BRITAIN THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE
TRAVEL CULTURE HERITAGE STYLE
a 5-star stay in Anne Boleyn’s childhood home
Magnificent Castles From haunting Welsh fortresses to moated medieval palaces
Garden of England Explore the lush valleys & quaint villages of Kent
Tales of smugglers and forbidden romance
DUCHESSES ON DUTY
Meet the women who run our stately homes
EDITOR'S LETTER I’ve been reminded this issue of the vast number of castles we have on our shores, from moated palaces, such as Hever Castle and Leeds Castle, which we explore in In England’s Green and Pleasant Land (p6), to the often forgotten fortresses that dot the Welsh landscape in The Iron Ring (p58). Of course in Britain we’re also spoiled with lots of rather splendid stately homes. Ever wondered how these historic houses survive in the 21st century? Then make sure you read Love’s Labour’s Not Lost (p22) to hear from the duchesses that have revived the fortunes of some of our most cherished estates. If you were glued to the screen watching the recent period drama Poldark then you’ll know that the real star of the show was the gorgeous backdrop of secluded bays and dramatic moors of southeast England, which we visit in Cornish Idyll (p35). But for me, the travel highlight of this issue was visiting the medieval village of Lovely Lavenham (p55), which is every bit as special as I’d imagined and I’m sure you’ll love it too.
The 14th-century moated manor house Ightham Mote, in Kent
CONTENTS VOLUME 83 ISSUE 5
Sally Coffey, Editor
PHOTOS: © KATIE GARROD/AWL-IMAGES.COM/DAVID CHAPMAN /ALAMY
BRITAIN THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE
TRAVEL CULTURE HERITAGE STYLE
a 5-star stay in Anne Boleyn’s childhood home
Magnificent Castles From haunting Welsh fortresses to moated medieval palaces
Explore the lush valleys & quaint villages of Kent
Tales of smugglers and forbidden romance
47 DUCHESSES ON DUTY
Meet the women who run our stately homes SEPT/OCT 2015 £4.25 11
9 771757 973084
Garden of England
Cover image: Leeds Castle, Kent © Travel Pictures Ltd
THIS GREEN & PLEASANT LAND We take a tour of Kent – the glorious Garden of England – and take in its beautiful moated castles, its medieval manor houses and beautifully preserved old villages
LOVE'S LABOUR'S NOT LOST We discover that duchesses aren't just for period drama – these modern businesswomen discuss the realities of running their stunning stately homes in the modern age
CORNISH IDYLL Packed with sleepy villages, hidden coves and historic harbours, this English coastal county is a rural treasure trove, overflowing with quintessential British charm
THE CLIVEDEN SET We go behind the scenes at the estate in Buckinghamshire that has been at the heart of British society and politics – and a fair share of its scandals – for centuries
FEATURES 55 58 71
44 81 85
BRITAIN is the official magazine of VisitBritain, the national tourism agency. BRITAIN is published by The Chelsea Magazine Company Ltd, Jubilee House, 2 Jubilee Place, London SW3 3TQ Tel: 020 7349 3700 Fax: 020 7901 3701 Email: email@example.com
A largely unspolit Tudor treasure, this Suffolk village was once at the heart of a thriving wool trade and one of England's richest towns
THE IRON RING King Edward I's battle to subdue the Welsh left a legacy of more than 600 castles. We bring you some of the most magnificent examples
Editor Sally Coffey Art Editor Clare White Sub Editor Sally Hales
Publisher Caroline Scott Digital Product Manager Oliver Morley-Norris
We take a look at the people and places that played pivotal roles in the Jacobite rebellions – two gutsy attempts to reclaim the throne from the Hanoverians
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THE BULLETIN Tours of tunnels beneath the White Cliffs of Dover, HMS Victory's overhaul and the National Trust's volunteer dilemma
TALL TALES The Victorians were great pioneers, but some of their ideas were a bit off the mark
COMPETITION Win a luxurious break for two at Hever Castle – Anne Boleyn's childhood home
CITY BREAKS: BRIGHTON The famous seaside resort has attracted many of our literary greats over the years
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IN THIS ISSUE
From griggles and boossenning to Boris-noris and skimmerton-riding, discover the bizarre world of the West Country dialect SCOTLAND
EDINBURGH p71 ALNWICK p22
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In ENGLAND’S GREEN & PLEASANT LAND
Take a tour of Kent’s lush valleys, which are home to moated castles, medieval manor houses and some of our nation’s best-preserved ancient villages WORDS JOHN E VIGAR
LESS THAN AN HOUR FROM LONDON 6
Turn to page 81 for your chance to win a five-star overnight stay for two at Hever Castle
Beautiful Hever Castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn www.britain-magazine.com
he Victorian novelist Charles Dickens summed up the county of Kent as he saw it in The Pickwick Papers, when he wrote: “Kent, Sir – everybody knows Kent – apples, cherries, hops and women.” As Dickens intimated, it’s for good reason Kent is known as the ‘Garden of England’ – its fertile soil is perfect for growing apples, hops and, in more recent years, grapes, as English Wine vineyards have flourished in the region. Having lived in Chatham for a few years as a child and near Rochester for much of his adult life, Dickens knew Kent well and many references to the county can be found in his novels – the Kent marshes, for instance, create an atmospheric backdrop in Great Expectations. Much of the character of Kent is dictated by its location, bounded as it is by water for three-quarters of its border, which stretches from the River Thames in the north to the English Channel in the south. Kent’s history has also been influenced by its proximity to the Continent, the people who have travelled through it, and its relationship to London – the furthest tip of Kent is just 85 miles from the capital. As in Dickens’ time, Kent is still predominantly an agricultural county, with orchards, hop gardens and vegetable fields offering a patchwork landscape away from
the towns that are often home to London’s commuters. It is agriculture that has adorned the county’s natural beauty with farms, windmills and oast houses (unusual round structures with pointed roofs originally used to dry the hops used to make beer). Water has played the most important part in the development of Kent. The county’s two main rivers, the Medway and Stour, flow to the sea, fed on their way by streams that have carved out verdant valleys, which protect picturesque villages. Hundreds of years ago some of these streams were dammed to create defensive moated sites on which England’s most famous castles were built. Leeds Castle, near Maidstone, was one such castle and one only has to see its reflection in the huge lake formed by the damming of the River Len, to understand why it has been named the ‘loveliest castle in the world’. For centuries it was home to the queens of England before being restored in the 1920s as a private residence. Built of Kentish ragstone, the castle has seen little military action in its 900-year history – perhaps due to its secure island location – and today its interiors are a mix of medieval re-creation and chintzy 20th-century comfort. Hever Castle, near Edenbridge, is another medieval moated home. Less fortification and more grand manor www.britain-magazine.com
PHOTOS: © ANGELA DAMPIER/ALAMY/VISITBRITAIN/DAVID SELLMAN/GETTY IMAGES/ROBERT HARDING PICTURE LIBRARY LTD ILLUSTRATION © MICHAEL HILL
Clockwise, from top left: Flower borders at Goodnestone Park; Penshurst Place and Gardens; lovely Leeds Castle www.britain-magazine.com
PHOTOS: © NATIONAL TRUST IMAGES/ANDREW BUTLER/TRAVEL PIX COLLECTION/AWL IMAGES LTD
Facing page: The cottages at Ightham Mote, viewed from the courtyard. This picture: Scotney Castle
house, with status-wielding towers and a drawbridge, Hever was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, one of King Henry VIII’s less-fortunate wives. The spirit of the past is tangible in Hever’s ancient interiors, which are as cosy as rooms in a castle can be. Saved from dereliction almost 100 years ago by William Waldorf Astor, the castle is complemented by a formal garden created to display Astor’s formidable collection of antique statuary, and five-star overnight accommodation is available in two wings of the castle. One of Kent’s most famous moated homes, Ightham Mote, near Sevenoaks, takes its name not from the water that surrounds it, but from the word ‘moot’, meaning ‘meeting place’ – evidence that this site has been a place of congregation since Saxon times. Its wooded and isolated setting down single-track lanes ensured that it was little known until the National Trust launched an appeal to conserve it – at a cost of £10 million – 30 years ago. Now the work is complete, this charming medieval house, built around a heavily timbered courtyard, is presented to show many different periods in its 600-year history. Scotney Castle is another historic moated castle, albeit in a slightly less preserved state, but while the 14th-century ruined castle is atmospheric, it is the
glorious 770 acres of woodland and gardens that really draw praise, while the Victorian mansion hides many a family secret. Incredibly some of the historic homes that dot the Kent countryside are lived in by the descendants of their original owners. Penshurst Place, not far from the bustling spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells, is home to Lord De L’Isle, whose family tree includes poet Sir Philip Sidney, Queen Elizabeth I’s most loyal courtier – a contemporary of William Shakespeare. The Great Hall is one of the best preserved in Britain, with a central open fire and high chestnut roof, and it is often used as a filming location, most recently, in the BBC’s adaptation of Wolf Hall. For millennia people coming from other countries have brought their ideas and influences to the people of Kent, who welcomed them but, rather tellingly, the county motto is ‘Invicta’, which means unconquered. Following the Battle of Hastings, the Normans brought their building stone from France to make up for the paucity of building materials in Kent. You can see the architectural result in the thousand-year-old churches near the Channel coast with their dazzling white Caen stone that reflects the clear light. BRITAIN
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Later, in the 16th and 17th centuries, artisans escaping religious persecution in Europe brought different skills and the town of Sandwich (where Tom Paine, the Anglo-American activist, was married) fondly remembers its ‘strangers’ and the Dutch architecture they brought with them. That architecture quickly became a status symbol to those able to afford it and across the east of the county rounded gables became the latest must-have. Pretty villages that have survived the test of time include Chilham, just a few miles southwest of Canterbury. Lots of period buildings remain, including the 16th-century White Horse pub. Chilham formed part of the Pilgrims’ Way and some believed that Thomas Becket was buried in its 15th-century churchyard. It was in the village of Barham, a few miles southeast of Canterbury, that one of Thomas Becket’s assassins, Reginald FitzUrse, lived. As much as Kent has welcomed visitors, it has also been a springboard for those wishing to leave our shores. Down House was the home of 19th-century naturalist Charles Darwin, whose five-year voyage on HMS Beagle changed the way we understand the world around us. The study in which he wrote On the Origin of Species contains his furniture and the garden in which Darwin formulated his theories is just as he knew it. www.britain-magazine.com
Above: A poppy field at dawn near Barham. This picture: Chilham village
Kent Oast houses like this one are a familiar sight in Kent
THE PLANNER GETTING THERE Many of Kent’s towns can be reached by train from London St Pancras station (Rochester 40 minutes; Faversham 1 hour; Margate 1.5 hours; Dover 1 hour). The western half of the county is served by London Victoria. www.trainline.com Clockwise, from left: LEEDS CASTLE Painswick Rococo Leeds Castle, which was once used as a palace by King Henry VIII and Catherine Garden; of Aragon, is open year-round and there are regular events heldWoodchester across its 500 acres – including falconry displays – or you can lose yourself in the estate’s magnificent Mansion; Queenmaze. I castle The nearest train station is Bearsted and a shuttle bus runs fromElizabeth here to the from April to September. www.leeds-castle.com
BATTLE OF BRITAIN MEMORIAL In the 75th anniversary year since the Battle of Britain, a visit to this free memorial, which is dominated by a huge statue of a seated pilot, is recommended. As you enter the site at Capel-le-Ferne, Churchill's haunting words greet you: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few," and today those words are as poignant as ever. www.battleofbritainmemorial.org EASTWELL MANOR HOTEL Dating back to the time of the Norman Conquest, Eastwell Manor has many impressive period features, from carved panelled rooms to baronial stone fireplaces. Each room is individually designed in a classical style and many come with four-poster beds. There is also an award-winning restaurant and a relaxing spa. www.prideofbritainhotels.com/eastwell_manor
Another family of travellers were the Powell-Cottons, whose country estate, Quex Park, near Margate, displays the trophies of Big Game hunting in Africa and Asia during the reign of Queen Victoria. Although killing was their aim, the family were also interested in learning about the animals and cultures they encountered and a purpose-built gallery was opened in 1896 to display the family’s unusual collections. If this is all too much then a visit to Goodnestone or Godington Park and Gardens offer more quintessential English experiences. Margate itself lays claim to being one of England’s earliest seaside resorts and has recently reinvented itself as a cultural destination, with a gallery of modern art named after the famous landscape artist, JMW Turner, who lived here for a period, and a heritage amusement park, Dreamland, built in 1920, but revamped this year with a unique assortment of vintage rides. Romney Marsh in southeast Kent has been called ‘the sixth continent’ due to its other-worldly terrain and, while this may be a bit of a stretch, the landscape is unforgettable. The land has been reclaimed from the sea and made over to sheep farming. In summer the sounds of marsh frogs and skylarks resound around diminutive
villages and huge medieval churches built on the profits of the once thriving wool trade. It was this evocative landscape that inspired Russell Thorndike to write a series of books – based on true events – about a smuggling clergyman, Dr Syn, whose activities went almost unnoticed across these empty acres. Along the spine of Kent – its northern coastline – a series of picturesque towns display continuing maritime activity. Whitstable is home to an important oyster fishery whose history can be traced back centuries and where an annual festival celebrates the landing of these shellfish. Faversham is a quayside town with streets of medieval houses delightfully colour-washed and the proud owner of a copy of King John’s Magna Carta. Closer to London, Rochester’s Norman castle dominates the River Medway and protects its ancient cathedral whose damp, earthy smell was much admired by Dickens. Whether you come for its castles, its swathes of open pastures and coastline or its quaint villages, a journey through Kent will feel a million miles from London.
For more stories and gorgeous photos from the delightful county of Kent go to www.britain-magazine.com/kent www.britain-magazine.com
PHOTO © TRAVEL PICTURES
BESIDE THE SEASIDE IN MARGATE There’s big news at ‘the UK’s original pleasure park’ in Margate, Dreamland, which has undergone a huge revamp, with vintage rides and classic side shows, and is set just back from the lovely sandy beach. While here, visit the Turner Contemporary gallery, which has pieces by its namesake JMW Turner that were inspired by the Kent landscape. www.dreamland.co.uk www.turnercontemporary.org
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HISTORY / NEWS / REVIEWS / INSPIRATION
BULLETIN The latest news, from the future of our heritage properties to the restoration of Britain's answer to the Sistine Chapel
Beneath the White Cliffs of Dover A labyrinth of Second World War tunnels, built underneath the iconic White Cliffs of Dover on the orders of Sir Winston Churchill, is now open to the public after two years of excavation work. Fan Bay Deep Shelter was constructed in the 1940s to prevent German ships from moving freely in the English Channel. It was decommissioned in the 1950s and filled in during the 1970s. Originally carved out of the chalk in just 100 days by Royal Engineers from the 172nd Tunnelling Company, the shelter had five large chambers providing bombproof accommodation.
