On the 23rd April each year, England commemorates the life of its revered patron, Saint George. A Christian martyr, Roman soldier and legendary dragon slayer, the saint and his colours have become a national symbol of England. Patriots and visitors alike celebrate the day by wearing red roses and attending the annual St George’s Day parade in towns across the country. If you are wondering what to do on St George’s Day, check out our alternative activities and learn all about England’s rich history and notable landmarks.
Discover Hadrian’s Wall
Also known as the Roman Wall, this 72-mile fortification was built in 122 AD to defend against the rebellious Scottish tribes, known as Picts. This enormous stone wall was once regarded as the frontier of the Roman Empire, and was lined by garrisons and outposts as a show of strength against the local population. You can hike along the Hadrian’s Wall Trail, discover the ruins of Roman forts or visit the Roman Army Museum to learn more about the lives of the soldiers stationed along the ramparts.
Brush up on Your Literature in Stratford Upon Avon
England’s most famous writer William Shakespeare is thought to have been born and to have died on St George’s Day, so a visit to his hometown is a great way to celebrate both simultaneously. Stratford-upon-Avon will be celebrating with particular gusto in 2016, as this year also marks the 400th anniversary of the death of a man who is often hailed as the greatest poet and playwright in all of history. You can visit the home of the Bard, delight in the birthday parade or watch a performance put on by the Royal Shakespeare Company in either of their phenomenal venues of the Swan Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
Travel Back in Time at Stonehenge
One of the greatest wonders in England, this prehistoric stone circle in Wiltshire attracts well over a million visitors every year. The mysteries of how this 4,500 year-old stone construction came to be has long been a huge source of curiosity across the world, and despite numerous theories being put forward, it still remains unsolved. This icon of Britain and UNESCO World Heritage site is an extraordinary place to visit to on St George’s Day with children, as a couple or simply as part of your solo wanderings.
Visit Canterbury Cathedral
Perhaps England’s most renowned Christian structure, Canterbury Cathedral is one of Kent’s greatest treasures. Rebuilt in 1070, the church features a jaw-dropping vaulted ceiling, an underground crypt and stunning stained glass windows that shine across the interior in the sun. With major restoration work underway on the Christ Church Gate, the Southern Precincts and Great West Towers, the cathedral will soon be at its majestic best. Once you’ve explored the church, you can relax with a punting tour on the River Stour and enjoy fresh local fare in the city’s many pubs and restaurants.
If this has inspired your own trip, check out our Adventure Page for more info.