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Archive for england

Plenty of Books in Norfolk

By Linda Tancs

One of the most impressive collections of books in England is at Blickling Estate in Norfolk. That’s where you’ll find the 18th-century Long Gallery, which contains over 12,500 volumes, including a handwritten manuscript from the 1100s containing the Dialogues of Pope Gregory the Great. Mentioned in the Domesday Book, the estate is also the alleged birthplace of Anne Boleyn, ill-fated wife of King Henry VIII. Be sure to stroll the gardens. There are two secret tunnels, a walled garden and a lake, as well as a formidable row of yew hedges flanking the driveway.

The Coronation of King Charles

By Linda Tancs

The Coronation of His Majesty The King Charles III and Queen Camilla will take place at Westminster Abbey on May 6, 2023, sparking a series of ceremonial, celebratory and community events that will take place over the Coronation Weekend. For instance, on May 7 a special evening Coronation Concert will be staged and broadcast live at Windsor Castle by the BBC. The highlight of the concert, Lighting up the Nation, features iconic locations across the United Kingdom being lit up using projections, lasers, drone displays and illuminations. During the day neighbors and communities are invited to share food and fun together at what’s being styled the “Coronation Big Lunch.” Monday, a Bank Holiday, is set aside for “The Big Help Out,” a day for volunteering and community service.

An Edwardian Jewel in Surrey

By Linda Tancs

One of the National Trust’s most popular properties, Polesden Lacey is an Edwardian mansion and estate in Surrey, England. It was once the weekend retreat of Margaret Greville, who rose from humble beginnings as a brewer’s daughter to become one of the most celebrated hostesses of the Edwardian era. Her rise in society was due to her marriage to Ronald Greville, heir to a baronetcy. In addition to her discerning eye for fine art, she amassed a jewelry collection that was ultimately bequeathed to Britain’s Royal Family. This time of year the gardens are blooming with daffodils, and the vast estate offers views of Ranmore Common on the North Downs, a landscape virtually unchanged since medieval times. Join a guided tour of the house in the morning, or wander around on your own in the afternoon. The house is open from March to October.

A Gem in the Chilterns

By Linda Tancs

A windmill has stood in Ivinghoe, in the Chiltern countryside, since at least 1627. That’s where you’ll find Pitstone Windmill, the oldest-dated windmill in Britain. Although no longer in use today, it’s a refurbished example of an early post mill which, unlike similar mills in East Anglia, was turned to face the wind on top of a huge wooden post using a tail pole instead of a fantail or shuttered sails. It’s part of Ashridge Estate, a 5,000-acre refuge of woodland, chalk downlands and meadows. 

The Gardens at Chartwell

By Linda Tancs

For over 40 years Chartwell was the home of Sir Winston Churchill. He bought the grand country house near Westerham, Kent, in southeast England in 1922, and the apple orchard was one of the first projects that he undertook after moving there. In April the apples blossom in the orchard, along with other parts of the gardens created by Churchill and his wife Clementine. Many products of the gardens make their way into the cafe, like Chartwell apple juice.

The Rhubarb Triangle

By Linda Tancs

Most of the rhubarb eaten in Britain is grown in Yorkshire. Specifically, the area is marked by three points of what’s called the Yorkshire (Rhubarb) Triangle, which are Wakefield, Morley and Rothwell. Native to Siberia, the plant thrives in West Yorkshire, a “frost pocket” with nitrogen-rich soil and cold, wet winters. After a growing season outdoors in the cold, the plants are brought into sheds where they’re plunged into darkness, a process called “forcing” that produces tall, strong, straight stems with smaller leaves. You can hear the crack and pop of the plant as it grows in forcing sheds, a phenomenon that has triggered its own tourism industry, including the Rhubarb Festival in Wakefield this weekend.

The History of Science

By Linda Tancs

The Whipple Museum of the History of Science was founded in 1944 when Robert Stewart Whipple presented his collection of 1,000 scientific instruments and a similar number of books to the University of Cambridge in England. Today, the museum’s collection encompasses objects dating from medieval times to the present day. In addition to models, pictures, prints, photographs, rare books and other material related to the history of science, their vast collection includes instruments of astronomy, navigation, surveying, drawing and calculating as well as sundials, mathematical instruments and early electrical apparatus. You’ll also find famous works such as Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica, explaining his theory of gravity, and Christiaan Huygens’s Horologium Oscillatorium, detailing the invention of the pendulum clock. Admission is free.

A Masterpiece in the Making

By Linda Tancs

Targeted for completion this year, the England Coast Path will become the world’s longest coastal walking route, hugging the entirety of the English coast for a whopping 2,800 miles. The path will pass through 23 English counties, highlighting along the way a variety of cliffs, castles, beaches, cities and nature reserves. The trek will offer something for everyone of all abilities and will be signposted. Let your own ambition be your guide.

House of Frankenstein

By Linda Tancs

In 1816, Mary Shelley wrote the world’s first science fiction novel, Frankenstein, in Bath, England. So the locale is an appropriate spot for an immersive experience known as Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein. Set in a Grade II historic property, the Halloween-worthy experience features four floors of frights, including the 8-foot monster that Shelley envisioned and Victor Frankenstein’s Escape Room, a puzzle-based escape game that lasts for one hour. The attraction is just minutes away from the city centre at 37 Gay Street.

A Time Capsule in Durham

By Linda Tancs

It isn’t every day you get to literally walk through a time capsule, so a place like the Beamish Museum in England’s County Durham is a real treat. Arguably one of the best open-air, living museums in the world, it offers faithful replicas of life in the Northeast from the 1800s to the 1950s. Among its many charms you’ll find a look at Rowley Station as it existed in Edwardian times, a replica of renowned Georgian quilter Joseph Hedley’s home, coal community cottages and a farm from the 1940s. The 300-acre site is served by vintage trams and buses. The closest train station to the museum is Chester-le-Street, where regular bus service from the town centre to Beamish takes about 20 minutes.

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