Historic buildings to visit in the British Isles

English Heritage Heritage of Ireland Historic Environment Scotland Cadw: Welsh Historic Monuments National TrustThe Churches Conservation Trust

Click the logos above for details of hundreds of historic buildings in the UK and Ireland open to the public, owned and maintained by national bodies. In addition some historic buildings are owned by independent trusts or local authorities. Those considered of international importance are listed as World Heritage Sites in the United Kingdom or Ireland. Local tourist offices are bursting to tell you about other local gems, and nowadays tend to make a lot of their information available online.

It is always wise to check opening times before your visit. Historic buildings and open air museums may be closed during the winter.

Building museums

Ancient Technology Centre, Damerham Road, Cranborne, Dorset BH21 5RP

This experimental archaeology project has enabled school-children to use traditional construction methods to replicate ancient buildings. The site now has a replica Neolithic log cabin, an Iron Age style roundhouse, a Roman style forge and a reconstructed Viking longhouse. Open to the public only on specified days.

Amberley Working Museum, Houghton Bridge, Amberley, Arundel, West Sussex BN18 9LT

The Brickyard Drying Shed, a 19th century building relocated to AmberleyThis 36-acre open-air museum is dedicated to the industrial heritage of the south-east. It includes the Paviors' Museum of Roads and Roadmaking and the only collection in the country relating to concrete. Historic buildings relocated to the site include a brickyard drying shed, kilns, engine house, and a gin mill - a twelve-sided building which once housed a horse-powered gin.

Auchindrain Museum, by Inveraray, Argyll, Scotland PA32 8XN

Auchindrain is the only communal-tenancy West Highland farming township to have survived in much of its original form. The buildings have been restored and furnished in period styles to convey the life of the Highlands in past centuries.

Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings, Bromsgrove, Hereford and Worcester

Beginning with a 16th-century merchant's house, 25 historic buildings have been dismantled and re-erected on the site, including a 16th-century cruck barn, 17th-century cock pit, Victorian mission church, counting house, toll-keeper's house and windmill, Edwardian garden pavilion, and a 1946 prefab.The collection is notable for its range both of building types and building materials: timber, brick, corrugated iron, steel, asbestos, concrete and fibreglass.

Beamish Open Air Museum, Beamish, County Durham, DH9 0RG

The Co-op hardware shop, BeamishBeamish has rescued and re-built historic buildings from the north of England on a 300-acre site that already contained Pockerley Manor House, Home Farm and the Drift Mine. All the buildings are displayed as they would have been either c.1825 or c.1913. A highlight is the recreation of a typical market town cobbled street of the early 1900s, complete with shops and trams.

The Black Country Living Museum, Tipton Road, Dudley, West Midlands, DY1 4SQ

Historic buildings from all around the Black Country have been moved and rebuilt on a 26-acre site in the shadow of Dudley Castle. The focus is on urban and industrial life in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The range of buildings is extraordinary, including an inn, baths and a fairground as well as a variety of industrial buildings and a replica of the Newcomen Steam Engine. Visitors can explore the site by canal boat and tram.

Burwell Museum of Fen-Edge Village Life, Burwell, Cambridgeshire

A restored windmill has been used as a focus for a collection of reconstructed buildings from elsewhere in the area. Displays include a building site with local building materials and old plumbing and carpentry tools.

The Chiltern Open Air Museum, Chalfont St Giles, Bucks. HP8 4AD

This museum rescues and re-erects historic buildings from medieval to modern. It now boasts over 30 buildings including a 16th/17th-century cottage, 19th-century agricultural buildings, forge and tollhouse, and 19th and 20th-century prefabricated buildings.

The Hamptonne Country Life Museum, Rue de la Patente, St Lawrence, Jersey, Channel Isles JE3 1HS

Cider press in the cider barn at Hamptonne Country Life Museum, JerseyThis collection of restored farm houses and outbuildings dates from the 15th century to the 19th. Itincludes an upper hall house, similar to those in medieval Brittany, with living rooms over housing for livestock. The cider barn contains an apple crusher and twin-screw apple press which are used each October to produce cider.

Highland Folk Museum, Kingussie Road, Newtonmore PH20 1AY

A one-mile long, 80-acre site within sight of the Cairngorm Mountains displays a collection of Highland vernacular buildings rescued from other sites. They include a smoke house, sawmill, school, church, clockmaker's workshop, croft house, post office, railway halt and joiner's shop. The museum has also recreated part of the Highland township of Easter Raitts, once located up the nearby Spey Valley. Based largely on archaeological information from the original site, the museum has erected timber, cruck-frame buildings with thatched roofs.

