Kate Middleton has been named patron of the Royal Photography Society. Here's some of our favorite snaps from her workshop this week.
WATCH: This first look at the Bond 25 team filming in Jamaica
The new issue of British Heritage Travel magazine is out, and as always it's jampacked with everything you need to know about Britain
The Royal Family receives a huge amount of funding every year from the public. Should they? Take our poll and have your say
Ever wondered how much the royal family cost the tax payer? Last year it was £67 million
HBO has begun production on the ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel series in the UK
King Henry VIII ruled England for 36 years, yet his reign remains known for his love affairs and marriages more so than his achievements - how much do you know?
Harry and Meghan have announced a split from the Royal Foundation. Here's why.
The races at Royal Ascot is one of the best weeks of the year. Here's our favorite photos so far!
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's convoy collided with an elderly woman this Monday. Read more to find out the details.
The Order of the Garter service is one of the Royal Family's most loved events of the year. Here's our favorite pictures from the event.
An unexpected delivery came to Buckingham Palace last week. Will we finally find out if the Queen likes pineapple on pizza?
This extraordinary footage from the old British Pathé newsreels shows Queen Elizabeth paying tribute to President Kennedy. Have you seen it?
The Egyptian embassy in London is seeking UNESCO's help in halting the sale of a 3,000-year-old sculpture of King Tutankhamun, which is due to be auctioned in Christie's next month
The Duchess of Sussex is set to guest edit the prestiguous September issue of Vogue
Harry and Meghan have stepped out in support of Pride Month, but has this broken royal protocol? Read more to find out.
The search for relatives of a soldier who won two medals in the First World War has come to an end, with no relatives or descendants being found.
Excitement is building for the Downton Abbey movie, and ahead of its release in September, one of the stars has revealed a little more about the expected plotline
We all know it was the Queen's Birthday last weekend, but have you seen photos from the day? Here's some of our favorites.
A 700-year-old skull has been found under church in Northamptonshire. The skull, which belongs to a medieval man, shows shows signs of a violent blow to the head
Vogue has released its annual list of the 25 women shaping 2019 and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Cambridge, has been included, alongside Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Olivia Colman and Karen Pierce
An auction in Los Angeles is reportedly putting up some WW2 artifacts up for auction. Read more to find out just what they are.
This year sees the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, one of the most important days in history. Here's our favourite photos from this year's D-Day commemorations
The Royal Mint has released a collection of iconic 50p coins celebrating military history, including The Battle of Britain, The Battle of Hastings and the D-Day landings
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landing, Queen Elizabeth II will join Prime Minster Theresa May, world leaders and WWII veterans for 'unprecedented commemorations'
Downing St has come under fire for deciding to present the First Lady with a bespoke tea set, with many calling the decision 'lazy sexism'
What is the 'Queensberry Curse', an affliction that has permeated one of Britain's oldest families for generations?
Did a police cover up help an Irish serial killer go unnoticed in London during the 1950s?
President Donald Trump will arrive in the UK next week, but won't be given the same privileges granted to other heads of state, so what exactly will President Trump miss out on?
On May 29, 1914, a thousand people died as the Empress of Ireland sank in the Saint Lawrence River
The Museum of Modern Art has unearthed rare and unbelievably clear footage of Queen Victoria during her 1900 visit to Ireland
The famous Hay Festival is taking place this week, and Stephen Fry has told the most brilliant story about recording the Harry Potter audio books
This theme park has stepped on some toes with it's latest attraction. Do you think this is right?
Theresa May has announced her imminent resignation. Here's everything you need to know.
The latest royal wedding was attended by Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry and Prince Philip - but left royal watchers wondering just who is Lady Gabriella Windsor?
Spoleto is one of American's most unique festivals, here's why everybody needs to head to Charleston to experience this year's program
Known for historically informed and radical productions, Shakespeare's Globe returns to Spoleto Festival USA with a rotation of three plays, each exploring themes of refuge and belonging
Ahead of its September release, Downton Abbey fans got an unexpected treat when the trailer was finally released revealing more of the storyline
London gangster William 'Billy' Hill helped shape the criminal career of the notorious Kray twins.
Are you a social media fan who wants to work for the royal family? Then the latest opening in the royal household may be for you
A Battle of Britain veteran who was thought to be dead is, in fact, still alive at 99
Every year the Queen throws 4 Royal Parties. How much do you know about them?
Are the remains of Queen Emma of Normandy among the 1,300 bones found at Winchester Cathedral?
Queen Elizabeth II has declined to invited London Mayor Sadiq Khan to next month's state dinner for Trump over fears he'll be inappropriate
Have you ever heard of Newlyn Tidal Observatory? The building sits at the end of a private pier in Cornwall, and is the home of the British mean sea level
We should remember that such links were also evident among American and Irish sympathizers
We finally get to see inside the recently renovated Buckingham Palace and it looks incredible
A piece of Stonehenge which has been missing for more than 60 years, has finally been returned and may provide clues to the monument's origins
Thomas Blood, believed to have been some sort of double secret agent, engineered an insane plot in the only close attempt in history to steal the priceless jewels from the Tower of London
Here he is... the newest royal. Harry and Meghan presented their baby boy to the world's media earlier today but still haven't revealed his name
Harry and Meghan's first child could be awarded the title Earl of Dumbarton, but what does that actually mean?
Tragic WWII passenger ship sunk in 18 minutes killed 1,198 souls. American owner and team work to uncover secrets of the wreck.
Today is the day, Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex has given birth to her first child with husband Prince Harry
For over 130 years the story of Jack the Ripper has fascinated millions all over the world - but what about his victims? Finally, their stories get told
Does a newly discovered letter from 1511 prove that the White Queen died from plague?
Gosford Castle, which was used as Riverrun in 'Game of Thrones,' has officially been purchased for an undisclosed amount.
To celebrate the Duchess of Cambridge's 8th wedding anniversary, the Queen made her a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order - the highest honour she can bestow. But what exactly does it mean?
As we wait for the youngest royal to be born, we take a look back at some of the more outlandish royal birth traditions that we bet you don't know
Documents explaining how the 3,106-carat Cullinan diamond, the largest ever found, was cut for the crown jewels are being auctioned later this month
There was one royal tradition that ended with the birth of Prince Charles, and it may surprise you
Calling all Downton Abbey fans, there's an interactive exhibition coming to Boston this summer that brings the great house to life
Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes has teamed up with Netflix to create a new six-part drama based around football called The English Game
America’s most famous Irish son loved all things English, so it possible he was a anglophile?
Meghan Markle is surrounded by a media frenzy at all times. Who are the trusted few who advise her along the way?
From the flaxen grasses of the Dothraki Sea to the shadowy clearings of the Haunted Forest where the White Walkers roam, you can find it all in Northern Ireland. This is the ultimate Game of Thrones® fan’s travel guide.
Photos of the iceberg that the Titanic allegedly struck were released in 2012 to mark the centenary of the disaster.
Staggering figures associated with the White Star liner - from deaths during construction to the number of lifeboats on board
The royals are just like any other family, which means they all have nicknames for each other, yes, even Queen Elizabeth! Here's 8 royal nicknames we bet you've never heard before
One of the final mysteries left surrounding the Titanic has finally been solved. How much do you know about this case?
Did you know that Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin took inspiration for the series from several UK locations? Here's the real life locations that inspired Game of Thrones
The highly-anticipated GAME OF THRONES: The Touring Exhibition, including two-never-seen before sets, has arrived at TEC Belfast for its debut visit to the UK
The wait is over, as Netflix has annouced that Emma Corrin will play Lady Diana Spencer in season four of The Crown
Have you read the last letter written on the Titanic before it sank?
She gave up her acting career when she married Prince Harry, so how does Meghan Markle afford all her designer clothes?
Ever wanted to enjoy afternoon tea with Mary Berry? Now you can!
One in five Brits have changed holiday plans because of Brexit as uncertainty surrounding passports, foreign exchange, insurance and pet passports impacting holiday decisions
Harry and Meghan have bucked the trend and joined Instagram. Have you followed their page?
Northern Ireland is home to some of the world’s most interesting museums due to the history that surrounds it.
The arrival of Harry and Meghan's first child is imminent, leading to much speculation over it's name. What do you think it will be?
After departing from Belfast where she was built, Titanic arrived in Southampton on this day, April 3, in 1912.
Finally, we know what the Downton Abbey movie plot is - and it's set to be classic Downton, with serious storylines mixed with comedic moments all centering around a royal visit
Calling all GoT fans, an official Game of Thrones Studio Tour set to open in the UK in 2020 and here's all the information you need to know
Queen Elizabeth and Patrick Plunket enjoyed a special relationship. Read more to find out about their close bond.
Do you want to know what's going to happen in the Downton Abbey movie? Then check out this exclusive behind the scenes look
Bring your four-legged friend along on your next UK adventure, with our list of the best 7 dog walks in Britain
The Queen reportedly has a number of secret hand signals. Did you know about them?
Ronald Brittain was known as 'The Voice'. How much do you know about the intimidating Sergeant Major?
The Caledonian Sleeper has added a new fleet of top of the range trains. There's also a celeb involved. Read more to find out.
We're giddy enough at the thoughts of the Downton Abbey movie and now Dan Stevens has gone and blown our minds at the thoughts of Matthew Crawley making a reappearance. How is this possible?
Are you a Game of Thrones fan? Did you know that there are 7 locations in the UK that have appeared in the hit show?
She's been on the throne for 67 years, but what is the secret to Queen Elizabeth II's good health?
Britain's ugliest dog, who came third in California's World's Ugliest Dog contest in 2017, has died in South Wales
Ever wondered where the top service stations in the UK are? Here's how to find out!
Brexit is looming. What's your opinion on the matter?
Jack the Ripper is one of Britain's most notorious and mysterious figures. Has new evidence revealed the identity of the killer?
Do you want to live in the house that inspired Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall? Because Ponden Hall is for sale
The Crown creator has started his official search for an actress to play Diana Princess of Wales in season four
For his 55th birthday, Queen Elizabeth II has given Prince Edward a brand new title, but what does it mean for the rest of the family?
The relationship between King Edward II and Piers Gaveston is one of the most infamous menages a trois in British royal history. Here's everything you need to know
Fans of Outlander will be flocking to Scotland on 15 March for a one off event which provides an opportunity to quiz the book's author Diana Gabaldon
Was Winston Churchill a hero or a villain? Take our poll and let us know what you think.
A new ABC documentary looks at racist letters written by Edward VIII during a royal visit to Australia
Did you know you can get British Heritage Travel delivered to your doorstep? Here's how to subscribe
Oscar Wilde is one of the most quotable writers of all time, and here's his most famous quotes used to tell his life story
Britain took home a respectable five Oscars at this year's Academy Awards, read on to find out who won what
Interested in visiting the UK? Then check out Britain's best tourist attractions to make sure you're getting the most from your trip
Planning a trip to Britain? Here's some things to think about while you're over there.
Looking for something to read this Valentine's Day? Check out some of our favorite British couples
Planning a trip to Belfast? Here are seven of the best things to do during your time in the city
Think you know your British celebs well? Test your knowledge with this quiz and see if you can recognize these eight familiar faces.
Robert Falcon Scott led two expedition to the Antartic and attempted to be the first man to reach the South Pole. Here's everything you need to know
Margaret Thatcher is one of Great Britain's most recognisable politicians, but what do you really know about her except she was once nicknamed The Iron Lady? Here's everything you need to know about the late prime minster.
Ever wondered where the stars we know and love are born? Here's some answers that might surprise you.
Do you want to experience London landmarks in a wholly original way? Then the new afternoon tea offering from The Kensington is for you
Olivia Colman may play the monarch in the movie The Favourite, but what do we need to know about the real Queen Anne?
