History & geography hobbies
What is it?     What you need     Getting started     Find out more


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What is it?

  • For many people, the study of local history, or the nature of the world in which they live, is an important free time interest.  

  • In addition to nature hobbies, there are a wide range of possible subjects to learn about, ranging from family genealogy to the re-creation of the life of particular historical periods, and from local geology to metal detecting.  

  • For more details on particular topics, consult one of the organisations listed below.

  • Many people pursue this type of study as a hobby just for their own personal interest.  For others, the study can develop in to more formal learning, possible leading on to new jobs or professional interests.

Find out more


Royal Historical Society  ihr.sas.ac.uk/rhs/
British Archaeological Association  0208 994 1019
Royal Archaeological Institute/Society of Antiquaries  0207 734 0193
Family & Community Historical Research Society  www.fchrs.com/ 
GENUKI - UK and Ireland Genealogy  www.genuki.org.uk/

Society of Genealogists  www.sog.org.uk/ 
British Association for Local History  www.balh.co.uk/
Federation of Independent Detectorists  www.detectorists.net/
National Council for Metal Detecting  www.ncmd.co.uk/ 
English Civil War Society  01430 430695
The Historical Reenactment Web Site  www.cix.co.uk/~novar/renact.htm 
Napoleonic Association  www.n-a.co.uk/nacont.htm 
National Railway Historical Society UK Chapter www.siam.co.uk/nrhsuk/


BBC History Magazine 
History Today 
Family Tree Magazine 
Treasure Hunting 

Getting started

  • Find a local group or club covering the aspect of history or geography that interests you (see organisations above).

  • Take a class or course at your local adult education centre.

  • Consult books or magazines on different types of history and geography and the hobbies based on them.

  • Check in your local library/paper or education centre for more information.

What you need

Skills and people
  • Anyone can take up these interests, regardless of their age or sex, and no special knowledge is required to get started. 

  • You can follow many of the history and geography hobbies at home on your own.  But some activities, like metal detecting or historical re-creations involve trips away from home, and many people enjoy the stimulus and social contact of belonging to a group of like minded enthusiasts.  

  • This can be a local group, or one linked by mail or Internet contacts.

Equipment or clothing
  • Some of these hobbies mean you need access to books and magazines, or Internet resources.  

  • For others, like historical recreations you may need special clothing which may be provided by the groups you join.  

  • Metal detectors need special equipment to follow their hobby.

A place or facilities
  • No special facilities are needed for reading or following up some of these interests.  

  • Discussion groups often meet in a local hall or school, or sometimes at members homes.  

  • Visits are made to sites of special historical or geographical interest.  Historical recreations are often staged at such sites.

Have a go - get started now

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