Few will have heard of Painshill Park, a park that is technically still in London within the M25 even though it is actually also in Surrey.
Painshill Park is a garden created in the 1700s, one of the best still left and which fortunately you can still visit. This garden was created from 1738 to 1773 by Hon. Charles Hamilton who was one of the many sons of the Earl of Abercorn and who as a young man had visited Italy on several trips.
A lover of the Renaissance and the aesthetic principle, Hamilton wanted to create gardens that resembled a painting. The garden reflects the fashion in gardening of the time that didn’t like ordered and geometric gardens, preferring instead a more ‘natural’ landscape.
The main point of the park was a snake-shaped pond with many islets and bridges. The park is located in naturally hilly land and crossed by the Mole river, this geographical advantage was exploited to the maximum.
In addition to the trees and flowers Hamilton also had follies, which were constructions that were in vogue at the time and didn’t have a purpose. Among these we can remember the fake ruins of a Gothic abbey, a crystal cave and a Roman mausoleum.
Hamilton also had a hermitage built and hired a hermit who was fired for absenteeism. Eventually, Hamilton ran out of all money and had to sell the property which passed to several owners until 1948 when the Painshill Park land was split into several parts. rented separately.
This meant the destruction of the original garden (the original house had been demolished in the late 1700s). In the 1980s the municipality bought the property and founded a non-profit company for the restoration and development of the famous garden.
The famous follies have been restored and put back in their place. Official site If you intend to visit Painshill Park, check the official site well even if the park is open almost every day, certain parts are only open on weekends.
In addition, there are always many events that you may not want to miss.
How to get to Painshill Park?
As we said this park is still located in London and to get there you will first have to reach Kingston by train or bus and from there take the 715 bus to Guildford. In less than 40 minutes you will be outside the park’s entrance.
Visit Blenheim Palace where Winston Churchill was born
Blenheim Palace is the official residence of the Dukes of Marlborough from beyond 200 years, it is called Palace, although it does not belong to the royal family, a unique case in the UK.
Since 1987 it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is located in Oxfordshire , approximately one ‘hour and a half from London. Besides being a kind of national monument it is also the birthplace of Winston Churchill.
The history of its construction was troubled, it had to be built in honour of John Churchill the first Duke of Marlborough , after his victory at the Battle of Blenheim against the French and the Bavarians. For this reason, Queen Anne gave the Duke an old property that was falling apart but also gave him a considerable sum of money to rebuild it.
The construction of the new Blenheim Palace
The John Churchill’s wife, Sarah, wanted the architect Christopher Wren , who had built the new St Paul’s Cathedral . While her husband called Sir John Vanbrugh who was a playwright and not an architect. But then many were trying to build buildings, even if they were not architects by profession.
For all the peace of the construction of Blenheim Royal residence, Sarah, who could not stand Vanbrugh, put the legendary stakes in the wheel and made life impossible for the playwright. The Duchess not only wanted a monument to her husband, but also a house to live in and Sir Vanbrugh’s project was not exactly suitable.
Sarah and Queen Anne were good friends, in a way that nowadays would seem suspicious, Sarah had a strong personality and the two often quarrelled even in public.
The Duchess was also worried about finances and how much money was needed for this project. Alla great succeeded in banishing Sir Vanbrugh and the project was completed by architect Nicholas Hawksmoor after the death of the Duke in 1722.
The American hereditary
Like many other British aristocratic families at the great del 1800 the Dukes of Marlborough also had financial problems and saved their property, which was then their only residence, by marrying American heiresses . Jennie Jerome , a wealthy American heiress, became the wife of Sir Randolph Churchill and later mother of Winston Churchill. In 1896 the 9th Duke of Marlborough also married a wealthy American, the eighteen year old Consuelo Vanderbilt, who arrived with a dowry of 2.5 million dollars. Marrying rich Americans became a fashion among the declining British aristocracy, and it was also prestigious for these wealthy American families to join old aristocratic families.
In any case Blenheim Royal residence was built in English Baroque style , one of the few buildings in this style of short duration.
The idea was to create an austere monument to the Duke, a palace that can be seen from miles away.
It was not a great success, grandmother part of the people hated this palace, including Winston Churchill (cousin of the Duke of Marlborough at the time) who was born there and spent part of his childhood there.
What to see at Blenheim Royal residence
You have to look at Blenheim Royal residence even from a distance, Sir Vanbrugh had played a lot with the perspective, and along with the park and gardens. The views that you can admire are all well choreographed.
Inside the building you will have a beautiful collection of art, objects and furniture of the past centuries, there are several halls and also the apartments of state.
There are representative rooms such as the central hall, a representative dining room used by the family once a year on Christmas day. There is also a library and a corridor connecting the next room, you can look at the tapestries celebrating military victories.
The palace has beyond 200 rooms and 1000 windows, when it was built for the first time, the size of the window period based on the importance of the personality who lived in the verse. The servants had smaller windows, while the family members of the duke and duchess obviously had huge windows.
Blenheim Royal residence became a convalescent home for wounded soldiers during WWI and WWII, more than 400 boys were evacuated from Malvern University to live here. They were in the state rooms, wandering around the lower terrace. While the lake and the palace park were used for price training for the Normandy landing, Several movies and dramas were shot in this well-known palace, including the Order of the Phoenix. Harry Potter.