Queen Victoria ruled Britain for over 60 years, but just what effect did her reign have on her subjects? Here we take a look at the legacy of Queen Victoria
From Cartimandua to Florence Nightingale and Nell Gwyn to Margaret Thatcher, we look at famous women throughout English history.
As the Mostly British Film Festival returns for 2019, this year sponsored by BHT, we take a look at the lineup and pick our favorites
As Victoria returns to our screens we caught up with creator Daisy Goodwin to see what we can expect from season three
We had our second royal wedding of the year when Princess Eugenie married Jack Brooksbank in St George's Chapel, Windsor.
The news that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are expecting their first baby was met with great excitement when annouced by Kensington Palace. But with Meghan about to give birth did you know that the baby won't get an HRH?
We take a look at The Grille incident of 1908
What was The Ventilator and what role did it play during the suffrage movement?
The literary master talks about the new movie, an adaptation of his 2007 novella.
In the spirit of this edition's Literary Britain, I'm dedicating Around Town to specific places from novels set in the capital.
Look outside the V&A and The British Museum to some of England's quirker museums and you may be very surprised by what you discover
Bring British literature to life by visiting the setting of one of your favourite novels, from Austen to Lawrence we take a look at 10 of the best
During almost 40 years of regular travels throughout England, Wales and Scotland, understandably, you rack up a quiver of experiences and memories. I am often asked what my “favorite” of this and that might be. It is almost always an impossible query to give a straight answer. Every corner of Britain has scenic charms and a fascinating social history of its own—many rarely explored by American visitors. Still, on reflection, it's also impossible not to have some memories and suggestions to pass along to British Heritage Travel readers planning your own list of travel adventures.
We compiled for you the must read of May and June.
Anglophile events in the UK and USA for May and June.
Whether it is English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Orange Pekoe or some other variety, black tea is the most popular blend consumed in Britain and America, accounting for more than 90 percent of the purchased product. One reason might be that it can be brewed in under five minutes; another is that, unlike other blends, it can also be re-steeped repeatedly, though its flavor will lessen each time.
A roundup of what to do, where to go, and what you have to see in Canterbury
Writers have loved London for as long as London has existed. Here's a look into it's fascinating history.
A trip back in time through Lorna Doone country.
Most Anglophiles have heard of Warwick Castle. It was begun in 1068 by William the Conqueror with a motte and bailey fort, and has progressed through turbulent and peaceful times over the centuries since. At the front of Warwick Castle is the imposing gatehouse. If one looks at it from the east, on the left side is Caesar's Tower, which was constructed in 1350. The picture shown here, taken from the top of Caesar's Tower, doesn't look back in toward the castle, but outward toward Warwick itself. The lush private gardens behind Tudor-style homes, as well as the Warwick Boat Club behind those, reinforce the idea of England being a green and pleasant land. At the bottom right of the picture is a ruined medieval bridge that was originally one of the entrances to the town. Without a bird's-eye view like this, a neat detail like that would be missed. Sometimes, when one is taking in the splendor of impossibly impressive historical sites, it can become an even more idyllic experience to turn outward from the main site and take in the view that the family or the guards, or any one of thousands of visitors, would have had of the surrounding area. While I'm fairly certain that tennis courts wouldn't have been in the view of the castle's residents for the majority of the past 950 years, the panoramas that can be enjoyed at the top of a castle or cathedral in England are ones that, for me, are hard to match anywhere in the world.
The new Margaret connects with BHT about E.M. Forster's masterpiece.
What the Royal family's acceptance of Meghan really means.
The Best of English Gardening on Dazzling Display.
Are you visiting the UK soon? Here's seven simple ways to avoid being a tourist and make sure you get the most from your trip
The famed biographer talks to BHT about Harry's wife and two of her predecessors, Diana and Wallis Simpson.
A 5-day drive from London to Wells
Today, it's hard to imagine that these green and tranquil landscapes were once scenes of some of the bloodiest battles to ever be fought in Britain, fields where tens of thousands of men perished.
A Tale of Swashbuckling Exploits and Symbolic Splendor.
We asked our contributors to tell us a little bit about some of their favorite spots in Britain. Here's what they said.
Have you seen these classics? Here's 10 great British war movies that you need to check out.
In every season, there are gardens in Britain well worth the adventure. In spring, however, the countryside comes awake from its winter hibernation and blooms into a riot of color against the deep greens of the landscape. Here are some of the most acclaimed gardens to enjoy in the promise of the season.
John Churchill (1650-1722) had a military and diplomatic career that lasted nearly 40 years and skillfully survived the treacherous reigns of Charles II, James II, William III and Mary and Queen Anne. Considered one of England's greatest generals, Churchill's most famous victories were in the campaign against France's King Louis XIV at Blenheim (1704), Ramillies (1706) and Oudenaarde (1708). Political controversy and charges of public corruption brought his retirement from public life in 1711. Having been given the manor of Woodstock by a grateful nation, Churchill had the huge Baroque mansion named for his great victory was built between 1708 and 1722 by architect John Vanbrugh.
The early reign of Victoria marches on this January, only now the young Queen (Jenna Coleman) has her royal consort, Prince Albert (Tom Hughes), by her side—or possibly just behind her.
The author chats with BHT about embracing complexity, the function of history and the responsibilities of historians.
Jessica Fellowes wrote The Mitford Murders, as well as the Downton Abbey companion books. Have you read our interview with the bestselling author?
In our latest episode, British Heritage Travel's Amy Griggs goes behind the curtain of the London theater scene with insider Beverly Edwards, general manager of Jude Law's Hamlet, Chicago, Jersey Boys, and her latest, Breakfast at Tiffany's. They discuss some of the city's best venues, the hottest upcoming shows, the West End versus Broadway, how to find affordable tickets and even Beverly's favorite places to escape the crowds.
“It’s the symbol of London. It’s the symbol of Parliament. Some would say it's the symbol of representative democracy across the world.” The author of The Day Parliament Burned Down and Mr. Barry’s War: Rebuilding the Houses of Parliament After the Great Fire strongly suggests you start planning your next trip to The Palace of Westminster soon. “It’s going to be shut from the early 2020s for at least six years. Quite a substantial period, if things progress as planned. Now is the time to visit!”
Have you always wanted to visit Britain but could never quite make the journey? Well 2019 is the year, and here's four reasons to visit Britain, especially if you're American
It's the Women's Suffrage edition of the British Heritage Travel podcast series! BHT's Amy Griggs speaks with Melanie Unwin and Dr. Mari Takayanagi, co-curators and joint project managers of the Houses of Parliament's Vote 100 project, which marks the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918.
In our second episode with the Houses of Parliament, we learn how to visit the Parliamentary archives, the conditions of the ladies' gallery and the story of the "grille incident."
Strange times we live in. The world does indeed seem to be reeling. Barely a month goes by without a fatal terrorist incident in Britain, and political chaos has ensued from the general election that saw Theresa May’s bargaining position weaken in Brexit negotiations as well as in her grip on leadership within the Tory Party. Just as with the political changes and rhetorical fervor in our own country, it is easy to overestimate the impact of what makes media headlines in the lives of ordinary citizens. The British people are acclaimed for their famous stoic resolve in the face of the severest of trials. It’s the British bulldog spirit personified by Winston Churchill throughout World War II. It is an attitude embraced with pride in the much-repeated wartime slogan “Keep calm and carry on.” Social historians might trace this national characteristic through 2,000 years of wars and rumors of war, invasions and rumors of invasion, plague and cholera epidemics, the grit of life lived in mills and mines or on the sea. More recently, England lived through years of terrorism imported by the IRA in the Northern Irish “Troubles.” That’s a lot of social conditioning. I asked veteran BHT writer and man-on-the-street in London James Graham, who lives with his growing family in Croydon, how he assessed the mood in London—where they know they have not seen the last of Islamist terrorism. “ ‘This . . . is London.’ With those words, CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow brought the horrors faced by the capital and the spirit of Londoners in the darkest days of the Blitz to American audiences. If he was broadcasting now, he would add ‘This . . . is Manchester.’ He would have the same story of phlegmatic resistance to outside forces attempting to beat us down. “The venerable New York Times was mocked over here when it opined after the Borough Market outrage that Britain was ‘reeling.’ Twitter users quickly hit back: ‘We’ll start panicking when we’ve no milk for our tea.’ The perfect response—laughing in the face of danger and showing a refusal to be cowed. The hearts of London and Manchester may have missed a beat when deranged individuals took out their anger against the world on innocent guests and music fans in the UK, but they did not stop beating. “Our natural temptation is to invite all British Heritage Travel readers to flock to London this autumn to stick it to the terrorists. However, it is disingenuous to throw out an invitation to foreign visitors—after all, most of the London victims were foreign—without accepting there will be wariness when people are booking their holiday travels. In the back of the mind, voices will quietly ask: Is it really safe there? “The answer is that simply no one of my acquaintance, even those who travel to London Bridge or cross Westminster Bridge, have said they are leaving the city. Terrorism will drive no one from this city. It is even getting safer to cross the roads—overall, the number of people killed or seriously injured on London’s roads fell to 2,092 in 2016, with London on course to have reduced such incidents by 50 percent by 2020.
It has been a historic and busy past few years for the monarchy, the Royal Family and Royal watchers everywhere. We have had The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the wedding of William and Kate followed by the births of adorable Prince George and Princess Charlotte (with another on the way), the retirement of the Duke of Edin-burgh, the Queen's record tenure on the throne, the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana's tragic death and now HRH The Prince of Wales setting his own longevity record for that title.
Here are five of London's most beautiful Victorian buildings, spanning a moment in time that changed Britain's heritage forever: the reign of Queen Victoria
My periodic editorial pilgrimages to our Sceptered Isle pretty generally are unexpected adventures, and some trips are easier than others. This autumn, classically English weather prevailed: rain, overcast skies, drizzle and an hour of sunshine. Repeat the pattern. Do come on along and I'll tell the tale.
Tea experts say you can store loose leaves for at least a year, but only if it is contained properly—shielded from natural and artificial light and without exposure to odors or humidity. A dark, dry cupboard is ideal. If you like delicately scented as well as strongly flavored teas, do store them separately. That will prevent the lighter teas from absorbing any aromas or flavors from the stronger ones.
From Constable Country to The Wash
In the village of Lamberhurst, several miles from Royal Tunbridge Wells, Scotney Old Castle sits on an island in a small lake. Scotney New Castle, the Victorian manor house built in Tudor Revival style stands at the top of the qarden. And it is the gardens that famously draw the visitors (and photographers). In spring, rhododendrons and azaleas bring a riot of color. Summer boasts roses and wisteria, while mellow autumn colors bathe the woods and lake with gold. A timed ticket is required for entry to the house.
The Christmas season comes early to Britain. Without our American Thanksgiving, there is nothing to mark a change in holiday seasons. By the middle of November Christmas displays fill shop windows and the famous lights of Regent Street cast their festive sheen into the long, dark evenings. Holiday parties fill pubs, restaurants, homes and offices with bonhomie and raised glasses (often raised a few times too many). For the fun-loving Brits, the partying continues unabated into the first week of January.
If you are traveling in Britain anytime through November and December, it would be a shame to miss one of the many Christmas Markets that have become immensely popular over the last 20 years. Indeed, there are now more than 200 annual Christmas markets across Britain, most commonly with German or Victorian themes, but the variations are many. Here are some grand places to catch the Christmas spirit, a glass of mulled wine and a variety of unique, memorable gifts.
Christmas has been celebrated in Merry England for more than a thousand years. Some customs melt back even further to pagan traditions. At a time of year when twilight falls mid-afternoon and frost hovers on the breath, the joy of nighttime sparkle, mulled wine, music and entertainment is as welcome to a modern, city-hardened Londoner as any rustic medieval reveler.