Among historic finds at the site were wartime graffiti and a Unity Pools football coupon â€“ dated 20 February 1943. Specialist guides will lead hard-hat and torch-lit tours deep into the heart of the White Cliffs. The tours, which last 45 minutes and include entering a dark, dirty and wet environment, will operate until the end of September, possibly later, depending on weather conditions, before resuming in spring. For more information on the White Cliffs of Dover and Fan Bay Deep Shelter visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/white-cliffs-dover
HISTORY / NEWS / REVIEWS / INSPIRATION
Help out at our heritage homes
PHOTOS: © NATIONAL TRUST IMAGES/JOE CORNISH/PETER WILLIS/PORTSMOUTH DOCKYARD/GORDON SCAMMELL/LOOP IMAGES/CORBIS
Victory colours She is the most celebrated ship in naval history and now HMS Victory has been returned to the colours she sported at the infamous Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The historically accurate makeover is the result of careful research, which revealed the ship was painted pale yellow and dark grey at the time of her famous victory, in which Admiral Lord Nelson was fatally wounded. The overhaul is part of the most comprehensive programme of conservation work to be done on HMS Victory since she was first installed in the dry dock in the heart of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in the 1920s, where she sits alongside King Henry VIII’s doomed flagship Mary Rose and HMS Warrior. www.nmrn.org.uk
The future of our nation’s heritage properties lies in the hands of all of us as the National Trust has announced it is running out of the volunteers who enable it to keep its buildings open to the public. The National Trust’s army of helpers are an invaluable resource who carry out all sorts of tasks, from maintenance work, to keeping an eye on rare paintings and furniture. Volunteers are traditionally recruited from our retired population but this group is now too busy travelling the world or providing childcare to help out. To find out about volunteering at the National Trust go to www.nationaltrust. org.uk/get-involved/volunteer
Stay warm in style
Delicate beauty As part of its £8 million revamp, York Art Gallery has launched its Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA), along with several new gallery spaces, transforming it into a major cultural destination and artistic hub for the region. A never before open to the public space in the 19th-century Grade II listed building has become CoCA, home to the gallery’s collection of more than 5,000 examples of British studio ceramics from throughout the 20th century to the present day. The new gallery will open with a major new commission by renowned ceramicist Clare Twomey, Manifest: Ten Thousand Hours, which will see 10,000 handmade slipcast ceramic bowls, identical in form and colour, piled high in towering columns. There will also be exhibitions showcasing more of the gallery’s collections, as well as major touring exhibitions and blockbuster loans. For more information go to www.yorkartgallery.org.uk
The onset of autumn is a great excuse to invest in elegant and practical outwear to fend off the elements. British heritage label Thorndale has a range of wax jackets and quilted coats, all made here in Britain. Thorndale’s monogramming service also allows you to personalise your garments with hand-embroidered initials. Prices start from £150 ($234) for jackets and £45 ($70) for accessories. www.thorndale.co.uk
Britainâ€™s Sistine Chapel The crowning glory of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site, in London, is the magnificent Painted Hall, which is recognised as the greatest piece of decorative painting in England: our very own Sistine Chapel. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor, it was originally intended as a dining hall for naval pensioners who lived at the Royal Hospital for Seamen, a charity founded by Queen Mary II and her
husband, King William III, to look after Royal Navy sailors who were too sick or old to serve. The walls and ceiling were painted by Sir James Thornhill between 1708 and 1727 and to mark the 340th anniversary of his birth, the Old Royal Naval College has launched a campaign to raise money for the next stage of restoration, which will begin in 2016. The Painted Hall is open daily and is free to enter. www.ornc.org/paintedhall
HISTORY / NEWS / REVIEWS / INSPIRATION
RECIPE EXTRACTED FROM THE GREAT CORNISH FISH BOOK/ WWW.GREATCORNISHFOOD.CO.UK/PHOTO: © JOFF LEE
READING CORNER Cosy up in your favourite chair and lose yourself in one of these books
Cornish folk have been tucking into freshly pickled crab for centuries. For more on Cornwall see page 35
The Debs of Bletchley Park by Michael Smith (£9.99, Aurum Press). The unheard story of the ‘Debs’ and the essential role they played in the vital work of ‘Station X’ at the famous spy base.
Luxury Cornish Crab Tart This tart, devised by Rodda’s – Cornwall’s famous 125-year-old creamery – features in The Great Cornish Fish Book (£17.99, Cornwall Food & Drink), out this September.
I n g re d i e n t s : SERVES 6 – TASTY HOT OR COLD 375g (12oz) pack ready-rolled short crust pastry or make your own using 250g (9oz) flour and 125g (4.5oz) Cornish butter
113g (4oz) Rodda’s Cornish clotted cream
100g (3.5oz) watercress, stems removed and finely chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
113g (4oz) Rodda’s Cornish crème fraîche 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
250g (9oz) mixed crab meat
100g (3.5oz) freshly grated Davidstow Extra Mature Cheddar
3 free range eggs
Cornish sea salt and black pepper
Method: Preheat oven to 200°C (390°F) and very lightly grease a 22cm loose bottom flan tin. Place the tin onto a baking tray. Roll out the pastry until it’s big enough to generously fit the tin. Ease the pastry into the tin, pressing into the edges and leaving excess pastry falling over the sides – don’t trim at this stage. Prick the base with a fork. Line the pastry with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Trim the excess pastry using a sharp knife. Bake the pastry case blind for about 15 minutes – remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Sprinkle the watercress on the bottom of the pastry case. Top with evenly distributed crab meat. Whisk together the eggs and the clotted cream, crème fraÎche, chilli flakes and lemon juice and half the cheese. Season well. Pour the egg mixture into the case. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the filling feels firm in the centre. Allow the tart to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
The Story of the Thames by Andrew Sargent (£9.99, Amberley). Fascinating insight into the history of the longest and most famous river in England, which mirrors the story of the capital city it dominates. Stuff Brits Like by Fraser McAlpine (£ 9.99, Nicholas Brealey Publishing). A witty guide to the quirks of Britain and the British, which puts forward some interesting observations on the nation’s psyche. Pleasures of the Table: A Literary Anthology by Christina Hardyment (£20, The British Library). An ode to food from some of the world’s greatest writers and poets. The Lost Tudor Princess by Alison Weir (Jonathan Cape, £20). The historian returns with an account of Margaret Douglas, a woman with royal blood, who lived during five Tudor reigns.
PHOTOS: © DAVID JENSEN 2013/TRAVEL PIX COLLECTION/AWL IMAGES LTD/WASHINGTON ALLSTON/WIKIMEDIA
This page: Alnwick Castle, in Northumberland. Facing page: The Duchess of Northumberland, with dog Fuzzy
Labour’s Not Lost Author Jane Dismore talks to some of our nation’s most prestigious duchesses about the realities of running a stately home in the 21st century
The stately homes of England How beautiful they stand!
To prove the upper classes Have still the upper hand
ow wonderful that many of Britain’s glorious stately homes still survive in the 21st century for everyone to enjoy. They were even immortalised in verse by that most English of gentlemen, Noel Coward, in 1929, who unashamedly changed part of an earlier poem, The Homes of England, writing: “The stately homes of England, how beautiful they stand, to prove the upper classes, have still the upper hand.” Composed in 1827 by Felicia Hemans, who coined the term ‘stately home’, the third and fourth lines originally read: “Amidst their tall ancestral trees, o’er all the pleasant land.” By 1929, however, the power and wealth of the upper classes, owners of the great houses and
‘ancestral trees’, had declined. The ‘pleasant land’ had suffered the Great War and was on the verge of the Depression. Stately homes, as Coward continued, had to be rebuilt and “frequently mortgaged to the hilt”. And yet, despite the burst pipes and leaky cisterns, Coward recognised the country’s willing fight for its heritage. Happily, today, many great houses are managing without being turned into hotels or conference centres, but the hard work must continue. How often, marvelling at the architectural gems and fabulous pieces of art within, do we visitors think about what is involved and who is responsible for keeping everything looking lovely? Unbelievably, some stately homes are still owned and occupied by the original family to whom they were
PHOTOS: © COURTESY OF ALNWICK CASTLE/ROBERT LAZENBY/AWL IMAGES LTD/ CRITICAL TORTOISE LTD/VISITENGLA ND/CHATSWORTH HOUSE TRUST/BELVOIR CASTLE
Belvoir Castle, home of the Duke and Duchess of Rutland, is nestled on a hilltop overlooking the Vale of Belvoir in Leicestershire
Top left: The Comedy of Errors at the Globe Theatre, London
Top to bottom: The exquisite Elizabeth Saloon at Belvoir Castle; Chatsworth House, home of the Duke of Devonshire
This image: The Minack Theatre, Cornwall
bequeathed, which gives them a uniquely personal feel. Among such owners are dukes; one of the best-known houses still â€˜in the familyâ€™ is Chatsworth, home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. The duke is one of only 24 non-royal British dukes remaining today, who sit with their duchesses one branch down from royalty on the aristocratic tree. These dukes hold titles bestowed upon their ancestors by monarchs over the centuries in recognition of devoted service. Most dukedoms still come with large houses and land (although often far less than before) and with privilege comes a responsibility to future generations. Not only do the houses need maintaining, so do the estate farms and tenanted properties that provide many jobs and homes. www.britain-magazine.com
Enjoy the journey, not just the destination! Idyllic landscapes, picturesque villages, vibrant cities and almost 16,000km of track: discover Britain, the birthplace of modern train travel, and beyond in the most scenic and comfortable way.
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PHOTOS: © COURTESY OF BELVOIR CASTLE/COURTESY OF THE DUCHESS OF ARGYLL
Top to bottom: The Duchess of Rutland with Belvoir Castle in the background; the Duke and Duchess of Argyll and their three children
In Leicestershire, Belvoir Castle, perched high on a hilltop like something out of a fairytale, has been home to the Manners family for more than 500 years. David Manners became the 11th Duke of Rutland in 1999. His wife, Emma, was handed a big black box of keys to the castle by her mother-in-law and wished good luck. There was no training book on being a duchess or running a stately home. Fortunately, Emma (then expecting the fourth of their five children) had already acquired useful skills and experience. As a farmer’s daughter, she loved the countryside. Her varied career included working as a land agent and running a successful interior design business. It was just as well. The estate was in a dreadful financial state, “a bit like the Titanic going towards the iceberg,” she says. Emma had to make unpopular decisions, including redundancies, but it was vital; she was aware of the responsibility she and the duke have towards their community. She started working with a smaller but “very strong team with great advisors” and using contractors for specific tasks. Happily her plans have gone well. She has turned Belvoir’s shoot into one of the best in the country and is busy restoring the gardens, designed in the early 19th century by Elizabeth, duchess to the 5th duke. Few stately homes today can afford to resist demand as a wedding venue, and Belvoir is no exception. www.britain-magazine.com
Inveraray Castle sits on the shores of Loch Fyne
Filmmakers appreciate it too: The Young Victoria was filmed in the sumptuous staterooms. Of the many visitors, Emma says: “I love people being here. We live here and we share our heritage with people, that’s how we work.” On the shores of Loch Fyne, imposing Inveraray Castle has been home to the Dukes of Argyll since 1720 and is the seat of Clan Campbell. For centuries the focal point of the little town, in 1975 it was badly damaged by fire for the second time in its history. The Duchess of Argyll, Eleanor, tells how, with the commitment of her parents-in-law and the help of the “amazing” local people and clan members, the castle survived and was restored for posterity. Today it is one of Scotland’s major tourist attractions. Eleanor came to the castle in 2002 when she married Torquhil, the 13th duke. They have three children but running the castle, which has a 16-acre garden, is a full-time job and Eleanor is very hands-on: “It’s not like that film where you walk around the shrubbery all day.” Although many staff help run the castle during the season, Eleanor is in charge of the tearoom and does the buying for the shop. She is happy to share their
“fantastic house” and its original hand-painted rooms with the public and she is always thinking of new ideas to keep the visitors coming. A 2012 Christmas special of Downton Abbey was filmed at Inveraray (it doubled as the fictional Duneagle Castle) and visitors are fascinated by the castle’s reputation for being haunted; even today guests still report odd experiences. Eleanor and Torquhil, as Chief of Clan Campbell, are always “thrilled to see” clan members from all over the world at Inveraray. The couple actively support local businesses and every September host The Best of the West Festival at the castle, celebrating the west of Scotland’s food, drink and music. Across the border, the fortress of Alnwick Castle is home to the 12th Duke and Duchess of Northumberland. Alnwick has been in the Percy family since 1309 when the duke’s ancestors virtually ruled the north of England. The castle has enjoyed further fame in recent years, thanks to duchess Jane and her ambitious creation, the Alnwick Garden, while Ralph, the duke, has restored several of the magnificent state rooms.
PHOTO: © VISIT BRITAIN/BRITAIN ON VIEW
“Alnwick Castle and Syon House are more important than any duke or duchess. The buildings will go on”
AT TR NE AC W TI O N
Discover time Take time to discover the glorious grounds and gardens, playgrounds, falconry displays and winding maze at Leeds Castle. With special events, including the Festival of Flowers 22nd â€“ 27th September and many more activities taking place throughout the year. Be sure to make time for the sights and sounds of The Dark Sky â€“ a brand new flagship attraction commemorating the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt. Delicious
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The gorgeous library at Alnwick Castle is very much a family room
But when Ralph unexpectedly became duke in 1995, and the family moved from a manageable farmhouse into the vast castle, there were more immediate concerns. Jane needed to create a modern home inside the medieval walls. The couple also needed to consider the future; it was important that the heir, George, Earl Percy (then just 11 years old) should develop a sense of duty towards Alnwick and to do that, “he had to love the castle and want to bring his children up in it,” Jane says. And so Alnwick Castle underwent a much-needed restoration, including a new roof so George “would not need to do anything major for two generations.” Jane then turned her attention to creating a new garden out of Alnwick’s derelict one. It now boasts one of the world’s biggest tree houses and the famous Poison Garden, which brings together some of the world’s most deadly plants and the gruesome stories behind them. The Alnwick Garden has since generated £150 million for the region’s economy and works closely with community groups.
