Category Archives: Nature & Heritage

Travel Guide for Families – Edinburgh

If you’re travelling to Edinburgh with children there are plenty of things to see and do. Here are a couple of our recommendations for families travelling to Edinburgh.

Scottish Seabird Centre
Bring the family to the Scottish Seabird Centre and experience the wild life up close – go on a boat safari and watch the seabirds and dolphins in their natural habitat.

Traquair Maze
Find your way to the centre in one of Scotland’s biggest mazes! If you’re here during Easter, bring your kids to the annual “Easter Egg Hunt” and look for the eggs scattered around in the maze. In front of the maze is the Traquair House – the oldest inhabited house in Scotland which used to be a hunting lodge for the kings and queens.

The Adventure Centre
Don’t let the weather control your family vacation in Edinburgh. If it’s raining, visit the Adventure Centre and go family climbing or maybe try archery?

Museum of Childhood
This is definitely something for the children, as well for the parents. Best of all – the Museum of Childhood has free admission! Here you can look at toys and games from all over the world, learn about the history of childhood, listen to storytelling’s, see how children were dressed in the past and much more.

Almond Valley Heritage Centre
Say hello to the ducks, pet the rabbits, play with the piglets, jump on the trampoline and learn how they milk a cow! Enjoy a family day with different animals and other fun activities at Almond Valley Heritage Centre.

Food for the whole family
Have your family dinner at The Bridge Inn right next to the Union Canal. While the grown-ups are talking, the kids can expand their artistic skills by drawing a picture to the restaurants art wall. If they get tired of sketching they’re welcome to play in the garden!

Eat your dessert at S. Luca’s and indulge in one of the best traditional ice creams in Edinburgh.

If you want more information about Edinburgh, read our destination guide  in:
Swedish >
Danish >
Norwegian >
Finnish >

Have a nice family vacation in Edinburgh!
/Siska

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In the Footsteps of our Ancestors

Danish TV-host Frantz Howitz in York

Northern England is a large region that stretches from River Trent in the South and borders to Scotland in the North. During the Antiquity, most of Northern England was part of the Celtic realm of Brigantia and after the Roman conquest the area was united under one rule with York as capital. Since then, Northern England has been an important region with different geographical constellations. Today, the region is a conglomerate of counties with no collective government, but the cultural and historic bonds still remains.

On 27, 28 and 29 June Danish cable TV-station DK4 will be sending three episodes about Northern England’s archaeological past. Danish TV-host Frantz Howitz will take the viewer on an archaeological journey through the Viking age and the early Christian times.

Through the years, Frantz Howitz have visited archaeological places of interest in Denmark, and now he takes on the North of England with the help of local experts like England’s leading archaeologist Richard Hall. During his journey, Howitz visits one of England’s oldest churches still in use, Escombe Church, dated back to 670 AD, and beautiful Durham Cathedral, which was founded in 1093 and is on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites. The viewers will also learn more about Hadrian’s Wall, built as a defence on the northern borders of the Roman Empire in 120-130 AD.

So Danes, turn on DK4 at 22.30 on Sunday 27 June to see the first of three episodes of “Tidsrejse gennem det arkæologiske Nordengland”. And if you want to experience the places visited in the show, Tiffany Tours have an eight day long guided tour through the North of England called I forfædrenes fodspor. If you’d rather explore the region by yourself, I suggest you visit our homepage and online shop for inspiration.

Enjoy!

– Towe

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Recapture the spectacle of York’s medieval past

If you’re interested in history and arts and you happen to be in or near the town of York in the middle of July, take the time to see the York Mystery Plays. On two Sundays, the 11th and 18th of July 2010, twelve plays accompanied by music, will be performed on wagons at various locations in York.

These tales of sacred history was traditionally played in York on the feast day of Corpus Christi from the middle of the 14th century. In spite of the ban the plays continued a while after the English reformation, but where finally stopped in 1569. In 1951 the plays had a successful revival and became a reoccurring event.

Until September 8th you have the opportunity to see the exhibition about the history behind the plays at York Art Gallery. The exhibition also displays the last surviving original manuscript of the plays, dating from between 1463 and 1477. See more information about the exhibition on www.yorkartgallery.co.uk or find the gallery on our Britain map.