Joe Wright orchestrated the wonderful Churchill biopic. Have you read our interview with the director?
Spreading north and west of the North Sea city of Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire encompasses some of the most spectacular landscapes, coastline and history in Scotland. Having visited the region a number of times, I set out to capture the particular magic of this northeast corner of the kingdom. It’s about a 50-mile drive up the A90 through Ellon and on up to Fraserburgh at the very northeast point of the coast. A working harbor for centuries, the gritty town is home to one of the largest fishing fleets in Britain. Then, I turned east onto the marked scenic Coast Road 10 miles to Cullykhan Bay and the harbor village of Pennan. If the only inn in Pennan looks familiar, it may be because the 1983 movie Local Hero (among Burt Lancaster’s last) was filmed here. An iconic image from the movie was the classic phone box across the street. The innkeeper opines it is the most profitable phone box in Britain. Every visitor wants to make a call. One street of terraced houses curves around Pennan’s harbor facing the sea with their back to the cliffs. Nowadays, many of the cottages are owned as holiday and weekend residences. Their visitors meet at the inn for food, drink and community. At the village hall, there are public restrooms, always open. A sign invites folks to contribute coins to the maintenance of the facility into the saucer on the window sill. That it sits unmolested says something about the community, too. Aberdeenshire boasts of its unriveled 300 castles. Dominating the market town of Huntly, Huntly Castle was for centuries the seat of the powerful Gordon clan. Aberdeenshire’s army regiment was the much-honored Gordon Highlanders. The bas-relief coat of arms of the Gordon lords is among the most noted features of Huntly Castle. The market town of Huntly spread out from the castle supports a vast swathe of arable land and farms—the breadbasket of Scotland. Here they raise acres of grain that thrive in the moist northern climate, principally oats and barley. In the town of Keith, the pagoda domes of the Strathisla Distillery mark where a good deal of that barley is turned into Chivas Regal whisky. Distilleries abound throughout Aberdeenshire. In every farming village and hamlet, however, the most prominent building will be the Kirk, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland founded by John Knox.
Mrs. Osmond (Knopf) by John Banville It would be audacious for almost any author to attempt a sequel to the Henry James classic The Portrait of a Lady. It is, after all, a near perfect novel, albeit one with a decidedly ambiguous ending that has long left some readers unsettled. The lady in question, Isabel, is headed back to Rome—to her loveless, debilitating marriage and sweet, desperate stepdaughter, despite the fact that she’s been offered an escape. “You must save what you can of your life,” the handsome Caspar Goodwood warns her. But by the closing pages, as she boards the train, Isabel seems resigned to return to her horrible husband—but is she? Readers have been in doubt since the book was first published in 1881. Prize-winning author John Banville tackles the question with a consummate ease. As a professor at the University of Chicago, Banville teaches James, and gracefully channels his spirit for a modern audience. Banville’s own considerable talents also shine through. He isn’t just clearing up those lingering questions about the plot, but rather stretching the Portrait’s canvas for an even wider view, a grander perspective. The main character still feels like the same vulnerable heroine, as charming and effervescent as ever, but now she has a new depth and a firm resolve. At long last, Isabel Archer is determined to take control over her own fate—and her fans will be very satisfied. It’s almost been worth the 136-year wait. —John Hogan Mrs. Osmond is available November 7
Life in the Train Lane at Swindon and Didcot
AS SOMEONE FROM ARGENTINA, visiting this country full of history was a constant discovery of wonders and magic. Churches here have a special atmosphere; you feel that time has stopped and everything looks as it did hundreds of years ago. I visited the city of Bath, which I have been dreaming about since I was a child reading Jane Austen stories. At Bath Abbey, you feel history through all its corners. There, lighted by some rays through the window, I saw this tattered British flag showing all its history on every hole. I can’t imagine a better way to describe the long history Great Britain has been through. —Talia Zamboni
British Heritage Travel reader Mike Brown wins our latest photo competition with this stunning shot of a sunset at Blackwaterfoot golf course. Check out his story below:
“ONE OF MY FAVORITE PLACES is Maritime Greenwich. Over the Christmas Holiday, I went back to see the Armada portrait, the Queen’s House and the Emma Hamilton exhibit. When I left the Queen’s House, I was caught up in the atmospheric landscape. The sun was reflecting on the clouds and buildings through the mist and fog.” —Patricia Peek The picture is taken facing south from the banks of the Thames. Standing on the sight of the old Greenwich Palace, the “new” palace (which soon became a home for disabled seaman) was completed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1696. The college and its famous chapel are open daily and offer free admission. It is also home to the Discover Greenwich Visitors Centre.
I AM A STUDENT at Bangor University in North Wales. As soon as I got here, I made sure to walk around and see all the beauty the region had to offer. This picture does have a story behind it. It was taken close to the summit of Snowdon in Snowdonia National Park. It was my first attempt to hike up the mountain, taking the Rhyd Ddu trail. It was late December 2015, freezing cold and blistering winds made it extra hard, but luckily no rain whatsoever. Sunny spells broke through the clouds every once in a while, granting me some amazing shots like this one. Long story short, I made it all the way to the summit and had the experience of a lifetime. –Dennis Tura
The varied homes and birthplaces that have influenced the lives of writing of some of Britain's most iconic writers
There are apparently more statues of the Scottish poet Robert Burns in the US than anywhere else outside Scotland. So why is an 18th-century Scot, who wrote largely in the Scots language, of international importance?
Scotland is a country filled with some incredible sights. The Scottish Borders in particular offer up some stunning views. Join us as we take a trip!
Ever wanted to re-enact your favorite war? This group does it all the time!
At the heart of McAfee’s latest novel is poet Grigor McWatt, the English-hating, otter-owning Scottish nationalist and the bard of Fascaray, a remote Hebridean island dense with Caledonian lore. “A palimpsest of Scottishness,” writes The Guardian. Though she lives in London with her husband (writer Ian McEwan), McAfee spoke to BHT while visiting the land of her novel Hame, which, appropriately, is the Scottish word for “home.”
Yes, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced today that they're expecting their third child. "The Queen and members of both families are delighted with the news," according to the Kensington Palace Twitter account.
Actors Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe and writer Matthew B. Roberts discuss Outlander, post-Culloden Scotland and the resilient, far-reaching Scots culture.
At the gates of Kensington Palace today, mourners left flowers, photos and messages of love for the late Princess Diana, killed twenty years ago on August 31, 1997. "I'm here for a special day. We all know why we're here. We all feel the same. We all miss her," says Terry from Camden, dressed up in a suit patterned with Union Jacks and a sign around his neck that declares the late princess of Wales a "True Inspiration" in large print. With an issue of The Mirror from 1997 under her arm, Jacqueline from London tells BHT that she was here, at the same palace gates, with her son twenty years ago, the day after Diana was killed. "We turned the telly on and came straight here to leave her flowers. There's a picture of me here in this paper with my boy. He was only 2 and now he's 22. William and Harry didn't have their mommy, but my little George did. It's very strange to be back here."
Have you ever wondered how long it took an 18th-century lady to get dressed?
British Heritage contributing editor Diane Clehane has written the perfect book to celebrate the memory of Diana--gone, unbelievably, for two decades now. On sale now, this "alternative history novel" provides a well-researched fantasy of what might have happened had the princess of Wales survived that fatal car crash on August 31, 1997.
Throughout the world, Britain has a reputation for iconic consumer goods that provide a hallmark of quality and style-Staffordshire porcelain, Scottish woolens and whisky, books, boots and boats come quickly to mind. Few BHT readers travel to Great Britain specifically for the shopping. Along the road, however, we are bound to come across some of these treasured goods and to find ourselves interacting with the commerce of daily life. Here are perhaps the most popular, and useful, High Street shops you are bound to see again and again across the country.
Jump off on the A605 to see the impressive village church of Fotheringhay, with its monuments and tombs of the Dukes of York through the Wars of the Roses. They based at Fotheringhay Castle, now just green mounds of earth across the street. Mary Queen of Scots was executed there in 1587. When her son James I became King of England, he had the castle razed. At the Talbot Hotel in nearby Oundle, the main staircase was constructed of the scaffold where Mary was beheaded. Needless to say, the unhappy Queen’s ghost haunts the hostelry. Bordering the market town of Stamford, Burghley House may be England’s most impressive 16th-century home, built by Queen Elizabeth I’s treasurer, Sir William Cecil. The Cecil family still live in the stately pile in the midst of 2,000 acres of parkland laid out by Capability Brown in the 18th century and surrounded by exquisite gardens, including a “Garden of Surprises.” Don’t be surprised, though, to find the estate’s semi-tame resident herd of 400 deer wandering around. Catch a vintage steam train for a ride from Peterborough to Yarwell Junction on the Nene Valley Railway—home to the original Thomas the Tank Engine. To the west near Corby, Rockingham Castle’s quaint liveability belies its history. Built by William the Conqueror, the castle served as a hunting lodge for Plantagenet kings for 300 years. It was acquired by Sir Edward Watson in the late 1400s and remains the private home of his descendents. The beautiful terraced lawns overlook the broad Welland Valley.
She calls Downton Abbey home and lives the real lady of the manor life, so what is it like to be Lady Carnarvon of Highclere Castle?
THE MS OLDENBURG doesn’t so much land on Lundy Island as escape into it. “Your mobile probably will not work; there’s no Wi-Fi. It’s like being in the 1940s,” the crew warns. Yet if you ignore the odd tractor, this two-mile misty green stretch of land, just 12 miles off the coast of Devon, could just as well be in the 1840s. Or it could be during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, when Lundy was used as a base for raiding pirates. Or it could be 1242, when Henry III had the small castle built on the northern tip after an assassination attempt. Sit along the rugged coastline on the west or walk along the grassy paths on the east and you’ll hear nothing, see nothing—no traffic, ne technology, not even planes—just plants and animals, living much like they did hundreds of years past. “Feels like stepping off time,” says Anne of Somerset, who’s amazed to be in this almost foreign land that’s still somehow in her own country. After midnight, when the electricity gets cut off, this “patch of rock in the ocean” is engulfed by a darkness that defies modern life, replacing it with a stillness almost impossible to find these days. Ubiquitous sheep, despite once being bottle-fed, stare at you quizzically and refuse to be petted. Untamed horses, too noble to notice you, ignore passersby completely. “Aren’t they so much more beautiful wild?” a young mother asks her daughter. There are black goats, ski deer, black rabbits, a seal colony in the surrounding waters and, seemingly, all the birds of the sky: murders of crows, unkindnesses of ravens, chimes of wrens and whatever the collective noun is for puffins. “An improbability of puffins!” James from Manchester declares, which is fitting for the brightly colored, beaky creatures. Rare and elusive, they’re easiest to spot in early July. “Right around the time of Wimbledon,” says Tracey Crump of the Lundy Shore Office. “If you can’t get tickets to see a match, they’ll be waiting.” At Lundy, shoulders magically relax, worries fade and blood pressure levels drop as the neurotic, twitchy visiting animals known as humans learn to just breathe and simply be a part of nature—like all the other species of wildlife that live here.
