A Pocketful of Rye

The sleepy hilltop town of Rye looks almost chokingly picturesque. Chocolate-box-charming, the cobbled streets, half-timbered cottages, elegant Georgian town houses, olde-worlde shops and Norman church are steeped in bucolic Englishness and sugar-coated nostalgia. Hard to imagine this land-locked paradise was once the bad boy of the southern realm; the 18th century smuggling capital of England….

Hudson’s Heritage Inspiration

Hudson’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…

Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s Grand Tour

  It is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman in possession of a good costume must be in want of adventure… Halfway through Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, heroine Elizabeth Bennet takes a vacation with her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner to the Derbyshire Peaks, home to a certain Mr Darcy. Before visiting the fictional Pemberley, Miss Bennet…

English Civil War Centre

Both politically and geographically, the English Civil War (1642 – 51) shaped the country we know today. Nine years of fighting followed by a Commonwealth government meant no English monarchy could ever regain the absolute power rulers once enjoyed. The Divine Right of Kings had been severed with the head of Charles I and the…

Carlton Towers

There’s a scene in Pride & Prejudice where Elizabeth Bennet has been touring the Peaks with her aunt and uncle, visiting the grand stately homes in the area. She’s unsure about the largest of all. Supposing she were to bump into Mr Darcy? Her relatives persuade her the family will be away; only the staff…

The Rakish Charms of Rye

The sleepy hilltop town of Rye looks almost chokingly picturesque. Chocolate-box-charming, the cobbled streets, half-timbered cottages, elegant Georgian town houses, olde-worlde shops and Norman church are steeped in bucolic Englishness and sugar-coated nostalgia. Hard to imagine this land-locked paradise was once the bad boy of the southern realm; the 18th century smuggling capital of England….

Dreamland awakes

Margate has many claims to fame, not least one JMW Turner, who endlessly painted the curious, ever-changing light. More recently, TS Eliot wrote much of The Waste Land while convalescing in Margate and YBA (Young British Artist) Tracey Emin defiantly nailed her colours to the until-recently unfashionable town’s artistic mast. Most people, however, associate Margate…