BUY THE BOOK Jane Dismore is the author of the book Duchessess Living in the 21st Century, by Blink Publishing, priced £20. www.blinkpublishing.co.uk
Around 300 staff in Northumberland keep everything running and the visitors happy. The shops sell unusual foods and books that Jane has launched, based on old family recipes and household tips. Alnwick Castle has famously featured as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films and as Brancaster Castle in the 2014 Downton Abbey Christmas special. Jane believes that Alnwick Castle and Syon House, in Middlesex – another Percy home – are “far more important than any duke or duchess that is in them. The buildings will go on and on.” Further south, in Bedfordshire, stands magnificent Woburn Abbey, home to Andrew, the 15th Duke of Bedford, his wife, Louise, and their two children. Woburn has been in the family since 1547 when King Edward VI gifted it to John Russell, who he also made the 1st Earl of Bedford following instructions in the will of his father King Henry VIII, for his soldierly skill and loyalty. Woburn has come to evoke many images to visitors of all ages, from its famous safari park to the 24 paintings by Canaletto, the largest private collection of his Venetian views on public display. Overseeing the estate is a mammoth task – the abbey itself has around 120 rooms – and Louise, duchess since 2003, appreciates the passionate people who work at the abbey: “Every person on the estate has a unique role BRITAIN
PHOTOS: © FLIRT/ALAMY/CRAFT IMAGES/BRIDGETDAVEY.COM
Top to bottom: The Duchess of Bedford; Woburn Abbey. Facing page: The Queen Victoria Bedroom once hosted the monarch and her husband
and I like to think of us all as one big team. Everyone plays a vital part in passing down their knowledge and understanding of the house and estate.” It is thanks to Andrew’s grandfather, Ian, that Woburn Abbey is open to the public at all. When he became 13th duke in 1953 the estate was subject to massive death duties and was badly neglected. Over the centuries the Russell family has produced politicians, philosophers and statesmen and Ian was determined to preserve the treasures in his family’s home, which had played host to monarchs; King Charles I came to Woburn twice as a guest, but his third visit was as a prisoner of Parliament. Ian and his wife worked hard to prepare Woburn for the public and it opened in 1955. Today Louise, always thinking of new projects, is conscious that they must keep Woburn “moving forward for the next generation.” Each of these duchesses combine running an estate with other commitments: family, charities, public duties. It is demanding work but they consider it a huge privilege to be part of Britain’s living history and, with their dukes, custodians of our nation’s great heritage.
For more intriguing stories and beautiful photos of Britain's ancestral homes go to www.britain-magazine.com/statelyhomes www.britain-magazine.com
Visit the sleepy villages, hidden coves and historic harbours of Cornwall, which provided the perfect backdrop to recent romantic period drama Poldark WORDS CHANTAL BORCIANI
PHOTOS: © CRAIG JOINER/CORBIS/PHILIP FENTON LRPS/FRANK FISCHBACH/ALAMY/TRAVEL PIX COLLECTION/AWL IMAGES LTD/LAYTON BENNETT
ulses may have been set racing by the gripping 18th-century drama Poldark and its lead character, played by British actor Aidan Turner, but one of the biggest stars of the searing BBC remake of the 1970s TV series is undoubtedly Cornwall’s majestic coastline. Based on Winston Graham’s acclaimed novels, the costume drama is a passionate tale of shipwrecks, family ties and lost love, and was filmed largely on location in the breathtaking county of Cornwall, which is home to some of England’s oldest pubs and historic boltholes, not to mention some spectacular vistas. If you’ve been swept away with the romance of Poldark then you may want to pay a visit to the Grade II listed harbour of Charlestown, near St Austell, in south Cornwall, which feels as though it’s been transported from a bygone era. With its collection of tall ships, cobbled quay and winding lanes, it’s easy to see why this spot – almost unchanged since Georgian times – was chosen to double as the Cornish capital of Truro in the TV show. Once you’ve immersed yourself in the history of the town and marvelled at the swaying masts of those impressive square riggers, head to The Lost Gardens of Heligan, a 15-minute drive away, where you’ll find more than 80 acres of restored lawns, meadows and woodlands, including an alpine-inspired ravine and Maori-carved tree ferns. There are interactive displays, kitchen gardens and an exotic jungle area with raised walkways to explore. North of Charlestown, the bustling harbour town of Fowey has some of the best tea shops in Cornwall – think billowing layers of chocolate sponge and never-ending cream teas – as well as boats for hire at the quayside. There is a huge range of accommodation nearby, from B&Bs to old English inns, but for those who like to be in the centre of things, The Old Quay House sits right on Fowey’s waterfront. Once a refuge for seamen, the whitewashed Victorian boutique hotel offers unparalleled
Front page: Remnants of tin mines at Botallack. Clockwise, from top left: Doyden Castle, Port Quin; St Ives; the cove and harbour at Port Isaac; St Mawes Castle. Above: The Old School House, St Agnes BRITAIN
views over the estuary and the hotel’s restaurant, Q, champions seasonal West Country produce. For salty Cornish atmosphere, head to Sams, a casual bistro located in an old lifeboat station at Polkerris, near Daphne du Maurier’s Menabilly home. Nestling up to the golden sands, it’s a great spot for a sunset dinner. When a place is known as the Church of the Storms, you know it has had a rather dramatic past. The tiny 15th-century church of St Winaloe is no exception and sits above the sands at Church Cove, Gunwalloe, the site chosen for Poldark’s gripping late-night wrecking scenes. Throngs of actors descended on the shore during the night shoots, lighting torches and fires along the beach but today this crescent of honey sand is beautifully peaceful and popular with swimmers. Stay overlooking the famous bay at Halzephron House, a 17th-century property perfect for larger groups or families. Sleeping 12, guests can feel a part of smuggling history and take the secret tunnel down to the beach. The house looks out across lawns to St Michael’s Mount and in the evening you can glimpse the lights of the famous open-air Minack Theatre at Porthcurno. From Church Cove, visitors can head south to one of the most photographed beaches in Cornwall, Kynance Cove, or east to the magical Helford River. A picture-postcard setting, take time to sit, relax and simply watch the world go by in Helford village. Boats potter back and forth and a clutch of traditional pubs serve prawns and crab sandwiches. One of our favourites is the Ferryboat Inn, a short ferry ride across the estuary. For an idyllic slice of Cornwall, tiny Porthgwarra Cove lies a few miles from Land’s End and is a wonderfully secluded beach. The slither of golden sand gives way to turquoise waters and it is here that Ross Poldark strips off his clothes to take a cooling dip, while love interest Demelza watches from the clifftop. Today the fishing hamlet is home to a clutch of whitewashed self-catering cottages and a café. Accessed via a slipway or through a granite tunnel, Porthgwarra is as romantic a hideaway as you could imagine. St Aubyn Estates Holidays has six self-catering cottages nearby, with two located in the centre of Porthgwarra,
PHOTOS: © MIKE EVANS/DAVID PICK/ALAMY
Top left: The Old Quay House is housed in a whitewashed Victorian building, perched on the water’s edge in the town of Fowey. This page: The beautiful clear waters of Kynance Cove, near the Lizard www.britain-magazine.com
Be sure to take a walk along the wildflower-strewn clifftops to see rare sea birds swooping across the water and keep your eyes peeled for seals
Elegance, romance and tranquility in a hidden corner of Cornwall
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NEW YEAR’S EVE IN SCOTLAND
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PHOTOS: © KEVIN BRITLAND/ALAMY/NATIONAL TRUST IMAGES/ROSS HODDINOTT
For more tips on visiting Cornwall go to www.britainmagazine.com/ cornwall
which are ideal for couples or small families. Be sure to take a walk along the wildflower-strewn clifftops to see rare sea birds swooping across the water and keep your eyes peeled for seals basking on the sands. Many of the epic shots of Ross Poldark riding across the country were filmed around the brooding Bodmin Moor, while exterior shots of Nampara, Poldark’s home, were filmed in the heart of Bodmin, at St Breward. Flanked by the peaks of Rough Tor and Brown Willy, the parish of St Breward is home to the highest church in Cornwall (700ft above sea level) and one of Cornwall’s oldest pubs, the 11th-century Old Inn. There are lots of holiday cottages nearby where you can escape the world for a few days, such as the gorgeous detached stone house of Poldue. A short drive away, en route to Port Isaac, St Tudy Inn is one of the finest gastro pubs in the area and serves locally sourced ingredients in beautiful surroundings. The tensions and turmoil of the Cornish tin mining legacy run like a seam through the Poldark narrative and several of the region’s mines were used when filming. The National Trust’s Levant Mine doubled as the fictional Tressiders Rolling Mill, while Owles and Crowns, near Botallack, starred as Wheal Leisure. Today visitors to Levant can stand above the skip shaft, looking down into the black abyss below, see the huge engine running, and walk through one of the damp underground tunnels where 31 men lost their lives in the man-engine tragedy of 1919. The crew also filmed underground shots at Poldark Mine, the only complete underground mine in Devon and Cornwall open to the public. Now a tourist destination, visitors can enjoy tours and join craft workshops. Those familiar with the beautiful northern reaches of the Camel Estuary and Constantine Bay will recognise the www.britain-magazine.com
Left to right: The beach at Helford Passage on the Helford River; the granite outcrops of Rough Tor, Bodmin Moor
epic cliff shots in Poldark. A walker’s paradise, the beaches are backed by patchwork fields and rolling dunes, which epitomise the north Cornish landscape. The bustling harbour of Padstow is a good north-coast base and foodies will love Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant (although you need to book ahead) or one of his various offshoots located around town (hence the town’s nickname of Padstein). From Padstow, head south to Port Quin where you will find the 19th-century Doyden Castle, which is looked after by the National Trust and provides accommodation for two. Despite its arched windows and crenellated tower, it’s not actually a castle at all but a pleasure house built by wealthy bon viveur Samuel Symons in 1830. Winston Graham wrote the first of his Poldark tales in a beach hut at Perranporth, just around the coast from St Agnes Head, so it seems fitting that this shoreline was used for many of the sweeping Nampara Valley shots. The pretty town clings to the sides of a valley as it bends its way to the sea and the picturesque sandy beach at St Agnes Head, called Trevaunance Cove, with kaleidoscope waters and picturesque shallows, is worth a visit. Stay amid the buzz of St Agnes at 1 Old School House, a traditional Grade II listed property available through Beach Retreats and, perhaps, like Graham, you too will be inspired by your romantic surroundings.
The slither of golden sand gives way to turquoise waters and it is here that Ross Poldark strips off to take a cooling dip, while Demelza watches on BRITAIN
Cornwall's stunning landscape was one of the stars of hit BBC costume drama Poldark
GETTING THERE By train Direct trains run from London Paddington to St Austell and Bodmin Parkway and take between four and four-and-a-half hours. Sleeper trains are available. www.trainline.com By air The main airport is Newquay Cornwall, which has daily flights from London (one-hour flight time) and Manchester (70 minutes flight time). www.newquaycornwallairport.com GETTING AROUND The South West Coast Path provides a walking link from one Poldark spot to another and is probably the finest way to appreciate the spellbinding Cornish coast. www.southwestcoastpath.com If driving, it is possible to take in the beauty of the north and south shores on a short break, so hire a car. www.cornwallcarhire.co.uk To explore, get a Ride Cornwall ticket – a one-day pass that allows unlimited travel across public transport. www.firstgroup.com
BOOK AHEAD THE LOST GARDENS OF HELIGAN This collection of unusual plants, some of which date from 1850, offers a fascinating insight into the horticultural habits of the Victorians. Its name comes from the fact the gardens – which were once a Georgian pleasure garden – fell into decline for several decades before being restored to beautiful effect. www.heligan.com
PHOTOS: © MAMMOTH SCREEN/VISITBRITAIN/DANIEL BOSWORTH
THE OLD QUAY HOUSE This luxury boutique hotel has an enviable location, overlooking the busy harbour in Fowey. www.theoldquayhouse.com HALZEPHRON HOUSE Surrounded by National Trust land, this stunningly restored house, which can be hired as a whole or on a B&B basis has played host to AA Milne, JM Barrie and Arthur Conan Doyle. www.halzephronhouse.co.uk THE FERRYBOAT INN This pub, which dates back 300 years, lies on the seafront of the North Helford Passage. Now in the hands of seafood specialists, the Wright Brothers, expect well-prepared shellfish that is grown and harvested at the Duchy of Cornwall Oyster Farm. www.thewrightbrothers.co.uk/restaurants/ the_ferryboat_inn
ST AUBYN ESTATES HOLIDAYS This consortium of cottages for hire lies in Porthgwarra – the perfect base for exploring the South West Coast Path, where wildflowers and bird life abound. www.staubynestatesholidays.co.uk THE OLD INN Factor in time for a pint or a Moorland Grill at Cornwall’s highest inn, in St Breward, where ponies often roam through the village. www.theoldinnandrestaurant.co.uk LEVANT MINE See the only Cornish beam engine in the world that is still in steam on its original mine site. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/levant-mine
Putto statue in The Lost Gardens of Heligan
RICK STEIN’S SEAFOOD RESTAURANT Stein’s flagship restaurant has a reputation for serving the very freshest seafood and has spawned several other Stein eateries around Padstow. www.rickstein.com/eat-with-us/ the-seafood-restaurant
POLDUE Make the most of Bodmin Moor while staying at Poldue (sleeps eight), where exterior shots of Ross Poldark's cottage, Nampara, were shot, along with many capturing the cast on horseback. The spacious detached house is ideal for large families or groups of friends who are looking for a tranquil getaway. www.classic.co.uk
DOYDEN CASTLE The views from the arched windows of this cottage on a cliff's edge are nothing short of spectacular. www.nationaltrustholidays.org.uk/holiday-cottage/ doyden-castle-port-quin-cornwall
OLD SCHOOL HOUSE It was near the historic town of St Agnes that Winston Graham wrote his first Poldark tale. Follow in his footsteps with a stay in this lovely period property. www.beachretreats.co.uk
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The age of
The Victorians presided over some of the most incredible inventions and discoveries in history but their predictions weren’t always spot on WORDS SALLY COFFEY
PHOTOS: © MARY EVANS PICTURE LIBRARY 2010/2008/CONTRABAND COLLECTION/ALAMY
Sir John was able to train the little black poodle to pick out the card bearing that word whenever he was hungry.”
