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History & Heritage

History & Heritage

You don’t have to travel the world to be able to gain an insight into the past, make the most of what’s on your door step. Engage with South East England’s fascinating history, discover the regions hidden heritage and let the past enrich your future.

Cruise the Solent with SS Shieldhall

Why not spend a relaxing half-day or full-day cruise on board SS Shieldhall, the country's oldest surviving cargo / passenger steamship? Sailing from Southampton, passengers have access to all areas of the ship, including the Engine and Boiler Rooms, and the opportunity to meet the Captain and Officers on the Bridge. Walk the teak decks, listen to the commentary of the sights and sounds of Southampton Water and the Solent, or relax in the Saloon with its fully licensed bar. Cruise programme runs from June - September. For more info visit:

Mapledurham House

Mapledurham is a quaint 12th Century family house and working estate nestled on the side of the Thames. Groups can enjoy guided or non guided weekend or week day tours discovering not only the history behind the house, but also the estate where traditional farming techniques are still used in the dairy farm and water powered flour mill, alongside more modern and sustainable forms of production which include a hydro electric screw turbine. Visitors can settle in at the Old Manor tea rooms where light lunches and tea can be served and if you are looking for something a little different why not arrive by Boat from nearby Caversham taking in the beautiful scenery along the Thames. For more information on group visits go to


Uncover the Past at Hampton Court Palace

From 28th April - 4th September 2016 a temporary exhibition: The Empress and the Gardener will bring 60 watercolour painting of the Hampton Court Estate by John Spyers. The drawings are the only surviving records of how Hampton Court Gardens looked when Capability Brown was in charge. Groups can enjoy added value exhibitions throughout the year as well as admission in to the magnificent Henry VIII State Apartments, Young Henry exhibition, the Baroque Palace of William & Mary, the Tudor Kitchens and the Triumphs of Caesar by Andrea Mantegna in one admission ticket. Groups of 15 or more can also enjoy a 10% discount on admission rates. Visit to find out more.

Explore 300 years of history at Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace is the home of the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. This World Heritage Site boasts over 300 years of history to discover and is set in more than 2000 acres of ‘Capability’ Brown landscaped Parkland and Formal Gardens.
With so much to explore, Blenheim Palace guarantees groups an unforgettable day out with a host of events, tours and exhibitions. Visit in 2016 and celebrate our landscape with an exhibition, trail and other activities commemorating ‘Capability’ Brown on the 300th anniversary of his birth.
Find out more at

Step into England’s Story at Osborne  House.

Formrly Queen Victoria’s holiday home on the Isle of Wight the stunning 18th Century build set in ornate Italian grounds hosts a wealth of history at its roots.  View Queen Victoria’s private apartments and sumptuous state rooms or stumble upon the Swiss Cottage hidden away in the woods where the nine royal children would let their imaginations run wild during the summer months. With lots to see and do for groups of all ages visit the website for more information on group discounts and special tours on offer.

Architecture, Religion & Tradition

Canterbury Cathedral has a tradition of visitor welcome that reaches back to the days of medieval pilgrimages. Founded in 597 AD, it is the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion and houses a Romanesque 11th Crypt, 12th Century Quire and 14th Century Nave. Stunning medieval Stained Glass windows depict miracles and royal connections. Site of Thomas Becket’s martyrdom and shrine. Facilities range from guided tours to first class accommodation and hospitality. Group rates are available on

De-code State Secrets at Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park, once the top secret home of the World War Two Codebreakers, is now a vibrant heritage attraction, open daily to visitors. A visit to Bletchley Park is to step back in time to experience the stories of the breathtaking achievements of the extraordinary men and women who worked there. Bletchley Park boasts restored Codebreaking Huts, with their WW2 ambience faithfully recreated, and a stunning new Visitor Centre with a state-of-the art introductory exhibition. Visitors can explore the grounds and buildings with an interactive Multimedia Guide and enjoy atmospheric soundscapes, galleries and exhibitions. Visit to find out more!


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