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History

The rich tapestry of Britain’s history is full of fascinating characters, imposing castles and literary heroes. From the Battle of Hastings in 1066 to the Battle of Britain, the Tudor period to the Victorian era, Shakespeare to Dickens, Britain has a unique heritage like no other. Much of this historical treasure trove has been preserved to inspire us today.

The Battle of Hastings lasted one day. It was one of the longest battles in the medieval world, so a break for lunch was taken

Queen-Anne-featured. Royal Collection/Wikipedia

The Kings and Queens of Great Britain

Queen Anne became first monarch of Great Britain in 1707 but how is your knowledge on each of the kings and queens since?

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10 facts you didn't know about Shakespeare

10 greatest men in British history

We asked historian Dan Snow to tell us about his top 10 men in British history and here’s who made the grade.

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Britain magazine

History of the Chelsea Flower Show

Each May the Chelsea Flower Show delights visitors with its colourful displays. We take a look at the history of the show.

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York Minster

BRITAIN’s Top 10 cathedrals

Britain is home to some of the oldest and most spectacular cathedrals in the world. Here are 10 of our favourites. Read More »

Britain magazine

BRITAIN: This week in history 21-27 April

This week in history saw the birth of our beloved Bard and the beginning of a reign that would change the course of British history…

Britain magazine

Henry VIII

21 April

Henry VII, the first Tudor king, died on this day in 1509. He died of tuberculosis and was buried at Westminster Abbey after a prosperous reign. The country was united but it was not to last as his son Henry VIII ascended the throne as his heir. Henry VIII’s notorious reign – with his many wives and the reform of the English Church – is one of the most famous throughout English history.

British author, Charlotte Brontë was born on this day in 1816. She is known as one of our best writers thanks to what is widely regarded as her greatest work, Jane Eyre, which tells the tale of the eponymous character and her relationship with the Byronic Mr Rochester and is set on the wild moors of Yorkshire.

Britain magazine

William Shakespeare

23 April

It was on this day in AD 303 that Saint George, England’s patron saint, died. The Roman soldier who refused to take part in the persecution of Christians is celebrated annually on this day in England as a national holiday, St George’s Day.

Although much contention exists around the specific dates of his birth in 1564, Shakespeare’s birthday is celebrated on 23 April. The famous British playwright from Stratford-upon-Avon is also thought to have died on the same day years later in 1616.

Britain magazine

Oliver Cromwell’s family home in Ely, Cambridgeshire

25 April

Oliver Cromwell was born on this day in 1599. Cromwell went on to be a renowned soldier and statesman —both admired and reviled throughout history. He ruled Britain from 1653-58 as Lord Protector after winning the English Civil War and played a significant role in the trial and execution of King Charles I.

26 April

The Duke of York and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, later to become King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, married on this day in 1923 at Westminster Abbey. They chose the abbey over a traditional royal chapel wedding as it was presumed that a public wedding would help to lift the spirits of the public after the Great War. Elizabeth was the first royal bride to lay her bouquet at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in the Abbey, which has since become a tradition.

Britain magazine

Gardens of the Zoological Society Regent’s Park 1828

27 April

In 1828, the Zoological Society of London (later to become London Zoo) opened their zoological gardens in Regent’s Park. The society was founded by Stamford Raffles and was open to fellows and those who had a written ‘order’ from a Fellow along with a payment of one shilling.

The first version of John Milton’s Paradise Lost was published on this day in 1667. The epic poem consisted of 10 books and tells a powerful tale of Adam and Eve, the serpent and the apple, and their exile from Paradise.

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BRITAIN’s top 10 museums
Discover Shakespeare’s England
10 fast facts of William Shakespeare

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King Arthur. Credit: IIvy Close Images/Alamy

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