Travel, Gardens, Food, Photography, Books, Shoes

Posts from the ‘Lodging’ category

A Stroll Through Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

 

The Brookfield B&B, Harrogate, UK

The Brookfield B&B, Harrogate, UK

Upon arrival the Brookfield House B&B looked like this!

Located on a quiet side street it is still close enough to walk to the shops and restaurants. The Brookfield B&B was the perfect spot to stay in so let’s look at some of those photos first! We like staying in small B&B’s when we travel and now when my husband is traveling for work he tends to look for B&B’s as well. Brookfield is a charming re-stored Victorian property with six rooms and a small staff offering attentive service. My husband started the day at 0600, but the owner, Lisa, was up every morning to make sure he got his full English breakfast!

The Brookfield B&B, Harrogate, UK

The Brookfield B&B, Harrogate, UK

The Brookfield B&B, Harrogate, UK

The Brookfield B&B, Harrogate, UK

Looking out…….

Brookfield B&B, Harrogate, UK

Brookfield B&B, Harrogate, UK

Brookfield B&B, Harrogate, UK

Brookfield B&B, Harrogate, UK

The Entryway looked like this………..

Brookfield B&B, Harrogate, UK

Brookfield B&B, Harrogate, UK

The Dining Area looked like this…….

Brookfield B&B, Harrogate, UK

Brookfield B&B, Harrogate, UK

And his room looked like this…….

Brookfield B&B, Harrogate, UK

Brookfield B&B, Harrogate, UK

Then a stroll around town looked like this……..

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The weather is becoming blustery!

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

And rainy……..

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

And the temperature is dropping…….

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Royal Hall, Harrogate, UK

Royal Hall, Harrogate, UK

Royal Baths, Harrogate, UK

Royal Baths, Harrogate, UK

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Look closely at the statues on this building!

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

I wonder who has the job of placing scarves and hats on the statues? The weather is taking a turn for the worse!

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

And everyone should visit Bettys! That’s all anyone talked about! Hubby needed something hot about now!

Betty's Tearoom and Chocolates, Harrogate, UK

Betty’s Tearoom and Chocolates, Harrogate, U

But alas, it was the last week and the weather was appropriate!

Brookfield B&B, Harrogate, UK

Brookfield B&B, Harrogate, UK

And at the airport in Leeds……..Not Going Anywhere Too Soon!

Not Going Anywhere Any Too Soon!

Not Going Anywhere Any Too Soon!

I hope you enjoyed my hubby’s first attempt to get pictures for me when visiting a great city in the UK. I am sad that I missed out on it because it looks just like the kind of place I love to visit!

For information about the Brookfield B&B in Harrogate look here! I think you will find it as charming as my hubby did! ‘Till next time!

 

 

Agatha Christie’s Biggest Mystery

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

In December 1926, Agatha Christie was a thirty-six year old, established crime writer, when she mysteriously disappeared. Early on the morning of December 3rd, Colonel Archibald Christie, an aviator in the Royal Flying Corps, had asked Agatha for a divorce because he was in love with another woman, Nancy Neele. He then packed up and went to spend the weekend with his mistress. Later that evening, Agatha left the house leaving two notes; one for her brother-in-law saying she was going to Yorkshire and one for the town constable saying she feared for her life. Her crashed car was found nearby, hanging over the edge of a chalk pit, with her fur coat,  suitcases and identity papers thrown about the car and Agatha nowhere to be found.  A massive manhunt began which included the dredging of a large pond and thousands of police and locals joining to scour the countryside. The manhunt included the first use of airplanes to search for missing people. Archie Christie seemed unconcerned when summoned, yes, he had to be summoned to the crash site, and simply stated his wife was a mysterious and calculating woman, who probably made the whole thing up to promote her latest book! Astonished, the constable placed Archie at the top of the suspect list and had his phone tapped, where his affair and want of a divorce was soon discovered.

As the days went on, the search spread out to all parts of Great Britain. Fellow mystery writers got involved: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle took one of Agatha’s gloves to a noted psychic and Dorothy L. Sayers visited Agatha’s house and the place where the car was found.

It wasn’t until December 14th that the search ended. As it turned out, Agatha had walked to the train station, after crashing her car, and took a train to London. In London she went shopping for  clothes and a new coat and then took the train to Harrogate, which she had seen on an advertisement at the train station.

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

She checked into The Old Swan Hotel and Spa on the 4th of December under a false name (using, ironically, the surname of Archie’s mistress) Harrogate was the height of elegance in the 1920s and filled with fashionable people looking for fun and excitement. Agatha Christie did nothing to arouse suspicions as she joined in dining, playing billiards, going for spa treatments and attending the balls and dances at the Palm Court at the Swan Hotel.

She even placed an advertisement in the newspaper offering where Teresa Neele was staying.

She was eventually recognized by one of the hotel’s banjo players, Bob Tappin, who alerted the police. They tipped off her husband, Colonel Christie, who came to collect Agatha immediately. Agatha seemed confused and mis-identified Archie as her brother.

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Agatha was brought home and was quickly and completely hidden from reporters.