hey pioneered photography, made huge leaps forward in terms of transport and were responsible for Morse Code, but while the Victorians were undoubtedly ambitious, some of their assumptions were at best misguided and at worst absurd. While great minds were discovering X-rays and inventing new forms of communication, such as the telephone, others were debating the strong conviction that the sun was actually blue and that Martians were building waterways on Mars. In her new book Great Victorian Discoveries, Caroline Rochford explores some of these Victorian beliefs and distractions, some more dubious than others... THE DOG THAT COULD READ The Right Honourable Sir John Lubbock MP was famous for teaching his pet poodle, Van, to read, though to what end it was not clear. Rochford writes: “He achieved this
remarkable feat by taking identical pieces of cardboard and painting upon them a variety of simple words such as ‘food’ ‘out’ ‘bone’ ‘tea’, and so on. “Then, by associating food in the dog’s mind with the card bearing the word ‘food’,
THE EYE ELECTROMAGNET One occupational hazard for workers at the steelworks in the north of England was that tiny bits of metal became lodged in their eyes during the working day, and so when a Mr Snell of Sheffield came up with a way of removing splinters, it was welcomed. Rochford describes the science behind Snell’s ingenious method: “A projecting collar of soft iron attached to a magnetic probe was gently waved over a patient’s eyeball, and the iron splints that had become embedded inside were attracted to the magnetic pull and thereby freed, without any need to make contact with the eye.” THE DOCTOR’S CARRIER PIGEON Dr Harvey John Philpot had a novel way of administering prescriptions – by employing carrier pigeons as his unqualified assistants. www.britain-magazine.com
BUY THE BOOK For more extraordinary theories from the great minds of science, engineering and natural history of the Victorian Age, see Caroline Rochford’s book, Great Victorian Discoveries (£9.99, Amberley). ISBN 9781445639499
Rochford says he “would take along with him half a dozen birds in a small basket, and after seeing a patient, he would tie the prescription round the neck of one and let it go. The bird would fly straight home to the surgery, where the medicine was prepared.” THE BRAINS OF MEN AND WOMEN He would probably be lynched for making such a claim today but in 1892, at an assembly of the Medical Society of London, psychiatrist Sir James Crichton-Browne said the brains of men and women varied greatly. Rochford writes: “He was able to demonstrate that the average female brain was significantly lighter than the average male organ, and he had calculated that this would still be so if women were as large and heavy as men. Moreover, he explained that the gravity of the ‘grey matter’ of the male brain was higher than that of the female, while the specific gravity of the ‘white www.britain-magazine.com
matter’ was the same in both. Convinced by the accuracy of his research, he uttered a warning against over-educating women. ‘Instructing them as if they are men is a grave mistake, for their brains are not designed to function like a man’s,’ he declared.” THE DEADLY COCA PLANT Victorian Britain was enthralled by word of a plant native to South America that
was being used as a nervous stimulant that enabled people to carry out strenuous work without getting tired, while also staving off hunger. Although the coca plant had been introduced to Western culture as early as the 1500s, it was only in the 19th century – when the taking of stimulants was common practice – that it really made its way into British society. Rochford says: “Taken in large doses, the drug was believed to invigorate both muscle and intellect, producing what was described as a remarkable sense of satisfaction.” So much faith was placed in the drug that cocaine lozenges were given to treat colds, and pregnant women were even advised to take coca to relieve morning sickness; Colonel John Stith Pemberton also famously added coca leaves to the original recipe of Coca Cola. However, following some high-profile deaths, the drug was banned in the UK and the US.
8 For more weird and wonderful tales from our shores visit www.britain-magazine.com
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Clockwise from left: George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham; Harriet Howard, Duchess of Sutherland; Christine Keeler (right) and Mandy Rice-Davies; John Profumo; Lady Astor; figures of the Duke of Buckingham and the Countess of Shrewsbury
THE CLIVEDEN SET
Home to earls, dukes and a prince, and later a meeting place for intellectuals, Cliveden has been at the heart of society for centuries
JOHN HAMMOND/PA ARCHIVE/PRESS ASSOCIATION IMAGES/THE PRINT COLLECTOR
PHOTOS: ÂŠ MARY EVANS PICTURE LIBRARY/ALAMY/NATIONAL TRUST IMAGES/
WORDS CHARLOTTE CROW
here was no impropriety whatsoever in my acquaintance with Miss Keeler,” said John Profumo, the Secretary of State for War, of the showgirl Christine Keeler. Mere months later, however, he was forced to admit to the affair he had lied about to Parliament, inflaming the almighty Cold War scandal that would bring the British Establishment to its knees in 1963. Profumo first set eyes on a topless Keeler on a sultry July evening in 1961. Accompanied by his wife, the actress Valerie Hobson, it was the politician’s first visit to Cliveden, the sumptuous Buckinghamshire home of Viscount William Astor. In the blue and gold panelled dining room that had once graced a Parisian château, a lavish dinner was being held in honour of the President of Pakistan. After the meal, Astor escorted his guests out into the grounds. As the shadows lengthened across velvety lawns, the group gravitated to the swimming pool. Here they encountered Keeler with her host, Simon Ward, Astor’s osteopath, enjoying watery high jinx with some racy young friends. Another significant guest to join the Ward party at Cliveden that weekend was the Soviet naval attaché, Captain Yevgeny Ivanov, who it was later alleged had also ‘had relations’ with Keeler.
In the course of its history Cliveden has been occupied by an earl, three countesses, two dukes, a prince and two viscounts. It has played host to the great and the good, from Garibaldi to Gladstone, Gandhi to Noel Coward. Today the house is a privately-owned luxury hotel, which has undergone a major refurbishment and its gardens, grounds and surrounding 376-acre estate are in the care of the National Trust. Cliveden has been at the pounding political and social heart of the nation throughout its near 350-year existence. Chosen for its fabulous aspect, with arguably the prettiest views of the Thames in southern England, the steeply sloped chalk promontory had to be levelled by hand in the 17th century to accommodate the house and 400ft garden terrace in front of it. The man behind this project was George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham. A favoured courtier of King Charles II (he had carried the king’s orb at the coronation), Buckingham was a political hothead and a pivotal member of the group of five ministers known as the Cabal. One of the wealthiest courtiers of the Restoration era, he acquired the 150-acre estate in 1666, the same year as the Great Fire of London. He desired a ‘hunting box’, close to London, where he could bring his friends and enjoy his quarry – as well as his mistress, the seductive beauty Anna Maria, Countess of Shrewsbury. No picture is known to exist of the first Cliveden, apparently a four-storey brick structure atop an arcaded terrace built by the architect William Winde. The diarist John Evelyn, writing in 1679, described “that stupendous natural rock, wood, and prospect, of the Duke of Buckingham’s, and buildings of extraordinary expense”. Evelyn reported Cliveden “altogether answers the most poetical description that can be made of solitude, precipice, prospect”, but he told the king “without flattery” later the same day “it did not please me so well as Windsor” as the land about was “wretchedly barren, and producing nothing but fern”. Soon after Buckingham acquired Cliveden his mistress’s husband, Sir Francis Talbot, 11th Earl of Shrewsbury, challenged him
Cliveden has played host to the great and the good, from Gladstone to Gandhi, to Noel Coward
Christine Keeler leaves court after a hearing in connection to the Profumo affair
ALAMY/NATIONAL TRUST IMAGES/JOHN HAMMOND
PHOTOS: © S&G BARRATTS/EMPICS ARCHIVE/PA PICS/THE NATIONAL TRUST PHOTOLIBRARY/
Clockwise, from this photo: Cliveden; 1909 portrait of Nancy Astor by John Singer Sargent; Cliveden's panelled library
Discover Kensington Palace, Londonâ€™s royal secret tucked away next to Hyde Park. Explore stunning gardens, unearth childhood memories of Queen Victoria and listen to all manner of scandal and gossip about the captivating people that once lived here. High Street Kensington
mistress, Buckingham gave her short shrift: “Why, Madam, I did think so, and, therefore, have ordered your coach to be ready, to carry you to your father’s”– “a devilish speech”, in Pepys’ view. Between 1737 and 1751 Cliveden was leased from Anne, 2nd Countess of Orkney, to Frederick, Prince of Wales, the father of King George III, who raised his family here. It was during the occupancy of Anne’s granddaughter, Mary, one spring evening in 1795, that a maid carelessly knocked over a candle while turning down a bed and the house burned to the ground. Amazingly, this was not the only conflagration to destroy Cliveden: a second came later. Sir George Warrender, an immensely wealthy Scottish baronet and MP purchased the derelict property in 1824. He commissioned the architect William Burn to completely rebuild the house, restoring Cliveden to its former glory and earning himself the nickname Sir Gorgeous Provender for his generous hospitality and fondness for entertaining.
Top to bottom: Nancy Astor, who became the first female MP in 1919; Lady Astor with her husband and children; the Long Garden at Cliveden
PHOTOS: © CHRONICLE/ALAMY/NATIONAL TRUST IMAGES/CLIVE NICHOLS
to a duel. The men met on a January morning at Barn Elms, near Putney Bridge. The story goes that the countess, dressed as a boy, held the bridle of Buckingham’s horse and watched the bloody proceedings in which her lover slashed her husband with his weapon “from the right breast through the shoulder”, inflicting fatal injuries that put Shrewsbury in his grave two months later. With characteristic arrogance, Buckingham ordered a flint relief in the shape of a rapier and the date of the duel to be set into the turf on the terrace at Cliveden, where it can still be seen. Samuel Pepys was damning in his assessment: “This will make the world think that the king hath good councillors about him, when the Duke of Buckingham, the greatest man about him, is a fellow of no more sobriety than to fight about a whore.” The duke, unrepentant, brought Anna Maria to Cliveden in May 1668. When his poor wife objected to the idea of sharing her home with her husband’s
Queen Victoria became a regular visitor to the house after her great friend Harriet, the Duchess of Sutherland, and her husband bought it in 1849 for £30,000. They had barely settled into their new home before fire broke out again, in November of that year. Alerted to the clouds of smoke that could be seen downriver from Windsor, the Queen ordered fire engines to be sent to help tackle the blaze, but to no avail; the late-Georgian house was ruined. The magnificent Italianate palazzo that replaced it thankfully still stands to this day. It was designed and built for the Sutherlands in the 1850s by Sir Charles Barry, architect of the Houses of Parliament, and is regarded as one of his finest classical achievements. Many years later, when Queen Victoria heard that the Duke of Westminster had sold this building to William Waldorf Astor, a fantastically wealthy American, the elderly monarch wrote that she “was grieved to think of it falling into these hands”. But it was in the hands of the Astors that Cliveden enjoyed one of the liveliest chapters of its history, after William Waldorf gave Cliveden to his son as a wedding present in 1906. The new châtelaine was Nancy Astor, who was to become the first woman to take her seat as a Member of Parliament. At Cliveden she was queen bee, drawing to her
lavish house parties a dazzling array of international celebrities, politicians, writers and artists: Amy Johnson, Franklin D Roosevelt, Herbert Asquith, TE Lawrence, Edith Wharton, Rudyard Kipling and George Bernard Shaw among them. Charlie Chaplin described Nancy as a “charming hostess”, who would have made “a wonderful actress”, but there was a darker side. Nancy was known for her anti-Semitic remarks and Isaiah Berlin branded her “the most detestable woman in England”. The coterie of politicians and journalists courted by the Astors in the 1930s, known as the Cliveden Set, included Lord Lothian and Lord Halifax. Their shared support for Neville Chamberlain’s efforts at appeasement with Germany in the run-up to the Second World War led to accusations of Nazi sympathy and misplaced interference in British foreign policy. In the gathering storm Nancy’s relationship with one of her guests, Sir Winston Churchill, was notoriously strained. “If I were your wife I would poison your coffee,” she once said to him. “Madam, if I were your husband I would drink it,” he famously replied.
For more extraordinary stories from our stately homes, visit www.britain-magazine.com
BEHIND THE SCENES
ESTATE AND GARDENS The house is set on a chalk cliff amid 376 acres of Grade I listed formal gardens and woodlands managed by the National Trust. Its celebrated parterre affords views over the River Thames. The gardens and woodland are open from
mid February until the end of the year and the fee of £9.50 per adult also lets you try your luck in the maze. If you want to see inside the house then join one of the tours of parts of the ground floor on Thursday and Sunday afternoons (3pm to 5pm) between April and October. Tours cost £2 and take 25 minutes but they do book up so get your timed ticket as soon as you arrive. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cliveden
PHOTOS: © MARKA/ALAMY/EVERETT COLLECTION HISTORICAL
STAY AT CLIVEDEN Choose between Spring Cottage, a luxury three-bedroom 18th-century hideaway that can accommodate up to eight guests, or rooms and suites in the main house. The Inchiquin Suite, overlooking the Grand Drive, Fountain of Love and gardens, is the most luxurious and is furnished in a traditional style. To really feel part of the Cliveden Set you can even opt for exclusive use of the house and grounds but it doesn't come cheap. www.clivedenhouse.co.uk
MESS ABOUT ON THE RIVER There is a lovingly restored flotilla of vintage launches (see right) in Cliveden Boathouse, which can be hired for as little as an hour to a whole day. Optional extras include afternoon tea on board, a picnic lunch or a Champagne cruise all the way to Henley and back. www.clivedenhouse.co.uk/boat-trips
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Clockwise, from top: The Boathouse at Cliveden; Nancy Astor, with son William Waldorf Astor II; Amy Johnson, Charlie Chaplin, Lady Astor and George Bernard Shaw, in 1949
Let each new issue of BRITAIN take you on a colourful journey through our nation’s rich history and landscape, from the comfort of your armchair Special annual subscription rates USA – US $29.95 Canada – CAN $38.95 Australia – AUS $59.99 UK – From £19.99 Rest of the world – £29.99
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Thinking of a Rural Retreat? Idyllic cottages to elegant country houses, there is sure to be a property that’s perfect for you and your family. Over 300 properties for 2–24 guests, many from 2 night stays.
ST CHAD’S COLLEGE St Chad’s College is set on a dramatic site in the shadow of Durham Cathedral in the centre of medieval Durham.
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Ensuite and Standard B&B accommodation is available in historic buildings which are far older than their Georgian frontages suggest.
