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Is it worth becoming an Art Fund member? How much I saved in a year

21 May 2016
image from Is it worth becoming an Art Fund member? How much I saved in a year

It has been a year since I purchased an Art Fund membership so I thought I would take a look back and work out how much money I’ve saved through having a National Art Pass. A National Art Pass offers 50% off major exhibitions, plus free entry to hundreds of charging museums, galleries and historic places across the UK. Funds raised through the pass allow the Art Fund to help museums and galleries buy and display great works of art...

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A sunny afternoon at Hughenden Manor

26 March 2016
image from A sunny afternoon at Hughenden Manor

In the countryside near High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire you will find Hughenden Manor. In the 19th century this red brick Victorian mansion was the country house of the Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield. It is now owned by the National Trust and is fully open to the public. Hughenden is still decorated as it was when Disraeli lived here (and you’re free to take photos inside). From the third floor there are beautiful views over the surrounding Chiltern countryside...

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A look back on 2015

24 December 2015
image from A look back on 2015

Things have been a bit quiet on the blog this month. Work has been crazy busy and I’ve just returned from a ski trip in Austria, but I thought I’d get back into the swing of things by wrapping up all the highlights from 2015. I try to write one of these posts every year as I really enjoy looking back on the things I’ve done. Biggest personal achievements On the first day of January 2015, I skied my first ever black run!..

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An autumnal afternoon at Chiswick House

14 November 2015
image from An autumnal afternoon at Chiswick House

One of the first properties on my English Heritage wishlist was Chiswick House and I was determined to fit in a visit before it closed for the winter. I didn’t end up taking my scooter, Sasha, this time since I didn’t want to ride all the way through Central London and wasn’t sure what the parking situation was. They have pay and display parking for cars but I wasn’t sure how this would work for motorcycles...

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Historic house hunting in Bexley

8 October 2015
image from Historic house hunting in Bexley

I tend not to explore much of my local area in East London, generally preferring to head west toward the centre of London. So I was quite surprised to discover a couple of historic houses in Bexley, just a 20 minute drive from home. Hall Place Hall Place is a Tudor house which dates back to around 1540. We found the staff working at the house to be very friendly and welcoming and more than happy to show us around and give us a brief overview of the history of Hall Place...

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Ham House and Garden

7 September 2015
image from Ham House and Garden

One of the properties that had been on my Art Pass hit list for a while was Ham House, a 17th century house in Richmond which sits on the banks of the River Thames. Ham House was originally built in 1610 but was extended in the 1670s for the Duke and Duchess of Lauderdale. The house remained in the family until 1948 when it was donated to the National Trust...

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A look inside Osterley House

21 August 2015
image from A look inside Osterley House

You won’t find many country estates left in London these days, and Osterley is one of the last to survive. Surrounded by over 350 acres of landscaped park and farmland, it may feel like this house is a world away but amazingly you can get there by tube! Osterley House was originally built in 1575 but was transformed in the late 18th century by architect and designer Robert Adam for the Child family...

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Visiting the home of Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon

10 August 2015
image from Visiting the home of Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon

At the start of 2015 I wrote a travel wishlist but so far I’ve been a bit of a failure and haven’t visited any of those places. I am still intent on seeing more of the UK during our limited summer days so last Monday I went on a day trip to Stratford-upon-Avon so I could finally tick something off my wishlist (Stratford-upon-Avon has been on my UK bucket list for a long time)...

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An afternoon at Eltham Palace

29 June 2015
image from An afternoon at Eltham Palace

Not wanting to waste a sunny afternoon, I decided to the pay a visit to the recently reopened Eltham Palace. Located within the Royal Borough of Greenwich, it’s an easy trip from Central London - simply hop on a train from Waterloo, or if like me you’re already in East London you can jump on a bus from North Greenwich. Constructed in the 1300s, Eltham Palace was used as a royal residence until the 16th century...

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Making the most of my National Art Pass

25 May 2015
image from Making the most of my National Art Pass

I’d never heard of the National Art Pass until I saw it on offer through my employer’s benefits scheme. It’s open to anyone, you just pay a yearly membership fee and you get free and discounted entry to museums and art galleries across the UK. When my membership pack arrived in the mail and I started flicking through the Art Guide, I realised that you also can get free entry to a number of English Heritage and National Trust properties including Eltham Palace, Chiswick House, Knightshayes, Osborne House and loads more...