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Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire – dreams of a ruin



Always a favourite castle of mine Kenilworth is a magnificent, imposing and dignified ruin . The short walk to Kenilworth castle from the car park is enough to set the scene, close your eyes and soak in the special atmosphere ,imagine the hustle and bustle of Tudor castle life ,the horses hooves ringing and the excitement that must have ensued when Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester ,entertained the queen  (Elizabeth 1) here for 19 days of festivities in 1575.

Beautifully set out, the formal gardens have been tastefully and thoughtfully researched and reconstructed to show how they would have been in the castle’s Tudor hay day. An Aviary at the bottom of the gardens,complete with colourful little birds , is nestled amongst delightfully scented  roses and artfully arranged topiary.

The very fact you can climb in and out of the partially ruined rooms makes it a romantic and fascinating place to explore for adults and children alike. It is so wonderful to allow children to run, explore and climb , developing their wonderment and imagination as they become knights and ladies in times past. 

Views from the top of battlements of Kenilworth Castle are simply stunning, with so much space and freedom there is room for everyone to have a little piece of the castle to themselves for a while.

The  Old Stables have been transformed into a spacious and lovely tea room. The obligatory cream tea , ice creams and plenty of other tasty goodies are perhaps a little pricey but there is plenty of space to bring your own picnic and enjoy a shady spot whilst letting your imagination  have free reign on who else must have sat in the same very spot since the castle was  first established in the 1120s by the royal chamberlain, Geoffrey de Clinton,.

Facilities are clean, cared for and plentiful, lots of loos, places to sit and a lovely little souvenir shop where you can buy all the usual gifts and mementos from mead ( so potent!) to mice ( beautiful iron forged ).

The Importance of Kenilworth Castle

You will not find the usual state rooms,dressed and resplendent, as this is of course a ruin however it is special in its own way and allows you to imagine how grandiose the castle must have been  with its impressively high ceilings, Gothic windows, vast and sweeping views next to  the beautiful Elizabethan garden.Every part of the castle is presented carefully  with lots of informational plaques so take a chance to wander around and discover nooks ,crannies and ancient walls infused with so much history. 

In the early 13th century King John added an outer circuit of stone walls and a dam to hold back a great lakeland so created one of the most formidable fortresses in the kingdom. Kenilworth was  considered so important  that in the 14th century John of Gaunt, son of King Edward III, developed the castle into a palace, building the great hall and lavish apartments.A romantic place, Kenilworth was granted  in 1563 to Elizabeth’s favourite Robert Dudley who set out to impress the Queen and so tempt her into marriage.

It became famous thanks in part to Walter Scott’s 1821 novel Kenilworth, which romanticised the story of Robert Dudley, his wife Amy Robsart, and Elizabeth I.One day I plan to take this book ,a picnic and sit against one of the castles solid strong walls and read until the sunsets and the bird songs fade. 

This is a huge castle which has played a large part in English history and deserves to be savoured and enjoyed at your own pace. Not hurried or rushed allowing your imagination free reign. 

I'm a slightly deranged middle aged widow, living in the Cotswolds with two fabulously funny little dogs. A mother, grandmother, sister and friend. Determined to survive by writing to remember, to forget and to cope with grief. the memory of my husband supporting me, guiding me and probably laughing at me if there is a ‘somewhere’

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Douglas Corrigan, the man who flew to Ireland by mistake or maybe not…



We still don’t know if Douglas Corrigan intended to fly to Ireland or ended up there by mistake. We know that he became famous for a while and was even nicknames “Wrong Way”. But his story is still fascinating.  Another of his claims to fame was that he was one of the builders involved in the Spirit of St Louis, Charles Lindbergh’s place. He was born in Texas in 1907 and died in 1995. This story takes back to the romantic days of early aviation. 

