Places

The Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede commemorates by name over 20,000 men and women of the air forces, who were lost in the Second World War during operations from bases in the United Kingdom and North and Western Europe, and who have no known graves. They served in Bomber, Fighter, Coastal, Transport, Flying Training and Maintenance Commands, and came from all parts of the Commonwealth. Some were from countries in continental Europe which had been overrun but whose airmen continued to fight in the ranks of the Royal Air Force.

Aldenham Country Park is a not-for-profit farming, food, care and education enterprise. We aim to enhance the countryside, care for wildlife and farm ecologically.  Visit 100 acres of beautiful countryside, only 12 miles from central London. Enjoy the scenery, walks, explore the farm and 100 Aker Wood, home of Pooh Bear and friends.

A Site of Special Scientific Interest designated former gravel pit in the Lee Valley near Ware, Amwell Nature Reserve supports internationally important numbers of wintering wildfowl. Along with outstanding communities of breeding birds, the reserve is home to 21 species of dragonfly and damselfly resident in Hertfordshire, making this the county’s best site for dragonflies.

The reserve includes two waterbodies, Great Hardmead Lake and Hollycross Lake, which were excavated between 1973 and 1990, and a variety of associated wetland, grassland and woodland habitats.

Ashtead Common is home to over 2,300 ancient oak pollards in north-east Surrey; a National Nature Reserve to visit for woodland, history and rare wildlife. 

Carefully managed using the age-old technique of pollarding, the veteran oaks at Ashtead Common are full of character; their decaying wood makes an impressive sight and a home for rare animals and fungi.

Bekonscot Model Village & Railway is the world’s oldest original model village, opening for the first time in 1929.

With over 90 years of history, a huge model railway, 1.5 acres of well kept gardens and finely detailed model buildings Bekonscot is a great day out for everyone.

Stuck in a 1930s time warp, see England how it used to be, & discover a wonderful little world tucked away from the hustle & bustle of everyday life.

Black Park covers over 500 acres of woodland, heathland and open space in South Buckinghamshire. With family friendly attractions, such as the adventure playground and Go Ape, miles of beautiful woodland tracks and trails, and opportunities for wildlife spotting, the park offers something for everyone to enjoy.

Box Hill is the perfect place to discover a family walk and explore the Surrey Hills. Forming part of the North Downs, Box Hill has views across the surrounding countryside. It's home to lots of wildlife and plants too, including the Adonis blue butterfly and bee orchid.

Bricket Wood Common is a valuable area of semi-natural habitat within a significantly built up part of Hertfordshire, rich in wildlife and offering visitors an opportunity to enjoy a landscape largely undisturbed by the world outside. 

The Bricket Picture House was built by the architect Frederick Wallen for himself, c.1890. The upper floor of the front part of the house has a remarkable set of plaster reliefs carried round three sides of this block. Set in the panels of the timber frame, the figures are in red plaster with brown and white plaster backgrounds. They show late C19 sporting activities, often crossing several panels. 

Brookwood cemetery was the largest cemetery in the world when it opened in 1854, and was intended to be a permanent solution to the space and health crisis posed by the burial of London's dead as the metropolis boomed. The large plot of land on poor sandy soils was acquired by the London Necropolis Company beside the newly built railway, and the London Necropolis Railway had a dedicated terminus at Waterloo and a junction and sidings into the cemetery at Brookwood station.

Linked to Hampton Court Palace by the Longford River, Bushy Park is famed for its mix of waterways, gardens and grassland, and roaming herds of red and fallow deer.

 

To many Londoners, Canary Wharf is an area best avoided. Full of suited workers in the week, and an apparent ghost town at the weekends, why would you visit it?

Cassiobury Park is the largest public open space in Watford comprising of over 190 acres (77 hectares) of green space stretching from Watford town centre to woodland and countryside to the west of the town.

For over forty years Chartwell  was the home of Winston Churchill. He bought the property in September 1922 and lived there until shortly before his death in January 1965. In the 1930s, when Churchill was out of political office, Chartwell became the centre of his world.

Chenies Manor House is one of the UK’s finest Tudor Mansion Houses. Steeped in history, it is set in Buckinghamshire’s charming estate village of Chenies and overlooks the Chess Valley. The venue’s grounds boast award winning gardens and original 13th Century features including a Medieval well, a dungeon and a reputed priest hole.

