Things to Do

Top 5 Things To Do in July

This July, we’re gearing up for an extraordinary summer.

Don’t just dream of great days out – bring your imagination to life with inspiring places and allow yourself to be transported back in time with our summer of spectacular events. Get the best value from your summer and preserve history for future generations by becoming a Member and enjoying unlimited access to over 400 sites.

1. Experience an action-packed summer of events

Come face-to-face with history at one of our blockbuster historical events. Witness live-action clashes of brave Roman soldiers, gallant medieval knights, and swashbuckling pirates who sailed the English seas. Travel to medieval England to meet characters from the past and hear tales from centuries ago while taking part in a variety of hands-on activities. You could even experience our exhilarating spectacle of speed and skill as four legendary knights compete for honour and glory in the Grand Medieval Joust.

It's a summer of legends with something for everyone at our historic sites around the country.

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2. Enjoy affordable experiences

This summer join English Heritage for as little as £1 a week and enjoy free access to over 400 sites, for yourself and up to six children, as well as free or discounted entry to hundreds of events. Becoming a Member until 31 August costs only £51.75 a year (by annual direct debit) and our event-ful summer is the perfect time to take advantage of the benefits of membership.

Additionally, days out for the family at our sites are now even better value for Members - until 31 August, Members’ kids eat free at 30 of our cafes across the country.

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3. Cycle through history

Our sites are situated in some of England’s most picturesque scenery. Use our cycling guides to make the most of the warmer weather and enjoy a full day out in historical scenic landscapes. The guides contain routes, details about terrain and difficulty, so you can be suitably prepared, and we have a long list of sites with secure places to store your bike. Bring along a picnic or enjoy lunch in one of our top tearooms and get active for the summer in fantastic historic surroundings.

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4. Uncover unique destinations

With so many fascinating sites to choose from it can be hard to decide where to visit, and you might be unaware of hidden gems on your doorstep. To give you a helping hand we’ve gathered together some of our favourite historical places, enabling you to make the most of your summer with our recommendations. Discover what we love about them, then plan your own adventure in the places where history happened. Let us inspire your next castle adventure, family picnic, or historic garden visit. Search by region to find detailed suggestions for the best days out near you.

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5. Relax with our ambient garden tours

Unwind and discover the sights, scents and sounds of some of our most iconic places – all from the comfort of your own home! Watch our recent video series to escape the stresses of the modern world, with mindful footage of Brodsworth Hall and Witley Court, complimented by the ambient sounds of these locations. Enjoy a slow meander through the ruins of these two grand Victorian country houses, and get a close view of the flowers and plants of the gardens.

You can also join gardener Jordan Aspinall, as he embarks on a short tour around Osborne's 350 acre estate, highlighting the plants and flowers that Queen Victoria and her family would have enjoyed over 150 years ago. In addition take a guided tour of the vibrant gardens of Down House in Kent, once home to Charles Darwin and his family, with head gardener Antony O'Rourke.

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The month in history

  • On 1 July 1858, a paper by the scientist Charles Darwin was presented to the Linnean Society of London on his groundbreaking theory of evolution by natural selection. The paper formed the basis of his book published the following year, ‘On the Origin of Species’, which is considered the foundation of modern evolutionary biology. Today you can visit Down House, Charles Darwin's family home for 40 years. 
  • The Roman Emperor Hadrian died on 10 July 138 CE. He oversaw the building of a 70-mile wall marking the north-west frontier of the Roman Empire. Several forts and settlements partially survive on Hadrian’s Wall, including Housesteads Roman Fort and Corbridge Roman Town.
  • Emmeline Pankhurst was born on 15 July 1858. Emmeline led the militant campaign for women’s right to vote in the early 20th century, better known as the ‘suffragette’ movement. A bill giving women equal voting rights to men eventually passed through Parliament in 1928, just weeks before Emmeline’s death that November.
  • Through the years of his reign Henry VIII had a tumultuous relationship with July: His former ally Sir Thomas More was executed on 7 July 1535 after refusing to recognise the King as head of the Church. Henry’s fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, died of natural causes on 16 July 1557. The king had Thomas Cromwell executed and also married Catherine Howard on 28 July 1540, and on 19 July 1545 his beloved flagship the Mary Rose sank in the Solent, with the loss of her 700-strong crew.
  • Rosalind Franklin was born on 25 July 1920. She is now acknowledged to have pioneered the study of molecular structures. Most notably, her research into DNA molecules helped Watson and Crick identify the structure of DNA in 1953. Her London home in Chelsea is now marked by a blue plaque.

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.

  • Become a member today

    Enjoy unlimited access to hundreds of historical places with an annual membership. Plus there's free entry for up to six children. Memberships start from £53 a year.

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