DREAM ESCAPE MAGAZINE
Autumn 2021 | Issue 03
THE COUNTY OF THE GAELS
Spectacular views, windswept peninsulas, dramatic cliffs and rocky headlands
PRIVATE CASTLE ADVENTURES Live like an earl and countess
Exclusive Travel Experiences to England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales
Brown Thomas is Ireland’s most beautiful department store featuring the best brands in the world Our flagship store, a landmark on Dublin’s Grafton Street since 1849, is the luxury destination for Fashion, Beauty, Home and Gifting
Alexander McQueen | Balenciaga | Bottega Veneta | Burberry | Celine | Chanel Christian Louboutin | Fendi | Gucci | Hermès | Jimmy Choo | Louis Vuitton Moncler | Prada | Saint Laurent Paris | Tiffany & Co. | Valentino | Zegna
Dublin Cork Limerick Galway brownthomas.com
WELCOME COVER PHOTO
FIRST WORDS FROM DREAM ESCAPE OWNER —
One of Ireland’s most beautiful and pristine bays on the Rosguill Peninsula – Boyeeghter Bay. At high tide you will find two sandy beaches, which grow together to one big beach when the tide is out. The roaring Atlantic Ocean has gnawed bizarre cuts and a cave into the cliff faces along the bay. The wild waters may also be responsible for the bay’s nickname – 'The Murder Hole'. Find out more in our Donegal special, The County of the Gaels, p70. © GARETHWRAYPHOTOGRAPHY
WE ARE THRILLED to bring you our exciting Autumn edition of Dream Escape magazine. I am also very pleased to report that the UK and Ireland are welcoming guests from around the world. Although it has been challenging to navigate the ever-changing COVID testing rules, we are successfully providing guests with the wonderful and long-awaited travel experiences they have been anticipating for so long. Increasingly we are becoming more mobile, curious and inquisitive once again. Holly and I will be visiting the delayed Chelsea Flower Show later in September, and meeting up with friends, colleagues and partners to discuss the last 18 months and create some exciting plans for 2022 and beyond. We are all trying to make up for lost time. Importantly, we have found that planning travel well ahead of time is essential at the moment. If you do want to lock in a much-needed visit to the UK or Ireland, my advice is to start the process as soon as you are able. I hope that you enjoy what I think is a very inspirational issue of our magazine.
DAVID TOBIN OWNER AND DIRECTOR –
Pictured above: David and wife Holly with their youngest son in Donegal, see p70
Luxury Scotland by Dream Escape Luxury Ireland by Dream Escape
Meet the team...
AUTUMN 2021 | ISSUE 03 EDITOR IN CHIEF
Owner and Director
Jessica Way email@example.com
Nicola Brady, Sophie Farrah, Robin Glover, Emma Johnson, Portia Jones, Adrian Mourby, Karyn Noble, Lydia Paleschi, Samantha Rutherford
DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION MANAGER
Adrian Wilkinson firstname.lastname@example.org
DREAM ESCAPE LUXURY TRAVEL DESIGNERS SCOTLAND AND IRELAND Lesley Scott email@example.com
LONDON AND ENGLAND Louise Murray firstname.lastname@example.org
David founded Dream Escape with Holly in 2005. Based in Edinburgh, the vision was to create once-in-a-lifetime trips and events for a select group of well-travelled and discerning clients. David's previous marketing career included roles at ITV, Saatchi & Saatchi and Carat, where he worked across a wide range of clients. Prior to starting Dream Escape he was a Board Director at MediaCom London and Scotland, responsible for Audi UK and The Scottish Executive. David is a keen cyclist, and across the last few years has cycled around the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland and the North Coast 500 in Scotland, raising money for various charities supporting people living with cancer. ⬥ Who inspires you? “I have found inspiration from a variety of people, ranging from Ernest Shackleton and David Attenborough to the composer John Williams.”
SUE MORRIS –
Sue brings over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing and event management in the UK and Ireland travel industry. Sue started her career working for a leading luxury tour operator in London before enjoying 15 years at Tourism Ireland, where she was responsible for various marketing and communications campaigns for the consumer, travel trade, golf, and business tourism sectors. Having moved to the British Virgin Islands in 2011 with her family, she is no stranger to high-end travel experiences, the great outdoors and an odd hurricane or two! ⬥ What events are exciting you this season? "The Henley Festival is always top of my event list; set on the banks of the River Thames, it is the perfect backdrop to enjoy a wonderful mix of music, art and gastronomic delights. It's a boutique black-tie festival, so a great opportunity to dress up too!”
Michael Davies email@example.com
HOLLY MACKIE –
HEAD OF SALES
Emer Mortell firstname.lastname@example.org Owner and Director
Contista Media Contract publishers for the UK travel and tourism industry contistamedia.co.uk
BROUGHT TO YOU BY
Dream Escape Leading luxury travel design company and destination specialist dreamescape.co.uk
DAVID TOBIN –
Head of Marketing
Holly started her career at Carlson Marketing in Singapore after completing her Business & Psychology MA in Edinburgh. After a few years in London working at various advertising agencies, including TBWA, she moved to Edinburgh. Holly is passionate about travel and has a wealth of knowledge, having travelled extensively, including overlanding from India and Nepal back to England. As well as enjoying as much time as she can with her family, Holly would love to complete more charity challenges and get to some of the far-flung places on the map that have always been on her list to visit. ⬥ What experience has recently inspired you? “ A belated family celebration on a magical private island, Eilean Shona in Scotland. Daily swims, boating, fresh seafood, exploring, laughter and fun. Memorable and truly worth the wait!”
Find out more
Shop Lucan at – lucanfashion.com / Harrods / Enquiries – email@example.com
The Fife Arms, Mar Rd, Braemar, Aberdeenshire, AB35 5YN, Scotland ~ 01339 720202 ~ firstname.lastname@example.org ~ www.thefifearms.com
CONTENTS AUTUMN 2021 | ISSUE 03 —
WHAT’S NEW TRAVEL BULLETIN
12 - From award-winning destinations to an ambitious £185-million whisky distillery project and first-of-its-kind Beezantium experience, there’s plenty of new exciting travel discoveries this season
SOCIAL CALENDAR AUTUMN 2021
15 - Britain’s September–November
cultural calendar is once again packed with world-class visitor attractions hosting special exhibitions, events and shows, from iconic sporting events to seasonal art, gardens, live music and more
MEET THE MAKER: ANNE-SOFIE, COUNTESS OF LUCAN
20 - Dream Escape meets founder and
designer, The Countess of Lucan, to chat about her British country tailoring brand, colour, luxury, the Lucan studio and more, at her beautiful London home
CHEF SPECIAL: INTERVIEW WITH RICHARD CORRIGAN
28 - Multi-award-winning Irish chef
Richard Corrigan speaks to Dream Escape about his passion for season-driven, down-to-earth food, his beautiful estate in Ireland and the stories behind some of his luxurious London restaurants
36 - We take you on a journey through
Wales' coastal and mountainous region, a maritime kingdom where local legends meet alluring landscapes
42 - Oxford is a visually stunning city
with an ancient history, second only to London as Britain’s most popular film location
KING OF THE CASTLE
48 - Dream Escape chats to the 7th Lord
Erne of Crom Castle, John Crichton, about his historic private castle and estate on the shores of Upper Lough Erne in Northern Ireland →
Pictured previous page top to bottom: Snowdonia National Park; Yellow drawing room in Crom Castle Pictured clockwise from left: Goodwood, Hound Lodge; Dream Escape’s Head of Guiding, Rosie Peattie with her family enjoying Traquair, Scotland's oldest inhabited house; Water cascade in National Botanic Garden of Wales, Carmarthenshire
LORD OF THE ISLES
56 - From its big skies and miles of sandy beaches
to soaring eagles, red deer, and smoky malts, the Isle of Islay, once home to Scotland's fearsome Lord of the Isles, is the perfect base for an outdoor adventure
10 OF THE BEST EXPERIENCES: GAME OF THRONES
62 - In celebration of Game Of Thrones reaching
its 10th anniversary this year, we head to Northern Ireland to discover some of the best ways to celebrate and get the full atmospheric 'Thrones' experience
THE COUNTY OF THE GAELS
70 - Discover spectacular views, windswept
peninsulas, dramatic cliffs and rocky headlands along this rugged stretch of Irish coastline: Donegal
HISTORIC HOUSES AND GARDENS
81 - Embark on an extraordinary journey through
British history, from private shooting experiences to personal tours with the owners. A warm welcome awaits
86 - As your senses heighten and your mind calms, feel
the benefits of connecting with nature by immersing yourself in the outdoors and soaking up its awe-inspiring beauty
GOODWOOD'S HOUND LODGE
92 - Goodwood's spectacular 12,000-acre estate has a
magnificent 10-bedroom country retreat – spend time away from it all and escape the hectic pace of modern life
ROSEMARY AND SAGE
98 - Dream Escape’s Head of Guiding, Rosie Peattie and
resident fount of knowledge Sally Strange, both Blue Badge Guides, recommend some fantastic experiences ⬥
DESIGNING, WEAVING & TAILORING
CONTRIBUTORS Autumn 2021
RICHARD CORRIGAN — About Richard: Richard Corrigan has cooked all his life. He has opened numerous restaurants, gained a Michelin star, cooked for the Queen, appeared on television on countless occasions and recently toured America hosting a show there! How do you like to spend a day off, and do you do the cooking at home? “I love galleries and London is just phenomenal. I love the Barbican, The National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery, which is a hidden gem. It’s closed at the moment, but I am really looking forward to when it reopens in spring 2023. I actually cook very little at home – my wife, Maria, is a great cook. When I come in from work, food is the last thing on my mind: I just want a toasted sandwich! Maybe a bit of cheese and a glass of wine. I like to keep it simple.” ⬥
JOHN CRICHTON, THE 7TH EARL ERNE — About The Earl of Erne: Lord Erne is Crom Castle's famous John Crichton, the 7th Earl Erne of Crom Castle, owner of a beautiful historic private castle and estate on the shores of Upper Lough Erne in Northern Ireland. What do you enjoy the most about living in a castle by a lake? �I would have to say the use of space for entertaining: both business and pleasure. Sitting on Lough Erne as we do. It is a way of life for us. I love boating and picnicking with my wife Harriet and Truffle (our Jack Russell dog). Spare time during our busy season can be challenging! However a lovely walk or having friends over to enjoy Crom is always a pleasure.� ⬥
LAUREN BIDDULPH — About Lauren: Originally from the Isle of Wight, and having spent five years of her childhood in Florida, Lauren has always been surrounded by the water. She is the founder of The Salt Sisterhood, a platform for women to come together over a shared love of the water. What is your advice for those wishing to embark upon their own wild swimming experience? “It’s advisable to go with someone else to spots you are visiting for the first time, but wild swimming is open to people of all abilities. This means there should be nothing holding you back from enjoying the relaxing sense of weightlessness and invigorating experience of immersing yourself in nature.”
THE COUNTESS OF LUCAN — About The Countess of Lucan: Having grown up on her father's estates in Scotland and Denmark, The Countess of Lucan, is founder of award-winning luxury British fashion brand, Lucan. She shares her experiences and tips on quintessential rural countryside fashion with Dream Escape guests from her exclusive Mayfair studio. Tell us about your favourite places to stay and visit in Scotland? �I am particularly fond of Perthshire, especially Glenlyon and Loch Tay and also East Lothian with its stunning deep gullies – perfect for shooting – and its picturesque coastline. We love to stay in private estates, Oxenfoord Castle, Pathhead is brilliant for shooting parties and black tie dinners. Otherwise we just stay with friends.� ⬥
THE WHITE GARDEN, KENSINGTON — Not only did the Queen’s Buckingham Palace Gardens open to visitors for the first time in history this summer, Kensington Palace gardeners transformed The Sunken Garden into The White Garden in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales. During her time at Kensington Palace Diana was particularly fond of The Sunken Garden. The unveiling of the new Princess Diana Statue by Prince William and Prince Harry took place on 1 July: the day which would have been Princess Diana’s 60th birthday. The statue can be viewed from the Cradle Walk. ⬥
NEW TRAVEL BULLETIN ENGLAND AND WALES AWARD-WINNING DESTINATIONS — It's good news for the Yorkshire Wolds and the Cheshire Sandstone Ridge, as they are being considered by Natural England as the newest members of our country's designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). There are 34 AONBs currently in England and each one is protected by law so that its natural beauty is conserved and enhanced. This new status for Yorkshire Wolds and Cheshire Sandstone Ridge could further safeguard the region's tranquil landscapes, boost nature, and help more people to enjoy the rolling hills, ancient woodland, archaeology, wildlife, and culture. Over in Wales, the slate landscape of the north-west has just been awarded World Heritage status, joining Egypt's Pyramids, India's Taj Mahal and the Grand Canyon as a recognised Unesco World Heritage Site. ⬥
DIAGEO 'S FOUR CORNERS — It's an exciting time for whisky tourism in Scotland, as Diageo invest £185 million into an ambitious ‘four corners’ distillery project, with the reimagining of four new distilleries. Most recently, the launch of Johnnie Walker Princes Street (pictured right); there's the iconic 'ghost' distillery of Brora, reawakened to produce whisky once again after 38 years of lying dormant; the Cardhu Distillery in Speyside has been revamped and reopened, and Caol Ila
Distillery on Islay is due to reopen in 2022. Visitors can expect to see state-of-the-art spaces, including redesigned immersive storytelling experiences, whisky-tasting kitchens and updated whisky-tours. ⬥
AIRE ANCIENT BATHS, COVENT GARDEN — Feeling the need to disconnect? Then let Dream Escape arrange a day in London's most exciting new thermal baths spa, complete with an ice pool, cold pool, warm pool, hot pool, saltwater flotarium, and various treatments. AIRE Ancient Baths is a unique concept inspired by ancient civilisations that revives the tradition of thermal baths in historical buildings and focuses on the benefits of water for both body and mind. Linger a little longer, immersing yourself in the soul of the city, staying overnight in Covent Garden's new luxury lifestyle hotel, Middle Eight. ⬥
UGLY BUTTERFLY, CARBIS BAY, CORNWALL — Following the hotel playing host to the 2021 G7 Summit, where renowned chef Adam Handling and his team created sustainability-focused dishes for the leaders and the whole summit to enjoy, the Ugly Butterfly is now open. Dream Escape love this restuarant for its hugely strong focus on sustainability: it's as impressive as the taste of the beautifully presented dishes themselves. Adam’s passion for converting locally sourced, quality ingredients into scrumptious meals, packed full of flavour, illustrates that there is no such thing as food waste, much in the same way that there is no such thing as an Ugly Butterfly. ⬥ dreamescapemagazine.com
GALASHIELS, THE GREAT TAPESTRY OF SCOTLAND — There is a new permanent home where visitors can see The Great Tapestry of Scotland – a purpose-built gallery in Galashiels, the heartland of the Scottish Borders. The Great Tapestry of Scotland was created and hand-stitched by 1,000 people from across Scotland. It's where Scotland's story begins – the tapestry tells a compelling visual account of Scotland’s history, heritage and culture, from its formation to the present day. It was the vision of one of the world’s best loved writers, Alexander McCall-Smith,
designed by artist Andrew Crummy and teams of stitchers around Scotland from a narrative written by the awardwinning writer and historian Alistair Moffat. It is made up of 300 miles of wool – that's enough to lay the entire length of Scotland, from the border with England to the tip of Shetland in the North Atlantic. ⬥
THE NEWT, BEEZANTIUM — Dream Escape guests can now see the world from a bee’s eye view at the brand new Beezantium at The Newt, Somerset. Watch the colonies at work, smell the aroma of the hive, hear their contented hum and see honey produced in real time – a first-of-its-kind experience for the UK, designed to highlight the importance of bees and their contribution to the planet. Within its giant honeycomb walls are interesting facts and literature about bees from all over the world, along with flower pressings showing the types of honey produced from specific plants on the estate. Sensory pods in front of a large picture window offer a moment of contemplation, while you enjoy views over the lake and listen to poetry about our hard-working pollinator friends. Why not take the opportunity for a Bee Safari - a private walking tour of the woodland hives, providing more insight into The Newt’s own beekeeping practices. ⬥ 14
COAST TO COAST
BEST PLACES TO STARGAZE AHEAD OF OCTOBER'S METEOR SHOWERS — If you are hoping to catch a glimpse of the Draconid meteor shower when it hits its peak this year (between 8 and 9 October) then Dream Escape can arrange for you to be in the best place. Choose from Tomintoul and Glenlivet in the Cairngorms, with the longest period of time (in the UK) to take in the dark skies and stargaze, or Galloway Forest, the first area in the UK to be recognised as a Dark Sky Park. Another remote area of Scotland, the island of Coll, off the west coast by the Isle of Mull, is a favourite of Dream Escape and also a magical spot from which to view the stars. In the north east of England, Northumberland's National Park offers ample opportunity when the skies turn dark, and Dream Escape also recommends the national park around Wales’ largest mountain, Snowdonia (find out more about this region from our Merionethshire article on page 36). ⬥
IMAGE © CROWN COPYRIGHT (2013) VISIT WALES
CALENDAR Autumn 2021
Concours of Elegance
Famed for gathering together the rarest cars ever created – this year's event held 3–5 September, will showcase the most significant Rolls-Royce ever built, at Hampton Court Palace. dreamescapemagazine.com
Heritage Open Days
England’s largest festival of history and culture is taking place across England this September. This is your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences in a fantastic annual celebration of history and culture.