Chesham is nestled in the centre of four dry valleys in the Chilterns AONB. The River Chess is a rare chalk stream once famous for watercress beds.

Explore the most accurate example of a surviving Tudor village in Kent. There's a nearby church, discover the chiding stone, tea rooms and shop as well as open countryside spaces.

Clandon Park was one of the country’s most complete examples of a Palladian mansion, gutted by fire in April 2015. Built for the Onslow family in the 1720s. Given to teh National Trust in 1956, the house showcased a superb collection of 18th century furniture, porcelain and textiles.

 

For more than 300 years Cliveden was home to dukes, earls, viscounts and for a while a prince. A glittering hub of society, Cliveden hosted exclusive parties and political gatherings for generations.

With the rivers Colne and Misbourne flowing through the park and the Grand Union Canal close by, water is a key feature of this attractive park. It is a fantastic place to get out and explore the surrounding countryside, with walks to the picturesque Denham Village and out through the wider Colne Valley

Eton College Dorney Lake has been the epicentre for high performance rowing and flat water canoeing in the UK since its construction in 1999. Open to the public all year round, come and experience the awe inspiring 2,200m Olympic Standard Lake or explore the 400 acres of Arboretum Parkland boasting over 30,000 trees of both native and exotic species.

"Here Darwin thought and worked for forty years"

With its unique place in the history of science and evolution Down House was Charles Darwin’s family home and is a site of outstanding international significance. See the gardens that were Darwin’s ‘outdoor laboratory’ where he spent many hours making observations and conducting experiments that helped develop his ground-breaking theories. Stroll down Darwin’s ‘thinking path', take a wander past bountiful vegetable patches and enjoy fragrant flower beds surrounded by the tranquil countryside.

Charming Emmetts Garden is an Edwardian estate that was owned by Frederic Lubbock.The garden was laid out in the late 19th century,  and was influenced by William Robinson. It contains many exotic and rare trees and shrubs from across the world. Standing on one of the highest spots in Kent, Emmetts Garden offers panoramic views over the unspoilt Weald as well as some great walking opportunities.

Epping Forest is a 2,400-hectare (5,900-acre) area of ancient woodland between Epping in Essex to the north, and Forest Gate in Greater London to the south, straddling the border between London and Essex. It is a former royal forest, and is managed by the City of London Corporation.

"The Epsom Cluster" was a group of five psychiatric hospitals...

The creation of the county of London in 1889 and the passing of the Lunacy Act in 1890 profoundly affected the provision of care for the mentally ill within both the new county of London and the counties surrounding it. The new London County Council took over responsibility for the mentally ill in its area: Hanwell in Ealing, Colney Hatch in north London and Banstead in Surrey. These asylums were, however, woefully inadequate for the tasks they faced.

Situated on the North Downs in Surrey, Epsom Downs Racecourse stages the Greatest Flat Race in the World, the Derby; a race studded with the names of the greatest horses to have graced Britain. The Derby has been held here in June since the 1700s. 

 

With panoramic views of London's skyline, ancient history, wildlife-rich chalk grassland and expansive countryside walks, Farthing Downs offers something for everyone.

Situated at the tip of the North Downs on the edge of London and Surrey, this chalk spur is home to an array of birds, butterflies and wildflowers; combined with neighbouring Happy Valley, Farthing Downs has the most extensive population of greater yellow-rattle in London which can be seen among brightly coloured orchids, bedstraws and scabious in spring and summer.

Forty Hall is a Grade 1 Listed Jacobean Manor House, nestled in leafy Enfield and set amidst an idyllic landscape.

Step in to the Hall to admire the fine architecture and stunning period rooms. Enjoy learning about the history of Forty Hall Estate through the ages and about the life of original owner Sir Nicholas Rainton.

Hainault Forest consists of 113 hectares (280 acres) of mainly ancient woodland pasture which is owned by Essex County Council and leased to Woodland Trust, as well as 54 hectares (134 acres) of arable land (known as Havering Park Farm) purchased in 2006.

Hainault Forest, together with the land owned by the London Borough of Redbridge, makes up the larger whole known as Hainault Forest Country Park.

The original Tudor Hampton Court Palace was begun by Cardinal Wolsey in the early 16th century, but it soon attracted the attention of Henry VIII, who brought all his six wives here. Surrounded by gorgeous gardens and famous features such as the Maze and the Great Vine, the palace has been the setting for many nationally important events.