Other related events take place in York during this period. For further information, please visit www.yorkmysteryplays.co.uk

– Towe

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Lost in Austen Country, part II

Jane Austen's House, Chawton, Hampshire

Here’s the last part of Charlotte’s trip to Jane Austen’s world (read part I here):

After a huge breakfast the next morning, we set out walking. Our first stop was the Jane Austen’s House Museum in the nearby village of Chawton. We spent the morning learning more about Jane Austen, who lived in the house during the last eight years of her life.

We then headed out for a long walk in her footsteps. Before leaving Sweden, we had printed a copy of a very useful “literary walk” found on the website of East Hampshire District Council (PDF).

With the map in hand, we guided ourselves through the beautiful countryside, past pretty cottages and the church where Jane Austen’s mother and sister are buried. It was thrilling to know that these were the paths she used to walk and the houses she used to visit. We climbed gates and hedges with the intro to the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice ringing in our heads. This might seem strange, and it was, but it turned out my sister was constantly humming it.

Cecilia finally met lovely Mr Darcy

Just as we were getting tired of taking pictures of sheep’s and horses, we approached the village of Upper Farringdon. Having removed our muddy boots, we had a nice lunch at the Rose and Crown.

After a visit to the museum bookstore (where some of us spent a lot of money), we enjoyed a cream tea at Cassandra’s Cup, a tea house across the road from the museum.

We caught an early evening train and returned to London in time for dinner. It would be possible to visit the Alton/Chawton area in one day but then you would miss out on the comfortable beds and the lovely breakfast.

Charlotte

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Lost in Austen Country

My friend Charlotte took her sister Cecilia and her friend Jenny for a 24 hour trip through Jane Austen’s world. This is their story.

The Jane Austen travellers

My sister and I spent a weekend visiting a friend in London. The only rent we were allowed to pay our hostess was to arrange an excursion of some sort; a day-trip or a one-night stay somewhere no further away than an hour or two by train.

Some late night surfing made me come up with a plan that would accommodate for all our needs. Once I had found the website of Jane Austen’s House Museum – which took me about 20 seconds – it seemed that the small town of Alton was the place to go. Another useful site was the Hampshire County Council.

Visit Hampshire suggested some places to stay in the area and I had e-mailed enquires to a few of them. Luckily, Joan Mossop of St Mary’s Hall gave us a swift reply. She and her husband ran what turned out to be a very nice Bed and Breakfast in what used to be a church. The rooms were pleasant, breakfast delicious and our hosts generous and welcoming.

St Mary's Hall, Alton

Upon our arrival, we relaxed in the guest lounge at St Mary’s Hall before heading to a nearby pub, The French Horn for dinner and a taste of some local ale.

The next day we set out to discover Jane Austen Country.

Charlotte

Find out what the girls did the next day in our next episode of Lost in Austen Country tomorrow.

– Towe

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Englishmen painting with plants, part II

Here’s Ann Larås second post about English gardens.

The gardens of Sissinghurst

Sissinghurst, Cranbrook, Kent
Creator: Victoria (Vita) Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson from 1930-

Vita and Harold opened their beloved Sissinghurst to visitors already in the 1940s. The visitors could find Vita in the garden working, often dressed in a long lace shirt with a corduroy blazer and high boots, wearing long earrings; gladly answerering questions and usually with one of her dogs by the side. Vita and Harold were actually long ahead of their time to open their own private garden to visitors. Today ”garden tourism” is very popular and spread throughout the U.K. And Sissinghurst is still open for the public five days a week.

Rose portal

I’m here for a  garden tour on Midsummer evening. The visit includes a dinner and a tour in the evening light to the garden rooms at Sissinghurst. Though it’s the first time I’m here, it feels like I’ve already been here, through all books and articles. I’m excited and rush through a portal in the brick wall  into the the White Garden. It is one of the world’s most famous garden rooms and a unique opportunity to be here right now in the twilight at the beginning of summer.

The gardens of Sissinghurst consists of a series of private rooms, and they are a mirror of the creators of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson’s character and temperament. Here you can find garden rooms like: White garden, Lower garden, Rose garden, Lime alley, Cottage garden, Yew lane, Herb garden, Moat path and the Orchards. The property is created on the ruins of a large Elizabethan house and is located in the Weald historic landscape with its rolling hills and shady forests.

