A Travellerspoint blog

A little further back in time

Chedworth et al

rain 20 °C

Having left the rolling hills of Derbyshire, I headed south again, driving through a few family history towns in Leicestershire and basically having what I would call a much needed rest day. Today I came down to just outside Cheltenham, staying in yet another family history town. A rather miserable day with contstant drizzle all day. Still managed to fit in a trip to Chedworth Roman villa and saw some amazing mosaic tile floors there. After that, off to a nearby Lodge built in the 1650's for the express purpose of viewing the sport of the day (usuallly either involving dog races after deer hunting). Not a good day for outdoor activities!

Posted by burgeea 12:49 Archived in England Comments (0)

Derbyshire

How many "wow's" can I say in one day?

rain 19 °C

Tuesday 3rd August
Another “Wow” day with vists to Lyme Park and Chatsworth. Lyme Park was used as the exterior for Pemberley in the BBC series of Pride and Prejudice but alas no Mr Darcy appeared in the garden having swum in the lake. It was another fabulous place to visit though with beautiful interiors and lovely gardens and parkland. On the way back to the town I'm staying in, I dropped into Chatsworth (along with several hundred others). Once again kept saying “wow” every time I walked into a room and the photo's do it no justice. Again, the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire still call this pile home but are kind enough to open it up to us thousands of visitors each year. Very kind!

Wednesday 4th August
Awoke to constant rain this morning but that didn't stop me heading off to Hardwick Hall built by Bess of Hardwick (close friend of Elizabeth I) in the late 1500's. Her last husband (her 4th) was such a meanie to her that after he died she put her initials (ES) all around the roof to snub him and show that she was her own person. Not much has changed since her time and again there were some wow factor massive rooms with elaborate decoration that made your head spin. There were also a lot of very rare tapestries and embroidery and goldwork that I spent much time examining. Just across the road is the old hall where Bess had been born and which she had renovated but which now lies in ruins as later generations pulled it down to sell off some of the fittings. You can still see the structure and plasterwork of some of the rooms though, along with a great view across the countryside. Off to Leicester tomorrow as I start heading south again.

Posted by burgeea 12:57 Archived in England Comments (0)

Lincolnshire and Derbyshire

Sunday and Monday 1st and 2nd Aug

overcast 22 °C

Off to Lincolnshire and Burghley - (pronounced Burly), another Elizabethan gem. The family still live there on massive grounds with a deer park but kindly let us tourists troop through and admire some of the place. Once again, room after room of amazing sights with Queen Victoria also having stayed there when still a young woman Amazing art and furnishings along with the largest wine cooler you are ever likely to see in silver (as I think they said it was certainly the largest in Europe). We are talking about it weighing about 240 pounds without anything in it and it still gets used for parties now. After that I travelled a little further north to Grantham and another stately home (what else?) that again had beautiful rooms and gardens. Spent the night just outside of Lincoln - the skyline dominated by the Cathedral.

Monday 2nd August
The morning was spent first tracking down the headstone of some ancestors just outside of Lincoln. It was very worn and hard to read but was for the people I was looking for. The town was of course another cute little village. I went back to Lincoln to visit the cathedral – another magnificent building first started just a couple of years after William the Conqueror hit town – but much rebuilt after an earthquake destroyed much of it in the 12th century. As mentioned, it sits atop the only hill for miles and completely dominates the skyline. Another architectural masterpiece with beautiful stained glass windows, vaulted ceilings and a choir area that has to be seen to be appreciated. After that I went across the road to the rather disappointing Lincoln castle, which still houses a court house but much of the site was closed for repair. It does however house one of the rare Magna Carta's in the country so all was not lost. Having done that it was time to tell Tomtom to take me to the rolling hills of Derbyshire. First stop was Kedlestone Park where some of the film The Duchess was filmed. It has been undergoing major restoration and again, superb rooms and furnishings and of interest to me, some examples of 19th century Indian / English goldwork. Will be staying put for the next 3 nights and using this as a base for the various places around here that I want to visit (including Pemberely – planned for tomorrow). Internet access is bad, so I might be offline for a couple of days as it takes hours to access anything.

Posted by burgeea 13:36 Archived in England Comments (0)

Norfolk

\Friday and Sat

overcast 22 °C

Drove up to Norwich in the morning but despite it being a very pretty city, not very user friendly either with signage to major attractions or ability to navigate around due to multiple road works. Visited the Cathedral and Castle there before heading off to another stately home - Blickling Estate in Norfolk. Another fabulous destination with beautiful gardens (and wedding taking place that afternoon there) along with a magnificent house. Originally a Boleyn house stood there and Anne Boleyn is thought to have possibly been born there as well. they do have part of a bedspread that did once grace her bed. That was demolished by the new owner - the Duke of Buckingham - and the current house built in the early 1600's. Superb once again - it really is annoying just how many fabulous things to visit there are here! Moved on up to the coast to visit with friends there and today we spent the day at Bressingham steam train museum and gardens. Rode on a couple of old steam trains and then took a walk through the magnificent gardens here and thankfully the early rain cleared up into a lovely day. Off to Lincolnshire tomorrow and more Tudor history.

Posted by burgeea 11:39 Archived in England Comments (0)

Sutton Hoo and Bury St Edmunds

Thu 29 July

overcast 20 °C

A 70 minute drive down to Sutton Hoo to visist the Saxon Burial mound was how the day started (after another yummy english breakfast). As I walked towards the burial mounds I almost ran back to the car for a jacket because the breeze was a little fresh. I soldiered on a little more birskly to keep the cold at bay. Now, if anyone knows about these burial mounds, they'll know they don't exactly make great photography, so I won't bother uploading any of those photo's. For those who don't know about this, it was a burial site for reputedly a 7th century king (and some others) with two of the mounds containing ships that had been hauled up from the river about a mile below the site and contained the body of someone along with a lot of burail goods, many of them gold. These only happen in Suffolk and Sweden, so no guessing what heritage might be at play there. that ends today's history lesson on Sutton Hoo. Not impressive in terms of a building but very impressive in terms of the history.

Following that little side track, I then headed back the way I had come for about 45 minutes, visiting a stately home on the way through to Bury St Edmunds. Glad I picked this little gem to stay in (one of my "treat" hotels). I am in the heart of the town in an 18th century coach house opposite the old abbey and St Edmundsbury Cathedral. Dripping with history, beautiful old streets, oldest known Norman house in this area (dating from about 1100)...the list goes on. I particularly liked the gate to the abbey that was burnt down by the residents in about 1320 and then rebuilt about 20 years later. Those crazy guys - sounds like a party got out of hand!

This is a beautiful old town and compact, so you don't have to walk to far to see anything. I give it 2 thumbs up!

Posted by burgeea 08:48 Archived in England Comments (0)

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