Spanning more than 700 years, the history of Hever Castle is rich and varied. The original medieval defensive castle, with its gatehouse and walled bailey, was built in 1270. In the 15th and 16th centuries it was the home of one of the most powerful families in the country, the Boleyns, who added the Tudor dwelling within the walls. 

Hornchurch Country Park is located at the southern end of Hornchurch on the site of the WW1 RFC Suttons Farm and WW2 RAF Hornchurch.

The former being famous for being the base from which Lieutenant Leefe-Robinson VC took off from to shoot down the first airship over land and the latter as a major Battle of Britain Airfield from which many famous pilot aces flew from.

In 2015 Essex Wildlife Trust Ingrebourne Valley Visitor Centre opened within the park.

Originally known as the Watlington and Princes Risborough Railway Company, the railway was largely promoted by local land owners following the failure of the planned extension of the Wallingford branch through to Watlington. Construction of the branch was authorised by an Act of Parliament dated 26 July, 1869.

The Jubilee River is a hydraulic channel in southern England. It is 11.6 km (7.2 mi) long and constructed in the late 1990s and early 2000s to take overflow from the Thames and so alleviate flooding to areas in and around the towns of MaidenheadWindsor, and Eton.

Knowle is a remarkably preserved and complete early Jacobean remodelling of a medieval archiepiscopal palace. From an even older manor house, it was built and extended by the Archbishops of Canterbury after 1456. It then became a royal possession during the Tudor dynasty when Henry VIII hunted here and found the place a useful residence for his daughter - later to become Mary I - during his divorce from her mother, Catherine of Aragon. Elizabeth I is also said to have visited.

Langley Park is steeped in history and a nationally important haven for wildlife. The stunning Rhododendron collection in the Temple Gardens is an explosion of colour from April to June, with views to Windsor Castle and beyond. In Kings Wood and out into the wider parkland veteran Oak and Chestnut trees, some planted by Capability Brown, provide valuable habitats for rare and endangered invertebrates. To complement all of this there is a fantastic Tea Room serving hot and cold snack and homemade cakes, a children’s play garden, arboretum and history and tree trails.

Lee Valley Regional Park is a 10,000-acre (40 km2) 26 miles (42 km) long linear park, much of it green spaces, running through an area generally known as the Lea Valley. Greater London's largest park, Lee Valley Park is more than four times the size of Richmond Park, extending beyond Greater London's borders into the neighbouring counties of Hertfordshire and Essex.

The Leighton Buzzard Railway is one of the last survivors of the hundreds of 2 foot (610mm) gauge light railways built in Britain for industrial use. It is believed to be the only remaining line which owed its existence to the ready availability of surplus materials and equipment from the First World War battlefield supply lines.

Limehouse takes its name from the limekilns that operated from the mid-14th century, converting Kentish chalk into quicklime for the capital’s building industry. From the late 16th century ships were built at Limehouse and traders supplied provisions for voyages.

We’re proud to invite you to the home of WWF-UK. One of the greenest buildings in the UK, the Living Planet Centre is not only the heart of the charity, but also a beautiful education and visitor centre.

From family activities and school workshops, to behind-the-scenes tours and inspiring public talks we have a wonderful range of activities to inspire and educate. We also offer a fantastic event venue, right in the heart of Woking, Surrey.

Among the most outstanding Roman villa survivals in Britain, Lullingstone is set in the attractive surroundings of the Darent Valley in Kent. The villa was begun in about AD 100, and developed to suit the tastes and beliefs of successive wealthy owners, reaching its peak of luxury in the mid-4th century. Visitors to the villa today can still view the spectacular mosaics and prints of the rare wall paintings, a heated bath-suite and a ‘house-church’.

An eighteenth century working watermill and museum set in an attractive riverside setting. Explore our three higgledy piggledy exhibition rooms packed with their colourful displays of local art and exhibitions about our fascinating history.

The Welwyn Hatfield Museum Service is based here and holds the social history collection for the district. Look out for details on the many art and crafts workshops and fun activities for children and adults we run throughout the year.

Mogador is a hamlet which takes its name from the former name of the Moroccan port of Essaouira. It is at the edge of Banstead Heath, which provides it a green buffer from other communities, and about 1 km from the top of the North Downs. At an elevation of about 200 metres it is one of the highest settlements in south-east England.

