We recently visited 5 different English Heritage sites (we split them over 3 different days) and I must admit I was so impressed with everything about the venues. We actually become members before the lockdown started and never got a chance to use our membership until they started reopening the sites. So I was not 100% sure what to expect.
At all of the sites we visited you needed to pre-book your visit (which is really quite straight forward on their website) and then you just show the tickets when you arrive. They were clearly limiting the number of people entering and I never felt like they were admitting too many people. We could walk around with total confidence and spend time reading the signs without feeling pressure to move on. The sites had cafes open (although they were take-away only) and they had toilets open (lovely and clean and no queques to use them).
And one of the biggest bonuses about visiting when they are restricting the numbers is the staff have more time to chat. At Battle Abbey we got to listen to a lovely talk about the events surrounding the battle of Hastings – everyone sat outside and there was plenty of space. At Stonehenge the kids spent ages chatting to two of the staff members about all sorts of things from Stone Age tools through to Medieval weapons. The staff at all of sites we visited were really happy to engage and chat with the kids even when the kids went off topic and spoke about different time periods. This is one of the reason why I always prefer to visit sites and museums when they are not as busy because that is when you really get the benefit of talking to the people who work there, who have incredible knowledge and who actually love to chat about their area of interest (as long as they are not swamped with huge crowds).
The venues we visited were
Day 1 – Battle Abbey (the site of the Battle of Hastings) and Pevensey Castle
Day 2 – Stonehenge and Old Sarum
Day 3 – Dover Castle (the tunnels were not open).
Our day trips were brilliant and enjoyed by everyone. We all got a much needed change of scenery (which is great for boosting everyone’s mood), we got to walk around outdoors and the kids learnt something in a relaxed enjoyable manner.
If you are in England and the kids are feeling a bit frustrated with the current situation and need to get out we highly recommend trying one of the English Heritage sites. We are definitely going to be going to a few more over the next couple of months.
Admin – This post is not linked to English Heritage. It is just me writing about something that we all enjoyed doing even with the current restrictions in place.
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