CULTURE ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS
PICCADILLY IN LONDON
— 22 September 2021–2 January 2022 | Held without interruption since 1769 – including during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021 – the Royal Academy of Arts' Summer Exhibition is the world’s largest open-submission art show. It brings together art in all mediums – print, painting, film, photography, sculpture, architectural works, and more – by leading artists, Royal Academicians and household names, as well as new and emerging talent. The Royal Academy of Arts' annual celebration of art and creativity continues in 2021, with coordinator Yinka Shonibare RA celebrating the joy of creating art through the theme of ‘Reclaiming Magic’. ⬥
17-19 September| Revive and thrive at Goodwood's motor racing celebration – with a new layout, new areas and the same Revival halcyon days spirit. See p96 16
HIGH SOCIETY HENLEY FESTIVAL
HENLEY-ON-THAMES — 15–19 September | While 2020 saw a digital edition of Henley Festival, the return of a physical event described as 'The UK’s most glamorous festival' will once again see festivalgoers arriving by boat as they step onto the green lawns of Henley which will be transformed into a Great Gatsby vision, as black-tie-clad revellers spill across the site, Champagne in hand, while fireworks explode overhead. We are all looking forward to seeing and experiencing some sparkles after a difficult year. ⬥
CULTURE FRIEZE LONDON
THE REGENT'S PARK — 13–17 October | Frieze London takes place at the heart of the UK capital, forming part of London’s vibrant cultural fabric and international art scene. This year it will coincide with Frieze Masters (within easy walking distance in The Regent's Park). Frieze London is one of the only fairs to focus on contemporary art whilst Frieze Masters gives a unique view on the relationship between historical art and contemporary practice. The fair’s exhibiting galleries represent some of the most exciting artists working today, from the emerging to the iconic. Take some time to visit Frieze Sculpture, located in The Regent’s Park’s English Gardens at the south end of The Broadwalk, connecting Frieze London and Frieze Masters, open in September until the end of October. ⬥ SPORT
3 October | Soak up the atmosphere or lace up your trainers ready for the 2021 London Marathon – a route that takes in some of the most famous landmarks in the city – including Buckingham Palace, The Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf. FOOD AND DRINK TASTE EAST DEVON
VENUES ACROSS EAST DEVON — 11–19 September | All the food and drink greats in the area, including Michael Caines MBE, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, THE PIG at Combe and many more have come together to throw a festival like no other – a brand new nine-day food and drink festival to celebrate the incredible culinary delights on offer across East Devon’s stunning coast and countryside. ⬥
ARTS CHELTENHAM LITERATURE FESTIVAL
GLOUCESTERSHIRE — 8–17 October | The world’s oldest literature festival has many highlights for its highly anticipated return to physically attended events this autumn. The award-winning festival will welcome audiences to all its venues across the heart of regency Cheltenham, as the vibrant spa town comes alive for a literary celebration like no other. One thousand of the world’s very best writers, thinkers, and performers are in attendance, plus this year, the non-fiction programme is bigger and better than ever, including sports icon Clare Balding presenting ideas on how to develop resilience in the face of tough situations; CBeebies presenter Maddie Moate sharing mind-boggling facts about the stuff we use every day; and the original QI Elf, Molly Oldfield (pictured) providing the answers to the most curious questions. ⬥
BLENHEIM PALACE OXFORDSHIRE — 22–31 October | Discover a world like no other, created for all the family to enjoy, at this brand new spooky, fun-filled after-dark Halloween trail at Blenheim Palace. Watch out for flickering flames in a fiendish fire garden, where daring fire artists and grinning pumpkins glow. Wind your way through the illuminated haunted woods filled with creepy neon cobwebs, ghastly ghouls, wicked witches, larger-than-life spiders and beastly bats. Then discover the Secret Garden filled with more hidden surprises. Could it be a trick of the light or do things really go 'bump in the night'? Enjoy a wickedly good hot toddy or a devilishly decadent hot chocolate, or just toast a marshmallow with someone special. ⬥
The Lord Mayor’s Show, London
13 November | It is difficult to be certain of anything this year, but the Lord Mayor’s Show has survived over 800 years of turbulent London history, including plagues, fires, bombs and floods. If London is not locked down in November, as we all hope and expect, then the Show will go ahead.
ARTS HOGARTH AND EUROPE
TATE BRITAIN, LONDON
IMAGE: WILLIAM HOGARTH. A SCENE FROM ‘THE BEGGAR’S OPERA’ VI, 1731 © TATE
In the city... NOVEMBER
— 3 November 2021–20 March 2022 | Discover how William Hogarth and artists across Europe captured the new modernity of the mid-18th century. European society and culture changed dramatically during this period. In Britain, William Hogarth became famous for paintings and prints that captured the new modern experience with energy, wit and humanity. But he was not alone. Across Europe, artists were creating vivid images of contemporary life and social commentary. The rich and the poor, the immoral and self-deluding, the selfish and the selfless, were made characters in pictorial stories that caught people’s imaginations and took art in novel directions. For the first time, this exhibition will bring together Hogarth’s greatest works with those of his peers across the continent – including Francesco Guardi in Venice, Chardin in Paris and Cornelis Troost in Amsterdam – to suggest the cross currents, parallels and sympathies that crossed borders. ⬥
SOMERSET HOUSE – BEANO: THE ART OF BREAKING THE RULES
THE STRAND, LONDON — Until 6 March 2022 | Calling all mayhemmakers and rule-breakers - Beano is taking over Somerset House. Step into the pages of the comic and take a trip into Beanotown to explore how this beloved character of British comics has fired up successive generations to break the rules, while discovering artists who push boundaries in their own original and wonderful ways. ⬥ HYDE PARK WINTER WONDERLAND
HYDE PARK, LONDON
— November–January 2022 | Located in the heart of London, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is the place to immerse yourself in all things festive by browsing the Christmas Markets and soaking up the atmosphere. There's hundreds of spectacular rides and attractions, thrilling shows, London’s biggest Christmas Market, and the little ones will love Santa Land. ⬥
Meet the Maker:
Anne-Sofie Lucan 20
Fusing classic British country tailoring with an essence of fierce London cool, Lucan Fashion is the new word in luxury and style. Dream Escape met founder and designer The Countess of Lucan at her beautiful London home to talk colour, luxury, heritage and exclusive personal styling… WORDS | EMMA JOHNSON
ITH AN ENVIABLE ability to bring practical country style to the streets of London, while also sharing her eye for colour and a love of Scotland, Lady Lucan’s approach to design has always been about reflecting her Danish heritage and indulging her passions. And for anyone enjoying a private consultation with her – a key part of Dream Escape’s London experience – you can expect to find yourself surrounded by influences from around Britain, and beyond.
HOME AND HERITAGE
“London is the birthplace of Lucan Fashion, where I channel my passion…it is a hub of inspiration, energy and creativity and adds an urban edge to the styles,” she explains, talking to Dream Escape from her home in St John’s Wood. “Scotland is where I feel spirited and intrepid and it is a significant part of our Made in Britain collection.” Ireland also plays a big part in the brand’s identity. The signature Ballinrobe women's
coat, for instance, gets its name from County Mayo, where the Lucans held large estates and also where Anne-Sofie and her husband George fell in love. “The coat, like the River Robe which runs through County Mayo, is a long flowing garment with exquisitely defined curves in all the right places,” explains Anne-Sofie; while the colours of the grey herringbone tweed and soft pink lining are inspired by the shadowy hills set against the stunning sunsets the area is renowned for. “Many of our garments have a ‘story behind the style’ and are named after events or places that are linked to the family name,” she adds. The Lucan name is steeped in military heritage, for instance, and the men’s Scotia coat takes its name from the 'snowswept' province of Nova Scotia in Canada, of which the Lucans have been Baronets since the 17th century. “I have also taken inspiration from the Lucan family heraldic colours,” adds AnneSofie. “The gold and Castlebar blue in our coat of arms are evident in vibrant linings and pop accent piping.” → dreamescapemagazine.com
ALL IMAGES © LUCAN FASHION. PHOTOGRAPHY CHRIS BRACEWELL AND STYLING JULIA ROBSON
I wanted stylish “clothes that would take me seamlessly from town to country, which had colour, contour and truthful ergonomics
TOWN AND COUNTRY
Anne-Sofie was inspired to create Lucan Fashion when she couldn’t find garments that seamlessly transitioned from her busy city life to her active, outdoor country life. “I wanted stylish clothes that would take me seamlessly from town to country, which had colour, contour and truthful ergonomics,” she explains. “I searched for a luxurious jacket that I could wear straight from the moor into fashionable London venues, but all I could find were dowdy, ill-fitting pieces in dour fabrics. I believe in clothes that are fun, vibrant and a pleasure to wear. But I couldn’t find them.” And so, Lucan Fashion was born. Taking its signature approach from country sports, and then making them relevant in the fashion style-stakes, Lucan Fashion cleverly blends practical with chic. Think oversized pockets – perfect for a modern lifestyle, jetting around without bags; as well as hidden internal pockets, functional actionbacks and fold-back cuffs, accentuated with
Pictured Previous Page: Women's Cocktail Black Cashmere Knitted Jacket Pictured clockwise from above left: Men’s Scotia Coat in Grey Herringbone, with Charcoal Polo Neck in Cashmere and Women's Foxford Waistcoat with Cashmere Tamoshanter in Cocoa and Cocoa Cashmere Jumper; Women's Black Corduroy Feeagh Jacket; Women's Norfolk Jacket in Green Herringbone with Cashmere Polo Neck Loden
shades of orange, fuchsia and chartreusegreen. “Colours are inspired by the countryside and stately homes from glorious weekends away and reflect that British sense of humour found in country sports,” says Anne-Sofie. For ladies, aside from the beautiful Ballinrobe Coat, the Urban Safari Collection, which features funky leopardprint buttons, is a go-to for transitional, contemporary cool with modern elegance – think urban jodhpurs, button-through skirts, gilets and versatile jackets. “I have become obsessed with our statement shoulder Carra jacket, which is made from authentic Irish linen in hot fuchsia,” says Anne-Sofie, who also mentions the Feeagh corduroy jacket, and the brand’s stretch leather ‘Rouser Trouser’ – which has become a firm celebrity favourite. The glamorous trousers can be dressed up or down and can take you anywhere – from weekends away and nights out to country walks or family trips to the playground. →
Pictured left to right: Women's Lannagh Coat in Indigo, Cashmere Tamoshanter in Castlebar Blue and Cashmere Stripe Scarf; Charcoal Grey Nehru Gilet, Lord Lucan’s personal favourite; Men's Connacht Straw Pink Corduroy Jacket, Women's Blue Cashmere Knitted Jacket
I am delighted to “share some pockets of
my home and business life with the Dream Escape readers. I hope to meet you at our exclusive salon when you are in London
SUSTAINABLE AND LOCAL
This commitment to pieces that not only reflect family history and the British landscape, but also transition from day to night, and town to country, means the brand focuses on bespoke, long-lasting investment pieces which you can wear – and love – for years. “Investment pieces are very important to us and we manage the collection much as a curator approaches a vernissage or exhibition,” says Anne-Sofie. “Lucan is about lasting style rather than fast fashion. Our garments are a valuable investment in one’s own wardrobe and are sustainable purchases for people as well as being kind to our planet.” The brand takes this even further, using all-natural, renewable fibres from local producers, including Harris Tweed of Scotland and Scottish cashmere, to ensure provenance stays as close to locale as possible. Its signature Magee Donegal tweed is produced with renewable energy from a long-standing family business in Ireland, while its English tweeds are made in the heart of Yorkshire by a mill that respects the five animal freedoms, and is committed to zero waste, recycling and using solar energy. “I see our clothes as being tradition brought to life. Modernity and ethics are added by the colourful vibrancy of our pieces, which stand the test of time as sartorial heirlooms, therefore avoiding the disposable landfill culture.”
VIBRANT AND PERSONAL
Colour clearly plays a big part in design at Lucan Fashion – with colour pops, pocket accents, vibrant linings and even specially created Harris Tweed in bright Lucan colours, creating a signature playfulness. “I absolutely love colour,” says Anne-Sofie. “And I like to have fun adding a Lucan funky colour twist to classic pieces. I find there is also so much British humour in the use of colour. I love creating something that will make the wearer smile and the viewer think ‘va va voom – WOW’.” It makes sense that there is so much of Anne-Sofie’s personality in her clothes, because her connection to the brand encompasses her whole family. Her Husband, George, The 8th Earl of Lucan, models for the brand, and Anne-Sofie often designs pieces specifically for him – such as the Lepanto Jacket in Cotton Twill and the Connacht in Straw Pink Corduroy. “His wardrobe staple is the iconic Lucan gilet,” says Anne-Sofie. “And, this season he has fallen in love with the Turberville topcoat in Irish Donegal, worn with a spicy orange merino rollneck, which is a look that has already turned heads.” When George isn’t modelling for her, Anne-Sofie is accompanied by the other man in her life – her beloved 18-month-old son Charles, who often comes to work with her at the London studio. “We have to include fun into a structured day,” she explains. “While fitting in his naps, needs and naughty moments! It is a multitasker's heaven – as my beautiful bundle of energy adores wearing our tweed caps ‘Peaky Blinder’ style and running away with cashmere scarves!” → dreamescapemagazine.com
Family is clearly very important, and Anne-Sofie says that in her moments of downtime, she is happiest “being with George and the children, in the local park in London with a good coffee”. For a special night out, or a weekend away, she says it’s all about being with good friends – shooting, laughing and surrounded by beautiful art. “Britain has a plethora of stunning vistas to explore in the town and country, which visually touch my core. I adore looking over valleys on a shoot, but also enjoy special nights at Matteo’s restaurant at Annabel’s, followed by a Quay d’Orsay cigar.”
A PERSONAL SERVICE
Pictured above: The Norfolk Jacket may well simply have taken its name from the English county but other sources suggest it was originally a hunting coat invented by the 15th Duke of Norfolk. More likely is that the forerunner was a uniquely pleated jacket developed by Coke of Norfolk, the Earl of Leicester, for duck-shooting parties on the Holkham estate in North Norfolk PHOTOGRAPHY | CHRIS BRACEWELL STYLING | JULIA ROBSON HAIR & MAKEUP | CARL STANLEY
NEW SEASON — Coming up for Autumn/Winter 2021 and Spring Summer 2022 are several new investment pieces – including Norfolk jackets in new colourways, gilets with neoprene for added flexibility and urban field jackets made from sumptuous corduroy with performance quilted linings. For ladies, the Feeagh cord jacket is offered in a delicious shade of wine, additional urban jodhpur colours are available and the award winning Lucan gilet is reinvented in charcoal Donegal tweed, with co-ordinating 3/4 trousers. Styles have exciting pops of colour and signature details.⬩
With such a joyful approach to life and a passion for what she does, Anne-Sofie is renowned for her private consultations, where any client is met with her warmth and generosity. Arranged by Dream Escape's travel designers in collaboration with Anne-Sofie at Lucan’s Mayfair salon, guests receive exclusivity and VIP special treatement at these consultations, which is not not available to the general public. Inside Anne-Sofie's studio colourful rails line the walls, divided into town and country pieces. You can browse the collection, while sipping a glass of Champagne, perusing colours, garments and hearing the stories behind the styles. Each garment is named after a family member or linked to the Lucan family heritage, so there is always a lot to share. After shopping, you’ll even be offered a manicure and a coffee. “It is important to have face-to-face contact, so as to listen to our guests,” says Anne-Sofie. “I enjoy meeting them, and they enjoy meeting the Lucan founder and designer too. I love getting to know new people and have found out that everyone has a secret to tell. We care about what customers have to say and value their comments, with a view to building what we hope will become a long-lasting relationship.” Find out more
dreamescape.co.uk Louise Murray, Head of Travel Design, London and England “Dream Escape’s fashion-focused programmes take you on a spree through the quintessential British and Irish brands and fashion houses with your own private guide, learning about provenance, with the opportunity for private experiences, including with Anne-Sofie.” ⬥
THE SUITE LIFE The London glamour. The ‘wow’ moment. The breathtaking views. The personal butler. The private chauffeur. The feeling of home. Suites at The Dorchester.
