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JULY/AUGUST 2012 £3.95


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CITY OF MUSIC How Liverpool has changed its tune


must-see monuments

Princes in the Tower

Fact or fiction?

From ice age mysteries to a legendary hero SPECIAL FOCUS

From Sticky Wicket to Stourhead

Britain’s favourite gardens

Britain’s heating up and it’s not just the warm weather. The Diamond Jubilee celebrations had the country sizzling with excitement, and the Olympic Flame is just days away from igniting the cauldron which signals the start of the Games. With all this action, we thought you might appreciate a moment of calm in the shape of Britain’s beautiful gardens. Sit back and enjoy the best the country has to offer – from impressive topiary to tiny herb gardens and from sweet smelling orchards to sweeping landscapes, we have them all! (page 6). And if you crave some shade, then step inside one of Britain’s Jacobean houses and look out for an interesting feature: splendid plaster teardrops that decorate the ceilings of these fine stately homes (page 16). Part of the pleasure of working on BRITAIN magazine is sharing our favourite areas of the country. In this issue, we visit Nottinghamshire, an region close to my heart having lived in Southwell. For anyone unfamiliar with this ancient but tiny town, it has a magnificent secret. Rising above the small cottages are the towers of a Gothic masterpiece – Southwell Cathedral. It was an honour and a delight to live in such a beautiful part of Britain and I hope you get a sense of that joy in our Nottinghamshire feature on page 24. Sam Pears, Editor







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12 must-see monuments

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12 monuments

PRINCES IN THE TOWER The true story behind Shakespeare's play


From Sticky Wicket


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CITY OF MUSIC How Liverpool has changed its tune


Captured on canvas

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Elevated view of the BA London Eye and the Houses of Parliament ©JLImages/Alamy

Explore the landscapes that inspired Britain's greatest artists

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Stonehenge, the most famous antiquity on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire ©Travel Pictures Ltd


BRITAIN MEETS... JIM GARDINER The Director of Horticulture at RHS garden Wisley tells us how he makes a hobby and a living out of his passion for gardens.

Fact or fiction?

From Sticky Wicket to Stourhead

JEWEL OF THE MIDLANDS Take time to seek out the secrets of Nottinghamshire, from its ice age mysteries to a Gothic masterpiece.

Princes in the Tower

From ice age mysteries to a legendary hero

Britain’s favourite gardens




our olympic year


BRITAIN'S JACOBEAN HOUSES We take you inside some of the best collections of Jacobean houses anywhere in the world, and discover their grand opulence and sophisticated symmetry.


SUMMER SPECTACULAR From grand landscapes to wildflower meadows – lose yourself in the summer scents of Britain's favourite gardens.



Jacobean style mansion, Hatfield House in Hertfordshire


THE PRINCES IN THE TOWER Historic fact or a fine piece of Tudor propaganda – just what is the true story of the Princes in the Tower? We uncover the facts. BRITAIN 3




the official magazine

capturEd on canVaS

Our Exploring Britain series continues with a look at the landscapes and landmarks that have inspired British artists and been immortalised in timeless artworks.


BrITaIN is the official magazine of VisitBritain, the national tourism agency. BrITaIN is published by The Chelsea Magazine Company ltd, liscartan House, 127-131 sloane street, london sW1X 9as Tel: (020) 7901 8000 Fax: (020) 7901 8001 email:

FurniturE FigurES Masterpieces created by Britain's greatest designers adorn the finest homes the world over. But where did it all start?


Editor sam Pears Deputy Editor Jessica Tooze

migHty monumEntS

Art Editor gareth Jones Designer rickardo Watkins

Britain is famous for its ancient sites, from the mystery of Stonehenge to the majesty of Hadrian’s Wall.


Digital Publisher luke Bilton Web Manager Oliver Morley-Norris Online Executive Terri eaton Advertisement Manager Julian strutt Sales Executive alex lobsang Group Digital Sales Manager Matt rayner

nEw LyricS For an oLd grEat From maritime origins to cultural capital, we find out how a revitalised Liverpool is making its modern-day mark.

Managing Director Paul Dobson Deputy Managing Director steve ross Commercial Director Vicki gavin For VisitBritain Iris Buckley Printed in England by Wyndeham Heron, Maldon, essex Production all Points Media



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LEttErS Get in touch and tell us about your experiences in Britain or let us know what you think of the magazine.


tEn tHingS you didn't know... Curious facts, interesting truths and remarkable stories about the Olympic Games of 1908 , 1948 and London 2012.










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photo: courtesy of highgrove garden

Britain’s Favourite Gardens

From grand landscapes to cottage gardens where rose heads hang heavy in full bloom, wildflowers sway in a soft breeze and the calming hum of bees fills the air – all this and more is in abundance during our summer months. Join us and lose yourself in Britain's favourite gardens WORDS Janine Wookey




Previous page: Highgrove House and Garden Left: Abbotsbury sub-tropical garden. Right: The Meadow at Great Dixter

Abbotsbury in Dorset shows how A sub-tropicAl gArDen cAn be conjureD up with milD seA influences

photos: julien lightfoot/the gARDen ColleCtion/AnDReW lAWson


here is a diversity of garden styles in Britain that is unmatched anywhere in the world. It's partly due to climate and geography but mainly a gradual progression, according to the peculiar and particular tastes of the time and the inclination of the nation’s often idiosyncratic owners and gardeners. From the cottage gardens of the populace to the landscaped sweeps of the aristocracy, the nation’s gardens have developed in many styles. And the good news is that they are still evolving; new styles are emerging and gently absorbed and adapted into the amorphous whole. This decade’s new hot favourite is the Wildflower Meadow Garden, which grew from the concept of caring for the environment and its wildlife in particular, from birds to butterflies and worms to wasps. The movement started at the top, with HRH the Prince of Wales who, bucking the trend 30 years ago and incurring no small scorn, announced he would ensure his garden at Highgrove in Gloucestershire was completely organic. Highgrove is a garden of many parts, but it is the wildflower meadow with some 32 species of endangered wild plants, from orchid to ox-eye daisies, that has won the Prince the most admiration for preserving the nation’s native flora, and seed from the meadow is now a popular buy at the Highgrove shop. The large gardens (25 acres) at Kailzie near Peebles 215m (700ft) up on the Scottish Borders include a wild garden – at its best in spring – and a wonderful range of wild birds, as the River Tweed and its burn that rush through the garden provide excellent habitats for kingfishers,



herons, oyster catchers, wagtails and dippers. This is one of the few places in Britain to see red squirrels and osprey. Sticky Wicket in Dorset amazes with its sheer flower power. Pam Lewis has created a plant colour wheel that encircles the house, moving from vibrant lime-greens and yellows to soft pinks and blues. The insect-friendly White Garden blends into a meadow revealing a tapestry of colour, then meets the Round Garden with spreads of low-growing nectar-rich plants for insects, butterflies and bees. The mixed fragrance of camomile and thyme assails the nostrils and on a hot summer’s day, the hum of a thousand nectar-seeking insects can be heard. Roses have always been an English garden essential, developing from a simple hedgerow flower to a sophisticated many-petalled bloom. Mottisfont Abbey in Hamsphire is the place for a serious fragrance thrill. Mottisfont was an Augustinian priory in 1201, then after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536, Henry VIII gave the estate to his Lord Chamberlain, who turned it into a grand Tudor manor. It was not until after the National Trust took it over in 1957, that the roses arrived in the walled garden, when the great rosarian and plantsman Graham Stuart Thomas filled the then derelict walled garden with his own collection of historic gallicas, damasks, centifolias, albas and moss roses. Today, these arching old roses tumble through the herbaceous borders as a major June highlight. The Rose Garden at Borde Hill is packed with 85 varieties of David Austin’s perfumed English Roses, thanks to the inspiration of owners Andrew John and Eleni Stephenson Clarke who scoured old records

Britain’s Favourite Gardens www.bwitwiw-wwwwziww.cww



Britain’s Favourite Gardens

Facing page, clockwise from top left: Topiary at Levens Hall; Delphineums in a herbaceous border, Chiffchaffs, Dorset; Margery Fish’s famous Terraces at East Lambrook; Polemonium ‘Lambrook Mauve’, discovered in and named after the garden. Right: The Shrub Rose Garden at RHS Rosemoor, Devon

photos: © John Glover/AlAmy/rhs/Jerry hArpur/mike Werkmeister/the GArDen ColleCtion/Derek hArris

Roses have always been an english gaRden essential, developing fRom a simple hedgeRow floweR for pictures of the garden from its Victorian and Edwardian heyday. The beds of roses, in hues of pink, white and magenta, are edged with lavender and nepeta to add to the fragrance. RHS Rosemoor in North Devon is at the western end of the comfort zone for roses with all that moisture in the very clean air, but, having got the drainage sorted, the rose garden there is a sight to behold, with its planting of 2,000 roses in 200 cultivars in every form and fragrance. A temperate climate, great plant hunters and possibly global warming allow for many species to be grown that previous generations may not have dreamed of. Visiting the sub-tropical Scilly Isles is a journey to another land. Thirty miles south of Land’s End, the normally rocky landscape of Tresco Abbey Gardens is swathed in giant agaves, aeoniums and succulents. Seen from offshore in a boat, the tall palms fill the skyline giving it a magical ‘other world’ feel. It has the mildest of climates and the boast is “there is no winter, just an extended autumn” allowing exotic plants originating from Brazil to Burma to thrive. Location is all. Despite its northerly situation, beyond the Isle of Skye and the same latitude as St Petersburg, Inverewe, an enormous (54-acre) loch-side Highlands garden in Ross-shire, boasts a wealth of tropical treasures. Being on the wet, west coast of Scotland with its Gulf Stream influence helps. The sloping walled garden mixes traditional roses with vegetables and herbaceous plants and has the bonus of spectacular views across the sea loch. The garden was created in the late 19th century by local laird, Osgood Mackenzie, who had a passion for exotics from America, New Zealand and China. After his

daughter Mairi’s death in 1953, the National Trust for Scotland took over the garden and has continued the theme. Abbotsbury in Dorset shows how a sub-tropical garden can be conjured up with mild sea influences and a modicum of shelter from northern winds. Established in 1765 as a kitchen garden for a now demolished castle, the garden has been greatly replanted over the past two decades and its reward has been receiving the Christies/Historic Houses Association Garden of the Year award for 2012. Grand estates there have always been, and grand gardens to go with them, many taking their influence from Europe, but in the 18th century the landscape movement swept all formality away – changing the look of the British countryside. Of all English landscape gardens, Stourhead in Wiltshire, created between 1741 and 1780, is among the most poetic – inspiring to walk around in all seasons, even winter. Owner and creator Henry Hoare took inspiration from the classical scene and his travels in Italy, and the garden unfolds as a sequence of views framed like pictures along a winding route. Classical temples seen in the distance across the lake, disappear from view as you walk and are later seen from another angle. You can enter the fabulously decorated grotto and look out on a level with the lake. Magical Rousham in Oxfordshire has barely changed since William Kent designed it in the 1730s and, compared with other landscape gardens, it’s small enough that visiting makes for an intimate experience. Follow the atmospheric route through trees, past wonderful garden buildings, then visit the Walled Garden for a feast of colour. britain



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Mount Stewart


Britain’s Favourite Gardens

For history and superb garden buildings, you can’t do better than magnificent Stowe in Buckinghamshire. Stowe was ‘the’ influential landscape garden of the 18th century, worked on by Bridgeman, Kent and ‘Capability’ Brown. Idyllic landscape scenes conceal owner Viscount Cobham’s jaundiced commentary on the politics of the time. The ancient practice of pruning and clipping trees into ornamental shapes saw a revival in Europe in the 16th century, and topiary became a runaway garden fashion, and a very obvious display of wealth and grandeur. The gardens at Levens Hall in Cumbria are famous for their outsized yew topiaries, the oldest in the world it’s said, and often described as looking like something from Alice in Wonderland. They date back to the 1690s when the garden was first planted, and have outgrown their shapes over the years to become magnificent giants. Wonderful Packwood House in Warwickshire dates back to Tudor times and tradition has it the topiary yews there were planted to represent the Sermon on the Mount. Over 100 trees, some more than 15m (50ft plus), lead to a mound crowned with a single tree, the Master. In addition, there are fine herbaceous borders and Tudor-period courtyards. For an opportunity to see box and yew topiary of a more manageable size, you can visit topiary specialists Langley Boxwood Nursery in Hampshire where there is a wide range of ready-clipped shapes and sizes, from balls and cones to spirals and obelisks. The Arts and Crafts period in the 1900s was important for architecture, art and culture and much of that spilled over into the gardens. A style of gardening developed, led by Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll.

The garden that epitomises the period is undoubtedly Great Dixter in East Sussex, which for many sets the standard for all. The 15thcentury house was restored by Lutyens and the garden designed by him but given the distinctive stamp of its brilliant owner Christopher Lloyd. This is a garden for all seasons and all tastes, from a sunken garden to wildflower meadows, exotic areas to deep herbaceous borders – it sums up the period and yet is beautifully timeless. In the heart of Herefordshire, with dramatic views across to the Black Mountains, is Bryan’s Ground, an Arts and Crafts house built in 1911 for two Liverpool shipping heiresses. Three acres of intimate garden rooms are wittily filled with follies, topiary and box parterres. A rose garden fills the old tennis court and an orchard has been stylishly planted with bold blocks of vibrant blue irises under apple trees as an English take on a Provence lavender field. High Glanau is situated on the slopes of the Wye Valley in Gwent and seen as the finest of the Arts and Crafts period in Wales. Built in 1922 for H Avray Tipping, the then architectural editor of Country Life magazine who established the garden. His plans are the basis of the thoughtful garden update by owners Helena and Hilary Gerrish that features a subtle colour palette of white, lavender, blue and green threading through deep, straight 30m-long (100ft) borders. As life improved over the centuries for the general population, the utilitarian cottage garden evolved with the luxury of growing some pretty flowers among the essential vegetables, until the 19th century it had come to embody the quintessential country look. The art of

For history and superb garden buildings, you can’t do better than magniFicent stowe in buckinghamshire

photo: © NtpL/JohN MiLLar

Right: The Palladian Bridge at Stowe Landscape Gardens in Buckinghamshire



Britain’s Favourite Gardens

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Bryan's Ground features three acres of intimate, interlocking garden rooms



A rose gArden fills the old tennis court And An orchArd hAs been stylishly plAnted cottage-garden planting lies in combining plants naturally, and no one did this more skilfully than plantswoman and writer Margery Fish in the archetypal cottage garden she made at East Lambrook Manor in the 1950s. Everywhere around the little 15th-century manor house is a sense of relaxed abundance, with mixed borders, old roses, euphorbias and important collections of snowdrops, hellebores and hardy geraniums. There is also a nursery specialising in rare and unusual plants. At Chiffchaffs, named after the small warbler birds that thrive there, you'll find year-round interest in three colourful acres of mixed planting around a 400-year-old cottage, with bulbs, shrubs and old roses draping a pergola and herbaceous perennials leading to the front door. In 1919, Bloomsbury writer Virginia Woolf and her husband Leonard bought Monks House in East Sussex as a refuge from London, and it’s easy to see why. The secluded and tranquil garden remains as it was in their day, with a neat lawn, old trees, informal mixed planting, and a vegetable garden. At the end of the garden

is the little building Virginia used as her writing room. New influences in gardening are emerging, and some wonderful contemporary gardens have been created in recent years, made by innovative garden owners and designers. To see contemporary planting on a grand scale, visit Broughton Grange, where the Walled Garden is the setting for garden designer Tom Stuart-Smith’s bold design. Key structural features are a modern stone rill and central pool, but it’s the perennial plants that hold the stage, with an ever-changing display of colours and textures. Tall forms and topiary emerge from a carpet of ground colour, airy grasses and sturdy foliage. The garden is laid out over three descending terraces with open views to the countryside. The old Walled Garden at Scampston Hall was given a new and dramatic layout by designer Piet Oudolf and opened to the public in 2004. A series of ‘rooms’ within the space features sculptural serpentine yew hedges, big drift-waves of ornamental grasses, topiary and a bee and butterfly-friendly perennial meadow.

 You can find opening times and other visitor information for all these gardens on the BRITAIN website, go to Alternatively, visit their individual websites: Abbotsbury (, Borde Hill (, Broughton Grange (, Bryan's Ground (, East Lambrook Manor (, Highgrove (, Inverewe (www.nts., Kailzie (, Langley Boxwood Nursery (, Levens Hall (www.levenshall., Monks House (, Packwood House (, RHS Rosemoor (www.rhs., Rousham (, Scampston Hall (, Sticky Wicket (, Stourhead (, Stowe (, and Tresco ( For High Glanau write to High Glanau, Lydart, Monmouth, Gwent NP25 4AD, and for Chiffchaffs write to Chaffeymoor, Bourton, Gillingham, Dorset, England, SP8 5AY






Restaurant has an adjoining tearoom called ecom mend Café Elvira. It's ideal for good quality, homemade food in the Victorian walled garden. J East Lambrook Manor The 17th-century Malthouse is a lovely tearoom and gallery with delicious local home-baked cakes. J RHS Harlow Carr World-famous Betty’s Café Tea Room overlooks the garden and serves freshly baked bread and mouth-watering calorific pastries. J Tresco Abbey Garden There's a good tearoom at the entrance to the gardens, with sparrows on hand to clean up the crumbs. J Helmsley Walled Garden The Vine House Café is an award-winning vegetarian organic café with friendly service and views across the garden. J Scampston Hall The Garden Restaurant run by the Yorkshire Party is tried and tested for its home-made light lunches and teas with some ingredients grown in the garden.

A DV E R T I S E M British E N T F E AT Style URE

Discover Britain's beautiful gardens


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Britain has some of the finest gardens in the world, from pretty cottage and rose gardens to awardwinning designs and beautiful landscapes





Where the Cotswolds meets the West Country, featured on many TV programmes this truly spectacular 5 acre garden beside the 12th century Abbey Church in the centre of Medieval Malmesbury and straddling the River Avon has brought praise from around the world. Market Cross, Malmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 9AS

The splendour and tranquillity of the ‘Capability’ Brown landscaped Park and the award-winning Formal Gardens at Blenheim Palace is unrivalled in Britain. From the Secret Garden, Italian Garden, Water Terraces and Rose Garden to the Grand Cascade and Great Lake, beauty abounds. Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England OX20 1PP

Discover the stunning plant collections, boasting flowers of every colour and shape, that bring Bodnant Garden to life throughout the year. Sit and relax in this haven of horticultural life, enjoy spectacular views extending out towards Snowdonia and discover why nature really is the greatest of creations. Tal-y-cafn, nr Colwyn Bay, Conwy LL28 5RE Tel: 01666 822212 Tel: 0800 849 6500 (free 24 hour recorded information) Tel: 01492 650460





Sensational and world-famous example of an English cottage garden created by gardening legend Margery Fish in the 1950s and 60s. Winding paths through abundant borders. Specialist nursery. Groups welcome. East Lambrook, South Petherton, Somerset TA13 5HH

Award winning 14 acre garden set in a beautiful parkland. All year interest from a woodland area; a large walled garden with a collection of roses, clematis & herbaceous plants. Formal area around the house. Tea room with delicious cakes & light lunches. Nr Wingham, Canterbury, Kent CT3 1PL Tel: 01460 240328 Tel: 01304 840107



Home to an ancient water-mill, Mill Dene is surrounded by a millpond, stream and one hectare of beautiful gardens. Enjoy Cream Tea by the brook, take in the wonderful Cotswold views from the herb garden or simply choose to relax beside the tranquil mill pond and grotto. Blockley, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, GL56 9HU Tel: 01386 700457



A world class museum in south London, the Horniman has stunning collections of world cultures, musical instruments and natural history. Thousands of objects are displayed in the Horniman’s striking building, surrounded by 16 acres of beautiful Gardens, fresh from a £2.3m upgrade. 100 London Road, Forest Hill, London SE23 3PQ Tel: 020 8699 1872 ● If calling Britain from overseas, dial your international code, then 44, and drop the first zero



Elegant 17th century House with Adam interiors, Chippendale furniture and classical statuary. Set in 25 acres of stunning gardens with one of Europe’s longest double herbaceous borders. Miniature railway, contemporary sculpture, children’s adventure gardens and top class restaurant, shop and plant sales. Newby Hall, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 5AE Tel: 0845 4504068



Scotland’s Gardens facilitates the opening of 600 of the country’s finest gardens to the public as a means of raising funds for worthy charities. These fabulous gardens can be found throughout Scotland from Shetland to the English border and look forward to welcoming visitors. 42A North Castle Street, Edinburgh EH2 3BN Tel: 0131 226 3714 BRITAIN


photo: paul Barker/Stanway houSe

A view of the magnificent hall at Stanway House near Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, from the screens passage



Grand Design

Inside Britain’s

JACOBEAN HOUSES Built as a celebration and demonstration of wealth, with sophisticated symmetry and grand entrance halls, elaborate carvings and complex decoration, Britain’s Jacobean houses have a unique fascination and appeal. We take you inside some of the very best WORDS DaviD aDams




photoS: © NtpL/Nadia MackeNzie/Rod edwaRdS/eNgLiSh heRitage

here better to write about the Jacobean period than in BRITAIN magazine? Until King James VI of Scotland (1567-1625) succeeded Elizabeth I to become James I of England in 1603, uniting the two crowns, there was no Great Britain. Four hundred years ago, with the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 foiled, the country was enjoying a period of relative political stability and prosperity – the aristocracy and a growing upper middle class began to alter their houses or build new ones to demonstrate their wealth and status. Nowhere was the drive to publicly proclaim status more apparent than at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire. This sumptuous palace was built between 1607 and 1612 for Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury (1563-1612), chief minister to both Elizabeth I and James I. The main designer was Robert Lyminge, assisted by architects including a young Inigo Jones. The house cost a staggering £38,000 because of the extravagance of its fittings, including Caen limestone and vast amounts of Italian marble. Jacobean houses would have been lighter, brighter places than we imagine, with colourful fabrics, tapestries and fittings. Hatfield retains something of this brightness and splendour. The Marble Hall still has its original black and white chequered marble floor and stunning oak carvings, by John Bucke. On the wall hangs the ‘Rainbow’ portrait of Elizabeth I, inscribed with the motto ‘Non sine sole iris’ (No rainbow without the sun), comparing Queen Elizabeth I to a bringer of peace after a storm. Elsewhere, King James’s Drawing Room is named after a life-size statue of the King within an extraordinary chimneypiece carved by his master sculptor Maximilian Colt. The Long Gallery still has its original ceiling, although it was covered with gold leaf in the 19th century. A wall cabinet in this room contains some exquisite carved rock crystal ornaments, which belonged to Robert Cecil. Knole, near Sevenoaks in Kent, is huge and mysterious, with 365 rooms, and by turns both elegant and a little ramshackle. The writer Vita Sackville-West (1892-1962) grew up here a century ago. Her friend Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando is inspired in part by Vita’s frustration that, as a woman, she could never inherit Knole.

