Five historical tours of Britain

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Five historical tours of Britain

From Belfast to Greenwich; five tours of the UK that history fans won’t want to miss

From Britain’s tallest spire to the world’s oldest inhabited castle, get the inside scoop on the country’s rich past with a tour of these five historical venues.


Naval Tours

Royal Naval College Greenwich Tour

See Greenwich as you never have before with the Great Greenwich Tour. Enjoy skyline views of London as you fly over the Thames in a cable car, before embarking on a river boat to Greenwich. Then it’s all aboard the Cutty Sark, the world’s only surviving tea-clipper, where you can discover what life was like on this historic sailing ship.

Once all this exploration has built up your appetite it’s time to break for lunch, before your guided tour of Greenwich and the Royal Naval College grounds, where you will see the Royal Observatory, the home of Greenwich Mean Time.


Turrets on the Thames

Thames river trip Windsor Castle

Set sail for a royal day out at Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world and the home of British kings and queens for almost 1,000 years.

Your journey begins with a forty-minute trip along the river Thames, followed by a two-course lunch and coffee nearby. After you’ve refuelled, you’ll get the chance to explore Windsor Castle at your leisure. The influences of the 39 monarchs who have lived there can be found throughout, particularly in the State Apartments, with their painted ceilings and carvings, and the Waterloo Chamber, which celebrates the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte.


Take the waters in Bath

Roman Baths Great Bath and Bath AbbeyImage: Bath & North East Somerset Council

A trip to Bath isn’t complete without a visit to the site it was named for, The Roman Baths. Pick up an audio guide handset on your way in and explore the Baths at your own pace.

You’ll discover the Roman town of Aquae Sulis, dedicated to the goddess Sulis Minerva, a deity with healing powers, and the people who lived and worked there. Learn how the Baths were used, from the early laconiums and plunge pools, to the Great Bath. And while you can’t swim or bathe in the Great Bath, there is a fountain towards the exit from which you can try some of the mineral-rich spring water.

Fancy bathing like a Roman? Book yourself in for a few hours of relaxation at the nearby, modern Thermae Bath Spa.

Salisbury’s Spire

Salisbury Cathedral The Spire Tour

Home to one of only four copies of the Magna Carta as well as probably the world’s oldest working clock, Salisbury Cathedral is not to be missed by history fans.

Join one of the guided tours taking place throughout the day and learn about the construction of the Cathedral and its 180ft spire, life in the cloisters, and the history of Magna Carta. The cathedral’s venerable clock, dating back to the 14th century, has no dial but strikes on the hour.

For a bird’s eye view, climb the 332 steps up to the spire. On the way, a guide will stop to point out areas of interest; the balcony overlooking the cathedral’s nave, the stone carvings in the rafters, and the medieval graffiti and glass etchings in the bell tower. Then step out onto the balcony and look out over breath-taking views of Wiltshire. If you’re lucky you may even get to hear, and see, the bells ring.


Belfast in a Black Cab

political mural Ireland Belfast tour

With black cab tours, you can see the things that interest you the most, from the comfort of the back seat. To take in the often tumultuous history of Northern Ireland’s capital, try Paddy Campbell’s Famous Black Cab Tours and chart your own course.

Choose from a range of historical sites, from political murals, which reflect the country’s recent history, to the Harland and Wolfe shipyard where the Titanic was designed and built. For something more light-hearted – and high-spirited – visit The Crown Liquor Saloon, a traditional, Victorian pub with period gas lighting and colourful mosaics.

Or leave it in the capable hands of the driver – after all, who knows a city better than a cabbie?

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