England has witnessed a great deal of history over the last thousand or so years. From the signing of the Magna Carta to the establishment of the Church of England to the Battle of Hastings, many of the events that shaped the nation have had knock-on consequences for the wider world, too.
If you’re holidaying in England, and in particular the South of England, then the chances are good that you’ll be within a short train ride of an important location.
Southern England and its history
So, what makes the south so rich in history? Partly, it’s the closeness of France. If an invading army were to land, it’s in the South that they’d meet the defending force. While this hasn’t happened all that often, it has informed many of the strategic decisions made by English rulers over the centuries. There’s the capital, of course, and there’s Canterbury. But of special importance are the ports that line the south coast, like Southampton, Brighton, Portsmouth, Plymouth, and Bournemouth. Each of these, in its own way, has helped to shape the country’s seafaring fortunes.
Historic Sites to add to your bucket list
With all of that said, which sites are worth a visit? The answer largely depends on what you’re interested in. But a few stand out as worth considering.
Among the most iconic sites to be found anywhere in the world, Stonehenge remains shrouded in mystery and speculation. The truth is that there is a lot we don’t know about this incredible stone circle, in Wiltshire – but that sense of the unknown is part of the appeal. Visit at the break of day for the most spectacular experience!
Dorset’s Jurassic Coast
If you’re more interested in prehistory than history, then the Jurassic Coast and its wealth of fossils are sure to appeal. Visit Bridport Museum to see an impressive collection of fossils or go on a hike to see if you can unearth some of your own.
This little city is just a stone’s throw from Stonehenge. It’s built on a natural thermal spring – the only one in Britain that you can actually bathe in. It took the genius of the Romans to really tap the potential of the springs. One of the uniquely appealing aspects of Bath is its approach to planning restrictions: all of the buildings are built from the same colour stone, and conform largely to the same aesthetic.
Lacock Abbey and Lacock Village
In Wiltshire we also find this incredible little village, and the accompanying abbey. A must visit for photography enthusiasts as it’s the former home of William Henry Fox Talbot one of the pioneers of photography. Lacock is a great match for dogs, and you’ll be able to take yours on a stroll through the gardens – provided that it’s the right time of year.
This manor house was constructed in 1883 – but it wasn’t made famous until much later. This is the place that the country’s best codebreakers assembled to not only help defeat Nazism, but to help lay the foundations for modern computing. Few places in the country were quite so pivotal!