England, as a country, is full of historical buildings, gorgeous gardens and important structures.
It is a country with a long history of war, society and artistry. The rolling countryside is iconic all around the world, and some of the structures built in these landscapes enhance them, rather than detracting from their natural beauty.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of these sites spread all across the country- so it makes sense that there would be plenty within London itself.
These stunning structures offer us important windows into the past, allowing us to experience what life may have been like hundreds of years ago for our ancestors.
If you’re looking to explore some English history then London is a great place to start. Perhaps you have a long layover and want to get out and experience some culture, or maybe you’ve got a weekend to explore the city- either way, the Park Grand London Heathrow perfectly positions you within minutes of Heathrow and within easy reach of the city centre and beyond.
It’s one of the finest hotels in Hounslow East and offers probably the best helping of afternoon tea Heathrow hotels can muster- so secure the perfect accommodation for your exploration of London’s history.
Many of the historical buildings in London, and indeed the country, are protected by the English Heritage trust- the Heritage logo is a common sight when approaching a castle or stately home- but what does it mean?
What is English Heritage?
English Heritage is a charity that closely protects the history and heritage of the country.
They manage well over 400 properties around the country including Roman forts, country estates, stately homes, mediaeval castles, prehistoric sites and the world famous Stonehenge.
They aim mainly to conserve the past, and keep the history of the country alive. The stately homes are often open for exploration, the gardens and grounds are restored and kept, and people are welcome to come and explore these windows into the past.
The English Heritage Pass
There are plenty of options when visiting English Heritage sites, including just paying entry on the door. Prices can vary so it’s good to check before you arrive.
If you are planning on visiting several English Heritage sites whilst you are in the area, which we strongly recommend, then grabbing a year’s membership is a great idea.
It starts at £5.50 per month, or £66 for the whole year. You’ll get unlimited access to sites all across the UK and access to car parks and cafes too.
Now let’s take a look at the history embedded into London’s buildings, with the top 10 English Heritage sites.
Eltham Palace is a gorgeous royal palace situated in southeast London, and was a very important building in the 14th century.
Numerous monarchs stayed here, including Henry VIII, but the palace fell into decline in the 16th century and was abandoned .
Today, Eltham Palace and the surrounding grounds are open for visitors to tour.
Standing right in the heart of London the Wellington Arch makes an otherwise boring roundabout a pretty special occasion.
The gorgeous arch was built originally as an entrance to Buckingham Palace, but it was later decided that the arch would better suit becoming a victory arch to commemorate the 1st Duke of Wellington’s defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
The structure holds a bronze statue of the Angel of Peace descending on a horse drawn carriage that is actually the largest in Europe.
You can visit the arch, tour the museum and check out the view from the top!
Apsley house is, rather conveniently, just across the road from the Wellington Arch, and has the rather cool address of “Number 1, London”.
The stunning house has been the home of the Dukes of Wellington since the 19th century, and now acts as a rather incredible museum.
It is world renowned for its collection of fine art, and is home to the oldest surviving English grand piano.
On the juncture of Greenwich Park and Blackheath lies the stunning Ranger’s House.
Built in the 18th century to house the ranger for the then much larger Greenwich Park, this building now acts as a museum, and houses one of the finest collections in Europe- the Wernher Collection.
There is a gorgeous rose garden, and one of the most stunning aesthetics in the country.
The ancient Roman City of Londinium is the area now known as ‘City of London’ and is one of the most important financial centres in the world.
The ancient town was built here in around 200 ADE and was encircled by a wall, which incredibly remains to this day. You can find segments of the wall through the area, as well as a temple and amphitheatre.
Hampstead Heath is already one of the most beautiful areas in the city, so it seems unfair that they should have one of the most beautiful houses in the city too.
Kenwood house was built in the 17th century as a residence for the Earls of Mansford, and has beautiful parkland surrounding it. You may recognise it from a certain film featuring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant.
Winchester Palace is unfortunately just a ruin- but there is enough left to enable you to imagine the grandeur that once was.
This 13th century building was built for the Bishop of Winchester, and stood for a long time- until being destroyed by the Great Fire of London.
You can visit the gardens and remaining ruins including a stunning rose window.
Chiswick House is an 18th century Palladian style stately home- and a really great example of a stunning Grade I-Listed home.
The gardens are supposedly what kicked off the English landscape movement, and are dotted with lakes, ponds, beautiful trees and stunning walks.
You’ll also find the awe-inspiring greenhouse that houses the oldest collection of plant life under glass in the western world. It is home to some rare camellias brought by ship from China in the 18th century.
So there you have it, the absolute best of English Heritage on offer in London.
Visiting just one of these places will leave you wanting more, so make sure you get to as many as possible during your stay- making full use of that membership is a great idea!
After a long weekend of exploring the stunning history of London you can return to relax in your stunning room at the Park Grand Heathrow, one of the best hotels near Hounslow Central Station.
Make your journey to the airport as easy as possible and rest your weary feet before heading home.