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

5 Memorials that Chart Life and Loss in the First World War

There are few towns or villages in Britain that do not have a public memorial to commemorate those who died in the First World War; a sobering testament to the scale of the loss involved in the conflict. In Britain, around six million men were mobilised, and of those just over 700,000, or 11.5%, were killed. Over half a million men who served in the British army have no known graves. There are more than 100,000 war memorials in the UK. TheyRead more

5 Things You Need to Know About Listing

Written by Emily Gee, Head of Listing Advice at Historic England 1. How did listing start? Listing emerged as a legal system of protecting England’s most precious buildings during the Second World War.  The first lists were compiled as an emergency measure to identify what should be protected in post-war rebuilding. The next generation of more systematic lists on a geographical (parish) basis were heroic in their scale, but inevitably quite brief in their descriptions and often done from the road,Read 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

A Brief Introduction to Bronze Age Barrows

Round barrows were created in every part of England, mainly between 2200BC and 1100BC, but many have been destroyed. They can be identified as round mounds, often surrounded by a ‘ring ditch’ from which the earth and stone for the mound was dug. There are many famous groups of Bronze Age barrows within the Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS). The Stonehenge WHS Landscape Project was able to reconstruct the history of the barrows by combining a new survey of theRead more