I was brought up near to Colchester so I did visit the Castle when I was a child. I remember it as a cold shell of a Norman castle which seemed much more fun from the outside that it was when you went inside. Thankfully it's a true visitor attraction now explaining the incredible history of this Essex town. I had a great excuse to stop in Colchester recently as I spent a few … [Read more...] about Laura’s Britain: Exploring History at Colchester Castle in Essex
I arrived at the railway station having just gone through the Hardknott Pass, Britain’s steepest road and one of the most challenging and beautiful drives I’d ever taken in my life. While I generally seek out heritage steam railways, in this case, I hadn’t. I just needed the loo after the long, slow drive through the Pass. But then I heard a steam train whistle. And I was … [Read more...] about Exploring Cumbria: On the Ravenglass & Eskdale Stream Heritage Railway Through the Esk Valley – Pictures and Video!
One of the best perks of membership in the Royal Oak Foundation, other than free entry to all National Trust properties in Britain, is their twice-yearly lecture tours - held in the spring and fall. They bring over the best guests from the UK to lecture on various topics related to the English country house, history, and design. So, I was very excited to venture into Chicago … [Read more...] about An Evening With the Royal Oak: The Country House Past, Present, Future With Jeremy Musson Lecture Report
Oxford University's Bodleian Library recently launched a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition dedicated to J.R.R. Tolkien and his connection to Oxford. Many authors have strong connections to Oxford: Lewis Carroll who wrote Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, C.S. Lewis who wrote The Chronicles of Narnia and, of course, J.R.R. Tolkien who brought us The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. … [Read more...] about Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth – Exploring the New Exhibition at Oxford University’s Bodleian Libraries
It's no secret around here that I love British History. So, when an opportunity presented itself to visit a living history museum in the Midlands of England, I jumped at the chance. Blists Hill is a miraculous place where you can step back in time to the Victorian era. Well, to a sanitized version of the Victorian era where not everything is terrible, at least. I loved the … [Read more...] about Victorian Time Machine: A Visit to Blists Hill Victorian Village – Tons of Photos Inside
We want to introduce you to the best hotel we’ve ever stayed in, Hazlitt’s, located in London’s Soho neighborhood. In all of the years we’ve been traveling to London, we’ve never stayed in a hotel quite like Hazlitt’s. London is known to have some of the most famous and luxurious hotels in the world, The Ritz, The Savoy and the Dorchester just to name a few. We had never heard … [Read more...] about Hotel Review: Hazlitt’s – The Best London Hotel We’ve Ever Stayed In
Princess Diana still holds a special place in the historical memory of the world, especially with her American devotees. So, it was with great excitement that we learned there was a new Princess Diana-themed exhibit opening at Kensington Palace while we were in London. Diana: Her Fashion Story features many of the most iconic outfits that Diana wore and displays them in context … [Read more...] about Exhibition Report: Where We Visit Diana – Her Fashion Story – New Princess Diana Exhibition at Kensington Palace
Every Anglophile has a list of places they want to see at least once in their lives. My list is longer than I’d like to admit but that’s what comes with the territory of loving England so much. But one of the things at the top of my list is Chatsworth and this past spring we finally had the opportunity to visit it. In fact, we went out of our way to see it and it was very much … [Read more...] about Attraction Review: Our Journey to Chatsworth House and Gardens – Is It Worth a Visit? Yes.
We did not fully enjoy our visit to Highclere Castle. The place is beautiful but as a managed attraction it has problems. Let’s start at the beginning. We’re huge Downton Abbey fans and have dreamed of visiting the house where they filmed the show, Highclere Castle, for many years. The problem with visiting Highclere Castle is that it’s only open on certain days of the year. … [Read more...] about British Travels: Our Journey to Downton Abbey – Visiting Highclere Castle – Is It Worth It?
Since today is Thomas Hardy’s birthday, I thought it would be appropriate to post our experience in visiting his actual birthplace in Dorset. My love for Dorset goes hand in hand with my love of the literary works of Thomas Hardy, a man more associated with Dorset than any other. So, it’s been a goal for me for a long time to visit his birthplace. Not just because of its … [Read more...] about Travels in Britain: Visiting Thomas Hardy’s Birthplace in Bockhampton, Dorset
I'm normally a pretty serious travel planner. I like to read as much as I can about a destination in anticipation of making the most of a visit somewhere, and so that I know more about what I'm seeing once I get there. But I also try to embrace spontaneity when I can, and so a very spur of the moment trip to Windsor was an opportunity to enjoy a travel experience "in the … [Read more...] about Dispatches from England: Travelogue: Day Out in Windsor
Because of his towering height, Captain Hardy had to crouch below the beams in the lower deck of HMS Victory. It was quite a scene. Gunpowder still thick in the air. A legend lay dying. It was Hardy's task to inform Nelson that they were victorious that day in the Battle of Trafalgar. And then Nelson passed into history and the scene was immortalized in paintings and … [Read more...] about British Travels: The Echoes of the Battle of Trafalgar at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
As the home of London Fashion Week, Somerset House makes a particularly fitting home for a tribute exhibit to one of British fashion’s most important personalities: Isabella Blow. Not only did she serve as a patron and mentor for up-and-coming talent whose fashion shows would later grace Somerset House, such as Alexander McQueen, Hussein Chalayan, Phillip Treacy, and Julien … [Read more...] about London Exhibit Review – Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! at Somerset House
This famous scare attraction had been on Tooley Street in London Bridge for nearly 40 years but closed at the end of January 2013 to move to its new home on the Southbank. From Friday 1 March 2013, The London Dungeon is at County Hall, right next door to the London Aquarium and by the London Eye, which makes sense when you know these three major attractions are all operated … [Read more...] about Laura’s London: The London Dungeon – New and Improved
This is honestly one of my favorite museums in London, not only because the toys on display bring back happy memories but because it gives a really interesting glimpse into the lives of children from about the 1600s forward and how the toys and objects they used shaped their development and were shaped by their world. One of the first exhibits you see walking through the … [Read more...] about London Exhibit Review – V&A Museum of Childhood
It's the fifth birthday for The O2 in Greenwich, one of London's most iconic landmarks and the world's most popular entertainment venue. Some people throw a party but they've decided to create a new attraction: a skywalk over the top of the building, open from June 2012. What is Up at The O2? Designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, who designed The O2, it's a 90 minute … [Read more...] about Laura’s London: Climb Over The O2 Arena With Up at The O2
Editor's Note: The Cutty Sark has recently re-opened in London after a massive renovation and our London correspondent Laura Porter had the chance to see behind the scenes before it opened to the public. Thanks Laura! What's so special about the Cutty Sark? The Cutty Sark is the last surviving tea clipper. What was a tea clipper? A 19th century sailing ship that was … [Read more...] about The Majestic Cutty Sark Re-opens After Renovation – Review and Details Inside
Editor's Note: Laura Porter from About London got a press preview of the newly renovated Kensington Palace and was kind enough to write up an article for us all about it. The Queen lives at Buckingham Palace so why do we have another palace in London? We actually have a fine selection of royal buildings across the country and Kensington Palace has been the home to many … [Read more...] about Kensington Palace Opens after Major Renovation – Here’s a Preview of What’s on Display