LONDON +44 (0)20 7629 8888 DORCHESTERCOLLECTION.COM
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Dream Escape meets multi-award-winning Irish chef Richard Corrigan to talk about his passion for season-driven, down-to-earth food, his beautiful estate in Ireland and the stories behind some of his luxurious London restaurants WORDS | SOPHIE FARRAH
CCLAIMED IRISH CHEF Richard Corrigan has cooked for the Queen, Concorde and everyone in between, but despite dozens of awards and a fleet of hugely successful restaurants in London and Ireland, his celebrated food remains hearty and humble, much like the man himself. “Everything can become so stylised so easily,” he muses. “It can become about ego and ambition, and then you end up with a microscope trying to see what’s on your plate – micro herbs and all this nonsense!” he laughs. Forget foams and molecular flourishes, this gregarious chef’s renowned food combines modern luxury with unpretentious, homeinspired cooking. He is passionate about seasonality and ingredients sourced in Britain and Ireland, and when he begins to talk about
his upbringing, in his lilting Irish accent, it’s clear to see why. “I was brought up with nature (Corrigan grew up on a 25-acre farm in Ireland’s County Meath) – long grasses and wild meadows, seeing cattle and sheep and birds come and go, and every day I watched my mother make bread in the farmhouse and that stayed with me. Now we bake all our own bread in our restaurants and have done for 30 years. I just love the smell of it,” he explains. Corrigan’s bucolic childhood quickly began to develop into an incredible culinary journey, one which started with a part-time job in the kitchen of a local hotel. “I decided then that it was what I wanted to do. I knew I wasn’t going to be a philosopher or do a master’s degree; I am a boy from the country! Food was right up my street.” → dreamescapemagazine.com
He then spent several years in the Netherlands, and in 1987 jumped into the sweltering kitchens of London’s top restaurants, where he picked up two Michelin stars in 1994 and 1997 respectively. “I thought London was quite Dickensian at first – I came from a nice apartment in Amsterdam to an absolute hovel on Camden Road. I wanted to pack my cases and head out of there as soon as possible! But London grows on you. It pulls you in, starts to mould you, and you start getting a feeling that it’s your town,” he explains. “Dreams can be made in London – I am living proof of that.” Today, Corrigan’s restaurants are enormously popular, and Dream Escape's travel designers can organise a choice of unforgettable stays nearby. Corrigan's impressive London portfolio includes Bentley’s, a timeless oyster and seafood restaurant just off Piccadilly; and the sumptuous Corrigan’s Mayfair,
which reimagines the concept of modern British and Irish cuisine, combining premium seasonal produce with Corrigan’s unique style. More recent additions include Daffodil Mulligan, a lively restaurant and bar in the heart of London’s arty Shoreditch, and Virginia Park Lodge, a beautiful 150-acre estate in Ireland’s County Cavan. Each one has its own personality and offers something to suit all tastes. “At Bentley’s we do a wonderful ceviche of native lobster with watermelon, coriander and a squeeze of lime. The flavours will blow your head off and make you go 'wow',” Corrigan enthuses. “In Mayfair we’ve got a wood pigeon pie, which sounds heavy, but it’s actually really refined. It’s like a little ballet going on your plate. I hate the expression ‘fine dining’ – I would call it ‘dining in a fine environment,' " he adds. “They’re all different – it’s not about signature dishes,
use beautiful produce “ We from all over the UK...
That’s my soul. I am not looking for daintiness, I want food that’s intelligent, seasonal and elegant
it’s about the season and the day of the week. We use beautiful produce from all over the UK and try to encompass the best of farming. That’s really what it’s all about. That’s my soul. I am not looking for daintiness, I want food that’s intelligent, seasonal and elegant.” In addition to serving brimming shellfish platters, traditional fish and chips, and hunks of sirloin steak, in
Pictured from left to right: Corrigan’s Mayfair restaurant; Bentley's traditional Fish & Chips; Virginia Park Lodge
arrangement with Dream Escape's travel designers, Bentley’s also host regular oyster masterclasses. A must for any seafood lover, these fascinating 90-minute sessions include Champagne on arrival, oyster identification and tasting with sommeliermatched wine, and a recipe card and shucking knife to take home. “You’re also shown how to open oysters – but before you drink the Champagne,” Corrigan chuckles. Thanks to Corrigan’s famous hospitality, his restaurants are home to a catalogue of colourful stories involving VIP guests and legendary St Patrick’s Day parties, and even the moment when culinary queen Prue Leith tried her very first oyster at Bentley’s. And are the rumours true about a certain of member of the Royal Family being a fan? →
Pictured: Bentley's Classic Fish Pie; Richard Corrigan in the kitchen; Right: Royal Seafood Platter
Yes, the Queen “has visited my
restaurant – I cooked for her on her birthday, and she didn’t leave early! She had a fantastic time
“Yes, the Queen has visited my restaurant – I cooked for her on her birthday, and she didn’t leave early! She had a fantastic time,” Corrigan beams. To cater for such clientele, each of Corrigan’s venues have impressive private dining rooms. These include the aptly named Crustacea Room at Bentley’s, which features pictures from Corrigan’s personal art collection (he can often be found in one of London’s many galleries), to the legendary Chef ’s Table at Corrigan’s Mayfair, where diners watch the theatre of the kitchen unfold through a large glass window, while feasting on wild game, foraged vegetables, organic fruits and sustainable fish. “I’ll be honest with you, our private dining rooms have hosted everyone: kings, queens, prime ministers – you name it,” says Corrigan. “But you know, Tom Jones always says to me, ‘I love coming here because there’s never a camera outside’, and that says a lot about me and my team. We’re discreet and that’s so important. For a guy who likes to talk, I know how to keep my mouth shut.” Corrigan’s restaurants may feel exclusive, but the price tag doesn’t have to be; in London’s luxurious Mayfair, the very reasonable lunchtime set menu at Corrigan’s includes three delicious courses, wine and a glass of Champagne.
“And it is Champagne by the way – Grand Cru – not sparkling wine,” he laughs. His restaurants are also much loved for their atmosphere; this is in part down to Corrigan’s spirit, but also the history he shares with each one. For example, he was once head chef at Bentley’s 28 years ago, before he bought the restaurant in 2005, and has since breathed new life into it. Often referred to as ‘The Grand Dame of Swallow Street’, it is today considered
a London institution. Similarly, great care has been taken with Virginia Park Lodge in Ireland: a grand 18th century country estate set in 100 acres of beautiful countryside overlooking Lough Ramor. This too has been a labour of love and holds a unique place in Corrigan’s heart, namely because it is where he married his wife Maria in 1985. “On my wedding night I thought ‘if this place ever comes on the market, I'll buy it,' " he recalls. “I’ve poured everything I own into it.” Originally built as a hunting lodge for the first Earl of Bective, Lord Headfort, Virginia Park Lodge has been meticulously and lovingly restored by Corrigan and his team. Self-sufficiency is key; he proudly goes
into detail about his vast composting system and that everything, where possible, is thoughtfully upcycled and repurposed. Conveniently located just 50 minutes from Dublin and 90 minutes from Belfast, Virginia Park Lodge is available for, via Dream Escape's travel designers, individual stays as well as exclusive hire of the entire estate. “It’s not been done like a group of hotels – it’s a bit eccentric, it’s a bit mad, and maybe that’s what I’ve learned about England. I love a bit of English madness, I do.” The main house has 23 en-suite bedrooms, many of which showcase views of the lake. There are a further 15 stylish cottages and the latest addition is 12 luxurious →
shepherd’s huts; these private and serene spaces are nestled on the edge of the estate’s Deerpark Forest and offer comfortable double beds, solid oak flooring, shaker style kitchens and cosy log burners. Whichever type of accommodation is preferred, 'a multitude of memorable activities await, including horse riding, boating, canoeing and fishing, while land-based options include archery, skeet shooting and golf. There are also numerous beautiful gardens and orchards to explore. The food offering is a perfect example of Corrigan’s passion for wild, flavour-rich, down-to-earth cooking, with menus compiled entirely from what is grown on site; the vast garden operation at Virginia Park Lodge not only supplies its own kitchens, but all of Corrigan’s London restaurants too.
Pictured clockwise from top left: New luxurious shepherd’s huts at Virginia Park Lodge; Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill in London's Picadilly; Daffodil Mulligan, bar and restaurant in London's Shoreditch
“We cook from the land and whatever’s around us - I’ve been busy picking beans and tomatoes recently, and we’ve got two acres of kale,” he says. “When you grow it yourself, it tastes better. End of story.” Today, Corrigan’s empire is very much a family affair; his eldest son Richie and daughter Jess are both involved and his youngest son, Robbie, is studying to do the same. Despite his success, Corrigan remains very hands-on, whether it’s gardening, cooking, or even making furniture; he was with a master carpenter during this interview, learning how to make a chair. “I want all the shepherd’s huts at Virginia Park to have a lovely wooden table and chair outside, but I want us to make them on-site,” he explains. “I don’t want new or off the peg, how about a bit of personality?” Something that Richard Corrigan has in spades.
Find out more
dreamescape.co.uk Sue Morris, Head of Marketing "Having been a guest on the Chef 's Table at Corrigan's Mayfair, I will never forget the personalised vegan menu that was given to me. It read 'Keep it simple', and was signed by Richard Corrigan. It was an exceptional gastronomic experience in the heart of Mayfair." ⬥
Do you know about our foodie tours? Delve into an area's food scene with one of our intimate, immersive and interactive food tours, adventures or trails, from day trips to weeklong adventures. Our food experiences are a must for those looking to meet local people and to sample the finest artisan fare. Travel to a region's restaurants and get the wonderful opportunity to meet the award-winning food producers themselves. Find out more from our website or ask one of the team.⬩
Wales' coastal and mountainous region, where local legends meet alluring landscapes
IMAGE © CADW, WELSH ASSEMBLY GOVERNMENT (CROWN COPYRIGHT)
WORDS | PORTIA JONES
HE ANCIENT maritime kingdom of Merionethshire in Wales was forged out of Welsh dynasties, warrior princes and local legends that have shaped the culture, boundaries and heritage of the area, over hundreds of years. Merionethshire has previously been a kingdom, a cantref (a medieval Welsh land division), a district and a county of northwestern Wales over its long and varied timeline. Today it's part of present-day Gwynedd and is a hotspot for tourism in Wales, where visitors can enjoy slate landscapes, vintage rail travel and boutique hotels. The region has recently enjoyed worldwide attention, as its beguiling and historic slate landscapes that run through Gwynedd have become the UK's 32nd UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It's a destination best suited for outdoor enthusiasts who are also interested in history, heritage and high-quality hotels and restaurants. Dream Escape takes clients on a journey through this mythical region of majestic mountains, muted slate landscapes and striking shorelines, to discover this magnificent and unique part of Wales.
LLECHWEDD AND THE SLATE LANDSCAPES
Welsh slate has been used on roofs across the world since Roman times and has transformed the Merionethshire landscape over the centuries. Today, tourism plays a huge part in the local economy, with several attractions, hotels and restaurants providing jobs and revenue to the former mining community.
Pictured left–right: Snowdonia National Park; Zip-wire over Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda
IMAGE © CROWN COPYRIGHT (2018) VISIT WALES
Thrill-seekers can combine both adventure and heritage...[with] an exhilarating ‘four-person parallel zip line, and a unique aerial tour of the Llechwedd slate quarry’ The towering landscapes, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are a testament to the importance this region played in the industrial revolution and Wales' slate mining heritage. The town of Blaenau Ffestiniog falls in the middle of this UNESCO landscape, and while it has a rich history, it has successfully managed to position itself as an outdoor adventure capital in recent years. Located in the heart of Snowdonia, the town is close to rugged mountains, lakes, hiking and biking trails, making it the perfect base for thrill-seekers. Here, you'll find the Llechwedd site and Deep Mine experience that's now a part of the specialist adventure company Zip World. This expansive site is home to adventure and heritage activities, glamping, and the boutique Plas Weunydd hotel. Immerse yourself in the story of slate, and travel 500 feet underground on a deep mine tour at
Llechwedd. Discover what life was like as a Welsh miner, inside the darkness and solitude of the moody mountains, and let expert local guides and impressive visual and audio effects transport you back to another time and place. Thrill-seekers combine both adventure and heritage by braving the Titan 2 zip line at the same site. It's an exhilarating, four-person parallel zip line, with a unique aerial tour of the Llechwedd slate quarry. Start your adventure by riding high above the quarry on a robust former army truck. This rugged truck takes you to a height of 1,400 feet, overlooking the captivating and artificially made industrial mountains, while a private guide explains the history and significance of the mining community. You'll then travel back down via 1 kilometre of zip line that provides thrilling views of the quarry below and a panorama of Blaenau Ffestiniog. → dreamescapemagazine.com
FFESTINIOG AND WELSH HIGHLAND RAILWAY
With the reopening of the Welsh Highland Railway, passengers can retrace the historic route 25 miles from Caernarfon, past the foot of Snowdon and the picture postcard village of Beddgelert, then through the stunning Aberglaslyn Pass and on to Porthmadog, in two luxury Pullman carriages. Michael Davies, Dream Escape's Travel Designer Manager arranges for guests to travel in style and enjoy undulating landscapes and coastal views through panoramic glass windows on the UK's longest heritage railway line. The Ffestiniog Railway is the oldest independent railway company in the world and has a range of unique journeys along a narrow-gauge heritage railway. Powered by a steam engine, your ride begins at sea level and then slowly winds its way through dense forests, round horseshoe bends and past lakes
Pictured clockwise from above: Trip on the Ffestiniog Railway from Blaenau Ffestiniog to the coast; Palé Hall Hotel; Portmeirion Village; an aerial view of Portmeirion Village.
and waterfalls, as it slowly climbs over 700 feet through Snowdonia. On the Luxury Pullman guests travel in style while seated in comfortable surroundings with a Welsh hamper, treats and first-class service.
There's nowhere quite like the surreal, Italianate village of Portmeirion, located on a private peninsula next to the Dwyryd Estuary on the coast of Snowdonia.
Michael arranges tours for guests to explore the village, designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis in the early 20th century, combining whimsical architecture with an ornamental garden, a spa and a café. The village is well known as the filming location for the cult 1960s TV show The Prisoner and was previously the setting for Festival N°6, which is currently on hiatus. With enchanting, pastel-coloured buildings, fountains and manicured gardens, it's a photographer's dream here.
WHERE TO STAY:
Palé Hall Victorian splendour, luxurious suites and fine dining awaits at the distinctive and refurbished Palé Hall. It's an exquisite and rather remote Victorian mansion, located near Bala, on the outskirts of the Snowdonia National Park. Behind the charming Elizabethan façade, you'll find high moulded ceilings and extensive use of oak and walnut in the interior, with touches of luxury throughout. It's easy to see why this majestic property persuaded Queen Victoria to turn what was meant to be a fleeting visit, into a 10-day retreat.
Palé Hall also has an excellent reputation for culinary excellence, with innovative dishes full of seasonal ingredients. Gareth Stevenson is the Head Chef at the helm and has earned Palé Hall a coveted Michelin Green Star award. You might like to stay in the Churchill suite, where Winston Churchill himself once stayed. It's sure to dazzle with its four-poster bed, marble-lined bathroom, wood panels, vaulted ceiling, and stained-glass roof lights.