By Unknown photographer –, Public Domain,

In the summer of 1938, Douglas Corrigan had landed in Dublin Ireland after a 28-hour flight from New York. Despite the grand achievement in the early days of solo transoceanic aviation, the pilot claims that he wasn’t supposed to travel to Europe. He actually filed to fly to Long […]

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In the summer of 1938, Douglas Corrigan had landed in Dublin Ireland after a 28-hour flight from New York. Despite the grand achievement in the early days of solo transoceanic aviation, the pilot claims that he wasn’t supposed to travel to Europe. He actually filed to fly to Long Beach, California! H

At the age of 31, Corrigan flew out to New York City from Long Beach. The pilot filed to return back to Southern California on July 17th, 1938, but during that foggy morning, he headed east from the 4,200-foot (1,300 m) runway of Floyd Bennett Field, flew into the mist, and vanished for over 28 hours. Nonetheless, he eventually appeared in Dublin, all the way across the Atlantic Ocean.

When explaining the situation to officials, Corrigan said that he left New York en route to California but had then gotten mixed up in the clouds and haze. He also shared that he had an issue with his compass. Overall, the airman expressed that he noticed the error after flying for approximately 26 hours. However, there is good reason to believe that this transatlantic hop wasn’t actually a mistake.

Importantly, Corrigan, a man of Irish descent, in 1935, applied to the federal government for permission to make a direct trip from New York to Ireland, which was turned down. Officials felt that the aircraft was not in the right shape to make this transatlantic hop. He then made several modifications and additions over the next few years but was continuously denied. Despite not being approved for transatlantic flight, the government did certify the plane for cross-country trips.

Moreover, the U.S Centennial of Flight Commission highlights that Corrigan grew frustrated with the bureaucracy by 1937 and flew to New York late at night after authorities had gone home. He would then have filled his tanks and set flight for Ireland. Unfortunately, there were several mechanical issues while heading to the East Coast and he lost his window of safe flying weather. Therefore, he decided to fly back west.


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The best UK attractions according to Tripadvisor



There are notable surprises in this list compiled by Tripadvisor users, for example you don’t find the great museums in London but we have museums in other places and two football stadiums. In first and second place we have two fairly predictable London attractions the Tower of London and Tower Bridge which are also close together although they don’t have much in common other than the name and proximity. The Tower dates back to 1100 and the bridge to 1800.

In third place we have Arthur’s Seat, the hill located in Edinburgh. Not only is this a nice walk, but once you get to the top you will have a nice view of the whole city. In fourth place we have Etihad Stadium, the Manchester United stadium. You can visit it when there are no matches, they organize a guided tour.

Arthur’s Seat

In fifth place we have Anfield Stadium, a practically sacred place for Liverpool fans. When there are no matches, the stadium is open for guided tours. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum ranks sixth, it is Scotland’s most visited free attraction. It has 22 themed galleries displaying over 8000 objects of international importance. Birmingham Back to Back is in seventh place, back to back houses were heavily used during the industrial revolution. Not really hygienic or comfortable and they don’t make us envy those times. The museum is a very informative blast from the past. Crumlin Road Gaol is in eighth place. An old Belfast prison closed in 1996 and reopened as a museum. There are guided tours of the prison and you can discover the story when women and children were held within its walls and of the political segregation of republican and unionist prisoners. In ninth place we have the magnificent National Railway Museum in York. Home to iconic locomotives and an unrivaled collection of engineering works, the museum celebrates the railroad’s past, present and future. What’s more, free. In tenth place we have the Churchill War Rooms which are located in London. Surprised? What did you expect to see in the top ten tourist attractions in the UK?

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The strange Egyptian house in Penzance in Cornwall



In all parts of the world there are always weird things to see and Cornwall is certainly no exception. If you go to Penzance, try to pass by the strange Egyptian house. It was built on Chapel Street by Plymouth architect John Foulston around 1835. At this time everything Egyptian was in fashion. In London at Piccadilly they had built the Egyptian Hall at the same time and the province tried to adapt to trends.

Photo: Jhsteel / CC BY-SA

It was a Plymouth bookseller who wanted this house, his name was John Lavin and he had a passion for maps and travel guides but he also traded minerals. He had then bought two properties here, which were in fact two cottages but he wanted to stand out so he had the two buildings join together with a single facade.

In addition to transforming the architecture of the two buildings, he also built a small mineral museum inside. The house still exists now and houses three apartments, it is a listed building. The interesting thing is that it is a precursor of the Art Deco that conquered the world a century later.

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