Royal connections

Places with connections to kings, queens or other significant members of the British Royal Family.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Duke of Edinburgh

The above image appeared on the website of the British Monarchy on the morning of Friday, 9 April 2021, together with the following announcement: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His Royal Highness passed away […]

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Tales of Lincoln Cathedral

Eleanor of Castile, Lincoln Cathedral

I will never weary of wandering round medieval cathedrals.  The motivation and faith behind these places, as well as the financial and temporal power, is astonishing. I gaze in awe up at soaring arches, bathed in coloured sunlight, filtered through exquisite stained glass and dappling across old stones, absorb myself in the memorials and lap

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Some places inspire a sense of curious awe.  Though the past is ubiquitous, shaping who and what we all are, there are particular spots on earth where the shades of great events and people gather, jostling for attention.  Visiting them is like walking across the hallowed pages of a giant book, catching tantalising glimpses of

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Domus Dei, a Portuguese princess and the Blitz

Portsmouth Garrison Church

My mother would love to walk from Point along Old Portsmouth’s walls, past the Sally Port, Square Tower and above Battery Row.  There was the Regency Grand Parade, scene of many ceremonial occasions in days gone by.  There was the statue of Nelson, who boarded HMS Victory nearby before the Battle of Trafalgar.  And below

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Sheriff Hutton in 30 minutes

Sheriff Hutton Castle

The Ryedale village of Sheriff Hutton is unlikely to be on most people’s tourist trails. Yet it is a reminder, if one is needed, that history, like love, is all around us.  Frankly, the first I heard of the place was when reading about the dreadful wars of the fifteenth century and learning that the

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The castle at Penrith

Penrith Castle

Penrith Castle doesn’t encourage the casual visitor, unless arriving by train.  The railway station is conveniently opposite the castle (probably built on the top of its medieval outbuildings), but anyone driving into town who isn’t a committed castle collector could be excused for not bothering over much.  A busy road runs into downtown Penrith alongside

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Free London – take a walk from Westminster


On the theme of how to enjoy London for free, or on a limited budget, let’s think about walking.  Shanks’ pony is often the best way to see any city and London is particularly rewarding in this regard.  Not only can you take in some of the famous sites for nothing, but you’ll also often

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Molly visits Pevensey Castle, a Very Important Place

Pevensey Castle

We bowled up to Pevensey Castle on a blue-sky day in the company of Molly.  Molly, I should say, is a small dog of exceptional poise and dignity, but has no relevance whatsoever to our story.  She is mentioned merely in a cynical attempt to win the cute dog vote.  Sorry, Molly.  We have included

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London’s medieval Jewel Tower

College Green, Westminster

Regular watchers of TV news will be familiar with the scene outside the Houses of Parliament, where journalists interview politicians on a patch of grass opposite Old Palace Yard, against a backdrop of Gothic architecture and the appropriately barbarian howls of protestors.  While you’re hanging on every sage sound-bite tripping off the tongues of our

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Kings and carols

King's College, Cambridge

Every Christmas Eve, millions of people all round the world tune in to their TVs or radios to listen to carols from King’s – or ‘Nine Lessons and Carols’ – from King’s College Chapel, Cambridge. The broadcasts are an essential part of Christmas for many; for some, they mark the beginning of the Christmas celebrations,

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The importance of Eamont Bridge

Eamont, Athelstan, Cumbria

It is hard to wrap your brain round, but the small Cumbrian village of Eamont Bridge was once an international frontier crossing.  Well – kind of.  At first glance, it seems a nondescript sort of place, stretching along the A6 in typically linear northern fashion, so that both ends of the village could be blocked

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The search for King Richard III

Street names, medieval, Grey Friars

Attempting to write anything about Richard III is somewhat daunting. He was king of England for little over two years, from July 1483 until being slaughtered at the Battle of Bosworth on 22 August 1485, yet he is one of our most controversial monarchs, whose reputation and character still divide opinion more than five centuries

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A Queen’s View of the Highlands

Queen's View, places to visit in the Highlands

The Queen looked west over Loch Tummel and liked it very much.  She liked it so much that someone named the view for her. Or, maybe she commanded that it should be so.  Sadly, there’s a little uncertainty over which particular queen we’re talking about here, but whoever it was does not alter the fact

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