Our Heritage Site of the Year shortlist, compiled by Jules Hudson.
IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM Cambridgeshire
One of my favourite museums, and the hub of the Imperial War Museum’s large-scale conservation team. On my last visit they were hard at work on the Red Baron’s engine, Rudolf Hess’s Messerschmitt and the field gun that fired the British Army’s first shot in the First World War. An Aladdin’s cave of wartime history.
SEVERN VALLEY RAILWAY Worcestershire
The Severn Valley steam railway between Kidderminster and Bridgenorth has a fantastic conservation element to it, running an apprenticeship scheme for young engineers in order to keep the traditional skills alive. Travelling by steam train is also a wonderful way to see the spectacular surrounding countryside.
KEW PALACE Surrey
Kew Palace previously languished as a backwater in the grounds of Kew Gardens in Richmond. However, an extensive conservation programme has preserved this beautiful Georgian building, warts and all, and it is now accessible to all those visiting the gardens. It’s worth sparing a thought too for poor old King George III, confined here for much of his illness.
Often overlooked by neighbouring Stonehenge, the stone circle at Avebury is all the more tangible because it is readily accessible. Here you can marvel at a prehistoric world that’s as mysterious as it is beautiful and explore the wider landscape and component sites such as Silbury Hill, the Sanctuary and West Kennet long barrow.
PORTMEIRION North Wales
This Italianate village is the brainchild of Clough Williams-Ellis, who bought a slice of coastline upon which to realise his creative ambitions. For nearly a century, what would appear to be an incongruous collection of buildings and styles has inspired architects all around the world.