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Unsung sites to visit in Britain

with 7 comments

Here’s a quick Top #5 list of my favourite not generally well-known historical sites in Britain.

#5 – Aesica.

The Roman fort of Great Chesters on Hadrian’s Wall. Not under English Heritage control. Not covered in tourists gawking. Aesica is generally largely empty when I visit. Though the fort has not been excavated in the past century, somewhat dilapidates remains were consolidated after the 19th century excavation and are still visible (sections of wall, gates, internal buildings, the strong room.) Though overgrown and often being grazed by sheep, there is something I find magical and peaceful about Aesica and I always try to visit when I am in the area.

#4 – Jervaulx.

The cistercian ruins of Jervaulx Abbey are among the most evocative and beautiful anywhere in the world. The abbey is privately owned and payment is by honesty box. Again a serenely fantastic place. Go there early or late and you will likely be alone, which is the best way to wander among the breathtaking ruins. Combine a visit with a trip to the nearby Brymor Ice Cream place and you have the makings of an unforgettable day.

#3 – Whorlton Castle.

Close to the North Yorkshire Moors, near the A19 there is a hill covered in trees. From a certain angle on the road, you can catch a glimpse of the gatehouse of Whorlton castle. Turn off the road and pass through the village and go find it. Most of the castle lies as sad rubble at ground level among the tree roots, though the gate house stands proud and impressive. You will likely be alone to explore this absorbing little hill. Just down the lane is also a partially ruined church. A magical find.

#2 – Newminster Abbey.

Hardly anything remains of Newminster, standing buried in and entwined by the woods on the edge of Morpeth, Northumberland. A few small arcades, the occasional arch, scattered stonework across the ground. It is not easy to get to and therefore is rarely visited. Make the effort to climb the styles and cross the boggy ground, though. You will never find a more magical site than this. There is sommething almost fantasy, Elvish even about the arches and the tree roots. The place sends a shiver up my spine. Photograph courtesy of timojazz on flickr:

#1 – Hardknot.

The Roman name of this fort high on a mountain pass in the Lake District is not known. The fort seems to have been used for only 20 years. The walls are well preserved (with a little reconstructive help.) There are remains of various internal buildings, extramural baths, and even a parade ground with viewing mound that is higher up the hillside and requires a very wet, soggy climb. The fort is lovely, but it is the situation that really makes this something special and probably my #1 site to visit in Britain:


Written by SJAT

September 28, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Posted in Travel

Tagged with , , , , , , , ,

7 Responses

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  1. This places reminds me of Restormel Castle in Cornwall!


    John Fanai

    September 28, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    • A place I’ve been past and never managed yet to get to. It is on my must see list! Hi John



      September 28, 2011 at 2:55 pm

  2. Newminster sent shivers down my spine… I could see a story emerging from the arches, shades of ghosts past. Stunning.


    prue batten

    September 29, 2011 at 1:11 am

    • It is such a fab place to wander.



      September 29, 2011 at 3:03 pm

  3. I appreciate seeing all of the beautiful and historical sites you take pictures of. Thanks. Jules


    Red Sonja

    October 5, 2011 at 12:10 am

    • You need to get over to Brit for a guided tour!



      October 5, 2011 at 8:45 am

      • I agree. One day…


        Red Sonja

        October 5, 2011 at 9:22 pm

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