Easter weekend is just around the corner, and there’s no better way to spend it than visiting some beautiful places with the family. Hopefully, the weather can hold out!

“It’s been a long, long winter and our sites – with their wide-open spaces, beautiful buildings, fun events and fascinating stories – will be the tonic we all need,”  says Kate Mavor, English Heritage’s chief executive.


As the long Easter weekend approaches, here are a few potential entries to fill empty diary pages.

6 fabulous days out to fill the Easter weekend

1. Tintagel Castle, Cornwall


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Lennor Grandison (@cornishgirl15)

The legend of King Arthur captivated Victorian audiences, and even if his story has been embellished over the decades, it’s still a fascinating fairy-tale. His supposed home was this cliff-top castle, in existence since the 5th century. Whether or not you believe the story of the mighty king, his birthplace is equally epic. Partially set on a rugged headland jutting into the Cornish Sea, the windswept ruins consist of various cubby holes and secret corners. Although much of the structure has disappeared, imagination can easily fill in the gaps. The addition of a new footbridge connects this area to the mainland, while a path also leads to the beach and several dramatic coves.

2. Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Paola Garcia Broeders (@paolaveronica4322)

Castles are the ideal antidote to lockdown. For now, the corridors of this fantasy Stuart mansion remain closed, but the gardens will be wide open. A statue of Venus forms the focal point of the Fountain Garden, where a small private chamber is set into the wall. Elsewhere, the lawns are a carnival of colour in spring, bursting with a kaleidoscope of 5,000 plants and flowers. Even from the outside, the romantic property is a spectacle, and a teaser for returning once everything is open.

3. Belsay Hall Castle and Gardens, Northumberland


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Gordon Bell (@gordonbell351)

Delve into a jungle of oversized plants and exotic flowers in a green space that could easily have played host to a population of Jurassic-era dinosaurs. The Quarry Garden is one of several glorious outdoor spaces surrounding this 19th century Grecian manor house and medieval castle. Spanning seven centuries of construction, the property was created and is still owned by the Middleton family (under the care of English Heritage). Although doors are locked for now, there’s plenty of scope for admiring their fine work in wildflower meadows and along woodland trails. Keen gardeners will also appreciate one of the biggest collections of rhododendrons in the country.

4. Down House, Kent

Down House
Down House (Alamy/PA)

When he wasn’t sailing across oceans and studying finches in far-flung locations, biologist Charles Darwin lived with his family in this country home. The gardens doubled as an outdoor laboratory, allowing the revolutionary theorist to refine many of his ideas. The weed garden, for example, played an important role in informing his theory of natural selection. Elsewhere, he strolled around the premises mulling over thoughts. Visitors can follow his Sand Walk, a trail surrounded by native trees, or explore greenhouses filled with orchids and carnivorous plants – fertile grounds for his work on plant growth and pollination.

5. 1066 Battle of Hastings, Abbey and Battlefield, East Sussex

An aerial view of the remains of Battle Abbey
An aerial view of the remains of Battle Abbey (Alamy/PA)

Brush up on British history with a trip to this famous battleground, where the armies of King Harold and William the Conqueror fought in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings. Find out how the Norman victory resulted in the introduction of the common law, or simply stroll around the well-preserved grounds while admiring the Sussex countryside. The Harold Stone marks the spot where Harold fell – a turning point in history – while wooden sculptures of soldiers help paint a vivid picture of what happened. Explore the ruins of the Benedictine Battle Abbey, founded by William shortly after his victory, and now registered as a Grade 1 listed building.

6. Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Her Remarkable History (@herremarkablehistory)

Now riddled with more holes than a slab of Swiss cheese, this Gothic masterpiece has been an inspiration for numerous writers and poets. Bram Stoker gleaned ideas for his Dracula stories after visiting, and Caedmon, the first named English poet, also found ideas flowed after touring the remains of the building. Originally founded in 657 as an Anglo-Saxon monastery, it was destroyed by the Vikings and rebuilt in the 13th century.

Visitors must pre-book slots online. Various admission prices apply. Visit english-heritage.org.uk.

You may be interested in…



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.