Gardens that can be visited in Britain – on their own or as part of a house, estate, stately home, or castle.

Ten of the best in the west

Polperro, Cornwall

South West England has two main draw-backs: it is popular and, as it’s on the west, it can suffer from wetness – particularly at its extremities.  Other than that, it has pretty much everything, including mystery, prehistory, history, cuteness, grand vistas, impressive buildings and plenty of things to do.  For an introduction, see A Bit

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Ten things you really should do in Britain

Tiger Inn, East Dean

There’s no shortage of things to do and see in Britain.  But if you were visiting for the first time, what would you recommend?  Here are a few arbitrary suggestions, in no particular order, just to get the ball rolling: Get out of London Many visitors to Britain head straight for London.  It is one

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Walking around Oxford

All Souls Oxford

I’m not easily given to hyperbole; I’ve told you that a million times.  But it is genuinely hard to think of a British town that can be quite so achingly beautiful as Oxford. Perhaps I should qualify that by saying that I refer to the few square miles of the city centre where, quite frankly,

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Through cloisters and gardens – a visit to Lacock Abbey

Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire

For some, Lacock Abbey will always be associated with the invention of photography; for others, it is the Tudor-Gothic-Victorian house that gets the juices flowing; for me, the real pleasure was in wandering through cloisters and gardens. It was September and a stroll beyond the inevitable National Trust shop took us past pastel-shaded cottage-garden style

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Churchill’s Chartwell

Chartwell, Churchill's home

Winston Spencer Churchill (1874-1965) was one of the greatest Englishmen that ever lived, and a brilliant man.  Now, before anyone gets all hot and bothered about him being an imperialist, racist, capitalist, aristocrat, enemy of the working-class, opponent of women’s suffrage, self-publicist, reckless adventurer, glutton and all the other dreadful and unfashionable characteristics he may

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Tiptoe through the tulips at Constable Burton

Tulips, Constable Burton, Yorkshire

According to property website Zoopla, on average, Britons move home every 23 years.  This creates a diverting image of millions of us upping sticks and all swapping houses every two decades or so.  It also means that the above average among us has moved far more frequently than that and, at the other end of

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A day at Castle Howard

Castle Howard, Yorkshire, south view

Yorkshire’s Castle Howard has no dastardly legends to keep you awake at night; there is no obvious sign of blood seeping out of its mellow stonework.  It sits, in innocent splendour, a stately home in English Baroque and Palladian style, created for the vanity of its owners, a palatial celebrity famous for – well, being

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Secrets of the Middle Temple

Lamb and Flag, paschal lamb, Agnus Dei, Lamb of God, Middle Temple, Knights Templar

Some years ago, I was fortunate to be invited to do some work for the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple in London.  The days I spent there were almost like being in a time capsule; all around were ghostly whispers from our past, of crusader knights, Magna Carta, the Wars of the Roses, the

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