Silbury Hill, Avebury. View across a frost laden field looking towards Silbury Hill.
Silbury Hill, Avebury. View across a frost laden field looking towards Silbury Hill. © Historic England
Silbury Hill, Avebury. View across a frost laden field looking towards Silbury Hill. © Historic England

Our Own Love Letters to Buildings

We are celebrating historic buildings and places across England this February. Here are some our staff's most cherished places.

A love letter to Silbury Hill

I love having that local connection to some of the best prehistoric monuments in the world. I’ve a great family memory of climbing to the top of Silbury Hill.

Gary W.

A love letter to Colchester Castle

You started it, you wove the enchantment first, snared me good and proper. You’re not the youngest any more, but that’s the attraction isn’t it. I’ve found out there have been plenty others before me and I know you’ll never just be mine; there will be others after me too. You invited me down twenty worn steps into the dark vault of your past, each step a century of experience, peeling off your layers for me one by one, whispering the secrets of when you were young, telling me how you’ve changed with the years.

Robin P.

A love letter to Devil’s Arrows, Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire

There is something at once both reassuring, and also, to be honest, a little mind-boggling to think that these stones have been stood here for over 4,000 years - I’m not sure anyone could ever pass by them without marvelling at their timelessness. I hope they’re still stood here, surprising and intriguing passers-by, 4,000 years from now.

Emily, Yorkshire

A love letter to the Roman Baths and Pump Room, Bath

I first visited the Roman Baths when I was a kid, and with my child-like imagination I saw Romans wading into those green pools and Georgians gossiping as they took the waters. I remember feeling like I could reach out and touch history and that feeling of wonder has never really left.

Ellen H.

A love letter to Durham Cathedral

To my Cathedral,

                I’m sure I won’t be the only one to write to you, you are such a magnificent building, a site of hundreds of years of worship and a place of immense historic value – a World Heritage Site no less, but you are a marker in my life too. The place where I matriculated and graduated from University, marking the start and the end of generally wonderful years of my life which have shaped the direction I’ve gone in since.

But in all honesty that’s still not why I love you the most, for me it’s the sense of awe as you enter the nave, as the Norman columns with their geometrical carving march away from you towards the high altar and the sense of scale simply takes your breath away.

That’s why I love you Durham,

Hannah, York

A love letter to the lychgate at Church of St Andrew, Blagdon

Cracked, baked and bleached,
As grey and parched as the skin of an elephant
Carved by some skilled hand long gone

Framing our joys, and our sadness
One day's photo opportunity
Today, a harbour in a storm

Lift the latch and take a seat
Listen to the wind that makes the yew fronds drip and tremble
Shelter ‘til this shower moves on

Tina P.

A love letter to Whitby Abbey

Dear Whitby Abbey, you are my favourite. We met on the windiest afternoon, after an epic climb of the 199 steps. I touched your old stones, battered by the Northern winds, and in return you told me the stories of those who lived, prayed and dreamt here. After all that I had the best pie ever back in town, and maybe it is another reason why I love you so much.

Greg H.
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