15+ D-Day Sites to Visit in England
When we think of D-Day, we all have mental images of troops landing on the beaches of Normandy. What about where they left from? D-Day was months in the planning and preparations, all of which took place in the UK. In honour of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, we have compiled a list of the sites in the UK, that includes Buckinghamshire, where you can learn about the other side of the D-Day landings …Continue Reading >>
Set on a prominent spur on the Chiltern hills, Ivinghoe Beacon is a small example of the hillforts across much of Britain in the Late Bronze and Iron Ages. Excavation during the 1960s found evidence of roundhouses and granaries. It is likely that local tribes only occupied the fort for a short period in the seventh or sixth centuries BCE. Although two and a half millennia of erosion have denuded many of the fort’s ramparts, the site still offers impressive views over much of the landscape. Photo © Pointillist/Wikimedia [Website]
In a field on the banks of the River Twin lie two adjacent burial mounds – the Thornborough Barrows. While barrows have been used as burial spaces at many points in British history, these examples date from the Romano-British period. Excavations in the mid-19th century and the 1970s revealed that Romano-Britons interred at least eight cremation burials here, often accompanied by grave goods. Investigation on the other side of the river has also uncovered the existence of a Romano-British temple built in the late 3rd century.
Now in Milton Keynes, Bancroft Roman Villa was built in the late 3rd century on a site previously occupied by a farmhouse. Major renovations took place in the 4th century, including mosaic floors, formal gardens, and an ornamental fish-pond. Excavation of the villa took place in the 1970s and 1980s, although archaeologists reburied the original stonework to ensure preservation. Today, replica ruins show the villa’s original layout. One of the site’s beautiful mosaics is on display in the Central Milton Keynes Shopping Centre.
The oldest standing building in Buckingham, the present chapel dates from the 15th century. The site itself has an older history; a hospital stood in the site during the 12th century before being converted into a chantry chapel in the 13th. The Royal Latin School occupied the site in 1540 and continued to use it for educational purposes until 1907. George Gilbert Scott, the prominent Neo-Gothic architect, carried out restoration work in the 19th century. Photo © peterastn/Wikimedia [Website]
Burying people under earthen mounds came back in vogue during the 7th century, when members of the Anglo-Saxon elite chose it as a means of disposing of their bodily remains. The Taplow Barrow dates from this period and is roughly contemporary with the more famous ship burial at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk. Antiquarians excavated the mound in the 1880s. The name Taplow derives from the Old English for “Tæppa’s mound”, suggesting that the individual buried here may have been named Tæppa. Photo © Stefan Czapski/Wikimedia
The King’s Head Inn in Aylesbury originates from the mid-15th century and continues to operate as a pub much as it has done over the past five centuries. The inn’s Great Hall dates to the 1470s and part of its original wattle and daub construction is on display. From the 17th century, the King’s Head became a coaching inn with space made to accommodate horse-drawn carriages. The pub now contains various features and artefacts from different points in its history, and also several ghost stories. Photo © Chris Nyborg/Wikimedia [Website]
One of the oldest post mills in Britain, Pitstone likely dates from the 17th century. The year 1627 is carved on part of the framework, although this may reflect repair work. In 1874, Adelbert Brownlow-Cust, the 3rd Earl Brownlow, purchased the mill and then let it to a local farmer. The windmill remained in operation until 1902, when it sustained heavy damage in a storm. The National Trust took control in 1937, since which time volunteers have restored the mill to its original working condition. Photo © Andrew Smith/Wikimedia [Website]
Built between 1740 and 1800, West Wycombe Park is the country house commissioned by Francis Dashwood, an aristocrat who achieved notoriety as a libertine. Architecturally, West Wycombe Park is unique and includes both Palladian and Neoclassical features. The surrounding estate was landscaped in the 18th century and features various follies and Greco-Roman style temples. The National Trust owns the Grade I listed building and keeps it open to the public, although the Dashwood family continue to reside there. Photo © gjryoung/Wikimedia [Website]
The grand Italianate manor at Cliveden was built in the mid-19th century for the Duke of Sutherland. Architect Charles Barry designed the present building, which replaced an earlier 17th century house that had burned down. Much of the interior design and decoration derives from the late 19th century. Situated on a ridge along the Chiltern Hills, the building has great views over the River Thames. The National Trust-owned building is now a luxury hotel, although booked tours take place several times a week. Photo © Shaun Ferguson/Wikimedia [Website]
Another of Buckinghamshire’s grand country estates, Waddesdon Manor dates from the 1870s and 1880s. Designed in the Neo-Renaissance style by the architect Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur, it deliberately resembles the French chateaux of the Loire valley. The prominent banker Ferdinand de Rothschild commissioned it to serve as a weekend residence where he could entertain and store his large collection of artworks, many of which are still on display. It remained a home to the Rothschild family until the 1950s. [Website]
A local museum with a large collection of objects that relate to the history of the area, that ranges from palaeontological fossils to the not so distant past of Amersham. There are archaeological displays of Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age objects, as well as various artefacts from the Roman period. The museum occupies an original Tudor hall house – a half timbered house built in the 15th century. The museum has just re-opened to the public after substantial renovation. [Website]