Elizabeth I: Where History Happened

What are the most important sites linked to Elizabeth I?

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If you're wondering 'where did Queen Elizabeth I live?' Or you want to find our more about the places that this famous English queen spent her life then we can help you follow in the footsteps of this iconic figure. There are a number of fascinating places that are linked to Elizabeth's life including the Tower of London, where she was once imprisoned, to Hatfield House which was Elizabeth's childhood home. To begin your journey exploring places linked to Elizabeth I you can view our editor’s selection of top picks below as well as checking out a host of other locations which you definitely won’t want to miss.

1. Hatfield House

Hatfield House is a Jacobean country house built on the site of what was Hatfield Palace, Queen Elizabeth I’s childhood home. Built in approximately 1485, Hatfield Palace was bought by Henry VIII and became the home of his children, particularly that of the young Elizabeth. In the gardens of Hatfield House, one can visit the oak tree where Elizabeth is said to have been informed of her ascension to the throne. Today, the stunning Hatfield House estate is open to the public as well as being a popular venue for weddings and events.

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2. The Tower of London

The Tower of London is a famous fortress and prison where Elizabeth I was imprisoned by her half-sister Mary I. Originally known as the White Tower, it was commissioned by the first Norman king, William the Conqueror and was designed as a fortress-stronghold, a role that remained unchanged right up until the late 19th century. Elizabeth was imprisoned here by her half-sister Mary I. She sat on the steps by the watergate (known now as Traitor’s gate) and wept. She was later forgiven and released.

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3. Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is the site where Elizabeth 1 was crowned queen in 1559. Indeed, the Tudor monarchs strongly influenced the history of the Abbey - Henry VII started to build the Lady Chapel, Henry VIII dissolved the monastery (but spared the Abbey) and Elizabeth I established the Abbey as the foremost cathedral in England (a position it only held briefly). Today, there are 600 tombs and monuments to see, many of them Royal and open to visitors. Some of the most famous royals buried there are Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth herself and Henry III. The tomb of the Unknown Soldier is in the Abbey and there is a service each Remembrance Sunday. In addition to the numerous burial sites and architectural features, one of the most impressive sites is the Coronation Chair, produced in 1300-1301 under the orders of King Edward I (Longshanks). Its purpose was to accommodate the Stone of Scone, which the king had brought from Scotland.

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4. Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey was built from the late fifteenth century, destroyed by Henry VIII and restored under Elizabeth I. Today, visitors can climb the 212 steps of Bath Abbey’s tower, stand behind its clock face and enjoy fantastic views of the city. Tours are available, lasting approximately 45-50 minutes.

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5. Kenilworth Castle

Kenilworth Castle is a former medieval stronghold and royal palace, most famed as the home of Elizabeth 1st’s beloved Robert Dudley. It was King Henry I's treasurer, Geoffrey de Clinton, who built the vast Norman keep of Kenilworth Castle in the 1120s which can still be seen there today. Yet, it was under Elizabeth that Kenilworth had its heyday. The property of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester from 1563, Kenilworth was something of a token of love in architecture. Dudley, who is renowned as the Queen’s one true love, made extensive changes to the castle to make it fit for his queen and her entourage, doing everything from refitting and remodelling to adding new buildings, all on a lavish scale. Now a magnificent ruin, Kenilworth Castle is open to the public and also offers beautifully recreated Elizabethan gardens.

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6. Penshurst Place

Penhurst Place in Kent, England, is a medieval fortified manor house which remains one of the best preserved of its kind in the UK. Originally built in 1341 for Sir John de Pulteney, the Lord Mayor of London, the house has been altered several times through the centuries although the majority of what can still be seen today retains these early medieval and later Tudor-era roots. Penshurst played host to a number of royal guests over the years, including Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and James I.

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We’re constantly expanding this list of sites linked to the life of Queen Elizabeth I of England and if you do notice any omissions then please feel free to contact us with further information and our editorial team will look to expand this collection further.

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