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Lindisfarne Castle on top of the hill on a tidal island

10 historical destinations in the UK to visit this summer

Looking for a historic site to visit in the summer sun? We list 10 destinations across the UK, ranging from Iron Age earthworks to World War II fortifications. 

Image: Lindisfarne Castle in Northumberland |

In the UK, there is no shortage of great historic holiday destinations. But when you are looking for a historic spot to head to during your summer holiday, indoor museums or tour experiences might not be your first choice. If the weather is nice, you might prefer an attraction where you can enjoy the outdoors and maybe some beautiful views.

That is why we have compiled this list of 10 great historic locations in the UK that are perfect for history buffs to visit in the summer sun. Whether you are interested in the Iron Age, the Industrial Revolution or 20th-century history, there is a destination here for everyone.

1. Stonehenge - Wiltshire, England

We do not know exactly why Stonehenge was built to align with the rising of the sun on the solstices, but we do know that Stonehenge is incredibly ancient – over 5,000 years old. Stop by the stone circle among green fields in Salisbury to marvel at this World Heritage site, then learn more at the visitor centre and exhibition.

2. Lindisfarne - Northumberland, England

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is famously a tidal island with a causeway that floods at high tide. It is just as famous for its ruined medieval priory, where great stone arches still stand among the grass. Visit the priory’s visitor centre to learn about the Viking raids Lindisfarne suffered earlier in history or walk across the island to see the Edwardian glamour of Lindisfarne Castle.

3. Blists Hill Victorian Town - Shropshire, England

If you are looking to bring history to life for your family, try visiting Blists Hill Victorian Town, an attraction that combines real historic buildings with recreations and costumed actors to let you step back into the year 1900. When you’re done at Blists Hill, there is still a lot more to explore within the Ironbridge Valley of Invention, a World Heritage Site showcasing the region’s industrial history.

4. Navan Centre & Fort - County Armagh, Northern Ireland

Prominent in Irish myth, Navan Fort, or Emain Macha, was a sacred place in Iron Age Ireland. Today, you can visit the remnants of the fort and learn more about life in its era with the help of costumed re-enactors. In the summer, you can even be a ‘Celt for a Day’ by dressing in Celtic clothing and learning skills like cooking, weaving and using weaponry.

5. Roman Baths - Somerset, England

The Roman Baths in the city of Bath are not just feats of Roman engineering, they are also sites of worship to the goddess Sulis Minerva. See the sacred spring and numerous bathing pools, as well as architectural elements added in the Georgian and Victorian eras. Do not forget to visit the spa fountains to get a closer look at the supposedly healing waters.

6. Caernarfon Castle - Gwynedd, Wales

The famously large and impressive Castell Caernarfon in Wales may be partially ruined, but it is still a sight to see. Explore the castle site, climb the towers or stop by the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum within the castle. At certain times, you can also see the Red Dragon Garrison, a group of medieval re-enactors.

7. Inchcolm Island and Abbey - Queensferry, Scotland

Not far from Edinburgh, Inchcolm Island lets visitors experience two very different eras of history. You can walk through the ruins of the abbey, then explore remnants of First and Second World War fortifications and tunnels. Access the island via a ferry cruise that also includes historical information about the area.

8. Portsmouth Historic Dockyard - Portsmouth, England

At Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, you can roam among and even tour notable historic ships like the HMS Warrior. You can also learn about Henry VIII’s ship, the Mary Rose, and visit the Dockyard Apprentice exhibit to hear about the people whose work supported these famous ships.

9. Kenilworth Castle - Warwickshire, England

Kenilworth Castle boasts both medieval and Tudor architecture, including a keep and high towers with views of the castle ruins. On a lovely summer’s day, do not miss touring the extensive Elizabethan Garden, which was recreated in 2009 in accordance with contemporary descriptions.

10. Vindolanda - Northumberland, England

Constructed by the Roman Empire, the Fort of Vindolanda was built close to Hadrian’s Wall. Here, you can walk through large-scale archaeological excavations that are still ongoing. Then stop by the museum to see the Vindolanda Tablets, which are rare, ancient handwritten records of daily life.

Looking to take in more sights? Browse the most picturesque places in England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales. Or for more summer fun, read our list of ancient British midsummer traditions.