Dickens at Christmas: 7 places to visit around the UK

Is there any novelist more closely linked with Yuletide than Charles Dickens? His story, A Christmas Carol, was an instant hit in 1843 and helped make Christmas fashionable again. It remains hugely popular, with its perennially relevant call for greater kindness and the end of greed. It’s perhaps less well known that Dickens wrote about Christmas many times, often with radical intent, and without the sweet gloss the Carol would get from later adaptations. To help you explore what theRead more

England’s Lost Asylums

For centuries, mental illness was regarded as a spiritual affliction rather than a medical one; thankfully social attitudes have changed. The treatment of people with mental illness can be traced through the institutions that cared for them, some of which provide us with a fascinating insight into medical history. The concept of an asylum now is outdated, and many former institutions have been repurposed numerous times since their inception in the early 19th century, but those with special architectural interestRead more

A Brief Introduction to… Garden and Park Structures

Have you ever wondered about that grand mansion set into the hills of your local park or public garden? Perhaps there are the crumbling remnants of what looks like some kind of castle or fort? You may have considered where these structures came from and why they’re still there, existing in a seemingly original and potentially repurposed state. A large number of such structures are protected by listing, and when identified can tell a story about their locality and howRead more

A Brief Introduction to Ancient Paths and Highways

From main roads connecting towns and cities to meandering green lanes and mysterious paths to nowhere, our highways and byways are steeped in history. Freight lorries bound for the Continent still use prehistoric tracks, long-distance coaches hurtle along Roman roads and farmers depend on medieval lanes to reach their fields. A number of these routes have been protected through scheduling: is there an ancient road near you? Early Footsteps: Tracks on the Somerset Levels Human footprints have been found preserved onRead more

England’s Record Breaking Heritage

The Guinness World Records celebrates 60 years of extraordinary achievements this week, from globetrotting explorers to sports heroes smashing records. In this spirit, we’ve delved into our Heritage List to identify listed buildings, scheduled sites and registered gardens that might – if tested! – break records.Read more

England’s Seven Seaside Wonders

Since the 18th century, people have headed to the seaside to improve their health and to enjoy fun with friends. To cater for millions of holidaymakers, specialised buildings and structures were built, ranging from a fantasy palace and Europe’s largest hotel to the oldest rollercoaster in Britain and the longest pier in the world.Read more

A Brief Introduction to the Post Box

As culturally significant as they are practical, the Royal Mail post box is a cherished feature of our streets. With over 85,000 boxes across England, it is likely you pass one every day. The post box connects remote villages to densely populated cities across the UK. Some of the oldest post boxes were already listed, but in recognition of how important all boxes are to our national historic image, Royal Mail and Historic England have renewed their commitment to retain every box.Read more