The Best Cultural Drives For History Lovers

I have to admit, I’m a total history buff. My ideal holiday is one exploring museums, castles and ancient sites; I truly believe you cannot get to know a place without first understanding its history. Currently, my plan is to travel to as many European cities as possible, before heading off to the rest of the world.

I have some great travel plans in the UK and Ireland lined up for the next year, but this time we’re hoping to drive. With that in mind, I thought I’d compile my favourite historical destinations and how to get there on the roads. So without further ado, here are the best cultural drives in UK and Ireland for history lovers.

WHITBY ABBEY, NORTH YORKSHIRE

Whitby Abbey is a stunning ruined 13th century abbey that overlooks the sea in Whitby, North Yorkshire. The inspiration for Bram Stoker’s gothic novel Dracula, it’s the ideal destination for those who love Gothic architecture or places of religious interest. Whitby is a lovely town too, and it has some excellent fish ‘n’ chips.

Where is it?

You will find Whitby Abbey overlooking the sea on a cliff top East of Whitby.

Is there parking?

There is a car park located 100 meters away from the abbey, though bear in mind there are 199 steps to get to the abbey! (There is disabled access available).

DUBLINIA, IRELAND

Dublinia is a museum in Dublin, uniquely showcasing its Viking and Medieval history. At Dublinia you are transported into a world where history comes to life, and you can climb the medieval St Michael’s Tower. It’s a really fun museum and perfect for history lovers young and old!

In fact, Dublin is an amazing city for history lovers overall; it’s one of the most interesting and entertaining cities I’ve ever visited, and there’s so much to do. If you’re interested in Irish drives, www.chill.ie is your best bet for covering car insurance.

Where is it?

Right in the city centre of Dublin, located at the Christchurch, the crossroads between new and old Dublin.

Is there parking? 

Yes, the closest car park is Q-Park Christ Church on Werburgh Street, behind Jury’s Hotel. Dublinia customers receive a special discount rate when parking.

STONEHENGE, WILTSHIRE

No list of historical sites in Britain can be complete without including the iconic stone circle, Stonehenge. The site is one of the wonders of the world and along with the actual stone circle, you can immerse yourself in the history of our Neolithic ancestors by visiting replicas of their houses and learn a great deal in the visitors centre.

Where is it?

Stonehenge can be found Off the A360 at Airman’s Corner. It’s about a two and a half hour drive away from London.

Is there parking? 

Yes, parking is available on the site and is free for English Heritage members and those who have pre-booked tickets (this is highly recommended).

EDINBURGH CASTLE, SCOTLAND

All history buffs love a good castle, and you can’t do much better than the magnificent Edinburgh Castle. Looking over the Scottish capital, Edinburgh Castle is an important part of Scotland’s historical and cultural heritage and you can easily spend the whole day exploring the site. Perfect for families, the castle hosts an array of fun events throughout the year.

Where is it?

You can’t miss it, it’s in the centre of Edinburgh.

Is there parking?

Yes, you can get discounted parking from the castle’s audio booth when visiting, making it £10 for 2-12 hours.

ROMAN BATHS, BATH

If you love the idea of a Roman spa, then be sure to visit the Roman Baths in Bath. The Roman Baths are absolutely stunning and has been voted the most romantic building in Britain. If you’re feeling luxurious, you can book a special day including a trip to the Thermae Bath Spa (a real working spa based on the Roman Baths) to truly get into the Roman spirit.

Where is it?

In the centre of Bath.

Is there parking?

Not on site but there are plenty of car parks around in the city centre.

Have you been to anywhere on this list? I’d love to hear if you have.