English Heritage urges sensory exploration at historical sites

English Heritage, the charity responsible for preserving numerous historical landmarks across the UK, has installed signs encouraging visitors to engage their senses and appreciate the sites without the distraction of their mobile phones. The signs, which include messages such as “Caution echoes of the past can be heard here” and “Beware this view will live long in the memory,” aim to remind visitors of the simple pleasures that can be derived from fully experiencing these historical locations.

Louise Crawley, a historian and landscape advisor for English Heritage, explained that people are often “constantly overstimulated and expected to be at the end of a phone 24/7.” The signs are intended to inspire visitors to focus on the sensations around them and, as a result, gain a deeper understanding of the lives of those who once inhabited these sites.

The signs have been placed at several English Heritage locations, including Walmer Castle, a Tudor fortress built for King Henry VIII, and Audley End House and Gardens in Essex. Crawley encourages visitors to engage their senses, such as listening to the crunch of gravel underfoot at Down House, which would transport them back to what Charles Darwin would have experienced during his walks around his home.

Visitors to Hadrian’s Wall can also “feel the wind pounding” on their faces, just as Roman sentries did 2,000 years ago. English Heritage, which also manages Stonehenge and Dover Castle, offers a visual guide on its website titled 50 Ways To Explore Using Your Senses. The guide features suggestions such as feeling the chill of ancient stones, tasting heritage produce grown in historic kitchen gardens, and listening to the clink of ancient gardening tools.

The signs will be displayed at English Heritage sites until the end of July.

World News

Jamie Cartwright

Jamie is a keen traveler, writer, and (English) teacher. A few years after finishing school in the East Mids, UK, he went traveling around South America and Asia. Several teaching and writing jobs, he found himself at The Thaiger where he mostly covers international news and events.

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