The south side of London’s river has historically played second fiddle to its sophisticated northern counterpart, always pampered with patronage, transport and money. Years of regeneration projects and downright lack of space, however, have slowly chipped away at the South Bank’s shabby image, and it has finally found its place in the sun. To walk from Tower Bridge to Putney would take the best part of a day, and that’s without stopping off to enjoy the sights you’re passing. Just as no one sensible would lump the City in with Westminster, Embankment and Chelsea, so Tower Bridge, London Bridge, Bankside, the South Bank and beyond are all destinations in their own right. London’s south side warrants several visits. Since medieval times, “south of the river” was the place Londoners went for fun, a legendary no-man’s land cab drivers refused to visit. The theaters, bearbaiting and brothels of Shakespeare’s day, the notorious Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens of the 18th century and the famous 1951 Festival of Britain, built on a bomb site, all promised escape. The festival’s site now forms the epicenter of a modern London pleasure zone. The Royal Festival Hall was, as the name suggests, built for the expo. It’s an extraordinary piece of postwar architecture, well worth enjoying. It has recently been renovated, stripped back to its original modernist lines. The hall hosts classical, contemporary and high-class pop events, and is a real treat to visit. It has a varied foyer program and a rather nice restaurant, the Skylon (named for the sadly lost centerpiece of the festival) boasting great food and an even better view of Westminster, the Embankment and the Thames. Its younger, quirkier sister, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, is sadly closed for muchneeded renovation until 2018, but her roof garden, which softens the Brutalist architecture, is still open and worth a (free) visit. Another love-it-or-hate-it Brutalist masterpiece, the National Theatre, is most definitely open for business. A sprawling labyrinth of cast concrete, it’s actually much softer than it first appears, and the choice of productions in its three main spaces is wide, challenging and usually excellent. Backstage tours are available, but I’ve never been on one. The entire complex may be reached via the Thames Path, which at this point is a wide promenade, with fairy lights in the plane trees and dozens of eateries of varying quality. Skateboarders have been whizzing round the undercroft below the buildings since the 1970s. If you’re walking across the delightful Hungerford Bridge, do look down at the southernmost pier at their secret skateboard graveyard. Each broken board has its own memorial, lovingly posted online. Run the sculpture-garden gauntlet of living statues in the walk up to the London Eye, still one of my top picks for any visit to the capital. On a clear day (or night), there really is something special about this most touristy of landmarks. Even I love being a tourist sometimes. Unless you have children with you, another tourist mecca, the former County Hall, is probably not one for the must-do list. It houses attractions such as the London Dungeon, Sea Life London Aquarium and Dreamworks’ Shrek’s Adventure, all squarely aimed at the family market. As you pass under Waterloo Bridge, however, a large market of second-hand book stalls makes for entertaining browsing, after which you might enjoy a coffee in the lobby of the British Film Institute or visit one of their four cinemas, always showing something offbeat. If you prefer your screens big, the massive, cylindrical IMAX cinema fills the entirety of Waterloo roundabout, now cloaked in tumbling Virginia creeper; it is rather beautiful to behold. Coming out of the underpass the other side allows one of the best (and only) ways to experience the grand, Art Nouveau entrance of Waterloo station, obscured from most angles by later construction. There are some curious things to see in the station itself, as there are in any London terminus, and I often nip up to the modern mezzanine to enjoy a coffee in Benugo, a decent chain, overlooking the bustle below. The former Eurostar line to Paris (now removed to St. Pancras) is being redesignated as a local line, so is currently under wraps. Behind the station, Waterloo turns into a different beast. Traditionally rather scruffy, the Cut is a funny little street full of curious, single-interest shops, though these are, like the rest of the capital, one by one, being swallowed and turned swanky. A lovely survivor, I Knit London describes itself as a “sanctuary for knitters,” and it is, indeed, more like a club than a store. It’s certainly the only yarn shop I know of that boasts a licensed bar. At the end of the Cut, in Westminster Bridge Road, a rather dull entranceway labeled Westminster Bridge House is worth scouting out for sheer novelty value. Looking up, you’ll see a grand Victorian edifice, the sole remnant of the Necropolis Railway—a railway for the dead. Well-to-do Londoners would bury their loved ones in the leafy, suburban Brookwood cemetery, traveling by train with the coffin. The railway was bombed in World War II and never rebuilt.
An interview with our favorite storyteller, Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes ahead of the movie launch and his latest book release
Rejoice, Downton fans! It sounds like the Crawley family and their friends (including their servants) are all—finally—coming to the big screen!
Blessed with a long growing season and plenty of rain, Great Britain’s green and pleasant land enjoys a climate and landscape ideally suited to gardening. And garden Britain does, with passion, patience and pride. In every style fashioned since the Romans, gardens are as iconic to the nation as tea, pubs and the monarchy. Scores of public and private gardens across the country from Cornwall to Sunderland are open to view. Wherever your travels take you this summer, if you’re in the neighborhood, do put one of these acclaimed gardens on your itinerary.
Even among Edinburgh’s many amazing August festivals—including the Fringe, Book, Film and Tattoo—the International is a stand-out with some of the most fully realized, rewarding productions from around the world—yet director Fergus Linehan won’t quite admit it’s the smartest. “There’s lots of ‘smart’ to all the festivals...That's the joy of Edinburgh in August—that no one festival is exclusive in that sense. The span across the performing arts, that’s what makes Edinburgh different from every other festival in the world,” argues Linehan, though he will agree the artists the International finds are extraordinary. “But it’s not about stardom for the sake of it, just people who are excellent in their field. Whether you’ve got a mezzo-soprano like Cecilia Bartoli, or an actress like Cherry Jones, or a dancer like Natalia Osipova, it’s about seeing those at the top of their game, what I call a mature aesthetic; they’ve found the clay they want to work with.”
Congrats to Maggie Smith for her win at the Emmy awards last night! Her portrayal of the Dowager Countess on Downton Abbey’s final season earned her yet another Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series award—her third for the part! Sadly, not everyone could be happy for Dame Maggie, who was unable to attend the ceremony; the night’s host, Jimmy Kimmel, referred to her as “Downton absent.” After it was announced that Smith won, Kimmel grabbed the statue away from presenter Minnie Driver and announced, “No, no, no! We're not mailing this to her!” Speaking to the camera, he said, “'Maggie, if you want this, it will be in the lost and found.'
Sorry, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau! You may currently be the youngest and best-looking world leader, sure, but that does mean anything to Prince George. The little guy flat-out rejected the prime minister's attempts to win him over. First, George refused to give Trudeau a high-five, then he similarly denied him a low-five. In a futile attempt to save face, Trudeau tried to settle for a simple handshake. George wouldn't even touch the man's hand! Kate and William's eldest child was poised and self-possessed in his refusal. He shook his head no and walked away--as is his royal right!
We know Queen Victoria was devoted to Prince Albert, but did she really have an affair with a servant after his death? Historian Julia Baird certainly thinks so
Our favorite images of England are the rustic, the rural and the picturesque, where nature appears to advantage and humans live happily in harmony with the natural world. The images of early 19th-century Romanticism and the unshakable optimism of Victorian England color our expectations of Britain today.
Liverpool is best known as the home of The Beatles, but there's more to the city than that. Join us as we take a trip through Merseyside.
Why bother telling someone they’re a dummy when you can just call them a daft git? Here's twenty of the best British insults
Have you visited the English heartland? Join us as we take a trip.
Since the arrival of Jenna Colemnan on our screens as Queen Victoria, we can't picture Britain’s 19th-century Queen as that sad widow in mourning black for much longer. We caught up with the actress about her iconic role
[caption id="TheCulinaryTreasuresofLudlow_Feature" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Ebullient Graham Moore, landlord at The Unicorn, happily pulled me a pint of the expert’s choice at the recent Ludlow Food Festival.[/caption]
It’s a bit tricky keeping track of all the Edwards, Henrys and Elizabeths around the time of the Wars of the Roses. “So many people have the same names in this period of history!” says Emma Frost, writer and executive producer of The White Princess. “We call her Lizzie to distinguish her from her mother.” She means, of course, Elizabeth of York, eldest daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, the girl whose marriage to newly crowned King Henry VII was meant to “be the peace that ends the Cousins’ War.” This Lizzie, however, still loves the slain Richard III and was his lover before Henry’s army killed him at the Battle of Bosworth. Her younger brother, the rightful ruler—one of the “Princes in the Tower” everyone believes dead—was actually hidden away by their mother, leaving Lizzie with dangerously divided loyalties. “How big a price should a human being pay personally for the greater good?” asks Frost. Based on the historical novel by bestselling author and historian Philippa Gregory, Princess picks up just where the 2013 miniseries The White Queen left off—with the first Tudor king, from a remote branch of the Lancastrian family tree, winning the crown—and Elizabeth of York’s hand in marriage, though he doesn’t want it. “They have good reasons to be enemies,” adds Frost. She spoke to BHT about historical accuracy, “excavating” the lives of women and one of the most dangerously complicated arranged marriages ever.
Three hundred and fifty years ago this fall, the Great Fire of London devastated England's capital city, destroying 13,000 houses and 84 churches in a blaze that lasted four days. Tomorrow, a new exhibit at the Royal Institute of British Architects imagines the different paths London's reconstruction could have taken.
APPROACHING LINCOLN BY TRAIN OR ROADWAY, the towers of Lincoln cathedral can be seen for miles perched on the only hilltop across the fat Lincolnshire fens. The Romans first settled a legion here on what was an Iron Age site: Lindum Colonia. A millennium later, William the Conqueror saw the spot as perfect for building an imposing castle and cathedral church. Subsequently, the twin fortresses of state and church became centers of politics and wealth throughout the Middle Ages. As county town for Lincolnshire, it has remained the political and economic hub of England’s third largest county. The treasures left through centuries of rich history make Lincoln a great visit today.
[caption id="attachment_13691553" align="aligncenter" width="449"] In the Great Hall of Gainsborough Old Hall, the small congregation met that finally made its way to New England.[/caption]
Even from over there, you, our American friends, may have noticed that the Sceptered Isle has had a tumultuous few months lately.
“It isn’t just a place to do research; we have all kinds of gems here: printed books and maps and illustrated manuscripts,” British Library curator Zoë Wilcox tells British Heritage Travel. “The Magna Carta is right there,” she adds brightly, casually pointing to one history’s most important documents. We asked Wilcox to prove her point by choosing a few of her favorite objects in the library’s collections—not necessarily the most valuable things but rather items she just enjoys. “It was incredibly difficult to narrow it down to just five,” she admits, “but there are some pieces I just had to include.”
With the help of Albion Journeys, we’ve crafted a travel experience specifically for our subscribers. We're pleased to present a tour of the incredible homes that grace the lands surrounding London—and you’ll enjoy all their history, beauty and architecture in the company of your like-minded fellow British Heritage Travel readers. For more information and to book your trip visit Albion Journeys or call 1-866-834-8358. Book your trip before November 1st and mention code 'BHINTRO2017' to receive $100 off!
“This is no ordinary restaurant.” If you’ve ever clicked on a hotel TV tuned to Channel 4 while visiting the UK over the last couple years, you’ve probably heard these words. They kick off an incredibly enjoyable hour of observation. An “interactive documentary series” in which you watch regular Britons meeting, chatting and flirting over dinner—interspersed with on-camera confessions of romantic hopes and fears. The at-home (or at-hotel) viewer is a fly on the wall spying on two vulnerable strangers as they tentatively test each other out, usually with the best of intentions, in hopes of finding an intimate partner. Sincere as a heart attack, addictive as chocolate, light as a feather, First Dates is a well-meaning joy.
Britain's oldest pubs have many a story to tell. We look into the history of some of Britain's most fascinating boozers, and their most fascinating regulars
Autumn begins just as we were finally starting to experience some ‘summery’ weather over here in the UK. We Britons are being urged by the government to spend our last few days of the season traveling the country in order to help the economy and quell any post-Brexit blues. Even our new prime minister Theresa May recently encouraged Brits to enjoy “staycations" (after she and her husband returned from a nice walking vacation in the Swiss Alps). Yet fears about the economy seem to have lessened as of late. Opinions, as always, vary depending on what side of the political fence you stand, but housing prices in the UK actually rose—0.6% to £206,145—between July and August. Not a bad sign, at least.
