According to the legend, Tintagel Castle was the birthplace of sword-in-the-stone-pulling legend King Arthur. Whether or not that’s true, you’ll certainly feel like a king (or queen) as you survey the South West county from the castle’s top turrets. It’s a steep climb, but the ocean views are well worth it.
Tintagel also features Dark Age ruins, a gun house, family-friendly events and a beach leading to the deeply mysterious Merlin’s Cave. A lovely beach café serves locally caught seafood, homemade cakes and of course, cream teas. Just remember not to make a foodie faux pas; in Cornwall, the jam goes on first.
We can all agree that museums are brilliant, but they can’t beat actually standing among historical buildings. The Neolithic village of Skara Brae was discovered underneath sand dunes in 1850. Despite being around 5,000 years old, the houses — and even the furniture within — remain intact. You'll gain unbeatable insight into the lives of those who called it home from 3,200-2,500 B.C.
Ever wondered what was on those islands off the Scottish coast? Turns out that one of the UK’s best-kept secrets can be found there on the archipelago of St Kilda. The last permanent residents evacuated the islands in 1930, leaving behind rare wildlife and a breathtaking landscape that includes soaring cliffs and lush greenery. Getting there is an adventure in itself, and the clear water and submerged caves have seen the isle attain a mythical status among divers.
Time travel hasn’t been invented yet, but a trip to Audley End might be the closest thing to being in the 18th century. This spectacular stately home has a gorgeous park, and the fully costumed house staff brings the Victorian era to life. Authentic fruit, vegetables, and flowers of the era are still grown in the organic kitchen garden. Also, there are resident horses in the stable block. The nursery suite has interactive activities and shows kids that life really did exist before TV and the Internet.
In 1937, fire blazed through Witley Court, turning one of England’s grandest country homes into a stunning ruin. Perhaps a little strange, it has gone on to become the site for family outings. Kids will go wild in the ‘Wilderness’ play area, which includes a treehouse, adventure trails, outdoor musical instruments and a grass amphitheatre-- ideal for picnics. The charred remains of the house are contrast dramatically with the perfectly manicured landscaped gardens and green woodlands.
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