Throughout all the university breaks we get, I love planning day trips around the country, and exploring the hidden, or not so hidden gems, of the UK. As a history student, I am always on the lookout for a new place linked to my favourite people or historical era. So, I’ve complied a list of places I think everyone should definitely visit, history loving or not. So grab your camera, a day out bag and jump in the car… (don’t forget your lunch or picnic).
Tower of London
History, mystery and drama all in one place! This is definitely one of my favourite places to visit, especially when in London. The history of this place is amazing and it covers a lot more than people think. Some pretty iconic moments of history have happened within its very walls and this hasn’t stopped right up until today. I am sure we will see elements of the Tower (particularly the crown jewels which live there) on the news very soon in the form of the upcoming Coronation. Dungeons, crown jewels and amazing tours led by the Beefeaters, even if your not a fan of history, a day out at the Tower is all the entertainment you need!
Okay, so I may be slightly bias with this one as it is my hometown. Immediately your brain goes to the University right? But Oxford’s history is far more extensive than just the University. On a day out you can visit many historical places, some even for free! There is Oxford Castle, the Bodleian Library, Blenheim Palace and the Ashmolean Museum. There is even something for the Harry Potter fans out there, with Christchurch being one of its filming locations. Some of these places even offer cute afternoon teas for those who love a cuppa and an Instagram aesthetic.
Natural History Museum London
This place has something for everyone. I visited last summer, and was amazed at the sheer size of it! There really are exhibits for everyone with wildlife, artefacts, fashion, gems and wonders of the natural world. You can also gain a glimpse into the science which is still actively taking place there day to day. A particular highlight for me was getting to see the iconic Dippy the Dinosaur – the first life-sized plaster cast of a diplodocus to go on display in the UK.
Beautiful, glamorous and the home of many active and previous royals:Queen Victoria, Princess Diana, Wills and Kate, Harry and Meghan. Kensington is just stunning and even taking a stroll through Hyde Park to view it is lovely and scenic. Recently, it has been home to various fashion exhibits, retelling and showcasing some iconic outfits and their creation. I cannot wait to visit their upcoming Court to Couture exhibition featuring not only royals but gowns worn by Billie Eilish, Lady Gaga and Phoebe Waller-Bridge to name a few.
Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre
One for the big kids or those whose days out need to encompass the whole family. As a kid I loved visiting here and coming face to face with some iconic stories from my childhood. Even today at the age of 22, I look back on this place with great joy. Its a really fun day out which allows you to revisit your childhood. The wild imagination of the stories really does come to life and its something you should definitely experience.
Okay – so history student or not, who doesn’t love a castle? Corfe really does live up to that traditional image of castle. Towering over the local village, Corfe is beautiful and covered in history. You really gain a sense of appreciation for the past when walking up to the amazing site. Especially in the sunshine, expect some gorgeous Dorest views and enjoy a picnic with your family/friends. Pay close attention to the walls themselves, you may just spot some historical graffiti too…
Stratford Upon Avon
The home of Shakespeare! I’d be surprised if you haven’t already been there on the classic school trip that everyones seems to have done. Touring Shakespeare’s home is great and you gain a real insight into the past. You can also pick up multiple souvenirs for all the thespians you know or catch a snippet of a play in the garden if your lucky. Aside from Shakespeare’s house, Stratford has many beautiful elements to offer, particularly the river and its cute pubs and shops. Enjoy a boat ride in the sunshine, visit the markets or stop by the theatre to catch a show!
For all you naval history lovers out there, this is a must see. Even if you’re not fond of maritime history, it’s still a great place to go and explore. You get to jump aboard some classic naval ships, learn all about life at sea and gain an insight into the Royal Navy. Take a trip through the past by visiting HMS Warrior and Victory, as well as taking a tour round the harbour and boathouse! For my fellow Tudor historians out there, why not visit Henry VIII’s ship the Mary Rose too.