Described in Orlando as looking like “a town rather than a house”, Knole is several houses in one. The West Front, the first part visitors see as they climb a windswept hill above the medieval deer park, was built by Henry VIII after Archbishop Thomas Cramner gave him the house in 1538. This extended the 15th-century archbishop’s palace, which in turn enclosed a medieval manor house, of which we know almost nothing. The state rooms form the core of the Jacobean house, built by Vita’s ancestor Thomas Sackville (1536-1608), 1st Earl of Dorset and Lord Treasurer for both Elizabeth I and James I. Although most of the furnishings were removed during the English Civil War, some Jacobean fittings and decoration remain, including the carved oak screen and panelling in the Great Hall and wall paintings lining the Great Staircase portraying the Four Ages of Man, the Five Senses and the Virtues. The Ballroom contains perhaps the finest chimneypiece of this period, carved in marble and alabaster by Cornelius Cure, master mason to the Crown, in 1607. There are also many pieces of 17th-century royal furniture at Knole, brought here by the 6th Earl of Dorset while he was Lord Chamberlain of the Household to William III in the 1690s. He had the right to remove any furniture in the royal palaces deemed worn out or unfashionable, including a number of ‘chairs of state’, once used as thrones. One stands alongside a portrait of James I in which the King sits in a very similar chair. Most famous is the battered red velvet Knole Settee, the ancestor of the modern sofa, which dates from around the Restoration of Charles II in 1660.

Facing page: The South Drawing Room at Blickling Hall in Norfolk. Left: The south front of Blickling Hall Above: The Grand Hall at Audley End



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British rtylr

Audley End seems an inappropriately homely name for an extensive, once palatial house, close to the pretty market town of Saffron Walden in Essex. Reduced in size in the 18th century, Audley was the largest private house in the country when completed in 1615 and was later owned by Charles II, who enjoyed its proximity to the racecourse at Newmarket. The first house here was built on the foundations of a 12th-century Benedictine priory, by Thomas, Lord Audley (c.1487-1544), Lord Chancellor to Henry VIII. It was then rebuilt at ruinous expense by his descendant Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk (1561-1626) over ten years from 1605. Today many of the rich furnishings inside date from the 18th century or later, but there are some impressive survivals. The Great Hall incorporates a mix of features from different periods, the Jacobean elements having been restored in the 19th century. Other original features include the ceiling in the Saloon, decorated with scenes of sea monsters, mermaids, mermen and ships, perhaps a reference to Suffolk’s role in fighting the Spanish Armada in 1588. There are also a number of Jacobean ceilings and chimneypieces in the rooms of the North Wing. Some of the latter have been moved around over the years. As a general rule of thumb, if the top of a chimneypiece doesn’t reach the frieze around the walls, it used to be somewhere else. The first view visitors have of Blickling Hall in Norfolk is truly breathtaking: a symmetrical array of windows, turrets, chimneys and gables, flanked by service buildings, immaculate lawns and huge yew hedges.

The Hall was built for the lawyer Henry Hobart, who purchased the Blickling Estate in 1613. It replaced a medieval and Tudor house that had been owned by Sir John Falstofe and by the Boleyn family. Blickling is reputedly the birthplace of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife. She is said to haunt the house: appearing each year on 19 May, the anniversary of her beheading in 1536. Hobart hired Robert Lyminge, architect of Hatfield House, to build the Hall and there are some striking similarities between the two houses. Among the interior features to survive from this period are the superb wooden chimney pieces in the Great Chamber and parlour,

Above: In the Ballroom at Knole the great chimney piece rises the whole height of the room and ranks among the finest works of Renaissance sculpture in England. Below: Intricate detailing at Hatfield House

photoS: xxxxx

Study at Bateman's. Right: Relaxing in autumn shadows at Bateman's. Below: Knole's Great Jacobean Staircase

photoS: © ntpL/rupert truMan/Geoffrey froSh/horSt KoLo

Spot the Jacobean feature J If you find yourself wandering through a geometrical maze of flowerbeds and paths, there is a good chance the garden you’re in is Jacobean, says professor James Steven curl, author of the oxford Dictionary of architecture and Landscape architecture. Jacobean gardens are formal, regimented and designed to be viewed from above. J the remarkable thing about the use of classical columns in Jacobean buildings is that they rarely offer any structural support; their presence is entirely aesthetic. J Jacobean furniture is hard to miss, if only because of its size. Wainscot chairs, with their solid high backs, provide us with a perfect example of the era’s style, and Jacobean chests, cabinets and tables were just as sturdy. J Symmetry was of monumental importance in this era, so as you stroll down the drive towards a Jacobean house, you can be fairly confident the left side will mirror the right. that said, this symmetry is very rarely carried through to the interior layouts. J the grand entrance hall was a key feature in the Jacobean house and a space originally designed to welcome and impress the king and his court. however, if you step into the hall and feel that something’s askew, you’re quite right. traditionally, you would expect an entrance hall to run parallel to the front façade, but in a Jacobean house the hall is



turned 90 degrees, allowing for easier access to the adjoining rooms. J the façades of Jacobean houses tend to remain simple, yet their interiors are anything but. Watch out for elaborate and ornate carvings adorning the grand fireplace and open stairwell, and the plasterwork often boasts equally intricate decoration. J If you happen to notice a collection of plaster tear-drops suspended from the ceiling, you’ve picked up on one of the more distinct features of a Jacobean dwelling. Known as pendant bosses, these hanging decorations were popular in late elizabethan interiors and particularly so in the Jacobean, according to timothy Mowl, professorial research fellow in architectural history at the university of buckingham.

attributed to Lyminge, and elaborate plasterwork ceilings in the Great Chamber and Long Gallery, by Edward Stanyon. There were also many smaller country houses built during this period. One of the loveliest is Stanway House, in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds. A more picturesque arrangement of buildings is hard to imagine: the manor house stands alongside the village church, a medieval tithe barn and ancient watermill, with a handful of cottages nearby, all built in the local limestone, turned golden-grey with age. You can also visit the restored 18th-century watergarden and admire the 92m (300ft) fountain, the tallest in Britain. Another small Jacobean house well worth seeking out is Bateman’s in the East Sussex countryside, former home of the author Rudyard Kipling. At first glance it looks older than Stanway, with Tudor-like rows of brick chimneys and small windows peeking out of imposing sandstone walls. In fact it was built in 1634, reputedly by a local ironmaster. Who would not want to feel like the lord or lady of one of these remarkable houses, with all their treasures, history and mystery, even if just for one day?

 For more information about National Trust properties, visit and enter the name of the property in the search box. Bateman’s, Bateman's Lane, Burwash TN19 7DS, tel: (01435) 882302. Knole, Sevenoaks TN15 0RP, tel: (01732) 462100. Blickling Estate, Blickling, Norwich NR11 6NF, tel: (01263) 738030. For further information and visitor details about all other properties mentioned in this feature, go to

If calling Britain from overseas, dial your international code, then 44, and drop the first zero ●


Ancient... beautiful... mystical...

Visit Wiltshire during 2012 and discover a land where iconic attractions and breathtaking sights combine with picture perfect villages nestling peacefully amid rolling countryside. Call 0844 888 5135 (or +44 (0) 1271 336217 from outside the UK) quoting reference 5108 for a FREE copy of our Accommodation & Destination Guide

Begin your journey now at

Jewel of the Midlands Take time to seek out the secrets of Nottinghamshire from its ice age mysteries to its little known Gothic masterpiece – Southwell Cathedral – and you are in for a real treat!

phoTo: © JLImaGeS/aLamy

WORDS Claire Santry

The impressive remains of medieval Newark Castle overlooking the River Trent





fter centuries of living and breathing the Robin Hood legend, in which the good guys rob the rich to give to the poor, Nottinghamshire wears its jewels modestly. Its wealth – whisper it softly – lies in its unpretentious red-brick villages and historical market towns, in a rich Civil War heritage, a cluster of outstanding ducal parks and a mysterious cave-dwelling past. While the ‘merry men’ can be a little loud at times, the region more typically gives up its secrets quietly and only to those that seek them out. There is certainly no ‘come hither’ invitation on display to drivers on the M1 and the A1 – the two arterial routes between which most of Nottinghamshire is squeezed. Indeed, the most obvious landmarks from a distance are giant cooling towers oozing clouds of steam. But once inside, the county takes on a more soothing appearance. Old mining and industrial areas have been transformed into open spaces and leisure amenities, leaving occasional pit-head winding wheels as nostalgic – even artistic – reminders of the collieries for which Nottinghamshire was once so famous. Eastwood, the former coalmining town and birthplace of D H Lawrence, has also been smartened up, if not made pretty. But not all of King Coal’s (Upton Sinclair’s novel about poor working class conditions) legacy has been reshaped. The creamy white Ancaster stone of Wollaton Hall, a fabulously flamboyant mansion completed in the 1580s, remains as testament to the metamorphic rock lying beneath the county. Wollaton Hall was built between 1580 and 1588 for Sir Francis Willoughby and his family, who made a fortune from mining. As a celebration of their success and wealth, they deemed their new home worthy of classical columns,



turrets and towers and decorated it with busts of philosophers and mythological characters. It is still as impressive today, with its natural history and industrial museums, newly restored Tudor kitchens and period salons. The Hall itself is set in 525 acres of stunning parkland where walkers, joggers and even Segway tourers roam as freely as the estate’s herds of red and fallow deer. It seems far removed from any industrial centre, yet Wollaton Hall and Deer Park is less than four miles from the centre of Nottingham, the self-styled ‘Queen of the Midlands’. The lofty label is reflected in the city’s grand public buildings, especially the Theatre Royal, Arkwright Building, Guildhall and dome-topped Council House.

The latter is guarded by Leo and Oscar, two giant stone lions strategically placed on Market Square, the largest city square in the UK. Known to generations of locals as Slab Square, Market Square was the scene of the Michaelmas Goose Fair from 1284 until the 1920s; the annual funfair is now held on the city outskirts at Forest Fields. Aside from its civic collection, Nottingham’s best architectural beat is the Lace Market, home of England’s lace and hosiery industry in the second half of the 18th century. Now fully restored, this heritage quarter is packed with red brick mansions where lace goods were displayed, stored and sold. With its old gas lamps, iron railings, cobbled paths, gargoyles and period details, it is a lovely part of town to wander and relax in. It is also home to the Galleries of Justice, a popular visitor attraction housed in the old Shire Hall, scene of the last public execution in Nottingham in 1861. The city’s above-ground architecture is impressive but so, too, is its below-ground heritage: a labyrinth of at least 450 man-made sandstone caves and passageways. Probably providing homes to early inhabitants, they have more recently been used as dungeons, wine cellars, air-raid shelters and storage areas. Today they can be accessed on guided tours. It is a very different network to that found at Creswell Crags, some 25 miles to the north. Here, prehistoric bears, woolly rhinos and lions, all twice the size of their modernday descendants, eked out a harsh existence some 70,000 years ago before Neanderthals moved in. Tour guides take groups of visitors deep into the dark caves to view Ice Age rock art and the hand tools and skulls left behind. Back in Nottingham, the much-photographed Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem is a lovely pub housed in a unique

photoS: © marzia falcone/iStock/rey rojo/experience nottinghamShire illuStration: SuSan bull


Left: (top) Wollaton Hall; (bottom) bluebells in Sherwood Forest. Top right: Nottingham city centre's beautiful architecture and attractions



NEW FOR 2012 Newly authenticated Rembrandt’s masterpiece ‘Portrait of an Old Man’ now on prominent display


Set within 3,000 acres of Humphry Repton inspired deer park and gardens and home to the Dukes of Bedford for nearly 400 years. Discover the personal stories of a public family woven through history, enjoy captivating art works, stroll the gardens and browse the antiques centre.

2012 event highlights Father’s Classic Day Out – Classic performance cars and motorcycles on display 7th and 8th July Open air theatre: Black Beauty 15th July Keech Hospice Family Bike Ride 23rd July to Children’s activities throughout the school holidays 5th September 5th August Open air theatre: The Tales of Beatrix Potter 11th August Open air theatre: A Midsummer Night’s Dream 12th August The Woburn Rally – A festival of historic vehicles 18th August Open air theatre: The Importance of Being Earnest 26th August Open air theatre: King Arthur and The Sword in the Stone 29th August Study Day: The Art of the Zen Garden 17th June

the woburn abbey

garden show in partnership with

frosts garden centres 18th and 19th august

For full event diary details and prices please visit Woburn Abbey, Woburn, Bedfordshire MK17 9WA. Just off junction 12 or 13 of the M1. Approximately 20 minutes from Bedford, Luton and Milton Keynes. 01525 290333


photoS: © JameS oSmond photography/david mark/alamy/experience nottinghamShire

building that dates back to 1189 and is said to have provided hospitality to crusaders en route to the Holy Land. The Trip, as locals call it, promotes itself as the oldest pub in England, a claim hotly contested by two other Nottingham hostelries. It is more certainly one of the quirkiest with its tiny bars and alcoves cut into the sandstone rock behind and its beer cellar in a cave below. Among its many curiosities is the Cursed Galleon, a model ship now gathering dust in a glass case. Apparently death befalls anyone who cleans it. Some 40m (130ft) above The Trip, balancing on a rocky outcrop, is Nottingham Castle, now a museum and art gallery. Its raised position offers superb views of the city and its gardens are a popular picnic spot. Sturdy and squat, the present building is not the Sheriff of Nottingham’s stronghold that most imagine; the earlier medieval castle was demolished by Cromwell following the execution of King Charles I who had raised his standard here in an act that signalled the start of the English Civil War. Yet it is the legend of Robin Hood, rather than the fate of King Charles, that draws visitors to Nottingham Castle and to the bronze statue of their romantic hero, inevitably shown striking an attitude with his bow and arrow. This is the most well-known depiction of the outlaw, but there is another in Edwinstowe, a village some 20 miles north, where the Robin legend goes into overdrive. Apart from the shops and service providers linking themselves to the folk heroes (Friar’s Lodge; Robin’s Den; the Royal Oak pub) there is a statue of Robin proposing to Marian just a stone’s throw from St Mary’s church, where the couple are said to have married. Nearby, along a path leading through Sherwood Forest, is the Major Oak, a grisly looking ancient tree said to have

been a favourite hideout of the Merry Men. Its great age – reported at between 500 and 1,000 years – is showing and its heavy branches have to be supported by wooden crutches. Sherwood was a royal hunting ground until the 16th century when vast tracts of the forest were sold to powerful landowners and added to the estates of five dukes. This development resulted in one of the county’s greatest prizes: The Dukeries, a series of glorious neighbouring parks. The area stretches from Sherwood Forest to Worksop, the so-called Gateway to The Dukeries (and also home to the charming 1930s time capsule of Mr Straw’s House). Its star turn is undoubtedly Clumber with its ornamental lake, pleasure gardens, a striking chapel and Europe’s longest double avenue of lime trees. Now cared for by the National Trust, its 3,800 acres are crisscrossed by forest and heath trails making it a popular space for families, cyclists and walkers.

Clockwise from top: Nottingham Castle; Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem pub, Nottingham; cave entrances at Nottingham Castle



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photoS: © Steve taylor arpS/alamy/experience nottinghamShire


Among the special spots tucked away within the estate is Barkers, the National Trust’s first fine dining restaurant, which opened last year, and a restored walled kitchen garden which supplies it with fresh produce. The importance of flavour, therefore, is one of the key concerns for Head Gardener Chris Margave, but it is not the only focus for his team: “We want to make the garden a relaxing, interesting and educational experience for visitors but we also play a role in the conservation of neglected or rare varieties of fruit and vegetables.” So the beds of the walled garden are home to the unusual, including sea kale, the Black Hamburg grape, and a variety of medlar (a russet-hued fruit once considered a delicacy) called Nottingham. Here, also, is a collection of 100 rhubarb varieties and a speciality stock of apples with a Nottinghamshire or regional pedigree, among them the Sisson’s Worksop Newton and, of course, the Bramley. The famous cooking apple originates from Southwell, a town of village proportions with a secret of city proportions. Southwell Minster is probably the least well-known cathedral in the country despite its unique Rhenish capped twin towers being visible for miles around. Southwell Workhouse, a unique 19th-century National Trust property, also holds a commanding position in the town. Starkly empty, its residents uncelebrated and its tale hardly cheering, it sits uncomfortably in the elegant surroundings of this genteel town but delivers a memorable and moving experience to visitors.

Clockwise from top left: Finely sculpted head in the chapter house of Southwell Minster; Southwell Minster glimpsed through the Romanesque entrance gateway; Clumber chapel across the lake




Rather more famous inhabitants of the town include the poet Byron. Although better known for his romantic pile at Newstead Abbey, an evocative confection of ruins at the southern edge of The Dukeries, he spent some of his teenage years in Southwell. King Charles I turns up in the town, too, this time spending his last night of freedom at the postcard-pretty Saracen’s Head Inn. The Cavalier king also has connections to Newark, Southwell’s big neighbour and the most significant of East Nottinghamshire’s trio of appealing market towns (Retford and Bingham being the other two). Loyal to the king, the locals endured three sieges before surrendering to the Roundheads. Their mighty riverside castle was pounded to

photoS: © NtpL/ArNheL de SerrA/dAve porter/ALAmy

Above: The Spanish Gardens at Newstead Abbey. Below: The Workhouse, Southwell, seen over chives flowering in the allotment garden



pieces but the ruins still strike an impressive pose beside the ancient six-arched bridge and landscaped gardens. A big regional livestock market takes place in Newark on Wednesdays and general markets are held on the main square daily (except Tuesday), which is overlooked by the tall spire of St Mary Magdalene and surrounded by Georgian and Victorian buildings. However, it is as a centre for antiques that the town has become best known. “This speciality seems to have developed quite organically over the last 50 years or so,” explains Christine Kavanagh, owner of No 1 Castlegate, a showroom for mainly 18thcentury furniture. “But it’s really taken off since the Antiques & Collectors Fair launched around 20 years ago. It’s now held six times a year, on the outskirts of town, and the summer event is the largest of its kind in Europe.” Kavanagh describes Newark as one of very few places in the country that supports a thriving antiques trade. “There’s a full range on offer,” she says. “That’s probably why it survives. With a bric-a-brac market on Thursday and at least 10 antique shops and specialised centres, it caters for both the enthusiastic browser and the avid collector.” In typical Nottinghamshire style, Newark goes fairly quietly about its business, discreetly displaying its treasure trove to those that come calling. Subtlety is taken for granted in this county, perhaps to counter the brazen antics and celebrity of its most famous outlaw son.

