Top 10: summer days out

Kenilworth Castle

Where’s the best place to take the family on a day out? Discover the castles, stately homes and historic sites steeped in British history you can spend the long summer days exploring.

View from the sea of Dover Castle and the famous white cliffs Credit: VisitEngland
Dover Castle and the famous white cliffs Credit: VisitEngland

1. Dover Castle, Kent

The ‘Key to England’ for more than 900 years, Dover Castle boasts a long and immensely eventful history – meaning there’s nearly a millennium’s worth of secrets, scandals, intrigue and mystery to discover on your next visit. Climb the Great Tower to meet medieval royalty or head underground in the Wartime Tunnels.

View from the Elizabethan garden towards the ruin of Kenilworth Castle. Pilasters and sculptures among the flowerbeds  Credit: VisitEngland/English Heritage
View from the Elizabethan garden towards the ruin of Kenilworth Castle. Pilasters and sculptures among the flowerbeds Credit: VisitEngland/English Heritage

2. Kenilworth Castle and Elizabethan Garden, Warwickshire

One of the most spectacular castle ruins in the country, Kenilworth is the perfect spot for feeding imaginations and banishing boredom. Follow in the footsteps of royalty, discover secret nooks and crannies amongst the ruins and get hands-on with action-packed events and activities.

The remains of Whitby Abbey, a Benedictine Monastery dating back to 657AD, sited high above the town on Whitby's East Cliff, Whitby, North Yorkshire, England Credit: VisitBritain / James McCormick
The remains of Whitby Abbey, a Benedictine Monastery dating back to 657AD, sited high above the town on Whitby’s East Cliff, Whitby, North Yorkshire, England Credit: VisitBritain/James McCormick

3. Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire

Boasting an awe-inspiring location, fascinating history and top notch visitor centre, it’s not hard to see why Whitby Abbey is  popular family day. It is a beautiful and magical place, steeped in history it makes the whole family feel part of something bigger – amazing memories to be made.

Battle Abbey and Battlefield Credit: VisitEngland/English Heritage
Battle Abbey and Battlefield Credit: VisitEngland/English Heritage

4. 1066 Battle of Hastings, Abbey and Battlefield, East Sussex

This incredible spot inspires, and it’s not hard to understand why. Spend the day exploring the atmospheric ruins, learning in our interactive Discovery Centre and of course, visiting the very spot where King Harold is said to have fallen in 1066. It truly is a magical and amazing place to visit. The grounds and abbey are a place where the whole family can enjoy this unique site.

The ruins of Tintagel Castle on the Cornish coast. The steep cliffs and pathways along the cliff edge. The site of King Arthur's birthplace Credit: VisitEngland/Visit Cornwall/Adam Gibbard
The ruins of Tintagel Castle on the Cornish coast, which claims to be King Arthur’s birthplace Credit: VisitEngland/Visit Cornwall/Adam Gibbard

5. Tintagel Castle, Cornwall

With its spectacular location on one of Britain’s most dramatic coastlines, Tintagel is an atmospheric spot; a place of mystery and legend that offers endless opportunities for discovery, exploration and imagination. Steeped in Arthurian legend and with glorious coastline views, there is much exploring to do.

Pendennis Castle, Pendennis Castle, Cornwall, England Credit: VisitBritain / Britain on View
Pendennis Castle, Pendennis Castle, Cornwall, England Credit: VisitBritain/Britain on View

6. Pendennis Castle, Cornwall

Whether it’s the adrenaline-pumping action of a medieval joust, the sights and sounds of a Tudor gun battle, or the excitement that comes from descending the castle’s historic tunnels, this spectacular coastal fortress is a standout favourite among adventure-seeking families everywhere.

Carisbrooke Castle, a historic Elizabethan fortification, a tower on a mound with a surrounding wall Credit: VisitEngland/Visit Isle of Wight
Carisbrooke Castle, a historic Elizabethan fortification, a tower on a mound with a surrounding wall Credit: VisitEngland/Visit Isle of Wight

7. Carisbrooke Castle, Isle of Wight

This great hilltop crowning fortress offers all of the ingredients required for a fabulous day out. As well as the stunning panoramic views from the keep, you can get hands-on with the interactive exhibits, transform into a character from history with our dressing up box, and meet Carisbrooke’s most beloved residents, the donkeys.

Wrest Park, Bedfordshire, a landscaped park and gardens CVredit: VisitEngland/English Heritage/Jim Holden/Wrest Park
Wrest Park, Bedfordshire, a landscaped park and gardens CVredit: VisitEngland/English Heritage/Jim Holden/Wrest Park

8. Wrest Park, Bedfordshire

Clearly one of Wrest Park’s most appealing attributes is the sheer amount of space it affords for running around, exploring, discovering and just simply having a bit of fun in. With more than 90 acres of historic landscape surrounding the mansion, you could spend days here and never get bored.

Framlingham Castle seen from across the mere at Framlingham in Suffolk Credit: VisitBritain / Rod Edwards
Framlingham Castle seen from across the mere at Framlingham in Suffolk Credit: VisitBritain / Rod Edwards

9. Framlingham Castle, Suffolk

This magnificent 12th century fortress has a long and colourful history – just one of the many attributes that makes this a top family destination. Take a step into the past using the castle’s themed trails and lively audio tour, and burn off some energy up on the incredible wall walk.

Counties Audley End Large 17th Century House In Park Mansion House Grounds 17Th Century Lawn England Essex Credit: VisitBritain/Britain on View
Audley End, a large 17th-century house in Essex Credit: VisitBritain/Britain on View

10. Audley End House and Gardens, Essex

It’s clear the reason for Audley End’s popularity is the sheer variety it can offer on a day out. It boasts beautiful grounds including a specially themed play area, fully restored historic stables and the Victorian Service Wing which all make for a lively visit, whatever the weather.

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10 most popular British heritage attractions
Britain’s top 10 castles

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