Because nobody was providing any answers, various scenarios would later be given by the newspapers as theories as to what had happened: temporary amnesia, a nervous breakdown, a plot of revenge to embarrass and humiliate her husband, or a publicity stunt to increase sales of her books. Nobody knew for certain what had transpired. And nobody knows to this day. Agatha never, ever mentioned the episode again. Her divorce was finalized two years later.

And in the end the police charged Agatha Christie for the pay of all the police, and the use of the airplanes during their search for her.

So as noted in my previous post, I was not happy about missing the trip to Harrogate and exploring the Swan Hotel, which was a priority for me. But, as it turned out, my hubby took the time to go to the Hotel and take photos for me and while there he discovered that the Hotel was offering Agatha Christie Mystery Dinners during the month of November, in honor of the 90th anniversary of Agatha’s disappearance. It was a themed mystery taking place in Egypt among the archeologists. Everyone was to dress the part. My husband promptly signed himself up along with a business associate, another man, to attend the mystery dinner. When he told me about it I thought it would be a lot of fun and noted most people would dress the part. On the night of the event, many were indeed dressed in sheik’s robes, archeological dig clothing, or dresses of the roaring twenties, except for said two men. There was even a mix up in their names, since the hotel didn’t think two men would be attending the event together and it must have been a mistake in names, so changed one of the place tag names from Mr O——-, to just Olivia. The men had a good laugh and proceeded with the mystery.  During the dinner, several actors staged sketches and then went around to the ten various tables offering clues and talking to the guests. By the end of the evening the guests at each table were  to collectively name the killer. Table Ten did not discover the correct killer, but had a great time with their table mates, four women from Spain, four women from London, and two men from the US, in trying to figure the mystery out.

The Actors at Agatha Christie Dinner Mystery, Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, UK

The Actors at Agatha Christie Dinner Mystery, Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, UK

The Actors at Agatha Christie Dinner Mystery, Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, UK

The Actors at Agatha Christie Dinner Mystery, Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, UK

It was soon discovered that one of the finely dressed women at this table was actually a 6 foot-five inch, well built man, named Bill! (the guest with the dangling earrings) Great costume Bill!

Guests at Agatha Christie Dinner Mystery, Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, UK

Guests at Agatha Christie Dinner Mystery, Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, UK

Actors and Guests at Agatha Christie Dinner Mystery, Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, UK

Actors and Guests at Agatha Christie Dinner Mystery, Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, UK

The Big Fight Skit during the Agatha Christie Murder Mystery Dinner

The Big Fight Skit during the Agatha Christie Murder Mystery Dinner

Another Death to Deal With!

Another Death to Deal With!

Table Ten

Table Ten

Guests at Agatha Christie Dinner Mystery, Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, UK

Guests at Agatha Christie Dinner Mystery, Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, UK

And to top off the evening….. The Swan dessert!

 Actors and Guests at Agatha Christie Dinner Mystery, Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, UK

A great time was had by all and one thing is for sure. Agatha Christie is still the greatest mystery writer of all time, even her own!

Tomorrow will be the last day in Harrogate. Won’t you join me to find out all about it? See you then!

 

Art In the Potting Shed Garden, Benenden, UK, Post Four

 

A Garden Gate at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

A Garden Gate at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Well let’s go through this extraordinary garden at the Potting Shed once last time! First go through another garden gate. Charlotte has made gates into  an art form, that’s for sure!

Another Outdoor Eating Area at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Another Outdoor Eating Area at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

In the Garden, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

In the Garden, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

In the Garden, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

In the Garden, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

And Through Another Gate, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

And Through Another Gate, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Into the Vegetable Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Into the Vegetable Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

hroughout the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Art Throughout the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

hroughout the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Art Throughout the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Look up, look down, we don’t want to miss a thing! And then into the Cutting Flower Garden!

Into the Vegetable Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Into the Cutting Flower Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Through the arbor!

 Through the Arbor, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Through the Arbor, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

We must stop by and see the turtles!

The Turtles Pen, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Turtle Pen, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

And the turtles up close!

The Turtles

The Turtles

Through another gate!

Through Another Gate at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Through Another Gate at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Onward to the bee keeps.

 The Bee Keeps at The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Bee Keeps at The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

And then to the Artist’s Retreat!

An Artist's Retreat, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

An Artist’s Retreat, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Through another gate!

The Last Gate, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Last Gate, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

To the last Retreat!

Another Artist's Retreat,The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Another Artist’s Retreat,The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Don’t throw away anything! Charlotte has re-cycled everything in her garden from thrown away treasures! See what you can do with them? Old gates, old doors, old odd windows here and there! Save the fallen branches too!

The Artist's Retreat,The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Artist’s Retreat,The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

You can see what an unusual gardening experience this is! It was an absolutely charming and very restful garden and lodging to come back to at the end of a touring day!

Don and Charlotte at the Potting Shed, can be reached Here.

PS…. I took photos of Don and Charlotte, and you can see why this garden is so magical, just by the look of them! But…….. they requested their photos not be published on the blog…….so I am honoring their request!

Tomorrow we’ll be touring a garden on the National Garden Scheme!  See you there!

