11 Feb 2013
England’s 101 things to do (before you go abroad)
There’s so many places I want to visit, it’s easy to get carried away with grand plans to explore half way around the globe and forget what’s on the doorstop. But with Minnie’s arrival, I’m being reminded to take a closer look at travel at home as well – such as my trip to the Pitt Rivers Museum, which I’d never managed to see during years of living in Oxford.
And for a bit of extra inspiration, VisitEngland is setting out to find the top 101 things to do before you go abroad in a new app, with people submitting and voting on their top experiences across the country.
There’s certainly plenty to choose from, and the list is always increasing – for example, you can now take a Richard III break in Leicester after the discover of the last Plantagenet King’s skeleton under a car park.
If you’re stuck for ideas, here are a few of the entries so far:
Try code-breaking at Bletchley Park
The site of secret British code-breaking activities during the Second World War, Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire produced high-level intelligence codenamed Ultra during the war. You can explore the Enigma collection, the best known cipher machine of all time, and hear tales of spies and strategic deception.
Get a round in at the country’s oldest pub
Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem in Nottingham dates back to 1189AD, making it England’s oldest inn, for a pint with a side order of history.
Go mudlarking at St Paul’s Wharf
Walk by the shoreline of the Thames at St Pauls, Bankside or Canary Wharf and search for forgotten treasures in the banks at low tide. The Thames is tidal so each day new historical artefacts are churned up for budding archaeologists to find. There are four simple rules: no digging more than three inches, re-fill in any holes, report any find of value to The Museum of London, and dress to get dirty!
Admire Norman architecture at Durham Cathedral
An icon of the North East, Durham Cathedral is one of the greatest Norman buildings in the country matched with a stunning setting – together with the castle, it’s one of the first World Heritage sites.
Step back to 3100BC at Stonehenge
This 5,000-year old circle is perhaps the most famous prehistoric monument in the world. The fact that nobody knows how it got there or what it represents makes it even more intriguing.
Walk in the Romans’ footsteps
The Romans built a magnificent temple and bathing complex around the country’s only hot spring, which still flows with naturally heated water. See the source and walk where Romans walked on the ancient stone pavements around the steaming pool, the heart of Bath’s World Heritage Site.
The app will be live until March 1, with the full 101 nominations announced on St George’s Day, April 23.
Like the blog? Got a minute to spare? Excellent – because voting is now open for the MAD Blog Awards 2013 if you fancied nominating me in the Family Travel category. Or, well, any category. Just click here before February 18… Thank you!