Find out more
dreamescape.co.uk Michael Davies, Travel Design Manager "As a child, I was fascinated by the grey slate quarries in the spectacular Snowdonia region, and the quaint steam trains on the FFestiniog Railway that took the stone down to the sea for export. Only as an adult was I introduced to Portmeirion Village, a most unusual and unexpected place to see in this pocket of Wales, and undoubtedly a memorable experience for any visitor." ⬥
Oxford Inspiration England:
Second only to London as Britain’s most popular film location, Oxford is a visually stunning city with an ancient history. It has also inspired some of the best writers in the English language and been home to a glittering array of famous students WORDS | ADRIAN MOURBY
IMAGE © VISITBRITAIN/GUY RICHARDSON
XFORD is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Its centre is a showcase of European building styles, from the medieval to art deco, by way of Tudor, neoclassical, baroque and neo-Gothic. We have the city’s ancient university to thank for the everunfolding architectural panoramas that are found down narrow winding lanes and along its broad prosperous streets. Divided for centuries into over 30 colleges, the centre of Oxford was developed competitively, with each college trying to outdo its rivals by adopting the fashionable styles of the day. The neoclassical Sheldonian Theatre by Sir Christopher Wren was based on the Theatre of Marcellus in Rome, the idiosyncratic western façade of All Souls’ College, a masterpiece of English baroque, was by Wren’s pupil, Nicholas Hawksmoor. The neo-Gothic Museum of Natural History was directly inspired by the writings and drawings of John Ruskin, the greatest architectural critic of the Victorian era. Oxford is not just buildings, however. Any visit to this city will result in you walking in the footsteps of some of the greatest writers in the English language. →
The Radcliffe Camera is one of the most dramatic buildings in Oxford, a ‘perfectly circular piece of neoclassical architecture that looks as if belongs in Italy’ Oscar Wilde was a student at Magdalen College, Lewis Carroll at Christ Church, Evelyn Waugh at Hertford, Graham Greene was at Balliol, J. R. R. Tolkien and Philip Pullman were both Exeter men, and Iris Murdoch was at Somerville. Oxford has also produced 20 Nobel Laureates and 28 Prime Ministers, with Christ Church (the college founded by Henry VIII's chancellor, Cardinal Wolsey) adding 13 ambitious men into Downing Street, the highest tally of any British university college. Yet it is probably for its place in film and fiction that Oxford is most loved and recognised today. Walk these leafy lanes or stroll through public spaces, such as Radcliffe Square, Broad Street and Old Schools Quad, and you’ll recognise one scene after another. John Le Carré’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was twice filmed in Oxford, so was Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited has now been filmed three times in the city. There
are also two TV crime series, Inspector Morse and Endeavour (both featuring the same fictional detective) that have been filmed in Oxford from 1987 to 2000 and from 2021 onwards. Even the Harry Potter franchise spent some time in Oxford with the Bodleian Library, Christ Church and New College all used as locations in the early Potter films before everything was moved to Warner Brothers Studios, 50 miles away in Leavesden. At Exeter College Dream Escape's Blue Badge Guide, Sally Strange arranges a private evensong for guests in the 14th century chapel. "It's a truly spine-tingling evening not available to the general public,"she explains, "Followed by a delightful dinner in the college dining hall." Or why not take a visit to Merton College library? Founded in 1373, this is the oldest academic library in the world that’s still in use today. A private tour of New College, Hugh Grant’s alma mater,
takes in the college treasury where the curator unlocks the metal-grilled gate so you can view the gleaming collection of college Treasures and Chattels as well as silverware. The beautiful chapel of New College contains a painting by El Greco as well as impressive stone reredos and medieval misericords. The college choir have recorded commercial CDs in this lovely space, and they sing evensong here every day during term time.
If you love wine, then a trip to St John’s College in order to tour the extensive cellars is a must. These stretch all the way under St Giles, an ancient, wide street that leads north out of Oxford. These cellars originally belonged to a Cistercian monastery that was demolished in the 16th century to make way for St John’s, so they are in effect the oldest part of the college. Visits are arranged to the Radcliffe Observatory too, a beautiful octagonal, neoclassical building →
IMAGE © VISIT BRITAIN/JOHN CAIRNS
Pictured previous page: View from a height over the rooftops of Oxford city, the historic buildings and the landmarks of the university city. Pictured clockwise from left: Bicycles outside the Radcliffe Camera; View from the top of the tower in St Marys Church; Christ Church Hall; Sheldonian Theatre
IMAGE © VISITENGLAND/EXPERIENCE OXFORDSHIRE
based on the Tower of the Winds in Athens. It was completed in 1794 and served the study of astronomy at Oxford until 1934 when its telescope was moved to London and the observatory to South Africa. By far one of the most impressive private tours in Oxford is to Duke Humfrey's Library, named after one of King Henry V’s younger brothers. When he died in 1447 Duke Humfrey donated his extensive collection of medieval books to Oxford. This particular tour also takes in the nearby Divinity School, which is a building in the lofty Perpendicular style popular in the 15-century. It was constructed for lectures and discussions on theology. As part of an extended guided tour, taking in Divinity School, Convocation House, Duke Humfrey's Library, and the Upper Reading Room, you are able visit the circular Radcliffe Camera. The ‘Rad Cam’ was built 1737 – 49 to house a science library, and is now world-famous as a perfect expression of northern baroque architectural style. Many uniquely Oxford experiences can also be enjoyed at your leisure. Punting is a pastime that is popular at both Oxford and Cambridge universities. There are few better ways to pass a summer afternoon than to enjoy a picnic hamper and a bottle of Champagne on a punt and float down Oxford’s Cherwell River. Also on the river, the Cherwell Boat House stages atmospheric music evenings in its riverside restaurant. When it comes to inspiring vistas, the climb to the top of the University Church of St Mary the Virgin (known to
are few better ways to pass ‘aThere summer afternoon than to enjoy a picnic hamper and a bottle of Champagne on a punt and float down Oxford’s Cherwell River
students as SMV) rewards the visitor with views across – and even into – many of Oxford’s historic colleges. One of the best high teas in Oxford is at the imposing Randolph Hotel but if you prefer somewhere smaller, but just as glamorous, go for coffee at the Grand Café on Oxford’s High Street. Here in 1874 the wife of a grocer called Frank Cooper made 76 pounds of marmalade to her own secret recipe. It sold very well and thus Frank Cooper’s Oxford Marmalade was born. For a satisfying English pint, try the 13th-century Turf Tavern, which is hidden away down the cobbled alleyways that run between Holywell Street and New College Lane. On your way you’ll pass the tiny Bath Place Hotel, which was where Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor stayed – as incognito as they could manage - when he was playing Faustus at the Oxford Playhouse and she was playing Helen of Troy. Burton had been a student at Oxford’s Exeter College on a six-month RAF scholarship during World War II. When he became the highest-paid movie star of his generation he returned to Oxford to perform Doctor Faustus with the Oxford University Drama Society. He also donated a lot of money to build the Burton Taylor Studio Theatre on Gloucester Street. Oxford is very much about beautiful buildings but it is also about the generations of talented people who have lived, loved and worked here.
Pictured clockwise from left: Punting in Oxford; The Randolph; The Old Parsonage; Old Bank Hotel
WHERE TO STAY
The Randolph Oxford’s palatial neogothic hotel was controversial when it opened in 1866. The city was not ready for a French chateau opposite the venerable Ashmolean Museum. Nowadays the Randolph is a five-star Oxford institution, a place for high teas and grand dinners. Many episodes of Inspector Morse were filmed in what the hotel now calls its Morse Bar. The Old Parsonage This 17th-century inn next to St Giles Church was once home to Oscar Wilde when he returned late to Magdalen College and found his rooms had been assigned to another student. Room 25 is where it’s believed he lodged. This is the cosiest of Oxford’s five-star hotels, with 35 bedrooms, and an intimate bar with cosy fireplaces. The Old Bank Sitting grandly on Oxford’s busy High Street is this imaginatively converted former bank, decorated with a striking collection of modern art. The Quod Restaurant & Bar on its ground floor is one of the liveliest eating spaces in Oxford, while the booklined Library is a great place to relax. The view from the penthouse (Room 1) across to the University Church, Brasenose College and the Radcliffe Camera is simply the best in Oxford.
Find out more
dreamescape.co.uk Sally Strange, Blue Badge Guide "Oxford is the most stunningly beautiful city – arguably one of the most architecturally beautiful cities in the world. Having just taken clients there recently, I know that it delivers one 'wow' moment after another. College after college, it is almost visual overload as you walk down the lanes and new vistas appear. Around every turn in every lane is a new spectacular view." ⬥
King of the Castle From the Dream Escape Podcast Series:
Dream Escape chats to the 7th Lord Erne of Crom Castle, John Crichton, about the unforgettable experiences and magnificent hospitality guests can expect during a stay at his historic private Castle and Estate on the shores of Upper Lough Erne in Northern Ireland
WORDS | SOPHIE FARRAH
AM QUITE SURE that at some point most of us have dreamt of staying in a castle. One steeped in history, with fairy tale turrets surrounded by acres of rolling countryside and a magnificent lake. Well, now you can. Part of its exclusive Private Residence Collection, Crom Castle sits in beautiful, protected parkland in an impossibly romantic setting overlooking Lough Erne in County Fermanagh, in the heart of Northern Ireland. Reached within two hours' drive of Belfast city airport, Dublin or Belfast International airports, the estate has been the historic seat of the Earls of Erne for over 350 years. Today, Dream Escape travel designers arrange unforgettable experiences here, where guests can fully immerse themselves in the magic of this extraordinary private home by staying in the house itself. What’s more, this unique and extremely exclusive offering is heightened further by that fact that your host is none other than the 7th Lord Erne himself, John Crichton. →
“We are John and Harriet. We are the Earl and Countess of Erne, and we look after our guests as if they were our friends... The atmosphere at Crom is special – you can really feel it's a home, rather than a museum” ILLUSTRIOUS HISTORY
Crom Castle sits within a parkland of some 1,900 acres and is surrounded by the glistening waters of Lough Erne, which forms one of the longest inland waterways in Europe. Dotted with a multitude of historic and mysterious islands, the lake is wonderfully serene, making Crom one of the most enchanting castles in Europe. “The original Crichton Family came over from Scotland in the early 17th century. A family member married Bishop Spottisford's daughter in 1655, and they acquired the lands of Crom. So, we've been here for quite some time,” explains The Earl of Erne. “As I got older, I took over what was called the West Wing, and then on my father's sad death I inherited the rest of the castle. I call the main part of the castle where the state rooms are located the Downton Abbey bit,” he smiles. Crom Castle itself exudes grandeur and now you have an exclusive opportunity to discover, explore and experience its significant and fascinating history first-hand. With its imposing towers and battlements, Crom Castle was built circa 1840 and was designed by the famous architect Edward Blore, who was also responsible for parts of Buckingham Palace. Over the years, it has played host to aristocrats, diplomats, dignitaries and members of the Royal Family, but despite its remarkable history, today the castle is an extremely comfortable and welcoming destination, and most importantly, a private residence and home. “You've got to remember that the house is older than many people put together, so we need to respect it. We are custodians and live tenants, and we want to keep it as a house,” explains Lord Erne. “The atmosphere at Crom is special – you can really feel it's a home, rather than a museum.” →
Whether you are a couple, a small group of friends or a larger party, Dream Escape organises a completely unique and unforgettable stay. The magnificent and impeccably decorated Crom Castle accommodates up to 30 people exclusively, with accommodation ranging from large state bedrooms to generous doubles, twins and single rooms, all with en-suite bathrooms, making it a perfect base for extended families or groups to explore the historic estate and stunning surrounding area, and experience the unique hospitality of Lord Erne himself. “Guests are welcomed by our lovely butler, as well as myself and my wife, and the first thing I say is – this is your home for the duration of your stay, and we're going to give you an experience, and that's the word to remember – experience. A lot of people who may come to Crom have probably stayed in very nice hotels, but we are not a hotel. We offer five-star service, but it’s a country home,” he explains. “When you let someone into your house it can be quite nerve-racking for both parties. It's like when two doggies meet you think, ‘gosh, are we going to get on?’ The most important thing is that we put our guests at rest, but we don't change our character at all. We are John and Harriet. We are the Earl and Countess of Erne, and we look after our guests as if they were our friends.” Alternatively, if you’d like to step into the Earl’s shoes and make Crom yours for the duration of your stay, exclusive use of the entire Castle, fully staffed, with a bespoke itinerary is one of the fantastic opportunities on offer. “That is the other string to our bow – renting the castle without us,” explains Lord Erne.“We disappear, and the guests themselves become the Earl and Countess for the week!”
As one would expect, The Earl of Erne has a team of exceptional chefs who are ready to create delicious, locally sourced cuisine for guests, ranging from magnificent gala dinners to sumptuous summer picnics. “We give guests good, wholesome local produce. We've devised very good menus to make sure that they're eating deliciously, but it's not too over the top. It’s not caviar and seafood every night, it’s home cooking,” says Lord Erne. And so the day begins with a traditional full Irish breakfast served in the Castle’s Victorian Conservatory or State Dining Room, before the day’s plans start to unfold. Guests will enjoy a fascinating guided tour of the house, formal gardens and beautiful grounds with Lord Erne
I always say – to have a good weekend, you need a comfortable “house, a good host and hostess, plenty of hot water, plenty to drink, and very good food. For us, it’s just like having friends to stay ”
Pictured: opening page: Lord and Lady Erne at their home in Crom Castle Previous page: Crom Castle's Dining Room; Crom Castle's Grand Hall and Staircase This page (left to right): Crom Castle's South facing facade; Crom Castle's Victorian Conservatory Following page (clockwise from left): Crom Castle's Library; Crom Castle's Boat House; Crom Castle's Yellow Drawing Room
himself. Elsewhere on the estate there is much to explore; visit the Tudorstyle boathouse and the mysterious Crichton Tower on Gad Island, discover the evocative ruins of The Old Castle where Jacobite battles once raged, and admire the famous ancient yew trees, thought to be the oldest in Northern Ireland. Wild deer, pine marten, red squirrels, rare species of butterfly and more also inhabit on the estate. “There’s a good day to be had at Crom exploring the ruins, going out on the lake on our wonderful traditional Lough Erne cot boat and discovering the magic and the atmosphere of this haven, which is a wildlife conservation area and now one of the most important ones in the British Isles,” says Lord Erne. “We can also go off and do these lovely excursions, which are really special because we can get to the front of the queue…” Guests will also enjoy an assortment of exclusive experiences in the local area, such as a private visit to Castle Coole, one of the finest neoclassical houses in Ireland, followed by a trip to Fermanagh’s capital, Enniskillen. Here you can visit one of the oldest pubs in Ireland and →
enjoy a proper pint of Guinness, followed by a delicious lunch. Another local gem is Florence Court House, a beautiful Georgian mansion with stunning gardens and magnificent interiors. Private cooking classes are available, but if it’s action that you’re after, try fishing for brown trout with an expert ghillie or exhilarating deep sea fishing on the Donegal coast. Other outdoor pursuits include boating and golf at the nearby five-star Lough Erne Resort, or perhaps a spa day. You can also visit the Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark (awarded UNESCO status in 2015), arrange pivate tours of the world famous Belleek pottery, and take a trip to the nearby Colebrooke Estate for some clay pigeon shooting. “We really want to give our guests a different part of their trip to Ireland, off the beaten track,” says Lord Erne. There is, of course, also the option to simply relax and soak up the special atmosphere back at Crom Castle; read a book or a newspaper in the library, with staff on hand to look after you. Play a game of tennis, or try your skills at falconry or archery on the lawn.
At a glance...
A fairy tale stay at Crom Castle with Dream Escape: Here are just some of the unforgettable experiences that can be arranged while staying at Crom Castle: ⬩ Hosted gala dinner with Earl Erne ⬩ Clay pigeon shooting at the nearby Colebrooke Estate ⬩ A visit to the mysterious Crichton Tower on Gad Island ⬩ Fishing for brown trout with an expert ghillie ⬩ Sailing on Lough Erne ⬩ An exhilarating deep-sea fishing trip on the Donegal coast ⬩ A private tour of Castle Coole, one of the greatest neoclassical country houses in Ireland ⬩ Gin tasting at a local distillery ⬩ Pike fishing on Lough Erne ⬩ Falconry and archery on the lawn
the castle without “us...Renting we disappear, and the guests themselves become the Earl and Countess for the week
No stay would be complete without spending some quality time with Lord Erne himself and hear the history of his family; what it was like growing up in the castle as a boy, to now being at the helm. You can even enjoy a hosted gala dinner with the Earl, who in the past has been known to occasionally tinkle the ivories of the castle’s grand piano for guests. “No one probably expects to find the Earl of Erne suddenly playing the piano, or opening up and being relaxed, but I think it's quite fun that our guests can go away and say, ‘my goodness me, that wasn't what we thought - we thought it'd be stuffy!” he laughs. “I always say – to have a good weekend, you need a comfortable house, a good host and hostess, plenty of hot water, plenty to drink, and very good food. For us, it’s just like having friends to stay.”
