England is an absolute must-see destination if history is your passion. With thousands of years of documented history to unravel, amazing historical sites to explore, and a rich past full of some of the most intriguing events known to man, a full investigation into every historical site in the country would take a lifetime. But there are numerous points of interest and important events that should be on any history buff's short list of must-see historical sites in England, including:
1. HADRIAN'S WALL
Still standing today and serving as a visual reminder of the Roman conquest of England and Wales almost 2,000 years ago, Hadrian's Wall marked the northernmost point in England that was under Roman control. 73 miles of wall still stands today, and is one of the major tourist, historical sites in the area.
2. OXFORD UNIVERSITY
Known today as one of the world's leading educational establishments, Oxford was granted a royal charter in 1248 - marking almost 800 years of operation in its current iteration. Classes were taught here as early as 1070 A.D., though it wasn't until the 13th century that it stood out as an intellectual gathering place for the world's more enlightened students and teachers.
3. THE BLACK DEATH
The mid-14th century marked a scary time in England, as the city of London saw nearly half of its population die from the Black Death. This represents the single most destructive event in London's history, and England as a whole would soon see its populace turn to religion with a newfound fervor.
4. GUY FAWKES AND PARLIAMENT
Forever immortalized on television and in Hollywood, Guy Fawkes and his failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605 sought to put a Catholic leader back on the English throne by blowing up Parliament with a massive amount of gunpowder - but an anonymous tip led to his capture and eventual death. Britons today celebrate the 5th of November each year as Guy Fawkes Day, burning his effigy and shooting off fireworks to remember the events of this historic night. Visit Westminster today to see the site of this treasonous act.
5. CHISLEHURST CAVES
Skip forward more than 300 hundred years and England is embroiled in a war against the Germans. London was suffering deadly bombings that killed thousands, forcing some residents to retreat to huge caves in the North Kent area. In fact, about 15,000 people took refuge each night in the Chislehurst Caves, checking in at 7pm and checking out each day at 7am - all for a weekly rate of sixpence for an adult and half that for a child. These caves are now open for tours, and have even been used as a concert venue by artists like the Rolling Stones and David Bowie.
6. SECRET TUNNELS AT DOVER
Made famous by Hollywood and through several notable literary works, the Dunkirk Evacuation was a proud moment for the British people during World War II. With British and French forces trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk, Winston Churchill summoned all available boats, including personal-use yachts, to rescue the trapped soldiers. More than 800 boats saved 338,000 men over the course of 10 days. Today, you can visit the historical tunnels dug into the iconic white cliffs of Dover and listen to the story of Operation Dynamo firsthand.
7. MAUNSELL SEA FORTS
Rusted hulks of metal sit a full ten miles off the coast of Kent and jut out of the sea like sentinels on patrol. These red rusty boxes were used as lookout towers during WWII, seeking out advancing German airplanes or rockets. Gunners would then use anti-aircraft guns to take out these enemy invaders; 22 planes and 30 flying bombs during the war. The sight alone of these imposing, heavily-armed boxes likely turned many a German plane around. You can tour these today, as they have been preserved by local groups. But act quickly, as there is talk of converting them to some type of luxurious offshore hotel.
England travel allows you to trace the course of European history. You'll visit ancient monuments and historical sights, and enjoy unique cultural experiences that will transport you back into the annals of British history. From the modern city of London that is rich with history to the coastal regions that still bear the scars from the Great War, England is a tremendous destination for history buffs around the world.