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The Best Heritage Days Out In The UK To Enjoy This Summer

Matt Crisp August 4, 2023

The summer is the perfect time to get out and about with your family and friends and enjoy the rich cultural heritage that we are blessed with in the UK. There are many wonderful places to visit that are family friendly and accessible, and bring to life the fascinating history of the country and its people. Here are just a few suggestions.

Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire

Whitby Abbey is a beautiful gothic ruin that stands high on the cliffs above the town. The atmospheric coastal setting of Whitby was said to have inspired Bram Stoker’s famous novel Dracula, and the area attracts fans of the gothic subculture.  There is plenty to interest everyone, with a museum and far reaching coastal views.

At weekends until 28 August, English Heritage are putting on dramatised performances of the story of Dracula, with live performances from the Time Will Tell theatre group. It is a great introduction to the novel for those who have never read it, and also offers fresh insights for committed fans. 

Tintagel Castle, Cornwall

Tintagel is another dramatic clifftop ruin that is caught up with mystery and legend. The earliest remains date from about the 5th century AD, and are thought to have been the seat of successive Cornish kings. Legend has it that Tintagel was the place where the mythical King Arthur was conceived.

In the 1230s, Richard the Earl of Cornwall built a castle that was thought to be purely inspired by the legend of King Arthur, as the site had little value as a military base. By the 14th century, the castle was already falling into ruin, but despite this it has continued its hold over our imaginations to this day.

Visitors should be aware that the castle sits on a rugged coastline with steep steps and uneven surfaces, and therefore is not recommended for prams, pushchairs, or people with limited mobility. 

Lindisfarne Priory, Northumberland

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne has been a site of worship and pilgrimage since ancient times. Lindisfarne Priory is an impressive ruin that dates from the 12th century and was one of the most important centres for Christianity in England. The ruins still retain much decorative detail and carved features, including the famous ‘Rainbow Arch.’

There is a museum nearby where you can view Anglo Saxon artefacts and rare examples of objects from the life of the islanders, including fragments of jewellery, clothing, and tools. You can also see the beautiful ‘Feather Star Mantle’ monument to St Cuthbert that was created by the sculptor Russ Coleman from local basalt and Frosterly marble. 

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