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dreamescape.co.uk Holly Mackie, Owner and Director "John is the perfect host and if you are lucky he will recount some fabulous stories about himself and his family. He will have everyone enthralled, and I've been so lucky to have grown up with him as a family friend in Ireland." ⬥
Listen to this and more from our podcast series: ‘Chatting with Holly’ Holly and the team pride themselves on the personal relationships and connections that they have with a variety of exceptional private properties and experiences in the UK and Ireland. These podcasts will give you an inside glimpse to some of these wonderful connections, many of whom are personal friends, as they talk candidly to Holly about their special properties and experiences. ⬩
Lord of the Isles Scotland:
The Queen of the Hebrides, Isle of Islay
From its big skies and miles of sandy beaches, to soaring eagles, red deer, and bird watching all year round, the Isle of Islay, famous for its smoky malts and once home to Scotland’s fearsome Lord of the Isles, is the perfect base for an outdoor island adventure
WORDS | SAMANTHA RUTHERFORD
N THE FAR WEST of Scotland, only 25 miles from the coast of Northern Ireland, the journey to get to the Isle of Islay, ‘Queen of the Hebrides’, is an experience in itself. You can arrange to arrive in style by helicopter, flight or charter, direct from Glasgow, taking less than 30 minutes. Easy to reach from the mainland, Islay's stunning landscape might be just a 'wee' hop away, but its inviting idyllic setting is worlds apart from Scotland's vibrant city life. While it is widely known that Islay has a place in the heart of every whisky lover, it’s not just the world-class distilleries that draw visitors to this beautiful island. With miles of sandy beaches, outstanding Scottish wildlife and a rich Hebridean heritage, there’s so much to see and do. The most southernmost of the Inner Hebrides islands, beautiful Islay is renowned for its magnificent dramatic scenery – there's 239 square miles (meaning it is just slightly smaller than
Singapore) of this mossy, windswept rock to explore, a playground full of activities, on land and water, for visitors to enjoy. Ramblers will love the choice of over 70 walks and trails (varying in lengths and ability), taken either along the coast, inland up a mountain, by foot or bike. For an extra special adventure, don't miss the lovely woodland trail at Bridgend, or the spectacular cliff walk at the Oa RSPB Reserve with stunning views and lots of fascinating birdlife to spot. Loch Gruinart also offers a choice of woodland trails, including a visit to the RSPB hide. For something more challenging, there's the cliff walk north of Ardbeg towards Solam and the abandoned 18th-century village, or the route from Bunnahabhain to Rhuvaal Lighthouse, the most northerly point on Islay with amazing views of Jura, and the chance to spot otters and seals. One of the more fun ways to explore the island, an experience not to be missed, is on a balloon-tyred fat bike. →
Fat bikes allow visitors an exciting way of exploring and experiencing the coast, with access to beaches and tracks offering opportunities to look for wildlife, while exploring Islay's natural wonders and historical sites. Float over the sand and pebbles on the five-mile long Big Strand beach from the airport, discover Frachdale village and forest track on the Kintra Hill path, or take on the hills from Kilnaughton to Port-an-Eas waterfall. Another great way to enjoy the island is from the water on a sea-kayaking trip with your own qualified guide along the coast of Islay, exploring the delights along the way. The silent mobility of sea kayaks enables you to enjoy a world of remote islands, skerries and stunning beaches and discover hidden lagoons and bays. It also improves chances of spotting seals, herons, arctic terns, black guillemots and even the elusive otter in its natural environment. Dream Escape's travel designers also arrange wild swimming, private boat trips and fishing experiences, with the chance to spot more wildlife in Islay’s Special Area of Conservation (which is only viewable from the sea). This is
a prime chance to catch mackerel, pollock, coley and cod. The Centre of the Lordship of the Isles (otherwise known as the three islands of Loch Finlaggan) is a must for history lovers. Here there is a visitor centre and opportunity to explore the fragmentary remains of buildings from when the chiefs of Clan Donald chose Finlaggan as their home and the centre of their Lordship, the reason Islay is often referred to as the Cradle of Clan Donald.
IMAGE © PAUL TOMKINS / VISITSCOTLAND / SCOTTISH VIEWPOINT
Pictured clockwise from above left: The isle of Islay's stunning coastline Pictured above left then clockwise: Explore Islay’s beaches and moorland on a fat bike; Laphroaig, one of the nine distilleries currently on Islay – visit to sample some of Islay’s finest award-winning malts; enjoy Islay from the water
The Isle of Islay is also home to nine of Scotland’s greatest distilleries: Ardbeg; Bowmore; Bruichladdich; Bunnahabhain; Caol Ila; Lagavulin; and Laphroaig; as well as two of the newest, Kilchoman and Ardnahoe, and last but not least, Port Ellen, which is currently being brought back into production by Diaego (who also own Lagavulin and Caol Ila), 35 years after it was closed. Head west round the bay of Loch Indaal and you'll find Kilchoman. It stands very close to Kilchoman Cross, a fine piece of 14th-century Celtic carving in the graveyard of the ruined Kilchoman church. Kilchoman has a lovely modern visitor centre with an elegant glass and metal logburning stove in the middle. You'll find
this particularly welcome on the occasions when the weather shifts and rain blows up the lock from the Atlantic. Spend some time in Bowmore, an 18th-century new town of low, whitewashed buildings – built by the Campbells on the other side of Loch Indaal. This is Islay’s capital and also where the famous Bowmore distillery is located. Visit the unusual Round Church and Celtic Stores, which sell Fair Isle sweaters, sea-washed paintings, unusual souvenirs (such as the Islay version of Monopoly), and many books about the island. From photo essays to poetry collections and highly detailed history books, it’s clear that Islay has inspired a lot of writers. Enjoy an evening meal at the → dreamescapemagazine.com
ISLAND HOP TO JURA
Island hopping is made easy in the Inner Hebrides, and for an unforgettable experience with yet more untamed Scottish scenery, neighbouring Jura is an absolute must. Take a private boat tour to visit the island, home to more spectacular beaches, the world-famous Jura distillery, and Ardfin, Scotland's most exciting hotel opening and home to a legendary golf course. For some time it was thought the spectacular clifftop location of Ardfin would remain the private golf course of its retired hedge fund multi-millionaire owner, but golfers worldwide rejoiced when it was announced that the course would be accessible to the public. They recently opened Jura House, (the hotel), and shipped in 1,000 tonnes of sand from the Isle of Man for top-dressing the fairways, so there's never been a better time to visit this reimagined exclusive club. Ardfin has yet to appear in the world golf rankings because so few people have played here. The 11th hole, descending
IMAGE © KONRAD BORKOWSKI
Bowmore Hotel, an old stone inn whose most recent extension was built in 1912. In the tartan-carpeted dining room, chairs are made of local ash and elm. The array of fresh seafood on the menu is impressive, and owner Big Peter MacLellan is renowned as an expert on Scotch whisky. Head down the most famous road in the history of distilling to Port Ellen, which stands on one of the southernmost tips of Islay. From it, the A483 road runs east, and along it, within a two mile stretch, it passes three of Scotland’s best-known distilleries: Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg. Spend an afternoon in the lovely little sandy bay, Loch a' Chnuic, or visit nearby Kidalton (another of Islay’s church ruins) and its 8th-century Celtic cross. Inside the roofless church there are tombstones representing armoured knights from the days when Islay was ruled by the Lord of the Isles.
Pictured left to right: Ardfin, Jura's world-famous golf course; Overlooking the 18th green of The Machrie's famous Links course and ocean, on the isle of Islay
the clifftop to the shoreline, passes the small old stone boathouse where Scottish artist, Bill Drummond and The KLF bandmate Jimmy Cauty, famously burnt £1 million in 1994. Also on Jura is the four-bedroom Barnhill cottage, where George Orwell completed his seminal novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. With just one main road along Jura's 30-mile length, most places are accessible only on foot, making this a walker's paradise. You are sure to spot red deer, large birds (including golden eagles), seals aplenty and, if you’re lucky, otters. Dotted around the island are Iron Age forts and ancient standing stones. The three ‘Paps’ mountains are a good climb (Paps is an old Norse word for breasts and they were so named due to their conical shape.) From the summits there are incredible views over the neighbouring islands and the Mull of Kintyre.
WHERE TO STAY
The Machrie For a luxurious stay on Islay, Campbell Gray Hotels' first Scottish property, The Machrie, opened its doors in 2018. The modern, yet still traditionally Scottish hotel is home to seven miles of pristine beach; beautifully designed rooms, suites and lodges; finedining restaurant; a spa; and one of the finest Links golf courses in the world. With a pristine green turf set against the backdrop of the glistening blue sea, the location is hugely inviting and accommodating of both professionals to beginners alike. The former European Ryder Cup Vice Captain and PGA tour player DJ Russell, modernised The Machrie’s course during the refurbishments, using innovative design to combine the thrill of a traditional, historic links course with the best of modern design. Its origins date back to 1891 when Willie Campbell created the original classic layout.
As well as the stunning 18-hole Links, there's the Wee course offering: six par-3 holes played from a multitude of tees, a covered driving range and short game area, and the glorious Hebrides putting course. Then spend your evening sitting by the fireplace in The Stag Lounge – on a clear night the sunsets are beautiful; a striking red filling the sky and reflecting over the ocean.
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dreamescape.co.uk Rosie Peattie, Head of Guiding "There's nothing I don't know about Islay, having explored every nook, crannie and walk imaginable over the years. I can certainly create you a holiday of a lifetime on this wonderful isle." ⬥
10 of the best experiences
Game of Thrones
Northern Ireland is the Home of Thrones - the perfect setting for such an epic story. In celebration of the TV series reaching its 10th anniversary in 2021, the Game Of Thrones studio tour is opening, and we discover there are many ways to celebrate and get the full atmospheric experience
VISIT THE NEW STUDIO TOUR
Game of Thrones Studio Tour in Banbridge
Linen Mill Studio – the former filming location for the Game of Thrones HBO blockbuster – is to become home to the brand new Game of Thrones Studio Tour. This epic landmark plans to attract up to 600,000 people a year, making it the north's third
biggest tourism attraction behind the Giant's Causeway and Titanic Belfast. Showcasing authentic sets, costumes and props from all seasons of the hit series, this engaging, enchanting tour will allow fans to truly step inside the world of Westeros and beyond. Be one of the first to visit with a spectacular Game of Thrones 'set-jetting' itinerary arranged by Dream Escape's travel designers. ⬥ dreamescapemagazine.com
GAME OF THRONES WOODEN DOORS
Journey of Doors
simultaneously preserving a piece of history from the show’s most memorable filming location. Home to Enjoy a tour of the famous door number 8 for example, Game of Thrones wooden is Mary McBride's – pictured doors. There are 10 in total, why not challenge yourself to right, once one of the smallest pubs in Ireland. see them all? It's a venue full of character, Hidden throughout history and has many Northern Ireland, the Game of Thrones doors are in fact made interesting stories to be told about the late Mary McBride of wood from fallen trees at who was the landlady in years the Dark Hedges after it was gone by. damaged by winds during It's situated in the beautiful Storm Gertrude in 2016. Each village of Cushendun and is a of the doors were crafted by must when visiting the area. ⬥ Tourism Northern Ireland, and capture some of the series’ most exciting moments, while 64
TAKE THE BEST INSTAGRAM PICTURES
The Dark Hedges A popular stop on Game of Thrones filming location tours, The Dark Hedges is an impressive and atmospheric tunnel of trees. The beautiful avenue of beech trees was planted by the Stuart family in the 18th century to impress visitors as they approached the entrance to their Georgian mansion, Gracehill House. Game of Thrones fans may recognise it as the King's Road in Westeros. Take a drive along the King's Road that led Ned Stark to his death and Arya Stark away from King's Landing. This is probably one of the most photographed landmarks on the Game of Thrones map and a hidden road on the way to Bushmills. ⬥
'SET-JET' ON A DREAM ESCAPE PROGRAMME
Castle Ward and Strangford Take some time to explore the National Trust property, Castle Ward, used as the location of Winterfell, and the backdrop for much of Game of Thrones season one. It’s also where you will find the beautiful landscape of international importance, Strangford Lough, as well as the Whispering Wood, and the location of key scenes, such as Robb Stark’s Camp, the Baelor battle, and when Brienne confronts the Stark men. Hundreds of actors and crew who worked on the filming stayed nearby in the pretty village of
Strangford, at the luxurious village inn, The Cuan – home to ‘door 1’ of 10 intricately carved wooden doors made from some of the iconic trees from the ‘Dark Hedges’ along the highway known to Game of Thrones as ‘Kindsroad’. Fittingly the first door portrays the opening sequence of the show, with a map of Westeros. Here, you can stay in the same room as your favourite star and wake up to a delicious breakfast, to fuel up for a day following in the footsteps of the Game of Thrones cast. ⬥
MEET THE OWNERS OF A SPECIAL GAME OF THRONES VENUE
Home of Richard and Rosalind Muholland and their family, Ballyscullion Park is also a Game of Thrones location – where cast filmed within the gardens and woods of the estate. Hear all about the excitement that took place in these woods, with the cast surrounded by the ivy, ferns
and stones among the ruins of what little remains of the Earl Bishop’s palace. Take a private tour or dinner, where food is prepared in-house using the best local ingredients. Richard gives fascinating talks about the history of Ballyscullion Park and the Mulholland family, followed by tours of the house and garden. This is a magical house, a true Irish treasure and a completely unique experience. ⬥
JOIN THE NEW TRAIL
Glass of Thrones Stained-Glass Windows
To celebrate 10 years of filming in Northern Ireland, six giant, stained-glass windows depicting some of the most thrilling scenes from Game of Thrones, form part of a new walking trail in Belfast, passing the very place where the show was filmed at Titanic Studios. The windows were unveiled to coincide with the final season of the show, with each one representing a different house or legacy; including the Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons, Targaryens, White Walkers and the Iron Throne. The designs include the most talkedabout scenes from seasons one to seven, based on fans’ online searches. Find the Glass of Thrones installations dotted along the Maritime Mile, from AC Hotel past Titanic Studios to HMS Caroline. Take a stroll to rediscover the most exciting moments from the saga immortalised in stained glass. ⬥
STOP IN AT THIS FAMOUS VICTORIAN PUB
Blakes Of The Hollow
Renowned for its traditional Irish heritage, Blakes of the Hollow is one of the most famous and well-recognised Victorian pubs in Ireland. It is a must-see attraction that has graced County Fermanagh’s shores for over 125 years. The bar keeps its tradition, while welcoming all ages – the snugs are a testament to this,
crowded with groups of people looking for a famously poured pint of Guinness or a delicious Irish coffee. Live traditional music is played every Friday, creating a genuine Irish pub atmosphere that is not to be missed. Being one of County Fermanagh's oldest pubs, Blakes is also recommended in Georgina Campbell's Jameson Guide and the Rough Guide to Ireland – it also houses Game of Thrones' door number 4. ⬥
County Derry and the North Coast
Why not start your adventure in County Derry – the perfect base to see some of the most recognisable Game of Thrones filming locations around the stunning North Coast of Northern Ireland. One of the most popular is Cushendun Caves – formed over 400 million years of extreme weather conditions.
