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Lesser Known Historical Sites in England

22nd April 2024 Print

England is home to some well-preserved historical sites. That said, there are many that are overshadowed by their international cousins, or even by popular sites nearby. So, let's shine a light on some of the lesser known historical sites. 


When it comes to the empire of ancient Rome, perhaps the most iconic structure of them all is the Colosseum. This structure has become so famous, in fact, that it is almost synonymous with the history of the era, inspiring a wide range of media. For example, online casino enthusiasts can play a wide range of Paddy Power's online slots that are Roman-themed, such as Gladiator: Mega Cash Collect, Rome: The Golden Age, and Shields of Rome, all of which depict the Colosseum as the setting for the game. This allows the gameplay to be more believable, authentic, and immersive, taking players into the Colosseum itself. 

Whilst the Colosseum in Rome is so well known, what you might not know is that the UK had one of its own, nestled in the city of Chester. Archaeologists discovered the amphitheatre in 2007, coined the British Colosseum, which is thought to have been designed as a small-scale replica of the one in Rome on the orders of Septimus Severus. Thanks to items discovered at the location, archaeologists believe gladiator fights happened within the arena, just like they did in Rome. Despite the scale, Chester is one of two places in the world to have had such an ornate Colosseum. 


Of course, it goes without saying that York has some of the most impressive historical buildings in the country - just look at York Minster, York Assembly Rooms, the Shambles, and Merchant Adventurers Hall. Much of the buildings date back to the 14th century or earlier, thanks to the rich surviving medieval culture of the city. Whilst some of these buildings are the best surviving examples of this architecture, the oldest house in York isn't so lucky. 

The Norman House is known as York's oldest house, built in the 12th century. Only some of the structure remains, discovered when surrounding buildings were demolished in 1939. The remains are tucked away out of sight, but can be visited via an alleyway between 50 and 52 Stonegate. 

Salisbury Plain 


Salisbury Plain is known as one of the richest archaeological sites in the country. More so, it is known as the location of one of England's most famous landmarks - Stonehenge. This prehistoric megalithic structure is the subject of much mystery due to the mystical purpose and the confusion behind construction methods. However, just round the corner, you'll also find some magnificent chalk carvings. 

Perhaps the most famous of all the chalk carvings in the area - and, indeed, in the country, according to Wanderlust magazine - is the Westbury White Horse, the oldest of several similar hill carvings in the area. The enigmatic horse drawing was first carved in the 1600s, spanning 170ft and 180ft in height. Though admittedly not as ancient as the Uffington White Horse in Oxfordshire, which dates back 3,000 years, the inspiration for the carving is said to be the victory of King Alfred in the region back in 878. 

And there you have it - just a few historical sites in England that you may have missed, or even never heard of. All that's left to do is revisit the tourist hotspots and uncover them in a new light. 

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Colosseum stonehenge