category_outlined / Travel & Outdoor

Britain September/October 2015

Packed with 196-pages of the best attractions, days out, places to stay and food and drink destinations, the 2015 BRITAIN Guide is your definitive companion to getting the best out of your holiday. From forgotten medieval villages, to country houses within easy access of London and shopping areas for picking up quintessential gifts, you won’t want to leave home without it.

United Kingdom
Chelsea Magazine
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6 Issues


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editor's letter

I’ve been reminded this issue of the vast number of castles we have on our shores, from moated palaces such as Hever Castle and Leeds Castle, which we explore in In England’s Green and Pleasant Land (p6), to the often forgotten fortresses that dot the Welsh landscape in The Iron Ring (p58).Of course in Britain we’re also spoiled with lots of rather splendid stately homes. Ever wondered how these historic houses survive in the 21st century? Then make sure you read Love’s Labour’s Not Lost (p22) to hear from the duchesses that have revived the fortunes of some of our most cherished estates. If you were glued to the screen watching the recent period dramaPoldark then you’ll know that the real star of the show was the gorgeous backdrop of…

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in england’s green & pleasant land

The Victorian novelist Charles Dickens summed up the county of Kent as he saw it in The Pickwick Papers, when he wrote: “Kent, Sir – everybody knows Kent – apples, cherries, hops and women.”As Dickens intimated, it’s for good reason Kent is known as the ‘Garden of England’ – its fertile soil is perfect for growing apples, hops and, in more recent years, grapes, as English Wine vineyards have flourished in the region.Having lived in Chatham for a few years as a child and near Rochester for much of his adult life, Dickens knew Kent well and many references to the county can be found in his novels – the Kent marshes, for instance, create an atmospheric backdrop in Great Expectations.Much of the character of Kent is dictated by its…

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the planner

GETTING THEREMany of Kent’s towns can be reached by train from London St Pancras station (Rochester 40 minutes; Faversham 1 hour; Margate 1.5 hours; Dover 1 hour). The western half of the county is served by London Victoria. www.trainline.comLEEDS CASTLELeeds Castle, which was once used as a palace by King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, is open year-round and there are regular events held across its 500 acres – including falconry displays – or you can lose yourself in the estate’s magnificent maze. The nearest train station is Bearsted and a shuttle bus runs from here to the castle from April to September. www.leeds-castle.comBATTLE OF BRITAIN MEMORIALIn the 75th anniversary year since the Battle of Britain, a visit to this free memorial, which is dominated by a huge statue…

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the bulletin

NEWSBeneath the White Cliffs of DoverA labyrinth of Second World War tunnels, built underneath the iconic White Cliffs of Dover on the orders of Sir Winston Churchill, is now open to the public after two years of excavation work. Fan Bay Deep Shelter was constructed in the 1940s to prevent German ships from moving freely in the English Channel. It was decommissioned in the 1950s and filled in during the 1970s.Originally carved out of the chalk in just 100 days by Royal Engineers from the 172nd Tunnelling Company, the shelter had five large chambers providing bombproof accommodation.Among historic finds at the site were wartime graffiti and a Unity Pools football coupon – dated 20 February 1943.Specialist guides will lead hard-hat and torch-lit tours deep into the heart of the White…

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reading corner

The Debs of Bletchley Park by Michael Smith (£9.99, Aurum Press). The unheard story of the ‘Debs’ and the essential role they played in the vital work of ‘Station X’ at the famous spy base. The Story of the Thames by Andrew Sargent (£9.99, Amberley). Fascinating insight into the history of the longest and most famous river in England, which mirrors the story of the capital city it dominates. Stuff Brits Like by Fraser McAlpine (£ 9.99, Nicholas Brealey Publishing). A witty guide to the quirks of Britain and the British, which puts forward some interesting observations on the nation’s psyche. Pleasures of the Table: A Literary Anthology by Christina Hardyment (£20, The British Library). An ode to food from some of the world’s greatest writers and poets. The Lost…

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the aristocracy love’s labour’s not lost

Alnwick Castle, in Northumberland.Belvoir Castle, home of the Duke and Duchess of Rutland, is nestled on a hilltop overlooking the Vale of Belvoir in LeicestershireThe stately homes of EnglandHow beautiful they stand!To prove the upper classesHave still the upper handHow wonderful that many of Britain’s glorious stately homes still survive in the 21st century for everyone to enjoy. They were even immortalised in verse by that most English of gentlemen, Noel Coward, in 1929, who unashamedly changed part of an earlier poem, The Homes of England, writing: “The stately homes of England, how beautiful they stand, to prove the upper classes, have still the upper hand.”Composed in 1827 by Felicia Hemans, who coined the term ‘stately home’, the third and fourth lines originally read: “Amidst their tall ancestral trees, o’er…