Great outdoor places to learn about British history

Food from medieval times arranged on wooden plates. Bread, walnuts, plums, apples. Also mead in a ceramic jug.

If you’d like to learn more about a particular period of British history, one of the best ways is to go to a living history museum. These museums don’t just have things on display – instead there are real (or replica) homes and other buildings. There are also live demonstrations that make you feel like you are stepping back in time.

Note: because of coronavirus, some museums might not be open at the moment.

Stone Age/Iron Age

  • Butser Ancient Farm, Hampshire. Reconstructions of buildings from the Stone Age, Iron Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon times, alongside experimental archaeology.
  • The Scottish Crannog Centre, Perthshire. Reconstructed crannog (Iron age lake house) and hands-on demonstrations of ancient crafts and technologies.
  • Flag Fen, Cambridgeshire. Reconstructed Bronze Age village and genuine preserved wooden walkway.

Roman

  • Fishbourne Roman Palace, West Sussex. Excavated Roman palace including over 20 mosaics, with recreated garden:
  • Wroxeter Roman City, Shropshire. Explore remains and reconstructions of buildings from a (very small) Roman city.
  • Butser Ancient Farm, Hampshire. Reconstructions of buildings from the Stone Age, Iron Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon times, alongside experimental archaeology.

Anglo-Saxon

  • Jarrow Hall, Northumberland. Recreation of an Anglo-Saxon farm and village, with museum about the Venerable Bede (a famous monk).
  • West Stow, West Suffolk.
  • Butser Ancient Farm, Hampshire. Reconstructions of buildings from the Stone Age, Iron Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon times, alongside experimental archaeology.

Norman

Viking

Medieval/Tudor

1600s/1700s

1800s

Industrial Revolution

1900s

  • Milestones, Hampshire. Historic recreations from 1900s onwards:.
  • Black Country Living Museum, West Midlands. As well as Industrial Revolution era sights, there are also shops, houses and vehicles from the 1900s from the Black Country (named for the soot that covered the area in the Industrial Revolution).
  • Great Central Railway, Loughborough to Leicester. Steam heritage railway with themed stations.
  • The Lincolnsfields Centre, Hertfordshire. Children’s World War 2 experience centre, some Sunday openings.

Image: Dpimborough/Dreamstime

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