Blenheim Palace Gardens
After the death of her husband, the Duchess was not very interested in the gardens, left abandoned until the book Duke of Marlborough who decided to hire the famous gardener Capability Brown
Both part of the house and the gardens are open to the public, although they are still the home of the Duke of Marlborough (we are now at 12th Duke, from 2014 in fact Charles James Spencer-Churchill is Duke, famous for a long history of drug addiction and other problems). Numerous events are also held throughout the year. A miniature train connects the palace to the gardens, where, among a variety of activities for children, there is the Marlborough labyrinth , a triumphal arch, the home of the butterflies, the lavender garden and various exhibitions.
How to get to Blenheim Palace?
The palace is near Oxford, you can include it in a tour of this city, or go there directly from London. There are direct buses from Victoria Train Terminal on certain days of the year. Otherwise National Express always offers you cheap bus travel.
Cirencester: the old Roman town in the Cotswolds
If you are in England, there are many reasons to visit Cirencester, a town in Gloucestershire of Roman origin, first it is in the Cotswolds, the magnificent area of homes and hills. It offers a great starting point for exploring the area, and it is not for nothing that it is often referred to as the capital of the Cotswolds
Despite being a relatively small disadvantage approx. 20 thousand inhabitants, it’s a kind of centre for local public transport, from here you can go almost anywhere in the Cotswolds by bus. It is approximately 20 kilometres from Cheltenham, in an area famous for its beautiful English countryside. It does not have a very exciting evening and nightlife, as you can imagine given the size of the town, but you will find many typical and interesting clubs.
Cirencester has an ancient history, period one of the first Roman towns together with Chichester, London and St Albans Actually at that time it was the second-largest city after London. The Romans called it Corinium Dobunnorum. An important period during the Roman period but also in the Middle Ages when, like so many other places in England, it became rich by trading wool.
The Roman amphitheatre remains, at least in part, with its unmistakable shape even if covered by grass. You can visit it for free whenever you want.
It is said that it could contain 8000 spectators and therefore period, from what we know, the largest in Roman England. It was abandoned for centuries after the Romans left, but it seems that it was used in the Middle Ages for fights between bulls.
If you are interested in Roman history and art you can visit the Corinium Gallery You will find reconstructions, video clips and interactive shows that bring history to life. Among the highlights are some beautiful floor mosaics, found in the area and including a mosaic from the 300 created by the inhabitants of Roman Britannia, depicting the mythical lyre player Orpheus. For more information, you can consult the website
There are also a couple of old Roman villas and other Roman artefacts in the Cirencester area that you can visit, although unfortunately, no trace remains of the Roman Forum and basilica.
Historic buildings in Cirencester
Later the Anglo-Saxons took possession of the town until the arrival of the Normans in 1100.
The Middle Ages were a good period for Cirencester, which became an important centre for the trade-in wool and textiles. In that period, it was built a large abbey, which Henry VIII later had destroyed. Now you can only see some ruins. The beautiful Gothic-style church still remains.
Cirencester continued to thrive as a stopping place for carriages and travellers and later connected to the rest of the country by canals it continued to see a continuous passage of goods and people.
Cirencester is home to the oldest agricultural university in all English-speaking countries and the oldest Baptist church in the UK. You can also visit the vast park with the rental property of the Bathurst family, an old noble family of counts. You can visit the park for free (although now they intend to introduce a fee for non-residents) and see the tallest hedges in the UK.
This small Gloucestershire town is located not far from the River Thames, but it is not the only river in the area, in fact, it is crossed by the River Churn which is a tributary of the river that passes by London.
Now if you want to go there for tourism it has the advantage of not being full of tourists like some nearby places, despite having a nice centre, medieval and Victorian situation. For some strange reason, it still hasn’t been discovered by mass tourism.
Cirencester has so many interesting and unique shops and getting on purchasing here is a real pleasure. Only exploring the narrow streets of the centre with the many small shops can make you spend hours.
The courtyards with their individual style and the numerous historic streets radiating from the city centre. Cirencester is renowned for its very special shops, individual stores, charming antique shops and artisan shops, as well as national chain stores. Try to get off the main streets and explore the old historic streets, don’t miss The Woolmarket located off Dyer Road and Secure Lawn, accessed via the delightful Black Jack Road. You can also discover some hidden coffee shops or tearooms.
How to get to Cirencester?
National Express has frequent and cheap bus services from London and other cities in England. It is advisable to stay there at least 3 days to be able to explore the Cotswolds area a little.
What are the most popular places in the UK?
Here we go again … another survey. This time, try to figure out which places the British love the most and missed the most during the lockdown. 44% of respondents feel happier in countryside places or in any case with nature, the 31% to the cinema or theatre and the 20% in historic places like Stonehenge or Chatsworth Residence.
Kew Gardens which tops the charts as the happiest place in the UK, around 12% of Britons feel at home in this botanical garden and missed it a lot during lockdown.
The Eden Project in Cornwall ranks second together with Snowdonia National Park in Wales. Among the top ten we have the Natural History Museum in London , the British Museum , the Roman Baths , the London Zoo and Loch Lomond.
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