The Potting Shed, Benenden, Kent, UK, Post Two

One of the Gardens at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

One of the Gardens at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

As some of you know this is my second year for my England Garden Tour, where I pick out spots in the UK to spend a few weeks and then visit lovely gardens, including local gardens sponsored on the National Garden Theme and homes and gardens on the National Trust. I had a little rough start to my visit to St Ives, but as most things do in the end, it turned out even better than I expected. Now, we have made our way to The Potting Shed in Benenden, which I have been anxiously waiting for. This time we would also be staying/living in a garden too. What would it be like?

I booked The Potting Shed over a year ago to make sure I could get accommadations to stay there at the time I wanted. My better half always asks me, “where do you find these places?” Well, I do a lot of homework looking for unusual spots for lodging and I like things off the beaten track and things not typical of what everybody is doing.

The Potting Shed fit the bill. It truly is a Potting Shed in the yard of two very prolific gardeners! I would say Charlotte, one of the gardeners, is a cross between Beatrice Potter and Tasha Tudor! Don was originally a farmer and has spent a lifetime gardening ( more on that in another post) But, between the two, they truly live off the land, thrive in it and a motto for them might be “waste not, want not.” Invited into their cottage for wine one evening, we got a look at how one lived in the early 1900’s, the period their cottage was made, and I can’t say many updates have been made to ruin it! I couldn’t take my eyes off the magical wonder of their lifestyle and how it would truly be living like that. No modern Ikea stuff here! Charlotte is also an artist and painter, everything she touches is made beautiful, so they enjoy scouting the countryside for finds and then bring them home to enhance their gardens! While we were there they were looking for more old doors!

The Potting Shed, on the other hand, was meant to be quite modern in comfort and cozy. The appliances are up to date and there is Wi-fi and a TV. The furniture has been re-designed in fabrics and style with Charlotte’s eye for the bohemian flair, nothing fancy, but very stylish. So without further ado, let’s look at the inside of the Potting Shed!

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

 The Potting Shed, Benenden, Kent, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

These stairs are called Paddle Steps. I had never heard of them, but they are great for saving space in small spaces!

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The bedroom was in the loft! Loved it!

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

One of the Many Bouquets in the Potting Shed, UK

One of the Many Bouquets in the Potting Shed, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The kitchen had everything you need, even a dishwasher!

The Gift Basket at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Gift Basket at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Charlotte and Don also left a very generous welcome basket of local wine, cheeses, chutney and crackers. There was also fresh picked salad greens from the garden and eggs from their chickens!

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

More Flowers from the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

More Flowers from the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Out into the Garden, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Out into the Garden, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Charlotte made all the topiaries and trims them herself on a very tall ladder! Oh MY! Well there are some that are quite near the ground too!

Out into the Garden, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Out into the Garden, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

She has left their footprints in the garden, so to speak!

In the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

In the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

In the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

In the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

There are over five acres of gardens and other delights at the Potting Shed! Both Charlotte and Don are very savvy gardeners and have a list and knowledge of other gardens in the area. So many in fact, that I was not aware of, that I added them to my “must see” list. So tomorrow we will be taking a stroll through other parts of their garden and I am sure you will not want to miss it! Let’s go through this gate and see what is in this garden!

The Next Gate, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Next Gate, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

We have stayed many places in the twenty years of our travels, but have never been received or taken care of so well as we were at our stay at the Potting Shed. If you love gardens and gardening and would like to experience a “once in a lifetime” find, this is the spot for you! Don and Charlotte at the Potting Shed can be reached Here. I am writing many posts on the Potting Shed so be sure to check them all out! Enjoy!

Reason to Love St Ives # 6: The Cottages

The Anchorage B&B, St Ives, Cornwall

The Anchorage B&B, St Ives, Cornwall

I could spend hours walking the lanes and looking at the cottages! And I did! Enjoy St Ives!

The Oldest Cottage in St Ives

The Oldest Cottage in St Ives

The Oldest House Plaque, St Ives

The Oldest House Plaque, St Ives

The Waters Edge Cottage

The Waters Edge Cottage

Downlong Cottage, St Ives

Downlong Cottage, St Ives

The Grey Mullet Guest House, St Ives

The Grey Mullet Guest House, St Ives

A View from the Hill, St Ives

A View from the Hill, St Ives

The Victorian Cottages

The Victorian Cottages

Street an Garrow, St Ives

Street an Garrow, St Ives

Norway House, St Ives

Norway House, St Ives

Itsy Bitsy Cottage, St Ives

Itsy Bitsy Cottage, St Ives

The New Cottage on the Hill, St Ives

The New Cottage on the Hill, St Ives

With Garden, St Ives

With Garden, St Ives

On the Beach, St Ives

On the Beach, St Ives

The Cutest Cottage, St Ives

The Cutest Cottage, St Ives

The Narrow Lanes in St Ives

The Narrow Lanes in St Ives

Cottage Row, St Ives

Cottage Row, St Ives

Over the Water, St Ives

Over the Water, St Ives

The Ivy on the Wall, St Ives

The Ivy on the Wall, St Ives

See you tomorrow in St Ives!

Some Days You Just Can’t Win…….A Good Sense of Humor Pays Off

25% Incline?? Are You Kidding Me?

25% Incline?? Are You Kidding Me?

