Carbon is a very versatile element. Apart of the fact that it lays in the foundation of life on Earth, provides us with such different materials as graphite and diamond, it also forms a number of very exciting nanostructures. Quite remarkably, England is very vividly connected to the history of graphite and other carbon-based materials. Starting from the first ever graphitic mines in Seathwaite (Lake District) to the discovery of the structure of graphite by John Desmond Bernal; from very painful experience with Wigner energy in graphite during the Windscale fire to the discovery of fullerenes by Kroto, Smalley and Curl and the first isolation of graphene. In my lecture I will review the exciting history of carbon-based materials, introduce the current advances in the carbon science and discuss the future applications of these remarkable materials.