We asked curator Inga Fraser to choose five pieces of artwork she loves at Tate Britain for BHT readers. "We do have many artists who engage with history," she answered. Here are her choices:
THE FIVE HISTORIC ROYAL PALACES in the capital are a joy to visit, but there’s no doubting it’s an expensive experience to visit them individually. If you’re visiting London for a little while, though, and you plan to go to all, or at least most, of the properties, it’s well worth taking an annual membership. You can join on the spot or in advance; they’ll send packs overseas at no extra charge. It works out considerably cheaper, you can forget queues and, my favorite tip, you can take advantage of awkward times in the day.
An iconic, historic centerpiece like a castle or an abbey; a dramatic and scenic setting; a High Street of quaint, individual shops instead of dominating chain stores; an active and varied civic life: When the Daily Telegraph commissioned a panel to find the top 50 country towns—the best places to live in Britain—these were criteria they used to compile the list. And, lo, as the anticipated results were announced, at the top of the table was Arundel, West Sussex.
England's Trent Valley is a broad, fertile land. Narrow country lanes meander through fields of ripening wheat and barley to connect charming villages. I took my time as I drove along these roads, exploring the homeland of the American colonies' Founding Fathers. From this gentle countryside came the core of the Pilgrims who sailed aboard the Mayflower to arrive at Plymouth Rock on 27th December, 1620.
Daisy Goodwin is a famed British writer. Join us for a chat!
Unless you’re already in the know about epic bike jaunts around the world, the sights along the 20-mile uphill pedal through the Brecon Beacons National Park will surprise you. Led by a guide from Drover Holidays, my group of eight rode our two-wheeled hybrid chariots to discover the magic of the Welsh countryside. Our departure point was the charming market town of Abergavenny in Monmouthsire County. Our destination: Hay-on-Wye, the internationally heralded secondhand book village in the Brecknockshire District.
One of the greatest Shakespearean actresses to ever grace the British stage, Ellen Terry's flamboyant life and vibrant personality are revealed in a tour of the 16th-century house where she spent her last 30 years.
Kate Middleton has always drawn admirers due to her stylish fashion sense. How did she become Britain's Queen of style?
It's one of the UK's most visited city, but what exactly can be achieved by spending 24 hours in Bath?
Over the years, I have visited scores of grand and stately homes from Cornwall to Aberdeenshire. They just don’t come any grander or statelier than Chatsworth, hereditary seat of the Dukes of Devonshire. The Cavendish family has made it home since the days of King Henry VIII. Sited on the eastern edge of the Peak District National Park of Derbyshire, the Devonshire is considerably smaller than it once was, but still covers 35,000 acres. Chatsworth House is surrounded by 1,000 acres of parkland. It takes a score of full-time gardeners to maintain more than 100 acres of Chatsworth’s gardens spread into the Derwent River valley. The distinct gardening fashions of six centuries are on superb display—for a third of a million visitors a year. It takes hours to see the gardens on foot. Or take the land train near the Orangery for a half-hour slow circuit where “every prospect pleaseth,” and hop out along the way to explore.
British Heritage Travel reader Andrew Fyfe wins our April photo competition with these haunting images of the Isle of Iona and Iona Abbey, a place of Christian pilgrimage located on the West Coast of Scotland.
Where the famous voyage really began in Rotherhithe
IT MIGHT BE JUST A FEW STOPS on the Northern line, but Hampstead has more in common with Cheltenham, York or Harrogate than the grimy city it overlooks. The London village has never stopped being fashionable since the 18th century, and its quiet flagstones, Georgian shopfronts and Victorian streetlamps still see their fair share of celebrities, from Tim Burton to Ringo Starr. The winding alleyways, picturesque pubs, tiny boutiques and fabulous architecture are worth a wander, even if you don’t visit one of the top notch historic proper-ties—but do try at least one. Hampstead is not a place for anyone who doesn’t like hills. Even the high street is sloping, and to get anywhere truly interesting, climbing is required.
The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry, a unique international community artwork chronicling the impact of Scots throughout the world, has returned to the UK following a global tour during which its panels doubled in number to over 300. It is now being exhibited in its entirety for the first time in Westminster Hall at the Houses of Parliament, London from 20 March to 29 April 2017.
British Heritage Travel reader Nancy Knoche wins our February photo competition with this gorgeous picture of York Minster. Read below for additional information behind the photo!
Greenwich has played host to royalty, and especially female royalty, since time immemorial. Queens, consorts—and the occasional mistress—have all been welcomed and indulged by a riverside town that takes most things in its stride. Queen Elizabeth I was born at Greenwich Palace and, in 2012, Queen Elizabeth II recognized Greenwich as one of just six Royal boroughs in the land.
British Heritage Travel reader Billy Fowks has won our November photo competition with this beautiful shot of the city of Edinburgh. Read below for the story behind the photo!
British Heritage Travel reader Medi Jones wins our October photo competition with this picture of the Old Glastonbury Abbey. Read below for a bit more history on these ruins!
Stephen Daldry directed and produced The Crown. Have you read our interview with the award winning director?
British Heritage Travel reader Talia Zamboni wins our September photo competition with this meaningful image of the British flag. Read Talia's story below!
British Heritage Travel reader Sheila Saxby wins our August photo competition with this luminous image of Merton Street—the last original, medieval cobblestone street in the City of Oxford. Read Sheila's story about her time there below!
Grab your corgis and prepare to binge watch this November 4th!
To celebrate the world's favorite prince's third birthday, Kensington Palace released four adorable pictures of George taken by photographer Matt Porteous.
Our lucky neighbors to the north will soon be hosting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Philip Sidney talks to BHT about his family estate, Penshurst Place, and how it feels to truly live, and preserve, the history.
British Heritage Travel reader Gary Sedan wins our July photo competition with this gorgeous picture of one of the most stunning landmarks in Britain. The Needles are a series of pinnacle chalk stacks extending into the Solent at Alum Bay on the western tip of the Isle of Wight. At the top of cliff stands the Marconi Monument, marking the spot where Guglielmo Marconi set up his first wireless transmission to ships at sea in 1897. A chairlift carries visitors from the clifftop to the base of The Needles on the shingle beach below. Read Gary's story of his awe-inspiring picture below.
Every tourist in London eventually hits his or her limit. After a few days of running through the underground stations and jumping from Parliament to museums to plays and quickly snatching sandwiches from those ubiquitous Tescos and Pret a Mangers in a crazy rush to squeeze in just one more landmark, one more statue, one more historical site...as wonderful as it is, it's also just exhausting. So when you've hit your limit, take a few hours to calm yourself at one of the city's hidden refuges. Sure, the bigger parks, like Green, St. James and Hyde, can be impressive in their slendor, but the crowds make those grand open spaces more (or possibly less) than the calming respite an overloaded visitor requires.
Yesterday, new Prime Minister Theresa May relinquished the UK’s turn at EU Council presidency (a strong step toward Brexit), Boris took a beating from the press and Britain baked in record heat, but won’t someone please think about Her Majesty's mute swans?!
British Heritage Travel reader Bob Jablonski wins our June photo competition with this beautiful view of Y Rhiw—a small village on the southwest tip of the Llŷn Peninsula in Wales—complete with some adorable equines enjoying the local flora. Check out the photo below!
OVER THE YEARS it has been a train scheduled to depart King’s Cross or St. Pancras stations that has brought my husband and me to this part of London. For the last dozen years it has also been the British Library, built to house the collection previously located within the British Museum in Bloomsbury, which has enticed us here with its changing exhibitions and poetry readings. But since 2008 we have been happily lured to the area by Kings Place, which is the first new music venue built from scratch in London since the Barbican Hall was opened in 1982. As you walk up York Way, alongside King’s Cross station, the building emerges at the end of the road as a pleasant surprise. York Way is a bustling, bland street with dreary warehouses and drab office buildings, but then you catch sight of the glistening new structure that houses the offices of The Guardian newspaper. It is also the home of Kings Place, an arts center that focuses on music, art and the written word. Just beyond the building is the Regent’s Canal which offers a sense of peace and tranquility and sets the mood for the music and art within. Kings Place has two concert halls. Hall One has a shoebox, or double cube shape, a raked stage, and fixed seating for 420 people. It is a superb venue for chamber music, and the London Chamber Music Society, one of its resident groups, www.londonchambermusic.org.uk), performs on Sunday evenings during the season. The hall’s outstanding acoustics are partly due to the tall columns regularly spaced away from the walls in the upper part of the room. Its interior is lined with oak from a single German 500-year-old tree that provides more than an acre of veneer. Hall Two, a smaller space, is often used for rehearsals as well as live performances, and its flexible seating can be arranged in the round or other formations. As you enter from the street, Kings Place’s bright, airy central atrium welcomes one and all whether you have a ticket to a concert or not. Even those who do not like classical music will want to check out the many free events that are held throughout the year in the atrium space, as well as the available restaurants. Inexpensive food and refreshments are served cafeteria style throughout the day at the Green and Fortune Café. For something more upscale, the Rotunda Restaurant, with floor-to-ceiling windows facing the picturesque Regent’s Canal, offers a fancier setting and complete meals either inside or on its terrace.
Charles II was a polarizing figure. How much do you know about the former King?
[caption id="BrunelsAtmosphericCaper_Feature" align="alignright" width="829"][/caption]
[caption id="ACommonplaceBook_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] The Stacks of Duncansby at the “Third End” of Scotland mark the northernmost point on the British mainland, two miles down a track from John O’ Groats.[/caption]
[caption id="FruitsoftheSea_Feature" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] At Rick Stein’s famed seafood restaurant in Padstow, Cornwall, the sea’s bounty is presented with a distinctive flair.[/caption]
Stratford, East London
[caption id="TheEdwardElgarBirthplaceMuseum_img1" align="aligncenter" width="161"] Edward Elgar, whose Pomp and Circumstance “knocked ’em flat” during its London premiere.[/caption]
The Clyde; the Trossachs
[caption id="TheLatestBooksAboutBritain_img1" align="aligncenter" width="335"][/caption]
[caption id="BehindtheScenesattheBritishMuseum_Feature" align="aligncenter" width="1024"][/caption]
CDATA[[caption id="OurScepteredIsle_img1" align="aligncenter" width="219"][/caption]
[caption id="HeirApparentCominginBritishHeritage_img1" align="aligncenter" width="222"] Hobart’s “Funnies”[/caption]
CDATA[NEAR THE LITTLE VILLAGE of Ivy Hatch, in Kent, lies one of the National Trust’s hidden gems, the quaint 14th-century moated manor house called Ightham Mote. As a visitor to this lovely property back in the early 1990s, I can still recall that moment of gratified surprise upon first seeing the manor’s exquisite timber-framed exterior and unique setting. This past summer, some 17 years later, I found myself back at Ightham Mote, not as a visitor, but as one of the thousands of volunteers who contribute time to a National Trust property.
