A Day Out Fit For a Queen

Though iTV’s popular costume drama Victoria has come to an end, there’s no reason why you can’t take a day trip or weekend away that’s fit for a Queen.  Take a step back in time to one of England’s medieval villages or historic market towns and embrace the cobbled streets and old-world ambience.  Ideas courtesy of

Hereford, Herefordshire
Hereford Cathedral is home to the Mappa Mundi, which has been dated to around 1300AD, and is a record of how scholars interpreted the world – both geographically and spiritually (Jerusalem is at the heart of the map) in that period.  It also has the world’s largest ‘chained library’, a security system introduced in the 17th century, which has helped the cathedral retain manuscripts dating back as far as the 8th century.  There’s also a Cider Museum

Ludlow, Shropshire
Famed for having more Michelin stars than anywhere outside London, Ludlow is foodie heaven.  The elegant streets, home to more than 500 listed buildings – mainly Georgian, many half-timbered – hold a bewildering array of delis, specialist food shops, bistros and restaurants.  The town’s history is equally interesting:  Ludlow Castle was once the administrative centre for the whole of the Marches – a vast tract of land along the Welsh border – and the ruins remain impressive.  Broad Street is a fine street, with the elegant Buttercross building at the top and a medieval town gate at the bottom.

Corfe, Dorset
Blue skies, rolling hills and majestic castle ruins – does it get any more idyllic than the village of Corfe?  Located on the Isle of Purbeck, the atmospheric Corfe Castle and the surrounding medieval village look like something out of a fairy tale.  It’s hard to believe this area was once a battleground and that Corfe Castle has been shaped by warfare over the centuries.  Learn more about this Saxon stronghold on a guided walk with the National Trust.  Visit during the school half term for Halloween activities, including storytelling, teddy bear zip-wiring and a spooky trail.

Saffron Walden, Essex
Just 15 miles south of Cambridge, Saffron Walden is a wool town with a history stretching back to the Middle Ages, so a visit to the market here is a must.  When you consider the market place has been bustling with traders since the 12th century and you’re surrounded by timber-framed Tudor houses, you’ll see apples and pears in a whole new light.  Jacobean mansion Audly End House is ten minutes away by bike, or five by bus.  Along with exploring its lavish interiors, servants’ wing and Capability Brown-designed gardens, on October 28th and 29th you can join a Victorian Ghost Stories evening.

Cockington, Devon
Only half a mile from Torquay you’ll find the epitome of a quintessentially English village.  Step back in time as you meander through narrow lanes lined with thatched houses and ornate gardens.  Everything about Cockington screams history – there’s a water mill, a 500 year old forge, a cricket pitch that was once a medieval deer park, and Cockington Court at the heart of the village.  This manor house was once frequented by Agatha Christie and is now a hub for arts and crafts.