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  1.  Swan Upping on the River Thames - Queen’s Swan Marker, David Barber

     David Barber, The Queen’s Swan Marker

    Swan Upping is an ancient ceremony which counts the number of mute swans on the River Thames.  This still relatively unknown tradition is an annual event, which takes place during the third week in July. Earlier this week Julie and I went to Oakley Court hotel to watch this spectacle and to partake of afternoon tea (seperate blog to follow). 

  2.  Coffin Works

    As a volunteer at Barts Pathology Museum and a lover of all things macabre, quirky and unusual when I heard about the Coffin Works, a former coffin fittings factory in Birmingham, I just had to visit. I booked myself on a guided tour and just loved it. It's utterly fascinating, certainly not morbid or gruesome and it's suitable for children. It's an industial heritage museum, simular to Ironbridge or Beamish, but just on a much smaller and more intimate scale as it is a single building and it focuses on the death industry. 

  3. Museum of the Order of St John Chapter Hall

    Chapter Hall

    Last week I was thrilled to attend  "A Midsummer Day's Dream" Champagne Tea at the Museum of the Order of St John. The museum occupies two historic sites, the  gatehouse which houses the museum's galleries and has a series of stunning rooms and a seperate building which includes the Priory Church and the Norman crypt. The magnificent suite of historic rooms provided the perfect backdrop for a splendid afternoon of Shakespearean entertainment of drama, music and dance and the balmy hot summer weather just addded to the surreal and magical atmosphere.

  4. Bedford Park

    Bedford Park in Chiswick, West London is a rather special place, it has the distinction of being the first Garden Suburb. It optimises the best of suburban living, with tree lined streets, attractive houses and community facilities, all within a short commute to central London. The Bedford Park Festival is held annually in June and offers a variety of events including musical performances, talks, children’s activities and exhibitions.

  5. Roof Garden Spanish Garden

    The Roof Gardens London are utterly magical. I visited recently, when the gardens were open as part of the Open Garden Squares weekend, and although it was a dull and drizzly morning, they certainly have more than a touch of Hollywood glamour about them and I felt like I had just walked onto a movie set. Don't forget to look out for the flamingos!

  6.  Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea Sanderson Hotel

     Sanderson Hotel 

    I do love my afternoon teas, but I have to say the Sanderson’s Mad Hatter’s Tea has been one of my favourites as it really shone out for me for being so original and quirky. When I featured their scones in my Scones of the Month I felt that was only told part of the story and it deserved its own blog post so here it is.  Enjoy!

  7. Bethlem Museum of the Mind

    Melancholy (right) and Raving (left)

    On arrival at the recently re-opened Bethlem Museum of the Mind I was met by Raving and Melancholy Madness. These two iconic, 7 foot tall, reclining figures depict two different forms of mental ill health. They were made by Caius Gabriel Cibber, who also made the bas relief at the base of The Monument, and the sculptures were originally on display at the hospital’s entrance in Moorgate, from 1676 to 1815. When the hospital moved, into the building which is now the Imperial War Museum London, the statutes were moved to the entrance hall but kept behind curtains. Today once again they welcome visitors to Bethlem Royal Hospital as they grace either side of the beautiful, art deco staircase. 

  8.  Croydon Airport

    Before the days of package holidays and low cost airlines, back in the early 1900s the thrill of air travel was only available to the wealthy. In 1920 Croydon Airport became London's first international airport when customs and passanger handling facilities were introduced. Today the main terminal building, with its control tower, has been converted into offices and is home to a fascinating visitor centre which is open to the public on the first Sunday of every month.

  9. York Minster

    York in North Yorkshire, England, has a fascinating history, beautiful architecture, a fabulous selection of places to eat and drink and there's plenty to see and do.  It's one of my most loved cities and here is a brief list of some of my  favourite things to do in York.