THE ORIGINAL “HANDS Across the Sea” happened 400 years ago. Chartered by King James I in 1606, the Virginia Company was a joint stock company charged with the settlement of Virginia. In December of that year, three small ships set sail from England with a complement of 144 sailors and colonists bound for the shores of the New World. In May 1607 the tiny flotilla landed on the shores of Chesapeake Bay and on a small island in the James River estuary established the first permanent British colony in North America. Since 1807, Jamestown has marked its founding with commemorative celebrations every 50 years. The Jubilee at Jamestown in 1807 was a five-day event that included a regatta of sailing vessels, a parade and orations by the students of the College of William and Mary. In 1857 overnight cabins, a temporary saloon and a dining hall accommodating 500 were constructed for visitors who came by ship and steamer to attend the festivities. The Jamestown Tercentennial Exposition of 1907 drew more than a million visitors, and naval fleets from across the globe. Booker T. Washington, Mark Twain and President Teddy Roosevelt were featured speakers. In 1957 Jamestown’s 350th anniversary drew more than 1 million visitors as well. The highlight of the 1957 celebration was the first state visit of Queen Elizabeth II since her accession to the throne. Completion of the Colonial Parkway linking Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown, and the re-created colony of Jamestown Settlement are lasting reminders of the Jamestown Festival 1957. Fifty years have passed and Jamestown is celebrating again. This summer’s sail of Godspeed north along the Eastern Seaboard marks the beginning of 18 months of events commemorating the 400th anniversary of England’s first colonial settlement on these shores. State agencies across Virginia are joining a Jamestown Federal Commission and local organizations of Virginia’s Historic Triangle under the umbrella of Jamestown 2007 to coordinate events ranging from an American Indian Intertribal Cultural Festival to a series of academic conferences on the “Foundations and Future of Democracy” held at universities across Virginia. A Jamestown British Committee, headquartered in Maidstone, Kent, is coordinating a variety of commemorative activities on that side of the sea—including ceremonial salutes to the Virginia Company, the 1606 departure from London and the celebrated princess known as Pocahontas.
How closely do you read BRITISH HERITAGE? For a chance to win six free issues, correctly answer these six questions, based on the articles in this issue. One winner will be randomly selected from among all correct entries.
[caption id="SingingatWiltonsaNewTakeonMikadoandDarwinsDown_img1" align="aligncenter" width="323"][/caption]
CDATA[[caption id="AroundTown_img1" align="aligncenter" width="241"][/caption]
[caption id="BitsofBooksAboutBritain_img1" align="aligncenter" width="126"][/caption]
[caption id="AThornyChristmasStory_img1" align="aligncenter" width="152"][/caption]
[caption id="Puzzler_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"][/caption]
CDATA[WHEN THE DARKLING OF the winter comes upon us, then we anticipate the coming of the solstice and Christmas and the New Year. We need these occasions of hope and assurance in the land’s annual rebirth and of bacchanal. From what we know of Stonehenge and many of Britain’s 600+ prehistoric circles, the earliest of Britain’s peoples marked the solstice with importance. Despite what lesser gods these folk observed, their practical deity was the Sun, source of light, heat and harvest. Whatever calendar they observed, it’s hardly surprising that the winter solstice was its red letter day. We may not know how they marked that day, but we have never needed to question why. As the Christian gospel penetrated Britain in the early dark ages, Welsh and Scots, then Englishmen and Vikings, marked the changing year with the feast of Immanuel, “God with Us” in the person of the Christ Child. The “Christ mass” too promised rebirth, a renewal of hope and a collective remembrance of God’s love. Over the centuries, the social celebration of Christmas has lost some of its piety, but the import of its message has remained constant: There will be peace on earth. Despite the secularization of our day, that faith in the promise of peace has colored our society and culture indelibly. It has taken hundreds of years for us to work out as well as we have the social and human values implied in our inherited Judeo-Christian view of the world. The end of the Cold War brought the Anglo-American world a sense of optimism, which has evanesced in this new war defending the borders of Western Civilization. We find it hard to internalize that other peoples do not share our belief in peace on earth and goodwill to mankind. Perhaps this year more than most, we need to remember the promise of peace implicit in the Christmas message, to commemorate our legacy of individual worth and freedom, and to celebrate the blessings of our shared history and hard-earned society. That’s reason enough to set down our daily care and enjoy the plum pudding, rum punch and presents. Once again, British Heritage lopes lovingly across the shires and reminds us again of the rich heritage of culture and history that we treasure. And when we need a smile, it’s time to go to the panto!
[caption id="LettersfromOurReaders_img1" align="aligncenter" width="320"] Craigmillar Castle, Edinburgh[/caption]
[caption id="CommonplaceBook_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Aix-en-Provence? The Neopolitan coast? No, we’re in Snowdonia at the fantasy village of Portmeirion.[/caption]
[caption id="StoriestobeTold_img1" align="aligncenter" width="435"][/caption]
[caption id="LettersandMiscellany_img1" align="aligncenter" width="689"] The monolithic stones at Merry Maidens in Cornwall are said to have been carefree village girls who were turned to stone for dancing on a Sunday.[/caption]
[caption id="100YearsofFlightatHendon_img1" align="aligncenter" width="212"][/caption]
EVERY YEAR SINCE 1947, Norway has sent a tall spruce tree to London in thanks for Britain’s help during World War II. Erected in Trafalgar Square and decorated with lights, it is London’s official Christmas tree. An evening lighting ceremony with music and entertainment launches the city’s holiday season, usually on the first Thursday of December. Occasional noontime carol concerts beside the tree make the square a cheerful place, though the pigeons don’t seem to care one way or the other. The lights are turned on ever evening until midnight. Each year’s tree is usually 50 to 60 years old and stands about 70 feet tall. After the holidays last year, Jenny Jones, the deputy mayor of London, helped put the spruce tree through a chipper to turn it into mulch for the city’s parks.
[caption id="AHorribleCrashPutsanEndtoDreamsofLighterthanairTravel_img1" align="aligncenter" width="500"] A rare photograph of R1 01 in flight, soaring over St. Paul’s Cathedral, London.[/caption]
CDATA[[caption id="MakeitBritishBooksforChristmas_Feature" align="alignleft" width="1024"][/caption]
It was a beautiful moonlit night, frost on the ground, white almost everywhere; and…there was a lot of commotion in the German trenches….And then they sang “Silent Night—Stille Nacht.” I shall never forget it. It was one of the highlights of my life —Albert Moren, 2nd Queen’s Regiment
Few places capture the imagination quite like the English Heartland. Join us as we take a trip!
[caption id="ItsGoldGardensVikingsandTapas_img1" align="aligncenter" width="113"][/caption]
CDATA[[caption id="Chelsea_Feature" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Once reserved exclusively for the monarch, today the King’s Road is the bustling High Street of Chelsea, lined with pubs and restaurants, booksellers and fashion boutiques.[/caption]
â [caption id="ACotswoldChristmastide_Feature" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Rising from the River Windrush, the village of Bourton-on-the-Water’s Christmas tree announces the holidays in the Cotswolds.[/caption]
Lord Macdonald leads the far-flung Clan Macdonald as High Chief, and he and Lady Macdonald also preside over their own fair and hospitable corner of the “Garden of Skye.”
CDATA[[caption id="BeyondtheBookshelf_img1" align="aligncenter" width="728"] The warriors of Qin Shihuangdi take London by storm.[/caption]
[caption id="TheArtofWilliamHeathRobinson_img1" align="aligncenter" width="234"] “The Personal Aerial Travel System for Gentlemen,” one of the simpler of Robinson’s “inventions.”[/caption]
Edward Jenner is undoubtedly one of the most important Britons ever. The founder of immunology saved millions of lives worldwide. Read more to find out about the famous figure.
Fighter Boys: The Battle of Britain, 1940, by Patrick Bishop, published by Penguin Books, New York, 448 pages, softcover $16, www.penguin.com
[caption id="TheHandelHouseMuseum_img1" align="aligncenter" width="386"] Handel’s Messiah remains a modern yuletide favorite, despile its shaky London debut.[/caption]
[caption id="ACommonplaceBook_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Of the original 60 stones in the Ring of Brodgar, today 36 remain standing in the ancient circle henge.[/caption]
[caption id="TheBrindleyWaterMill_img1" align="aligncenter" width="781"] Restored and opened to the public in 1974, Brindley’s mill in Leek, Staffordshire, built in 1752, is still grinding corn. [/caption]
[caption id="TheLatestBooksVideosandTelevisionAboutBritain_img1" align="alignright" width="314"][/caption]
great british comestibles
Clarence House, London
Lambeth Palace, London
[caption id="TheVillageAJournalistInvestigates_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] The view toward the village and manor house of Arlescote in Warwickshire.[/caption]
How closely do you read BRITISH HERITAGE? Win six free issues by correctly answering these four questions, based on the articles in this issue.
[caption id="TheContinuingSearchforBritain_img1" align="aligncenter" width="261"][/caption]
[caption id="LastOrdersPlease_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] ’Twas the night before Christmas, and a young girl shares in the old Cotswold custom of dressing the door with a garland of fir cones and evergreen in December 1954.[/caption]
[caption id="CominginBritishHeritage_img1" align="aligncenter" width="226"][/caption] Ely Cathedral
[caption id="StepintothelifeofGeorgianEnglandatColonialWilliamsburg_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] In Williamsburg’s bicameral Capitol building, the Royal Council and the House of Burgesses debated, like Parliament, the issues facing Britain’s largest and richest American colony.[/caption]
[caption id="YesStirringTimesIndeed_img1" align="aligncenter" width="434"][/caption]
[caption id="OutofSightandOutofThisWorldJustforFun_img1" align="aligncenter" width="261"][/caption]
[caption id="EurekaQueenLuciaInvadesTillingonSea_img1" align="aligncenter" width="702"] There is venom behind the smiles of Geraldine McEwan and Prunella Scales in Tilling-on-Sea.[/caption]
THIS AUTUMN was certainly an exciting time to be in Britain. With the country undergoing its most significant sea change in public policy since World War II, it is hardly surprising that opinions are rather polarized. The Conservative-led coalition government, however, has taken the proverbial bull by the horns and tackled the United Kingdom’s insupportable social system and public debt head on. Social policy was admittedly not on my mind, though, as I landed at Heathrow and headed west on the M4 looking for what adventures might befall. Old friends and long-time British Heritage readers Tad and Norm Berkowitz joined me on the road. Our first destination was the aged seaside resort town of Weston-super-Mare. That evening, Siân Ellis and her mate Dave and my good friends from the Valleys, Carol and Norman Jarrett, all crossed the Severn from Wales to join us for a delightful evening of badinage, good beer and a setting to rights of the Atlantic alliance. I could be very au courant for a journalist and call it a “focus group.”
FROM ALABAMA TO CALIFORNIA to Singapore to Thailand to, of course, Scotland, the societies of Scots, descendants of Scots, families of Scots, and admirers of Scotland and its culture are sprinkled around the world. In the United States, St. Andrew’s societies dot the map. Many were founded in the 19th century to aid the settlement of Scottish immigrants. The one in New York City claims to be the oldest. Its predecessor society, the Scots Society of New York [City], was founded in 1744. The St. Andrew’s Society of Washington, D.C., is only a little younger, founded in 1760 in neighboring Alexandria, Va. Other St. Andrew’s societies have been around for just a decade or so. The things they all have in common are fostering—and enjoying—Scottish traditions and culture and doing charitable works. Societies may also support pipe and drum corps or give scholarships for Scottish dancing or Scottish studies. Most societies have full calendars of activities, beginning each year with a Robert Burns supper in late January on the weekend nearest the Scottish bard’s birthday, January 25. The ceremonial centerpiece on the menu is the haggis, Scotland’s national dish—a necessary mainstay of the menu. Toasted oatmeal, onions, suet, minced liver and seasonings, mixed together and boiled in a sheep’s stomach, yield a much-maligned but tasty main dish. April brings Tartan Day on the 6th, a date officially recognized by the U.S. Senate since 1998 as “a celebration of the contribution generations of Scots-Americans have made to the character and prosperity of the United States.” Each society likely holds an event on St. Andrew’s Day, November 30, and a Christmas get-together. Other events that the societies participate in, sponsor or attend are ceilidhs, Highland games, parades, special church services marked by bagpipe music, formal parties where the gentlemen wear dress kilts, golf tournaments, fundraisers, trips and single-malt tastings—the list differs from group to group. Membership requirements also vary. At least one, in Washington, D.C., accepts only men, though it has many activities that include spouses and families. Some societies insist that a prospective member prove he or she was born in Scotland, or document descent from someone who was. Others have different levels of membership for the Scottish or the merely interested. Like many social clubs, St. Andrew’s societies may require that prospective members be sponsored by members in good standing. Sometimes they offer to help prospects meet members who will sponsor them. Annual dues are modest, usually less than $50, but the enjoyment to be had and the good works to be done are great—all for the love of Scotland. For a list of St. Andrew’s societies in the United States, along with contact information, see www.scottish-coalition.org. The Web site also includes other Scottish-American organizations.