 The Workhouse, Upton Road, Southwell, NG25 0PT, tel: (01636) 817260. (pictured left) . For more information about the places mentioned in this feature go to www. or

Magna Carta

European river barge cruises on the luxury hotel barge Magna Carta, cruising the river Thames in England, UK

Magna Carta is designed for luxuriant travel. Our onboard facilities provide lavish surroundings with large cabins of 200 sq.ft. and en-suite facilities, under floor heating, and individually controlled air-conditioning. The saloon with plush interior has all the comforts one would expect from a luxury hotel. The sun deck provides a relaxing place for gazing at the views from our steamer chairs or resting in the warmth of a soothing Jacuzzi.

Charters can be tailored to the requirements of individual preferences. We operate throughout the year and our standard cruise itinerary is from Hampton Court to Henley upon Thames. This includes a number of destinations which highlight the idyllic English countryside of the Thames valley. Stops along the way include Hampton Court Palace, made famous as a residence of King Henry VIII, Windsor and Henley upon Thames, where the Royal Regatta is held each year.

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our olympic year


Join us as we celebrate the biggest show on Earth!

The Flame oF B r iTa i n It is the biggest event in the global sporting calendar and 2012 is the year that the spotlight is yet again on Britain and London, as the capital hosts the games for an historic third time Olympic preparatiOns began in earnest back in 2005, when london won the bid. since then, some 200,000 people have worked to stage an event where billions will watch 10,000 world-class athletes competing for the ultimate sporting prize – an Olympic gold medal. With the new Olympic park in stratford, east london, ready to host the biggest show on earth, so begins a tradition that brings Olympic fervour to all corners of the host nation – the Olympic torch relay. this year, the relay is particularly exciting for the Uk, as it coincided with Hm Queen elizabeth ii's Diamond Jubilee bank

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holiday weekend in June, where street parties and communities up and down the country came together in celebration. the relay provides another opportunity to line the streets and the route has been designed to bring the torch to within ten miles of 95 per cent of the Uk’s population, giving everyone the chance to get involved in the Olympic excitement and history. the torch has always been a significant element of the modern Olympiad and traces its origins back to the ancient greek games. today, the flame is lit from the sun’s rays at the temple of Hera in Olympia and follows a short relay around greece before being delivered to the host nation. the idea behind the relay is to spread the message of peace before the games start and, for 2012, the torch’s design carries symbolism unique to its host nation. its golden aluminium alloy is perforated with 8,000 laser-cut holes, each representing the 8,000 inspirational torchbearers carrying the flame around the Uk. the Uk has its own unique Olympic history and played a significant role in raising the Olympic games to the iconic status it has today. the Victorian doctor William penny brookes campaigned tirelessly for the revival of the ancient greek games in his hometown, much Wenlock in shropshire. a champion of the health benefits of physical




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photos: Š press association/london 2012

Above: H J Bignall (right) handing over the Olympic Torch to Fred Prevett at Redhill, Surrey during the flame's progress from Dover to Wembley, London for the Opening ceremony of the 1948 Games. Left: Competitors in the 1908 London Olympic's Marathon leaving Windsor on route to London, July 1908

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photos: Š press association/london 2012

Clockwise from above: The teams lined up during the opening ceremony of the 1948 Olympic Games at Wembley; the Equestrian Stadium in Greenwich Park; London 2012 Paralympic medals; aerial view of the Olympic Park showing the Olympic Stadium. Facing page, top: Mark Cavendish victorious in London 2012 road race test event, finishing on The Mall; bottom: the start of the 100 kilometres cycle race at the 1908 Olympics in London

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exercise, he created the Wenlock Olympian Society in 1850 and its annual Olympian Games provided inspiration for the modern Olympics when it was revived in Greece in 1896, a year after brookes’s death. the importance of Wenlock is reflected in the fact that one of the London 2012’s Olympic mascots is named after it. London itself has a long Olympic heritage and is the first city in the world to host the Olympics for the third time. its first Games were in 1908; London rose to the occasion when the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in italy meant that rome was no longer able to host as planned. London was chosen to host again in 1944, but had to postpone until 1948 due to the Second World War. the 2012 Olympics has given the UK capital the chance to build a great stage for this global event and, yet again, it has risen to the

challenge. However, along with the brand new Olympic Village in East London, a whole raft of other major sporting venues around the country are set to host events, including Wimbledon; Lords Cricket Ground; the football stadiums in Coventry, Glasgow, Cardiff, Manchester and Wembley; Hadleigh Farm in Essex; Hampton Court Palace; and Weymouth and Portland on the Dorset coastline. the flame is set to visit all of them as it makes its way through 1,018 places in the UK, culminating, of course, with the grand Opening Ceremony taking place on 27 July. back in May, the flame was passed to british football hero David beckham in a ceremony at the Panathenaic Stadium in athens. beckham, who hopes to himself compete for an Olympic gold as part of team Gb’s football squad, joined Princess anne, London Mayor boris Johnson and London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe as part of a formal delegation bringing the Olympic flame to the UK. it arrived at a Cornish air base on british airways flight ba2012, following a week-long relay around the Olympics’ ancestral home to begin its 70-day tour around the UK. Over the next nine pages, join us as we take you on a journey around the highlights of the Olympic Torch Relay, stopping to enjoy 24 of Britain’s most beautiful places and meeting some of the inspirational torchbearers along the way... britain 2012 V

land’S End, cornwall England’s western-most tip marks the relay’s starting point, which began its journey at 7.08am against a spectacular atlantic backdrop. the landmark signpost at Land’s End is famous for marking the distance

to britain’s most northerly point, John O'Groats. Successful Olympic sailor ben ainslie, who struck gold in the last three Games, is the first of 8,000 torchbearers to take the flame across the country.

EdEn ProjEct, cornwall

Snowdonia national Park, walES

One of the first major staging posts for the torch is inside Cornwall’s recently created landmark, the Eden Project, which is part tourist attraction, part educational charity and part social enterprise. the flame takes flight in a helium balloon inside one of the Eden Project’s giant spherical greenhouses. the balloon, normally used by gardeners to scale the 50-metre high rainforest ‘biome’, is one of many different vehicles being used to transport the flame throughout its journey across the length and breadth of the country.

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as part of the tour around Wales, the flame is taken to the highest peak of England and Wales, when the Snowdon Mountain railway carries it in a lantern to the summit of Mount Snowdon. the views of surrounding Snowdonia – the largest national park in Wales – are breathtaking, with its craggy landscape punctuated by historic castles and pretty villages. the Snowdonian people are proud of their Celtic heritage, and the Welsh native tongue is spoken by more than half of its residents.

BRITAIN 2012 GlasGow, sCotland

PHOtOS: iStOCk/OVErSnaP/LazOrtECH.aLaMy CarLO bOLLO/DOuGLaS MCGiLViray/anDrEW barkEr/LOnDOn 2012

the torch continues its monumental journey into Scotland, stopping off for a major celebration in its largest city, Glasgow. Friendly, vibrant and a hub of culture and creativity, Glasgow is celebrating the Olympic flame’s visit in style with a free evening concert. Glasgow takes its sport seriously, and as well as staging several 2012 Olympic Football fixtures at its Hampden Park Stadium, it is also gearing up to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

LanD'S EnD, COrnWaLL Ben Ainslie started the 70-day relay at the Land’s End landmark signpost at 7.08am on 19 May. He grew up in Cornwall and won gold medals in sailing at the beijing, athens and Sydney Olympic Games.

EnniskillEn CastlE, northErn irEland beginning in belfast, the Olympic Flame journeys across northern ireland during a four-day tour. as well as the dramatic spectacle of the Giant’s Causeway in County antrim on the outward coastal route, part of the inland route takes in Enniskillen Castle. Constructed in the early 15th century by Gaelic chieftains, the castle grounds also boast a 17th-century twin-turreted Watergate and impressive 19th-century barracks buildings, as well as two museums. Surrounded by lush irish countryside on the banks of the river Erne, Enniskillen Castle remains an important part of Fermanagh’s rich heritage.

He also won a silver medal at the 1996 Games in atlanta. “i am extremely honoured to be the first torchbearer at the start of the 70-day Olympic torch relay. it will be an amazing experience to be able to carry the Olympic Flame in the area that i grew up in.”

Balmoral EstatE, aBErdEEnshirE From the buzzing urban centres of Glasgow and Edinburgh, the torch continues northwards through Scotland’s stunning countryside to balmoral, the british royal family’s treasured Scottish home. bought by Queen Victoria in 1848, who described it as “my dear paradise in the Highlands”, balmoral Estate itself covers more than 50,000 acres of heather-clad hills and ancient Caledonian woodland. the carefully preserved wildlife and architecture of the grounds and gardens, which are open to the public, are accompanied in the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee by a special exhibition of Her Majesty the Queen’s ballgowns, with a diamond theme.

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Fountains aBBey, yorkshire the flame wends its way into north Yorkshire to a hidden gem nestled between the cathedral city of ripon and the historic spa town of Harrogate in the Yorkshire Dales. Studley royal, which includes the ruins of Fountains abbey, became a World Heritage Site in 1986. Comprising 800 acres of English countryside, the magnificent estate spans 800 years of history with its 12th-century abbey, Jacobean mansion, Deer Park and Victorian gothic church. Blackpool, lancashire Over to the west coast of England, the flame stops off at the much-loved city of blackpool. Still britain’s most popular holiday destination, blackpool is stuffed full of family attractions including the iconic blackpool tower and its world famous nightly illuminations, which will be in full radiance while the torch visits this vibrant seaside town. in true blackpool style, a star-studded spectacular evening of celebration is planned to welcome the flame at the tower Festival Headland venue on its route through Lancashire.

humBer Bridge, hull back over the border into northeast England, the Humber bridge’s iconic structure creates a dramatic backdrop to the Olympic Flame as it passes through Hull VIII britain 2012

and East riding. When it was built in the 1970s, the Humber bridge was the largest single span suspension bridge in the world, measuring nearly 1.5 miles in length.

yorkshire scuLpture park, WakefieLd, yorkshire indoor galleries set in 500 acres of the 18th back in Yorkshire, the flame passes century-designed bretton Estate. During through a modern cultural phenomenon. 2012, the park is exhibiting outdoor work by Yorkshire Sculpture Park provides an 20th-century surrealist master Joan Miró, extraordinary setting for some of the best as well as british sculptor antony Gormley’s contemporary sculpture, with a unique mesmerising installation Field for the british combination of the cultural, the artistic and the natural world. the park houses five isles, with its 40,000 terracotta figures.

matLock bath, derbyshire One of England’s treasured national parks, the Peak District has scores of pretty villages and tourist attractions including the Heights of abraham in Matlock bath, with its stunning aerial views of the surrounding area viewable from the park’s cable cars. the torch is carried to the park’s summit and back by cable car, before travelling a few miles down the road, to Chatsworth House. this stunning stately home to the current Duke of Devonshire is undergoing a £14m transformation programme making its cultural riches available for all to enjoy.

PHOtOS: © ViSit britain/aLaMY/rObErt MOrriS/JOntY wiLDE/iStOCk/DunCan waLkEr/CHriS HEPburn

LincoLn cathedraL, LincoLnshire the historic city of Lincoln signals a further stop for the flame, and will host a special free concert at Yarborough Sports Ground, where a carnival atmosphere is promised. the following morning, the relay continues from the cathedral, which rises majestically from the centre of the city. blending norman, Gothic and baroque architecture, Lincoln Cathedral was once described by the famed Victorian art critic John ruskin as “out and out the most precious piece of architecture in the british isles”.


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windsor Castle, Berkshire another royal residence is visited on day 53 of the torch relay, when HM Queen Elizabeth ii witnesses the flame prior to officially opening the Games at the Olympic Stadium. Windsor Castle remains the Queen’s private home, having been a royal home and fortress for more than 900 years. Windsor is also a host venue for the Games; the Eton Dorney rowing Lake will be where the Olympic rowing and kayaking events will take place.

Coventry Cathedral, Coventry the torch’s visit coincides with the Golden Jubilee of the rebuilding of its much-loved cathedral. Despite being ravaged by bombs during the second World War, the Cathedral was rebuilt in 1962 and exists alongside the old ruined building, which serves as a touching memorial. Coventry’s stadium is hosting several of the Olympic football fixtures, having been launched in 2007 by british Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes.

tYnDrUM, GLaSGOW Erinn Foley from Penilee, is one of the youngest torchbearers at 12 years old. She attends Paisley Grammar School in renfrewshire and was nominated by her headteacher. “Carrying the torch is a really big event for me. i’m so excited! My great gran is 82 years old and recovering from a broken hip and she's working really hard to get mobile so she can be there to see me. i hope that one day i can take part in the Olympics and hopefully win something for my country!”

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norwiCh Castle, norfolk the flame's arrival in norwich coincides with the city’s four-day Lord Mayor Celebration festival, which includes street fayres, a carnival and fireworks show, and concerts. the torch will also visit norwich Castle, one of the city’s key landmarks. the 900-year-old royal palace built by the normans is now a museum and art gallery packed with anglo Saxon and Viking treasures and unearthed relics dating back as far as the 6th and 7th centuries.

Welcome to Fortnum & Mason Since 1707, Fortnum & Mason has been the home of fine food and gifts in the heart of historic Piccadilly. Founded by a footman at the Court of Queen Anne, we have been a favourite of the monarchy for over three hundred years. Step through our oak doors into a world of heritage, where you will find the most wonderful range of unique goods, from teas and honeys, to fragrances, jewellery and china - and five exquisite restaurants that embody the capital’s most exciting cuisine. Fortnum’s is history brought alive, beautifully. Come and see us and let us serve you royally. Fortnum & Mason 181 Piccadilly, London W1A 1ER. Telephone: 0845 300 1707 Nearest underground stations: Piccadilly Circus and Green Park

INSPIRING THE TENNIS GREATS Every summer brings another exciting Championship at Wimbledon, so why not visit the amazing award-winning Museum and learn more about the history which inspires the great players, and see John McEnroe’s ‘ghost’ and the original tournament trophies. You may also take the behind the scenes tour of the grounds and explore the home of tennis, including Centre Court, for a truly inspirational experience. SUPPORTED BY


Open Daily 10:00am until 5:00pm Nearest Underground: Southfields Telephone: 020 8946 6131 The Museum Building, The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, Church Road, Wimbledon, London SW19 5AE WIMBLEDON.COM/MUSEUM

PHOtOS: alaMy/DaViD ball/iStOCK

durdle door, dorset Moving across the south of England, the flame will tour Dorset’s Jurassic Coast passing one of its flagship attractions, Durdle Door. named after the Old English word ‘thirl’ meaning bore or drill, the magnificent

arch of rock that reaches out to sea remains one of England’s most stunning natural phenomena. the surrounding seas, around Weymouth and Portland, will provide the waters for the Games’ sailing events.

the Isle of WIght the flame makes a brief stop at England’s largest island and popular holiday hotspot, crossing the Solent by ferry. One torchbearer gets to travel by chairlift over the coloured sand clifftops of alum bay down to the beach, which gives a great aerial


view of another famous landmark carved from the sea – the needles. Queen Victoria was so charmed by this island that she and Prince albert had a palace built. Osborne House is open so all can now enjoy the royal pavilion and terraced gardens.

Jersey Island the flame makes another jaunt across the water to the Channel islands, with Jersey being its southernmost stop. While Jersey remains a british Crown Dependency, the island retains a continental feel, being just 14 miles away from France, and enjoys milder temperatures than most of the UK. it boasts some fantastic patchwork-quilt countryside and historic attractions such as the Jersey War tunnels and Mont Orgueil Castle, with its network of staircases and secret rooms.

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Portsmouth historic DockyarD the torch relay continues through Portsmouth and its famed Historic Dockyard that boasts not one but three world-famous naval vessels. representing three epochs in british history, the Dockyard houses the Mary Rose – Henry Viii’s famous battleship; HMS Victory – admiral Lord nelson’s flagship famed for her role in the battle of trafalgar; and HMS Warrior 1860 – the pride of Queen Victoria’s black battle Fleet. a host of costumed characters, including nelson, Henry Viii and Queen Victoria, are scheduled to welcome the flame. the royal Pavilion, Brighton Further east along the coast, and more british history, this time from the regency period. Exotic in design, the palace reflects the lavish tastes of its creator, the Prince regent, who later became George iV. it was sold during Victoria’s reign and used as a hospital for indian soldiers during WWi. Since then, it has been lovingly restored to its former splendour and today contains a magnificent display of regency silver-gilt.

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KEttErinG, nOrtHaMPtOnSHirE Jim Redmond, father of two-time british Olympian Derek redmond, famously leapt from the stands during the 400m semi-final at the barcelona Olympic Games after his son tore a hamstring mid-race. He helped his son cross the finish line to a standing ovation. “i was absolutely thrilled to find out that i had been nominated by the british Olympic association as a torchbearer for the London 2012 Olympic torch relay. it truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity. My son’s race will forever be remembered, and while he did not win the gold medal he had dreamed of, he left an indelible mark on the 1992 Games. Hopefully, London 2012 will produce many more inspirational moments that will be remembered for years to come.”

PHOtOS: iStOcK/trEVOr nOrMan/ViSit britain



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Royal obseRvatoRy and MeRidian tiMe line, GReenwich When the torch finally reaches London, one of its first ports of call is the home of Greenwich Mean time. by the late 19th century, most of the world’s commerce depended on sea-charts which used Greenwich as the Prime Meridian, status that was officially recognised in 1884. the royal Observatory is also home to London’s only planetarium and the iconic dome that houses the UK’s largest refracting telescope. Greenwich is also hosting several events in the Olympics and Paralympic Games, including equestrian, modern pentathlon as well as dressage competitions.


MiDDLEPOrt, CHESHirE Philip Greer, 55, from bucknall, contracted rheumatic fever when he was six years old, paralysing him from the waist down. He was expected to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. However, within two years of the diagnosis, Philip began a long arduous rehabilitation. now, 47 years on, Philip is

2012 not only walking again but has also participated in 28 marathon runs. “My dad was a great believer in my ability and always taught me to never give up. i owe my dad everything and my only regret is that he will not be here to see me carry the Olympic flame, but i know he will be watching me.”

wiMbledon, london another Olympic venue acknowledged by the flame as it gets closer to its final destination is the sumptuous lawns of the all England Lawn tennis Club. the grass courts of Wimbledon, home to the oldest tennis tournament in the world were the obvious choice to host the Olympic tennis. a huge redevelopment plan culminated in a groundbreaking retractable roof being fitted to Centre Court in 2009, but the 126-year-old club still retains its quintessentially british charm.

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Kew Gardens, richmond upon Thames three days before the torch reaches its final destination, it visits yet another World Heritage Site. Kew Gardens is famed for its cultural and architectural significance, as well as botanical importance. its pioneering Victorian glass houses represented the cutting edge of architectural technology at their time of construction. temperate House continues to inspire awe as the largest remaining glass structure from the period. to celebrate the Olympic Games, Kew has created a spectacular floral display of the rings on a grand scale, which are visible to passengers on many flights arriving at Heathrow airport. olympic sTadium, london Finally, on the last day of the torch relay, the flame is brought from Hampton Court Palace to the brand new Olympic Park in Stratford. the Olympic Stadium is the largest venue dominating the site; it’s joined by the basketball arena, with its eye-catching, white undulating cladding – one of the biggest temporary structures ever built for an Olympic Games. next to that is the award-winning sleek curved roof of the Velodrome, which will host the indoor cycling

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anDOVEr, HaMPSHirE Will Stevenson wanted the chance to carry the Olympic flame so that he could raise awareness of a rare illness called Smith Magenis Syndrome which affects his daughter, Lily, aged five. “i nominated myself and the reason was to inspire my daughter and raise public awareness of of this syndrome.” PHOtOS: LOnDOn 2012/ViSit britain


events and where team Gb’s hopes of medal success run high. the Stadium itself is flanked by the tallest art installation in britain: anish Kapoor’s red spiralling structure, the Orbit. the Olympic Park, which is to be renamed the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park after the Games, represents a major transformation and regeneration of the area. it has a brand new shopping centre and hundreds of newly built homes, and it is set to become a focal point in the capital for many years to come.


