Posted 18th April
World Heritage Day (18th April) seems the ideal time to look at four of our favourite historic sites in Britain
Located near Oxford, Blenheim Palace is a romantic park that was created by the famous landscape gardener Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. It was presented to the first Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill, in recognition of his victory in 1704 over French and Bavarian troops. The palace was built between 1705 and 1722, and is characterized by an eclectic style, along with a return to national roots, making it the perfect example of an 18th-century princely dwelling. Blenheim is an outstanding example of the work of John Vanbrugh and Nicholas Hawksmoor, two of England's most notable architects. It represents a unique architectural achievement, celebrating the victory of the English armies over the French, with the Palace and associated Park having a great influence on the English Romantic movement, which is characterised by the eclecticism of its inspiration, a return to natural sources and a love of nature.
Perhaps our most famous monument, Stonehenge and Avebury gained their place on the World Heritage Site list for their outstanding prehistoric monuments which date back over 5,000 years to the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. Stonehenge is the most famous and sophisticated prehistoric stone circle in the world, with both stone circles lying at the heart of prehistoric landscapes which contain numerous impressive and amazingly well-preserved ceremonial monuments.
Durham World Heritage Site
Durham World Heritage Site was one of the first UK sites to be listed by UNESCO. The site's architectural importance lies in the fact that Durham Cathedral and Castle are among the greatest monuments of the Norman Conquest of Britain, and that Durham Cathedral, built between 1093 and 1133, is one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in Europe. Durham in its present form is a living site that has remained in use for nearly 1,000 years - the Cathedral as a religious building, educational centre and place of pilgrimage; and the Castle, first as the home of the Prince-Bishops, and then as the home of Durham University, established in 1832, making it the third oldest university in England.
The Tower of London
With a grim reputation, gory history and an intriguing cast of characters, the Tower of London is a site which provides endless entertainment for families. Visitors will also get to marvel at the 23,578 gems of the Crown Jewels and hear the legend behind them to complete the visit.
Information and images courtesy of Visit Britain