[caption id="CommonplaceBook_img1" align="aligncenter" width="568"] Tenting tonight on the old camp ground? Try the formal gardens of Leeds Castle.[/caption]
[caption id="CabbagesandKingsfromBrightontoEdinburgh_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] The bedroom in which Sir Winston Churchill was born can be seen as part of a visit to Blenheim Palace in the Oxfordshire village of Woodstoc.[/caption]
[caption id="NantGwrtheyrn_img1" align="aligncenter" width="661"] The Welsh Development Agency (WDA) supports a variety of initiatives that enhance the economy of rural Wales.[/caption]
THE NORTH OF ENGLAND OPEN AIR MUSEUM
[columns] [column size="1/1"]
[caption id="MeetLondonHistoriansandJeevesonStage_img1" align="aligncenter" width="113"][/caption]
[caption id="UniqueinalltheWorldtheEnglishCathedralChoir_Feature" align="aligncenter" width="1024"][/caption]
Ely is a gorgeous cathedral town. Join us as we take a trip!
[caption id="BeyondtheBookshelf_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] The late great Sir Laurence Olivier narrated each of the 26 episodes of this famous documentary.[/caption]
DVD Rough Diamond, 2-vol. boxed set, Acorn Media, Silver Spring, Md., 297 minutes, $39.99.
THIS ISSUE, WE PUT on the bookshelf tales that offer a vision of life in the British aristocracy between the two world wars. The first of these is the next in our series of glimpses at those books our readers’ poll indicated were the most British books of all time: Brides head Revisited,by Evelyn Waugh. Upper-class England gets a very different treatment with the unique humor of novelist P.G. Wodehouse. And what better time in history to revisit the story of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. What each of these grand reads shares in common, characters and authors alike, is that they all probably crossed the Atlantic on RMS Empress.
[caption id="StewedCheeseEngineersandtheFanMuseum_img1" align="aligncenter" width="198"][/caption]
[caption id="LastOrdersPlease_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Heat exhaustion fells this guardsman on the Horse Guards Parade during the Trooping the Colour ceremony in 1957.[/caption]
[caption id="WaftingintheWindsofChange_img1" align="aligncenter" width="193"][/caption]
[caption id="ACommonplaceBook_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Benjamin Disraeli lies buried in the churchyard of this small parish church in the Hughenden Valley just below the manor that was his country home for more than 30 years.[/caption]
[caption id="LastOrdersPlease_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] At the North of England Open Air Museum near Chester-le-Street, the village of Beamish exists completely as it did in 1913, when the miners, factory workers and farmers of the North Country enjoyed their highest standard of living to date. Visitors can sample both the sweet shop and the dentist.[/caption]
Met Office, Bracknell
[caption id="WorldsofWonder_Feature" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Matilda draws crowds on Broadway and the West End. A familiar scene from the original 1971 Willy Wonka.[/caption]
[caption id="OntheRoadAgain_img1" align="aligncenter" width="261"][/caption]
[caption id="TerriblebeauTyinSnowdoniasSlateMines_Feature" align="aligncenter" width="865"] Visitors don a hard hat and take the miners’ train deep into the mountains.[/caption]
Bath is famous for its famous Roman architecture and is a dedicated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Join us as we take a trip to the beautiful city!
[caption id="RichmondtheAmericanInternationalUniversityinLondon_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Richmond has been part of this vibrant Thamesside community since its founding in 1843.[/caption]
[caption id="BorisBikesaPlacebytheFireandGininTeacups_img1" align="aligncenter" width="323"][/caption]
[caption id="FizzyatDizzyingHeightsHampsteadandLaceFripperies_img1" align="aligncenter" width="241"][/caption]
AS THE HEADLINES in this issue’s Dateline indicate, it has been an eventful early winter in Britain. Apart from the upcoming royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the daily onslaught of news, both economic and meteorological, has been depressing. With so many things seeming to go awry, this seems to be a good time to reflect on what’s actually right about Britain. After all, there are so many things about Britain that many of us have long admired. First, Great Britain has a knack for historic preservation. I’ve long maintained that Britain lives more comfortably in its history than anywhere else in the world. It’s a British way of life, perhaps taken for granted, that integrates the old, very old, ancient and timeless into daily life. The castle off the market place is as much a part of the present as it was when it was first built. That embracing of the past’s fabric is reflected in institutions like the National Trust. Its membership of some 3 million people contributes crucially to the preservation of 100s of stately homes, medieval abbeys and historic sites, and 1,000s of acres of recreational, scenic and eco-sensitive land. English Heritage, Cadw and Historic Scotland are popularly supported in their task of maintaining and administrating hundreds of sites important to Britain’s political, ecclesiastical, social and industrial history. Across the island, Britain excels in identifying, researching and preserving the artifacts, edifices and locales of its history. It adapts well to living with them and presents them superbly to visitors. The gift shops and tea rooms are a bonus. Second, there is a general acceptance of and widespread support for eco-conservation. Yes, it’s a long drive from Penzance to Canterbury, but this sceptered isle is still a relatively small island. The natural resources, habitats and ecosystems of the country need to be managed pretty well to sustain the demands of its population— agriculturally, recreationally and environmentally. And they are. From the magnificent Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge to the first nest of breeding ospreys this year on Rutland Water, wetlands and reservoirs are preserved and protected for wildlife and a healthy ecosystem. Both ancient customs and today’s Forestry Service maintain down near the Solent some 70,000-acres of the New Forest.
THOSE OF YOU who follow such things have been doubtless aware that Britain and her constituent peoples are in the midst of what many good folk are taking as a national identity crisis. The changes taking place in British society and the subcultures that have taken root in its midst have sent a tremor of self-doubt through people who have thought of themselves as grounded in a continuity with their past. Ranks of perfectly legal economic migrants from Eastern Europe have flooded the labor market, and added new languages and social enclaves to large existing ethnic communities. Housing, education and health services present significant long-term social needs. Village post offices are closing and the major supermarket chains are fighting off antimonopoly actions. There’s a general feeling of dread lest the new EU Treaty undermines the nation’s sovereignty, and a leading Labour think tank has now recommended that Britain scale back its Christmas celebrations out of fairness to other religions. That’s not going down well. Meanwhile, the strength of the British pound has prompted airliners full of Brits to fly to our East Coast to do their Christmas shopping this year. It seems like a crazy world. Change is constant, of course, and has come dramatically to Great Britain throughout its long and colorful history. Those successive invasions of Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and Normans were not exactly subtle. Britain survived as well the Reformation, the Commonwealth, the Union and World War II GIs. Despite the jeremiads of today, Britain has proved as adaptable as it is stolid. Speaking of adaptable and stolid, in November, Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary to much public acclaim and a service of thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral. When they were married, London was still digging out from under the ashes of World War II and living on its ration book. Throughout the 60 years since, despite the traumas the Royal Family has suffered, the Queen and Prince Philip have served as a refreshing beacon of continuity within change. They are a reminder that devotion to each other and to country count and that, flawed as the monarchy might be, as long as that continuity exists, there’ll always be an England. Congratulations, Your Majesty. Despite the periodic intrusions of real life, your reign has indeed been happy and glorious. Like British Heritage, you remind us that what is of true value is time-tested and timeless.
[caption id="MessingAboutontheThames_Feature" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Above Teddington Lock, the tidal Thames becomes a recreational waterway, a playground for picnickers and rowers in boats of all descriptions.[/caption]
[caption id="NewtonandCowper_Feature" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] The garden at Orchard Side was a great delight to William Cowper, and in the summer house he and John Newton spent many hours in conversation.[/caption]
PAGE 24 Magna Carta is such a fellow, that he will have no sovereign. —Edward Coke
[caption id="RevisitingtheBed&Breakfast_Feature" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Backpackers hiking in the Lake District find a vacancy at the Stone Close. People stay at B&Bs for all sorts of reasons, and the choices have never been greater.[/caption]
Edward I ordered 12 monuments, known as Eleanor Crosses, be built to honour his dead wife. So was he the most romantic monarch of all or was he a pragmatist who used Eleanor of Castile's death to futher the infrastructure of medieval Britain?
[caption id="TeainParliamentandGossipatCourt_img1" align="aligncenter" width="113"][/caption]
[caption id="ADaytoVisitLewesACommonSenseTown_Feature" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Ancient Lewes on the South Downs of East Sussex takes its name from the Saxon word for hills or slopes. The historic market town rises along several of these steep hills.[/caption]
[caption id="LastOrdersPlease_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] During World War II, Herefordshire farmers fill a cider cask to reserve it for the victory celebration to come.[/caption]
[caption id="ElizabethIPizzaintheTurkishBathsShoppingforSilverandFans_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] This painted vellum fan on ivory sticks and guards commemorated the accession of King George II in 1727.[/caption]
[caption id="TheStageIsShakespeares_Feature" align="aligncenter" width="568"] Will Shakespeare appeared for pictures all around his hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon on his 450th birthday.[/caption]
FROM THE 16TH TO 18TH CENTURIES, explorers were the superstars of their day: Magellan, da Gama, Cabot, Vespucci, Hudson and more. But the greatest of these was Captain James Cook. Born in North Yorkshire in 1728, as a teenager Cook signed on as a merchant seaman in the coastal coal trade. He taught himself the skills of navigation and in 1755 joined the Royal Navy. He spent five years surveying Atlantic Canada, producing the first accurate charts of the coast of Newfoundland. In 1768 Cook was given command of Endeavour and sent to the Pacific to observe a rare transit of Venus across the Sun. Cook was charged too with searching the South Pacific for the mythic continent known as Terra Australis. In the process, he mapped the complete New Zealand coastline and became the first European to see Australia’s east coast. When Cook returned home in 1771, he’d been at sea three years. Though Cook’s journey brought him celebrity, he had failed to find Terra Australis. The next year he tried again, this time commanding Resolution. He became the first to circumnavigate the globe around Antarctica. Before returning home, Captain Cook had put Easter Island, Vanuatu, South Georgia, the South Sandwich and Friendly Islands on the map. Cook set out a third time in 1776, again in Resolution. He became the first European to set foot in Hawaii. Then, he charted the west coast of North America from California to the Bering Strait. On his return to Hawaii in 1779, a contretemps with the natives resulted in Cook’s death at their hands. Captain Cook never lived to enjoy the accolades his accomplishments deserved, but those are the chances he willingly took.
[caption id="ACommonplaceBook_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] From The Tors and other cliffside hotels, the views over Lynmouth harbor and the North Devon coast are unbeatable.[/caption]
[caption id="BritainsHistoryinaNewNationalMuseum_img1" align="aligncenter" width="261"][/caption]
The prime minister stepped down today, as promised. Though Cameron's legacy is...complicated, his final departure was perfection. Cameron posted the photo below of himself and "Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office" Larry on Twitter. (Their relationship, considering Cameron is reportedly a dog person, has always been suspicious.) Side note: The Downing Street cat must also say goodbye to the Cameron family; he will be staying on at Number 10.
