Destination Warwickshire- Part 1

The castlemania continues…so last month I planned a surprise birthday treat for dear Mr M. I was very discreet of course, so he never had the slightest clue…..until I presented him with the following plan:

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WEEKEND BIRTHDAY ACTIVITIES

TO MY DEAREST HUSBAND

WELCOME PACK!

In order to be part of the activities you must pack an overnight bag and once you have done as instructed, relax, abandon your woes and take up your knight`s armour and helmet and think about where you`d like to be…

CLUE 1: Let`s travel together to the Reign of  Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of King Henry VIII…this is where the journey will take you on your first activity!

Kenilworth Castle

Kenilworth Castle

Then, once your explore the land, you will relax fully in a quaint place and have a nourishing meal and the day will end as you wish it to!

Once you are fully rested, refreshed and ready to affront a new day, we shall journey together once more to another place, (CLUE 2 ) further in time than Elizabeth I`s Reign, and considered the seat of a family who changed British history and played a major part in the War of the Roses…somewhere where only the very strongest and wealthiest in England lived..…have you guessed?

 

…………………………THE END or just the beginning?

 

ENJOY!

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So, can you guess where the first clue took us to?

The answer to the first clue is Kenilworth Castle and the Elizabethan Gardens in Warwickshire.

Elizabethan Gardens

Elizabethan Gardens

Unfortunately most of the castle has been destroyed, but there is still plenty to see and Leicester`s Gatehouse is still intact and there are several rooms and exhibitions which you can explore as well as the garden.

Leicester Gatehouse

Leicester Gatehouse

Further information can be found via this link:  http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/kenilworth-castle/

As we were walking to the castle, I couldn`t help taking a quick photo of the facade of this cute little cottage!!

Tudor cottage

Tudor Cottage

Woburn Abbey

We recently decided to set out to explore England`s castles…perhaps watching regular historical movies or reading historical novels by Alison Weir and Philippa Gregory, may have something to do with it! 🙂

This is why, a few weeks ago we decided to set out on a Sunday outing to Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire.

Beautiful Scenery at Woburn Abbey

Beautiful Scenery at Woburn Abbey

The history of this great palace starts in 1145, when Hugh de Bolebec founded a religious house for a group of Cistercian monks and this remained a monastic building until King Henry VIII took over the building after executing Abbot Robert Hobbes for treason.

In 1547 Woburn Abbey was given to Sir John Russell, by Henry VIII`s son Edward VI for services rendered to his late father, Henry VIII and Sir John  then became the first Earl of Bedford.  The earldom became a dukedom from 1700.

The family tree can be traced to the present day to the Fifteenth Duke of Bedford, Andrew.  Although the family`s accomplishments are many, one cannot help but mention the Flying Duchess who was the wife of the 11th Duke of Bedford, Herbrand. He was an aide-de-camp for the Viceroy of India and there he met and married Ms Mary Tribe (who became Duchess Mary), returning to Woburn soon after, due to the death of his father the 10th Duke, Sackville.  When the 1st World War broke out in 1914, the Duke and Duchess converted the Cottage Hospital in Woburn Village and the riding school and tennis court in the Abbey grounds into military hospitals.

Duchess Mary became a qualified surgical nurse and a radiographer and dedicated here entire life to the patients who came to Woburn to be treated. She was a phenomenal woman who also had a passion for ornithology and  for flying planes, thereby gaining the nickname: The Flying Duchess and it was through this passion that she unfortunately lost her life.

When you visit Woburn Abbey you cannot help being awed by the vast meadows and land surrounding the palatial building…and as you drive in, you will  spot several deer species, originally imported by the 11th Duke.

The Grand Woburn Abbey

The Grand Woburn Abbey

The building itself is exquisitely well-maintained and as you walk around the estate, you will undoubtedly pass through the Book Room, the Fourth Duke`s Bedroom, corridors such as Paternoster Row full of paintings, one of them a painting of Malta`s grand harbour, and the Grand Staircase. Rooms exuding particular charm include Queen Victoria`s Bedroom and Dressing rooms, the State Saloon and the Dining Room, the latter adorned with typical sights of Venice, by Canaletto and finally the gold and silver vaults which will not fail to enthrall!

The Chinese Diary

The Chinese Dairy

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