• Discover a World Heritage Site, the home of Greenwich Mean Time, the Royal Observatory and the

Old Royal Naval College

• Explore the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich Park and the newly restored Cutty Sark

• Browse the shops and vibrant markets • Enjoy days out at The O2, Eltham


Palace and the Royal Arsenal

A Royal Borough on the banks of the river Thames, with outstanding historic landmarks and a rich maritime and royal history.

By Docklands Light Railway, riverboat and train. 0870 608 2000 Scan here for more Royal Greenwich

The stage is set for the most spectacular sporting event that will showcase Britain and London all across the world this summer’s Olympic and paralympic Games in london is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime event for everybody living and visiting britain. but the celebrations do not just apply to the capital city – nor is it solely focused on sporting endeavour. the biggest cultural festival the country has ever seen has been arranged for 2012 so that the whole of the british isles can become part of the Olympic experience. From a stunning piece of human artwork set to illuminate arthur’s seat in edinburgh to an english flower garden of ceramic blooms to a special Olympic-themed proms, there are an incredible 12,000 special events happening at over 900 venues the length and breadth of britain from now until the end of september 2012. some have a strong sporting connection, while others revolve around celebrating britain’s music, art, theatre, film and comedy. this fits perfectly with the ideals of the very first Olympics. as recently as london’s last Olympic Games in 1948, medals were still awarded to artists as well as athletes. in 2012, the only people who can win medals will be those competing this summer, but that doesn’t mean britain’s artists, performers, choreographers and musicians aren’t also aiming for a gold standard, and we’ve selected some highlights that illustrate the very best that you can watch, enjoy and even participate in. XX britain 2012

phOtO: ©JasOn haWKes/imaGe FrOm FrOm BRITAIN FROM ABOVE MONTH BY MONTH by JasOn haWKes. published by dOrlinG Kindersley. see paGe45 FOr mOre details

The biggesT show on e a rT h


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WeIghtless Iron

PHOtOS: CaCtuS iMaGES/LOndOn 2012

a series of spellbinding digital projections at ironbridge Gorge add to the reasons to visit this World Heritage Site in the coming months. as well as being home to the world’s first iron bridge, the area also boasts Kurt Hentschläger’s COrE installation at ironbridge Gorge Enginuity Museum, from now until the end of September. the display uses light, movement and sound to pull you into a world of weightless figures, moving and interacting with one and another and creating a dream-like world.

Into orbIt innovative and exciting artwork and installations will adorn London’s Olympic Park at the heart of the Games (27 July to 12 august) through art in the Park, a venture aimed at integrating arts and culture into public spaces. this includes the vividly colourful Steles, tall columns which accentuate the main river that flows


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through the park. they will be used as boat moorings, making them both artistic and a fully functional part of London life. Winning Words sees inspiring poetry, such as ‘to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield’ from alfred Lord tennyson’s Ulysses, prominently displayed around the park. Fast, Faster, Fastest is an interactive bridge that will be lit up during the Games. after the Olympics, it will be programmed so that the lights flash along it at the speed of the Games’ fastest 100-metre sprints. Standing above all this is the tallest art structure in britain; the 115-metre Orbit, designed by the internationally acclaimed british artist anish Kapoor. Visiting it involves travelling in a glass lift, which takes you through the Orbit’s spiralling red structure to a viewing platform that gives you spectacular views of London’s Olympic stadiums and the capital’s cityscape. the Orbit will be open throughout the Olympics, before reopening to visitors again in 2013. spectators/venues/olympic-park



illuminating edinburgh Historic Arthur’s Seat is home to a mesmerising visual display throughout August, as the mountain is brought to life by hundreds of runners and walkers. They will wear specialised light suits and each take a specific path every night to form a spectacular Speed of Light display. You can become part of the event, as a walking audience member can carry a portable light source up the dark features of the hill or you can stand back and admire the stunning show.



garden In blooM

VIctory Medals a unique british Museum exhibition aims is to tell the narrative of London’s medals, from the mining of the metals to their design, to the eventual production at the royal Mint. as well as showing the London medals to the public for the first time, the exhibition also delves into the long history britain has with the Olympic movement. Objects from the 19th-century Shropshire games sit alongside medals from the 1908 and 1948 London Olympics, offering a fascinating historical link to the events in London this summer. Open now until 9 September.

a celebration of the quintessential british love of flowers is at the heart of Paul Cummins’ the English Flower Garden. it involves a total of approximately 15,000 hand-thrown ceramic flowers displayed at six different locations, including Castle Howard in York, blenheim Palace in Oxford and the althorp Estate in northampton. Each flower has been selected for its historic relationship with the location in question and is carefully displayed in an open, accessible way for all to enjoy these beautiful glazed, ceramic blooms.

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BritainMag3aOutlines.indd 1


23/05/2012 10:00



light in august Each of Britain’s capital cities hosts a breathtaking Flame Festival in late August, where four separate Paralympic fires are lit. This is accompanied by live sporting demonstrations, a stage show featuring rising stars and a beautiful lantern procession. From their various destinations, the four flames will then take separate journeys to Stoke

Mandeville in Buckinghamshire – the spiritual home of the Paralympic movement – where they will be combined to create one London 2012 Paralympic Flame. That marks the beginning of a 24-hour torch relay to the Olympic Stadium, where the flame arrives on 29 August to mark the opening of the Paralympic Games. london

Designing the games london

funny games

PhOTOS: LOndOn 2012

Comedian Stephen Fry and other guests, including Tim Minchin ( left ) and some world-famous athletes, are part of a two-week event running alongside the Summer Olympics, called Playing the Games, at the capital’s historic Criterion Theatre. Two new plays have been written in response to the Games' arrival in London, while Olympic greats past and present take to the stage for a series of lunchtime discussions about their life and achievements, interviewed by TV and stage personalities.

The royal institute of british architects' exhibition tells the story behind the design and engineering of London’s 2012 stadiums, via detailed models and a stunning, 14-metre mural. Entry is free from now until 21 September.

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All the official posters for the Olympic and Paralympic Games are on show as part of a free Tate Britain exhibition from June until 23 September. Among the 12 artists commissioned by a select panel were Turner Prize-winners Martin Creed, Tracey Emin (below) and Chris Ofili.

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INSIDE NumbEr 10 a rare chance to peek inside the Government art Collection, which contains over 13,500 paintings and sculptures dating back to the 16th century, is on offer at the Whitechapel Gallery until 2 September. the exhibition contains portraits of past british Prime Ministers, and a World War ii photograph showing the bomb damage to the State rooms at 10 Downing Street. Other documents on display for the very first time include a list of the paintings hung in number 10, plus papers detailing the loan of Churchill’s bust to the Oval Office in Washington from 1997 to 2008.

celebrate the bard not only is the Danny boyle-directed, £81 million opening ceremony set to feature a strong Shakespearean theme, the bard is ubiquitous throughout the London 2012 festival. London’s Globe theatre has taken on a vast undertaking; staging 37 plays in 37 languages, a feast of diverse theatre in honour of the universal themes of Shakespeare’s characters and plays. further events include Shakespeare’s three shipwreck plays (The Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night and The Tempest) performed as a trilogy in Stratford-upon-avon, while the renowned Welsh actor Jonathan Pryce takes on the role of King Lear at London’s almeida theatre. it’s just the tip of the iceberg of a series of special Shakespeare performances taking place across britain.


facES of 2012 Evocative Olympic portraits taken by some of the world’s finest photographers go on display at a special exhibition at the national Portrait Gallery, running from 19 July to 23 September. as well as images of british Olympians and 2012 medal hopefuls such as Jessica Ennis, tom Daley and rebecca addlington, the three-year bt road to 2012 project has also captured some of the faces behind the scenes of the Games. including the chairman of the organising committee (and double Olympic gold medallist) Lord Sebastian Coe, kit designer Stella McCartney and some less recognisable faces, this display takes you through the story of how the Olympic dream has become a reality.

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The Royal Opera House has teamed with the Olympic Museum in Lausanne to create a free and unique one-off exhibition – The Olympic Journey: The Story of the Games. This immersive experience guides you through the history of the Summer Games, highlighting the remarkable feats of achievement that have characterised the competition. All Olympic torches and medals from London 2012 will be on display here, from 28 July to 12 August.


forest football art and sport merge as a serene forest in the Scottish borders becomes home to a full-size football pitch. Forest Pitch sees two matches take place on 21 July in an event that evokes the spirit of the original Olympics.


in the director's chair


olympian proms the world-famous Proms has added Olympic fervour this year, with beethoven’s ninth Symphony being played to mark the opening day of the Games on 27 July (it contains the glorious Ode to Joy, which is traditionally played at the Olympic and Paralympic opening ceremonies). there is also the appearance of a new Olympic Fanfare, specially created by acclaimed Scottish classical composer James MacMillan. On top of all this, Wallace & Gromit even find time to have a new Proms adventure on 29 July. XXX britain 2012

Some of britain’s most revered directors have been commissioned by the bbc and Film4 to create new films as part of the london 2012 Festival. the legendary, baFta-winning director Mike leigh has created an upbeat comedy-drama called A Running Jump, which shows how sport intertwines with everyday life for all the

members of an east london family. The Swimmer, a poetic short film directed by lynne ramsay, follows a lone swimmer through britain’s scenic coastlines and inland waterways, accompanied by a powerful soundtrack of music composed by ralph Vaughan Williams and Frederick delius, as well as british pop. What If by noel clark showcases urban sport such as free-running, while asif kapadia – director of the multi-awardwinning Fomula 1 documentary Senna – returns to his london roots to make The Odyssey, exploring the relationship between the capital and the Olympics. all four films are screened at selected british cinemas throughout the summer.

find out more about the london 2012 festival at

PhOtOS: lOndOn 2012/iStOck

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Britain meets...

The gardener’s Gardiner Jim Gardiner is not only aptly named but makes a hobby and a living out of his passion for gardens. He tells us about his role as Director of Horticulture at Wisley and having one of the country's best commutes WORDS jessica tooze


always like to think that Wisley is 200 acres of horticultural inspiration,” says Jim Gardiner. “We have a fantastic fruit collection, alpines, glasshouses, woody plants and herbaceous borders. It’s all aimed, I suppose, at the gardener.” As one of the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) gardens since 1903 Wisley has significant pedigree and Gardiner describes it as one of the great gardens of the world. It’s also probably one of the most diverse gardens anywhere and the research taking place there is complimentary to the work that’s being undertaken 25 miles away at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. “It’s a huge demonstration garden, but a very attractive one, so you can see roses and herbaceous plants in a fantastic setting,” says Gardiner. “We have about 900,000 visitors a year and attract people of all interests and all ages – from those who just come for a morning or afternoon stroll and a cup of tea, right the way through to serious gardeners who bring notebooks and cameras wanting to get ideas and inspiration. We also have a horticultural training programme here and we’re very much seen as an educational resource.” Gardiner has been working at Wisley since 1988 when he began as curator. He says he is very much a practical, practising gardener, having trained as a horticulturalist, and has worked in a number of gardens around the country. He came into his current post as Director of Horticulture in May 2010. But he not only works at Wisley – he lives there too. “It’s absolutely fantastic to live and work at Wisley,” he laughs. “I couldn’t wish for a better job, or commute! I must be one

pHotos: rHs/JerrY Harpur

You’ll be in for an absolute treat, irrespective of what time of year it is

of the few people who purposely makes my journey to work longer because I enjoy it so much. Actually I keep on pinching myself – being able to be here morning, noon and night is just amazing.” The British love their gardens and Gardiner agrees that gardening is a particularly British pastime. “We’ve got this tremendous climate – it’s brilliant simply because you’re not going to know what to expect. It’s also extraordinarily challenging.” British gardeners and collectors have been bringing plants into this country from around the world for the last few hundred years despite our changeable weather, and now the complexity and diversity of plants in gardens such as Wisley, and in private gardens across the country,

Above: Agapanthus 'Castle of Mey' in the Canal Garden at Wisley. Left: Jim Gardiner




Britain Meets

Above: Vibrant Crocosmia brings a splash of colour to Wisley's Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden

is breathtaking. “When you consider that across the country there’s a huge, substantial acreage just devoted to gardens – probably about 650,000 acres – it’s no wonder we’ve got this huge diversity,” says Gardiner. There is the Garden Club of America and various other horticultural organisations around the world but the RHS is unique and distinctive in that there’s no other organisation that has the same strength and depth. The society has in the region of 370-380,000 members and it is an extraordinarily diverse set of people that subscribe.

GardEninG GrEaTS George London and Henry Wise enjoyed a near monopoly on large-scale landscape design from 1689-1714 and their designs included the now restored Privy Garden at Hampton Court Palace. Lancelot 'Capability' brown became known as ‘Capability’ because of his fondness for describing how country estates had great ‘capability’ for improvement. Gertrude Jekyll is arguably the most influential gardener of 20th-century England. She



popularised the herbaceous border and planning a garden based on colour schemes. The novelist Vita (Victoria) SackvilleWest bought Sissinghurst Castle, a ruined Elizabethan manor house, in 1930 and spent years creating a fascinating, innovative garden. The now world-famous beth Chatto Gardens at Colchester began in 1960, on wasteland at the back of her late husband's fruit farm. She was awarded an OBE for services to horticulture in 2002 and is a keen advocate of organic gardening.

Gardiner says there are also about 40 scientists working for the RHS, not to mention the society’s additional ventures such as the world’s finest horticultural library, the Lindley Library, and The Garden magazine. Gardiner’s role is ambassadorial but he makes sure he keeps his finger on the horticultural pulse. He is based at Wisley but regularly visits the other three RHS gardens at Hyde Hall, Rosemoor and Harlow Carr on a fairly regular basis. He also likes to explore other gardens in the UK and overseas: “This year I’ve been down to Overbeck’s near Sidmouth – South Devon is an amazing, fantastic place. I’ve also been to visit west-coast Scottish gardens in Argyll and they’re hugely distinctive as well. “I think that if you go to any of our gardens you’ll be in for an absolute treat, irrespective of what time of year it is. Say for instance you’re coming to Wisley in winter, although obviously there isn’t a huge amount of colour, you are able to see the structure of the garden and the beautiful stems at that time of year. But you can also come to the garden to see tropical plants at our amazing bicentenary glasshouse, which is two-thirds temperate and one-third tropical. HM The Queen opened it in 2007 and it’s a real treasure house of plant material. In January and February we have tropical butterflies there as well. The beauty of all our gardens is that we’ve got something for everyone.”

 RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey is open to visitors all year round. For details, visit

Ragley Gardens 2012 129x 99mm

Something New at

London’s Oldest Botanic Garden



















The inspiring Garden of Edible and Useful Plants displaying an extraordinary range of plant species on which humanity depends. Seasonal Opening from 1 April until 31 October: Licensed Café • Gift Shop • Audio & Guided Tours For details visit or call +44 (0)207 352 5646. Swan Walk, Chelsea SW3 4JJ Sloane Sq./Sth. Kensington


2 for 1 OFFER

These gardens change with the years just as surely as they change with the seasons, and ensuring every visit is a unique experience and equally intriguing for those who are simply happy to enjoy a garden, as for those who can name every flower, plant or tree.

2 for 1 admission to Ragley Hall, Park & Gardens during the 2012 season

A showcase of horticultural colour, texture & form

Ragley Gardens are open every weekend until 31st Oct & daily during school holidays. Admission Adult £8.50, Child £5.50, Seniors £7 99mm x 129mm:Layout 1

Free entry

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The best way to enjoy London is on the river What better way for visitors to take in the sights of London than enjoying a leisurely lunch, taking afternoon tea or relaxing with a sundowner on one of our new Riverdays cruises. See our website for details or call our reservations team on 020 77 400 400. Great rates for groups and the trade.

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British History

The Princes in the Tower Shrouded in mystery or historic fact, daubed with dramatic licence or a fine piece of Tudor propaganda, just what is the true story of the Princes in the Tower? We uncover the facts...

image: Š mary evans Picture Library/aLamy

WORDS neil Jones



British History

Above: Laurence Olivier as Richard III. Top: Richard III and the Shakespeare memorial at Stratford-upon-Avon



photos: © steven phraner/istock/interFoto/alamy/steve Frost


illiam Shakespeare’s portrayal of King Richard III as a charismatic, deformed, treacherous usurper of England’s throne has intrigued audiences for more than 400 years. The murder of Richard’s nephews, “the gentle babes… girdling one another within their alabaster innocent arms”, so the royal villain could grab the crown is shocking stuff. The latest performance of the Bard’s landmark play runs at Shakespeare’s Globe in London to mid October and is an electrifying experience. Yet are we witnessing historic fact, dramatic licence or retrospective Tudor propaganda to discredit King Richard? In 1984, some five centuries after the sudden disappearance of the two boys immortalised in history as the Princes in the Tower, a jury in a TV ‘trial’ found that it could not, on the evidence presented, convict Richard of his nephews’ murder. Such is the mystery of the Princes’ fate that it fascinates to this day – you can even join a jury and decide for yourself at the Richard III Museum in York. So what did happen to the Princes? The gist of the story is well known: King Edward IV dies unexpectedly in April 1483, leaving his 12-year-old son Edward to inherit the throne. The late king’s brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, becomes Protector of England and lodges Edward and his sibling, nine-year-old Richard, Duke of York, in the Tower of London.

Events move fast. Before the year is out Edward V and his brother have been declared illegitimate, Edward is deposed and they both vanish, and the Duke of Gloucester is crowned King Richard III. Within another two years, Richard is killed at the Battle of Bosworth and the victor, Henry Tudor, is crowned King Henry VII. Thus ends the turbulent era of dynastic dispute known as the Wars of the Roses and the momentous Tudor age dawns. The fate of the Princes has divided opinion for centuries. Popular belief is that they were murdered – whether smothered, locked in a room and left to starve, poisoned or even drowned in wine – theories range from realistic to fanciful. Richard III, his ally the Duke of Buckingham, his henchmen, and even Henry VII have all variously stood accused of carrying out the crime. Partisan Tudor writers – including those that provided Shakespeare’s source material – were unequivocal that Richard was responsible. Paintings show him as a hunchback, his physical deformity an outward sign of his wickedness, though no contemporary reports record such an appearance. The Richard III Society, originating in 1924, aims to promote research into the life and times of the much-maligned king, and to secure a reassessment of the material relating to the period. President, historian and author Peter Hammond says, “The Society has no

In the wake of the Princes’ disappearance it was rumoured they had been spirited to safety in the countryside or abroad official view on the death of the Princes but would point out that there is no evidence that they were in fact murdered at all. They were known to have been in the Tower of London in the late summer of 1483 and there are no reports of them being seen after that. The implication usually drawn is that they were murdered but that does not necessarily follow; they could have been moved elsewhere.” Indeed, in the wake of the Princes’ disappearance it was sometimes rumoured they had been spirited to safety in the countryside or abroad. Well into the reign of Henry VII figures would emerge claiming to be one or other of the brothers. A humble bricklayer working at Eastwell Park in Kent around 1530 surprised folk by reading Latin in his spare time: some whispered he was Richard, Duke of York. Let’s step right back to the beginning of the saga in April 1483 and follow the trail of events. Young Edward was residing at Ludlow Castle in Shropshire when he heard of his

British History

Previous page: Edward V and Richard Duke of York entering the Tower of London where they were confined and then allegedly murdered on the order of their uncle.This page: The Tower of London



British History

The Tower of London today is dwarfed by the City of London

father’s death and, as the new King Edward V, set out for London with an escort including his maternal uncle Earl Rivers. Edward’s paternal uncle, the Duke of Gloucester, was at his northern stronghold of Middleham Castle, Yorkshire, and hastened south to assume the role of Protector of the Realm. On the way he and his ally the Duke of Buckingham intercepted the royal party and arrested Rivers, Edward’s half-brother Sir Richard Grey, and two others. Did Gloucester already have designs on the crown? Or did he simply want control of the boy king, fearing plans by the queen’s family and their faction in London to make Edward their puppet? In the following months Richard would successfully sideline his opponents, having Rivers and Grey executed at Pontefract Castle for alleged plotting against him. So Richard escorted Edward to the capital. Sir Thomas More, later railing against tyranny in his 16th-century History of King Richard III, says Edward “wept and was nothing content” at what had happened. Following tradition, the young king lodged in sumptuous apartments at the Tower of



London (it was still a royal residence, not solely a prison) while awaiting his coronation: originally set for 4 May, then 24 June, then 22 June, then postponed indefinitely. Meanwhile Gloucester, busy manipulating the council called to decide plans for the coronation and government while Edward was a minor, was officially named Protector and Defender of the Realm. He also pushed the queen, who had sought sanctuary in Westminster Abbey, to surrender Richard to join his brother Edward in the Tower. John Russell, Bishop of Lincoln, tells us that Edward possessed a “gentle wit and ripe understanding, far passing the nature of his youth”, while French chronicler Jean Molinet said York was “joyous and witty, and ever ready for dances and games.” The brothers were seen playing in the garden at the Tower. But sometime after 16 June Edward V and York were withdrawn to inner apartments. Edward Mancini, a monk in the entourage of the French ambassador to England, reported “day by day [they] began to be seen more rarely behind the bars and windows.” It is thought they were kept in the White Tower. Suddenly it was announced that Edward IV had been in a pre-contract of marriage before he married the Princes' mother, Elizabeth Wydville, and the boys were illegitimate. No evidence was produced but an assembly of lords and commons deposed Edward V on 25 June. The next day Gloucester became King Richard III.

