Top 5 things to do in August
Train with medieval knights, hunt for Roman clues with Horrible Histories and visit real-world fantasy castles from Westeros to Middle-earth.
With the sun shining, August is all about the outdoors, and we’ve got all the inspiration you need to plan fun-filled days out for the whole family this month.
Did you know?
- The month of August is named after the Roman Emperor Augustus. He was the grandnephew of Julius Caesar (for whom July is named) and defeated Marc Antony and Cleopatra in the month of ‘Sextillus’, which was renamed in his honour. Explore more things the Romans did for us…
- The novelist Georgette Heyer was born on 16 August 1902. Heyer is known for her witty and highly-researched romance novels set in the 18th century. In 2015, Stephen Fry unveiled a blue plaque to the author, who he said “captured the life and language of Regency England superbly.” (Discover our historic places with literary connections…)
- Britain’s first electric traffic lights appeared on the streets of London on 3 August 1926. This was the latest in a string of developments in electric lighting in the Victorian period. Read more about the history of lighting…
1. Learn the skills of a medieval knight
This summer holiday, our Hands On History teams will be at historic places across the country, bringing exciting family events for all ages. Try your hand at jousting practice, sword skills, archery and more.
We sent presenter Maddie Moate to Battle Abbey to see what the events are all about and try her hand at some medieval games.
Want to see how the professionals do it?
This month is your last chance for our Legendary Summer events.
Witness Romans clashing, brave knights battling it out in real tournaments, and jousters displaying feats of strength and skill to rival today’s top athletes. Find out more…
2. Share a local myth, legend or folk tale
Starting this month, we’re inviting you to share myths, legends and folklore from your corner of England to feature on our interactive online map. Whether it’s legendary treasure at the bottom of a well, a beast that roams the moor or something wilder, share your story and discover those submitted by others.
3. Break up the journey with historic pit stops
Traveling on England’s roads this month? In the hot weather, forget crowded motorway service stations. Make a stop with a difference with our guide to historic places near motorways and main roads.
Our online map highlights great places to break up a journey with a dose of history, from secluded monastic abbeys to vast seaside castles. Coffee and ice cream awaits…
Looking for travel inspiration?
Find the perfect summer getaway with our regional travel guides.
They include day-by-day itineraries, top things to see and do, accommodation options and top tips to get the most from your time away.
4. Embark on a Rotten Romans quest
To celebrate the release of Horrible Histories: The Movie, discover Britannia’s gory past on one of our Rotten Romans quests this weekend (Sat 3 & Sun 4 August). At Dover Castle, Birdoswald Roman Fort and Chesters Roman Fort, explore to find the question boards and answer all 10 to claim your reward.
Before you go, test your knowledge of rotten Roman life with Rattus Rattus in the video below. Did the Romans really eat rotten chicken guts?
5. Visit the castles that inspired fantasy
Missing Game of Thrones? This summer, visit the real-world buildings that may have inspired great fantasy castles, from Westeros to Middle-earth.
Head to Kenilworth Castle, a fortified medieval palace once surrounded by a great mere of water like Hogwarts itself. Climb to spectacular Beeston Castle in Cheshire, the ‘Castle on the Rock’ perched on a high crag similar to the Eyrie in the Vale of Arryn. And discover how the tiered structure of Minas Tirith can be found at hill forts including Maiden Castle and Old Sarum.
History through your lens
With the sun shining and the warmest British weather on record, many of you shared photos of your adventures at historic places last month.
We love this unusual view of Rievaulx Abbey in North Yorkshire, captured by @mrscavsnaps. Rievaulx was one of England’s most powerful Cistercian monasteries, and its spectacular ruins are some of the finest in the country. A unique exhibition shines a light on the Abbey’s fascinating past and the lives of the monks who called Rievaulx their home.
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