Set in 32 acres of countryside in the heart of East London, the Mudchute is a community charity, with a working farm, stables, a children’s nursery and a wide range of education activities. They are open every day, free of charge.

 

Myddelton House Gardens, the life-long home of E A Bowles, was salvaged from disrepair with a Heritage Lottery Fund in 2011 and restored to tell the story of the famous botanist’s life and gardening style. 

The New River is neither new nor a river. It is a water supply aqueduct, completed in 1613, to bring drinking water from Hertfordshire to North London. It used to go from New Gauge in Hertford down as far as Sadlers Wells in Clerkenwell but now the overground waterway now ends at Stoke Newington.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park knits a vibrant area of East London into a modern urban destination - redefining the historic industrial and creative heartlands of Stratford and Hackney Wick as an exciting and sustainable place to live, work, study, play and visit. Award winning parklands, waterways and playgrounds are free to visit every day.

One of the line-of-site stations between London to Portsmouth used in the Napoleonic wars from 1795-1816. Lord George Murray, stimulated by reports of the French Chappe semaphore, proposed a system of visual telegraphy to the Admiralty in 1795. He employed rectangular framework towers with six five-foot-high octagonal shutters on horizontal axes that flipped between horizontal and vertical positions to signal.

Penshurst Place is the ancestral home of the Sidney family, and was the birthplace of the great Elizabethan poet, courtier and soldier, Sir Philip Sidney. The original medieval house is one of the most complete surviving examples of 14th-century domestic architecture in England.

The House, once the property of King Henry VIII, was left to his son King Edward VI and granted to Sir William Sidney in 1552. The Sidney family have been in continuous occupation for more than 460 years since.

Rainham Hall is a Georgian house built in 1729 for Captain John Harle, a sea-captain and merchant. He invested money dredging the River Ingrebourne, thereby giving trading vessels a route up to Rainham from the Thames. He had Rainham Hall constructed in 1729 using high-quality materials as a showcase for the building products he sold. The house was transferred to the National Trust in 1949; let to a number of private tenants, it remained closed to the public until late 2015.

Rainham Marshes protects 411 hectares of ancient, low-lying grazing marsh in the Thames Estuary. Its complex of wet grassland and ditches, together with grassland and scrub, supports many breeding and wintering birds. Wildlife also includes scarce wetland plants and insects, and a key population of the nationally declining water vole.  

The RSPB is working to manage important habitats and improve their biodiversity. A former military firing range, the reserve is now developing into a great place to see wildlife, and with lots of the former military heritage still to be seen.

The Royal Horticultural Society's garden at Wisley is one of five gardens run by the Society. Wisley is now a large and diverse garden covering 240 acres (971,000 m²). In addition to numerous formal and informal decorative gardens, several glasshouses and an extensive arboretum, it includes small scale "model gardens" which are intended to show visitors what they can achieve in their own gardens, and a trials field where new cultivars are assessed.

Rosherville Gardens was one of the largest and most popular Victorian pleasure gardens.  It survived for seventy years, having been laid out in 1837 and finally closing to the public just before the First World War.  The gardens were built in a disused chalk pit near the River Thames. Much of the land in the area belonged to Jeremiah Rosher who had invented the name Rosherville for this part of Northfleet.

The Royal Gunpowder Mills is amongst a handful of places associated with the manufacture of explosives dating back many centuries which have subsequently been preserved and opened to the public. Gunpowder production began on the site in the 1660s and after the Crown acquired it in 1787 it became one of the world’s most important centres for the understanding and manufacture of gunpowder. A century later most of the factory was converted for the manufacture of chemical explosives and set standards that were emulated at home and abroad.

Runnymede is famous as the site of the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215, but today it's home to a collection of memorials to the struggle for liberty. As well as the monument to Magna Carta, you can visit memorials to JFK and the Allied Air Forces of the Second World War.

Nearly 800 years ago, King John met with a group of barons on this small patch of countryside. It was here he sealed Magna Carta, seen by many as the symbolic first step on the road to modern democracy. In this spirit, today Runnymede has several memorials to the ongoing struggle for liberty.