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“A simply stunning new spa” the newest luxury addition to the Swan at Lavenham
Discover the art of swanning around Call 01787 246246 or email email@example.com www.theswanatlavenham.co.uk/weavers
ALISTAIR LAMING/CHOOSE SUFFOLK/VISITBRITAIN/JOANNA HENDERSON
PHOTOS: © NAGELESTOCK.COM/ALAMY/NICKSMITHPHOTOGRAPHY.COM/
f you want to visit an old English town with beautiful half-timbered buildings in spades and plenty of quaint places to eat and drink, Lavenham is for you. Though it is known as a medieval village, recent archaeological discoveries prove that the Romans settled on its outskirts and its name comes from an early Saxon thane called Lafa and means simply ‘Lafa’s home’. The Saxon settlement was near the present-day Church of St Peter and St Paul, which is perhaps the last of the great Suffolk ‘wool churches’, completed just before the Reformation in 1530, though a church has stood on this site since Anglo-Saxon times. A huge Perpendicular style building, inside it contains elaborate examples of stone masonry as well as beautiful Victorian glass www.britain-magazine.com
There are few English villages as pretty as Lavenham in Suffolk, which was one of the richest towns in Tudor England
windows following its 19th-century restoration. Despite these early origins, it was when the town first acquired a market charter in 1257 that it really began to thrive. As the English wool trade flourished, Lavenham, which was renowned for its blue dyed wool, became wealthy from the export of wool to places such as Flanders. At its peak Lavenham was the 14th richest town in England; when King Henry VII visited in 1487 he actually fined the village’s
most powerful family, the De Veres, for being too ostentatious with their wealth. The wool trade fell into decline from 1525, due in part to strikes from workers over pay, increased taxes on the trade and competition from Holland, which began producing lighter, cheaper wool. By the time Queen Elizabeth I visited Lavenham in 1578 its five guildhalls had become workhouses. However, this turn of fortune is what saved the beautiful village of Lavenham as we know it today. While many other English medieval towns and villages were rebuilt by landowners during the extravagant Georgian period, or at least had their medieval buildings covered with Georgian frontage, the residents of Lavenham couldn’t afford to do so and kept their original facades. BRITAIN
Timeless Treasures For more photos of Lavenham go to www. britain-magazine. com/lavenham
Take a stroll down the high street and you’ll be delighted at the detail that remains, from iron door knockers to peep-holes. Central to the town is The Swan Hotel & Spa, located in a stunning 15th-century building, which features oak-beamed interiors, cosy nooks and open fires. Though originally a modest coaching house with seven bedrooms, today The Swan is a sprawling hotel that has been sympathetically extended, with 45 comfortable rooms and one of the most understated, serene spas we’ve visited. Guests can choose to dine in the Brasserie, or, for a more formal dinner, in the 2 AA rosette Gallery restaurant, which has a high timbered ceiling and a minstrels’ gallery. Alternatively, some light bites can be ordered in the Airmen’s Bar, which contains lots of memorabilia to the US Army Air Force 487th Bombardment Group, who were stationed in Lavenham during the Second
World War. There are quiet corners dotted around the ground floor where you can enjoy a drink but, if you want a more traditional pub, the Six Bells, a Grade II listed building in the nearby village of Preston St Mary, just two miles away, will suit. Lavenham’s high street has all the village necessities, from a good butchers to a post office (housed in the chemist in case you were wondering) and an array of gift and tea shops, including Munnings Tea Rooms at the Crooked House (which also has a gallery and a shop), which looks like something out of a nursery rhyme. Our favourite find though was Timbers, a treasure trove of antiques that belies the building’s small exterior. In the market square you’ll find The Little House and Lavenham Guildhall, both of which house museums, which give some insight into life in the village 500 years ago, and surrounded with buildings like these, it’s not hard to imagine at all.
TRAVEL ESSENTIALS GETTING THERE By train: The nearest railway station is Sudbury, which is an hour by train from London, with one change. You can catch a bus from near the station to Lavenham. www.trainline.com By car: If coming by car, there is free parking in the village and it is about a two-hour drive from London. WHERE TO STAY The Swan Hotel & Spa, in the heart of the village, has well-appointed rooms in a truly breathtaking building and the brand-new Weavers’ House Spa is worth a visit. BUY THE BOOK www.theswanatlavenham.co.uk FURTHER INFORMATION www.discoverlavenham.co.uk Front page: The Little Hall. Top: The Swan. Above, from left: Munnings Tea Rooms, Gift Shop and Gallery at the Crooked House, and other quaint scenes from around the village www.britain-magazine.com
The Cotswolds The source for high quality art and antiques in Britain
The Cotswolds Art and Antiques Dealersâ€™ Association 50 dealers of knowlege and integrity located in the quintessentially English Cotswolds
www.thecada.org T: +44 (0)7831 850544
There are more than 600 castles in Wales – a legacy of King Edward I and his determination to subdue Welsh dissidents and keep control. Here are some of the most majestic of those historic fortresses WORDS GRAHAM WATKINS
fatal blow struck the Welsh monarchy in 1282 when Prince Llywelyn ap Gruffudd (Llywelyn son of Gruffudd) was cut down by an English soldier. His premature death earned him the title Llywelyn the Last and, even today, some Welsh people regard him as the last true Prince of Wales. Llywelyn’s death was the culmination of a brutal campaign by the English King Edward I to defeat the Welsh. Having conquered the country, Edward, nicknamed ‘Longshanks’ because of his height, incorporated the Principality of Wales into England, colonised his new land with loyal Englishmen and crowned his own son Prince of Wales, a title that is still used by the British Royal Family today. Fortified towns were built to protect the English
settlers and a ring of castles was constructed to dominate the resentful Welsh. It was a massive construction project. The world’s leading castle designer, James of St George, a military engineer from Savoy, France, was appointed Master of The Royal Works in Wales. The castles he created were technical masterpieces, designed to withstand attack and project King Edward I’s power across the land. Edward’s castles subdued the natives for a century until Owain Glyndwr, a charismatic Welshman, emerged to challenge English domination. Visit Wales and you will discover a legacy of more than 600 castles to explore. Some, like Conwy and Caernarfon, are World Heritage Sites but they all have fascinating stories to tell about ancient battles, legends and mysteries.
Beaumaris Castle, built in 1284 by King Edward I, is considered one of the finest examples of 13th-century military architecture in the country
CONWY CASTLE Conwy, completed in just six years by hundreds of migrant English craftsmen, controlled the main route into north Wales. The castle’s defences were tested in 1294 when King Edward I was himself besieged there for two months. Resupplied by sea, the garrison held out, fortified, it is said, by generous gifts of wine from the king’s personal cellar. Later, the castle would be taken by guile when Owain Glyndwr and a companion knocked at the gate posing as carpenters sent to undertake repairs. The ruse worked. They were admitted, killed the guards and opened the gates. Containing the “best preserved suite of medieval private royal chambers in England and Wales”, the castle attracts more than 150,000 visitors annually. It isn’t just the castle people come to see. The battlements continue for three quarters of a mile around the old town, making Conwy one of the most impressive medieval walled towns in the world. www.cadw.gov.wales/daysout/conwycastle
Wales Visit www. britain-magazine. com/castles for more beautiful photos of British castles
BEAUMARIS CASTLE The last and, considered by some, the best of Edward’s castles, Beaumaris was never completed. Named after the Norman ‘Beau Mareys’ or ‘Fair Marsh’, which describes the site chosen for the castle, construction started in 1295 but was dogged by a lack of funds. With no money to pay his 1,800 craftsmen, James of St George gave them leather tokens. Morale collapsed and building work slowed as men drifted away. Then, in 1300, Edward was distracted by a rebellion led by William Wallace. He ordered an invasion of Scotland and building at Beaumaris stopped. Wallace was captured and executed in 1305. Although unfinished, Beaumaris is regarded by many as the most perfect example of symmetrical castle design. UNESCO agrees, praising Beaumaris Castle as a “unique artistic achievement” and for its beauty of “proportions and masonry”.
PHOTOS: © FUNKYFOOD/PAUL WILLIAMS/ALAMY/VISITBRITAIN/BRITAIN ON VIEW/IAN DAGNALL
Bodysgallen Hall Hotel, Restaurant & Spa Llandudno, North Wales LL30 1RS Tel: +44 (1492) 584466
Bodysgallen Hall is a Grade I listed house, set in its estate of 220 acres of gardens, parkland and farmland, two miles from Llandudno with views to Conwy Castle, Snowdonia and the sea. It was originally built in 1250 as an outlying watchtower to Conwy Castle, whilst the rest of the house was built between 1620 and 1900.
Its gardens defined by walled compartments include a parterre, and a woodland garden with a terrace overlooking Conwy Castle and Snowdonia. As an hotel it offers fifteen bedrooms and sixteen cottage suites, meeting rooms, Spa and a renowned restaurant.
In September 2008 HISTORIC HOUSE HOTELS LTD and all its interests in BODYSGALLEN HALL and the other two Historic House Hotels, HARTWELL HOUSE and MIDDLETHORPE HALL, became the property of the NATIONAL TRUST, by donation, with all profits henceforward benefiting the houses and the charity.
5 Star Rugby Hospitality Packages 2015 The St. David’s Hotel & Spa provides 5 star service and accommodation together with panoramic views over Cardiff Bay. The hotel is a short trip away from Cardiff city centre and the Millennium Stadium with easy access by road or water.
• Return transport from the St David’s Hotel & Spa to the Millennium Stadium • Pre-match sparkling wine and bottled beer reception • 3 course pre-match meal in our Tempus at Tides restaurant followed by coffee and mini welsh cakes
£59 per person*
WELSH HIGHLAND RAILWAY
Caernarfon, LL55 2YD • Beddgelert, LL54 4UY • Porthmadog, LL49 9NF
Our station at Caernarfon is just a few minutes walk from the historic castle, making the Welsh Highland Railway an ideal part of a day-out in beautiful Snowdonia. Ride from coast to coast or take a shorter trip to picturesque villages and mountain walks. Relax and enjoy a car-free, care-free ride in comfortable, modern carriages with an 'at-your-seat' buffet service and on-train toilets. Visit our website for more information, plus details of our many special events and family activities taking place during the year.
FFESTINIOG & WELSH HIGHLAND RAILWAYS Harbour Station, Porthmadog, Gwynedd, LL49 9NF firstname.lastname@example.org
AVAILABLE EXTRAS • Speed boat taxi to the Millennium Stadium • Private luxury boat ride with on board refreshment to the Millennium Stadium • Spa packages available
• All of the standard package • Upgraded Champagne and canapés pre match reception • Dedicated function room overlooking Cardiff Bay • Half a bottle of wine per person with the meal • Match day goodie bag to include programme, referee ear set, chocolate rugby balls and St David’s treats • Welsh cakes to take away for a mid match snack • Post match St David’s Hotel pie and mash
All for only £99 per person*
Chargable parking available, subject to availability *Please note that these packages do not include match tickets to the Millennium Stadium
The St. David’s Hotel & Spa, Havannah Street, Cardiff CF10 5SD
Call 029 2045 4045 or visit www.thestdavidshotel.com
www.festrail.co.uk www.britain-magazine.com Rugby World Cup Packages quarter page.indd 1
Wales HARLECH CASTLE
Located in the Vale of Clwyd, Denbigh (right) was originally the site of a Welsh castle named ‘Dinbych’ – ‘little fort’ in Welsh – but all trace of it was obliterated before Edward’s build. His castle, and the new walled town, would be far from little. Goblin Tower is said to be haunted by a stonemason’s son, who was thrown to his death from the top. During the Civil War the castle was held by Royalist Colonel Salesbury, known affectionately by his men as ‘Old Blue Stockings’. Despite having only one cannon and limited supplies, he refused to surrender. After King Charles I was captured and a written order sent, the Royalists marched from the castle in good order, having been given the ‘honours of war’ by their besiegers and allowed to retain their muskets with matches lit at both ends.
Watch the 1964 film Zulu and you will hear a rendition of a song popularly known as the Men of Harlech, sung by the Welsh soldiers defending Rorke’s Drift. The original Welsh version celebrates the longest siege in the British Isles when Harlech Castle (below) held out against Yorkist attackers for an incredible seven years. Perched on a 200ft (61m) cliff, the fortress was impregnable. When the exhausted, tiny garrison surrendered, the castle was surrounded by 10,000 men. During the Civil War, Harlech was the last castle in Britain to surrender to Parliament. Legend tells of Harlech’s Princess Branwen, fated to die of a broken heart – a story of giants, treachery and war. With breathtaking views across Tremadog Bay and the mountains of Snowdonia as a backdrop, Harlech Castle is a gem in a magical setting.
PHOTOS: © CROWN COPYRIGHT (2009) VISIT WALES/CHRIS WARREN/LOOP IMAGES/CORBIS
Discover one of Wales’ best kept secrets at Tredegar House…
An unexpected hidden gem just moments from the motorway, Tredegar House and its surrounding parkland is a historic oasis right at the heart of Newport’s postindustrial landscape. One of the last remaining examples of a Restoration era mansion this handsome house is as notable for its impressive architecture and flamboyant interiors as it is for its notorious history. With tales of riotous parties, lost fortunes, animal menageries, war heroism, giant birds nests, dark arts and doomed marriages… the Morgan family who lived here for centuries certainly ran no ordinary household.
Today you can meet the newest family at Tredegar House – the National Trust team. Hop on one of the many tours and daily talks to hear our stories and buff up on your history, get hands on with food preparation in the Great Kitchen and learn more about how the team are restoring the mansion behind the scenes. Or make the day your own and explore at your own pace through the grounds. Open seven days a week and just moments from the M4. Visit website for more details and find out more about what’s on.
Free Tea for two
Days out are so much better when spent with friends. Treat yourselves to a pot of tea for two on us when you bring this voucher with you when you visit. Promotional code: BRITAINNTT42 Voucher must be surrendered on redemption, no cash alternative. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer. Photocopies will not be accepted
PHOTO: © ADAM BURTON/WWW.ROBERTHARDING.COM/CORBIS
Standing on a stone cliff in the Brecon Beacons, Carreg Cennen will test your fitness as you clamber its ramparts. Voted Wales’s most romantic ruin and immortalised by the landscape artist JMW Turner, Carreg Cennen is a castle of mystery. Take a torch to explore the secret passageway leading to the cave where Owain of the Red Hand slumbers, waiting for the clarion call summoning him to rise up with his warriors. Carreg Cennen has a bloody history, changing hands many times over the centuries. In the 1960s, when its Castell Farm was sold to its tenant farmer, Mr Morris, the lawyer made an expensive mistake and included the castle in the sale. Discovering the blunder, his client, Lord Cawdor, tried to buy the castle back but the farmer, thrilled by his good fortune, refused. It’s still owned by the Morris family who welcome visitors and serve them refreshments. www.carregcennencastle.com www.britain-magazine.com
PHOTOS: © DAVID ANGEL/ALAMY/JIM RICHARDSON/CORBIS
Overlooking the Menai Strait in a beautiful part of Wales, Caernarfon has been a military stronghold since Roman times. Stonemasons discovered what were believed to be the remains of the Roman Emperor Magnus Maximus while building Edward’s castle. To appease the Welsh, Edward promised he would appoint a Welshman, who spoke no English, to be the new Prince of Wales. He then gave the title to his own son, who had been born at Caernarfon. Maintaining the tradition, Queen Elizabeth II invested her son, Charles, as Prince of Wales at Caernarfon in 1969. Dominated by the Eagle Tower, the castle’s polygonal design is believed to be modelled on the Walls of Constantinople, inspired by the discovery of the Roman Emperor’s tomb. Attackers, storming the castle through the King’s Gate, had to pass over two drawbridges, batter down five reinforced doors and cut a way through six portcullises while being continuously bombarded through murder holes and arrow loops. Today, Caernarfon Castle is in the care of the Welsh Heritage Agency, Cadw, a Welsh word meaning ‘to keep’ or ‘to protect’ and entry is much easier; you can pay a modest admission fee and stroll in. www.caernarfon-castle.co.uk
Moorcroft Art Pottery Handmade in Britain since 1897
Each piece of Moorcroft tells a story, with inspiration coming from all the corners of the world. This summer, Moorcroft designers have focused on the treasures of Britain...
