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Best UK cities for history buffs

21 March 2017

If your idea of holiday heaven is taking a step back in time to explore the history of a destination, a staycation in one of the UK's best cities for history buffs could be right up your alley.

south bank london

From awe-inspiring castles and elegant cathedrals to famous landmarks and the skylines that have inspired writers, poets and artists for centuries, there are an almost dizzying number of historical sites to visit and admire in this fascinating country. Although we're all for travelling as much as possible, sometimes what you're looking for can be right under your nose...


It's impossible to discuss historical cities in the UK without a nod to the English capital. Explore historic London through the ages, from the ruined amphitheatre that betrays its ancient Roman roots, to the majestic Hampton Court Palace and foreboding Tower of London that were constructed during the Tudor dynasty. Then, of course, there are the architectural gems from the Victorian period such as Trafalgar Square and Big Ben as well as beautiful echoes to the Georgian era in the shape of Buckingham Palace and Berkeley Square.



City of Bath, Somerset


A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bath has been a popular destination with visitors since the Iron Age, thanks to the healing properties of its natural hot springs.

The city rose to power under Roman rule and the spectacular baths, standing near the ornate facade of Bath Abbey, make for a fascinating visit. However, Bath also became a society hotspot for the gentry of the 18th century, so expect to see some exquisite Georgian architecture such as the Royal Crescent and embrace the opportunity to take afternoon tea at the Pump Rooms.



Oxford cityscape


This world famous university town of Oxford has seen world leaders, Nobel Prize winners, talented authors and revered artists gain inspiration from its picturesque streets and skyline of dreamy spires.

The university itself, founded in the 12th century, is steeped in history whilst a myriad of spectacular sites from Oxford Castle and the Gothic twin towers of All Souls, to the domed Baroque Radcliffe Camera and modern St. Catherine's make getting lost in Oxford's streets a pleasure instead of a chore.

Related: What to do in Oxford



The city of York


The romantic, crooked streets of beautiful York offer a hefty dose of traditional English culture, seasoned with plenty of historical intrigue. York can trace its roots back to the Viking settlement, Jorvik, established in the 9th century.

Fans of the Vikings can learn about their culture at the interactive and entertaining Jorvik Viking Centre where you can experience what it was like to be part of that era. With additional sights such as the York Minster cathedral and the medieval fortress known as Clifford's Tower to discover, history buffs will never want to leave.



Scott Monument, Edinburgh


Last but not least we head to the north where the Scottish capital awaits. Once referred to as the 'Athens of the North' and with a history that dates back to the Bronze Age, Edinburgh offers sights that will please even the most dedicated history lover.

Don't miss the gothic splendour of the mighty St. Giles' cathedral, the dark history of Greyfriar's Kirkyard and the Covenanter's Prison, the underground city of Mary King's Close and, of course, the 12th century castle, silhouetted against the Scottish sky.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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