 For more information about Richard III’s links to the mystery of the Princes in the Tower visit The Richard III Society ( and to draw your own conclusions visit the Richard III Museum in York ( For the Tower of London – the scene of the crime – visit For more information and to view our timeline visit

photo: © fazon1/istock

Partisan Tudor writers were unequivocal that Richard was responsible for the boys’ deaths

Richard proved an efficient and capable ruler but the fact that the Princes were never seen publicly again and the widespread belief that he had done away with them blackened his reputation: even in those ruthless times, murder of children was considered shocking. Many writers presented Richard’s death at Bosworth in 1485 as a fitting come-uppance. Nevertheless, persisting uncertainty over the fate of the Princes allowed ‘pretenders’ to the throne to emerge periodically throughout the reign of Henry VII, most notably Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck. Both purported to be the long-lost Duke of York. Then in 1502 Sir James Tyrrell, while being held in the Tower for treason, confessed that he had smothered the Princes on the order of Richard III. Sir Thomas More later wrote a chilling re-enactment of the alleged scene when Tyrell’s accomplices entered the Princes’ bedchamber at midnight and “so bewrapped and entangled them, keeping down by force the feather bed and pillows hard into their mouths”. More also said that the bodies were buried “at the stair foot, meetly deep under the ground” and that the murder happened on 15 August 1483; modern historian Alison Weir calculates it was 3 September. In 1674 workmen found two skeletons at the base of the staircase to the chapel in the White Tower. Following investigations by the royal surgeon and selected antiquaries, the remains were declared to be those of the Princes, and King Charles II had them reburied in an urn in Westminster Abbey. In 1933 the skeletons were re-examined using more modern scientific techniques and, while findings are not considered conclusive, they are generally thought consistent with two children of the ages of the Princes. Bones, circumstantial evidence, reports and rumours paint a poignant and bloody tale, but mystery still shrouds the full truth.

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Away from all the Olympic excitement, there's plenty more to look forward to across the country over the coming months...

Explore Britain from above Landmarks and landscapes as you've never seen them To mark a momentous year for Britain in 2012, DK has published a unique collection of never-seen-before aerial shots from all over Britain, providing a fascinating celebration of the country in all its glory. Packed full of more than 170 images by specialist photographer Jason Hawkes, the book showcases varied and breathtaking views of Britain’s diverse and stunning landscape throughout the seasons. Britain From Above Month by Month costs £20 and is available at

OPEN-AIR THEATRE Chapterhouse Theatre Company is touring Britain's countryside this summer, bringing traditional theatre to some of our most beautiful open-air venues including Woburn Abbey, Cowdray Ruins and Hever Castle. www.

RAINING LANDMARKS Make the best of the rain with this fun colour-changing umbrella from the British Museum, which cleverly reveals a bright London-themed design when it gets wet. TEL: 0800 218 2222; WWW.







St Chad’S College St Chad’s College is set on a dramatic site in the shadow of Durham Cathedral in the centre of medieval Durham.

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Leighton House Museum in Kensington is the former home and studio workspace of the Victorian artist Frederic Leighton (1830-1896). Artist in residence Charlie Cobb will be working in Leighton's historic studio from 31 July - 21 September to create a series of drawings and paintings exploring the relationship between Leighton’s last painting Clytie and his life and work represented through the beautiful house and its contents. leightonhousemuseum.aspx

Strike a pose with sporting sculptures 24 artists create 57 pieces interpreting 2012’s two key events Inspired by the London Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, a new exhibition will take place in the Formal Gardens of The Grove in Hertfordshire. The Expressions of Movement summer sculpture exhibition runs until 30 September and you can also enjoy lunch, afternoon tea, dinner or an overnight stay at the luxury Grove hotel.



Big Ben, one of Britain’s most loved landmarks, is the latest set to join the ingenious LEGO® Architecture series. It's available to buy from http: //





THE LOST PRINCE The world’s first exhibition on Henry, Prince of Wales (1594-1612), the boy who would have become King Henry IX had he not died at the age of 18, is to be staged by the National Portrait Gallery this autumn. Marking the 400th anniversary of his death, The Lost Prince: The Life and Death of Henry Stuart (opening 18 October) will be the first ever exhibition on the prince .


THE EDITOR'S PICK On 25 April The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, officially re-opened Cutty Sark - the world’s last surviving tea clipper and one of Britain’s greatest maritime treasures, following an extensive conservation project. The ship is now open to visitors for the first

time since 2006. The Duke of Edinburgh has a long association with the ship, co-founding the Cutty Sark Society in 1951. In December 1954, due to his efforts, Cutty Sark came to

Greenwich where she became, and remains, a memorial to all those who served in the merchant service. The Queen first opened the ship to the public on 25 June 1957 and the re-launch marks

the start of an exciting new chapter in the clipper's life. This is an exceptional year for Greenwich, which was granted the status of Royal Borough in February and will

have the eyes of the world upon it during the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics this summer. Tickets to Cutty Sark can be purchased online at cuttysark BRITAIN


the What to do ● Where to go ● What to buy

a posh night out In an oak-panelled room in oxford, ten young members of an elite student dining society are settling down for a wild night of debauchery and decadence. Posh, british playwright Laura Wade’s searing take on britain’s classes, old money and the ultra privileged, played to 100 per cent capacity at the royal Court theatre in Chelsea and is now moving to the heart of the West end. Catch this horribly funny account of riotous rich boys until 4 august at the duke of york's theatre.

porlock puts on a star-studded show don't miss this festival in the wilds of exmoor overlooking the sea It’s a big year for the Porlock Arts Festival, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this September. Guests already booked to appear include international bestselling novelist and playwright Kate Mosse and award-winning theatre, film and television actress Dame Diana Rigg. Set in the charming Somerset village of Porlock, it’s the most picturesque of festivals.

horsing around Spectators will be treated to an exciting display of action, stunts, falls and fights as the Knights of royal england bring the medieval sport of jousting to life at the annual jousting tournament held at hever Castle – former castle of kings – starting on 14 July. the programme of spectacular jousting tournaments continues over the summer holiday weekends.

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For those inspired by our gardens feature, the Cotswold House Hotel has the perfect summer’s getaway for all garden enthusiasts. the three-night package, which is available on 26-29 June, includes

behind-the-scenes tours of two of the uK’s most renowned gardens, hidcote Manor and Kiftsgate Court; private tours of the stunning bourton house gardens; a private lunch in the historic home

of Lady hereford; a tour of the celebrated Whichford Pottery; and a talk from journalist and author Val bourne. the large-scale annual Cheltenham Literature Festival (www.cheltenham ) returns

on 5-14 october, with big names including Michael Palin, anthony horowitz and many more. Stay at charming b&b Hilden House for the perfect base to visit the festival and to explore the picturesque surrounding countryside.

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photo: Š Krys Bailey/alamy

Salisbury Cathedral has been painted by artistic greats including John Constable



Exploring Britain

Captured on canvas Continuing our special series, this issue we discover the buildings and backdrops across the country that have inspired some of the nation's greatest landscape artists WORDS jessica tooze



F Below: Salisbury Cathedral by John Constable, 1823. This oil painting was commissioned by the Bishop of Salisbury. Right: Caernarfon Castle today. Below right: The castle painted in watercolour by J M W Turner in 1799

rom the mountainous peaks of the magnificent Cader Idris at the southern end of Snowdonia National Park pink-tinged clouds scud across the endless sky, rugged hills stretch away into the distance and glass-like lakes glint in sculpted hollows. This incredible Welsh vista and others like it inspired the man often credited as being Britain’s first landscape painter, Richard Wilson (1714-1782), and a great tradition of British landscape painting followed in his wake. Before the 18th century, however, landscapes were mostly painted as backgrounds to portraits, typically suggesting the estates of a landowner, and often painted by an artist who had never visited his sitter’s lands. The rise of watercolour painting, mostly of landscapes, in the 18th century reflected not only a change in artistic trends but a transformation of society’s attitudes as well. By the beginning of the 19th century the leading British artists were dedicated landscapists, painting romantic interpretations of the cities and countryside around them. While art continues to be a sign of societal change today, many of the rural scenes captured by these great painters remain much as they were. Two of the biggest names in British art must be J M W Turner (1775-1851) and John Constable (1776-1837), and both found their inspiration from the landscapes around them, capturing their surroundings in paintings that are now considered among the finest in the world.

Constable, who often painted the rural enclave of Dedham Vale in the heart of Suffolk where he grew up, would still recognise the countryside he observed so intimately. Flatford Mill, once owned by the artist’s father, looks almost the same today in this hidden corner as it does in his painting Scene on a Navigable River – only the agrarian workers and their carthorse have disappeared. An almost exact contemporary of Constable, Turner, or ‘the painter of light’ as he became known, was an extremely prolific artist, producing over 550 oil paintings and 2,000 watercolours in his lifetime. He painted all over Britain, from Sussex to Skye, and from steam trains to ship wrecks. The Turner Contemporary gallery opened in 2011 in the small seaside town of Margate in Kent, a place that Turner visited and painted many times, and nearly two centuries since his visits it is still possible to see why he remarked to the influential writer and art critic John Ruskin that “the skies over Thanet are the loveliest in all Europe”. This part of Kent drew Turner back time and again and his vibrant, unconventional use of colour and near abstract style perfectly characterised the East Kent seascapes and fine views of Margate harbour. Before these two great landscapists, celebrated artists such as Gainsborough (1727-1788) and Stubbs (17241806) were making the transition from portrait to landscape painting. Although famous for likenesses of his wealthy clients, Gainsborough’s private inclination was to

images: © TimewaTch images/alamy/PrivaTe collecTion/harvey wood/courTesy of The owner/looP images/granville harris

They found their inspiration from the landscapes around them, capturing their surroundings in paintings that are now considered among the finest in the world



paint more rustic scenes. In his last years he painted relatively simple landscapes and is credited (along with Wilson) for originating the 18th-century British landscape school. His quiet pastoral paintings, often featuring farm labourers and animals, reveal the beauty of rural Britain. Richard Wilson was the first major British painter to primarily concentrate on landscape, and is one of the most distinguished painters Wales has ever produced. Constable, Turner and John Crome acknowledged him as an influence and even painted the same views, such as the Gothic Conwy Castle and the ruined fortress of Dolbadarn Castle in North Wales. A visitor today can still see the same view of Dolbadarn, the round stone keep standing proudly against its backdrop of craggy peaks. In fact, many of the timeless landscapes that Wilson painted can still be seen almost exactly as he would have viewed them – his painting of the lake of Llyn-y-Cau, on the mountain of Cader Idris in North Wales, reveals a dramatic watery amphitheatre that looks much the same today. Others, such as his Westminster Bridge under Construction, reveal a city and country very different from our own, and give us a valuable insight into the past. Peter De Wint (1784-1849) also toured and painted in Wales but many of his panoramic landscapes and haymaking scenes are set in Lincolnshire in the east of England. Visitors seeking breathtaking views will

Exploring Britain

appreciate the endless undulations of cliffs, patchwork fields, woodlands and rivers that still characterise the area today. From the Lincolnshire Wolds, a range of hills designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, there are vast views over the flat fens below and it is possible to make out some of the landmarks painted by De Wint, such as Lincoln Cathedral, and St Botolph’s – the largest parish church in the country – which was also sketched by Turner. Out of the countryside and into the towns and cities, 19th-century painters were moving away from the detailed portraits of London society pioneered by William Hogarth (1697-1764) and focusing on the architecture of the cities themselves. John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-1893) painted scenes of Leeds, Liverpool, Glasgow and more, while the distinctive style of L S Lowry (1887-1976) perfectly captured the industrial districts of northern England during the early 20th century. Grimshaw was drawn by the atmospheric night-time docks in cities he visited, such as Humber Docks, Hull and Salthouse Dock, Liverpool. A large collection of Lowry’s work is on permanent public display in The Lowry, a purpose-built art gallery on Salford Quays. He often painted the surrounding area, and other northern towns, as well as views of London and Cumbria. Senhouse Street, Maryport was painted from South Quay in Cumbria, and the view looks much the same today. Now, the artist dominates sales of British



You’re Invited

“Romantic Hever Castle is one of my favourite British landmarks” Dame Judi Dench


Over 400 years ago Robert Cecil, chief advisor to Queen Elizabeth I, built this fine Jacobean House. His decendants, the Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury, who still live in and care for the House today, welcome you to visit. Jacobean House Tudor Old Palace Knot Garden Formal Garden Sculpture Exhibition Woodland Garden Political History Fine Paintings and Furniture Historic Parkland Coach House Restaurant Gift Shop Stable Yard Shops Hatfield Park Farm Bloody Hollow Play Area

Discover 700 years of history, romance and intrigue at the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, set in magnificent award winning gardens

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w w w. h a t f i e l d - h o u s e . c o . u k

Hever, Nr. Edenbridge, Kent, TN8 7NG

The childhood home of Anne Boleyn

a place of...

SPLENDOUR | twitter@LincsCathedral INSPIRING people in different ways

One of the greatest Gothic buildings in Europe | Marvel at the Great West Front | Visit the medieval Wren Library | Discover the famous Lincoln Imp | View the Dean’s Eye window dating from 1220 See the shrine of St.Hugh and the tomb of Katherine Swinford Visit the Chapter House and enjoy the atmosphere captured on the Da Vinci Code | Be inspired by architecture almost a 1000 years old | Experience The View from St Hugh! The Cloisters Refectory is available for light refreshments and the Cathedral Shop for gifts. Open daily for floor and roof tours or join us for worship at one of our daily services Check before you visit as restrictions may apply, Call 01522 561600 Email

54 britain Cathedrad A Place of Splendour 99x129.indd 2 28/05/2012 10:21

Exploring Britain

images: © incamerastock/alamy/V&a images

Visitors seeking breathtaking views will appreciate the endless undulations of cliffs, patchwork fields, woodlands and rivers

Modern Art and an impressive collection of his works, which included seascapes and landscapes as well as his instantly recognisable views of working-class city life, sold in November 2011 for £17.7 million. In contrast to these built-up urban views, perhaps one of the most popular haunts of artists in Britain is Cornwall. The Newlyn School of artists that included Stanhope Forbes (1857-1947) painted in a fishing village adjacent to Penzance from the 1880s until the early 20th century, while another artistic community settled in St Ives. Alfred Wallis (18551942) spent most of his life as a fisherman there and his naïve art paintings were said by the painter Ben Nicholson to be “something that has grown out of the Cornish seas and earth and which will endure”. The romantic landscape and special quality of light continued to attract hundreds of artists to St Ives and by the 1920s it was something of a bohemian colony. Today England’s most coastal county has the largest concentration of artists outside of London and the Tate St Ives gallery that opened in 1993 confirmed the town’s status as a major cultural centre. A very different sort of seaside resort can be found at Bridlington, in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Here, where the winds blow in across the North Sea and the waves crash against the great spur of Flamborough Head, another artist has been inspired to produce some of his finest work. David Hockney (1937- ) is one of Britain’s

Above top: Looking across a wheat field in the rolling hills of the Lincolnshire Wolds. Above: Harvest Field, by Peter de Wint

best-known artists, and is still producing exhibitions that continue to confound critics and broaden artistic boundaries. While he has always been closely associated with the sunnier climes of California, for the last decade Hockney has been based in Bridlington, where he was born. His most recent works from here have redefined him as an important painter of the English countryside. In his fascinating book A Bigger Message – Conversations with David Hockney, the art critic Martin Gayford quotes the artist as saying: “I’m not sure which modernist critic said that it wasn’t possible to do anything with landscape any more. But when people say things like that I’m always perverse enough to think, ‘Oh, I’m sure it is’ […] because every generation looks differently.” britain


images: david atkins/istock/günay mutlu

Exploring Britain

“I remember seeing the river with its bridges and exploring the streets and parks. In all its splendour, the Capital seemed a world away”

Above top: David Atkins, Piccadilly Circus in Early Spring, oil on canvas. Above: The colour and bustle of Piccadilly Circus at dusk



And it is true that the variety of Britain’s landscapes continues to inspire both established and emerging artists. Becky Samuelson, who lives and paints in the Isle of Wight, says that it is the diversity in our landscape that stimulates her: “The hugely varied geology makes the island a special place to live and work. Surrounded by water with great natural light, it offers unparalleled subject matter.” Modern artists still find inspiration in Britain’s cities too and David Atkins (1964- ) says London has always held a fascination for him: “As a boy my father would frequently take me on a journey by foot through London,” he says. “I remember the delight of seeing the river with its bridges and familiar landmarks, of visiting museums and galleries and exploring the streets and parks. In all its splendour, the Capital seemed a world away from the suburban life.” Those first impressions of London have remained with him and are reflected in his vibrant drawings and paintings that encapsulate the excitement and energy of the city. And the very finest landscape artists manage to do just that – capture the essence of a bustling city, a stormy sky, or a wind-swept coastline in paint, immortalising the best British backdrops for generations to come.

 For details of galleries where you can see paintings by artists mentioned in this feature, and for more British landscape artists working today, visit the BRITAIN website:

Congratulating the Queen on her

Diamond Jubilee

Celebrating 25 years

...the heart of Somerset

of providing high quality and inspected


Visit our websites for details of where to go and what to do For a free brochure of 680 B&Bs in the UK & Ireland, email: Scan this QR code

‘ENGLAND’S OLDEST INN’ 1189AD Legend has it the Crusaders stopped here for welcome refreshments. In the Middle Ages a ‘trip’ was not a journey but rather a resting place where such a journey could be broken.

A warm welcome awaits you at The Castle at Taunton. One of England’s finest Castle Hotels. T: +44 (0)1823 272671 The Castle Hotel, Castle Green, Taunton, TA1 1NF

’s l l a w n r o C t p e K t s Be Secret!

Carved into the rock connected with a labyrinth of sandstone caves at the foot of Nottingham Castle, visit Yorkey’s Lounge, the Haunted Snug, the Cursed Galleon, sit in Fertility Chair, play Ring the Bull, or book a tour of our famous cave cellars under the Castle (reservations required). Open: Sunday – Thursday 11am-11pm Friday & Saturday 11am – Midnight. Food Served Daily 11am -10pm. Children welcome until 7pm

Great Real Ales, & Great Food. Brewhouse Yard Nottingham NG1 6AD Tel No: 0115 9473171

Find Us on

Mount Haven Hotel

4HYHaPVUc cTV\U[OH]LUJV\R ‘one of the 9 Best Secret Hotels in the World’ (Cnn January 2011). 7UHVFR7LPHVDGLQGG  turnpike Road, Marazion, Penzance, Cornwall tR17 0DQ tel: 01736 710249 email: reception @

britain 57

in the heart of Bath Make the most of Bath’s natural thermal waters and experience a one-day spa package that spans 2000 years. The special package costs £63.50 per person and includes: A ticket to the Roman Baths A voucher for a 3 course set lunch or Champagne afternoon tea in the Pump Room A voucher for a 2-hour spa session at Thermae Bath Spa

© National Portrait Gallery, London



2012: Queen Katherine Parr Festival







Patron: HRH The Duchess of Cornwall Historical Advisor: Dr. David Starkey

Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire GL54 5JD. Tel. 01242 602308 58 BRITAIN

PHOTO: © His Grace THe Duke Of BeDfOrD anD THe TrusTees Of THe BeDfOrD esTaTes



National Treasures

Win a two-night stay at The inn at Woburn with dinner on both nights and a Gold Pass to visit all ten Treasure Houses! Or win one of five additional prizes to visit a Treasure House of your choice

Clockwise from above: Woburn Abbey and The Inn at Woburn

monarchies, spanning more than nine centuries. Fusing past and present, showcasing famous art collections and eclectic exhibitions, they provide a living history of England. Many are recognisable from iconic television and films, from Harry Potter to Pride and Prejudice. Set in inspiring locations across the country, the Treasure Houses are also a garden-lover's paradise; explore Capability Brown landscapes or discover contemporary sculpture exhibitions. Choose from Beaulieu, Blenheim Palace, Burghley House, Castle Howard, Chatsworth, Harewood, Hatfield House, Holkham Hall, Leeds Castle and Woburn Abbey.  For more information about all ten Treasure Houses, go to and for Classic British Hotels, go to

How to enter

To be in with a chance of winning, answer the question below and send the coupon to the address provided. Alternatively, enter via the BRITAIN website, www. The closing date is 31 August 2012 – winners will be notified shortly afterwards. Question: In which Treasure House was Sir Winston Churchill born? a) Chatsworth b) Blenheim Palace c) Beaulieu *The two-night break must be taken before April 2013 and is subject to availability. Other terms and conditions apply.

