Things to Do

TOP 5 THINGS TO DO IN MARCH

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

Learn about the achievements of pioneering women, discover how extraordinary gardens have evolved over time, or listen to history on the go, with the English Heritage podcast. Read on to discover fascinating people, must-see properties and captivating videos.

The Month In History

  • The first International Women’s Day occurred on 19 March 1911 and was especially celebrated in Austria and Germany. In 1913, the date was moved to 8 March. Rallies were held across Europe on 8 March 1914, including in London where Sylvia Pankhurst was arrested on her way to speak in Trafalgar Square.
  • Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh was born on 30 March 1853. He spent some time in Stockwell in South West London in the 1870s, and today a blue plaque commemorates his stay.
  • The Scottish-born inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, was born on 3 March 1847. Bell invented the telephone, which he demonstrated to Queen Victoria at her island holiday home, Osborne, on the Isle of Wight, in 1878. The Queen immediately asked to purchase two of the devices to keep at Osborne.
  • The first international rugby football match, played between England and Scotland, was held in Edinburgh at Raeburn Place on 27 March 1871. England's love of sport has a rich history. Find out more in our article, Heroes and Highlights of Sports History in England.
  • Alfred Hitchcock’s film Psycho premiered on 16 March 1960. The film is considered definitive of the psychological horror genre, and the director is commemorated with a blue plaque at his South Kensington home.
  • Queen Elizabeth I died on 24 March 1603. She granted Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who converted the castle into a lavish Elizabethan palace. Discover the real story of their relationship.

1. Celebrate Women's History Month

March is Women’s History Month, an international month of highlighting and honouring the vital role of women in history. Join in the celebration by finding out more about the triumphs and tribulations of our nation's remarkable women.

Our blue plaques scheme commemorates the lives and achievements of many influential figures. This March we focus on the remarkable women behind some of our blue plaques and follow in the footsteps of outstanding women who made history, from pioneers of nursing to the mathematician thought to be the world’s first computer programmer.

Discover History on Stage’s fantastic play about Woman’s Sunday and the Suffrage movement. This moving and informative play tells the stories of two women from contrasting social backgrounds, both united in the demand for female suffrage.

Explore our articles on inspirational women, from their ground-breaking achievements to their role in challenging the conventions of their day. Some of these women lived, worked, stayed (or sadly were imprisoned) at our sites. Visit our Women in History pages to learn more about these remarkable, trail-blazing women who helped shape our nation’s story.

Find out more

2. Have a Mother’s Day adventure

This Mother’s Day, do something special and enjoy a family day out in some of the best surroundings and spectacular historical structures England has to offer. Explore our historic gardens and enjoy delicious cake in our superb tearooms.

Try our list of hidden gems, for a memorable day out: an excellent example is Kirby Hall in Northamptonshire, one of England’s greatest Elizabethan and 17th century houses, now semi-ruined yet retaining its rich and unique decoration. Or feast your eyes on the attractive sensory garden at Barnard Castle, a 12th century fortress in County Durham with fantastic views over the Tees Gorge.

Mother’s Day is of course one of the busiest times for florists. Make sure you give a meaningful floral gift by exploring our guide to the traditional symbolic meanings of flowers. Alternatively, our range of unique Mother’s Day gifts are sure to make her smile.

Plan your visit

3. Learn on the Go

The English Heritage podcast is ideal for finding out about a range of engaging historical topics at a time which works best for you. Listen during the morning commute or liven up household chores with a touch of history. Our podcast is now available on Alexa and most podcast platforms, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts and SoundCloud.

Join presenter Charles Rowe as we bring the history of our sites to life with news, views and expert interviews. Whatever your interests, there’s something for everyone as you can browse by a wide range of themes, including the Romans, Art and Aesthetics, and Women’s History.

Check out our list of the top twenty most-listened-to podcasts, which include the story of Dido Belle at Kenwood; Divine Dairies and the History of Butter; Witchcraft and Witch marks; and Uncovering the Secrets of Richborough.

Listen on Soundcloud

4. Embrace the Great Outdoors

From daffodils and snowdrops to crocuses and tulips, let the season’s vibrant colours reinvigorate you as we head into Spring.

We have many wonderful historical gardens in our care and a fantastic team of people who dedicate their time to maintaining them. Why not make the most of the coming warmer weather and treat yourself to a fun-filled day out in spectacular surroundings? Our favourites include Witley Court and Gardens in Worcestershire, Wrest Park in Bedfordshire and Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens in Northumberland.

Check out our historic gardens page to learn more about our iconic English gardens or find out more about the evolution of English garden design and how we prepare our stunning parterre gardens for unique Spring and Summer displays. Or join horticulturalist Hazel Gardiner as she explores ‘Gardens Through History’, delving into the past of Kenilworth Castle’s Elizabethan gardens and Mount Grace Priory.

If the weather lets you down, then look at our things to do on a rainy day which includes a definitive list of our rain-proof properties and our top tearooms.

Plan your visit
Stonehenge photographed by Lieutenant P Sharpe from a Royal Engineers balloon in summer 1906 (Historic England Archive SU1242/64)

5. Uncover iconic histories

Our properties have been witness to many important historical events and have played host to many intriguing people. Find out more about the marks they left on our sites and what we can uncover about their lives.

There's lots to learn about Stonehenge’s First World War aerodrome or the forgotten story of the black prisoners of war held at Portchester Castle. How about how a prominent country house, such as Audley End House and gardens, functioned in Victorian times. Discover how Charles II escaped by the skin of his teeth from Parliamentary forces by hiding in an oak tree, or the role of Dover Castle in Operation Dynamo and the Dunkirk evacuation.

Delve into our history pages to discover more about our sites, how they have changed over time and the characters who made them what they are today.

Find out more
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