Ironbridge Gorge Museums, Coalbrookdale, Telford, Shropshire

The conglomeration of museums runs along the valley beside River Severn, spanned by the world's first iron bridge, built in 1779. They include the recreated Blists Hill Victorian Town and the Jackfield Tile Museum.

Jarrow Hall, Anglo-Saxon Farm Village and Bede Museum, Jarrow, South Tyneside

In the grounds of the Georgian manor house of Jarrow Hall is a collection of replica wattle and daub and timber-framed buildings based on structures excavated within Anglo-Saxon Northumbria, which house rare breeds of farm animals, which are the closest possible representatives of those that would have been present 1300 years ago. The museum tells the story of the Venerable Bede and his Anglo-Saxon times.

The Kerry Bog Village, Ballincleave, Glenbeigh, Co. Kerry, Republic of Ireland

Kerry Bog VillageThis thatched village is mainly a recreation of early 1800s Irish life, with replica cottages, but it includes a blacksmith's forge relocated from Brosna, North Kerry.

Morwellham Quay, Near Tavistock, Devon PL19 8JL

This open-air museum set in 200 acres of the Tamar Valley has more than a restored Victorian dock and quay, complete withslate-fronted former harbour master's house and the Ship Inn. There is also arestored 19th-century village andfarm.

The Museum of Bath Architecture, The Huntingdon Chapel, The Vineyards, Bath BA1 5NA

Housed in a Georgian chapel, this museum reveals the story behind the development of the Georgian city. Displays explain how the buildings of this world heritage site were designed, built, decorated, and lived in during the 18th century. Exhibits include full-size reconstructions, artefacts, tools and a series of models. A study area and reference library is available to anyone interested in conducting research on architectural history and conservation by prior appointment.

The Museum of East Anglian Life, Stowmarket, Suffolk IP14 1DL

Tin Tabernacle at the Museum of East Anglian LifeSt Osyth's Abbey, Essex, owned the manor of Stowmarket and built the 13th-century barn which forms the centrepiece of this open air museum. Abbot's Hall, the Queen Anne manor house, with its walled gardens, is also owned by the museum. Other vernacular buildings have been rescued and moved to the 75-acre site, including a mid-14th-century timber-framed farmhouse, an 18th-century watermill and blacksmith's forge, and a late 19th-century nonconformist chapel of the 'tin tabernacle' type.

National Folk Museum, Cregneash, Isle of Man

This preserved village provides a working illustration of life in a 19th-century Manx upland crofting community. It includes a thatched farmstead and crofter's cottage.

National History Museum of Wales, St Fagans, Cardiff, South Gamorgan, Wales CF5 6XB

St Teilo's Church, National History Museum of WalesIn the grounds of St Fagans Castle, a late 16th-century manor house, are over 40 buildings moved from various parts of Wales and re-erected, including the medieval church of St Teilo, a school, a chapel, a Workmen's Institute and several workshops. The library has a large collection of photographs, including those of buildings in Wales.

Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton-le-Hole North Yorkshire YO6 6UA

A varied collection of rural buildings on a three-acre site include the 16th-century thatched Harome Manor House - one of the largest examples of cruck construction in Northern England. The buildings range widely in date and now include a reconstructed Iron-Age roundhouse.

The Somerset Brick and Tile Museum East Quay, Bridgwater, Somerset

The last surviving kiln at the former Barham Brother's yard. Demonstrated inside are the methods of making the bricks, tiles, and terracotta plaques familiar in Somerset towns.

Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, 153 Bangor Road, Cultra, Holywood, Co. Down, Northern Ireland BT18 0EU

Magheragallan Byre Dwelling, Ulster Folk and Transport MuseumMore than 40 buildings have been removed from their original sites in different parts of Ulster and re-erected in the open-air museum in Cultra. The collection includes farmhouses, mills and other rural buildings, together with a group of urban buildings forming Ballycultra Town. Magheragallan Byre Dwelling is an example of a long-house, a combined dwelling house and cattle byre. The most unusual building is also the smallest: Tullylish Bleach Green Watch Tower.

The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, Singleton, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0EU

Over 40 historic buildings from south east England which have been rescued from destruction, dismantled and reconstructed on the site, including a timber-framed farmhouse from Kent, a market hall from Hampshire, a Victorian school, a medieval shop, carpenter's, plumber's and brickmaker's workshops, barns, a granary and a tread wheel from the South Downs.

The Welsh Slate Museum, Llanberis, Gwynedd, Wales

In Victorian workshops beside a former quarry, visitors can seetechniques of roofing slate preparation. The site also has a waterwheel, forges, foundry and locomotive shed. Four quarrymen's houses, rescued from demolition in Blaenau Ffestiniog, have been re-erected here.