Historic Britain: Where to Go and What to See?

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When you think of British history, the first place you imagine is London. The UK capital is synonymous with architectural landmarks and historic sights, and you will enjoy your time there. However, what if you have admired all the London beauties and want to conquer new travel horizons?

You can, for example, hire a car and visit some other great destinations in this case. Edinburgh, Oxford, Canterbury, York, and Chester have plenty of heritage options in-store, and there’s nothing better than exploring them in a hire car. What’s more, a large selection of 9 seater cars for hire makes it possible to travel comfortably even with the whole family. 

If you are looking for unique travel ideas in the United Kingdom, consider one of the following historic destinations…

Edinburgh 

This city is the number one destination on any traveler’s bucket list. Its main tourist attraction is the Royal Mile, the road that runs between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. This stretch is full of old houses, lots of nice pubs, and iconic shops. At the same time, a large number of narrow medieval lanes branch off from the main street. 

The first mention of Edinburgh Castle dates back to the 11th century, but in fact, it’s older. The hills around the city were inhabited long before the appearance of chronicles. Most of the current castle buildings appeared between the 15th and 18th centuries, but earlier buildings are also available there. For example, the St. Margarets Church, or Holyrood Palace. Be sure to visit them to explore Edinburgh’s rich history. 

If you want to break up your weekend with some beautiful scenic views, head to Arthur’s Seat or Calton Hill.

Oxford 

This is another city where you will have a great time. Oxford formed around an ancient Anglo-Saxon monastery and was first mentioned in chronicles of the 10th century. The oldest university in Britain is the main asset in the appearance of the city. 

Despite a turbulent history, Oxford has escaped much destruction. So, now hundreds of authentic buildings, medieval pubs, and ancient churches reveal the best travel experience to you. Unfortunately, tourists often limit themselves to visiting the center and at the same time miss the most interesting thing – Oxford University

Each college occupies a separate building – some of them have existed since the Middle Ages. They preserved the appearance, the courtyard and garden, interior decoration, stained-glass windows, and a library with still handwritten literature. Do you remember how fabulous the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry looks in the Harry Potter films? Oxford University was a filming location for the school.  

Although Oxford has numerous historic sights, it’s still a lively and vibrant city filled with a bustling student atmosphere. Thus, you will find something to do there if you decide to visit it with the whole family!

Canterbury 

The religious capital of England is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The city appeared on this site in prehistoric times but became famous in the 6th century AD when St. Augustine chose this place to erect the first monastery. 

He built a cathedral and a great abbey here, and this sealed the fate of Canterbury forever. Now the monastery looks like a complex of ruins and buildings of different ages – from the 6th to the 16th century. However, the cathedral still looks gorgeous. Its antique stained glass windows, medieval statues, carved wood, objects, and furniture amaze the eye. Also, Canterbury is home to St Martin’s Church, the oldest parish church in England. It’s in good condition too, despite its great age. 

Canterbury’s park scene is no less attractive than its historic heritage. Thus, you can visit Dane John Park or Westgate Gardens to diversify your trip a little.

York 

Founded by the Celts, but seriously built up only in the 1st century AD, York was an important industrial center with broad trading rights. They made the city very popular with sellers from all over Europe.

Over time, power and wealth faded, but the historical part of the city seemed to freeze in its medieval image. Now, walls that surround Old York are the best-preserved ancient walls in Britain. By 1300, there were 45 churches in York, and 20 of them have survived to this day in pretty good shape. 

The cathedral, built in the 7th century, looks beautiful with its medieval statues, stone and wood carvings, and stained glass windows. By the way, its collection of ancient stained glass is the largest in the United Kingdom. 

Also, the central historical streets contain many 15th century houses. Some of them are made of beams and clay, using the half-timbered technology. Now it’s clear why filmmakers often choose York to shoot historical and fantasy films.

Chester 

Founded by the Romans in the 1st century AD, the city got rich only in the XVIII century, in the wake of the industrial revolution. Fortunately, the industry hasn’t reached the historic core of the city. As a result, Chester has retained much of its medieval city walls and mud houses. The greatest part of the city is the Rows, the streets in the form of covered galleries. Some structures still stand on the original oak beams. 

The local cathedral is smaller than that in York but deserves your attention. Its wonderful medieval decoration with mosaics, paintings, carvings, and wooden beams will delight you. Also, here you will find a castle perched on a hill, the remains of monasteries, and narrow lanes that seem to come out of historical novels. 

Some of the Roman architecture has survived too. It includes part of the amphitheater and baths, the remains of the Goddess Minerva’s Shrine and fragments of the city wall.

Summing it up, the UK is a perfect destination for history buffs, and most of its cities still retain the spirit of the past. Whether you travel to Edinburgh, Oxford, Canterbury, York, or Chester, you’ll find plenty of iconic places to visit in each of them. Of course, the list of historical places doesn’t end here, and you can always expand it if you want to immerse yourself in British heritage.