The best thing you can have on a vacation is a sense of humor. After exploring Agatha Christie’s home at Greenway, we had a much longer day than expected and then continued on with the drive to St Ives in Cornwall. My sense of humor was nipped in the bud as soon as we got there.

We had signed a lease for a fisherman’s cottage located on the flat part of St Ives and near the old historic area. The cottage came with a parking spot which they advertised as a “must have” since parking was at a premium. This was their advertisement;

A beautiful town centre 17th century stone cottage tucked away in a quiet cobbled street. Lovingly restored and completely refurbished in 2013 to an exceptionally high standard – the cottage has all the comforts of a bijoux boutique hotel with the freedom to do as you please! Cornish Cottage is a 2 minute level stroll to St Ives harbour, restaurants, cafes, galleries, shops and beaches. Steeped in history and full of original charm and character with wonky walls, a wood burning stove with cornish granite fire surround, granite coins, window seats and exposed beams. Parking space for one car. Underfloor heating and gas central heating. Delicious Cornish Cream Tea or surprise welcome pack awaits guests on arrival! We regret the cottage is not suitable for children. Sorry – no pets allowed.

Things we were not told about…

1. The parking space was a mile away……. up or down, however you want to look at it…….on a 25% grade……….OMG! Who would walk that everyday?

The good thing about arriving at the top was the view! The cemetery had one of the best views in town!

The Cemetery in St Ives, Cornwall

The Cemetery in St Ives, Cornwall

The Cemetery in St Ives, Cornwall

The Cemetery in St Ives, Cornwall

2.  Behind the cottage was a Fish&Chips establishment with a pub……….the smell of used, rancid grease heating up to fry the fish at 0600 was unbelievable!

3. About 0630 every morning the lorry came to deliver the metal casks of beer to the pub…….. rolling barrel after barrel into the pub! The delivery entrance for the pub was right next to our quaint little cottage!

4. After the beer lorry left, the trash man would pull up to get all the glass beer bottles. Clang, clang clang, dumping hundreds of bottles into the truck!

The Tale of the Cottage and the BINS, St Ives, Cornwall

The Tale of the Cottage and the BINS, St Ives, Cornwall

5. The road next to the cottage, also the main road to the parking areas of St Ives, was frequented day and night by tourists whose conversations we could hear without trying! Double glazed windows would have been nice!

The Cottage Window Overlooking main Tourist Walk, St Ives, Cornwall

The Cottage Window Overlooking Main Tourist Walk, St Ives, Cornwall

The Main Tourist Walk to Parking in St Ives, Cornwall

The Main Tourist Walk to Parking in St Ives, Cornwall

6. It has been a long time since I was in a beach town and I forgot the sound the seagulls make all night and day when they are nesting! OMG! This is the sound, just add hundreds of birds at the same time!

 

The Seagulls, St Ives, Cornwall

The Seagulls, St Ives, Cornwall

The Seagulls, St Ives, Cornwall

The Seagulls, St Ives, Cornwall

Now the good bits were……….once I got use to pretending I was among the pirates, heave ho and a bottle of rum and all that!

The cottage was fantastic!

The Fisherman's Cottage, St Ives, Cornwall

The Fisherman’s Cottage, St Ives, Cornwall

The Fisherman's Cottage, St Ives, Cornwall

The Fisherman’s Cottage, St Ives, Cornwall

The Fisherman's Cottage, St Ives, Cornwall

The Fisherman’s Cottage, St Ives, Cornwall

The Fisherman's Cottage, St Ives, Cornwall

The Fisherman’s Cottage, St Ives, Cornwall

This may be the first time we’ve Ever been to a vacation spot and never left the spot! Did I ever make it up that hill again? Stay tuned! More tomorrow from St Ives!

Getting from Point A to Point B; Don’t Forget the a’s, b’s and little c’s!

Ash Manor House, Yeovil, UK

Ash Manor House, Yeovil, UK

What an Inviting Entryway and Checkout the Flowers!

What an Inviting Entryway and Check Out the Flowers!

To get from Point A to Point B is more fun if you have shorter driving times and lots of smaller a’s, b’s and c’s along the route. After all we are on vacation! When you have been up all night, or at least not sleeping well on an international flight, it is easier to have small stops to look forward to rather than a long jaunt across the countryside in unfamiliar territory! So, those were the conditions I set for my “2016 English Garden Tour” starting at Heathrow Airport and beginning the “Official” part of the tour in Cornwall. But, I made a few stops along the way and they turned out to be lovely! As you have read in previous blog posts we stopped at two National Trust properties on the journey to Cornwall, Stourhead and Tintinhull. Oh, and we drove past Stonehenge, so we can say we’ve seen that too! And then we planned to stop for the night in Yeovil, and stay at the Ash Manor House. What a delightful stay between Point A and Point B! It was easy to find, there was plenty of parking on the premises, it was spotless and there is a restaurant on site! So if you are making your way to Cornwall this also may be a good option for you! Let’s see some photos!

The Lobby Area at Ash House Manor, Yeovil, UK

The Lobby Area at Ash House Manor, Yeovil, UK

The Lady of the Manor House in Her Time! I Wouldn't Mess With Her!

