Top spots for history students
If you’re embarking on a history degree, chances are you enjoy a good rummage around a museum, or a jaunt around a castle. Luckily, there are plenty of historic places along the east coast mainline for you to soak up the past.
York is brilliant for many things such as chocolate, horse racing and shopping but it’s also a mecca for history buffs. If you’re heading to uni in this historic city, here are some places you’re going to want to get your geek on and check out.
Named after a poor unfortunate chap called Roger Clifford who was hanged at the site in 1322, this tower is right in the middle of the city. Climb up its steep steps to get fantastic views over your new home.
Jorvik Viking Centre
Indoor history = perfect for the Yorkshire weather. Visit Jorvik to step back in time to the good old days of the Vikings. Honestly, this place captures it all – including the wonderful smells of the time (we’ll leave that to your imagination). So if you love living in the past, this is the ideal day out for you.
The Jorvik Centre is currently closed but will reopen in spring 2017.
St Mary’s Abbey
This beautiful ruined abbey is great for sunny days. Not only is it historic, it provides a great Instagram opportunity (we don’t judge). Destroyed by that pesky troublemaker Henry VIII, it used to be home to one of the country’s richest Benedictine monasteries. Not any more, Henry’s temper saw to that.
If you’re studying history in Durham, we recommend taking your new classmates to these must-see places… once you’re tired of exploring all the clubs, pubs and takeaways that is.
Built in 1093, this beautiful cathedral has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries, most recently for fans of Harry Potter. That’s right - this is Hogwarts. For reals. So if you’re into churches or magic (perfect combo) , this is the place to visit.
The Wolfson Gallery
Housed in the Palace Green Library (we know how much you history types love a library), this is the place to learn about your new city’s history. All 1000 years of it. So you’ll be able to impress your new classmates with your extensive historical knowledge.
This castle is officially part of the University. Yep, if you go to Durham University, you literally have your own castle. Which is pretty awesome – ‘I go to university in a castle’ will surely trump any of your home friend’s uni stories. Built to defend English lands against those naughty Scottish invaders (think Mel Gibson in Braveheart), the castle is now open for guided tours (even if you’re Scottish).
The capital of Scotland is a hotbed of history. Trust us, you can’t move for the stuff. It’s literally everywhere. Here are some of the city’s best historic spots.
Got a tissue? Good, because this churchyard plays host to a pretty tragic tale. Or should we say tail? Anyway, this is the site where loyal pooch Greyfriars Bobby spent 14 years guarding the grave of his beloved owner. That’s loyalty for you.
Surgeons’ Hall Museum
One to take your medical friends to, this gruesome museum isn’t for the weak-stomached. Its bloody brilliant (geddit?) if you enjoy perusing old-school surgical equipment (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?) and finding out what it was like to face amputation without anaesthetic (not fun, we imagine).
The Palace of Holyroodhouse
Royal residence since 1128, this grand abode is her Maj’s Scottish bolthole. We say ‘bolthole’, the place is massive. You can even see where the ill-fated Mary Queen of Scots lived (before she lost her head thanks to her loving cousin Elizabeth I).
Ah the capital city. Of course, London is full to bursting with historical sites and museums. Here are a few to try.
Ideal for a picnic, the beautiful Kenwood House is based in Hampstead Heath. It’s a great place to escape the city for a few hours and pretend you’re in a Jane Austen film (we can’t guarantee an appearance by Mr Darcy, sadly).
Just all of it. Firstly, you’ll recognise some of it from Pirates of the Caribbean. You’ve got the Cutty Sark, the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory (another great spot to take an Instagram shot of the city). There’s so much history here you won’t know what to do with yourself. Just go and soak it all up (then enjoy a soaking up a pint at one of Greenwich’s historic pubs).
The Tower of London
An absolute classic, this tower is home to a family of ravens. Legend has it that if the ravens fly away, the city of London will fall. So keep an eye on them. You can also see the crown jewels and get a selfie with a Beefeater – who doesn’t want one of those.