The caves provided the background for The Stormlands, and lie just beyond the beautiful coastal village of Cushendun, spotted while walking down next to the Cave House. Situated in the heart of the Glens of Antrim, Cushendun village is steeped in character and folklore. While on the coast, why not take a visit to Downhill Beach (Game of Thrones' Dragonstone), Larrybane and Carrick-a-Rede (The Stormlands), Ballintoy Harbour (Pike), and Murlough Bay (Storm's End). ⬥
GAME OF THRONES ® IMAGES COURTESY OF VISIT BRITAIN AND TOURISM IRELAND
EXPERIENCE THE NORTH COAST
VISIT A RIVERSIDE EXCAVATION SITE
Inch Abbey Ruins
The most avid Game of Thrones fans will recognise Inch Abbey in County Down as the Trident River and Riverrun, also home to the Tully family, from season one. Located on the north bank of the Quoile River, Inch Abbey was founded by John de Courcy in atonement for his destruction of Erenagah Abbey. The buildings are mainly from the 12th and 13th centuries, while it is believed the church is older than that at Grey Abbey, which was built about 1193. ⬥
DISCOVER AN AGE-OLD CRAFT
Visit the renowned Magee of Donegal
Experience a private visit to the weaving mill and workshop at Magee of Donegal, a 5th-generation Irish family business with over 150 years’ experience in designing, weaving and tailoring luxurious fabrics and clothing. Famed for its handwoven tweed, including one-off pieces and custom designs created for Game of Thrones (including Joffrey’s Crown), Magee still employs the use of handweavers, and offers weaving demonstrations on one of their pedal looms. Magee was founded on handwoven tweed over 150 years ago when John Magee first established a small draper's shop in Donegal. This hardwearing, course fabric was handwoven across Donegal by part-time fishers and farmers as the perfect fabric for dissipating the damp and cold weather, so often found in north-west Ireland, a far cry from the luxurious cloths being produced today. Meet the third and fourth generations of the Temple family who are still at the helm – Lynn, Charlotte, Paddy and Rosy. ⬥
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dreamescape.co.uk Annika Busam, Travel Design Manager "Set 300 years before Game of Thrones, we are excited for the House of the Dragon prequel coming out in 2022. Don't hesitate to get in touch with me for expert advice on your next adventure." ⬩ email@example.com
The County of the Gaels Ireland:
Discover spectacular views, windswept peninsulas, dramatic cliffs and rocky headlands along this rugged stretch of coastline. Take a trip of a lifetime to the stunning county of Donegal WORDS | NICOLA BRADY
ILD AND UNTAMED, dramatic and spectacular, Donegal never fails to take your breath away. Recently named the coolest place in the world by National Geographic, Donegal is the epitome of natural beauty, a remote wonderland that, in parts, can feel almost otherworldly. But there’s a vibrant personality in the mix too, with a hefty dose of cheeky charm that captivates anyone who pays the county a visit. Located in the most north-westerly corner of Ireland, Donegal is the fourth largest county in Ireland, and home to some of the country’s wildest scenery. There’s the striking Derryveagh Mountains, the soothing shores of Lough Eske, and hundreds of spectacular white sand beaches that wouldn’t look out
of place on a Caribbean island. This is the starting point of the Wild Atlantic Way, and there are 1,100 kilometres of coastline to explore, whether you want to wander along the clifftops at sunset, or take a dip in the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic. The landscape is spectacular and bracing, from the sheer granite walls of some of Europe’s highest sea cliffs at Slieve League, to the Northern Lights you can see dancing in clear winter skies, to the millions of seabirds gathering in great estuaries. But it’s not all about the coast. Inland, there's enchanting countryside and captivating villages, where you’ll find the characteristic charm that Donegal locals are known for. As Holly Mackie, co-founder of Dream Escape, says, “The locals are delightful and will welcome you with open arms and leave lasting memories.” Life moves at a slower pace in Donegal. → dreamescapemagazine.com
This isn’t a place to rush from one hotspot to the next. It’s a place where you can get chatting to someone in a café, and learn about an incredible hidden beach that no one else has heard of. It’s a place where you can lose hours wandering through a spectacular national park, or get sidetracked on a road trip when you have to constantly pull over to admire the view. Some people call it Ireland’s forgotten county, and in some ways that’s true – but in the best possible sense. The land here is beautifully raw, untarnished by mass tourism and undiscovered in so many ways. If you truly want to get off the beaten track, and explore the pure essence of Ireland, Donegal is the place to be. Here are just some of the many highlights of Donegal experiences, from the north to the south...
Pictured previous page: Fanad Head Lighthouse Pictured clockwise from top left: Tory Island; Beach Horse Riding with Dunfanaghy Stables, Dunfanaghy; Ballyliffin golf course, Gweedore; Grianán of Aileach; Donkeys by Tranarossan Bay
IMAGE © TOURISM IRELAND / FAILTE IRELAND
The area is renowned for epic ‘coastal scenery, thriving birdlife and an intriguing history ’
Some of Donegal’s wildest scenery can be found right at the top of the county, which is actually the most northern point of the whole island. The Inishowen Peninsula is home to some stunning sights, from the precipitous cliffs and rocky headlands, to the swathes of pristine beaches. With the stormy Atlantic Ocean as a neighbour, the area is renowned for epic coastal scenery, thriving birdlife and an intriguing history. There’s dramatic scenery and rugged flair, from the turbulent seas to clouds rolling across the sky and seabirds whirling in the air. The sea here is scattered with shipwrecks, and Star Wars fans may recognise the location from scenes in Millennium Falcon (part of which still remains…)
In fact, one of the crew who worked on Star Wars just happens to be a mountain leader and tour guide, and you can take a private tour with him to learn about both this beautiful area and his exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences. Bren Whelan was involved in the movie's production from the early stages, thanks to his expert knowledge of Malin Head and the Inishowen peninsula. “Specifically, my role was to look after Daisy Ridley and Mark Hamill,” he says. “I’d be lying under the Millennium Falcon in case Daisy fell off the platform, or looking after Mark Hamill on the edge of the cliffs at Malin Head, as he burned the Jedi tree and text.” But the actors loved the additional bits of Irish knowledge they picked up as they worked together. “Daisy was planning on being a zoologist, so she was really interested in learning about the local marine life, and the heritage,” says Bren. Dream Escape's founders, Holly and husband David, took a family tour with Bren when they were last in Donegal, and they were blown away by Bren's expertise,
particularly their Star Wars obsessed boy. “Bren is extremely knowledgeable and our youngest loved the walking tour of all the famous locations,” says Holly. Bren also has Donegal tweed Jedi robes and lightsabres to hand, to make things even more thrilling. There's also the opportunity to take a private boat ride from Culdaff, Greencastle or Rathmullan for guests to go shark-, orca- or dolphin spotting. If you’re really lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. While viewing the Aurora Boreal is dependent on the right climatic conditions, Inishowen is often graced with the phenomenal light show. This corner of the country is also fast becoming known for its excellent food. Foodies will enjoy classes with the Donegal chef Brian McDermott at his cookery school in Moville. The road out of the Inishowen Peninsula cuts through some 3,000 acres of land reclaimed from the sea in Burt, and makes for an excellent spot for bird watching and walks. Head up the hill to the renowned Grianán of Aileach, a restored prehistoric circular fort with simply spectacular views. This feat of architecture was even referenced by Greek astronomer and geographer, Ptolemy, in his 2nd-century map of the world. If you’re interested in history, this is a fascinating region with a story around every corner. Back in the 6th century, Europe had been overrun by pagan tribes but was in the midst of being Christianised again by a resurgent Irish church. Saint Colmcille was the pre-eminent figure in this period, not just in Ireland but in all of Christendom. His story is told through beautifully reproduced artefacts and panels at the Colmcille Heritage Centre, alongside artwork from local artists. For another intriguing exhibition, make a beeline for Glebe House & Gallery: the Derek Hill Collection, which houses works from artists such as Picasso and Kokoshka. You can also enjoy a golfing experience like no other at Ballyliffin, located right on the edge of the peninsula, with views out to the Atlantic Ocean. There's a chance to indulge in a round of golf at one of the two beautiful links courses spread over 365 acres of picturesque dune land. →
IMAGE © GETTY IMAGES
This wildly exposed headland is a ‘wonderland of wildlife ’
The northernmost tip of Ireland, Malin Head is astoundingly beautiful. Here, you can see some of the largest sand dunes in Europe, enjoy a walk along the strand, go fishing, swim in the shimmering water, take some incredible photos or study the unique rock formations. “Malin Head is a real place about time,” says Bren Whelan. “It’s the start of Ireland’s geographical timeline – there are rocks there that are 1,780 million years old. You really can travel through time.” A circuit of Malin Head brings you around the coast to Banba’s Crown, where a derelict building known as The Tower was once used as a signal station connecting America and Europe. From Banba's Crown, admire Inishtrahull Island and its majestic lighthouse to the north east. Further east on a clear day, you can even spot the hills of Scotland. And hikers will love the trail along the cliffs to Hell’s Hole, a remarkable subterranean cavern into which the tide rushes with great force. Nearby, Devil’s Bridge is a picturesque natural arch that makes for an incredible photo opportunity.
Pictured clockwise from left: David Tobin and Holly Mackie, founders of Dream Escape, with their youngest son, outside Farren's Bar, Malin Head, where they met some of the cast from Star Wars; Fanad Head Lighthouse; Glenveagh National Park; Mount Errigal
Donegal is all about dramatic coastlines, and one of the most famous is at Fanad Head, which is also one of the most stunning parts of the whole country. This wildly exposed headland is a wonderland of wildlife, including grey seals, dolphins and seabirds. But the jewel in the crown has to be Fanad Head Lighthouse, which has been safeguarding seafarers since it was built in 1817, in response to the tragic shipwreck of the frigate, Saldanha a few years earlier. You can climb the 76 narrow steps to the top of the tower for superb views of the northern coastline, hear the stories of shipwrecked pirates and lost gold on the lighthouse tour, or even stay in one of the lightkeepers' cottages and take the time to enjoy this beautiful spot. Nearby you’ll find the pretty Portsalon and spectacular Ballymastocker Bay, previously voted the second-most beautiful beach in the world. Go sailing on its crystal clear waters, try a spot of windsurfing, play a round of golf or discover the stunning coastal walks. It's even possible to take a boat tour to enjoy the view
of Cionn Fhánada and Fanad Head Lighthouse from the water, or enjoy a sightseeing and historical tour or an evening cruise along Lough Swilly. There's also the chance to visit nearby Doe Castle, where shipwrecked survivors of the Spanish Armada were said to have been given shelter.
Despite its sinister moniker, Bloody Foreland has no tragic history to warrant the title. Instead, it derives its name from the evening sun that illuminates the rocks to a rich red hue. But this is Ireland, and where no facts exist, there is always folklore. This tale focuses on an unlikable warlord ‘Balor of the Evil Eye’, who was eventually slain by his grandson Lugh Lámh Fhada. Some say that the tide of blood that flowed from Balor’s Evil Eye was what stained this hillside and here. Fact or folklore, the views are simply breathtaking. Hang out in a local pub, such as Teac Jack or Teach Hiúdaí Beag, or head to Leo's Tavern – renowned for being the family home of musicians Enya, Clannad and Moya Brennan. In the heart of Donegal, sprawling up towards the coast, is an extraordinary stretch of sweeping bulbous mountains and fairy-tale forests known as the Glenveagh National Park. Set within the 16,000 hectares of the park you’ll find Glenveagh Castle, inspired by the Victorian idyll of a romantic highland retreat. This majestic stronghold with its turrets and round towers was built by John George Adair, a Laois man who made his fortune as a speculator in America during the 19th century. He wanted the castle to stand out among the astounding scenery that surrounded it… and he succeeded. Glenveagh has hosted an impressive roll call of glamorous guests over the years, including Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin and Greta Garbo. It’s a castle with real star power. After strolling the grounds, it's only
IMAGE © FAILTE IRELAND
GLENVEAGH NATIONAL PARK
fitting to relax in Glenveagh Castle's Tea Rooms and Restaurant for home-cooking at its very best. Then head out to explore the national park itself, a wilderness of rugged mountains, unspoiled lakes, waterfalls and oak woodlands – where you may see red deer and the Golden Eagle. At certain times between September and November, you can take a specially guided Rut Walk with one of the park rangers, to hear the distinctive cry of the stags. →
There's a whole lot going on around Dungloe. Delve into the town's musical heart and you'll find one of Ireland’s most famous entertainers, Daniel O’Donnell, celebrated at the visitor centre on the main street. Linger here a while to enjoy a rip-roaring live traditional Irish music session in Beedy’s Bar, owned by the family of Moya Doherty, co-founder of Riverdance. And if you arrive at the start of May, you’re just in time to join the Dungloe Walking Weekend – plenty of craic guaranteed. If that’s all too much to take in, the gravitydefying Arch Stack at nearby Maghery is sure to take your breath away. Take a trip out to Arranmore Island from Burtonport or charter your own vessel with Inishfree Charters, and see it all at your own pace.
Glengesh Pass...is some of ‘theThemost spectacular scenery in
Donegal and one of the best drives in Ireland
The town of Glenties lies at a point where two glens and two rivers converge, the Owenea and the Stracashel – the Owenea is the one better known for fishing. Our advice is to bring your fishing rod, get your permit from the Owenea Angling Centre and start teasing for a bite. For those who want to leave the wellies behind, wander the rooms of St Connell's Museum and Heritage Centre, where you'll find a moving commemoration of the Great Famine of 1845–1847, which saw Donegal’s potato crop obliterated. Golfers also take note: the Narin and Portnoo Golf Club is a scenic 18-hole links course with sweeping views of Gweebarra Bay.
MAGES © FAILTE IRELAND / PAUL MCGUCKIN PHOTOGRAPHY
The Glengesh Pass, on the road from Glencolmcille to Ardara, is some of the most spectacular scenery in Donegal, and one of the best drives in Ireland. Ardara itself is a heritage town, known for being the home of Donegal tweed. You'll be utterly charmed by the warm welcome you receive in this close-knit community. While at the Donegal Tweed Centre, find out all about the tradition of hand-weaving tweed (we challenge you to leave without bringing a sample of this beautiful fabric with you). Dream Escape's travel designers can arrange private viewings with the talented weaver Eddie Doherty, to see the artisan process take place right in front of your eyes. This is a lovely opportunity to pick up a few tweed pieces or beautiful woven throws, for the ultimate keepsake from Donegal. You can also pop into the Donegal Designer Makers, where 12 local artists sell their wares. Just outside Ardara, past the Assaranca Waterfall, are the Maghera Caves. It’s said that during penal times, locals would hide out here to avoid capture.
spot ancient court cairns. Pop on your walking boots and head off on the scenic Tower Loop, and admire Glen Head with its 200-metre cliffs and impressive Martello Tower, a remnant from the early 1800s.
IMAGES © FAILTE IRELAND / GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO
Pictured left: Eddie Doherty, a talented Donegal tweed weaver; musicians play in a Donegal pub; Pictured above: The wondrous Slieve League sea cliffs; Glen Head View
Although Glencolmcille's remoteness has been described as 'the back of beyond', that's an injustice to the beauty of this area, which is peppered with ancient dwellings and megalithic tombs. Glencolmcille is one of the oldest places in Ireland, and owes its name to Saint Columba, one of Ireland's three patron saints, who came to this glen during the 6th century. Once notorious for smuggling, the Silver Strand is worth a trip for its stunning views of a gorgeous beach surrounded by rocky cliffs, while guided tours of the Folk Village offer a warm Donegal welcome and an intimate experience of past ways of life. See pillar standing stones with early Christian markings, and
One of the highlights of any visit to Donegal is the wondrous Slieve League sea cliffs, among the highest sea cliffs in Europe at 601metres (1,972 feet). Take a private guided hike to the top, where spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Sligo Mountains and Donegal Bay await you. For over a thousand years, there was a Christian pilgrimage to these sacred mountains, so pilgrims could appreciate their cultural heritage. Look out for stones marking out the word 'Éire', a navigation aid for aircraft during World War II. There's a chance to enjoy a boat trip from nearby Teelin Harbour to the base of the majestic sea cliffs, where you can hear local legends and colourful stories from the skipper. A glimpse of the local pod of dolphins is a real treat, and if you arrive in May or June, you might even get lucky and spot some basking sharks. Nearby, at the tiny harbour of Teelin, a browncowled figure clasps his hands solemnly in prayer alongside a boat. This memorial symbolises the '5thcentury monks who left from this historic part of Donegal to sail the treacherous seas to Iceland. Treat yourself to a delicious lunch at Kitty Kelly’s, which specialises in seafood and French cuisine.
Killybegs overlooks Donegal Bay, across to the lighthouse at St John’s Point and onto the distinctive Ben Bulben mountain in Sligo. With its shimmering waters and glorious coastline, this area is Ireland’s number one fishing port, famous for its maritime culture. Enhance your visit with a trip around the Killybegs Seafood Festival, which attracts visitors from all over the world every year. Indulge yourself on the Seafood Trail, enjoying concoctions created during the Seafood Cookery Competition, then in the evening drop by one of the traditional pubs for a toe-tapping music session. →
ARTICLE CONTRIBUTION: TOURISMIRELAND.COM IMAGES © FAILTE IRELAND
Pictured clockwise from left: Oysters on the Killybegs Seafood Trail; Donegal Castle in Donegal Town; Bundoran beach; Rathmullan House; Blackface sheep, ram in Dunlewey
At the mouth of Donegal Bay is Donegal Town, or Dhún na nGall in Irish, which translates as Fort of the Foreigners, referencing a time when Vikings made the town their stronghold. From Donegal Castle, built by the O’Donnell chieftains in the 15th century, to the Franciscan Friary ruins, historical significance is everywhere. Why not take the opportunity to meet the family behind the famous Magee Tweed at Magee 1866 – a 5th-generation Irish family business with over 150 years' experience in designing, weaving and tailoring luxurious fabrics and clothing in Donegal. Likewise, you can visit McNutt of Donegal, producer of fine Irish weaves for over 60 years. In the Craft Village in Donegal town, you can find many artisans in one place and watch them as they work, from the sisters who make glass jewellery to the contemporary printworks in the letterpress. Stroll around the stable yard and meet all the makers in one beautiful location. The town itself is vibrant and busy at anytime of the year, but especially so during the annual summer festival. Or visit during the popular food festival to indulge in the culinary delights of the region.
