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UK Culture and History

The recorded history of Britain goes way back to the Roman invasion of AD 43 but there is evidence of earlier civilisations. The prime example being Stonehenge in Wiltshire, now a popular tourist destination could be up to 5000 years old.

The Romans themselves left a number of landmarks around the country and still have an influence on the very structure of Britain even today - laying the foundations for modern roads and creating a canal system, with the Foss Dyke canal still in use today. There are more obvious examples too; from Hadrian's Wall on the border of Scotland to the Roman Baths in Bath, Somerset, taking in the walls of York and Chester along the way.

Castles are hugely popular with tourists as they offer a glimpse of what life could have been like in ancient Britain. These vary greatly, from ruins that could at first glance appear to be a few shaky walls to well preserved structures, there are no guarantees but sometimes the most dilapidated can come with the most interesting story. The Arthurian legends have been retold to the generations upon generations so if you're planning a trip to Cornwall you may consider a trip to Tintagel Castle, which has strong ties to King Arthur, while some of the castles in Wales are also associated with the legendary king. There are plenty of other castles across throughout Britain, such as Conwy Castle and Edinburgh Castle, each with their own story and history.

If you're more interested in the current monarchy then Buckingham Palace in London offers tours throughout the year, and the capital city is full of historic attractions suitable to all tastes. The infamous Tower of London, a castle that was also used as a prison, and St Paul's Cathedral are notable examples but there are quirkier activities too, such as a tour around Whitechapel, the hunting ground of the infamous and mysterious Jack the Ripper, a ride on the London Eye or one of the many museums and art galleries on offer.

There are plenty of museums dotted around the country if you plan on travelling further afield that explain different aspects of Britain's rich past, such as the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, Leeds' Royal Armouries or the Jorvik Viking Centre in York, where visitors can learn about Norse invaders.

William Shakespeare, one of the England's most famous sons, is arguably the most famous playwright ever to have lived and his home town of Stratford-upon-Avon attracts tourists in their droves. You can see where the Bard lived and worked, and of course catch a show. Theatres throughout Britain may well have a Shakespeare play on at any given time of year and if you don't wish to visit his birthplace, although it is of course worth checking local listings before you visit - with most theatres offering a comprehensive performance schedule online.

Stratford-upon-Avon can be fairly busy so if you're looking for something a little quieter perhaps a trip to the Lake District or the North York Moors would be more suitable. The Lakes were home to Romantic poets such as Wordsworth and Coleridge, while the North York Moors are known as Bronte country and both are areas of extreme natural beauty that are also rich in cultural heritage.

The UK led the way in the industrial revolution of the 18th century, developing the first steam engine locomotives, which changed the landscape of the country forever. Railway enthusiasts may wish to head to York for the National Railway Museum or take a ride on a traditional steam train in places such as the Lake District and Yorkshire. Those interested in the industrial revolution in general could visit Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire, which is now a popular tourist attraction run by the National Trust, or the Ironbridge Gorge on the River Severn in Shropshire. For a darker side of Britain's history Liverpool and Bristol both have slavery museums, while there are smaller permanent exhibitions in London and Hull, the 2017 UK City of Culture.

Britain also has an interesting and diverse sporting history as the home of cricket, football and rugby. There are museums dedicated to these pastimes, such as the National Football Museum in Manchester, and it may be worth checking out a game or event somewhere and immerse yourself in some modern history too if visiting within the football, rugby or cricket seasons.