Things to Do

Top 5 Things To Do in May

From a weekend of immersive wartime fun at Dover Castle to hide and seek in the footsteps of Charles II, here's our top five ways to explore history with us in May 2021.

Please note: Visits to our sites must be booked in advance for now. Please check the individual webpage of each property for full details. 

This Month in History

  • The British evacuation of soldiers from Dunkirk, also known as Operation Dynamo, began on 26 May 1940. Co-ordinated by Vice Admiral Bertram Ramsay from the tunnels beneath Dover Castle, a total of 338,226 troops were rescued by almost 1000 ships, many of them civilian boats. Find out more about Operation Dynamo
  • The English monarchy was restored when King Charles II took the throne on 29 May 1660 following some years of commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector. After defeat at the Battle of Worcester, Charles had been forced to flee to Boscobel House in Shropshire where he hid in an oak tree
  • The monk and scholar, The Venerable Bede, died on 26 May 735. Bede wrote about St Hilda of Whitby, who — according to legend — banished a plague of snakes from the headland there with divine help. Learn more about the legend of Saint Hilda in this short film.

1. Explore 20+ more places this month 🏰

From 17 May, we'll be reopening a further 23 sites, along with our interior spaces and cafés. 

From Dartmouth Castle to Berwick-Upon-Tweed Barracks, Apsley House to Stott Park Bobbin Mill, we're looking forward to welcoming you back to these places. 

And with our popular cafés opening their doors once more, your day out can now include the all-important coffee and cake stop.

Plan Your Next Visit

2. Join Us for Family Fun this May Half Term ⚔️

As the half term week approaches, we've got you covered with days out the whole family will enjoy. 

Our series of Kids Rule! events are running at sites across the whole country from Saturday 29 May – Sunday 6 June. 

See performers bring history to life before your eyes, join storytellers to hear tales of the past and enjoy activities for all ages in the great outdoors. 

Search our events

3. Step back in time to 1941 at Dover Castle 🎖️

This May bank holiday (Saturday 29th – Monday 31st), join us at the 'key to England' for a weekend of wartime experiences. 

As you explore the grounds of Dover Castle on the front line of war, meet WW2 characters and piece together their stories. Gather information as you go, connect the clues and help them succeed in their secret mission. 

Buy tickets

4. Play Hide and Seek like Charles II at Boscobel House 🕯️

Among the many places we've been pleased to reopen recently is Boscobel House in Shropshire, a site which looks a little different to how past visitors might remember it. 

When King Charles II was defeated at the Battle of Worcester, he fled to Boscobel House and found refuge in the 'priest holes' as well as up an oak tree in the surrounding woodland. Now, the covert cavalier's experience is brought to life with new interactive exhibits on a candlelight trail through the rooms. Outside, enjoy the newly-restored gardens, new Victorian farmyard with live animals and see the descendent of the tree where Charles took refuge.

The outside areas of Boscobel House are open now. The house interior and farmyard buildings will be open from 17 May.

Plan Your Visit to Boscobel

5. Come on in! Enjoy our indoor spaces again from 17 May 🍰

Many of our historic places are now open for outdoor visits, letting you explore the grounds and gardens of stately homes, mighty castles and peaceful abbeys. But we're pleased to say that from 17 May, many of our indoor spaces will reopen too. 

Plus, no visit to a historic site is complete without a bite of lunch or a delicious cake. Many of our cafés and tearooms will also open their doors this month, offering your favourite savoury lunches, fresh tea and coffee, sumptious sweet treats and ice creams. Visit the indidivual property pages to see which cafés will open this month.

Our Pick of the Top Tearooms
'step into englands story