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Abbey Park is Leicester’s premier park and opened in 1882. It includes gardens, lakes, a café, sports pitches and facilities for bowling, tennis and boating. It is a place for families and lies about a mile north of the city centre. The River Soar divides it into two distinct parts – a Victorian park with shrubberies, boating lake and miniature railway, and the western part which includes the remains of the 12th century Leicester Abbey, where Cardinal Wolsey died and was buried, and the ruins of the 17th century Cavendish House, a mansion which was Charles I’s HQ before the Battle of Naseby. It was destroyed and plundered by Royalist troops.
Bolton Abbey is an estate about 6 miles east of Skipton that is owned by the Cavendish family, the Dukes of Devonshire. Much of it is open to the public (there is a charge for parking), offering the opportunity for a dip in the river in good weather, as well as miles of family-friendly picturesque walks by the riverside and through ancient woodland.. The estate is named for Bolton Priory, which was founded on the banks of the River Wharfe in the 12th century by the Augustinian order, and which was dissolved in 1540. The ruins of the east end of the abbey church are still there, but the west end is still a functioning church. The estate includes Bolton Hall (a private residence), Barden Tower (a ruined 16th century hunting lodge), tea rooms and the Devonshire Arms hotel.
Calke is a mansion and estate on the site of a 12th century Augustinian abbey. The present Palladian style mansion is a consequence of reconstruction work dating from 1701, built around an Elizabethan house. The estate ultimately came into the hands of the Harpur-Crewe family and was acquired by the National Trust in a state of decay. The Trust has preserved the house pretty much in the condition it was found, packed full of artwork and stuffed animals, with an appearance largely unchanged since the late Victorian period - including the children's' nursery. It is a curious and fascinating time capsule. Outside are gardens, outhouses and extensive grounds, including a nature reserve.
Note: Entry to the house is by timed ticket.
Cragside was the home and creation of William George Armstrong, 1st Baron Armstrong, arms manufacturer and international arms dealer. The house is full of over-the-top Victorian opulence and also illustrates Armstrong's ingenuity and progressive thinking. Cragside was the first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity - and a new Archimedes screw has been installed to demonstrate this. The grounds are extensive - there are several walks of varying length and rigour - and the gardens are a delight.
Culzean Castle and Country Park is an enormous estate, once the seat of the Kennedy family, which includes woodland and seashore walks, a walled garden, large pond, various structures and follies in the grounds, an astonishing children's' adventure playground and the castle itself, perched on a clifftop. Actually, it's not really a castle, but a large stately house redesigned by Robert Adam and built between 1777 and 1792. The top floor was gifted to the Supreme Head of Allied Forces in Western Europe, later 34th President of the United States of America, Dwight D Eisenhower, to be used in his lifetime. It is now a hotel.
One of the Royal Parks. Green Park is extensively used for sunbathing and picnic in good weather. One of its features are the Memorial Gates, dedicated to five million people from the Indian Sub-Continent, Africa and the Caribbean who served or lost their lives in the two World Wars. Keep your ears peeled for Royal Artillery Gun Salutes. It’s also a nice walk between The Mall and Green Park tube station and fun to walk round the roads surrounding Clarence House and St James’s Palace.
Post code is approximate.
One of the Royal Parks. You could lose yourself wandering around Greenwich anyway where, in addition to pay-to-visit attractions like the Cutty Sark, there are free places like the Queen’s House and the National Maritime Museum to see. Greenwich Park, once part of the grounds of Greenwich Palace (birthplace of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I), overlooks the Thames and is packed with things of interest. There’s a deer park, orchard – and it is home to the Royal Observatory, Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian (which you need to pay to visit). Less well known is Elizabeth’s oak, alleged scene of Tudor picnics and what-not, and a Saxon cemetery.
Post code is approximate
Hampstead Heath is a vast park, a slice of ancient countryside, covering 790 acres in north London. It includes woodland and heathland as well as ponds and leisure facilities. Notable features are Parliament Hill, well-known for its views of London and kit-flying, the Hampstead Heath Barrow, or Tumulus, once thought to be the burial place of Queen Boudicca and Kenwood House, an 18th century mansion famous for its art collection and concerts. The heath was once renowned as a lair of highwaymen; today, it is popular with walkers, runners and families.
Hampstead Heath is managed by the City of London Corporation. It is accessible from a variety of places - the address given is a guide only. Click on the link to the City of London website and download a useful map.
The Heights of Abraham is a 60 acre country park on top of Masson Hill, Matlock, accessed either by cable car or a steep zig-zag path. The heights are named after a supposed resemblance to the Plains of Abraham, also known as the Heights of Abraham, in Quebec, Canada, where James Wolfe died in battle. The park has been an attraction since Victorian times and includes two show caves, views over the Derwent and its valley, picnic areas, exhibitions, shops, cafes and a play area. A cable car ticket is relatively expensive, but you can understand why - and it includes tours of the show caves.
Note: To visit by cable car, the station is adjacent to Matlock Bath railway station, where there is a pay and display car park operated by the local council. Post code is for this car park - there are others.
The Helix is a large community park between Falkirk and Grangemouth, bisected by the Forth and Clyde Canal, formed from regenerated land and including a lake, wetlands, walking and cycle paths, cafes and a visitor centre. But its most famous feature is the Kelpies, two massive steel sculptures of horses heads, inspired by industrial horse power and mythical creatures. The Kelpies can be seen from the M9, but are best viewed from the park.
This is a growing listings directory – over 950 entries have been listed as of September 2022.
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