The Lady of the Manor House in Her Time! I Wouldn’t Mess With Her!

Notice looking at the “now” pictures of the house and the “original” picture, that the ivy has been removed from the house. I liked the ivy look better, but that’s just me! The ivy softens the stones and gives it a romantic cottage-y look!

Up the Stairs We Go!

Up the Stairs We Go!

A Beautiful Transomed Doorway at the Top of the Landing

A Beautiful Transomed Doorway at the Top of the Landing

Aww To Drop Into Bed!

Ahh, To Drop Into Bed!

A Quick Peek at LEON

A Quick Peek at LEON and the Village

From Heathrow to Ash Manor House I was trying to adjust to a rental car called LEON. Leon is a diesel engine vehicle that turns off whenever the brake is on for any period of time to save gas.  It is like they do in Nascar to save gas when they think they will not make it until the end of the race and try to conserve fuel. The only difference is Leon does it automatically and it is sooooo scary! I was always concerned it wouldn’t start up again just as we got to the tricky round about or stuck in heavy traffic and then needed to go! Just one more thing to add to the adventure! Who would name a car LEON anyway? I learned one more thing early on in my adventure; never let them stick me wth a LEON at the car rental! Maybe I just need a relaxing drink and something to eat! So let’s go to the bar!

The Bar at Ash Manor House, Yeovil, UK

The Bar at Ash Manor House, Yeovil, UK

The Dining Room at Ash Manor House, Yeovil, UK

The Dining Room at Ash Manor House, Yeovil, UK

My Yummy Evening Meal at Ash Manor House, Yeovil, UK

My Yummy Evening Meal at Ash Manor House, Yeovil, UK

And Then Dessert! The Frog is a Cinnamon Dip!

And Then Dessert! The Frog is a Cinnamon Dip!

And then the next morning, a scrumptious breakfast in the Morning Room overlooking the back garden.

The Morning Room at Ash Manor House, Yeovil, UK

The Morning Room at Ash Manor House, Yeovil, UK

The Back Garden at Ash Manor House, Yeovil, UK

The Back Garden at Ash Manor House, Yeovil, UK

If you are traveling from London to Cornwall you might consider a rest stop at Ash Manor House. All my boxes for the perfect stay were ticked off!

Well, it’s a brand new day and we are off to another National Trust Property! See you next time at Greenway, home of Agatha Christie! I can hardly wait!

 

Hever Castle: Childhood Home of Anne Boleyn

The Deer on the Lawn at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Deer on the Lawn at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

St Peter and Paul Church, Edenbridge, UK

St Peter and Paul Church, Edenbridge, UK

Sign at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

Sign at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

Hever Castle is the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. Located near Edenbridge, the country house was built in the 13th century and from 1462 to 1539 it was the home of the Boleyn family, originally the “Bullen” family. Thomas Boleyn, born there in 1477, inherited the house in 1505 from his father, William Boleyn. The entrance to Hever Castle is easy to find. It is right across the street from St Peter and Paul Church in Edenbridge.

The Entry into Hever Castle, Edenbridge , UK

The Entry into Hever Castle, Edenbridge , UK

The Topiary Entry, Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Topiary Entry, Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Topiary Entry, Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Topiary Entry, Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Landscape of Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Landscape of Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The big burgundy tree is where the ghost of Anne Boleyn can sometimes be seen.  She courted with Henry VIII under this tree.

Let’s visit the castle!

The Topiary Entry, Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Topiary Entry, Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

There have been three main periods of construction to the historic castle. The oldest part of the castle dates to 1270 and consisted of the gatehouse and walled courtyard.

The Drawbridge into Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Drawbridge into Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Drawbridge into Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Drawbridge into Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Gatehouse at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Gatehouse at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Gatehouse at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Gatehouse at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Courtyard at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Courtyard at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

In 1462 Geoffrey Boleyn converted the castle into a Tudor manor house. Thomas Boleyn lived here with his wife Lady Elizabeth Howard and their children George, Mary and Anne. Anne lived here until she was sent to the Netherlands in 1513, to study at the court of Archduchess Margaret.

After the death of Thomas Boleyn, in 1539, the property belonged to King Henry VIII and in 1540 he gave Anne of Cleves, his fourth wife,  the property as part of an annulment settlement of their marriage. This is the second property we have toured, (the first being the Priest House in West Hoathley), that was given to Anne of Cleves in her annulment settlement. She did quite well by just giving Henry what he wanted with no fuss!

The last period of repair and renovation was in the 20th century when the property was bought by William Waldorf Astor in 1903. The American millionaire made the castle his family residence and restored the run down property and added an Italian garden to display his collection of statuary. Today the property is owned and managed by Broadland Properties Limited. This collection of cottages, restaurant, and B&B would be perfect for your stay! It ‘s like living in a fairy tale!

Hever Castle with Cottages at the Conference Center, Edenbridge, UK

Hever Castle with Cottages at the Conference Center, Edenbridge, UK

The Conference Center at hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Conference Center at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Conference Center at hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Conference Center at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Grounds and River Surrounding Hever Castle

The Grounds and Moat Surrounding Hever Castle

The Grounds and River Surrounding Hever Castle

The Grounds and Moat Surrounding Hever Castle

The estate is run as a conference center, but the castle and grounds are open to the public, but no pictures are allowed inside the castle. The castle offers three floors containing antique furniture, Ann Boleyn’s prayer books, instruments of torture and a large collection of Tudor paintings. The grounds are used for many seasonal activities, including a Christmas Walk and an International Christmas Walk in November and December.

