Top 10 places to visit in celebration of English Tourism Week
Taking place in spring each year, English Tourism Week campaigns to raise the profile of the industry and celebrate the value and quality of tourism in England.
With this in mind we asked the experts at Visit Heritage, a leading heritage, tourism and destination marketing company in the UK, to pick their top 10 places to visit this season to discover the best of English Tourism.
Alnwick Castle, Northumberland
Families can dive into the medieval history of Alnwick Castle in the Knight’s Quest arena, complete with dressing up, swordplay, medieval crafts and traditional games. Alnwick Castle was also used as the location for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films; time a visit for seasonal Potter-inspired magic shows, alchemy experiments and dragon walkabouts.
Holkham Hall, Norfolk
At the heart of this thriving 25,000 acre estate on the north Norfolk coast, stands Holkham Hall, an elegant 18th century Palladian style house, based on designs by William Kent and built by Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester. The house remains privately-owned and is the home to the Earls of Leicester. The Marble Hall is a spectacular introduction to this imposing building, with its 50ft pressed plaster dome ceiling and walls of English alabaster, not marble as its name implies. The state rooms display superb collections of ancient statuary, original furniture, tapestries and paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, Claude, Gaspar Poussin and Gainsborough.
Beaulieu Estate, Hampshire
Beaulieu Estate is home to the National Motor Museum, tracing the history motoring from 1894 to the present day. There are more than 250 vehicles on display, and plenty of transport-themed rides to enjoy; highlights include a mile-long, high-level monorail and a replica 1912 London open-top bus. Plus parents can arrange a visit to the Estate’s vineyards to raise a glass to the day.
Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
Blenheim Palace is the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, and an architectural masterpiece, as well as home to over 2,000 acres of parkland and formal gardens. The piece-de-resistance is a ride on the miniature train to The Pleasure Gardens, a dedicated family area complete with a giant hedge maze, butterfly house and adventure playground.
Hampton Court Palace, London
Step back into 500 years of royal history and the flamboyant Tudor world of King Henry VIII at Hampton Court Palace. Marvel at fabulous tapestries, exquisite paintings and opulent interiors, and discover the vast kitchens which fed a huge court under King Henry’s reign. Outside, there are 60 acres of riverside gardens to enjoy, and a world-famous maze – don’t get lost!
The Shakespeare Family Homes, Stratford-Upon-Avon
Start at Shakespeare’s Birthplace, the Tudor townhouse where it all began, and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, a beautiful thatched cottage, the family home of Shakespeare’s wife. Discover traditional orchards, woodland walks, and a heart shaped lavender maze, before heading to Mary Arden’s Farm, the childhood home of Shakespeare’s mother. Children will love stepping back in time to encounter the authentic sights, sounds and smells of a working farm in Shakespeare’s day, and there is the opportunity to get involved with the Tudor residents to take part in traditional rural skills.
Harewood House, Yorkshire
One of the Treasure Houses of England, the historic Georgian property sits within “Capability” Brown designed landscape with remarkable views from the award winning Terraces. Come inside and you’ll be blown away by rare Chippendale furniture and jaw-dropping interior designs in the State Rooms. Make sure you leave time to explore the well-trodden corridors of Below Stairs. A place where young kitchen hands can dress up and discover life as a servant, or you can explore the changing programme of contemporary art exhibitions in the Terrace Gallery.
The Tower of London, London
The Tower of London’s grim reputation, gory tales and intriguing cast of characters provide endless entertainment for families, while more squeamish visitors can marvel at the 23,578 gems of the Crown Jewels. Visit the ravens and hear the legend behind them to complete the visit.
Longleat House was the UK’s first Stately Home to open to the public in 1949. The star of the show for families is the Safari Park, taking visitors unbelievably close to some of the world’s most impressive animals. Look out for lions, see how you measure up to a giraffe, walk on the wild side with lemurs and watch out for meddling monkeys in the Monkey Drive Thru. Get lost in the Longleat Hedge Maze and hop on the Jungle Express Train to finish the perfect day out.
New Lanark World Heritage Site, South Lanarkshire
New Lanark World Heritage Site is a fascinating is a restored 18th century mill village on the River Clyde. Families can travel back in time on the Annie McLeod Experience dark ride which features mill girl Annie who magically appears and reveals the amazing story of her life and times in New Lanark in 1820. Children can dress up an learn about what it was like to go to school in Annie McLeod’s time, and visit the Village Store to find out about shopping in the past.