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Day trips from London - Chiddingstone Castle

23 September 2017
image from Day trips from London - Chiddingstone Castle

You can’t go too far in Kent without bumping into a castle or stately home. One of my favourite castles in Kent is Hever Castle, and if you’re planning a day trip there from London you can easily add a visit to Chiddingstone Castle to your itinerary - they’re only 10 minutes apart. And if you have a Historic Houses Association membership you can visit both for free. Chiddingstone Castle is situated in the village of Chiddingstone, near Edenbridge...

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Day trips from London - Castle Farm lavender fields

16 September 2017
image from Day trips from London - Castle Farm lavender fields

During July I noticed photos from the lavender fields at Castle Farm showing up in my Instagram feed. I looked up their location and found it was only a 40 minute drive from home, so I decided to pop down for my first ever visit to a lavender farm. Castle Farm is the biggest lavender farm in the UK. It is a working farm and they harvest the flowers for oil to be used in perfumery, toiletries and aromatherapy...

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How to see the highlights of Cinque Terre in a day

9 September 2017
image from How to see the highlights of Cinque Terre in a day

Cinque Terre (literally translating to “Five Lands”) is a picturesque portion of coast on the Italian Riviera and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Five beautiful fishing villages make up Cinque Terre - Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. This place has been high on my bucket list for a long time so when I visited Genoa recently, I travelled to Cinque Terre for a day. If you have more time I would recommend spending a few days in Cinque Terre to really do it justice, but it is possible to see some of the most beautiful parts in just one day...

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A tale of two Genoese palaces - Palazzo Reale and Villa del Principe

3 September 2017
image from A tale of two Genoese palaces - Palazzo Reale and Villa del Principe

The Museo di Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace Museum) was on my list of places I needed to visit on my trip to Genoa. When I arrived to purchase my ticket they asked if I’d like to pay an extra €4 to gain entry to Villa del Principe. I wasn’t familiar with Villa del Principe but the sales assistant explained it was another palace located a short walk away from the Palazzo Reale, it seemed like a good deal so I decided to take up the offer and purchase the combination ticket for both palaces...

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Five things to do in Genoa, Italy

26 August 2017
image from Five things to do in Genoa, Italy

I think Genoa might be one of the most underrated cities in Italy. It may not be as glamorous as the likes of Rome, Venice or Florence but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked. If you’re looking to escape from hordes of tourists while enjoying delicious food, visiting historical palaces and museums, and admiring panoramic views then you definitely need to add Genoa to your bucket list. Here are five highlights from my recent trip to this city:..

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A look inside the Freemasons' Hall, London

19 August 2017
image from A look inside the Freemasons' Hall, London

In June the Freemason’s Hall in Covent Garden opened it’s doors to the public to mark the 300th anniversary of the world’s first masonic grand lodge opening. I had missed the opportunity to visit this Art Deco building during last year’s Open House London weekend so I was glad to have another chance to have a snoop around inside. After passing through the main entrance, visitors were directed up the staircase to the Vestibules and Grand Temple...

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Day trips from London: Titsey Place

12 August 2017
image from Day trips from London: Titsey Place

On an uncharacteristically warm day in June I made my way to Oxted in Surrey to visit Titsey Place. This country house dates back to 16th century when it was bought by Sir John Gresham, a Lord Mayor of London and prominent merchant. The house and estate passed through several generations of the Gresham family. When the last Gresham heiress was married, the house passed to the Leveson Gowers. The family set up the Titsey Foundation to preserve the house and garden and open them to the public...

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Five things to see in Painshill Park

5 August 2017
image from Five things to see in Painshill Park

Painshill Park had been on my London bucket list for a while but until I visited I didn’t realise just how big it was. Comprising of 158 acres, there is plenty to see in this 18th-century landscaped garden. These were my top five highlights from my visit to Painshill: Gothic Temple The late 18th-century Gothic Temple is one of many follies at Painshill (a folly being a building constructed primarily for decoration even though its appearance would suggest it has a practical purpose)...

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A tour of Burghley House

29 July 2017
image from A tour of Burghley House

All too soon we were at the end of our UK road trip but I wanted to make one more stop at Burghley House before returning home. This was one of the properties on my Historic Houses Association wishlist and it’s close to the A1 so it made for a convenient stop on our way back from Sheffield. After collecting our tickets at the visitors centre we headed to the upper floor of the Brewhouse where there is an audio-visual introduction to the house and a small exhibition space...

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A look inside Castle Howard, Yorkshire

22 July 2017
image from A look inside Castle Howard, Yorkshire

Whilst staying in the North York Moors National Park for a couple of nights we popped in to visit Castle Howard. This incredible stately home is located just outside the national park, about 15 miles north of York. Despite what the name suggests, Castle Howard is not a true castle. This term is also used for English country houses which were built on the site of a former military castle...