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Discover Britain April/May 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.

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Chelsea Magazine
Frequency:
Bimonthly
$9.24
$38.86
6 Issues

in this issue

1 min
welcome!

Britain is home to more than its fair share of eccentrics. For a small island nation, our history books are packed with pleasingly daft behaviour. One need only look to John “Mad Jack” Mytton, the Regency MP who once arrived at a dinner party riding a bear and even set his own shirt on fire in a bid to cure the hiccups. As such, we have dedicated this issue of Discover Britain to one of our defining character traits: eccentricity. We begin by introducing you to England’s finest eccentrics via their surviving homes (p10), before detailing some rather unusual hotels (p20). Anyone fancy spending a night in a former prison cell? We also celebrate the real-life places that inspired Lewis Carroll’s search for Wonderland (p46), as well as marvelling at two of…

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2 min
letters

Curiouser and curiouser I love your magazine and always read it from cover to cover as soon as it comes. And I love Oxford, where I spent a delightful week in a Christ Church dorm just last September. So, I was especially excited to read the article comparing Oxford and Cambridge. However, I came to an abrupt stop in the “Museums” paragraph where you claim the Ashmolean’s [pictured] “cabinet of curiosities was amassed by Elias Ashmole”. The cabinet was actually first called The Ark and was “amassed” by the John Tradescants I and II at their home in Lambeth during the 1600s. Mr Ashmole did publish a catalogue of the collection, but he acquired The Ark after John II’s death, and some say he stole it. In spite of John’s widow contesting the…

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2 min
wish you were here...

Windsor, Berkshire Duke and Duchess of Sussex to step back from royal duties Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have announced that they will be stepping back from their roles as senior members of the Royal family. This will involve the sixth in line to the throne repaying the Sovereign Grant used to refurbish the couple’s Frogmore Cottage home in the 655-acre Home Park of Windsor Castle. A statement from Buckingham Palace confirmed that “while they can no longer formally represent The Queen, the Sussexes have made clear that everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty.” In a separate statement, Her Majesty The Queen acknowledged the move came as “a result of intense scrutiny” but said she was “pleased that together we have…

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9 min
mad dogs & englishmen

Eccentricity is defined as being unconventional to the point of being slightly strange, and the perception is that the English do it best. This belief has been held so fast by so many for so long that it’s something of a cliché. Yet the truth is, the English really do have a long and fruitful history of being eccentric. And it is perhaps among the aristocracy that this characteristic is most rampant. Why? Perhaps their glut of time and money allows them to live exactly as they’d like, unencumbered by trivial and tiresome matters like work. Membership of the upper class brings with it a sense of freedom to be entirely oneself and indulge every peccadillo without having to worry about who might be watching. Being eccentric is surely the ultimate…

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7 min
eccentric hotels

Britain is full of beautiful purpose-built hotels, opened by pioneers like César Ritz and Richard D’Oyly Carte (of Savoy fame). However, it also leads the world in converting existing buildings into hotels. Some of the more eccentric structures that have been repurposed include prisons, churches, fortresses, and even whole villages. It seems the British will convert anything into a hotel. Take Bailiffcourt, for example. Sitting on the Sussex coast, it consists of a series of medieval houses, barns and stone cottages, all reassembled on the private estate of the wealthy Guinness family. Only the 13th-century chapel is in its original place. Walter Edward Guinness, 1st Baron Moyne, and his wife, Lady Evelyn, intended Bailiffscourt as a place for roaring parties. She had her bedroom in the Manor House (now the hotel’s…

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2 min
my britain

“It’s a privilege to share the library’s history and stories – and wonderful smell!” Working at the Bodleian Libraries is a real joy. The best bit of my job is being part of someone’s visit to, and experience of, Oxford – albeit a small one. It’s a privilege to show people the library and share with them the history and stories – and wonderful smell! The Duke Humfrey’s Library is my favourite part. To walk in the footsteps of Sir Christopher Wren, JRR Tolkien and King Charles I is a dream job. I have had some visitors who are so in awe of the space that they are brought to tears. My favourite Bodleian Libraries story dates back to 1602. Thomas James was appointed its first librarian and his wife, Ann, worried about…

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