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The fascinating history of Syon House

7 October 2017
image from The fascinating history of Syon House

After my visit to Strawberry Hill House I took a short bus ride over to Syon Park. I’ve been there a couple of times before, staying overnight at the Hilton hotel on the grounds, but this was my first time stepping foot inside Syon House. If I’d know how beautiful the house was inside, I think I’d have tried to visit sooner! Syon House is owned by the Duke of Northumberland, who also happens to own Alnwick Castle - the Hogwarts filming location in the first two Harry Potter movies...

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Visiting Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham, London

30 September 2017
image from Visiting Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham, London

After five years living in London, I finally paid a visit to Strawberry Hill House. I’ve know about this place for quite a while but had been waiting until I got my Historic Houses Association membership before visiting, as this gives you free admission to the house. Strawberry Hill House was created in the 18th century by Horace Walpole, the son of Britain’s first Prime Minister. It started out as a small cottage on 5 acres of land before Horace rebuilt it in a Gothic style and expanded the property to 46 acres...

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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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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)...

April Re-cap: Roadtripping around the UK

30 April 2017
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I’ve been a little slack with these monthly updates and haven’t done one since January. But April has been an exciting month so its the perfect time for me to get back into doing these updates. What’s been happening this month? I visited the National Trust’s Knole, an English country house situated within a 1,000-acre deer park. It’s an easy day trip from London so definitely worth checking out if you’re a National Trust member...

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Day trips from London: Knole

14 April 2017
image from Day trips from London: Knole

This historic house in Sevenoaks, Kent had been on my National Trust radar for quite a while. I wasn’t able to visit last year as the house had been closed while a restoration project was taking place but as of March it is once again open to the public. Over the course of the 14-month project urgently needed conservation work was done to paintings, textiles and furniture in the house, and extra rooms have been opened to the public for the first time...

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Day trips from London: Box Hill and Polesden Lacey

2 April 2017
image from Day trips from London: Box Hill and Polesden Lacey

I’m so happy that spring has finally arrived as it means I’m now able to start doing more weekend trips on my scooter. The first of the season was a ride to Dorking in Surrey to visit a couple of National Trust spots - Box Hill and Polesden Lacey. Box Hill is a summit of the North Downs so its a fantastic spot for great scenic walks and stunning views...