DERWENT RESERVOIR – Numbered Edition The natural shades of indigo and moss-green express everything that can be said about the Great British outdoors. In each third of the vase, Derwent Reservoir is pictured with the 617 Squadron practising the low-level flights needed for Operation Chastise or ‘Dam Busters’.
OUT AT SEA – Limited Edition 100 This nostalgic nautical design is a welcome sight anytime of the year for many. The British coastline is a haven and getaway for all those people yearning the saline smells, the exciting movement of an angered ocean and the comforting wafts of fresh fish and chips amongst so many other appealing traits of our few and far between precious harbour towns.
BATTLE OF BRITAIN – Limited Edition 75 Hurricanes and Spitfires, all manoeuvring and accelerating miles high in the menacing summer sky. Thousands were lost and thousands more were injured. Vicky Lovatt has paid homage to the brave pilots and engineers who fought off enemies hurtling down from above, many of them sacrificing themselves for the greater good.
Celebrations of British wildlife, events and towns have all found their home across numerous other designs, which can be found on our website. To view and purchase the above designs plus many more, visit www.britain-magazine.com and click on ‘Britain Shop’.
£50 off Moorcroft Pottery
purchased at the Moorcroft Heritage Visitor Centre, Sandbach Road, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent ST6 2DQ. Orders can be made by telephone on +44 (0)1782 820515 or via email@example.com Quote ‘BritMag15’ to redeem voucher. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offers or discounts. Expires 31/12/15 RUNNYMEDE – Numbered Edition Lady’s smock and the rare ragged-robin grow by the peaceful riverside where Magna Carta was said to be signed. Seen by many as the birthplace of modern democracy, this picturesque setting is quite rightfully, a treasure for all democracies across the world.
Telephone: 01782 820500 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.moorcroft.com
Discover award-winning surprises in Wirral Wirral Peninsula is an oasis of breathtaking coastline, and lush countryside, with a delicious range of eateries and welcoming places to stay. Ideally situated between the two cities of Chester and Liverpool, enjoy stunning views over the Welsh Hills and the River Dee on one side, with the spectacular Liverpool skyline and the River Mersey on the other. Discover Wirral for an action-packed break or a leisurely long weekend.
Discover a warm welcome
Discover Coast & Countryside
The stunning Grade II listed Hillbark Hotel & Spa is an idyllic place to stay and Merseyside’s first 5 star hotel. Set in beautiful parkland, indulge here - choosing from 2 AA or 3 AA Rosette fine dining, and be pampered in the sumptuous spa. Revitalised, explore Royden Park and ride the model railway - ideal for kids.
Visit Ness Botanic Gardens to discover an exquisite educational environment, and outstanding collections of plants and flowers, along with a visitor centre, nature trails and a café. Close-by is Inglewood Manor, recognised with a Visit England Taste award for its fine dining. This country house hotel retains all the charm of a lavish Edwardian family home and is surrounded by 38 acres of exquisite grounds. Later explore Wirral Country Park in Thurstaston; the first country park in Britain. It is home to the Wirral Way, a 12-mile former railway line tracing the Dee Estuary coast and offering an environmental oasis for walkers and cyclists, as well as breathtaking views from the dramatic cliffs across the estuary. You will also discover the Shore Cottage Studio, winner of a North West Coastal Excellence Award and offering a variety of art courses with inspirational views.
Hillbark Hotel & Spa, Frankby
In nearby West Kirby, enjoy some retail therapy at the boutique shops before strolling along the promenade or beach, and take in wonderful views of Wales and Wirral’s treasured Hilbre Islands. Walk or take a boat to the islands and see a variety of wildlife, followed by more adventure with the water sports at the Marine Lake. Emerge shaken not stirred at The Wro Bar, Lounge & Loft; Best Bar in Merseyside three times and Wirral’s Best Bar Team this year, before taking a short hop to Hoylake, childhood home of James Bond actor, Daniel Craig. Here, choose from quality eating places and find Royal Liverpool Golf Club, which played host to the last Men’s British Open Championship. Wirral is a golfer’s paradise; with 14 spectacular courses, and the Wirral Golf Classic - an amateur golf tournament taking place every September.
Then, begin the day at Port Sunlight to receive an absorbing insight into a 19th Century model village. Marvel at award-winning gardens, the art gallery, and uniquely designed houses. Just across the village unwind at the Leverhulme Hotel, an art-deco boutique resting place with its 2 AA Rosette restaurant. Step back in time at Wirral Attraction of the Year - Port Sunlight Museum, before visiting nearby Claremont Farm, home to the Wirral Farm Feast every summer. Try one of the cooking courses here or visit the superb farm shop. Later, ferry across the Mersey with Europe’s celebrated and oldest ferry service, departing from Seacombe and Woodside. Follow this with a quality real ale at Gallagher’s Pub & Barbers ‘Wirral CAMRA Pub’ for the fourth time, and gents get a hot towel shave while you’re there!
Discover the taste of Wirral The Jug & Bottle, Heswall
In nearby Heswall is The Jug and Bottle welcoming guest accommodation with views of the Dee and perfect for a delightful meal in an inviting gastro-pub environment. Finally, relax at award-winning Thornton Hall Hotel & Spa in the quaint Thornton Hough Village. Treat yourself to a 3 AA Rosette fine dining experience, here in its Lawns Restaurant with panoramic views of the beautiful grounds, or indulge in afternoon tea on The Lawns.
Ness Botanic Gardens, Ness
Dell Bridge, Port Sunlight
The delightful, 5 Star Gold, Mere Brook House is the perfect base to explore some must-see attractions. Wirral Accommodation of the Year three years on the run, and recently named Merseyside Guest Accommodation of the Year, this Edwardian guesthouse in Thornton Hough offers a warm welcome in luxurious surroundings.
Discover historic Birkenhead Park; the inspiration for New York’s Central Park, before journeying to Oxton Village. This is home to the established Michelin star restaurant, Fraiche - number one in the Sunday Times Top 100 UK restaurants and in the top 20 UK restaurants within the Which Good Food Guide. Make time for a stop at the nearby Williamson Art Gallery, and view its permanent and national touring exhibitions. Then, heading to the eastern side of Wirral Peninsula, explore North Wirral Coastal Park, with Britain’s oldest brick lighthouse - Leasowe Lighthouse, and the seaside town of New Brighton. The promenade here is home to the Floral Pavilion Theatre, the Light cinema, and Championship Adventure Golf, along with a casino and places to eat and stay. The perfect end to your stay is award-winning Caffe Cream. Choose from one of their many unique ice cream flavours produced on site, and enjoy views of New Brighton Lighthouse, with Liverpool as its backdrop. Don’t miss out - plan your break: visitwirral.com & follow @visit_wirral
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VISIT A PRIVATE
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18STPark HP 202x129mm - FINAL.pdf 1 7/29/2015 4:49:31 12 Holland Road London W14 8LZ Open daily 10amPM- 5:30pm; Tuesdays closed Free guided tours on Wednesdays and Sundays 3pm Visit our website for exhibitions and events
From 1875, 18 Stafford Terrace was the home of Punch cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne, his wife Marion, their two children and their live-in servants. The house gives an insight into the personal lives of the Sambourne family, and also provides a rare example of what was known as an 'Aesthetic interior' or 'House Beautiful' style. Open September to June Public open days on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays: guided & costumed tours AM (advance booking essential) and open access PM. Private tours also available More information: www.rbkc.gov.uk/museums
18 Stafford Terrace, London W8 7BH Follow us on Facebook and Twitter
18 STAFFORD TERRACE THE SAMBOURNE FAMILY HOME STEP BACK IN TIME TO 1899
How a gutsy rebellion begun by supporters of the son of King James II 300 years ago led to a Bonnie Prince being heralded a hero
PHOTOS: © THE PRINT COLLECTOR/ALAMY/HULTON ARCHIVE/ISTOCK
WORDS NEIL JONES
he plot and cast are extraordinary: a foreigner, 52nd in line to the throne, is made King of Great Britain and Ireland, while a King over the Sea and a Bonnie Prince, who seek to regain the Crown, have their hopes dashed on a Scottish moor by a blue-blooded butcher. Add disguises, scheming and skirling bagpipes: if William Shakespeare had been around to witness the Jacobite rebellions of 1715 and 1745, he would surely have found material for a great tragedy. This year marks the 300th anniversary of the rising known as ‘the Fifteen’ (1715–16), a dramatic outburst of Jacobite rebellion that had been brewing ever since the www.britain-magazine.com
Above: The Battle of Culloden, depicted in an 18th-century painting. Top right: Prince Charles Edward Stuart, painted by Antonio David
Glorious Revolution (1688–89) had ousted Roman Catholic King James II from the throne in favour of his daughter, Mary, and her husband, William of Orange. The subsequent Act of Settlement (1701) that excluded Catholics from the Crown meant that when Queen Anne died childless in 1714, 51 blood relatives were passed over before George of Hanover, closest eligible Protestant to succeed, was thrust onto the throne. Boorish and unable to speak English, King George I impressed few of his new subjects and gave fresh impetus to feelings that James Francis Edward Stuart, exiled son of King James II, was the rightful heir. BRITAIN
had been stillborn in 1688, then smuggled in a bundle of washing into exile in France when his father King James II lost the throne. The lugubrious individual who appeared 27 years later fell sadly short of his adventurous past. Unable to inspire the rebellion to continue, he slipped back to the Continent, settling in Rome. Although the Fifteen was foiled, with Eilean Donan Castle all but destroyed in 1719, disturbances continued, until the House of Stuart had another chance to invade in 1745, alongside the French. While James was too tired to bother, his 24-year-old son Charles, “so sweet a prince, that flesh and blood could not resist following him”, answered the call. In the event, French backing fell away, but Charles pressed on, arriving at Glenfinnan, Scotland, in August 1745 with just 50 supporters. Over two days the charismatic, blue-eyed ‘Young Pretender’ attracted 1,500 men about him and he raised his father’s standard – today’s monument and visitor www.britain-magazine.com
PHOTOS: © GL ARCHIVE/ALAMY/ VISITBRITAIN/BRITAIN ON VIEW/JOHN MCKENNA/CAMANI IMAGES
Popular myth says the Jacobite rebellions (from the Latin Jacobus, James) that sought to restore the Stuart dynasty, pitched Scots against English, or Catholics against Protestants. In reality, there were Jacobite sympathisers across England and Wales too, and across religious divides. Those uneasy about the union of the kingdoms of Scotland and England in 1707 also found a focus for dissent, while powers in Europe were ever ready to raise mischief by backing the Jacobite cause. Open rebellion broke out in Scotland in 1715, led by the Earl of Mar, but was checked in November by government forces at Sheriffmuir, northeast of Dunblane. Slow off the mark, James Stuart, the ‘Old Pretender’, returned from France to Scotland only in December, holding court at Scone Palace. This was the man who, it was rumoured, had been a changeling: the baby smuggled into Mary of Modena’s bedroom in a warming-pan to replace the royal baby that
Clockwise from top left: A portrait of King George I ; Eilean Donan Castle, in the Highlands, which was partially destroyed by government ships in
1719; Scone Palace, where James Francis Edward Stuart held court; etching of James Stuart, who was known as the 'Old Pretender', circa 1688
DID YOU KNOW? On 20 February 1702, King William was riding Sorrel, a new horse, in the park of Hampton Court. As the horse began to gallop it stumbled on a molehill and fell, throwing William, who broke his collarbone with ultimately fatal consequences. This unhappy incident gave rise to a new Jacobite toast: â€˜To the little gentleman in black velvetâ€™.
PHOTOS: © CLASSIC IMAGE/ALAMY/AIN SHARP
Above: The first meeting of Prince Charles with Flora MacDonald on the Isle of South Uist, 1747
Below: The Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, where Prince Charles set up court
centre at the head of Loch Shiel, framed by dramatic Highland glen scenery, tell the story. Edinburgh fell to Jacobite hands and Charles set up court at Holyroodhouse, conducting official business there. His army’s rout of government forces at Prestonpans in September sent shock waves to London and the speed at which Jacobites marched to Derby by 4 December, just 125 miles from the capital, threw banks and businesses in the City into panic; King George II prepared to flee. But things began to go wrong for Charles. Promised help from France failed to materialise and English Jacobites showed little support, leading senior officers to argue for a withdrawal back to Scotland. What might have been if Charles’s army had not turned around? The Jacobites defeated government forces at Falkirk in January 1746 and took Inverness in the following month, however crucial momentum had been lost and, by spring, money and supplies were running critically short. The fate of the Forty-Five rising was about to be sealed at the www.britain-magazine.com
Left: A depiction of Bonnie Prince Charlie, who was known as the 'Young Pretender', painted posthumously
PHOTOS: © GL ARCHIVE/ALAMY/NATIONAL TRUST/ROBERT THRIFT
Below: Mezzotint of Bonnie Prince Charlie disguised as Betty Burke after his defeat at the Battle of Culloden, by John Williams, 1746
Charles’s army’s rout of government forces at Prestonpans sent shock waves to London, and the speed of marching threw banks into chaos
Battle of Culloden, five miles southeast of Inverness. Take up the story at the Culloden visitor centre, where an exhibition features eyewitness accounts, a battlefield guide and tours that detail events of 16 April 1746. After a botched night-time attack on sleeping government Redcoats had left Jacobite troops weary and hungry, Charles faced down his advisors – “God damn it! Are my orders still disobeyed?” – and insisted on joining battle. Vastly outnumbered – 7,500 to 5,500 – the Jacobites advanced through afternoon hail, gunfire and grapeshot. Their great tactical weapon, the feared Highland charge, was no match for the well-drilled forces of the Duke of Cumberland, son of King George II. In an hour Charles had lost 1,500 men, while government casualties were just 50. The Jacobite dream lay dead on the rain-drenched, boggy moor, the last hand-to-hand www.britain-magazine.com
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Something you never knew about Whisky We want to tell you a story. A historic story that shaped Scotland and a story that most locals aren’t even aware of. It’s the type of story we like to tell our passengers up here in the Highlands … It was 1707. The Scottish economy was on the brink of economic disaster. Famines and sickness plagued the lands. There was only one thing going well and that was the whisky trade. But this was about to drastically change. Whisky distillation was becoming increasingly profitable and the UK government saw this as an opportunity to raise funds for its war with France. So a substantial malt tax was imposed. For Scotland’s national drink, it spelt disaster. By 1725 distilleries were penniless and many were left unemployed. Riots sprang up in Stirling, Dundee, Elgin and Paisley. In Glasgow houses were burnt-down, 8 people were killed and 400 Dragoons were sent to placate this unruly challenge to the union. Scotland’s whisky distilleries urgently had to do something. So they hid. The term ‘moonshine’ originates from this period because many were forced to secretly make whisky at night. Huge swathes of distillers moved to the distant islands and furthest reaches of Scotland to avoid this tax, thus creating the erratic whisky landscape that still exists today.