[caption id="HisMajestys10thRegimentofFootAmericanContingent_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Soldiers of the 10th Foot relax on Lexington Green before the annual Patriots’ Day skirmish.[/caption]
[caption id="NomadCinemaandSwashbucklingPirates_img1" align="aligncenter" width="323"][/caption]
[caption id="PinkTeaintheGardenRoom_img1" align="aligncenter" width="241"][/caption]
[caption id="ItsNoHolidayontheRoadinGreatBritain_img1" align="aligncenter" width="261"][/caption]
THERE ARE MANY reasons for championing history. The better we know and understand the past, the better we know and understand ourselves and our own times. Over the last year, Great Britain has engaged more seriously than ever in questions of its national identity. The country has become one of the great melting pots of our times. Ethnic and cultural minorities from across the globe fill British cities. You can pick up a Polish-language London daily newspaper; for years the most popular first name given boys has been Mohammad; few service jobs in the hospitality industry these days are filled with native English speakers. While the United Kingdom has been more than hospitable to Commonwealth immigrants and its European Union neighbors, its cultural, religious and social values—what has been Britain’s identity and sense of itself—has come starkly into question. The difficulty is that while Britain has indeed been welcoming, it has not naturally integrated the newcomers into its society—let alone its institutions. Instead, each ethnic people has been encouraged, and socially funded, to keep its own organizations, celebrations, religions and communities. It has been easy to live in Britain, but it is not easy to become English, or Welsh or Scottish. Interestingly enough, it is rare to see non-Anglo-Celtic British folk at the kind of heritage sites that we Anglophiles love to cross the ocean to visit. You do not typically find England’s ethnic minorities visiting at National Trust or English Heritage properties, or strolling the path at Stourhead. While the kids come in school groups, blazer-clad and clipboard in hand, they don’t usually return in family groups or as adults. It must be that they do not feel these places have anything to do with them. Or do they not sense a welcome and participation there? We claim the land by knowing about it. It is the shared knowledge of the past and how it emerges into the present lives we lead together that creates a shared identity. The proposed new National Museum of British History is a step in the right direction. In the meantime, Britain would be well served to encourage all those who are there to claim the past for themselves, to visit the stately homes and gardens, castles and battlefields, industrial and folk life museums from Cornwall to the Highlands that are the physical memorials to British history. Connecting Britain’s rich, colorful past and dynamic present, of course, is what British Heritage delights to do. Undoubtedly, getting everyone a subscription to the magazine could only serve the cause of understanding!
[caption id="Puzzler_img1" align="aligncenter" width="417"][/caption]
[caption id="ADaytoVisitConwyCastleTown_Feature" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Perched midway on the north coast of Wales, where the River Conwy enters the Irish Sea, 13th-century Conwy grew up within the walls of Conwy Castle—walls that to this day define the pretty town.[/caption]
OVER THE YEARS, BH has reviewed an eclectic variety of new books on the history and culture of our green and pleasant land. There are classics on the bookshelf, however, that we would like to recall as well. Beginning with this issue, we will look at books many of our readers voted the 10 most British books of all time. We commence at number 10, with Thomas Hardy’s evocative tragedy of 19th-century Dorset, The Mayor of Casterbridge.
[caption id="KingArthurSleptHere_Feature" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Just seven miles from Viroconium, an earlier foundation at Much Wenlock Abbey may have guarded the heirloom treasures of King Arthur and the lineage of British kings.[/caption]
[caption id="LastOrdersPlease_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] A London family celebrates victory in Europe on V-E Day, May 8, 1945.[/caption]
[caption id="NotesfromtheRoadtoCornwall_img1" align="aligncenter" width="82"][/caption]
[caption id="MakingMaltWhiskyAdheringtoTradition_Feature" align="aligncenter" width="1024"][/caption]
[caption id="HandsAcrosstheSea_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] British Consul-General in New York Sir Philip Thomas, St. George’s Society President Natalie Thomas Pray, Lord Browne of Madingley, and Ball Chairpersons Nancy Sakas and Kazie Metzger Harvey enjoy themselves at the St. George’s Society’s annual English Ball.[/caption]
[caption id="ADaytoVisitStirling_Feature" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Mounted on a rocky outcrop, imposing Stirling Castle was the key to controlling the Highlands, and a seat of Stuart kings for centuries.[/caption]
[caption id="ItwastheBestofTimesItwastheWorstofTimes_img1" align="aligncenter" width="113"][/caption]
[caption id="DameGoodheartRoyalJubileesandRareThingsintheGallery_img1" align="aligncenter" width="925"][/caption]
IN THE LATE 12TH CENTURY, England was divided into two castes. The native Saxons, or “English,” were bested a century earlier by William the Conqueror. Within a generation, lands and titles were stripped from the Saxon thanes and granted to Norman knights. The Saxons were getting pretty tired of being oppressed and paying taxes. Into this historical context rode a hero of the occupied English, who gave the common folk something to cheer about. Outlawed by the Normans, a Saxon yeoman, Robin of Locksley, takes refuge in the vast undergrowth of Sherwood Forest. He gathers around him a motley gang of peasants and vagabonds who have similarly run afoul of Norman law or found its bondage intolerable. Across the East Midlands Robin Hood and company take the Saxon country folk under their protection, relieve their destitution and avenge Norman injustice. Robin and his gang live in Sherwood Forest, largely by natural law. They do indeed finance their existence and their social program by relieving the Norman nobility and their lackeys of cash and chattels. Robin Hood himself, the natural leader of this band of goodhearted brigands, is a magnificent physical specimen, chivalrous in love and master of the sexy weapon of the era—the longbow. He exemplifies courage and daring, risking himself again and again for others. He administers justice on behalf of the Merrie Men with mercy and good will. How can you not love this guy? Several candidates for the “real” Robin Hood have been advanced over the years, but it doesn’t matter. History or legend, Robin Hood represents what our Anglo-American society aspires to in spirit, but hasn’t quite figured out how to properly articulate and integrate into our law and social consciousness: equity.
[caption id="ACommonplaceBook_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Portsmouth’s Southsea boasts all the accoutrements of the English seaside.[/caption]
The Wolds of Lincolnshire
[caption id="NostalgiaIsntWhatItUsedToBe_img1" align="aligncenter" width="261"][/caption]
Lord Nelson was a brave and ferocious leader in war. Here's a fascinating account of his life.
[caption id="CommonplaceBook_img1" align="aligncenter" width="568"] The bulwark of Corfe Castle dominated the politics of eastern Dorset for centuries, until the castle was slighted in the Civil War.[/caption]
[caption id="LetsGoOnaPicnic_Feature" align="aligncenter" width="866"][/caption]
The rich ecosystems of England’s landscape are varied and beautiful. In the lush estuaries along the British coast, the marshes, river banks and reed beds provide fertile haven for an astonishing range of wildlife. Conservationists have created an environment that both encourages visitors and preserves the habitat of more than 200 varieties of wetland birds: Reed Buntings, Barnacle Geese, Redshanks and Water Rails.
[caption id="ShakespeareintheNewWorld_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Petruchio woos Katherine while sister Bianca looks on in The Taming of the Shrew at Stratford, Ontario’s acclaimed Shakespeare festival.[/caption]
Looking back on the 250th anniversary of the first English dictionary
[caption id="FindingForgottenPlacesTakingTeaandTheTweedRun_img1" align="aligncenter" width="323"][/caption]
[caption id="WalkinginTreesMilkChocolateandBowling_img1" align="aligncenter" width="241"][/caption]
[caption id="LandofMyFathers_Feature" align="aligncenter" width="1024"][/caption]
[caption id="TheGloriousSpringfromAberdeentotheHomeCounties_img1" align="aligncenter" width="261"][/caption]
The Latest Books About Britain
[caption id="AberdeenshireWheretheQualityofLifeisBest_Feature" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Though Fraserburgh has a large commercial fishing fleet, most fishing villages along Aberdeenshire’s coast are quiet now, and their harbors eerily empty.[/caption]
[caption id="LastOrdersPlease_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] During the terrorism that struck London during World War II, amidst the Blitz of 1940, Westminster City Council organized a competition for the best decorated air raid shelter in London. Stiff upper lip, indeed.[/caption]
E Pluribus Unum
[caption id="CommonplaceBook_img1" align="aligncenter" width="568"] Creative entrepreneurs add to the eclectic, colorful atmosphere of Hay-on-Wye.[/caption]
Queen Eizabeth II is officially the world's longest reigning monarch, but what comparisons can be made between her reign and that of Queen Elizabeth I?
[caption id="PlayingtheProvinces_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] MINACK THEATRE, PENZANCE[/caption]
[caption id="Dateline_img1" align="aligncenter" width="197"] English speakers can be in a minority.[/caption]
[caption id="FiveCathedralCitiesbyTrain_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Waverley Station sits right in the heart of Edinburgh, between the Old and New Towns.[/caption]
[caption id="LondonsAfterglowandBestingtheBard_img1" align="aligncenter" width="223"][/caption]
Tips and tidbits for travel and for fun
[caption id="TheRomneyMarshoftheScarecrow_Feature" align="aligncenter" width="1024"][/caption]
[caption id="ItWastheBestofTimesitwastheWorstofTimes_img1" align="aligncenter" width="223"][/caption]
[caption id="ACommonplaceBook_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] A stone sober Church of Scotland is a feature of farming villages across Aberdeenshire.[/caption]
City Hall, London
[caption id="SouthDownsSunshineandShowers_img1" align="aligncenter" width="261"][/caption]
[caption id="TheAmericanMuseuminBritain_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] On Claverton Down above the city of Bath, Claverton Manor has been home to the American Museum in Britain since its 1961 founding.[/caption]
[caption id="AFunkyTombTerrificArtandTeaatBrowns_img1" align="aligncenter" width="241"][/caption]
[caption id="LastOrdersPlease_img1" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Princess Elizabeth, in officer’s dress, stands by a first-aid truck of the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1945.[/caption]
The Royal family's connection to Sandringham is long and varied, but just what is it about Norfolk that brings them back generation after generation?
ROMAN MOSAICS AND STICKY toffee pudding, Jane Austen’s novels, Stephenson’s “Rocket,” Welsh male choirs, the Glenfinnan Viaduct and a pint of real ale at the Rose & Crown: They are all part of a cultural legacy and a social and political history that have influenced the world far beyond their proportion to the “sceptered isle’s” size and population. It is all the delightful scope of British Heritage. What a privilege it is to be invited to serve as guest editor for the next few issues of BH! For three decades now, Britain has been my stomping groundfrom Penzance to Inverness. In a career of teaching, writing, designing specialized tours and leading travel groups in Britain, I have reveled in the discovery of this green and pleasant land. Nowhere in Great Britain (except perhaps in the western Highlands) can a traveler venture 20 miles without happening upon a significant landmark in social, industrial or political history. Beyond that, however, Britain’s heritage lies as well in its people, and in the nuances of a contemporary culture that lives so comfortably within its history. To many BH readers, I need perhaps little introduction. For many years I’ve been a regular feature writer and a book reviewer for this grand magazine. More than a handful of you, of course, have traveled to Britain with me, or with British Heritage and Lord Addison Travel. When the publishing offices of BH recently moved from Harrisburg, Pa., to Leesburg, Va., my good friend and trusty BH Editor Bruce Heydt decided not to relocate his young family. And so, somehow, here I am. Any editor inherits the work of his or her predecessors. Gail Huganir and Bruce Heydt left BIG shoes to fill with a loyal BH readership. I can only hope to build upon their foundation. British Heritage has long offered travel opportunities for readers to England, Scotland and Wales with its editors. Certainly, this is a tradition that I am pleased to continue. In fact, I shall be leading an adventure for BH readers this spring that will bring to life several of the features in this very issue. Jim Hargan’s superb article on Jane Austen’s Hampshire village roots just begs to jump out of the pages between London and Bath, and Roman Britain must be seen to be appreciated. Of course, editors bring their own personal style and slant to a publication. Methinks you will see mine begin to emerge in this very issue. As to how such changes might play with you, the astute and worshipful readers of these fair pages, I suspect you will let me know. And I shall be delighted to hear from you.