Northampton Tour: Unwrapping layers of history at Kirby Hall

Kirby Hall is a mirage. Outwardly, it looks like smoke should be swirling up from the vast ornate chimney pots. The inside is hollowed out. Time has mercilessly swept through and taken the walls, paintings, furniture and the inhabitants, leaving just a whisper of its former glory. Do not despair. It is this time capsuled…

Winter Days: Trains, Flooding and Bird Song

When driving through the countryside in Charnwood we watch out for a line of steam trailing through the fields and up beyond the hedgerows. If we spot it, we will make a diversion for the heritage railway station and watch the train pull into the station. We had a lucky day, this January, and managed…

Warwickshire Tour: Shady Forest Paths and a Mirror Pool at Upton

On this unusually hot May day, we chose to take a left turn at the entrance gate and follow the cool and shady forest trails down towards Upton House. We were just in time to see the last of the late spring bluebells. The children enjoyed the natural play areas and dens, jumping between felled…

Somerset Tour: A Summer’s Day Journey to Wells and Glastonbury

It is a perfect summer’s day.  We set off on foot through the Wells Recreation Ground, where musicians are busy setting up and deckchairs are being set out in rows around a band stand.  We follow the calm moat of the Bishop’s Palace, and head into the centre of England’s smallest city. On the main…

Yorkshire Tour: A walking tour of Haworth and the Bronte Parsonage

We arrived in Haworth by steam train, travelling along the lovingly restored Keighley Valley Railway. This is Haworth Station and the bridge in the distance is the footpath up into the village towards the Bronte Parsonage. A steep cobbled path leads up through the main street, past tea rooms and vintage shops. This was my…

Lincolnshire Tour: St George’s Day in Stamford

It’s like being on a film set.  Stamford, on the border of Lincolnshire and Rutland, feels very familiar and has doubled for both George Elliot’s Middlemarch and the village of Meryton in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  On a gloriously sunny Saint George’s Day, we arrive early whilst the streets are still quiet. A short…

Lincolnshire Tour: The Cathedral at dusk

Lincoln Cathedral at dusk On the occasions when our adventures are city-based, our family of six  pack our rucksacks just as if we were about to hike across fields or mountains and we treat the landscape exactly the same.  We walk and explore, and try and find the hidden corners that breathe character into the…