Calke Abbey in Derbyshire is a National Trust property with a difference. Instead of restoring this Stately Home to the usual National Trust standard, they have taken the unusual step of preserving the house as it was when they took it on in 1988. The house was in a state of slow decline and the contents had not been changed since the 1880's so the result is that you now have a house that is frozen in time. Preserved and protected from further decay but not restored and exactly as it was when the owing family gave it to the National Tust.
Dunstanburgh Castle is a magnificent ruin of a medieval castle once owned by one of the richest men in the World ever. It covers 9.5 acres and is set on the wonderfully beautiful Northumberland coast. This is a must see place.
Where to take a family party on a summer's afternoon can be a problem but luckily I have a lovely attraction close by and Coton Manor was just the ticket with something of ineterst for evryone.
In Norfolk, there are a number of churches that have been built from the local flints and most of these have round instead of square towers as this is the only way to get the strength needed for such a high structure using this material. St Mary the Virgin in Titchwell is a fine example of one of these interesting buildings and is well worth a vist.
The Dartford Tunnel and the Queen Elizabeth II bridge serve to carry around 130,000 vehicles over the River Thames every day and are a source of congestion during peak times so the old toll booths have been removed. However, you could be forgiven for thinking that this is now a toll free crossing as there are little or no signs telling you about the toll. Don't make that mistake. It isn't toll free and you can easily find youself with a very hefty fine (up to £105 each way). The signage and information on this crossing a woefully inadequate and not fit for purpose and up to 300,000 people get fined very month as a result, many of these are visitors from abroad who have no idea about the toll or how to pay. Warn them if you have visitors coming.
That humble halloween pumpkin deserves a better fate that to just be disarded once Halloween is over. There are lots of things you can do with.
A fantastic plane and an amazing piece of aviation history, the Vulac bomber "Spirit of Great Britain" has flown for the last time and will be grounded. Nice to have seen one of its last ever fly pasts.
Hull is a major port on the east cost of England in East Yorkshire. It sits on the mighty River Humber. I had never been there and expected it to be a rather drab and boring place to visit but a recent visit there was far more of a pleasant experience than I had thought it would be and it had a lot to offer. Confirmed as the UK City of Culture for 2017, I have no doubt that it will live up to that status and be a very deserving place to visit for those festivities. An unexpected pleasure and a place I would happily visit again.
There was a time when you booked a hotel that breakfast was expected to be part of the rate. Seems that is a thing of the past as hotels compete to give the cheapest rates and therefore make breakfast an optional extra. Well and good but be careful. If you do decide you want breakfast after all, you could end up paying a lot more for it than you would have if you had chosen an inclusive rate.
Finding accommodation for that special hen night can be difficult and finding the right place to go can be even harder. For those within tarvelling distance of the South coast, we would suggest Brighton as the destination. Not only does it havea great atmosphere and a wondeful range of shops and things to do and places to visit, it is also full of pubs and restaurants that cater for the younger set. It alos providea a wide range of accommodation that can cater for large parties and speciacally for that group of girls out for their Hen Night.
The lovely little city of Kilkenny lies at the heart of the county of the same name, in the south west corner of Ireland. It has a host of places of interest and visitor attractions and a holiday cottage in Kilkenny would make a great base of a family holiday in Ireland.
Durdle Door. The name alone conjures up a mysterious place and this natural wonder is just as magical as it sounds. Located in Lulworth Cove in Dorset, this is an ideal place to visit on the family holiday in Dorset.
Its not often that I find a piece of modern architecture that makes excited. Most of the buildings that are being put up now are pretty bland and often tasteless. There are always exceptions - The Shard, The Gerkin to mention a couple but they are uselly either commercial buildings or on a scale that is hard to comprehend. However, add a new one to this list. I hadn't known it even existed till I stumbled upon it. Its the Cube in Birmingham and it deserves a lot of praise. It is a building of very clever mixed use and big enough to impress but on a scale that doesn't overwhelm you
Dunnotter Castle in Aberdeeenshire is a wonderfully romatic medieval Scottish Castle situated on a stunning headland. The wonderful photo was taken by @zaehrli and prompted this blog. So grateful to contributers who open our eyes to those wonderful hidden places that exist everywhere in Britain.
This is the perfect time to visit one of Britain's bluebell woods. The flowers will be at their very best right now and the perfume is heavenly. There are more of these woods than you might imagine and a quick search around your local area will usually tell you where the best ones are. It worth travelling to see these, if they aren't within easy distance, as the experience of a bluebell wood in full flower is unforgetable.
Once these birds were a common sight but by 1832 the last one was hunted to extinction. Now they can be seen flying once again over Salisbury Plain and there are realistic hopes that they can be resetablished as a native species once again.
http://www.stayinbritain.co.uk/self-catering/cornwall-county-within-60-milesThe little village of Port Issac on the north Cornish coast was once a sleepy little place. Now it is a very popular tourist destination and the location used for the TV series Doc Martin. Stay in a holiday cottage in Port Issac and enjoy the real atmosphere of Cornwall at its finest.
On a visit to Stamford recently, we stumbled upon the town's street market which we didn't realise was being held that day and we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of products on offer and the large number of tlocal raders that had stalls along the street. This market had a great atmosphere and it is another great reason for going to Stamford. Stamford is a great town to visit at any time but when the market is on as well, it just makes it that bit more special.
Chester has guarded the approach up the River Dee for over 2000 years and is a city full of historic buildings and wonderful houses. This is a place that offers something for every member of the family from shopping to castles.
Portsmouth is Britains only island city and the most densley populated area in the United Kingdom. Despite that it is a wonderful place to visit with a long naval history and many wonderful visitor attractions including the Spinnaker Tower.
Carlisle is a lovely little city in the north of the Lake District and a great destination for those on holiday in the Lake District. Once a frontier town between various nations, this city has seen warfare and conflict for many hundreds of years and the Castle reflects the need for strong defenses against invaders.
One of the best lakes in the World, Llyn Y Fan Fach is set in the Breacon Beacons National Park. It can only be approaced on foot but the wonderful views and the setting make it all worthwhile. If you are in the area, don't fail to visit this amazing lake.
Howick Hall in Northumberland is a grade 2 listed house with extensive gardens that cater for the whole family. The house and grounds are a real hidden gems and are well worth the effort to get there and explore.
The Gardens at Buckingham Palace are not usually open to the public and are the personal London gardens of the Royal Family. My wife and I were fortunate to receive a special invitation to attend one of the three Garden Parties that are held the each year. We stayed overnight in an hotel in Victoria so that we would be there in time for the event next day. A truly memorable experience and a great honour to have been invited.