It was the brainchild of Leonard Matthews, the editorial director of juvenile publications at Fleetway Publications. He had previously proposed an educational title like the Italian Conoscere and La Vita Meravigliosa, but had ben turned down. A British version of Conoscere was published in 1961, so Matthews revived his proposal and was given the go-ahead. A dummy was put together by the firm's Experimental Art Department headed by David Roberts and Trevor Newton. David Stone was appointed editor, but by the time the magazine began publication, had been replaced by John Sanders.
The first issue of the magazine sold about 700,000 copies and settled down to a regular sale of over 300,000 copies a week. It initially contained illustrated articles on history, geography, geology, art, nature, literature and travel, and serialisations of classic novels. In 1965 it absorbed The Children's Newspaper, whose editor, John Davies, took over as editor of the combined title. In 1966 it absorbed Ranger, taking on some of its comic strips, including "The Trigan Empire" by Mike Butterworth and Don Lawrence, "Sue Carter", possibly written by Betty Roland, and an English translation of Goscinny and Uderzo's Asterix, in which the main characters, Asterix and Obelix, were renamed Beric and Doric.
Andy Vincent became editor in 1969, followed by Jack Parker in 1977. It underwent a revamp under Parker for its 1000th issue, but sales were in decline and production costs remained high, and it closed after issue 1049 in 1982.
Illustrators who worked on the magazine included Fortunino Matania, John Millar Watt, Peter Jackson, John Worsley, Patrick Nicolle, Ron Embleton, Gerry Embleton, C. L. Doughty, Wilf Hardy, Dan Escott, Angus McBride, Oliver Frey, James E. McConnell, Kenneth Norman Lilly, Graham Coton, Ralph Bruce, R. B. Davis, Severino Baraldi, G. William Backhouse, Geoff Campion, Frank Bellamy and Clive Uptton.
In 2004 the rights to the magazine were sold to Look and Learn Magazine Ltd, who have created a website, and from 2007 have published a new series of the magazine, containing reprints of material from the original series, by subscription.