TREASURE HOUSES COMPETITION ENTRY FORM SEND YOUR COUPON TO: Treasure Houses Competition, BRITAIN magazine, The Chelsea Magazine Company, Liscartan House, 127-131 Sloane Street, London SW1X 9AS, UK. Or to: Grosvenor House Competition, BRITAIN magazine, 116 Ram Cat Alley, Suite 201, Seneca, SC 29678, USA. My answer: Name Address


he Treasure Houses of England – a collection of England’s most magnificent palaces, houses and castles – has joined forces with Classic British Hotels. To celebrate this new partnership we have teamed up with them to bring you this special competition – the chance to win a two-night break* at The Inn at Woburn (member of Classic British Hotels) and a Gold Pass to visit all ten Treasure Houses. The hotel is set in the charming Georgian village of Woburn, and is owned and managed by Woburn Estate. The prize also includes a three-course dinner each night in the hotel’s award-winning Olivier’s Restaurant and full English breakfast each morning. Classic British Hotels is a collection of over 90 independent hotels, each with their own distinct character, located in Britain’s best destinations from the Cotswolds to the Lake District and from Yorkshire to Scotland. The lucky winner will also win a Gold Pass so that they can visit all ten Treasure Houses, at their leisure. Five runners up will win a complimentary ticket for two people to visit a Treasure House of their choice. The Treasure Houses of England are a spellbinding storybook of some of England’s greatest families and

Tel no:


Terms and conditions apply. For full details go to Please tick here if you subscribe to BRITAIN Please tick here if you would prefer not to be contacted by BRITAIN , the competition sponsor , or carefully selected third parties .


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British Style

furniture figureS from cabinets to couches, masterpieces created by Britain's greatest designers adorn the finest homes the world over. But where did it all start? We explore the past, present and future of Britain’s finest furniture WORDS Chris Fautley

photoS: the truSteeS of Sir John Soane'S MuSeuM, London/the BridgeMan art LiBrary/©nationaL portrait gaLLery London/WiKipedia


ccording to Einstein, “a table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin” are all that a man requires to be happy. With the exception of the violin, these modest requirements are indeed the stuff of everyday life. But it hasn’t always been thus, for furniture was once anything but common. Seven hundred years ago, it barely existed at all – at least not as we know it. This was in no small part due to life being somewhat more nomadic: even royalty spent much of their time on the road, accompanied by their court and most of their worldly goods. King John, we know, lost most of his while crossing the Wash. Such grand homes as existed will have had little more than rugs, tapestries and wall-hangings complemented with, perhaps, a few basic chairs and chests. Almost all will have been made locally. With the passage of time, the tendency to wander diminished and the demand for more robust items of furniture increased. Initially, items were big, heavily carved and invariably of native oak. The start of the 17th century saw embellishments appearing in the form of gilding; upholstery featured increasingly. By the early 18th century, furniture was becoming more artistic with the introduction of veneering and marquetry; rarer woods such as ebony and walnut had long since gained a strong footing. Soon, furniture-making became an art form in its own right; it was only a matter of time before it became the domain of specialised craftsmen rather than the jobbing carpenter.

Arguably, the golden era of British furniture-making arrived in the latter part of the 18th century; at the very least it saw some of its most famous designers. Thomas Chippendale, the noted cabinet designer, derived his fame as much from a book as his furniture. In 1754, he published The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director – a catalogue of furniture designs. There is no sure way of ascertaining how many of these were his own: for certain, many were copied by other designers of the time. Regardless, the book led to Chippendale being known in some circles, rather contentiously, as the Shakespeare of furniture-making. Through supporting documentation, we know that much genuine Chippendale work survives. Nostell Priory, for example, has an extensive collection, including a carved mahogany table in the library, but his greatest commission came from Harewood House whose owner, Edwin Lascelles, spent some £10,000 on his work – an enormous sum for the time. Thomas Sheraton was an 18th century designer whose fame was derived more through the influence he had on others rather than anything he produced himself. He too published a book (in four parts) – The Cabinet-Maker

Top: Drawing of sofa design by Robert Adam, 1770s. Above: Robert Adam



photos: alamy/the NatioNal trust photolibrary/©Gary DysoN /wikipeDia/Courtesy hille eDuCatioNal proDuCts ltD

furniture in britain 1550 Most furniture is made of oak and is Gothic in style – carved arches and panelling

1660 Walnut becomes popular


1620 Gilding comes into vogue



1667 Grinling Gibbons arrives in Britain

1718 Thomas Chippendale baptised

1730 Mahogany overtakes walnut in popularity

1751 Thomas Sheraton born

1754 Thomas Chippendale publishes The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director

1760 Satinwood and rosewood gain in popularity, as does the neo-classical style

1686 William Kent baptised Mahogany

1791 Thomas Sheraton publishes The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Drawing-Book


British Style

Clockwise from facing page: Wightwick Manor; William Morris, age 53; Chippendale's mahogany table in Nostell Priory; Otley's statue of Thomas Chippendale

and Upholsterer’s Drawing-Book – rather like a how-to manual. His style, like much of Chippendale’s later work, was neo-classical – that is, a revival inspired by classical antiquities, especially of the Greek and Egyptian style. Robert Adam was one designer whose style was influenced by Sheraton, although he adapted it to produce his own ‘Adam style’. An architect by trade, his designs for buildings frequently went right down to their rooms and the contents in them. He too worked on Harewood House, as well as the interior of Syon Park in London where there is a rare, Adam-designed carpet in the Red Drawing Room. Adam was not, however, the first architect with another string to his bow. William Kent ‘discovered’ furniture design in around 1725, and while his style is generally referred to as Palladian, his more severe critics claim it wanders into the baroque manner of ornateness. Some of the earliest examples of Kent’s work are at Houghton Hall in Norfolk. They include the breathtaking green velvet bed in the Green-Velvet Bedchamber and chairs in the Saloon – where he also painted the ceiling (painting being another of his talents). Inspiration and influence frequently came from overseas, particularly continental Europe. Several furniture-makers learned their craft there before setting up shop here, becoming so successful that we regularly refer to them as British when, strictly speaking, they were not. For example, Grinling Gibbons, the acclaimed woodcarver, was born in Rotterdam and did not arrive on British shores until he had served his apprenticeship, probably in Amsterdam. Similarly, Thomas Hope – another famous ‘British’ designer – was born in Amsterdam and did not arrive in Britain until he was 26 years old.


1834 William Morris born

1868 Charles Rennie Mackintosh born

1865 Arts and Crafts movement begins to evolve 1858 Ebenezer Gomme born


1840 Plywood and iron feature in furniture design

Nonetheless, the continental impact (and that from farther afield) on British designers is incontrovertible. These styles influenced the furnishings of entire buildings; the Chinoiserie (Chinese-style) of Brighton’s Royal Pavilion is a classic example, reaching its finest in the Banqueting Hall and Music Room. By the mid-19th century, furniture was becoming less the preserve of the well-to-do and began adopting a more utilitarian and less ostentatious nature – although that is not to say that ornamentation fell entirely out of favour. Furnituremakers dabbled in new materials such as plywood and iron while the seeds of mass production were gradually germinating. It was a concept that was vigorously fought by the Arts and Crafts movement, which maintained that mass production had no place in society. Designer and poet William Morris personified the mood, intoning, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” Victorian society was, however, inclined to adopt the ‘useful’ over the ‘beautiful’.

1898 Mackintosh designs first furniture for Glasgow tea rooms

1892 Gordon Russell born

1925 Emergence of Art Deco

1900 Advent of Art Nouveau

1950 Birth of G-plan furniture; Robin Day designs Hillestak chair

1963 Robin Day designs polypropylene chair for Hille



British Style 'Stow' bedside cabinet, chair (1925) and a pair of footstools, designed (1927) by Sir Gordon Russell. Below: Sir Gordon Russell, 1962 oil on canvas


The 1890s and the advent of the 20th century saw several designers and companies leave their mark. Charles Rennie Mackintosh was well established as an architect when the new century dawned, but it is for his furniture that he is most often remembered – and in particular the interiors and furniture of four Glasgow tea rooms owned by Miss Cranston. If one thing epitomises Mackintosh more than any other, it is the high-backed chairs he designed for the Ladies’ Luncheon Room in Ingram Street. Made of dark-stained oak, their boldly erect backs were over five feet tall, comprising a frame with two broad central vertical bars. Although the seats were well upholstered, their design hardly encouraged customers to linger – which may have been exactly what Miss Cranston intended. Elsewhere, the wheels of mass-production were turning apace. Ebenezer Gomme started off in a modest way – at one stage making chairs in his garden shed. By 1909, he had opened a factory in High Wycombe that was to house one of Britain’s first furniture production lines. The advent of the Second World War led to a different market. Sir Gordon Russell was already well set up in the trade, his work during the 1920s and 1930s being greatly influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement. However, wartime destruction and subsequent austerity led to a huge demand for basic, well-made utility furniture – a demand that Russell met with considerable zeal. The cessation of hostilities and the gradual return to normality led to a desire for items that were rather more



than utilitarian. Gomme’s factory, having already mastered the concept of mass production, took the next logical step and began the mass production of quality items. Production line manufacturing eventually led to the ubiquitous and oft-derided flat-pack, however, that is not to say that iconic design was to become a thing of the past. On the contrary, the latter part of the 20th century produced some mass-produced classics – none more so than those of Robin Day. Among his successes were two items produced for the furniture company Hille: the beech Hillestak chair with its renowned plywood seat, and their polypropylene, steelframed stacking chair – the epitome of mass-produced, utility furniture. For sure there are more design classics yet to come – not least since Britain still has a myriad of independent producers, designers and craftsmen creating individual pieces as a matter of routine or to special commission. Some may end up in mass production: tables, chairs… as Einstein said. And doubtless others will contribute to our happiness.

oldest pieces of ‘furniture’ to be in continuous use is the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey. Made of oak, it has been used in every coronation since Edward II in 1308. J The Great Bed of Ware, now in the Victoria & Albert Museum, is possibly Britain’s most famous piece of furniture. At almost 3.5m (10ft) wide, it was produced in 1590 for a Hertfordshire inn; possibly made in London by continental craftsmen, it receives an honorary mention in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night . J Some people considered the introduction of iron in bedsteads to be influential in lowering the incidence of bed bugs.

 For more information and visitor details for all the properties mentioned in this feature, go to

photos: the Bridgeman art LiBrary/©the Fine art society, London, UK/©the art WorKers' gUiLd trUstees Limited, London, UK

photos: the Bridgeman art LiBrary/© gordon rUsseLL mUseUm

J One of the

The Ultimate Experience for Discerning Garden Lovers Over four acres of densely planted borders bursting with colour from spring to autumn. Formal garden with rill leads into the Monet garden in the style of the Grande Allee at Giverny. Impressive nursery specialising in unusual plants. Fabulous home cooked dishes and delicious cream teas served in the licensed Garden Terrace Restaurant or on our sun terrace. Open 10am-5pm (Sunday 10.30am-5pm) until 14th October Hawkhurst Road, Hurst Green, East Sussex. TN19 7RA 01580 860666

ely visit

Oliver Cromwell’s House Visit the former Lord Protector’s family home. Experience what domestic life would have been like in the 17th Century in a variety of re-created period rooms as well an exhibition detailing the Civil War. Visit Mrs Cromwell’s kitchen, try dressing-up or playing with the toys of the time or venture into the Haunted Bedroom if you dare! Audio handsets bring the story of this impressive House to life. Guided tours and group visits welcome. Also Gift Shop and Tourist Information Centre. For further enquiries check out our website at or call 01353 662062.

Explore the very best that the British Isles has to offer For your new 2012 SHC brochure

RECTORY FARM TEA ROOMS Delightful 13ct Farmhouse just a short walk from some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in North Cornwall Open daily from Easter till end of October other times please see website Morning Coffee Homecooked Lunches Award Winning Cream and Afternoon Teas All prepared in our farmhouse kitchen using only the finest local ingredients Member of the UK Tea Council and winner of their prestigious Award of Excellence Please phone 01288 331251

Email Rectory Farm, Crosstown, Morwenstow, Bude, Cornwall EX23 9SR

0800 2300 298

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Treat yourself to an early summer break in a medieval castle or a gatehouse, lodge, cottage, converted stable, farm house...

Please complete and return this coupon to SHC FREEPOST REEPOST CB45, HPB House, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 8BR


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britain 65

Mighty MonuMents Britain is famous for its ancient sites, from the mystery of Stonehenge to the majesty of Hadrian’s Wall. Almost wherever you go there is some reminder of thousands of years of history. Here are our 12 must-see ancient sites, all set in the stunning British countryside WORDS Bill Bevan

Early Britain

â–  Stonehenge & Avebury


World heritAge SiteS

No journey into Britain’s past is complete without a visit to Stonehenge, one of the best-known prehistoric monuments in the world. It was built between 3,000 and 1,600 BC, about the same time as the Pyramids, for Neolithic farmers to celebrate the rebirth of the seasons at midwinter and midsummer. A five-metre high outer circle of monoliths capped with stone lintels forms a screen around a horseshoe of even taller trilithons. To really appreciate the scale and location of Stonehenge, either walk towards it along the Avenue to see it appear dramatically on the horizon or book a limited-number visit inside the circle outside normal opening hours. Equally as impressive is Avebury, a contemporary of Stonehenge, which is so large that a village fits inside it. Many of the massive standing stones of its three circles have been re-erected after villagers smashed some to use as building stone in the 1600s. Avebury is one part of a Neolithic ritual landscape that includes Silbury Hill, the tallest prehistoric mound in Europe, and West Kennet Long Barrow, where the bones of over 46 individuals were buried.

▲ burgh caStle

▼ neolithic orkney World heritage Site

The Romans didn’t rule Britannia for ever, and their Empire eventually collapsed under civil war and attacks during the 5th century AD. Saxons began raiding Britain at the end of the 3rd century, so the Romans built a chain of forts along the south coast in defence. They housed cavalry who could quickly ride out to confront enemy landing parties pillaging coastal towns and farmland. Burgh Castle in Norfolk is one of the finest examples of these ‘Saxon’ forts. Three of the fort’s walls remain to full height above Breydon Water estuary, a navigable route for raiding parties as far inland as Norwich. An evening visit can be rewarded with sunlight shining through reeds as the sun sets on this symbol of the decline of the Roman Empire.

Orkney’s Neolithic monuments easily hold their own against Stonehenge and Avebury. A good place to begin is at the Stones of Stenness, with its four towering standing stones, and the nearby Ring of Brodgar, whose jagged circle of stones is silhouetted on the skyline. You can enter the reconstructed houses of Barnhouse village, while recent excavations at the Ness of Brodgar have unearthed even more stone buildings. Maes Howe chambered tomb is a large mound covering a square chamber with honey-coloured stone walls lit by the sinking light of the midwinter sunset. No visit to Orkney is complete without a visit to Skara Brae, a remarkably preserved underground Neolithic village, or chambered tombs such as Midhowe.



photos: bill bevan/skyscan photolibarary/alamy/istock/martin mccarthy

Early Britain

■ Maiden Castle Maiden Castle hill fort links the Iron Age with the Romans. This tranquil flat-topped grassy hill is the largest and most complex Iron Age hill fort in Britain, once home to a large population who lived in round houses packed inside the ramparts over 2,000 years ago. The Iron Age occupants transformed the sides of the hill by constructing vertiginous ramparts separated by deep ditches. Like other nearby hill forts in Dorset, such as Hod Hill, Hambledon Hill and Bradbury Rings, the sheer scale of the ramparts was designed to put off potential attackers. They weren’t proof against the Romans however, who easily took the Castle during their invasion of 43 AD. The Romans rehoused the tribe in a new town below the hill – the origin of modern Dorchester.



The Thames Steam Packet Boat Company

S.L. Nuneham & S.L. Streatley

Group Captain Donald Finlay, Silver Medallist 110m Hurdles, 1936 Olympics.

Now showing until 30th September 2012.

Admission is free.

Two beautiful genuine coal fired steam launches for private hire

Nearest Underground Station: Colindale.

Supported by

The Thames Steam Packet Boat Company would like to congratulate Her Majesty the Queen on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee


01753 827377

The Royal Air Force Museum London, Grahame Park Way, Colindale, London, NW9 5LL T: 020 8205 2266


Celebrate Britain’s big year with a visit to the River & Rowing Museum


Immerse yourself in an afternoon of Scotch Whisky appreciation. £50 per person

The River & Rowing Museum is situated on the banks of the River Thames. With three galleries dedicated to Rowing, Rivers and the history of Henley, and a constantly evolving calendar of temporary art and photography exhibitions.

2 – 5.45pm august 5 12 19 26

“ENJOY A WHISKY TASTING WITH ONE OF SCOTLAND’S VERY OWN EXPERTS” A different distiller will be offering tastings each day. £15 per person

2 – 3pm august 3 10 11 15 16 17 18 23 24 25

Mill Meadows Henley on Thames RG9 1BF

See our website for full details To book tickets call

0131 220 0441 70 britain



01491 415600

next to edinburgh castle 2342 RRM 1-4 Britain ad 99x129mm.indd 1

23/05/2012 09:09

photos: john bentley/liquid light/alamy

Early Britain

▲ Hadrian’s Wall If Rome’s military might really grabs your attention, then feast your eyes on Hadrian’s Wall. Originally spanning 80 miles between the North and Irish seas, it defended the north of Britannia behind an imposing stone and turf wall linked to a chain of milecastles and forts. The most evocative place to visit is where the wall traverses the Whin Sill, a dramatic escarpment of hard rock with never-ending views north across the apparently empty Northumbrian moors. The Wall survives to its highest here, along with some of the best-preserved forts, including Housesteads and Vindolanda. Finds on display at Vindolanda paint a vivid picture of life on Rome’s northern border. They include leather shoes, a woman’s wig and letters. Other must-see forts along the Wall include Chesters and Corbridge.

Caerleon roman Fort Roman Britain was also a military province protected with forts and where towns were defended with city walls, some of which still survive in Chester and York. Caerleon legionary fort in Gwent shows what life was like in the Roman military. You can wander around its defences, bath houses, barracks and a rare example of a surviving British amphitheatre. You can also still walk through the same entrances used by spectators to attend gladiatorial combats over 1,800 years ago.



where can you reflect on our historic houses?

National Trust offers an exciting variety of great group days out. Take a special interest tour, enjoy a delicious home-cooked lunch and leave time to browse in the shop. For more information or a free copy of the National Trust Groups Guide

call 0844 800 2329,* email or visit

Time well spent An independent charity looking after special places for ever, for everyone.

Lyme Park, House & Garden, Cheshire. Registered charity number 205846. *Calls provided by BT will be charged at 5 pence per minute. A call set-up fee of 8 pence per call applies to calls from residential lines. Mobile and other providers’ costs may vary.

Plan your trip to Britain today! National Trust Touring Pass



*Prices subject to change

St Michael’s Mount Cornwall, England

Explore the unique National Trust’s historic houses which hold the secrets to those who once lived and worked there. Every garden and landscape promises amazing views and different beauty with each season.


