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Escape the Everyday with a history-powered short break

Escape the Everyday at Fountains Abbey
After an unprecedented 18-months we are all desperate for a change of scenery and ready for engaging experiences that reignite our passions.

If you are feeling the call of history, there are lots of places you can visit to stand where Britain's defining moments took place. 

From monasteries to monuments, Roman ruins to the resting places of royals, we've picked out some of our favourite locations to step back into the past and escape the everyday.



Fountains Abbey (pictured above)

The dramatic abbey remains at Fountains in North Yorkshire are the largest monastic ruins in the country. The abbey was founded in 1132 by 13 monks who were disillusioned with the raucous lifestyle of York and came to Fountains to build a simple life dedicated to God. 

The Cistercians were renowned for their hard work and Fountains, along with other abbeys in the region, grew prosperous and played an important role across the local community. As the daily tasks grew the monks brought in lay brothers to handle the manual work (it’s where the word ‘labourers’ comes from), allowing them to devote more time to their religious worship.  

As you explore through the ruins, you can soak up the atmosphere and imagine what life was like for the monks and lay brothers as they forged a new way for themselves in the Middle Ages. 

The tour you'll love: Monks and Monasteries, the Cistercian Impact



Vindolanda

Escape the Everyday at Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian’s Wall was built by the Romans at the very north west frontier of their vast empire. This incredible structure was put up to deter marauding Scots, and with its protection a cosmopolitan community flourished. Vindolanda was once a key military base on the wall, and is now one of Europe’s most exciting archaeological sites with live excavations regularly revealing new treasures. The most famous is the Vindolanda Writing Tablets, which provide first-hand accounts of life from the inhabitants of 2,000 years ago. 

If you’d like to dig into Britain’s incredible Roman age, Vindolanda is difficult to beat, and the site’s recently refurbished museum presents each new find to expand the story. 

The tour you'll love: Hadrian’s Wall, a Roman Story



Middleham Castle



Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, was a power-player during the Wars of the Roses, earning him the moniker of ‘Kingmaker’. Middleham Castle was the family home of the Nevilles, but it was also where Richard III spent his teenage years, Lancastrian leaders were executed and King Edward IV was imprisoned when Warwick rebelled. 

Although the ruins are roofless, remains of the fortified palace and the core of its Norman great tower still survive, and drawings show the building in its full majesty. 

As you explore the extensive ruins it is incredible to remember that these men, who played such an illustrious role in English history, lived, plotted and ruled from the same site. 

The tour you'll love: Wars of the Roses, War in the North



Bosworth Battlefield


Shakespeare’s villain, Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth, a turn of events that marked the start of the Tudor era. Yet how did this battle-hardened, successful commander taste defeat against his less-experienced foe, Henry Tudor? Treachery played a part, with the powerful Lord Stanley refusing to support his king and joining on the Tudor side at the last minute. The lay of the land was also important, with Richard leading a charge of his knights but getting bogged down in marshland – Shakespeare had him crying out the famous line: "My horse, my horse, my kingdom for a horse." 

If understanding the terror and tactics of Medieval warfare sparks your interest, Bosworth is one of Britain’s most famous battle sites. 

The tour you'll love: Wars of the Roses, Bosworth and Northampton


 
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