UK History and Visits

Custom Search


Weather for this week:

London, Birmingham, Edinburgh

Historical Motorway Stops

Prime Ministers



Exploration And Empire
























Rochester 5 

My father, Owen Jones (centre) taking part in the Rochester 5 in 1981. Why was this a great era for sport? See below...


Welcome to InfoBritain, for historical visiting information in the UK. InfoBritain tells you what happened and where it happened. We have articles and visits relating to all historical periods from prehistoric Britain to recent times, and to the lives of major British authors, artists, musicians, scientists, politicians, military and royal figures. You can use our site search, or our various menus to find suggested visits relating to times or people. Alternatively go to the regions menu, find a place to visit in a particular area, and then link back to the history relating to it. We also have a full accommodation booking service for all parts of the mainland UK. We specialise in historic accommodation, but we also have comprehensive lists of hotels of all types and price ranges. See the regional menus on the right. Enjoy!

An alphabetical index is available below.


A Personal Note (Archive)

August 22, 2015

The World Athletics championships have had me reminiscing about my own less than legendary athletic efforts. On the scale of world events, and on a personal scale, athletics really started to get serious in 1980. After a poor performance for British athletes at the 1976 Olympics when there was little coordination in financial support, 1980 saw £160,000 allocated to the British team. Winning medals was a matter of national prestige. While Sebastian Coe was winning gold at the 1980 Olympics, a young Martin Jones was joining in with the rise of athletics as an activity where simply taking part was the main aim. By the early 1980s running had become a popular pastime. My father and I took part in one of the earliest mass running events, the Sunday Times National Fun Run, Hyde Park, in 1981, involving 27,000 people. That same year the first London Marathon was held, with 20,000 competitors. 1981 also saw the first Great North Run, the world's biggest half marathon. For the vast majority - me included - these events were more fun than competitive. Running along in the Dartford Half Marathon in the early 1980s, I heard a large man say to his equally ungainly running companion: "You know there are guys up the front breaking their heart because they are third!"

The word "sport" derives from Middle English and French words, desport and disport, which refer to pleasant pastimes. The word athletics, however, derives from a Greek verb athlein, meaning to compete for a prize. Perhaps it was an equal and opposite reaction that gave sport a boost at a time when athletics was getting so serious.

Best wishes


The InfoBritain view of history (with thanks to The Simpsons)


Historical news for September

A major new exhibition exploring the history of pop art opens this month at the Tate in London. The exhibition opens on 17th September 2015.

The State Rooms at Buckingham Palace open every summer for general visiting. This year's dates are July 25th - September 27th. For more information go to

At Windsor Castle there are summer tours of the Round Tower, not usually open to visitors. Tours run 1st August - 30th September 2015. For more information go to




Anniversaries for September

4th September 1666: The Great Fire of London is at its height. Diarist Samuel Pepys sees the fire in Tower Street, "the fire coming on in that narrow streete, on both sides with infinite fury". He then decides to dig a pit in his garden in which to save his wine and parmesan cheese.

5th September 1977: NASA launches Voyager 1, which after a journey past Jupiter and Saturn is now in intersteller space, beyond the solar system. Voyager 1 carries an audio visual record, with greetings in 55 different languages, sounds of Earth - which include waves breaking and babies crying - and a collection of music ranging from Chuck Berry and Willie Nelson to Mozart.

8th September 1944: London is first hit by a V2 rocket, the world's first guided ballistic missile. The missile lands in Chiswick. During the rest of the war 1402 V2 missiles will land on London.

10th September 2008: The Large Hadron Collidor, the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator, powers up for the first time beneath the French Swiss border near Geneva.

14th September 1812: On the day that Napoleon's troops enter Moscow, a fire breaks out which will destroy three quarters of the city.

27th September 1825: A steam engine called Active, pulls the first passenger train on the Stockton and Darlington Railway, the world's first steam passenger railway. Active, now called Locomotion 1 is now kept at the Darlington Railway Centre and Museum.

27th September 1981: One of the world's first mass running events takes place in London's Hyde park, when 27,000 people take part in the Sunday Times National Fun Run.

30th Sepember 1965: The first episode of the Thunderbirds television series, Trapped in the Sky, is shown on British television. The story involves a a bomb placed in the landing gear of a new airliner called Fireflash, which will explode when the aircraft lands.


Enter the InfoBritain Shop via the Royal Opera Arcade, the first shopping arcade built in Britain. Here you will find a range of products and services we've put along side the information offered on InfoBritain.

Click on the image to enter the shop.

Please be aware

We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of our information, but it is always advisable to check details of any visit beforehand using contact details provided. If you spot a mistake please let us know by contacting us.

Almost all photography on InfoBritain is by InfoBritain or by named contributors. All educational use is permitted, but copyright is reserved for commercial uses. Occasionally we have used copyright free stock images which are available for any use. A note will identify these images.

Thank you to photo contributors Danielle Davis, Jean Edwards, Vicky Eagle of Portsmouth Dockyard, Kevin Edwards, Derick Fusco, Julian Jones, Richard Jones, Jackie Lewis, Debbie Lowless, Judy Mills of the Corinium Museum, Jane Barron of the World Rugby Museum, and Susan Stuart of Old Spitalfields Market.

Privacy Policy

Your privacy is important to us, and we will never store or pass on personal details without your express permission. All personal details related to purchases on InfoBritain affiliate sites, or to hotel bookings, are held by the affiliate companies. InfoBritain holds no personal details.

We use software provided by to track the use people make of our website, information we use to enhance the website. We do not track computer use in any way that identifies individual computer users. Statcounter has an optional cookie which can be used to identify repeat visitors. We have disabled that cookie, so that Statcounter does not leave any cookie on a computer used by a visitor to our site.

We use third-party advertising companies to serve ads when you visit our website. These companies may use information (not including your name, address, email address, or telephone number) about your visits to this and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to know more about this practice, and to understand your choices about not having this information used by these companies, click here.



About Us |Privacy Policy | Contact Us | ©2011 InfoBritain