King of the Castle: Top Five Historic Sites for All the Family to See

26th June 2019

Take a step back in time with your loved ones, with our pick of must-see sites that help bring the past back to life.

Steeped in heritage, Britain is full of ancient attractions with something to appeal to history buffs of all ages that are easily reachable by train. Take a step back in time with your children, with our pick of must-see sites that help bring the past back to life.

1066 Battle of Hastings, Abbey and Battlefield, East Sussex

Follow in the footsteps of William the Conqueror and King Harold at the exact spot the famous battle was fought. Explore the interactive Discovery Centre, the ruins of the 13th century abbey where King Harold is said to have fallen, or enter the Gatehouse Museum to see ancient artefacts. Once you’ve soaked up all the history, head to the Battle Abbey café for a bite to eat. Just a ten minutes’ walk from the site you’ll find the Battle train station with regular services from London Charring Cross, Cannon Street and Hastings.

Pendennis Castle, Falmouth

Open only on weekends, Pendennis Castle dates back 400 years, and is one of England’s oldest surviving seaside fortresses. Make your way to the open rooftop of Henry VIII's Tudor Keep through a network of winding staircases and rooms to look out at Castle St Mawes. Experience the sounds and spectacle of the castle under attack on the gun deck and discover tunnels filled with World War II gun batteries. To learn more about the Pendennis' history through different wars, head to Discovery Centre and Exhibition. For tea, cake and cold drinks, stop by the tearoom of the Royal Artillery Barracks. The nearest train station, Falmouth Docks is a 15-minute walk away with connections to Truro and Paddington.

Warwick Castle, Warwickshire

Founded by William the Conqueror over 900 years ago, Warwick Castle is home to medieval weaponry and 17th century art. Venture to the castle’s dungeons to learn about the castle’s grisly past, wander into the Horrible Histories adventure maze, watch daily shows, jousting tournaments and experience the firing of the huge Trebuchet. Warwick station is a mile from the castle with the journey times to London Marylebone taking less than two hours. 

Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland

Explore the museums, bath houses and forts between Hexham and Brampton to discover more about life in Roman Britain. A World Heritage Site since 1987, Hadrian’s Wall is said to be the largest structure the Romans ever built. Trains connect here from Carlisle along the Hadrian’s Wall Country Line which allows passengers to hop on and off as they wish and take their time to explore the Wall.

Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, Scotland

From the lofty heights of Edinburgh Castle to the underground tunnels of The Real Mary King's Close, there’s plenty of history to discover in Scotland’s capital. With entry free for under 5s, The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official Scottish residence of The Queen and is open to the public all year round. Join a guided a Garden History Tour to learn more about the building’s rich heritage. Direct trains from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh Waverley run approximately every half hour with other direct trains from Newcastle and York. The Palace is a 15-minute walk from the station.

Get the family exploring Britain’s rich history for so much less with a Railcard, or check our journey planner to find out just how much you could save.