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Discover Britain February/March 2020

Celebrating the best of our nation, every issue of Discover Britain is packed with features from history to travel. Read about the events that changed history, as well as British traditions and their origins, or be inspired for your next trip with great ideas for where to go and what to see. Whether you’re planning a weekend city break or an escape to the countryside, Discover Britain is your essential guide to getting the most out of your stay.

United Kingdom
Chelsea Magazine
6 Issues

in this issue

1 min

The British Isles is a relatively small landmass, about a twelfth the size of the United States, yet it never ceases to amaze me how many new and interesting places there are to discover. In this new issue, we were keen to draw your attention to just a few of these lesser-known delights. We kick things off with the Cinque Ports (p12), a confederation of five coastal towns that were key defences in the reign of King Edward I. Aside from Hastings, the ports are unlikely tourist destinations, yet filled with maritime history. Our cover feature looks at Little Moreton Hall (p68), a Tudor manor so rickety that it looks like it might collapse like Buster Keaton’s house at any moment. Elsewhere there are in-depth guides to Yorkshire’s bohemian Calder Valley (p76)…

1 min

Taking good care Each week I visit a charming 90-year-old friend in a care home and her greatest pleasure is talking about England where she was born in Kent and lived until she came to Australia as a young girl with her parents. Even though most of her life has been here, her loyalty to her homeland never wavers. Her joy is me reading Discover Britain to her and we discuss all the beautiful places featured in your excellent magazine. Days are re-lived as she tells me about her nights in air-raid shelters during the war, being “evaporated” and so on. I have learnt so much about Britain from her stories. In issue 211, we enjoyed the Dorset villages [above]. Thank you for giving me and an old lady so much pleasure with…

3 min
wish you were here...

St Paul’s Cathedral, London Romantic great’s final work projected on the historic dome William Blake was an artist, activist and poet who remained largely underappreciated when he died in 1827. Nevertheless, he had created some of the most enduring works of the Romantic era. It wasn’t until the centenary of Blake’s death that his work was given due recognition and a memorial was made to him in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral. That same place of worship has paid tribute to Blake once more. To coincide with Tate Britain’s exhibition, an image of the artist’s final painting, 1827’s The Ancient Days, was projected on the dome of St Paul’s for four consecutive wintry nights. It was a fitting tribute to one of Britain’s most illuminating talents. www.stpauls.co.uk Alderney, Channel Islands Guided walks abound across…

7 min
the last defence

When, in 1924, Winston Churchill took up residence at Chartwell, his beloved country house near Westerham in Kent, he soon discovered the existence of an obscure ancient rivalry between a faction from the west of the county going by the name “Kentish Men” and another from the east who rejoiced under the similar moniker “Men of Kent”. The Oxfordshire-born Churchill doubtless did not share the fervour of feeling on either side; he did, however, years later, come to lay unique claim to both sides when, in 1941, he was appointed to the lifelong post of Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, with the role’s attendant right to take up residence in the county’s Tudor artillery fort, Walmer Castle. That he united both rival factions in mutual approval of this non-native of…

6 min
a tale of two cities

History The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world – so old, in fact, that no one knows precisely when it was founded. Teaching began as far back as the 11th century and the institution grew rapidly after 1167 after King Henry II banned English students from going to Paris to study instead. The town of Oxford was established in the 9th century when Alfred the Great created a fortified network of burghs across England. Sitting at the junction of the rivers Cherwell and Thames, it soon became one of the largest in England and King Charles I briefly moved parliament here during the English Civil War in 1644. For centuries, Cambridge was a far smaller settlement, only finally gaining city status in 1951, even though it has a…

8 min
prime locations

These days the British Prime Minister (PM) is an almost presidential figure. Yet in the 18th century, the king or queen was sovereign and being PM was something of an insult. That all changed in 1721 when Robert Walpole, the new First Lord of the Treasury, became so important that the German-speaking King George I clearly relied on him. Walpole rebuffed those who accused him of being the “prime” minister, yet within a generation the concept had become a fact. Prime Ministers have tended to live well and many of their homes are now open to the public, providing a fascinating insight into how British politics has changed over the years. Robert Walpole Houghton Hall, Norfolk Sir Robert Walpole was a Whig politician and de facto Prime Minister for Kings George I and II. He…