn the noble art of swordplay at Dover Castle.

There’s a wide variety of events to help history come alive for younger visitors

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2. Enjoy weather-proof days out

Rainy days don’t have to mean spending your half-term stuck at home. We have plenty of historic places where the whole family can experience a great day out, whatever the weather may have in store.

Not all of our historic properties are missing their roofs! Explore your local weatherproof sites by checking out our helpful map. Discover activities to keep you entertained while it’s pouring outside and end your visit with a warming beverage in one of our top tearooms.

You can also check the individual property pages of the sites you'd like to visit for the most up-to-date information.

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3. Visit somewhere special (with someone special) on valentine’s day

This February treat yourself and the one you love to something special by visiting some of England’s most picturesque scenery and stunning romantic ruins. We’ve compiled a list of top romantic destinations to inspire your visit including Rievaulx Abbey, Kenilworth Castle or Furness Abbey. Enjoy Valentine’s Day in a beautiful historical setting and have a romantic date from history you’ll love to remember!

If you’re searching for unique Valentine’s Day gift ideas, our shop offers everything from jewellery, artisan soaps and hand cream to replica swords and gin.

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4. Tackle the winter blues

We have plenty of seasonal activities and online entertainment to help you enjoy the last month of winter, whether you prefer a brisk stroll through historic gardens, or relaxing at home with videos of comforting Victorian cooking.

Our castles, halls and stately homes are enchanting during the cold months, and now is the perfect time to make the most of rewarding garden walks and sparkling wintry views. Follow one of our guided walks linking two historic sites and spend the whole day out in spectacular historical landscapes. Or take a look at our list of the best gardens to visit in winter: the seasonal features that make them special might help to inspire your next visit.

Alternatively, if you prefer to batten down the hatches at home, join our resident Victorian cook Mrs Crocombe as she demonstrates how to prepare a range of warming winter meals.

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5. Discover the stories behind the plaques

London is now home to over 950 blue plaques and there are many extraordinary stories to be discovered about the people behind them. In honour of LGBTQ+ history month, why not learn about the individual lives and ground-breaking achievements of several of London’s LGBTQ+ former residents?

The blue plaque decorating the talented playwright Oscar Wilde’s home in Chelsea marks the place where he wrote famous plays such as The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) and his classic first novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891). In Maida Vale you can find a blue plaque commemorating the place where Alan Turing, code-breaker and pioneer of computer science, was born. A blue plaque also celebrates the family home of one of history’s greatest rock stars, where Freddy Mercury explored his musical talents as a teenager.

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The Month In History

  • The great English landscape gardener, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, passed away on 6 February 1783. Brown is remembered for designing over 250 idyllic landscapes, including parts of the grounds at Wrest Park in Bedfordshire and Audley End House in Essex.
  • Charles Dickens was born on 7 February 1812 in Portsmouth. The author is inextricably linked with London and wrote many of his early works — including Oliver Twist — at his home on Doughty Street in Bloomsbury, where a London blue plaque now commemorates him.
  • The bacteriologist Sir Alexander Fleming first published his discovery of penicillin, one of the greatest medical discoveries of all time, on 14 February 1929. His home in Chelsea is now marked by a blue plaque.
  • On 16 February 1923, Archaeologist Howard Carter unsealed the burial chamber of the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings.
  • Charles Darwin, author of On the Origin of Species, was born on 12 February 1809, a day many now celebrate annually as Darwin Day. Darwin spent 40 years living in Down House where he wrote his theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. Today, visitors can follow in the great scientist’s footsteps, as well as explore the rooms and award-winning gardens where Darwin lived and worked.

More to Explore

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