▲ Fishbourne roman Palace The Romans introduced many home comforts into Britain, including vast villas for the rich, resplendent with underfloor heating, bathhouses and ornate mosaics. Fishbourne Palace in Sussex is home to some of Britain’s best Roman mosaics, preserved after a fire left the villa in ruins in 270 AD. Excavated mosaic floors and a reconstructed Roman garden are on display. Another large group of mosaics is on display in Chedworth Roman Villa in Gloucestershire, where you can also visit a reconstructed Roman garden.

GlenelG brochs While there are many hill forts in Scotland, what makes the Scottish Iron Age unique are the tall stone towers known as brochs or duns. Two imposing brochs can be found in narrow Glen Beag, near Glenelg. Dun Telve and Dun Troddan are typical brochs only 500 metres apart, suggesting two locally important families with grand designs desperate not to be out-done by each other. Each broch is a dry-stone circular tower protecting a ground floor barn and upper storeys for the family.

photos: linda kennedy/alamy/bill bevan

■ callanish Pre-eminent amongst the prehistoric sites of Scotland’s Western Isles is Callanish stone circle. Its position above sea lochs coupled with the twisted, textured gneiss stones, carefully height-graded towards its central monolith, gives it an otherworldly feel. Neolithic farmers converged on Callanish for ceremonies along its main stone avenue on the opposite side of the circle from the visitor centre. You can visit another 11 smaller circles orbiting around Callanish. Castlerigg stone circle in Cumbria is built in as impressive a location as Callanish, making it one of the most photographed prehistoric sites in Britain. There are stunning views of some of the finest northern Lake District fells, including Blencathra, Helvellyn and Skiddaw. Castlerigg is also a great launch pad to visit the fells’ other stone circles including Swinside and Long Meg and Her Daughters, where carved prehistoric cup and ring marks can be seen.



Early Britain

▲ Tre’r Ceiri Leaping forward in time to the Iron Age brings us more hill forts. Tre’r Ceiri in north Wales is one of the most spectacular – yet is relatively unknown. Massive stone walls enclose one of the summits of Yr Eifl, 450 metres above sea level, to protect a village of stone-walled round houses. You can wander through original doorways into houses with walls surviving to waist-height. What makes a visit to Tre’r Ceiri truly spellbinding are the views. On a clear day you can see along the Llyˆ n Peninsula, east to Snowdonia, south down the Welsh coast, north to Anglesey and west to the Irish Sea. Other hill fort eyries can be found at British Camp in the Malverns and Mam Tor in the Peak District.

KilmarTin Glen One of the few other places to see rock art carved on a standing stone is at Nether Largie Stones in Kilmartin Glen, Argyll and Bute. This pretty glen ringed with wooded crags is home to over 150 prehistoric monuments, including rock art, burial chambers, standing stones, crannogs, hill forts and brochs. A vast ceremonial complex was laid out along the glen floor 5,000 years ago and remained in use for over 1,000 years. It has the most prehistoric rock art to be found anywhere in Britain, with exceptional carved outcrops easily visited at Achnabreck.

photos: bill bevan

 Bill Bevan is the author and photographer of the book Walk Into



Prehistory, a unique insight into prehistoric Britain and Ireland, which leads the reader through 40 of Britain’s most impressive prehistoric monuments. The book explains how ancient people actually approached the sites so you can follow in their footsteps. Find out more at For more details about visiting the sites in this feature, go to


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Located on the Promenade in historic Penzance the ‘Beachfield Hotel’ offers breathtaking views over Mounts Bay and Newlyn Harbour. A sympathetically restored Victorian building our hotel has long been a favourite with many repeat customers. Explore the stunningly beautiful countryside, coastline and beaches of West Cornwall or even take a day tour to the tranquil and picturesque Isles of Scilly. Whatever your holiday dreams, the elegant ‘Beachfield Hotel’ will welcome you back at the end of the day with its comfortable and relaxing atmosphere, well stocked bar and acclaimed restaurant.

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britain 75

Your letters

Do get in touch with your views about the country, your travels and the magazine

All through the 1970s and a few years TRAV EL CULTU RE HERIT AGE STYLE into the 80s, my wife and I would visit Britain at least once a year. We travelled all over Britain, to places HM The Queen’s 60 glorious years A portrait of Elizabeth II Inside Britain's palaces Royal including the Lake District and Wales memorabilia and really enjoyed these trips. Once we were lucky enough SECRET to come during spring when the SOMERSET Sunsets, cider, daffodils in Hyde Park were in full folklore & festivals bloom and we sat enjoying them in OLIVER like roya CROMWELL the cold. We also visited Speakers’ ve Hero or villain? WI N a weekend at Corner, where I heckled a speaker just to exert my right to free speech. Now the sad part. My wife came MOVIE MAGIC Britain on the down with Parkinson’s disease and big screen From Oxford to Bath, Strat ford to York can’t travel any more. So all we have left are our memories and snapshots and memorabilia we to revisit the places we have been in your picked up during our trips. Whenever we pictures and articles. She just loves it. get the latest copy of BRITAIN magazine, my wife goes through it page by page, and Keep up the good reporting. Man Singh Panwar, Teaneck, NJ, USA is so thrilled MAY/JUN E 2012 £3.95

! lty


London’s Grosvenor House Hotel worth £3,500!

Herıtage cıtıes



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HOW TO WRITE TO US By post to: Your Letters, BRITAIN magazine, Liscartan House, 127-131 Sloane Street, London SW1X 9AS; or to: Your Letters, BRITAIN magazine, 116 Ram Cat Alley, Suite 201, Seneca SC 29678, USA Or email the editor:

Black and white issue

I just finished reading my April issue of BRITAIN and couldn’t believe my eyes. On page 7 was a picture of HM The Queen, departing “from a recent State Opening of Parliament,” her beautiful white hair enhanced by white fur. On page 8 was an equally beautiful picture of “The Queen at Diamond Jubilee

the DiamonD Queen



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Simpson. His shy, stammering younger brother ‘Bertie’ (Elizabeth's father) suddenly found himself enthroned as George VI on the brink of the outbreak of World War II. The war years proved to be the making of the new King, and a young Elizabeth played her part too, joining the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1945, where she trained as a mechanic. By then she had fallen in love with a handsome young Naval officer – Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark. Her wedding to Prince Philip on November 20 1947 could not have come at a better time for Britain, still reeling from the horrors of war. With her father’s health deteriorating, Elizabeth had been standing in for him at public events and her life would take an enormous turn in 1952. While in Kenya on 6 February 1952 word arrived of the King’s death. Having left the UK a princess, Elizabeth returned to Britain the following day as Queen. The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II followed a year late on 2 June 1953 and marked an exciting new era pHoTo: © ian Jones/pHoTosHoT

oday, as I mark 60 years as your Queen, I am writing to thank you for the wonderful support and encouragement that you have given to me and Prince Philip over these years and to tell you how deeply moved we have been to receive so many kind messages about the Diamond Jubilee.” These were the words of Queen Elizabeth II on 6 February 2012, the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne. This year, The Queen will become the longest and, arguably, the most successful British monarch, and the entire country will celebrate her remarkable reign during an extended Bank Holiday in June. Born Princess Elizabeth of York on 21 April 1926 in Mayfair, London, The Queen had a happy and idyllic childhood. Her father thought of his family – described as the “happiest family in the world” – as one, not four people. But the Yorks’ cosseted life was shattered in 1936, when within a year of succeeding his father George V as King, Edward VIII abdicated to marry American divorcee Wallis

Above: Queen Elizabeth II arrives at Buckingham Palace on Coronation Day, 2 June 1953. Right: The Queen departs from a recent State Opening of Parliament

22/03/2012 16:44

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BRITAIN brings back memories and introduces me to new wonders. Volume 80, Issue 1 had a fascinating story about name plaques on buildings. In May 2011, I dined every evening in the Ellen Terry room in my Knightsbridge hotel, where she once lived. The walls featured her photographs along with those of Oscar Wilde, Alec Guinness and Sir Laurence Olivier. I’d been to the V&A Museum, where I saw a painting of a young, beautiful Ellen by a pre-Raphaelite artist. What a rich heritage we enjoy. Evelyn Lawson, Victoria, Australia BRITAIN REPLIES Thanks to regular reader and letter writer Evelyn for her dedication to BRITAIN. London’s Blue Plaques

Right: HRH The Prince of Wales unveils a plaque for his great-uncle and great-aunt, the Earl and Countess Mountbatten, at 2 Wilton Crescent in 2000. Below: The plaque to Edward Johnston, erected in 1977 at 3 Hammersmith Terrace. Inset: A design by Johnston for the iconic London underground roundel, c.1925

Opposite page: These blue plaques can all be found in London. The image centre left is of Caitlin Thomas unveiling the plaque to her late husband, Dylan Thomas, in 1984. Bottom left shows the beautiful Arab Hall in Leighton House and bottom right is the design for the plaque to Charles Dickens erected in 1903


colours used have ranged from chocolate brown to sea green; for a while, a rectangular bronze design was in favour. The Society of Arts, the London County Council, the GLC (which settled on the existing standardised blue roundel) and, currently, English Heritage have all been responsible for deciding who qualifies for a plaque and what it should look like. Under the current rules, the person commemorated must have been dead for 20 years or have passed the 100th anniversary of their birthday, have resided in London for a significant amount of time, and deserve national recognition or have made an important contribution to


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human happiness. There are a few cases where the 100-year rule has been waived, Mahatma Gandhi and Herbert Morrison were allowed plaques almost straight away and others have had their applications refused at least once, including two notorious Sylvias – namely Pankhurst and Plath. Blue plaques historian Howard Spencer is responsible for researching and presenting potential new blue plaques to an august panel of fair-minded people, recently including Andrew Motion and Stephen Fry, who decide on each plaque that goes up. Most new plaques are nominated by members of the public and the aim is to cover as many areas of human life as possible. From the 100 viable suggestions received every year, however, only 12 are approved, and that figure will probably come down in the future. Spencer says that the plaques are much loved by Londoners and tourists alike. “They are a very visible means of promoting history and heritage and reminding people that buildings are about more than bricks and mortar – they’re also about the lives of the people that lived in them,” he says. “It’s just interesting to know that certain people were connected with certain areas – it turns people’s heads and is a point of interest.” London’s oldest surviving blue plaque, erected in 1867, belongs to Napoleon III, who lived just off St James’ Square in the years before he became Emperor. There are also plenty of resident Americans who have been honoured with a plaque. Indeed, the first batch that went up included

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21/11/2011 17:03

BRITAIN SAYS Thank you Mark Waters, from Godalming, Surrey, for sending us this delightful photo from the cover of the 1954 edition of BRITAIN (then known as Coming Events in Britain). We thought it was charming, but are more fond of it now we know it’s you in the little blue car.

the State Opening of Parliament, November 2006,” in which she has gorgeous dark hair. On page 11 was a picture of “The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh at St Paul’s Cathedral, June 2006.” And her white hair was peeking out from underneath her hat. I didn’t know The Queen would/could change her hair so often. George Calder, Westland, Michigan, USA

Her Majesty The Queen celebrates her Diamond Jubilee this year. We look at a wonderful new exhibition of images from the Royal Collection, revealing a life lived in the public spotlight over 60 glorious years


 Our favourite letter wins Britain From Above by Ian Harrison, worth £25.00, with a foreward by journalist Andrew Marr. Using images and narrative from the BBC series, it takes you on a journey over landscapes and cityscapes as viewed from the air. For more information visit

All in a name






22/03/2012 16:44

BRITAIN REPLIES Our apologies George. The image on page 8 was in fact taken on 6 December 1965 at the Drury Lane Theatre in London, where The Queen attended a Gala Performance of the American musical Hello Dolly!

Over To You

Happy holidays

photo: © Loop Images/ QuentIn Bargate

The stresses of everyday life seem to melt away as I peruse each issue of BRITAIN. I was particularly delighted to see Essex profiled in Volume 80, Issue 2. It put me in mind of meeting a favourite penpal, Theresa, and her husband Leslie, in 2001. They live in Romford, Essex, and your article allowed me to glimpse some of the beauty that Theresa and Leslie call home. More importantly, my friends shared with me their insider view of their own country, which is far beyond the typical tourist experience. That’s how I feel about your magazine. I can tour, through its pages, and visit the expected and the unexpected. Thanks for making a great magazine. Sandy Waterman, Vadnais Heights, MN, USA 6


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25/01/2012 09:52

Home sweet home

I love reading your magazine, especially Volume 80, Issue 2, “A Legacy Of Literature”, which talks about Oxfordshire. I am originally from Oxford, and used to walk and ride my bike all over White Horse Hill. It was so beautiful

Bringing back memories

The BRITAIN article “Eastern Magic”, Volume 80, Issue 2, about Essex and Suffolk flooded me with memories and emotions. On my first trip to England in 1989, I visited Lavenham, Audley End, Hatfield Forest and Finchingfield where my Uncle George educated me on local history and my Aunt Betty made Eastern magic sure we ate well and made friends (including a lovely sheepdog). On a later visit, I stayed with friends on Mersea Island who took me to Layer Marney, Tower Dedham and Flatford Mills. I had my picture taken in the exact spot of one of the Constable paintings and bought a copy of it. I felt like I was a part of art history. Next trip I must see more of Suffolk as I'm sure more memories await. Shirley Alley Reno, Nevada, USA Essex & Suffolk

Together, Essex and Suffolk form a corner of England where the past and present magically intertwine across countryside, architecture and culture. With a patchwork of pretty villages and towns worthy of any postcard, the area is a gem many have yet to discover WORDS Lisa burn

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25/01/2012 09:52

and relaxing. I love going home to see my four sisters, two brothers and nieces and nephews. Thank you for your input of places to visit. We have also been to Scotland and that was very nice too. Eileen Flores, CA, USA Exploring Britain

legacy of literature

In the first of our new series we explore Britain country’s through the eyes and words of the country’ literary giants, and with the World Shakespeare Festival taking place across Britain in 2012, what better place to start...





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Soldier, soldier

The lone sentry on page 32, Volume 80, Issue 3, is not a member of the Grenadier Guards. The placing of his tunic button, the collar badges and scarlet plume on the right side of his bearskin attest to that fact that he is a guardsman of the Coldstream Guards. The band shown on the same page was drawn from the Scots Guards. I do so hope that you are able to prevent contretemps breaking out between the regiments during Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Geoff Sumner-Smith, Guelph–Eramosa, Ontario, Canada  COMPETITION WINNERS Congratulations to Siân Hudson from Bournemouth, England, winner of the week's holiday with Natural Retreats competition. Siân gets to take up to five guests to enjoy a luxury stay in one of their beautiful new properties in the UK.

24/01/2012 14:26



FACT, 88 Wood Street, Liverpool, L1 4DQ • T 0151 707 4444 •

FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) is the UK’s leading media arts centre, based in Liverpool. Our award-winning FACT building is located in the creative Ropewalks district of the city centre. Visit our free-to-enter gallery spaces, which host four exhibitions a year, as well as grabbing a bite to eat and a drink in our café and bar. You can also catch the best in independent and mainstream film in our four cinema screens.

Liverpool From maritime origins to cultural capital, Liverpool is making its modern-day mark with an innovative variety of world-class museums, galleries and theatres, as well as a wealth of stunning architecture and a spectacular and historic UNESCO World Heritage waterfront

NeW Lyrics

WORDS Lucy tomLinson

FOr aN OLd grEat

pHOtO: Craig EaStON


the tidal surge of the river Mersey is the lifeblood of the city and the tang of the sea is never far away

e think we know Liverpool: brash, bright, precociously self-aware, a loveable rogue of a place. But there is another side to this fascinating city that is friendly, creative and charming. Its wide streets lined with patrician architecture testify to a time of great wealth, and yet nowhere could be more down-to-earth. Its worldwide influence is so pervasive that UNESCO described the area as the supreme example of a commercial port at the time of Britain’s greatest global power. And almost every human being on the planet knows the words to at least one Beatles’ song... And yet it wasn’t always thus. Although the city was founded as a borough in 1207 by letters of patent from

King John (he of Magna Carta fame), by the middle of the 16th century the population was still only around 500. Yet by the early 19th century, more than 40 per cent of the world’s trade passed through Liverpool’s docks. This rapid expansion, buoyed by wealth (mainly from the slave trade) meant Liverpool became a bustling, cosmopolitan place, eager to embrace the new influences pouring in from all over the world. J B Priestley said of Liverpool: “Here, emphatically, was the English seaport second only to London. The very weight of stone emphasised that fact. And even if the sun never seems to properly rise over it, I like a big city to proclaim itself a big city at once.” This commitment to the oversized was amply demonstrated by the recent Sea britain



photos: courtesy of visit liverpool/istock/GeorGe standen/mark mcnulty/craiG easton

Previous page: Liverpool waterfront at night. Left: Albert Dock, the home of Tate Liverpool



Odyssey weekend, where giant marionettes from French theatre company Royal de Luxe stalked Liverpool’s streets. The colossal puppets acted out a simple story inspired by the city’s connection to the Titanic. The star of the show, the Little Girl Giant, embarked on a quest for news of her father, a stowaway who died on the ill-fated ship. Her search took her through Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Site stretching along the waterfront from Albert Dock through the Pier Head, with its famous Three Graces, up to Stanley Dock, through the mercantile districts and classic Georgian architecture, and after stopping for a quick nap on Everton Brow, she paraded through the bustling heart of Liverpool’s shopping district, before finally sailing away down the River Mersey. This is the kind of leftfield, so-crazy-it-works cultural event at which Liverpool excels. The Sea Odyssey beautifully illustrated the city’s rich past, maritime heritage and most importantly, the Liverpudlian ethos of joining in, welcoming visitors and showing up for a good time. The tidal surge of the River Mersey on which the giants made their exit is the lifeblood of the city and the tang of the sea is never far away. A ferry trip is a good way to see just how important the sea is to Liverpool. From the tug boat, the Three Graces – the Liver, the Cunard and the Port of Liverpool buildings – command the Pier Head, evoking the wealth and dominion of the British Empire in its heyday. Rowdy sailors from all over the globe must have felt just a little chastened by their presence. Local historian Jonathan Schofield says: “Outside Whitehall if you want to feel – really feel – the power of the British Empire in its full pomp,

then stand on the Pier Head and look inland from the river. That view is our Imperial moment.” Sailing out towards Birkenhead, one can see the Cammell Laird shipyards, busy with new naval commissions, showing that Liverpool is not just a dockland theme park but a real working city. The ferry pulls into Albert Dock, which dates from the 1840s and was restored to its former glory in the 1980s. It is now the most popular free tourist attraction in the North West, and with good reason. Here you can find The Beatles Story, Merseyside Maritime Museum and the International Slavery Museum. The newest kid on this block is the Museum of Liverpool, which has surpassed expectations by recording more than a million visitors in just nine months. Dedicated to a sociological exploration of the city, it has a wealth of Liverpool’s secrets on show. The dock is also home to Tate Liverpool, the northern cousin of the Tate Modern. Though smaller than its big-city counterpart, the play of the light on water makes the venue ideally suited for contemplating the undulations of a Bridget Riley painting or a Henry Moore sculpture. It is no slouch in putting on blockbuster exhibitions each summer either – this year’s triple bill of Monet, Turner and Twombly is bound to follow previous summers’ Picasso and Klimt exhibitions in packing the museum to the rafters. Art lovers will also want to head up to the Walker Gallery. Thanks to the city’s Victorian patriarchs, the gallery has a deservedly famous collection of PreRaphaelites and a healthy dash of Impressionists. Another treat is the recently opened British Art room, with a discerning selection including Paul Nash, Lucian Freud

A city so rich in heritage has much to delight architecture enthusiasts and history buffs alike – for Liverpool has more listed buildings than anywhere outside the capital

Clockwise from top left: Museum of Liverpool's atrium; St George's Hall; Liverpool Town Hall; the exterior of the Museum of Liverpool; a cruise ship arrives at the city's docks; the bar at Hotel Indigo



It’s no wonder visitors to Britain’s biggest Cathedral lift their heads and say wow! Boasting the highest and widest gothic arches this neo-gothic masterpiece takes your breath away. Liverpool Cathedral is a great place to visit. Explore our famous tower with the highest and heaviest peal of bells and stunning panoramic views. Use a multi language audio tour to uncover our history and architectural delights. Relax in one of our cafes or browse our shop for a unique gift. There’s plenty for everyone in this award winning venue. St James Mount Liverpool L1 7AZ 0151 709 6271 8am-6pm daily

@LivCathedral LiverpoolCathedral

Easy Self Drive Sightseeing Tours Tours available in this series include :3 Day Essential England Tour 5 Day Essential England Tour 6 Day Essential England Tour 7 Day Essential England and Wales Tour 10 Day Essential England and Wales Tour 12 Day England, Scotland and Wales Heritage Tour 7 Day Airplane, Aviation and Aircraft Tour 10 Day Airplane, Aviation and Aircraft Tour 10 Day Victorian Engineering Marvels Tour 10 or 8 Day Castles of England and Wales Tour 8 Day English Gardens Tour William and Kate Royal Wedding Tour Driving Advice for Britain Each tour includes maps, illustrations, directions, opening times, prices and details of all facilities for the places visited and as a bonus to each tour, a section “Other things to see if you have time” is included which is an excellent way to extend the duration of each tour if you wish. To offer you a ‘one stop shop’ for all the services that you may need to visit the UK, from accommodation booking and car rental through to tickets and even sat-nav rental then visit or and follow the links.