Visit this lovely seaside town and you’ll soon see why Bundoran is a surfing paradise. The best surfers from all around the world converge here, particularly in the winter months when they surf the biggest waves in the world. Luckily, a few of those surfers have also set up some fantastic cafés with an Australian coffee house vibe – try the Salty Fox or Foam. For something completely special, you can even kick back and relax in a luxurious seaweed bath in the centre of the town.
WHERE TO EAT
There are plenty of places to eat dotted throughout the county, though bear in mind that country restaurants in Ireland aren’t necessarily open every day. So a little bit of fore planning goes a long way. In Dunfanaghy, Cove is an exceptional seafood restaurant that serves up the freshest, local fish with an interesting Asian twist; somewhere to enjoy a modern dish that sings with flavour. Teach Coll is a pub in the Irish-speaking region known as a Gaeltacht, which has been in the same family for four generations. New head chef, Billie Jean McQuaid, a local
from Falcarragh, won a legion of loyal fans. One of the finest chefs in Dublin, Ciarán Sweeney, has just joined the ranks at The Olde Glen Bar in Carrigart, creating an incredible tasting menu with such dishes as like fermented potato bread, samphireglazed turbot and house-smoked salmon.
WHERE TO STAY
One of the greatest things about Donegal is the huge variety of places where you can lay your head. While the county may not have as many five-star properties as other parts of Ireland, they do exist, and it certainly overcompensates in terms of charm and individuality. Where else can you stay in an authentic lightkeeper’s cottage, or in a yurt kitted out with thick antique furniture and a woodburning stove, like the ones at Lough Mardal? This is also prime territory for enchanting country houses, such as Rathmullan House, a charming spot with a woodland trail straight to the beach, and exceptional food served up in the restaurant. You can also stay in at 19th-century castle at Lough Eske, and enjoy romantic walks around the lake or a snifter of whiskey at the fireside. Fans of sleek modern architecture will adore 'Breac.House', a boutique hideaway perched on the headlands in Dunfanaghy, kitted out with finishing pieces made by local artisans.
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dreamescape.co.uk Emer Mortell, Head of Sales "Coming from Cork, Donegal seemed like a parallel universe growing up, however, having spent several wonderful weeks holidaying with my family in recent times, I now consider it ‘Ireland’s best-kept secret’. My sister married a Donegal man and the soft accent is so endearing and gentle, a true reflection of a very special place with very welcoming people. See staggering cliffs, jagged coastlines, golden sands, charming villages, and revel in Donegal’s rugged beauty; it is incredible and not to be missed!" ⬥
Escape. Explore. Discover.
The Newt in Somerset, Bruton, Somerset BA7 7NG thenewtinsomerset.com
HISTORIC HOUSES AND GARDENS Due to personal connections with the owners of these properties, Dream Escape can arrange special visits to some of our most well-preserved and impressive aristocratic homes across the UK and Ireland, which are generally off limits to the general public. Embark on an extraordinary journey through British history, from private garden experiences to personal tours with the owners. A warm welcome awaits
Hillsborough Castle —
Hillsborough Castle and Gardens has served as the home of the Secretary of State since the 1970s. It is also a working royal palace, functioning as the official residence of the Royal Family when they are in Northern Ireland. Dream Escape guests will enjoy private tours before the castle has opened to the public, as well as private lunches or dinners in style in one of the magnificent Georgian mansion's State Rooms.Choose from the intimate Red Room (originally the Drawing Room), the State Dining Room (the setting for countless state dinners with prime ministers, presidents and heads of state) or the glorious Throne Room dominated by a silk coat of arms and two magnificent ‘chairs of state’, which represent the monarch when she’s not in residence. Explore 100 acres of stunning gardens and the Georgian house. ⬥ dreamescapemagazine.com
ENGLAND SEZINCOTE — Located in the North Cotswolds, Sezincote is a truly unique, traditional, family-run estate, sitting at 875 feet above sea level. Dream Escape travel designers arrange private tours of the house and gardens, where guests can meet Greg Power, the Head Gardener, who used to work at Buckingham Palace; and owner Edward Peake. There's 3,500 acres of rolling Cotswold countryside, and a 200-year-old Mogul Indian palace, set in a romantic landscape of temples, grottoes, waterfalls and canals reminiscent of the Taj Mahal. The south front, complete with curving orangery, unfurls above a Reptondesigned landscape that has remained unchanged since the mid-19th century. The garden is blessed by a series of springfed pools connected by gurgling water, which eventually tumbles into the Island Pool in the valley bottom, before joining the River Evenlode below. ⬥
ENGLAND IRELAND HAREWOOD HOUSE — Home of the Queen’s cousins, Harewood House is as grand as they come – Palladian mansion, Chippendale furniture, Adam-style interiors, Capability Brown landscapes, Italianate terrace, and a worldclass collection of paintings. You might even recognise Harewood House from the screen, as it was used extensively in the filming of ITV’s Victoria. Harewood sits in the heart of Yorkshire and is one of the Treasure Houses of England. The house was built in the 18th century and has art collections to rival the finest in Britain. Harewood tops the chart for grandeur. ⬥
Lismore Castle — If you wish to sleep in an Irish castle, Dream Escape organises private dinners, events and exclusive overnight stays at Lismore Castle. Built by King John in 1185 it's steeped in history and has connections to Chatswoth and the Dukes of Devonshire. In fact, The Duke
of Devonshire himself has flown over to greet our guests. Inside these stone walls there's an impressive collection of art, including Old Masters and contemporary pieces. Spend some time enjoying the picturesque walled gardens with your own private afternoon tea. It's possible to arrange children’s treasure hunts, fireworks displays overlooking the River Blackwater, medieval village themed garden parties, and a lot more besides. ⬥
IRELAND RUSSBOROUGH HOUSE — Filled with hidden treasures from the Renaissance to the 20th century, Russborough is regarded as one of Ireland’s most beautiful houses. It has magnificent views of the Blessington Lakes and Wicklow Mountains. In 1978 Sir Alfred Beit opened the house for guided tours, an experience guests still enjoy today. The house is beautifully maintained and lavishly decorated with fine furniture, tapestries, carpets, porcelain, silver and much of the Beit collection of paintings. It also has beautiful ceilings, plasterwork and a fine mahogany staircase, while outside there is a maze, a walled garden, an ice house, and the original Russborough line kiln, dating from 1740. ⬥
IMAGE © NTPL/JOE CORNISH
CASTLE WARD — As featured in our Game of Thrones article p65, Castle Ward is available for exclusive private visits. This unique 18th-century mansion was built with two completely different architectural styles, both inside and out. One half of the eccentric 18thcentury house, overlooking Strangford Lough is the classical Palladian style, with the other half (which faces out across Strangford lough) built in a much more elaborate Georgian Gothic style. Cocreator of this dichotomous style was Lady Anne Bligh, who has become a symbol of mystery and speculation, depicted as unusual because of her independence of mind and spirit.⬥
IMAGE © NATIONAL TRUST / CHRIS LACEY
Marlfield House — Marlfield House is renowned for its hospitality and service, welcoming guests for over 40 years, and recognised as one of the most luxurious boutique hotels in Wexford,
NORTHERN IRELAND MOUNT STEWART — Tucked away along the shores of Strangford Lough, Mount Stewart stately home is home to one of the top ten gardens in the world, reflecting a rich tapestry of design and great planting artistry that was the hallmark of Edith, Lady Londonderry. Take a private tour of the house and gardens to enjoy the art and fascinating artefacts inside the house (portraits, silver collections and other family treasures), and to meet the Head Gardener, who shares scandalous stories about previous occupants. Each area of garden, including the Shamrock Garden, the Sunken Garden, Spanish Garden, the Italian Garden, Dodo Terrace, Fountain Pool and Lily Wood has a wonderful story behind it. ⬥
Ireland, with a focus on environmentally sustainable practices. Set in 36 acres of woodland, with an ornamental lake, rose, vegetable and herb gardens, it is a haven of tranquility. Peacocks, hens, dogs and ponies wait to greet you on your garden walk. ⬥
IMAGE © NATIONAL TRUST / M. BOLTON
POWIS CASTLE — Dating back 300 years, this bright limestone-red castle, owned by the National Trust, has world-class gardens that are steeped in history and feature stunning hillside views across the Severn Valley. Weave your way through richly planted herbaceous borders, enormous yew hedges, an ancient orangery and acres of peaceful woodland.⬩
NATIONAL BOTANIC GARDEN OF WALES — In beautiful Carmarthenshire, Middleton Hall, one of the most splendid mansions in South Wales, is now at the heart of the National Botanic Garden of Wales – a national botanic garden for the 21st century with 400 acres for you to explore. Don't miss the Great Glasshouse and Tropical House, or the British Bird of Prey Centre.⬩
SCOTLAND MELLERSTAIN HOUSE — To this day, Mellerstain is famously celebrated as one of Robert Adam’s finest works and is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful houses in the country. Mellerstain has changed very little since the days of Adam and Grisell Baillie, and a Dream Escape private tour is a must. The exquisite collections of furniture, ornaments and paintings by Van Dyck, Ruysdael, Gainsborough, Ramsay and other Old Masters, illustrate the history of Mellerstain and the Baillie and Haddington families through the centuries. Our favourite room though, is the Library, a masterpiece of classical decoration and colour with the most fabulous preserved ceiling and beautifully detailed plasterwork, which incorporates marble busts by Roubiliac. The formal Italianate terraces we enjoy at Mellerstain today were introduced a mere century ago, but they are sympathetic to the original 18th-century layout and the views of the gardens to the lake and the Cheviot hills beyond are breathtaking.⬩
IMAGE © NATIONAL TRUST IMAGES/ANDREW BU
— Heralded for its beauty and diversity, the garden at Sissinghurst, is among the most famous gardens in England. It is fair to say, a trip to Kent just wouldn’t be complete without making time to visit. This internationally renowned garden was developed by Vita Sackville-West and her husband, Sir Harold Nicolson, a famous author, around the surviving parts of an Elizabethan mansion.
The site that Sissinghurst Castle Garden sits on was once a Saxon pig farm, it would have been originally called 'Saxenhurst', with 'hurst' woodland.The Tudor buildings were used as a prison for up to 3,000 French sailors who were captured by the British during the Seven Years' War, between 1756 - 1763. The gardens consist of small enclosed compartments, and is vibrant throughout the seasons. Owned by the National Trust, this Grade-I listed historic garden is bursting with floral colour, charm and majesty. From walking through the rose garden to exploring the Moat Walk or enjoying the vibrant purple border, there’s plenty for garden lovers to add to their must-see list.⬩
CAWDOR CASTLE — A fairy-tale castle best known for its role in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, it has been inhabited by the Cawdor family for over 600 years. Dream Escape travel designers arrange private visits with Lady Cawdor. See the beautiful Tapestry Bedroom, where the Duchess sleeps during the winter; the original 15th-century rectangular tower house, with drawbridge and wooden stairway (that could be hauled up into castle); and three magical nature gardens.⬩
PETWORTH HOUSE — Inspired by the baroque palaces of Europe and nestled in the South Downs, Petworth House displays one of the finest art collections in the care of the National Trust. Visit the state rooms, displayed just as they were when the 3rd Earl of Egremont lived there, like visiting artists such as JMW Turner once did, and enjoy the landscape gardens by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown.⬩
IMAGE © NATIONAL TRUST/JOHN MILLER
Floors Castle — Scotland’s largest inhabited castle, set in the stunning surroundings of the historic Scottish Borders is owned by one of the last 21 remaining ‘inherited Dukes’ in the UK. Originally built by leading architect William Adam in 1721 for the 1st Duke of Roxburghe, the dramatic building of today holds a collection of fine art, porcelain, tapestries, and grand rooms with superb views over the River Tweed and the Cheviot Hills. Enjoy a Dream Escape
private visit to the family home and take coffee in the Duke’s private dining room, served by his personal butler. Explore its recently renovated Victorian Kitchen Walled garden, new Peter Rabbit nature trail, sublime millennium gardens, and visit the sun house where, once upon a time, Queen Victoria would take her afternoon tea. Don't miss the Drawing Room, from where you can marvel at the views of the parkland, River Tweed and the site of the old Roxburgh Castle.⬩
SCOTLAND Find out more DUMFRIES HOUSE — Dumfries House is one of Britain's most beautiful stately homes, and a private Dream Escape tour is a must. Set in 2,000 acres of land, this stunning estate and 18th-century house is a firm favourite with our guests, renowned for its unrivalled collection of original furniture, including Thomas Chippendale bedheads and an exquisite pink Murano glass chandelier in the extraordinarily preserved Dining Room. Saved by the intervention of His Royal Highness, The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay in 2007, Dumfries House is also regarded highly by the locals; as a deprived area, many young aspiring adults have been given opportunities to work within the house.⬩
dreamescape.co.uk Rosie Peattie, Head of Guiding, has had the pleasure of visiting each of these houses and gardens over the years."Sharing my passion and love for our historic houses and gardens, whether they are the higher profile or lesser-known ones, definitely transmits to our clients."If you want any more details about private visits to these or any other properties, get in touch with Rosie on firstname.lastname@example.org.⬩
As your senses heighten and your mind calms, feel the benefits of connecting with nature by immersing yourself in the outdoors and soaking up its awe-inspiring beauty WORDS | LYDIA PALESCHI
S AN ISLAND NATION with close affinities to the water, Britain has long had a tradition of wild swimming. Wild swimmers take to nature’s open water spaces for an alfresco dip in all weathers and seasons, freeing themselves from the confines of indoor exercise spaces and chlorinated pools. In England and Wales, a ‘right to roam’ law means that we are permitted to swim in most rivers and lakes, whereas in Scotland all waters are accessible as long as swimmers uphold the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. The laws around wild swimming in Ireland are less clear; however, there is plenty of guidance on the safest places to swim, and areas both to avoid and where there is lifeguard supervision. In essence, as long as we respect the environment, each other and don’t trespass, Britain’s waterways are an easily accessible place to experience a fun form of exercise and a sense of adventure. In Scotland there are over 31,000 freshwater lochs and lochans, and 202 saltwater lochs, with more than 7,500 in the Western Isles alone. Scotland has more than 77,671 miles of rivers and streams, varying from small highland burns to deep, wide lowland rivers. That's enough to go round the earth three times. It is unsurprising that there has been a surge in the popularity of wild swimming in recent years, as people
take to the water to reconnect with nature. Dream Escape guests tell us how much they enjoy their wild swimming experiences, from the shores of Vanessa Branson's private Scottish island, Eilean Shona, the idyllic reservoir on the exquisite 3,000 acre sanctuary of Broughton Hall, to the beautiful southern coastline of Ireland’s magnificent Cliff House Hotel, so we decided it was time to speak to an expert and find out more. Lauren Biddulph runs swimming retreats as part of the Salt Sisterhood based in Cornwall. Here she shares her knowledge about wild swimming, the benefits of immersing oneself in the open water, and some of the best places to take a dip. Lauren starts by clarifying that wild swimming can be in the sea, rivers, or any open expanse of water, and includes a range of experiences, from relaxed river paddles to more adventurous sea swims, each with their own benefits. “We like to showcase the diversity of wild swimming; for example, on Self-Compassion Day we may take a trip to the quiet Helford River, which is beautiful and calm, whereas on Bravery Day we go rock jumping.” While originally offering wetsuits as part of her retreats, Lauren tells us that it is more beneficial to swim without them. “I initially hired wetsuits and some people wore them, but they weren’t getting the full experience or benefit. → dreamescapemagazine.com
By the end of the week everyone was out of the wetsuits and they felt a real sense of achievement; they said they got more from the experience when they were out of their wetsuits and a greater sense of freedom.” When we asked Lauren why she began offering wild swimming retreats, she explained that being in or near water has immense health benefits, both mental and physical. “I used to struggle a lot with anxiety and depression. I noticed that going into the sea gave me a sensation of connectedness and grounding, it got me out of my head, reminding me of the bigger picture of what is and isn’t important. When combined with yoga it helped me to build a better relationship with my mind and body and helped me to overcome my generalised anxiety.” It is this sense of empowerment and 88
Pictured previous spread: Lauren Biddulph founder of The Salt Sisterhood Above left to right: Wild swimmers from The Salt Sisterhood embracing the water; Coasteering in Kailpot with Colin Hill, Another Place
freedom that inspired Lauren to share the wild swimming experience with other women. “There is a physiological response in the body when we’re near water because life evolved from the water. You are in something much bigger than yourself and it can be dangerous, calm, frightening or relaxing. It’s a massive natural force that leaves you in awe and puts everything in perspective, resetting your mind and boosting your confidence.” Lauren reveals that, as well as the benefits of wild swimming for wellbeing and mental health, there are also large swathes of research on its physical benefits. “Aside from being an excellent form of physical exercise, increasing overall strength and fitness, studies show that it also boosts metabolism, immunity, resilience and your rate of healing”. For those wishing to embark upon their own
When we're in water...it's a massive natural force that “leaves you in awe and puts everything in perspective ” wild-swimming experience, ensuring that water is clean and unpolluted is a must. It is also important to know if there are shallow entry points and how you are going to get out. You should never jump into the water without knowing it is deep enough, and that, for areas which have a current, you can swim against the current faster than it can take you. It’s advisable to go with someone else to spots you are visiting for the first time, but wild swimming is open to people of all abilities. This means there should be nothing holding you back from enjoying the relaxing sense of weightlessness and invigorating experience of immersing yourself in nature. With thousands of miles of coastline and a vast network of rivers and estuaries, we are spoilt for choice with waterside locations in the UK and Ireland. We’ve picked out some of our favourite expert-led experiences, which are arranged by Dream Escape's travel designers.
