Yes, you read that right: two hours. To add a bit of context, I wasn’t really in Edinburgh to sightsee. My family and I were there to see an afternoon performance of War Horse at the Festival Theatre and the two hours was really only a bit of spare time that I didn’t want to waste! Now obviously, it is impossible to see all the best parts of Edinburgh in two short hours, so I had to whittle it down slightly. In the end, while my mum and sister took on Harvey Nichols, my dad and I tackled the Royal Mile.
Follow the winding driveway all the way to the end and you’ll reach Sizergh Castle. Well, you’ll reach the National Trust gift shop first, and then the castle, but you know what I mean! Despite being owned by the National Trust, Sizergh is still the home of the Strickland family, and they still pop back on occasion I’m told. It hasn’t always been in the hands of the Stricklands though. Sizergh Castle began life with the Deincourt family and remained that way until 1239 when Sir William de Strickland married Elizabeth Deincourt. And that, they say, was that.
Take a trip down the western side of Windermere and down a few narrow roads, and you’ll reach Wray Castle. Built in the 1840s, this new-gothic creation was the brainchild of James and Margaret Dawson, a Liverpudlian couple, who moved to the Lake District because, well, why wouldn’t you? Unlike other castles I have visited throughout the course of writing for this blog, Wray is a bit of a fib. It emits an air of old-world majesty and you could be tricked into thinking it was once lived in by Dukes and Earls of times gone by. The tarmac surrounding the building kind of dampens the charm, but it is still quite an imposing construction.
A few weeks ago, I made a visit to another local attraction and historical gem, Lowther Castle. I have already visited the parkland surrounding the Castle when I went to Lowther Show, and I thought it high time that I visited the shell of the building that remains. In 2017, they opened a new exhibition taking the visitor on a journey from its Medieval beginnings to present day. Let me tell you, it is hugely interesting, and so I shall tell you its story… very briefly. The whole thing would take days!
Head out to the outskirts of Penrith and you’ll find Brougham Castle, a medieval castle based on the site of the Roman fort of Brocavum. Very shortly after the land was acquired by Robert de Vieuxpoint in 1214, the castle was built to defend England from the Scots, and also at times from other members of the English nobility. The River Eamont which runs beside the castle used to mark the border between England and Scotland, before the boundary was moved further north by William Rufus in 1092.
I cannot remember the last time I visited Carlisle Castle; it was most likely a primary school trip, and I probably wasn’t paying attention, so it was about time I stopped by again and found out more.
Travel 55½ km in a southeasterly direction from Paris, and you’ll reach Fontainebleau, a commune which actually covers a larger area than Paris itself. So it’s pretty big. Fontainebleau is known for its forest, and its château which has been developed over the centuries by successive French kings.
To mark one year to the day that I first ventured to France, I thought I’d share some photos and history from the town where I lived: Maisons-Laffitte. It sits about 20km to the north-west of Paris, and is a great little town! I have already posted a few photos from walking out and about in the park, but I’ve not really said much about it… Until now!
Roughly 40km north of Paris, you’ll find Chantilly, a commune that was once part of the historic Valois region. In May, I took a trip up to Chantilly for a plant festival in the grounds of the château, combining it with a nosey into the building itself. What I didn’t realise at the time was that the castle is now the home of the Musée Condé, which has one of the best collections in France.