Pre-view the tours on our website and download them instantly in PDF format at Or .... the two tours illustrated here are available now for your Amazon Kindle – with more to come.

82 britain

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and LS Lowry. Other galleries to note include the Open Eye and The Bluecoat, both dedicated supporters of contemporary arts. Like the vast majority of Liverpool’s museums and galleries, they are all free to the public. Liverpool’s commitment to the arts is not only seen in its galleries but also in the Liverpool Biennial, which takes place on even-numbered years. It runs from 15 September to 25 November 2012, and if previous years are anything to go by, we can expect pop-ups, giant swords, mazes made out of ribbons and buildings that turn themselves inside out. Theatre and music aren’t left behind either, with the Liverpool Philharmonic (the UK’s oldest surviving classical orchestra) and the Everyman Theatre also riding on the wave of local enthusiasm. “Liverpool excels in putting on cultural events. The enthusiastic way in which the people of the city both celebrate their history and embrace new events and experiences makes the city the perfect platform for cultural events to thrive,” says Dominic Lopes of the Everyman Theatre. Art isn’t Liverpool’s only source of wonder. The Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, locally known as ‘paddy’s wigwam’ for its inverted funnel shape, with its modernist feel and rainbow of stained glass, is where the city’s Catholic worshippers come. It is connected by the poetically named Hope Street to its Anglican counterpart, which was designed along more traditional Gothic lines by Sir Gilbert Scott.

The Anglican Cathedral is the largest in Britain and the vaulting arches are so lofty that a local archery club was asked to put on a display to demonstrate just how high the ceilings are. For those who haven’t already seen the light, there is an artwork by Tracey Emin in her signature hot pink neon, which sits surprisingly well beneath the stainedglass windows. A Twilight Tour (Thursdays) allows you to climb up through the Bell Chamber and onto the roof of the tower for fabulous views of the city. From here you can see Liverpool’s well-preserved Georgian architecture and, in stark contrast, a hollow church burned out by bombs dropped in the Second World War. Liverpudlians have taken the shell of St Nicholas and turned it into a dramatic art space. A city so rich in heritage has much to delight architecture enthusiasts and history buffs alike – for Liverpool has more listed buildings than anywhere outside the capital. The grandeur of the dockside and the imposing museums on William Brown Street are hard to miss, but less obvious gems include Liverpool Town Hall and St George’s Hall, described by Prince Charles as the finest example of neo-classical architecture in the country. For many people, Liverpool is The Beatles, and this year is certainly one of the best for fans to make a pilgrimage as the city is celebrating 50 years of the Fab Four in 2012. It was in January 1962 that Brian Epstein was appointed manager, May that they signed to Parlophone, and June

Above left: Immortalised by The Beatles, Penny Lane is a street near John Lennon's house. Above right: Aerial view over the city of Liverpool

phoTos: Loop/RoBin WhaLLey/isTock/GeoRGe cLeRk

For many people, Liverpool is The Beatles, and this year is certainly one of the best for fans to make a pilgrimage as the city is celebrating 50 years of the Fab Four in 2012




liverpool highlights J The Athenaeum Founded in 1797, members-only club the Athenaeum is a paradigm of a gentleman’s establishment (although it also accepts ladies as members). With its leather-bound volumes and lashings of antiques, the stunning reading room and library has graced many a film set. J Base2Stay housed in the historic ropeWalks building, this stylish option keeps prices down and convenience up. the largest suite, which feels more like your own apartment in the city than a hotel room, features its own secret garden. J The Brink When Kate Middleton paid a secret visit last valentine’s day, staff at liverpool’s first dry bar created a special non-alcoholic cocktail dubbed ‘the Duchess’ in her honour. J Heywood House liverpool’s ‘budgetique’ hotel has a great location while being easy on the pocket. the attached Noble house restaurant is a good food and drink option, and guests can slip away to the secret la guarida bar downstairs. J Marco Pierre White Steakhouse and Grill though hardly hush-hush (with three Michelin stars to his name, MpW is a big noise on the restaurant scene) this new restaurant does



offer the opportunity to sample the chef’s marinading secrets for the best steak in town. J The Monro/The James Monro gastropub the Monro, and its sister restaurant the James Monro, are both old favourites for liverpool’s foodies. go for the log fires and fresh updates on British classics, and you might stumble upon a meeting of the society of pudding tasters. J News from Nowhere/Reid of Liverpool housed in a slice of history, reid of liverpool was purpose-built as a retail premise in 1785 and still trades in second-hand books today. News from Nowhere is a co-operative bookshop that has a fantastic selection. 96 Bold street/105 Mount pleasant J Scouse liverpool’s traditional dish is a warming stew designed to welcome hungry sailors home. it’s based on lamb and potatoes, but no two liverpool mams’ versions are exactly the same. try the scouse served up at the victoria Museum Cafe, and while you are there take a look around the University’s art collection. J Tunnel tours going underground is a fascinating way to get a different perspective on the city. the ventilation shafts with their huge blades are downright scary, but enjoyable all the same.

of the same year that The Beatles laid down their first tracks with George Martin in the Abbey Road studios. Quite the momentous year. This year’s International Beatles Week (held every November) promises to be the biggest yet. Beatles fans will want to take in all the best-known sights, from the lyrical highlights of Penny Lane, to Mendips, John Lennon’s house, or Paul McCartney’s home just around the corner. The National Trust run the most reliable tours and will get you inside the rock legends’ childhood homes. There is also The Beatles Story on Albert Dock, and of course devotees will want to visit The Cavern on Mathew Street and even stay in the Hard Day’s Night hotel. Less well known is Liverpool’s wonderful variety of green spaces. Sefton Park is a 200-acre park with a lovely Victorian palm house at its centre, while across the Mersey is Birkenhead Park, which was Britain’s first public park and the model for New York’s Central Park. Further afield is the National Wildflower Centre in Knowsley and the Hilbre Island Nature reserve, which is perfect for spotting seals and marine wildlife. On nearby Crosby Beach, wanderers along the sand will come across Another Place by Antony Gormley, a huge installation of a hundred cast-iron statues gazing wistfully out to sea. And what could sum up Liverpool more perfectly? Ambitious, artistic, a moment of unexpected brilliance, and with the sea always lapping at its feet.

 For more information and contact details for all the places mentioned in this feature, go to and for further details on visiting the city, go to

photo: CrAig eAstoN

The Walker Art Gallery houses one of Europe's finest collections of paintings, drawings, sculpture and decorative art




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Awarded Johansens Small Hotel of the Year For a truly memorable day or stay, be sure to enjoy the magical beauty of this famous haunt. Rest and refresh yourself at La Sablonnerie Hotel and Tea Gardens, where a delicious Gourmet Luncheon or a superb Sark Cream Tea is served in this idyllic setting. Also, dine romantically by candlelight in the 16th Century restaurant, renowned for its excellent cuisine. The hotel is highly recommended by leading hotel guides for its comfort and good food. Own Horses and carriages for hire. La Sablonnerie was recently highlighted by the hotel guide Which? as “The place to stay in the Channel Islands”. For further details and reservations contact Elizabeth Perrée on (01481) 832061 Fax (01481) 832408 • • Don’t leave the Channel Islands without visiting Sark and Little Sark. ‘It will be an experience that will live with you forever’.

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Places To Stay

Splash Making a

Britain's luxury hotels provide state-of-the-art spas with a variety of wonderful swimming pools where guests can relax and wash away their cares, but these hedonistic havens also offer incredible countryside locations, innovative decor and iconic buildings that are steeped in history WORDS SAM PEARS




he American essayist and philosopher Waldo Emerson advised his contemporaries to conduct life using three simple principles, to “live in the sunshine, swim the sea, [and] drink the wild air”. It was wise, if not always achievable, counsel. But on a warm summer’s day there is nothing more refreshing than dipping your toes in a babbling brook as it winds its way through the British countryside, or joining the Serpentine Swimmers as they glide alongside the Canada Geese in London’s famous Hyde Park lake. But there is another way to enjoy the relaxing benefits of water and fresh air – in a beautiful British hotel with a stunning swimming pool. Britain’s hotels have long been known for their charm and typically English quirkiness but they also have an unrivalled level of luxury and inspiring state-of-the-art spas with a combination of outdoor and indoor swimming experiences. Baliffscourt Hotel and Spa, in West Sussex, has just that – a beautiful health spa with both indoor and outdoor heated pools. The purpose-built and striking spa is designed in the style of a Sussex barn with a dramatic exposed timber frame. It has an outdoor hot tub, an indoor steam room, sauna and gym, and five beauty and therapy treatment rooms. The spa sits adjacent to the main hotel buildings, which, on arrival, appear as a collection of 12th- and 15th-century dwellings. But appearances are deceiving, as Baliffscourt did not begin life until 1927, when Lord Moyne, his wife Evelyn and their friend and one-time architect Amyas Phillips, set



about preventing a much-loved plot of land from becoming a housing estate. Having purchased the land they began work on their vision – a ‘new medieval’ building. Using examples such as Fish House in Wiltshire, the three collected original medieval architectural pieces, which included a 15th-century door from South Wanborough church and a gatehouse from Loxwood, and pieced together the main building that we see today. The Norman chapel, already on the land, was also lovingly restored. The effect of this impressive medley of medieval fragments is really rather splendid. It has a charming feel, possibly best described by Sir Henry “Chips” Cannon who, writing at the time, said of Baliffscourt that “every guest room is decorated to resemble the cell of a rather ‘pansy’ monk”. Today, the rooms are less monastic and more modern comfort, but the wall hangings and oversized dark furniture helps retain the ‘feel’ that Chips described. Walk through the door of Bailiffscourt and you’ll discover its narrow passageways and flagstone floors, which lead you through a series of cosy lounges and pretty sitting rooms, decorated with antiques and tapestries. It’s in a lovely location too – if you are feeling up to a ‘wild’ swimming experience, picturesque Climping Beach is a five-minute walk away. In an equally magnificent location on the edge of the ancient New Forest in Hampshire and a short walk from the beach, Chewton Glen – a five-star privately owned luxury hotel – has spa, swimming and leisure facilities

Places To Stay

which are among the very best in the country. The spa, which is home to a 17-metre pool, has been designed to match the purity of its New Forest and coastal location. The pool is ozone treated, which simply means it is cleaned and maintained using non-chemical methods. In addition to the pool, there is a hydrotherapy spa pool with hi-tech therapy options and an outdoor whirlpool. The spa also has 10 treatment rooms, a pool bar and lounge (where healthy meals are served to dressing-gown clad residents), and an impressive gymnasium. The spa is reason enough to stay at Chewton Glen, but you will be as impressed with the hotel, with its English country house meets ‘The Hamptons’ appearance and charm. Although it looks much younger than Baliffscourt, the original Georgian house dates back to 1857. The house has an interesting and famous literary link too – Captain Frederick Marryat stayed for a period during the 1840s while gathering material for his novel The Children of the New Forest. It’s likely that Chewton Glen will attract the creative set again when its new Tree House suites open in late July. Set high amongst the woodland canopy, these six remarkable tree houses seem to float across a wooded valley and provide unique and inspiring accommodation. Although Waterton Park Hotel and Hall’s swimming and leisure facilities are not in exactly the same league as the other hotels, its island location with lakeside-level swimming pool and ancient arched bridge has a charm and

individuality all of its own. Add to that the warm and friendly atmosphere and range of facilities and this is a very special hotel. It sits in a quintessentially English scene – surrounded by rolling parkland (with its own lake), with a backdrop of ancient woodland and a championship golf course. It is made up of two properties: a modern and efficient looking building that overlooks its older sibling – Walton Hall, a Georgian mansion, which sits impressively on an island surrounded by the lake. The hotel has 65 bedrooms in total, most with stunning views over the surrounding lake, woodland or golf course. For an extra special treat, opt for the romantic hideaway cottage nestled in the hotel grounds. And all of this is on the doorstep of some of Yorkshire’s greatest attractions including the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the National Trust’s magnificent Nostell Priory. In an ideal location, only 45 minutes from the centre of London and nestled between the picturesque towns of Marlow and Henley-on-Thames, lies the elegant grandeur of Danesfield House Hotel and Spa. An imposing Italian Renaissance-style building, faced with locally quarried rockchalk so that it shines pearly-white in the sun, the building as it is today was completed to great expense in 1901 and first opened as a luxury country house hotel in 1991. Set amidst 65 acres of immaculately landscaped formal gardens, the current house is the third property to have been built in this glorious setting, with outstanding views over

Facing page, clockwise from top left: Junior Suite at Chewton Glen; Chewton Glen's swimming pool;The Grand Hall, Danesfield House. This page, clockwise from left: Baliffscourt Hotel; Waterton Park; the terrace at Danesfield House



Places To Stay

the River Thames to the Chiltern Hills beyond. The 86 elegant bedrooms and suites are individually furnished in distinct classic styles and many have sensational views. Like Chewton Glen, Danesfield has an impressive and award-wining spa promising its guests the ultimate escape. It also has an ozone-cleansed pool and extensive treatment list. The pool area is a haven where guests can truly unwind. Murals and Grecian pillars add a classical elegance, while the floor-to-ceiling windows along the length of one wall afford glorious views of the gardens. If you are after peace and tranquillity, Lucknam Park in the heart of the English countryside and just minutes from Bath, has bundles of both. From the moment you enter the gates and head along the sweeping and majestic tree-lined driveway, you know you are somewhere very special. The history of the house and grounds are not fully known, although the ‘ham’ ending to its original name ‘Luckenham’ suggests that it was a Saxon settlement dating from before the Norman invasion in 1066. From as far back as 1199 there was a farmhouse on the site of the main house and it is known that the land was farmed until 1688. It was purchased by the Wallis family who built the central part of the house, the 17th-century Palladian mansion we see today. The land and house was sold and purchased by a handful of influential and wealthy families, each – it is presumed – placing their own stamp on the property that we see today, which includes the Georgian bow-fronted Drawing Room



and wood-panelled Library, both decorated with care for the period and proportions of the house and perfect for enjoying afternoon tea or quietly browsing through a book. All the rooms are elegant and luxurious, but having maintained the feel of a true 17th-century Palladian mansion, they do vary in size, shape and outlook. Each of the 13 suites and 29 bedrooms are individually designed and all have marble bathrooms and splendid views. More is known about the history of the spa. It was built in 2008 and quickly gained the reputation as one of the finest in the UK (it was voted ‘The UK’s Most Delicious Spa’ by The Good Spa Guide May 2010). It is in a perfectly natural setting – surrounded by a walled garden, an avenue of trees and pretty manicured lawns. To blend with its surroundings the interior of the spa has been designed using natural materials – wood, marble and glass reflect the warm hues of the estate’s 500-acre parkland. It has nine state-of-the-art therapy rooms, and a 20-metre indoor pool with indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy pool, five thermal cabins, salt water plunge pool, ‘experience showers’ and relaxation room. Adjoining the spa is The Brasserie providing contemporary all-day dining. It is simply idyllic and the perfect place to enjoy a break in any season.

Clockwise from left: Lucknam Park's outdoor spa area is the perfect place to unwind; the hotel exterior viewed from the tree-lined drive; the stunning swimming pool

 For further information and in-depth reviews about the hotels featured in this article (and other hotels with stunning swimming pools) visit the BRITAIN website at

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New Year’s Eve in Scotland


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Ring in the New Year with the traditional Highland celebration of Hogmanay. Includes three nights at the elegant Culloden House Hotel & three nights in Edinburgh. Other tours available!

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Guildford Cathedral

From its commanding hilltop position, Guildford Cathedral is an imposing landmark. Inside there is tranquillity, peace, simple beauty, light and space. Our guides offer a warm welcome or just space for contemplation. Come and appreciate this remarkable place of worship, brought to life most weekdays at 17:30 with the unique and uplifting experience of Choral Evensong. Regular events, art exhibitions and schools workshops are held in the Cathedral. Additional facilities include a gift shop and modern restaurant, a large car park and coach park and full facilities for disabled visitors. For more information and updates on events and any closures please go to

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Britain’s Top Ten

10 Things...

About the London Olympics From a queen’s demand that forever changed the marathon, to the relocation of 2,000 east London newts, BRITAIN brings you some intriguing facts about London’s past and present Olympic Games

on 27 July 2012, will be the first city to host a third Summer Olympic Games. King Edward VII officially opened the Games at White City Stadium in 1908 and King George V did the honours at Wembley Stadium in 1948. This year Queen Elizabeth II welcomes the world at the Opening Ceremony in the Olympic Stadium in Stratford.


Unlucky for Rome The 1908 Olympics were very nearly not held in London. The Games were originally planned for Rome, but the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1906 caused the city to step down as host, after which London was chosen as the replacement. Quite conveniently, the FrancoBritish Exhibition was already planned for the summer of 1908 in London, and the organisers were persuaded to accommodate a cycle track, swimming pool and athletics track in what became White City Stadium. The swimming pool was built on the infield of the athletics track, which was in turn built within the cycle track, and the competition was held outdoors. The official Olympic mascots


Keep on running If you’ve ever

wondered why a marathon covers the rather unusual distance of 26 miles and 385 yards, it’s the 1908 Olympics we have to thank. Up to this point in time, the standard marathon length was a very practical 25 miles; however, Queen Alexandra requested an extra mile-and-a-bit be added so that the start could be enjoyed by the king’s grandchildren on the lawns of Windsor, with the finish directly under the Royal Box at White City Stadium.


A lot of balls

Considering the scale of the Olympics, it’s perhaps not altogether unexpected to learn that an incredible amount of equipment will need to be sourced. That said, you might be surprised to find that more than one million pieces of equipment will be required, including over 2,200 tennis balls, 2,700 footballs, 6,000 archery target faces and 270,000 clay targets for the shooting events.


What’s in a name? Wenlock and Mandeville are the official mascots of London 2012. They serve as reminders of two momentous milestones in British Olympic and Paralympic history. Wenlock’s name is inspired by the village of Much Wenlock in Shropshire, where Baron Pierre de Coubertin was inspired to create the Modern Olympic Games. Mandeville, the Paralympic mascot, pays tribute to Stoke Mandeville where, in 1948, a sporting competition for injured World War II veterans was held on the same day as the Opening Ceremony of the London 1948 Olympics and formed the basis of today’s Paralympic Games.


Sporting new threads In 1948, post-war measures still had a huge impact on everyday British life. However, if you were fortunate enough to make the British Olympic team, these hardships were somewhat lessened. Along with extra food rations, one particular perk for athletes was the Olympic uniform. At a time when citizens were limited to a single new shirt or blouse every 20 months, the uniform was an effective wardrobe jackpot.


Sight to behold While London’s Olympic Park will be the hub of activity, other events are planned for some of the city’s most historic settings. Both the triathlon and marathon swimming will take place in Hyde Park’s Serpentine, the cycling time trials will begin and end at Hampton Court Palace, and the beach volleyball matches will have the iconic Horse Guards Parade for a backdrop.


Need for speed As the opening ceremony began for the 1948 London Games, the British team realised the team flag had been left in a distant car park. A young medical student was despatched to fetch it. Fortunately the young man could run. His name was Roger Bannister and within six years he would run the mile in less than four minutes.



Float like a butterfly

The London 2012 Olympics will be the first to see women’s boxing. The sport is still dominated by the men’s events, with 250 male competitors to 36 female, but it’s a huge step forward.



What about the newts?

The creation of the Olympic Park has produced an incredible 250 acres of parkland in east London. Prompting the largest planting project the UK has ever seen, the parkland is now home to over 4,000 new trees and 350,000 new wetlands plants. The project also required the happy relocation of 2,000 newts to a nature reserve.

 New book Amazing & Extraordinary Facts: The Olympics by Stephen Halliday reveals more fascinating details about the event (FW Media; £9.99; www.



Third time’s a charm London


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