The Grounds and River Surrounding Hever Castle

The Grounds and River Surrounding Hever Castle

The Grounds and River Surrounding Hever Castle

The Grounds and River Surrounding Hever Castle

The bridge  over the river is the place where Ann Boleyn’s ghost can be seen crossing on Christmas Eve!

The Grounds of Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Grounds of Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Deer of Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Deer of Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

To book your stay at Hever Castle see HERE! The castle and grounds are fabulous! Now let’s go see the beautiful Italian Gardens that William Waldorf Astor made here!

The Grounds and River Surrounding Hever Castle

The Grounds and River Surrounding Hever Castle

The National Trust: Sissinghurst Castle; Home of Vita Sackville-West

Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, Kent, UK

Sissinghurst Castle, Cranbrook, Kent, UK

 

Sissinghurst Castle, Cranbrook, Kent, UK

Sissinghurst Castle, Cranbrook, Kent, UK

Here looking at the main section of the house, the Long Library is to the left, and the Main House is to the right.

Sissinghurst Castle, Cranbrook, Kent, UK

Sissinghurst Castle, Cranbrook, Kent, UK

From 1915 to 1930, Vita Sackville-West, poet, and her husband, Harold Nicholson, diplomat, lived at Long Barn in Sevenoaks, after the family had been forced to leave Knole, her family home, when Vita was not able to inherit the family estate because she was a woman. 

In 1930 they bought  the ruins and the farm around Sissinghurst Castle. The Nicolson’s must have had a good imagination and wanted something that would keep them busy for years, because Sissinghurst had had a long and colorful past, but by 1930 the buildings were all dilapidated and the grounds one massive field of weeds!

This is what I learned about Sissinghurst………

In 1235, the manor belonged to John de Saxingherste, a gentleman farmer. The house was protected by a moat, which provided the family with fish. This moat still exists on two sides of the orchard. By 1530 the manor was sold to John Baker of Cranbrook, a very wealthy man during the reign of King Henry VIII. The house was expanded and a entrance gateway was built. In 1560, son Richard, built a new house on the site around three courtyards with a Prospect Tower at the center. A smaller house to the north, known as the Priest’s House, was originally a banqueting house and later housed their priest.

Chateau de Sissinghurst

Chateau de Sissinghurst, 1756-1763

By 1730 Sir John Baker died, leaving four daughters and as there were no men descendants left, the estate was sold to Horace Mann, who never lived there, but leased the property to the government to be used as a prison, during the Seven Year’s War. French Naval officers were housed in the tower and some of the graffiti of sailing ships, names, and dates still remain there. The three thousand prisoners referred to their prison as Chateau de Sissinghurst, and the name stuck.  By the end of the war the sailors had destroyed the property; trashing, burning and looting the fine architectural details from fireplaces, doorways and windows.

In 1796, the parish of Cranbrook took over the lease, creating a poor house here where one hundred men were offered housing, employment and food. A devastating fire in the 1800’s destroyed the manor so badly that even the foundations of the house, that stood in the orchard, were picked up and carted away.

Here is a Map of the property after many years of work by the Nicholson’s. It gives you an idea of what was left on the property and how they mapped out the gardens. They lived in the smaller Priest House and the South Cottage,  while re-building the remaining section of the gated wall, and set out to transform it into the beautiful house and garden it is today. In 1967 The National Trust took over Sissinghurst, the gardens, farm and buildings. Today it is one of the most popular manors owned by the National Trust. Tomorrow we’ll take a close up look at the gardens and how they developed over the years at Sissinghurst. Now let’s look at the buildings on the property of Sissinghurst Castle.

Tower at Sissinghurst Castle, Cranbrook, Kent, UK

Prospect Tower at Sissinghurst Castle, Cranbrook, Kent, UK

The Tower became Vita’s “Room of Her Own”, where she went daily to write for three hours. The rest of the day was spent working in her gardens. Here are some views of her room and the views she had when writing.

Steps to the Tower, Sissinghurst, Castle, Cranbrook, Kent, UK

Steps to the Tower, Sissinghurst, Castle, Cranbrook, Kent, UK

 

Prospect Tower, Sissinghurst, Castle, Cranbrook, Kent, UK

Prospect Tower, Sissinghurst, Castle, Cranbrook, Kent, UK

 

Prospect Tower, Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, UK

Prospect Tower, Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, UK

 

View from Prospect Tower, Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, UK

View from Prospect Tower, Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, UK

 

View from Prospect Tower, Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, UK

View from Prospect Tower, Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, UK

The rooftop shown in the picture above is the Priest’s House, now a B&B on the National Trust Property at Sissinghurst. Wouldn’t be great to stay in this garden?

