Think of 1066 and the first words that come to mind are probably The Battle of Hastings, Harold (the last king of Anglo-Saxon England), William The Conqueror being crowned the new King, the famous Bayeux tapestry depicting the historic events… and much besides.
Indeed, the year is one of the most important in English history being the last time that our mainland was successfully invaded by an enemy. 2016 is of course the 950th anniversary of these momentous events and therefore we thought we’d explore places to visit and things to do in the South East which are quintessentially English, maybe activities which go to the roots of what makes our country the nation it is today.
Talking of roots, this the theme of a major international festival held between 9 September and the 2 October 2016 called which inspired by the Battle of Hastings, offers a multi-art form festival which promises the best local, national and international contemporary artists. Events will include a light and laser show on Hastings Pier, an outdoor theatre performance directed by renowned actor Michael Sheen and a community opera. There will be a number of exhibitions in and around the area, so keep a look out on the Visit South East England website for later in the year.
Anyway, back to some ideas of places to visit and things do during the coming weeks.
The weather in January and February has been extremely wet and windy to say the least, but regardless of what the weather decides to throw at us, there is much to see and do. Here are a few suggestions for both indoors and outdoors.
Year of the English Garden
English gardens are undoubtedly famous the world over, and many of the best are found here in the South East. Whatever the season, our gardens have something to offer and RHS Wisley based near Woking in Surrey needs to be high up on your list! With this year’s winter having so far been incredibly mild, you should be confident of seeing a good display of early spring flowers over the coming weeks including snowdrops, daffodils and even tulips later on. You can also enjoy the display of cyclamens or take a Winter Walk around Seven Acres. With half-term just around the corner there are loads of activities for the kids, too. Between 13- 21 February there will be a whole programme called The Secret Life of Insects, where you can learn about butterflies, create your own caterpillar hat and even build your own butterfly box.
Find out more about other gardens to visit in the South East.
Now if there is one thing which is considered to be uniquely English, it has to be the Stately Home. Visiting one of our historic houses continues to be incredibly popular, and of course television programmes such as Downton Abbey entertain as well as inspire us to find out more about the architecture, art and lifestyles of the rich and famous families that lived there, some even to this day.
A visit to a stately home is a great idea for a day out, to enjoy the beautiful buildings, the exquisite art work and admire the ornate furnishings and carpets. We have plenty to choose from in the South East, and amongst my favourites are Waddesdon Manor and Blenheim Palace.
Have a great half-term.
Blog written by Simon Frost of Hibou Communication