Hampton Court Palace – home of England’s most famous king

Hampton Court Palace – home of England’s most famous king

Hampton Court Palace was the home of England's most famous king from 1529 until his death in 1547.   With sixty acres of gardens and 750 acres of parkland, it was King Henry VIII's weekend and summer retreat from London.    Successive monarchs also saw the appeal and the palace was occupied by monarch's of the Stuart [...]

Style and grandeur at Chiswick House

Style and grandeur at Chiswick House

One of London’s finest country homes is only a few miles west of central London.   Chiswick House was the centre of highly select gatherings of the Earl of Burlington’s family and friends in the 1730’s.   And around fifty years later it served the same purpose for the Duke of Devonshire and his sparkling (very ‘modern’) [...]

London’s best preserved seventeenth century country house

London’s best preserved seventeenth century country house

Ham House was built on land owned by King James I in 1610.   The lease of the house transferred between several royal courtiers until it was granted to William Murray in 1626 - during the reign of King Charles I.   Murray was granted the freehold ten years later.   Murray, a Scotsman, was a close friend [...]

England’s Lake District in the life and legacy of Beatrix Potter

England’s Lake District in the life and legacy of Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter was born on the 28th July 1866 in South Kensington, London.  She died, 77 years, later in the village of Sawrey in the Lake District, Cumbria.   At the time of her death, she had made a fortune writing books for children.  She left fourteen farms and 4000 acres of land to the National [...]

Hidden treasures of the Cotswolds

Hidden treasures of the Cotswolds

This article gives a route to visit some of the hidden treasures of the Cotswolds, an 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty' of around 800 square miles in size and sixty miles to the north-west of London.  Once in the Cotswolds, the route will take you around five hours allowing for stops. Head up the M40 [...]

48 hours in ‘The Athens of the North’

48 hours in ‘The Athens of the North’

Earlier this year, we set off to 'The Athens of the North' to visit some of my old haunts, see the key sights once again - and watch a rather important rugby match. In the early 1800's Edinburgh re-branded itself 'The Athens of the North' to reflect its growing importance.  It has been the capital [...]