View from Prospect Tower, Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, UK

View from Prospect Tower, Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, UK

 

View from Prospect Tower, Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, UK

View from Prospect Tower, Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, UK

 

View from Prospect Tower, Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, UK

View from Prospect Tower, Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, UK

 

View from Prospect Tower, Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, UK

View from Prospect Tower, Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, UK

Here is the South Cottage Farmhouse, another B&B on the property at Sissinghurst.  It is a much larger property, in case you need more room!

View from Prospect Tower, Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, UK

View from Prospect Tower, Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, UK

 

View from Prospect Tower, Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, UK

View from Prospect Tower, Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, UK

 

Prospect Tower, Sissinghurst, Kent, UK

Prospect Tower, Sissinghurst, Kent, UK

 

Prospect Tower, Sissinghurst, Kent, UK

Prospect Tower, Sissinghurst, Kent, UK

 

The Back of the Main House, Sissinghurst, Kent, UK

The Back of the Main House, Sissinghurst, Kent, UK

 

The Back of the Main House, Sissinghurst, Kent, UK

The Back of the Main House, Sissinghurst, Kent, UK

 

The Boat House along the Moat, Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, UK

The Boat House along the Moat, Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, UK

Here are the Oasts, so we know this was a working farm!

The Oasts at Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, UK

The Oasts at Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, UK

Now these buildings make up the restaurant,  gift shops and museum at Sissinghurst Castle.

The Gift Shop and Restaurant at Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, UK

The Gift Shop and Restaurant at Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, UK

Tomorrow we’ll explore the garden up close and personal and see the remarkable transition that took place and continues to do so in the Sissinghurst’s gardens. Vita and Harold had a definite plan for their new home! See you there!

The Gift Shop and Restaurant at Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, UK

The Gift Shop and Restaurant at Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, UK

Where Do We Stay and How Do We Get There?

Bulleign Barn

Bulleign Barn

The Bulleign Barn

The Bulleign Barn

The Road to Bulleign Barn

The Road to Bulleign Barn

As I stated in my previous post I like to research my vacation before I hit the road.  I know, I know, a lot of you like to just “wing it,” but I would rather know all about places of interest, restaurants, and villages that I am am really interested in and then add to that, if something exciting turns up.  For this trip, I was glad I started early and took the time to look-up the gardens I was keenly interested in, on the National Garden Scheme, (NGS) so I could co-ordinate going from one garden to the next, (since our plan was to see several a day)  I  also needed to know how much time it would take to get from one to another, and where we would want to eat between gardens.  Although the gardens on the NGS are open on the weekends, for the most part, some had specific times they were open. We would have been quite dismayed to have arrived at a garden only to have to wait to get in. So when I had the gardens lined up I looked for a local pub close to the gardens we would be touring.  This was when I realized most pubs are open from 12pm-2pm for lunch and then re-open for dinner, usually 6pm-9pm. So I had to make sure we were at a certain place on schedule.

The first thing I learned was that there were GPS co-ordinates listed, for all the gardens in the NGS and all the historic National Trust estates, in their books. This would make the driving so much easier, in theory. But to be on safe side, I printed out maps and directions from garden to garden, to also have with me. As you can see from my work sheets, I made lots of notes. I also printed out the pub or special interest I wanted to see near every garden. I put all my notes, maps, and directions in plastic sleeves and then when I was ready for a particular day I just pulled out the necessary pages to carry along in the car. SB took a look at all my notes and quickly put together a spread sheet for me, so we knew where we WANTED to be everyday at least!

The Detailed Itinerary, Research, Research, Research

The Detailed Itinerary, Research, Research, Research

Now for reality. As Americans driving in the UK, it takes us at least three days to get used to, what is for us, a steering wheel on the wrong side of the car and driving on the wrong side of the road. We knew what to expect in that area. What we didn’t expect was   that once off the M25 we would be on a village road that got smaller and smaller as we got closer to our destination. These were roads meant for horse and buggy and then pony and trap, but were now meant for a two-car highway.  We were rear view mirror to rear view mirror! When we came to a village, the road narrowed even further in front of the stores, where the cars would be parked higgly-piggly in front of them. (I wouldn’t exactly call it parking)  Cars were just pulled up at any angle, as long as the car would fit in (or not), and the car abandoned.  Now this makes the road even smaller and one must wait your turn to go around and sometimes the car coming towards you is in a very big hurry so you have to creep past all the cars, zigging in and out at a crawl.  SB’s habit as we came to a village, was to roll down the window and pull in the rear view mirror saying, “Do you know how close you are to that car?” My reply every time, “I didn’t hit it did I?” This is not the best of ways to start a vacation meant for relaxation, but after three days I could move along with the best of them. I am a terrible navigator, even with a map, so it is best that I drive and SB keep me on the correct side of the road and upon entering a traffic circle tell me which turn-off is the one I want, because I would be just carousing that circle in total chaos.

