Hudson’s Heritage Inspiration

HudsonsHudson’s is one of the best-known directories of interesting heritage things to visit; it’s hardly surprising that winning one of their coveted Heritage Awards is a big deal. The ceremony, held at Goldsmith’s Hall in the City, is always a glittering affair. Yesterday’s was enlivened by the always delightfully rambling Dan Cruikshank, whose focus on world heritage lost through war added a sober note.

The full list of winners is long indeed, and I’m sure will be fully covered elsewhere. Instead, in this post, I thought I’d talk about five places I have been inspired to visit this year after hearing more about them at the ceremony yesterday…

Chiddingstone_CastleChiddingstone Castle was Highly Commended in the Best Wedding Venue category. I’m not planning any nuptials just now, but the place itself intrigues me. Often overshadowed by its more famous neighbours, Hever and Penshurst, Chiddinsgtone’s Tudor core has been remodelled into a neo-gothic fantasy, with rose-filled grounds and seriously curious collections of Egyptian, Japanese, Buddhist and Jacobean art.

Keats HouseHow come I’ve lived in London all my life and never visited Keats’s House? Another Highly Commended, this delightful-looking cottage remains hidden not least because, apparently, the council refuses to put up any signs as to where this Georgian jewel actually is. I’ll be getting out at Hampstead Tube soon, trusting to a sturdy OS map and compass and seeking out a little romance.

DSC_0014I have actually seen the winner in this category, and I have to put my hands up – Painshill 18th Century landscape garden’s crystal grotto is a worthy choice. Once almost totally ruined, this magnificent folly has been restored in the most spectacular fashion, glittering, sparkling and twinkling with gems and waterfalls. I’m definitely visiting again this year.

Dunham masseyDunham Massey’s extraordinary World War One event last year, for which it won ‘Best Event’, is now over but the place is now on my radar, after having only ever heard of it peripherally before. I love the look of the place, remodelled in the 18th Century, though I can never find my way round the National Trust’s website to drill down to exactly what a property is – I always have to go elsewhere for basic information, which can be frustrating. No matter, I’ll be going to find out for myself this year…

CroomeI’m never sure what I feel about Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. I admire his landscapes, but I can’t get emotionally involved with them. I appreciate his vision, but can’t help mourning the losses incurred whilst fulfilling that dream. Still, in in tercentenary year, it would be rude to ignore him entirely, and yesterday I determined to see Croome Park, his first major commission, for myself. It was Highly Commended yesterday for best innovation. Sadly I missed the ‘Sky Cafe’ – on the scaffolding that surrounded the house last year, but I’ll enjoy the results of the spruce-up instead.


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