Things to Do

Top 5 Things To Do in January

This January we've got plenty of ideas to help you step into history.

Make the most of the season with a breathtaking winter walk, discover our collection of fascinating objects and keep cosy with our relaxing Tudor fireplace video. Read on to discover fascinating people, must-see artefacts and captivating videos.

1. Go on a walk through history

Many of our sites are situated amongst some of England’s most picturesque scenery. Use our walking guides to make the most of the great outdoors and enjoy a full day out in spectacular historical landscapes!

Our guides are divided by region and detail routes between two or three different sites to make the most of the day. Bring along a picnic or enjoy lunch in one of our top tearooms and spend the day walking in the footsteps of our ancestors.

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2. Plan your February half term

The upcoming half term is the perfect time to 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 by our medieval storytellers at Battle Abbey, enjoy interactive story telling from Time Will Tell Theatre at Brodsworth or have a go at modern archaeology techniques at Wrest Park, and many more.

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3. Keep cosy with our relaxing Tudor fireplace

There’s plenty of entertaining and educational videos to discover on the English Heritage YouTube channel - from aerial glimpses of our properties to Victorian cooking tutorials.

For the chilly Winter months we have captured the soothing, crackling fire at Pendennis Castle - a mighty fortress built by Henry VIII. Play the video and relax in the ambience of an authentic Tudor fireplace, all from the comfort of your own home.

Watch on YouTube

4. Discover our collection

Did you know that English Heritage cares for more than 700,000 objects spanning more than 5,000 years of history?

Our collection highlights page is a great way to discover some truly fascinating objects and learn more about their connections to certain sites. Some of our most treasured unusual items include Aldborough Roman site’s face pot, Kenwood’s Johannes Vermeer painting of ‘The Guitar Player’, Rievaulx Abbey’s chess pieces, Bayham Abbey’s pilgrim badge and Brodsworth Hall’s folding bed. Also unmissable is the impressive Wernher Collection on display at Ranger’s House with over 700 works of medieval and early modern European art.

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5. Learn about Queen Elizabeth I

On 15 January 1559 Elizabeth I was crowned Queen of England and Ireland. 464 years later you can enjoy a view fit for a Queen and look out of the remains of Elizabeth’s private chambers onto the garden designed to impress her. Commissioned by Elizabeth's rumoured love interest, the Earl of Leicester Robert Dudley, Leicester's Building was created for the exclusive use of the Queen on her visits to Kenilworth Castle. At the time this building was one of the most spectacular and expensive works of architecture in the country - boasting enormous glass windows and all the luxury and elegance that a Queen might command. Visitors can also enjoy walking in the footsteps of the great Tudor monarch through a recreation of the spectacular garden Dudley created for the Queen’s 19-day long visit in 1575.

Discover our Queen Elizabeth I make-up tutorial to learn how Elizabeth’s iconic look was created while learning more about the Virgin Queen.

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The Month In History

  • On 10 January 1863, the London Underground came into operation. It was 70 years later that Harry Beck designed the iconic map of the network, which has since inspired similar metro maps around the world. Beck is commemorated with one of our iconic blue plaques.
  • Captain James Cook's ship, the Resolution, became the first vessel to cross the Antarctic Circle on the 17 January 1773. A slate plaque marks the site where his London house used to stand.
  • On 28 January 1547 Henry VIII died at Whitehall Palace. He spent much of his childhood at Eltham Palace in the magnificent medieval Great Hall, which survives today.
  • The classic horror novel Frankenstein was published anonymously by Mary Shelley on 1 January 1818. Tilbury Fort on the bank of the Thames features in the story, one of many historic places that appear in literature.
  • Winston Churchill passed away on 24 January 1965. As a war leader, Churchill used his extraordinary energy and inspirational speeches to rally the nation. A blue plaque marks his Kensington home.

More to Explore

  • Inspire Me

    Our historic sites offer something for everyone. Here we have gathered some of our favourite features, events and things to do to inspire your next visit.


    Join presenter Charles Rowe as we bring the history of our sites to life with news, views and expert interviews across over 150 episodes.

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