Best of Bri­tain in 2017

The UK is one of the world’s pre­mier his­tor­i­cal des­ti­na­tions, so for­get the pass­port, dodge those un­favourable ex­change rates and ex­plore the riches right here on our doorstep…

BBC History Magazine - - 2017 Historical Travel Guide -

Alit­tle-cel­e­brated cor­ner of Eng­land is in the spot­light in 2017. HULL’S sta­tus as Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture ( hull2017.co.uk) means there’s a whole year of events in store. High­lights in­clude re­vi­talised his­tor­i­cal at­trac­tions such as Hull’s Old Town, a Wil­liam Wil­ber­force walk­ing route, the Mu­se­ums Quar­ter and the beau­ti­ful Holy Trin­ity Church, due to be given Min­ster sta­tus in May. While in the area, stop by the su­perbly pre­served city of Bev­er­ley and ex­plore the count­less undis­cov­ered vil­lages of the York­shire Wolds.

Another al­ter­na­tive to big­ger-name des­ti­na­tions is SHREWS­BURY, Shrop­shire. One of the UK’s best-pre­served me­dieval towns, Shrews­bury is per­fect for a week­end of pok­ing round an­cient al­ley­ways and churches. The 1403 bat­tle of Shrews­bury, one of the blood­i­est to be fought on English soil, is also com­mem­o­rated on the Al­brighton Es­tate, north of the town cen­tre.

2017 marks the bi­cen­te­nary of Jane Austen’s death ( janeausten200.co.uk), with

HAMP­SHIRE cities, houses and coun­try­side host­ing events and ex­hi­bi­tions. There’s a per­ma­nent dis­play on Austen’s life in Winch­ester Cathe­dral where the writer is buried. Jane Austen House Mu­seum in Chaw­ton will also be mark­ing the event, and the vil­lage will be host­ing a his­tory-rich Open Gar­den week­end in June. Winch­ester and its cathe­dral are of course pre­mier his­tor­i­cal des­ti­na­tions in their own right, and the bat­tle of Cheri­ton, one of the piv­otal skir­mishes in the Civil War, took place just out­side the city in 1644.

WALES is cel­e­brat­ing its leg­ends in 2017, and none cap­ture the imag­i­na­tion like the myths sur­round­ing King Arthur. Given the lack of cer­tainty sur­round­ing Arthur you might feel his pres­ence at any an­cient hill fort, cas­tle or mist-cov­ered llýn. More specif­i­cally, Di­nas Powys Hill Fort near Cardiff dates from the right pe­riod, while the Bedd Arthur stone cir­cle in Pem­brokeshire’s Pre­seli Moun­tains is said to be the set­ting for his grave. Car­marthen­shire County Mu­seum in Aberg­wili holds a branch from Mer­lin’s Oak, still re­puted to have mag­i­cal prop­er­ties. You’re never far from his­tory in Wales, and the cas­tles and rail­ways of north Wales, set in stun­ning moun­tain and coastal scenery, are a good place to start.

The BOR­DERS RAIL­WAY ( bor­der­srail­way.co.uk), opened in 2015 from Ed­in­burgh to Tweed­bank, is the per­fect way to ex­plore the at­trac­tions of this beau­ti­ful part of Scot­land. Mel­rose Abbey, Ab­bots­ford, the home of Sir Wal­ter Scott, and Floors Cas­tle are all su­perb day trips from Ed­in­burgh made ac­ces­si­ble by rail, and tours con­nect harder-to-reach lo­ca­tions with train ser­vices ( scotrail.co.uk/scot­land-by-rail/bor­der­srail­way/bor­ders-tours). The re­gion can eas­ily be vis­ited in con­junc­tion with the high­lights of NORTHUM­BER­LAND, just over the bor­der in Eng­land, as well as an ex­tended ex­plo­ration of Scot­land’s cap­i­tal.

Twen­ti­eth-cen­tury trans­port her­itage will be the fo­cus at AERO­SPACE BRIS­TOL, open­ing in sum­mer 2017. As well as ex­plor­ing the area’s links with avi­a­tion, the mu­seum will pro­vide a fit­ting home for its cen­tre­piece, Con­corde 216, the last Con­corde to be built and the last to make a su­per­sonic flight.

The El­iz­a­bethan Old Mar­ket Hall, built in 1596, in the cen­tre of beau­ti­ful Shrews­bury, a town steeped in his­tory dat­ing back to the fifth cen­tury

This year marks the bi­cen­te­nary of Jane Austen’s death

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