Sir Eric Savill first created this woodland garden in the 1930s, and since then many others have undertaken a tireless quest to add their own expertise and creativity. The Rose Garden in particular, designed by Andrew Wilson and opened by H.M. the Queen in 2010, is a magnificent addition. Visitors can wander the swirls of rose beds, and enjoy the perfume at its best from a central walkway.

 

Shoreham is a pretty village on the River Darenth as it cuts through the North Downs. The village contains four traditional independent pubs: Ye Olde George Inne, The King's Arms, The Two Brewers and the Crown;

Stane Street was one of six hard-surfaced roads built by the Romans from London. It ran south-west through Ewell and south of what later became Epsom, to the military and naval supply base at Regnum (Chichester). It was 56 miles long and archaeological evidence suggests the road was brought into use between 50 and 70AD.
It is not known what the Romans called the road, but the present name comes from the Old English for ‘stone’ (stān) and referred to the road surface.

The Thames Barrier is one of the largest movable flood barriers in the world. The Environment Agency runs and maintains the Thames Barrier as well as London’s other flood defences.

The Barrier is operated once a month for maintenance and test purposes. Details of the next planned closures are listed below...

Tilbury Fort is one of the finest surviving examples of 17th-century military engineering in England. Built on the site of a smaller Tudor fort, it was designed to defend the river Thames passage to London against enemy ships. It was in nearby West Tilbury that Elizabeth I famously rallied her makeshift army awaiting the Armada in 1588.

The 100 foot totem pole was a gift to HM the Queen from the people of Canada, carved by master craftsman Chief Mungo Martin of the Kwakiutl Federation. It was erected in 1958 to mark the centenary of the establishment of the province of British Colombia as a Crown Colony.

The Roman Theatre of Verulamium is unique. Built in about 140AD it is the only example of its kind in Britain, being a theatre with a stage rather than an Amphitheatre. Initially, the arena would have been used for anything from religious processions and dancing, to wrestling, armed combat and wild beast shows. From about 180AD the stage came into greater use and the auditorium was extended. By about 300AD, after some redevelopment work, the Theatre could seat 2000 spectators.

Victoria Park is one of London's most visited green spaces with approximately 9 million visitors every year. The park spans 86.18 hectares (213.0 acres) of open space and opened to the public in 1845.

The lake at Virginia Water was created in the 18th century; construction work first began in 1752. However on 1 September 1768 a great storm destroyed the pondhead and Cascade, and emptied the lake!

Thankfully, under the guidance of George III, work soon began to reconstruct and extend the lake to its present day size and scale. The lake and its grounds were reinstated as a place of pageantry and spectacle, with fishing temples along the shore and an ornate Chinese junk peacefully resting on the waters. 

The gatehouse and bridge at Waltham Abbey are among the remnants of one of the great monastic foundations of the Middle Ages. The abbey is the traditional resting place of King Harold II, the last Anglo-Saxon king.

Harold II’s father, Harold Godwin, Earl of Wessex, is said to have been cured miraculously of paralysis by praying before the Holy Rood (or Cross) at Waltham, and in gratitude refounded the church there in 1030. It was again rebuilt in the early 12th century and the nave of this third building remains in use today.

Ware has been occupied since at least the Mesolithic period (which ended about 4000 BC). The Romans had a sizable settlement here and foundations of several buildings, including a temple, and two cemeteries have been found. Ware was on Ermine Street, the Roman road from London to Lincoln.

At Weald Country Park, you can enjoy over 520 acres of woodland, lakes, hay and wildflower meadows, deer park, open grassland and spectacular views.

The park is well-loved for its wildlife; fallow deer, cattle, herons, mallard ducks and other water birds. There is also have a group of peacocks who come to visit most days. Weald Country Park originated as a medieval deer park during the 12th century and now you can get up close to our resident herds in the deer enclosure.

The River Wey Navigation is one of the very first river navigations in the country, predating the canal age by over 100 years. It was created between 1651 and 1653 to offer Guildford merchants a magic highway to London – the A3 of its day. It was the brainchild of Sir Richard Weston, who came from a family with extensive estates in Surrey and who was determined to make this part of the county memorable for a great engineering achievement.

165 acres of ancient woodland and believed to be more than 400 years old, it is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to its variety of woodland habitats. Used for a wide variety of outdoor activities including horse riding and walking

Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. It is open to visitors throughout the year.

Founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, it has since been the home of 39 monarchs. Today The Queen spends most of her private weekends at the Castle.