THE LAKE DISTRICT: FULL MOON SWIM IN ULLSWATER WITH COLIN HILL
To experience swimming in a lake can, in itself, be incredible, but the full-moon swims with Colin Hill, cold-water-swimming specialist, adds an extra-special dimension to this. Guests at Another Place, a beautiful hotel with its own jetty on Ullswater lake shores, take to the water with Colin to swim under the moon and stars. Colin also takes groups on swimming adventures to Kailpot to enjoy the secluded bay. A short boat-trip away, you swim close to the lake shoreline, climbing rocks and crags to find the best spot from which to jump in. Swimmers are given 'tow-floats' (which are illuminated at night) to attach to their bodies (this is a bag which doesn’t impede your swimming, but you can hold on to for a rest). →
IMAGE © CROWN COPYRIGHT (2017) VISIT WALES
SCOTLAND, THE ISLE OF SKYE
For a wild swimming adventure at its very best, head off the beaten track to take a plunge or a long swim on the Isle of Skye. 50 miles long and the largest of the Inner Hebrides, its scenery is as magical as the pictures described in a C.S. Lewis book. From the marble pools of Allt Aigeinn, Torrin, and Allt Daraich (a quieter alternative to the Fairy Pools) to Loch Coruisk, a freshwater loch. These are beautiful places to be, whether you’re a budding wild swimmer or not. Whether you're clambering over rocks, heading out to deeper waters
by boat or discovering waterfalls, it all adds to the charm of an unforgettable experience.
WALES, LLYN Y FAN FACH: BRECON BEACONS
A high lake in the shadow of the Black Mountain, Llyn y Fan Fach sits in a sheltered bowl with stony, gently shelving sides. Reaching up to 18 metres in depth, it’s the perfect spot for diving and practising your underwater swimming technique. Located in the Brecon Beacons National Park, Llyn y Fan Fach is breathtakingly beautiful and, according to legend, the home of a lake nymph.
Pictured left to right: Wales, Llyn y Fan Fach: Brecon Beacons; Wild swimmers in the Cairngorms
in or near the ocean “hasBeing immense health benefits, both mental and physical”
Found in the heart of the Glens of Antrim and not far from the Red Caves where several Game of Thrones scenes were filmed, Cushendun is a sandy, rural beach with views across to the Mull of Kintyre. The beach slopes gently out to sea, with rivers at both ends, so that you can explore the kelp fronds. The water here is crystal clear – as long as you don’t visit shortly after rainfall, when peat is carried down from the fields.
CORNWALL, THE SALT SISTERHOOD: HELFORD
Located on the banks of the Helford River, the Salt Sisterhood offers wild swimming and yoga retreats for women. Here, it's a chance to take a step away from the real world and immerse yourself in a bubble of self-care, nature and good food. The aim is for connection: to nature, other women and yourself.
LONDON, BECKENHAM PLACE PARK: BECKENHAM
Swimming is even available in our capital city – on the beautiful lake at Beckenham Place Park. This is London’s first purpose-built swimming lake, a sign that open-water swimming is rapidly growing in popularity. Why not give wild swimming a try during your city break? Surrounded by trees and a grass area to sit and watch, the sandy banks make for a safe swimming experience.
IMAGE © VISITSCOTLAND/LIAM ANDERSTREM
NORTHERN IRELAND, CUSHENDUN BEACH: COUNTY ANTRIM
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dreamescape.co.uk Lesley Scott, Head of Travel Design, Scotland and Ireland "Wild swimming in the true sense of the word is very Scottish, and one of my favourite spots in the Central Highlands is around Glen Etive, where there are lots of lovely rock pools and small waterfalls. Not for the faint-hearted I would say, but a wonderful experience." ⬥
Hound Lodge In the middle of Goodwood's spectacular 12,000-acre estate, life flows at a different pace. This magnificent 10-bedroom country retreat is yours to experience in its entirety, offering a rare opportunity to spend time away from it all and escape the hectic pace of modern life
WORDS | ROBIN GLOVER
ESTLED WITHIN THE Goodwood Estate’s 12,000 acres, this 21st-century retreat offers an unforgettable taste of the country pursuits of the past. The estate’s continued wellbeing depends on the commercial viability of the many different operations undertaken. Internationally renowned, the superb racecourse on top of the South Downs is the home of one of horse-racing's annual occasions, the Qatar Goodwood Festival in July. Sharing the same elevated position is ‘The Downs’, one of the two 18-hole golf courses on the estate. The airfield, from which Douglas Bader flew in World War II, is still home to two Spitfires, one a two-seater. Aviation fans can enjoy a Dream-Escape-arranged flying lesson with a private pilot as part of the stay. Around the perimeter is a track circuit, which, in its heyday, staged the finest of motor-racing. The circuit remains true to its original form, and the facilities are intact, hosting many track days and, of course, the annual ‘Revival’ meeting, when enthusiasts, usually in vintage clothing, bring → dreamescapemagazine.com
Leisure pursuits, such as off-roading, clay- and rough-shooting, ‘rambling and cross-country cycling can all be arranged as part of your stay on the huge estate ’
together all manner of historic and classic cars, some to race and others simply for ‘show’. The third of the major events in the Goodwood social calendar is the Festival of Speed, in July, where fans of the very fastest two- and four-wheeled vehicles have all their senses stimulated by the amazing exhibits and the antics of the car drivers. Significantly, there is the excellent Goodwood Hotel, a gracious, rural resting-place; The Kennels, a members’ club overlooking the parkland golf course; Farmer, Butcher, Chef – its flagship sustainable, field-to-fork restaurant, and, just yards away, the organic Home Farm, a successful and expanding agricultural operation that embraces local-breed livestock, dairy and the various arable crops necessary to provide both animal feed and the barley for the Goodwood ales and lagers. Under the inspired direction of Conor Haydon, Goodwood’s Farm Manager, this thriving enterprise not only wins prizes for its live show-entries but also for its cheeses. The on-site butchery is an invaluable source of quality organic produce for the region’s best hotels and restaurants. Leisure pursuits, such as off-roading, clay- and rough-shooting, rambling and cross-country cycling can all
be arranged as part of your stay on the huge estate. The Dukes of Richmond have held Goodwood since the 17th century and, until post-war death duty liabilities, an enormous tract of land in the highlands of Scotland, including Glenfiddich and its distillery. It is many, many years since hunting took place, and just as long since the legendary packs of hounds required the handsome accommodation provided for them – the kennel buildings had central heating long before the family house. That Palladian gem has long been home to the social members, but the old breeding kennels, tucked away in the quiet woods beyond, lay neglected until the Duke of Richmond stretched his imagination and conceived a new venture. Hound Lodge, as it is now known, is an exclusive-use private residence with 10 luxurious en-suite bedrooms, sleeping a maximum of 20 guaranteeing the ultimate in personal attention. It is a grand, secluded cottage, meticulously refurbished, designed, furnished and decorated, but with clear echoes of a bygone age in its drawing room (filled with random comfort and cultured 'clutter') and its dining hall, the mahogany table seemingly endless. You are warmly greeted, having negotiated the electric gates and the short drive through lightly maintained woodland, by the Goodwood butler, at your service for the duration of your stay. Your warm welcome continues, with the offer of a pot of tea, accompanied by a lemon-and-yoghurt cake, freshly baked by the Lodge’s personal chef. Relaxing at your leisure, it is possible to take in the sheer quality of the interior design, carried out over three years of thought, sourcing, acquisition and accumulation by Cindy Leveson, augmented by pieces from the family’s art collections. With a nod to the building’s history, each of the immaculate bedrooms is named after one of the favourite hounds in the second Duke’s 1738 pack, the ‘Glorious Twenty-Three’.
Pictured previous page: Dogs at the front door of Goodwood's exclusive-use private residence, Hound Lodge Pictured clockwise from left: Hound Lodge exterior; The library and sitting room at Hound Lodge; The dining room at Hound Lodge
My room was ‘Ruby’ and, like the others, was perfect for its purpose. Decorated in restful, neutral tones, and overlooking the puppies’ romping quarters, the spacious area was lightly furnished in antique mahogany, a contrasting chaise longue and a blissfully comfortable bed, said to be stuffed with wool from Goodwood sheep. Each room has dog bowls and baskets, portraits and prints, in a nod to the building’s canine heritage, and a small carafe of Glenfiddich, a hint of Scotland. After a day’s activity on the estate, no matter how energetic, it is paradise to cast off the
outerwear and retire to the drawing room for pre-dinner drinks – there’s an open fire for chilly evenings – and anticipation of the bespoke menu to come. The 20-seater dining table might be for meetings during the day, but comes into its own in the evening when decked with candelabra, floral displays and place settings. All menu choices, but particularly those featuring the home-reared beef, lamb or pork, are sensational and the accompanying wines, selected by your butler if you wish, are of the highest order. Suitably well fed and refreshed, perhaps consider a nightcap before retiring? The ever-attentive staff will see to it, before leaving you to comfort and privacy. The silence around the Lodge at night is impenetrable and, after a good sleep, a civilised breakfast awaits, with no pressure to hurry the pleasure. It is unfair to single out any one component for mention, but the home-cured back bacon is a dream, and the local honey has a punch of intensity as powerful as the cars on the Goodwood track.
HERE IS PERHAPS NO MORE nostalgic, quintessentially British event than the magnificent spectacle of tradition and colour that is the Goodwood Revival. Steeped in history and alive with pomp and ceremony, this classical car show forms a key part of the British summer season and is renowned for its eclectic displays of vintage fashion, old motor cars, racing drama and retro food and drink. Visitors – who come dressed in their best vintage and period finery – will enjoy the thrills and spills of a traditional fairground, shopping on a recreated old-fashioned high street (complete with vintage hair salon and hundreds of wonderful antique shops) while experiencing the style and creativity of the Revival Fashion Show. Your soundtrack is music from the era, while you watch vintage war planes take to the sky, and cheer on the classic-car competitors as they race around the historic circuit, their drivers dressed in traditional racing attire. Each year the event is themed, and organisers work hard to conjure up special moments from the past to recreate and recollect. Past Revivals have celebrated everything from the anniversary of the fish finger to the bikini, and an exhibit of post-war utilities, such as kitchen mixers. And that’s just aside from the incredible races the team put on each year on the track, celebrating key moments in racing history and the legendary cars and drivers who competed.
I’m looking “forward to every single race, every single nut, every single bolt, every single tyre, every single steering wheel
The Revival setting is hugely creative, with a lot of work behind the scenes on the replicas of vintage shopfronts, cafés, brands and more, as well as themed events each year to celebrate a particular era. Goodwood has a dedicated ‘theatrics’ panel who meet regularly to come up with the themes and anniversaries they’re going to bring to life, and decide how they will make each year ever more awe-inspiring and exciting than the last. In the past, the team built a replica of Henley Regatta boating club, complete with the river Thames and a fully functioning farm and recreated the 1966 World Cup win.
3 DAYS 14 RACES
CUPS OF TEA
PINTS OF BEER
containing, among other things, props and set dress for the site
FOR YOUR CALENDAR Revive and thrive at Goodwood Revival 17–19 September 2021
FOOD AND FASHION
Absolutely everyone dresses up – in everything from late ’40s to late ’60s style – meaning you’ll see Land Girls and RAF pilots drinking tea or cheering on a car right next to Twiggy look-a-likes and Beatles’ mop tops. Putting together your outfit is a major part of visiting the Revival and many enthusiasts use the event to shop for the next year’s show at the Revival Fashion section on the Revival High Street, where you can buy vintage clothes as well as shoes, handbags, hats and other accessories. Food and drink is given just as much attention here too, with all the eateries decorated in an old-fashioned style, complete with bunting, tea sets, flags, tablecloths and doilies. The Spitfire Café gives a great view of both the aerodrome and the ‘Freddy
March Spirit of Aviation’ exhibition, while our favourite is the Mess – themed with long benches and bunting, and right on the start line so you don’t miss any of the action on the track. It’s a stand-out event in every way – from the incredible detail and precision of the theatrics team, to the authentic food and drink at every eatery, and the wonderful celebration of classical motor cars. Visitors can expect a real sense of stepping back into the past, of capturing the colour and magic of a time gone by, of coming together for a joyful celebration that feels truly, inescapably, British. As Radio DJ and major car enthusiast Chris Evans says: “I love this more than Christmas. I’m looking forward to every single race, every single nut, every single bolt, every single tyre, every single steering wheel. Best thing ever!”
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dreamescape.co.uk David Tobin, Owner and Director “Goodwood is certainly a firm favourite in the Dream Escape’s events calendar, offering the most glamorous weekend of supercars, fine food and vintage fashion, all set amongst the beautiful parkland of West Sussex and the equally stunning Goodwood House. A treat for any visitor.”⬥ email@example.com
The last word from
ROSEMARY & SAGE —
A quarterly round up of what’s trending: Dream Escape’s Head of Guiding, Rosie Peattie and resident fount of knowledge, Sally Strange, both Blue Badge Guides, have been out and about, and here are some of their highlights...
EXPLORING STATELY HOMES IN THE PEAK DISTRICT AND DERBYSHIRE — Some of England’s most prestigious stately homes are in the beautiful Peak District and Derbyshire. The jewel in the crown is unquestionably Chatsworth House, home to The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. But there is also the greatest prodigy house in England, Hardwick Hall, and Haddon Hall just a few miles down the road. Did you know? A local rhyming couplet, ‘Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall’, refers to the architectural wonder of this property, when glass was the most expensive of commodities in England.⬩
ESCAPING TO THE NEWT’S GREAT GARDEN IN SOMERSET — Renowned as a country house hotel and estate in Somerset, The Newt’s latest offering, ‘The Great Garden Escape’ is a chance to experience their garden in all its many forms, their cuisine and their cyder. We loved taking expert-led walking tours through the woods, the Victorian fragrance garden, and the cottage garden inspired by Gertrude Jekyll. We also got to enjoy The Beezantium, a place to marvel at the working life of the bee. And just in case we felt a little nostalgic upon leaving, we were sent home with a packet of seeds with which to plant our very own arcadia. Did you know? The Newt grow 70 different varieties of bittersweet and Somerset apples across their 65-acre orchard, which is planted in a ‘traditional’ style, similar to that enjoyed in the Georgian era by early custodians of the estate.⬩ Sally Strange, Blue Badge Guide firstname.lastname@example.org
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Rosie CASTLE-SPOTTING IN SCOTLAND — A summer of visiting Scottish castles, palaces and stately homes with family and friends was just the ticket this year. Scotland really does offer a fantastic array of activities for children at all of the properties we visited as well. My grandchildren and I have a shortlist of many favourites: Floors Castle and Traquair House in the Borders; Balmoral Castle, Crathes Castle and Craigievar Castle in Royal Deeside/Highlands; and Falkland Palace in Fife; to name but a few. You don’t necessarily need to be a lover of 16th-century architecture to appreciate a visit, either. Anyone with a passing interest in history, royalty, beautiful gardens, or even ghosts (Craigievar Castle is said to be haunted by the ghost of a fiddler who drowned in the castle well) will get a kick out of castles in Scotland. Did you know? Floors Castle is the largest inhabited home in Scotland, and Traquair House is the oldest continually inhabited house in Scotland⬩ Rosie Peattie, Head of Guiding and Blue Badge Guide email@example.com
dreamescape.co.uk Like the sound of these experiences? Get in touch with Rosie or Sally for expert advice on your next adventure. You can also check out the Historic Houses and Gardens feature on page 81.⬩
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