What could be finer than taking a virtual trip to Queen Victoria’s palatial holiday home? Imagine strolling Italian terraces with views over the Solent, which reminded Prince Albert of the Bay of Naples. Explore the splendid rooms – including the opulent Durbar Room – where Victoria entertained heads of state and other key figures of her day.
Ancient meets modern in this decadent residence. The former medieval palace has undergone two transformations – first into a Tudor royal palace and today as a magnificent art deco mansion. Step through sleek and sophisticated rooms clad in black and gold and then finish at the medieval hall with its awe-inspiring hammerbeam roof. See if you can spot nods to an unusual pet – a much-loved lemur called Mah-Jongg, who was bought in Harrods.
Weave your way along the labyrinthine corridors and workshops of Birmingham’s Victorian JW Evans Silver Factory, saved by English Heritage for the nation in 2008, and opened to the public on guided tours since 2011.
Admire the world-class art collection of one of north London’s most important historic houses, including Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait with Two Circles. Tour the lavishly decorated interiors of the house including the set piece Grand Ceiling of the Adam Library, decorated with Antonio Zucchi’s magnificent ceiling paintings.
The collection store is usually only available to view via pre-booked tour, but now you can get a behind-the-scenes peek of 160,000 historical artefacts, cared for by English Heritage. From a sculpture of Venus from Wroxeter Roman City in Shropshire to a 19th-century wood and iron tower used to change the electric lamps in London’s Covent Garden Market building, there’s plenty to inspire and intrigue.
Once vital to Lancashire’s spinning industry, this mill has churned out millions of wooden bobbins in its time. Today Stott Park is the only working bobbin mill in the Lake District.
Set high on a hill overlooking Derbyshire, Bolsover presides like a fairy-tale castle. Wander the newly restored walls and gaze down at the fountain garden below. Then sweep your way around the sumptuous rooms of the Little Castle, bedecked with marvellous painted ceilings and imposing marble fireplaces.
Kenilworth has a rich history, having been a royal palace for much of its existence since the 1120s. In 1563 it was gifted to Robert Dudley by Elizabeth I and was duly turned into a gracious palace. Dismantled after the English Civil War, today the ruins are a fascinating insight into Kenilworth’s medieval and Tudor past. Take a virtual tour and imagine yourself sweeping through these grand rooms at a royal banquet.
Be awed by the impressive ruins in the North York Moors, once one of England’s most powerful Cistercian monasteries, including a spectacular extension that provided the setting for a shrine dedicated to the abbot Aelred.
Immerse yourself in the story of one of the greatest houses of early 17th-century England, deep in the heart of the Essex countryside, and fly over the glorious formal gardens designed by Capability Brown.
It may be a shell after a devastating fire that whipped through the house in 1937, but Witley Court is still a glorious sight to behold. It’s easy to imagine it in its heyday in the 1800s, when extravagant parties would often be held. Nature has claimed much of the rooms, now open to the sky, and the gardens themselves with this impressive Perseus and Andromeda fountain are beautifully tranquil.