Also, using the GPS in the car, as it was originally set up, to get from Point A to B in the fastest time, did not prove to be helpful. The GPS, in order to save a mile or two, would take us off the main road and into a tiny lane (and I mean tiny lane) to get to our destination. Now I can truly say I saw some lovely cottages and gardens, that were not on any of my maps, in extremely small clusters of village life, that I am sure the average American tourist does not get to see. I am ABSOLUTELY sure I am the only American who knows that the Swim Club in Sevenoaks is reached by going off the main road onto a 180 degree turn, after you have gone through a section of newly landscaped cottages found on the opposite side of the road to the one I was looking for, then up a steep hill into what had to be the Sherwood Forest, on a road that got narrower and narrower as we came to our supposed destination, Knole. Arriving at the back entrance, I think, where no one could get in, yes the GPS got us there, kind of. It was Knole, but not the proper entrance. But hey, like I said, I know now where the Swim Club is, the drive was nice and shady, it only added a half hour to our trip time, and I AM ON VACATION RIGHT? We did that on a lot of days to various destinations. You just have to go with the flow! We reverted to looking at my printed maps for extra guidance.

After much grumbling, and some hysteria about my driving, we arrived at our first destination near Tenterden. I have to say, also, that we had planned to stop at a local vineyard on the way, but under the circumstances that didn’t seem prudent, as I don’t think SB’s heart could have taken it, so we saved that for another day.

Main Home Section of Bulleign Barn

Main Home Section of Bulleign Barn

The Back Side of Bulleign Barn

The Back Side of Bulleign Barn

Bulleign Barn, a find on Air B&B, was perfect after our harried day. Turning off onto a narrow one-lane graveled road we poked along for a mile or so following the canal to one side and the rabbit warrens on the other. The lodging, near the hub of Tenterden, (a large village compared to others we had been through that day) was clustered in old hop fields, at one time belonging to the Boleyn family. The long black barns were used for storing the hops. Our Air B&B accommodation was one of the long barns converted into a home with several bedrooms off the main section of the home. Our room was very spacious and modern with WI-FI, located on the main floor, with a private entrance, and set in a small walled courtyard near the old stone horse pool. There was a fridge for our trips to the vineyards too.

Our Room at Bulleign Barn

Our Room at Bulleign Barn

Our Room at Bulleign Barn

Our Room at Bulleign Barn

Our Room at Bulleign Barn

Our Room at Bulleign Barn

Every morning we were served a delicious breakfast of fresh yogurts, fruits, home made jams, along with croissants and specialty breads, warm from the oven. The outdoor table was set to our time-table and it was nice to talk to the other guests, and watch the playful dogs, chickens and a duck named Jemima.

Jemima

Jemima

Breakfast Every Morning!

Breakfast Every Morning!

AirB&B, Bulleign Barn, near Tenterden

AirB&B, Bulleign Barn, near Tenterden

There was also a family of white barn owls, who nested in the eaves, and one morning we got to meet a baby owl, which had fallen from the nest overnight. Our hostess skillfully set about to replace the fallen chick.

Baby White Owl

Baby White Owl

It was so nice to have found this country accommodation and start our day in such a relaxing way before we set off on our daily adventures to the gardens. We looked over the listings for quite some time, since there were so many varied spots to choose from.  If you haven’t thought of using Air B&B you should give it a try. We had choices of garden sheds, gypsy wagons, tents, rooms in big estates homes, or entire homes in both rural and city settings.  It’s just fun to see all the offers available out there and we have never been disappointed with a listing we have stayed in. To top that off it is much less expensive and if you like true interaction with your host and other guests, Air B&B will be for you. See you in the garden tomorrow!

PS

Before leaving on our Tour of the Gardens, in the spirit of things, I decided to name my little house, The End Cottage.  Every proper cottage in England has a name, most likely used prior to streets and house numbers, so why shouldn’t our place have a name I say? The Star was placed in my yard because I was selected for the Garden of the Month by my neighbors! Thanks !!!!!!

The End Cottage

The End Cottage

that cynking feeling

You know the one I'm talking about . . .

JT Twissel

Just Jan, that's all

Weingartenpfirsichhof/Vineyard peach farm

Plantage, Garten, Landschaft, Kulinarik, Kunst, Literatur, Musik, Philosophie, Reisen/Plantation, Garden, Landscape, Cuisine, Art, Literatur, Music, Philosophy, Travel

Le Chic En Rose

Diaries of an independent traveller

Lucid Gypsy

Come away with the raggle taggle gypsy-o

Tish Farrell

Writer on the Edge

Ma tasse de thé

Virginie M.

Salmon Brook Farms

Official Home of Lavinia and Rick Ross

Cynthia Reyes

The blog of Canadian author Cynthia Reyes

Local Roots Flower Farm

Farmer Florist - Nephi, UT

Red Dirt Farm

Ramblings from a chicken wrangling mermaid

Grey Tabby Gardens

Growing Flowers in Central Florida

Light Words

Better Living Through Beauty, Wisdom and Whimsey

The Garden Gate is Open

Gardens, Garden Visiting, Garden Photography, National Garden Scheme, Flowers, Trees, Sculptures

a mindful traveller

explore, live, love...

Midwestern Plants

Hardy Plants of the Midwest, Border Collies and Camping !

An Evolving Life

Observations on food, travel, history & tradition

Do What You Wish

THOUGHTS & PHOTOGRAPHS

lunanista

Standing up for sanity (mine anyway) through art and humor.

Nick Watkins Photography

A sample of my photographic images displayed in "theme" galleries

The Photo Junkie

An Art Junkie Photography Site

%d bloggers like this: