Published On: Wed, Mar 11th, 2015

History is Hip Again, just ask ‘Downton Abbey’ fans

The History channel has a lot to answer for. It has made history more accessible to the public and has helped to spark a growing interest in the past.

This interest is manifesting itself in a range of ways. Sales of history books are on the rise. TV shows like Downton Abbey are sharing the top slots with the usual diet of talent shows and detective shows and this is happening across the world.

"Downton Abbey" has capitalized on the interest of history fans

“Downton Abbey” has capitalized on the interest of history fans

People love history and are devouring it in every way possible. The historical sections on websites like Made From are some of the busiest on the web.

However, it does not stop there people are now choosing to let their interest in history inform where they go on holiday. The 100th anniversary of WW1 saw visitor numbers to the European battlegrounds soar.

People are taking in history in a variety of ways. Naturally, traditional historical tours are still the most popular, but in some parts of the world, demand for the follow the guide’s umbrella type tours is waning. People are opting instead for more interactive ways to see a monument, ruins or take a tour of a historical area.

Goodbye to dusty tours

In most areas, walking tours are still available, but nowadays they normally come with a bit of a twist. Guides are increasingly dressing up as historical characters to conduct their tours. Many now use props and other media enabling those taking the tour to take in more information and in a fun and more memorable way.

Interestingly in a lot of places, ghost tours first opened tour operators eyes to the power of themed walks and adding a bit of drama and theatre to the mix. Wi-Fi technology has opened up the chance for tour operators to be take tourists around on bikes, motorbikes and even on Segways.

Museums get in on the act

Museums are changing what they offer visitors too. They are increasingly including interactive displays. Museum apps that allow tourists and visitors to learn more as they go around the displays are also growing in popularity.


Battlefield re-enactments have been popular for decades, but they are getting bigger and bigger audiences.

The range of battles being re-enacted is growing with all of the centuries being covered. Many re-enactment societies re-create the way the armies lived on the battlefield as well providing an in-depth insight into that way people lived a specific point in time.

Historical properties are also recreating life in times gone by. Live people who use the tools of the time to show visitors what life was like in the historical property that they are visiting are replacing those awful dusty, shop dummy rejects that are dressed in costumes.

The gladiator school in Rome is a great example of how re-enactment has been used to bring history alive. Those who want to can sign up for some training and actually get involved.

History is definitely hip again and looks set to stay that way for some time to come.

Guest Author: Matthew Sykes is a keen writer who enjoys incorporating historic events and information into his articles. In his spare time he can be found enjoying walks in the countryside and visiting historical landmarks.



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