One of the wonderful things about England is its varied history and heritage. From Saxon churches and Norman castles to 17th century museums and grand country manors.
In England, there are two major organisations responsible for the conservation of such places. While National Trust owns 59 villages, cares for over 700 miles of coastline, and tends to much of the natural environment, English Heritage cares for a collection of over 400 historical buildings.
English Heritage Membership
With sites all across England, there is bound to be something nearby. English Heritage membership offers free or reduced admission to all English Heritage sites as well as special deals at hundreds of associated attractions throughout the British Isles.
Without membership, standard prices for a child apply to age 5-15. With membership, the age of a child is up to 19. As such, there is no child membership as any adult member may take up to six under 19's free of charge to the 400 English Heritage sites.
Across the Sea
Where to Visit: Dover Castle
From Hadrian's Wall and Berwick-upon-Tweed Castle, Northumberland near Scotland's border in the north to Carisbrook Castle on the Isle of Wight a few miles off the coast of Hampshire in the south, English Heritage has all of England covered.
The largest (and most expensive) attraction is Dover Castle, Kent on England's south coast. A wonderland of history, this "iconic English fortress" delivers breathtaking views from its rooftops, a fascinating tour through some of England's most notable history.
A Roman lighthouse and Anglo-Saxon church share the site with the Normal castle, rebuilt in the 1180s by King Henry II. Medieval and Napoleonic tunnels give up wartime secrets.
Roman Lighthouse & St. Mary in Castro Anglo-Saxon Church
Explore the castle and surrounding buildings, get lost in a maze of castle steps, climb the Great Tower, and discover more of Dover Castle and its history from displays and exhibits in its array of rooms.
Dover Castle boasts a NAAFI restaurant which sells hot and cold food, snacks and drinks. The castle holds regular events including medieval jousting, medieval falconry, and special events for Hallowe'en and Christmas.
Where to Visit: Wall Roman Site
From the largest and most expensive site to a site much smaller and free to visit, Wall Roman Site is owned by the National Trust and maintained by English Heritage.
Wall Roman Site is an open-air attraction in Wall, near Lichfield, Staffordshire in the West Midlands. The site consists of ruins of an inn and Roman baths.
Explore the ruins of each room, now no more than a few inches of stone wall covering an area of grass. The site also features a museum in which to discover more about the Roman baths, see excavated artefacts, and learn more about the life of the Roman soldiers who would have lodged here.
It is worth noting that the museum is open only on selected dates so check the Wall Roman site before visiting.
Where to Visit: Battle Abbey
One of the most famous battles in history, discover more about the Battle of Hastings here in Battle, East Sussex, eight miles from the seaside town of Hastings.
Along with the Abbey itself, visitors can learn all about Normal history, including games and instruments used at the time, in the Visitor Centre.
Explore the ruins of the crypt, dormitory, and cloisters. Discover the history of the site, the battle, the kings who fought it — William the Conqueror (William I), the first Norman king of England, and Harold Godwinson (King Harold II), the last Anglo-Saxon king of England.
Follow the walks around the battlefield and take a break at the cafe where children can enjoy a shady play area, or take a picnic on one of the benches.
Battle Abbey holds a myriad of answers to questions about this world famous and fascinating piece of English history.
More Places to Visit
One of English Heritage's most famous sites is Stonehenge at Amesbury, Wiltshire in the south west. This pre-historic stone circle is a popular attraction, noted for its associations with Pagan rituals. Its megaliths can be seen from a distance but only on special occasions is the site open to get up close.
Around six miles from Stonehenge is the lesser-known attraction of Old Sarum. Here, visitors can stand on the site of Salisbury's first cathedral. See an iron age fort rise from the Salisbury plains and visit the ruins of the Royal Castle, a medieval fortification built by William the Conqueror.
Along with these wonderful opportunities for discovery, visitors can enjoy Walmer Castle in Kent, Kenilworth Castle and Elizabethan Gardens in Warwickshire (Midlands), Kirby Muxloe Castle, Jewry Wall, and Ashby de la Zouche Castle in Leicestershire (East Midlands), Clifford's Tower, Kirkham Priory, and Howden Minster in Yorkshire (North) along with many more.
Discounts and deals at associated attractions are available to English Heritage members.
The nature of some English Heritage sites may make it difficult to accommodate wheelchair users so please check before a visit.
Some sites charge for parking.
Many sites allow dogs provided that they are kept on a lead.
For more information about English Heritage sites and membership, visit the site.