The malt tax had great repercussions and is currently still in existence. But luckily for us, rather than wipe out whisky production, it just made the industry more interesting . . .
Highland Explorer Tours There’s a reason we wanted to tell you that story. It’s because we have a suite of new ‘Taste of Scotland’ tours, which allow you to sample some of Scotland’s finest food and drink. But that’s not all we offer. We have award winning 1 to 7 day tours visiting quintessential Scottish locations and attractions such as Glen Coe, Loch Ness and the Jacobite Steam Train. All our guides are local experts with a friendly attitude and a passion for storytelling. Book a tour today and discover Scotland’s extraordinary history and culture.
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Clockwise from top left: The Battle of Culloden, painted in 1850, artist unknown; Loch Shiel with the Glenfinnan
Monument marking the uprising; a Jacobite wine glass; Flora MacDonald's tomb on the Isle of Skye PHOTOS: © THE PRINT COLLECTOR/HERITAGE IMAGES/IAN DAGNALL/ALAMY/JIM DUNN/ GLASGOW CITY COUNCIL MUSEUMS/HOLMES GARDEN PHOTOS
battle fought on British soil. While the Bonnie Prince fled, ‘Butcher Cumberland’ and his men showed no mercy, slaying those who remained. In the aftermath, the government ruthlessly set about dismantling Highland culture, depriving clan chiefs of their legal powers and clansmen of their weapons. Jacobite estates were seized, and the kilt and tartan were banned. Mighty Fort George was built northeast of Inverness as a government army base. Charles went on the run across the Highlands and Scottish islands for five months before making good his escape abroad; his disguise as Betty Burke, an Irish spinning maid, in the company of Flora MacDonald, entered legend – though he was nearly discovered when he unthinkingly hoisted up his skirts to cross a river. At first feted on the Continent as a romantic hero, the once-handsome Bonnie Prince became a tragic figure of drunken dissipation, dying in Rome in 1788 following a stroke. He long lamented not perishing at Culloden.
For more stories on the history and struggles of Britain's royal households go to www.britain-magazine.com
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US $29.99 or £19.95 RAISING A GLASS TO REBELLION At a time when Jacobite support was treasonable, those loyal to the cause would conclude covert meetings by raising their glasses over a finger bowl, signifying allegiance to ‘the King over the Sea’ (James Francis Edward Stuart). As a result, Jacobite drinking paraphernalia that had hidden or coded imagery also sprang up. See, for example, a tray in the West Highland Museum at Fort William. It is covered in seemingly random scrawl until you place a metal cylinder or goblet in its centre, when the likeness of Bonnie Prince Charlie becomes apparent as a reflection. www.westhighlandmuseum.org.uk Other toasting vessels included Amen glasses, inscribed with ‘Amen’ in
reference to the conclusion of the Jacobite national anthem, The Origin of our Own. Such glasses often bore a tear-shaped bubble in the stem, symbolising mourning for the absent royal house. Further symbols on Jacobite glasses included thistles and sunflowers (Scotland and Restoration). Glasgow Museums has 400 Jacobite objects in its collection, including this wine glass (left) with an engraved portrait of Charles Stuart. www.glasgowmuseums.com For your own Jacobite toast, try Drambuie, the secret recipe for which was given by Bonnie Prince Charlie to John MacKinnon, chief of Clan MacKinnon, in thanks for helping him to escape from the Isle of Skye. Its full Gaelic name 'an dram buidheach' means ‘the drink that satisfies’.
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their classic and historic influences. Overnight guests receive complimentary access to the castle and grounds on the day of arrival from noon onwards and for the full day they are due to depart – they can even enjoy access to some parts of the gardens outside opening hours. Hever Castle has received the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence award for the second year running as a visitor attraction and for its luxury bed and breakfast accommodation. It is a member of the Historic Houses Association, which has 1,600 member properties, around 500 of which open their doors to the public. For more information about Hever Castle and Gardens, go to www.hevercastle.co.uk or call 01732 865224.
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VISIT THE COTSWOLDS RETREAT OF WILLIAM MORRIS Visiting Hours (April – October) Open Days: Wednesday and Saturday, 11am to 5pm Explore our riverside gardens and enjoy home-made food in our licensed Tearoom Visit our Shop for contemporary crafts and other gift ideas
Become a Friend of Kelmscott Manor Support conservation at the Manor and receive great benefits: - Free entry on open days - One free Kelmscott Manor guidebook - Discounts in the Tearoom & Shop - Free or discounted admission to special events International Excellence Award (TravelZoo, 2015) “Secret Britain: 50 Hidden Gems to Seek Out This Summer” (Telegraph, 2015) Best Small Visitor Attraction (Cotswolds Tourism, 2014) Certificate of Excellence (TripAdvisor, 2014)
WWW.KELMSCOTTMANOR.ORG.UK Kelmscott Manor is owned by the Society of Antiquaries of London (registered charity 207237). Address: Kelmscott Manor, Kelmscott, Lechlade GL7 3HJ | Tel: 01367 252486 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.kelmscottmanor.org.uk | Twitter: @KelmscottManor
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Where to eat, stay and visit
City breaks BRIGHTON
The playground of the pleasure-seeking Prince Regent, the seaside city of Brighton also attracted our literary greats â€“ from Rudyard Kipling to Lewis Carroll WORDS SALLY COFFEY
HIDDEN IN THE PRIVATE GARDENS OF SUSSEX SQUARE IS A TUNNEL SAID TO HAVE INSPIRED LEWIS CARROLL
Below: The Royal Pavilion was commissioned by the Prince Regent and is an enduring testament to his lavish tastes
ver since the Brighton Belle – the world’s most famous electric train, complete with Art-Deco styling and Pullman carriages – began bringing day trippers from London to the town in the 1930s, Brighton’s transformation from a quaint fishing village to a bustling holiday destination has been complete. Today it is the epitome of a traditional British seaside town – think lazy afternoons dozing on deckchairs, rolling up your trouser legs for a spot of paddling in the sea before eating fish and chips on the pebbles.
The Victorian pier is a must for any visit, with its arcade machines, cheeky carnival cutouts and kiosks selling sticks of rock. Although Brighton didn’t attract the masses until much later, it was the arrival of the Prince Regent, who came here in the 1780s to partake in the famous ‘sea water cure’, popularised by the Georgians, that made it a fashionable place to be. The Prince Regent – who went on to become King George IV – was known for his lavish tastes and libertine lifestyle and he must have found something alluring about the town following his first visit in 1783 as he soon commissioned the exotic pleasure palace known as the Royal Pavilion. Of course one thing that kept him coming back was his love for Maria Fitzherbert, a twice-widowed woman who he secretly married (though the marriage wasn’t legal). Fitzherbert lived in a property in Old Steine but a secret tunnel ensured the Prince could visit his wife away from prying eyes. Brighton soon became a hotspot for socialites and it was even referenced by Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice in 1813. When
Lydia Bennet’s suitor Wickham returns to his barracks in the town, she yearns to visit him, not least so she can experience the buzz of the town: “In Lydia’s imagination, a visit to Brighton comprised every possibility of earthly happiness,” Austen wrote. One of the lasting reminders of this period of extravagance, which continued after the death of King George IV in 1830, is the incredible Regency architecture that abounds, especially in its gorgeous squares, the most famous of which hides a detail that may have inspired one of our most treasured works of literature. Hidden in the private gardens of Sussex Square, which together with Lewes Crescent forms the biggest crescent in Britain, is a tunnel that creeps down to the coast road, which is said to have inspired the famous ‘rabbit hole’ in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: “The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down.” At the top of Sussex Square is a plaque to Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll’s real name), who used to stay with his sister Henrietta www.britain-magazine.com
PHOTOS: © LENSCAP/ALAMY/VISIT BRIGHTON/VISITENGLAND/ALEX ROBINSON/WWW.ROBERTHARDING.COM/ CORBIS/SCOTT HORTOP IMAGES. ILLUSTRATION: © MICHAEL HILL
City Breaks CUT-OUT-AND-GO GUIDE: BRIGHTON GETTING THERE
The Brighton Belle may no longer run (though a campaign is afoot to reinstate it and it should be up and running in 2016) but there are regular high-speed trains from London Victoria to Brighton that take less than an hour. www.nationalrail.co.uk Once in Brighton you can walk between most attractions or hail a cab if you want to venture to Rottingdean or Sussex Square. Distances are quite small so prices are reasonable. There are also regular buses between Brighton and Rottingdean. WHERE TO STAY
Clockwise from far left: The Music Room in the Royal Pavilion; the Palace Pier; seafood afternoon tea at GB1; Sussex Square. Below: Brighton Pier's Helter Skelter
who lived on the square. Carroll wasn’t the only famous visitor – Prince Albert was known to take strolls in the gardens when his friends the Sassoons lived here and he seemed to have a more favourable opinion of the town than his wife, Queen Victoria, who complained of intrusion by locals: “The people here are very indiscreet and troublesome.” For the lucky few who are given access, it’s easy to picture Alice popping out of a secret enclosure or pathway. This year marks 150 years since the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and it was in the same year that another Brighton local, a certain Rudyard Kipling, was born. Though his birthplace was in India, it was in the Brighton suburb of Rottingdean that Kipling settled with his young family when he came to England in 1897. The Kipling Gardens, which formed part of the gardens of The Elms, where Kipling lived with his wife and children
An inn has stood on the site of the four-star seafront Old Ship Hotel since Shakespeare’s time and, over the centuries, a host of illustrious guests, from King Charles II to Charles Dickens, have graced its halls and glittering Assembly Rooms (now known as the Paganini Ballroom). www.oldshiphotel-brighton.co.uk For something a little more contemporary, Drakes of Brighton is a lovely boutique hotel housed in a double-fronted Georgian townhouse. The hotel has its own cocktail bar, while dinner in the restaurant is recommended: it came out top for Brighton restaurants in the Good Food Guide 2015 for the sixth year running. www.drakesofbrighton.com If you’d like to stay in the charming village of Rottingdean, the seven-bed B&B of Blenheim House will be a home from home. www.blenheimguesthouse.co.uk WHERE TO EAT
The Grand Hotel in Brighton (above, right) is a gorgeous Victorian building, with a spiral staircase leading up to
exquisite rooms. It has its own day spa but, for us, the main reason to visit is to experience the GB1 Seafood Restaurant & Bar. Take a window seat and choose from a succulent choice of seafood dishes (there are a few meat options too) while you take in the sea view, or opt for a seat at the newly installed oyster bar for a touch more glamour. www.grandbrighton.co.uk/dining-en.html If you want to follow in the footsteps of some of our best writers, then book a table at English’s of Brighton, once frequented by Lewis Carroll and Oscar Wilde (though not at the same time, we might add). Oysters are the order of the day, but look out too for signed photos from the likes of Charlie Chaplin. www.englishs.co.uk Locals tell us that when it comes to fish and chips, The Regency is hard to beat. www.theregencyrestaurant.co.uk The Plough Inn in Rottingdean serves tasty pub meals, with ingredients sourced from the village’s own butcher and greengrocer. www.theploughinnrottingdean.co.uk
CUT-OUT-AND-GO GUIDE: BRIGHTON ¾DRINK in the Cricketers (left), Graham Greene’s favourite pub. In the upstairs Greene Room you can look at lots of memorabilia related to Greene and – oddly – the pub also lays claim to being Jack the Ripper’s local.
¾PEER through the tunnel that inspired Lewis Carroll’s ‘rabbit hole’. Access is via a pathway off Madeira Drive underneath Sussex Square. While here, take a walk around Sussex Square and see if you can spot all the plaques for past luminaries who spent time here.
¾DISCOVER the town's literary links and learn more about some of the writers who have been inspired by Brighton and its surrounds. Blue Badge Guide Lyn Neville offers a range of walks around the town and can cater an itinerary to suit. www.brightonwalks.com
IN THE HEART OF BRIGHTON, THE TOWN'S OLDEST HOTEL, THE OLD SHIP, WAS A POPULAR HAUNT OF DICKENS DON'T MISS
¾SHOP in the Lanes for unique gifts, or try to nab a heritage piece in one of the many antiques shops that wind their way through this ancient part of Brighton. Look out for places that inspired Greene’s writing and historic buildings such as the Druids Head, which is supposed be Brighton’s most haunted pub.
¾TAKE THE KIPLING TRAIL through the writer’s old haunts: a new guide covers all the places in and around Rottingdean and the South Downs that are linked to the author of The Jungle Book and the Just So series of books. One place worth factoring in is North End House in Rottingdean, where Kipling’s son Edward was born, as well as the Kipling Gardens (above). Each summer, the village also hosts the annual Kipling Festival. www.kiplingfestivalrottingdean.co.uk
PHOTOS: © LIZ FINLAYSON/ALAMY/VISITBRITAIN/BRITAIN ON VIEW/DUNCAN P WALKER/ISTOCK
Live like a local Brighton Rock by Graham Greene (Vintage, £8.34)
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (Penguin Books Ltd, £12.99)
James Oliver is the director of Find & Build, a property search and renovation service When I’m not working I love to go to: * The Basketmakers Pub, which is a proper local tucked away in a backwater of North Laine. It serves great food and, more importantly, beer, and the crowds spill out on to the street during the summer evenings. * Vine Street Vintage, which sells cool interiors for less than some of the other shops. My current favourite is a set of refurbished 1960s fairground waltzers converted into sofas. * The Coffee Counter is an independent cafe. Located in Vine Street away from the main drag, it picks up trade from people who need a breather from the city centre. www.findandbuild.co.uk
SEA VIEWS The Victorian pier is a must for any visit, with its arcade machines, carnival cutouts and kiosks, selling Brighton rock
from 1897 to 1902, are bursting with colour and huge, blossoming roses. The Plough Inn overlooks the village pond, while at The Grange, which doubles as a library and a gallery, there is a permanent Kipling room, showing intimate National Trust images of the writer and his family. Back in the heart of Brighton, the town’s oldest hotel, The Old Ship, was a popular haunt of Charles Dickens and his contemporary William Thackeray, who set part of his novel Vanity Fair here. Dickens also stayed at the Royal York Hotel, where he gave his first reading of David Copperfield and he is also believed to have written much of Dombey & Sons here. In the 1930s author Graham Greene depicted a different side of the town in his novel Brighton Rock – that of the razor gangs that flitted in and out of the maze of streets known as The Lanes. On one of these streets, Black Lion Street, lies The Cricketers, Brighton’s oldest pub and Graham Greene’s local. The Lanes, with their hidden corners, are much the same today as they were in Greene’s time, though they are now somewhat more salubrious in their offerings, which include gorgeous antiques and jewellery shops, and are a great place to listen out for the ghosts of literature’s past
8 For more on Britain's seaside towns go to www. britain-magazine.com
At the heart of drakes’ philosophy is the desire to make their guests feel like treasured friends coming to stay and provide a real escape from day to day life. For over a decade now, drakes has been top of the game and continues to set standards in luxury, design and customer care. Fabulous sea views, sumptuous handmade beds and deep freestanding baths has earned them the reputation of being Brighton’s most romantic hotel. Be sure to book a table at the restaurant at drakes, Brighton’s highly acclaimed fine dining restaurant to complete your experience.