From 1930 the land was owned by the couple. When they came here, most of the buildings dilapidated. Harold was a classicist who designed the layout. Vita was a romantic who created the atmosphere, filled with roses and planting perennials and was enchanted place.

The garden is constructed with brick walls and dense hedges of yew and hornbeam as a formal framework. There are long walks and lines, openings in walls and surprises around every corner. Planting within the hedges and walls are generous and lush. And since the late 1950s, there were already 10 000 visitors each year.

Overview, Sissinghurst gardens

The inspiration for the famous white garden room appeared in one of Vitas dreams in the 1930’s. Twenty years later around 1950 the white garden room was created. I stand here now, in a rectangle of green, silver and white, surrounded by yew hedges with razor sharp edges. Low boxwood frame the white and silver plants. In the middle floats a delicate ceiling, a dome over a simple but beautifully glazed urn. The Gothic dome is covered with a giant rose Rosa mulliganii which reaches its finest flower in the middle of summer and then covering the iron structure with its white roses with yellow eye and a lovely fragrance.

The tower rises in the background. Here, Vita had her study, where she planned for the garden and for the poems she also wrote. She could look out over the garden and make plans.

Roses were the flowers that Vita was most fond of and which filled her imagination. She was an incurable romantic. Even today, the gardeners at Sissinghurst retain the style and color combination in the Rose Garden: Easy and unstructured with soft colors that were Vitas style.

/Ann Larås (my blog, my book)

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A tribute to classic cars

 

Imagine this. You’re leaning back against the smooth black leather seat of a handmade Jaguar E-type V12 Convertible from 1973, sizzling down the long winding roads, passing forests, open fields and little towns with old British limestone cottages. You’ve put the top down so you can feel the wind in your hair over the wind screen while the sun is baking in your face. And the only thing you hear is the sound of an engine.

At Great Escape Cars in Redditch, West Midlands, this dream can be more than a fantasy. Here you can find your favourite classic car and rent it. If E-type doesn’t do it for you, maybe a Jensen Interceptor will get your attention. Or why not an Aston Martin DBS? Rental places for classic cars can be found all over Britain. For more information on how and where to rent a classic car in Britain, please visit our website.

A million ideas for a car enthusiast
While sitting in one of those amazing veteran cars, there’s a million choices to satisfy other hidden car fantasies. How about a drive through the English countryside, visiting a number of important sites for car enthusiasts on the way? For example, Great Escape Cars is only a stones throw away from Shelsley Walsh in Worcestershire where Shelsley Walsh Speed Hill Climb has been held since 1905. Next time for this historic event is on 21-22 August. Find more about the event here. for those interested in visiting one of those historic events and realizes they can’t make it to August, there are more events through out the year. Find the full calendar on Shelsley Walsh’s homepage. And when you’re in the area – Don’t miss Beaulieu National Motor Museum situated between Bournemouth and Southampton. With over 250 vehicles from every motoring era, this is a must see.

Another mandatory site is the Goodwood House, situated outside Chichester in West Sussex, only 1-2 hours drive from London. At this motor sport Mecca the car enthusiast will not get disappointed. In September you can see the historic Goodwood Revival, a three-day tribute to the first permanent racetrack after World War II. The festival includes classic race cars from the 40s, 50s and 60s to celebrate Goodwood’s active years.The Goodwood Motor Circuit hosted all kinds of contemporary racing during the period 1948-1965 and was considered as Britain’s leading racing venues alongside Silverstone. The world famous Festival of Speed in July is one of the many car events held here.

And while in the Heart of England make a point of visiting the Heritage Motor Centre in Warwickshire. In the Centre’s exhibition halls you will find more than 150 motorcars on display. They cover 100 years of motor manufacturing in Britain from the many companies that have been part of the great industry in Britain.

For more inspiration on where to take your classic car in Britain, please visit our homepage, where you’ll find directions and information about Silverstone, Donington Park or Branch Hatch and much more:

* Rent a veteran car
* Famous Racetracks

So if you’re a car enthusiast trying to decide what to do for your summer hols, Britain’s classic car spectra’s got something to fill every void with. Once you’re standing there – hearing the roar from the engines and feeling the smell of burnt rubber and motor oil – you won’t regret booking a vacation in Britain this year.

Enjoy!
– Towe

 

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