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Discover Britain December/January 2021

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

If you travel to certain parts of the world, it can feel as if every second bar was frequented by Ernest Hemingway. Even in death, the great American author continues to make a significant contribution to the takings at drinking establishments from Paris to Venice, Florida to Havana. In Britain, however, we tend to celebrate famous clientele not via the renaming of bars but hotel rooms. We decided to celebrate that fact in this issue with a look at seven suites dedicated to unlikely former guests (p12). You’ll uncover favourite haunts of Charles Dickens and Queen Elizabeth I, as well as learn why Mahatma Gandhi found himself in Lancashire’s Ribble Valley. Our fascination with historic names continues in the London section with a look at the stories behind the British capital’s many…

2 min

A fine romance I always enjoy reading Discover Britain. This issue, my favourite article was The Romantic Road [Issue 218]. I’ve visited Britain a few times in the last 10 years, but it’s been 16 years since I’ve spent time in the Cotswolds. With a bed-and-breakfast in Cheltenham as my base, by means of walking and taking the bus I spent many a happy day exploring several idyllic Cotswold towns. Your article brought back many pleasant memories. Don Orloff, Winnipeg, Canada Like father, like daughter Thank you for your article on Ada Lovelace [Issue 217]. I was well aware of the famous (or infamous) Lord Byron but had no idea he had such an accomplished daughter. I was also pleasantly surprised to note the resemblance between father and daughter, especially in the nose and…

4 min
wish you were here...

WINDSOR, BERKSHIRE Princess unveils historic wedding dress Initially scheduled for May of this year, HRH Princess Beatrice’s wedding to property developer Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi eventually took place in private on 17 July at Windsor’s Royal Chapel of All Saints. She was back in Berkshire two months later for the unveiling of the dress in a new display at Windsor Castle. While the wedding attire of a princess ninth in line to the British throne would undoubtedly be of interest anyway, it has added provenance as it was on loan from her grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty wore the Sir Norman Hartnell-designed taffeta gown on several occasions, including the London premiere of 1962’s Lawrence of Arabia and the State Opening of Parliament in 1966. The historic dress was taken in for Princess Beatrice…

8 min
suite dreams

The Debussy Suite The Grand Hotel, Eastbourne, East Sussex Charles Debussy was France’s great modernist musical composer, an aural accompaniment to the Impressionist art of Monet and Renoir. After scooping the Prix de Rome in his early 20s, he settled in Paris writing a series of sensual orchestral works and piano pieces that would transform classical music at the turn of the century. By 1905, however, he had separated from his first wife Lilly, who would attempt suicide as a result, while embarking on a scandalous affair with Emma Bardac, a Parisian singer and mother of one of his pupils. Rather than jetting to another European capital to escape the fallout from his infidelities, Debussy instead spent the summer in Eastbourne on England’s south coast. Debussy chose to hole up in The Grand Hotel,…

8 min
the high life

When you imagine the Scottish Highlands, you might picture a bleak, windswept peat bog, several rocky peaks in the background, softened at the edges by low-hanging clouds, and perhaps a ginger, well-fringed Highland “hairy coo” in the fore. And while you might be right when it comes to the weather, if you’re visiting the Lochaber region, in the west and about two hours’ drive from Glasgow, you’ll find yourself having a far more varied trip than this. The west Highlands’ highlights cluster around its loch-shore “capital”, Fort William, the gateway to Scotland’s impressive inland waterway, the Caledonian Canal. From there you can embark on one of many adventures. Perhaps a romantic steam-powered ride on the popular Jacobite train through Glenfinnan, where Highland clansmen gathered to meet Bonnie Prince Charlie and raise…

1 min
the lens glens on

With iconic yet relatively accessible scenery, these Lochaber locations have hosted many memorable cinematic moments over the years • Glenfinnan Filming for the second and third Harry Potter films (2002 and 2004) took place in Glenfinnan, as pupils from Lochaber High School were used as extras and the Hogwarts Express famously crossed Glenfinnan Viaduct. Today a crowd often forms at the station when trains are due. • Morar The pristine beaches of Morar were used as sets in the films Highlander (1986) and Local Hero (1986). In Rob Roy (1995), a cottage was built on the northern shore of Loch Morar to be one of the titular Scottish folk hero’s homes. • Glen Nevis Braveheart (1995) utilised many Scottish locations, but Glen Nevis appears in a number of key early scenes, including the return home of…