43-44 Marine Parade, Brighton BN2 1PE
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Albro House Hotel
155 Sussex Gardens, Hyde Park, London W2 2RY Tel: +44 (0)20 7724 2931 / +44 (0)20 7706 8153 Fax: +44 (0)20 7262 2278 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.albrohotel.co.uk Located near Hyde Park, public transport and convenient for sightseeing and shopping. Comfortable rooms all with TV, private facilities, tea / coffee maker, phone, radio and hairdryer. Friendly efficient service. Quiet, relaxed atmosphere. Some parking. Families and small groups welcome. Tours booked. Luggage storage. Free WiFi Rates per person including cooked English breakfast & all taxes Single rooms from Twin / double rooms from Family (3 or 4) per person from
Low Season £46 to £58 £34 to £48 £32 to £40
High Season £58 to £84 £50 to £70 £38 to £48
A GOOD VALUE HOTEL IN CENTRAL LONDON
The Registry SAFEKEEPING RECORDS OF YOUR LAST WISHES
enquiries TheRegistry.org.uk www.TheRegistry.org.uk
The ultimate gift of peace we can give to those we leave behind, is to make our last wishes known. We securely hold records of your Last Wishes and ensure they are always kept safe and ready. www.britain-magazine.com
Over To You
Get in touch with your views about the country, your travels and the magazine
OUR FAVOURITE LETTER AFTER A FASHION Thank you for the article on British fashion in July 2015 (Volume 83 Issue 3). I visited Kensington Palace while I was in London in April (I had hoped to catch a glimpse of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, but no such luck) and, along with the excellent displays of Queen Victoria’s possessions, I saw the dress exhibit mentioned in the article. I must admit, however, that the most fascinating outfits for me were not those of the Queen or even Princess Diana, but of Princess Margaret. In the 1950s and 1960s she was as much a “standard bearer in British style” as Princess Diana was in the 1980s. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine some of her iconic looks coming back into style. I love reading your excellent magazine. Barbara-Anne Eddy, Vancouver, Canada
Our favourite letter wins this gorgeous book on fashion history, London Couture 1923-1975: British Luxury, by Edwina Ehrman and Amy de la Haye, (£50), published by the V&A Museum. The book eloquently draws on some of the best pieces in the museum’s modern collections. www.vam.ac.uk •
PHOTOS: © TRINITY MIRROR/MIRRORPIX/ALAMY/ANTONIO BUSIELLO/HATFIELD HOUSE
FIT FOR A QUEEN? Being an ex-pat, I take an annual visit to my homeland every summer. In 2012, I visited Hatfield House with my younger sister. One of the artefacts was a pair of Elizabeth I’s riding gloves with delicate slender fingers and small hands. I remember saying: “How on earth could anyone get their hands in those?”, which brings me to the conspiracy theory question of who Elizabeth I really was. Certainly not a man. Elizabeth A Holland, Port Clinton, Ohio, USA HOW TO WRITE TO US – by post to: Letters, BRITAIN, Chelsea Magazines, Jubilee House, 2 Jubilee Place, London, SW3 3TQ; or to: Letters, BRITAIN, Circulation Specialists Inc, 2 Corporate Drive, Suite 945, Shelton, CT 06484, USA. Or email the editor: email@example.com Follow us on Twitter at @BritainMagazine or like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BritainMagazine
TIME FOR TEA I married Clare, my wife of 63 years, in Liverpool while stationed at RAF Burtonwood. Ill health now prevents us from returning from the US, so thank you for bringing England to us. We can’t pick up a copy of your magazine without seeing places we’ve been to and sights we’ve seen. In July 2015 (Volume 83 Issue 3), for instance, there was both Hampton Court and Kensington palaces. While there are hundreds of tea rooms on the west coast of the US, we miss the quaint tea rooms of rural England. For a while I was collecting all of your magazines, but I have since passed them on to others for them to enjoy. Bill Willis, Lompoc, California, USA
MORE LETTERS... Sadly we don’t have room to publish all of your letters here. To read more go to www.britain-magazine.com/letters
@RuthDunkin Rule Britannia and always that, love to go to @BlenheimPalace and wave my flag! BRITAIN
BRITAIN’S CHOICE – favourite destinations to explore
Four good reasons to visit 1066 Country this Autumn!
Bexhill Festival of the Sea
5 – 6 September 2015
Hastings Seafood & Wine Festival
19 – 20 September 2015
Battle of Hastings Re enactment, Battle
10 – 11 October 2015
Rye Wild Boar Week
24 October – 1 November 2015
© National Trust Images. Registered Charity Number 205846.
BATTLE • BEXHILL • HASTINGS • HERSTMONCEUX • PEVENSEY • RYE
Enjoy a relaxing day out at Newark Park. Discover the historic house, explore the gardens and enjoy autumn walks on the estate.
We're on the Cotswold escarpment, just off the A4135 Dursley-Tetbury. Members and under 5s go free.
01453 842644 nationaltrust.org.uk/newarkpark
Corsham, Wiltshire “the real star of Poldark” (The Daily Mail) Historic High Street Independent shops Peacocks roam freely from Corsham Court Poldark filmed here 20 minutes from Bath and the M4
www.corsham.gov.uk/visit 01249 702130
20 minutes from Waterloo 20 MINUTES
F R O M W AT E R L O O Dine. Shop. Stay. Escape.
Village lanes & boutiques Pubs, restaurants & hotels Twickenham Stadium London Wetland Centre Kew Gardens, Richmond Park & Hampton Court Palace
Richmond upon Thames W W W. V I S I T R I C H M O N D . C O . U K
Visit Richmond, Surrey
950 years of History
e r o l Exp ntry ou C 6 106 15. in 20 for the
6 date y in 201 a e r k sa Ma niver n a g bi
Open 1st April to 30th September 2015 Contact Info Line 01367 240932 or www.buscotpark.com for opening times
Battle • Bexhill • Hastings • Herstmonceux • Pevensey • Rye
To book space call Natasha +44 (0)207 349 3732
BRITAINâ€™S CHOICE â€“ discover fascinating heritage attractions
Built in 1183 as a Benedictine monastery, Down Cathedral is now a Cathedral of the Church of Ireland. Prominent and majestic, the cathedral is believed to have the grave of St Patrick in its grounds. There is also wonderful stained glass and a pulpit and organ of highest quality. Open all year round. Monday - Saturday 9.30 - 4.00: Sunday 2.00 - 4.00pm
The Mall, English Street, Downpatrick, County Down BT30 6AB T: 028 4461 4922 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check our website for opening times and admission prices
FIND OUT HOW ‘THE FEW’ CHANGED HISTORY The new Wing visitor centre at the National Memorial to the Few is home to a unique audio-visual experience that tells the tale of the Battle of Britain, arguably the most important conflict fought by this country in the whole of the last century.
The Scramble Experience, opened this spring, complements the existing Memorial and the other features of this special clifftop site, dedicated to the men Churchill called “the Few”.
online discount Use promo code BritMag2015
Time Out of the Ordinary
Those features include the Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall, which lists the names of all those who took part in the Battle, and a replica Hurricane and Spitfire. Open daily from 10am. For seasonal closing times and much more information see www.battleofbritainmemorial.org
AT THE INSPIRATIONAL BATTLE OF BRITAIN VISITOR CENTRE IN KENT Visit us at CT18 7JJ – on the B2011 at Capel-le-Ferne, just outside Folkestone, Kent
Discover 1,000 years of British history and explore award-winning gardens at a much loved family home, in the heart of the Cotswolds. Open daily until Sunday 1st November 2015, 10am - 5pm Events throughout the season | Discounts for group bookings Free cup of tea or coffee for concession ticket holders, Mon to Fri
www.sudeleycastle.co.uk Tel: 01242 604 244
telephone - 01303 249292 email - email@example.com BR7.qxp_Layout 1 28/07/2015 15:35 Page 1
Llancaiach Fawr Manor is where the past and the present meet. History here is tangible. The servants of the house are living and working in 1645 and encourage you to share and engage in their world and the cares and concerns of ordinary people living in extraordinary times.
DAVID AUSTIN® ROSES
Open Tuesday - Sunday 10 - 5pm
Munstead Wood (Ausbernard)
David C.H. Austin
David Austin’s fragrant, repeatflowering English Roses are the result of a lifetime’s dedication to rose breeding.
Call 800 328 8893 (US) 01902 376300 (UK)
For more information visit our website or just give us a call
• www.llancaiachfawr.co.uk • • 01443 412248 • To book space call Natasha +44 (0)207 349 3732
BRITAIN’S CHOICE – take a tour and make the most of your holiday
Private Small Group Tours
England, Scotland and Ireland Experience up to 5,000 years of British history and culture including pre-history, castles, grand houses, battlefields, Roman Britain, architecture, industrial history, scenery, gardens, Shakespeare, Robert Burns, Cotswolds, Lake District, Whisky Tours and much more. Private tours arranged by an experienced and bonded tour guide, self-drive tours also available.
Tel: +44 (0)141 638 5500 Website: www.catswhiskerstours.co.uk Blog: www.catswhiskerstours.com Direct e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jane Austen The Dancing Years
Explore Jane Austen’s early life with Hampshire Ambassador, Phil Howe. Discover the villages, churches, country houses and trace the people she describes in her letters. Tours can include a visit to the Jane Austen House Museum, and the village of Chawton. Enjoy lunch at a Hampshire country inn. An ideal halfday or one-day tour. Downton Abbey Tours when available. 45 mins by train from London Waterloo
For more information Phone: +44 (0)1256 814222 e-mail: email@example.com or visit www.hiddenbritaintours.co.uk
Chauffeured sightseeing tours of rural & historic Britain
Chauffeured tours Chauffeured sightseeing sightseeing tours Uncover the the hidden treasures and quirky of of rural & historic Britain rural Britain delights of&thishistoric fascinating country.
Uncover the hidden treasures and quirky An exclusive of and superior service for upcountry. to 3 people delights fascinating Uncover the thethis hidden treasures and quirky An exclusive and superior service for up to 3 people delights of this fascinating country. Tailored to the interests of the client, personalised itineraries allow the time toand uncover the hidden treasures An exclusive superior service for upoftoBritain. 3 people The Tours of the Realm “experience” is friendly, secure and an ideal choice for visitors wishing to relax and enjoy the sights at a leisurely pace with an excellent level of customer care. tel: 07595 769615 or 01303 863869 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
www.toursoftherealm.com To book space call Natasha +44 (0)207 349 3732
WHAT’S IN a word?
PHOTO: © BETA757/SHUTTERSTOCK
Our language expert reveals the hidden meanings of some bizarre West Country phrases
The ‘West Country’ is an informal term for an area of south-west England comprising the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire. It is a predominantly rural region, surviving on tourism, dairy farming and agriculture. Famous for its cider, clotted cream and pasties, the area boasts gorgeous pastures in Exmoor, Bodmin Moor and Dartmoor. Famous inhabitants include writers, such as Thomas Hardy and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and eminent Britons Sir Joshua Reynolds, Sir Christopher Wren and Sir Walter Raleigh. In the Victorian glossaries of the county dialects you’ll find unique words and phrases for some of the oddest customs and traditions in this part of rural England. In Cornwall there is ‘boossenning’ in the parish of Altarnun, where villagers ‘cured’ mental illness by placing the patient on the brink of a square pool filled with water from the Nun’s Well; the patient was then plunged into the water, roughly baptised and repeatedly dipped until the frenzy had forsaken them.
In Somerset, ‘cock-squailing’ was a gruesome old Shrove (locally called Shaff) Tuesday sport that involved flinging sticks at a cockerel until it died. During ‘skimmerton-riding’ – another Somerset sport – the effigy of a man or woman accused of being unfaithful was carried on a pole, accompanied by rough music from cows’ horns and frying pans. An earlier version involved two people riding back to back on a horse, with ladles and marrow bones in hand to ridicule a hen-pecked husband. In Wiltshire there are two lovely phrases: a ‘queen’s cushion’, meaning a seat for a little girl, made by two people crossing hands and carrying her between them (likewise, there’s a ‘king’s cushion’ for a little boy), and a ‘pigeon pair’ for a boy and a girl (when a mother has only two children). Adam Jacot de Boinod is the author of The Meaning of Tingo: and Other Extraordinary Words from Around the World, published by Penguin Books, and is the creator of the iPhone app Tingo, a quiz on interesting words.
WEST COUNTRY Conundrums Can you guess the correct definition of the following phrases?
2. Griggles 1. Chinbowdash (Dorset dialect)
A) The tie of the cravat. B) To beat up batter for pudding. C) Pertaining to a puppet show.
A) Curls that hang over a woman’s shoulder. B) Small, worthless apples remaining on the tree after the crop has been gathered. C) The four of clubs, considered unlucky.
A) Touch and go. B) Vigorously – with might and main. C) Careless, reckless, happy-go-lucky.
For all the answers, plus more questions on the origins of English words, go to www.britain-magazine.com/quiz www.britain-magazine.com 988BRITAIN
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It’s London. Under one iconic roof. Fantastic dining, tax-free shopping, awe-inspiring public art and exciting cultural events, all unde...
Published on Oct 30, 2015
It’s London. Under one iconic roof. Fantastic dining, tax-free shopping, awe-inspiring public art and exciting cultural events, all unde...