England

Abbey House, Baker Street, London

Abbey House, located at 219-229 Baker Street, London contains part of the central tower and a section of the façade of what was the headquarters for the Abbey Road Building Society (now Abbey National) from 1932 until 2002. The Art Deco styling of the building was designed by J. J. Joass and is original, the rest of the building was rebuilt as residential and commercial units as well as underground parking.

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The Regent’s Park, London

The area that is now Regent’s Park once belonged to the monks of Barking Abbey until Henry VIII dissolved the monastery and turned it into a hunting park. In 1835 it became a public park on the instructions of the future King George IV who at the time was the Prince Regent (ruling in place of his mentally ill father George III until his death in 1820 when he became George IV). That’s why the park is The Regent’s Park, but hardly anyone ever calls it that.

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Tropical House, Woodthorpe Grange Park, Nottingham

On my most recent visit to Woodthorpe Grange Park I went to have a look around the Plant Shop and saw that the Tropical House was open. I haven’t been inside for probably at least a decade because it has had some very odd opening hours, but now I see they are keeping it open at the same time as the shop, so Monday-Sunday 10-4. There’s been a nursery (in the flower sense!) at Woodthorpe since the 1920s and the flower displays that adorn the city during the spring and summer and for the Britain in Bloom and other competitions in Nottingham are grown here; the shop sells off excess stock as well as locally produced gifts.

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Daunt Books, Marylebone, London

Daunt Books is a chain of independent bookshops founded by James Daunt with the Marylebone branch being the first acquisition. It was bought by Daunt in 1990 – before that it was an Edwardian bookshop built in 1910 which claims to be the world’s first custom-built bookshop. It’s one of those places that turns up all the time on best bookshops in London lists and as I happened to be walking past it on my most recent trip to London I decided to pop in and have a look for myself.

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Backstage at the Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham

On 27 November 1982 Elton John performed the inaugural concert at the Royal Concert Hall and to celebrate its 40th anniversary they opened up their doors today (12 November 2022) for a free open day which included backstage tours, music performances and an exhibition on the construction of the building and past performers. It proved very popular, more so than I think the venue was expecting. I got there at just after 10am and joined an already long queue and it took about 40 minutes or so to snake through the building to the start of the tour but it was very good natured, I got chatting to strangers as we waited and the staff were lovely and very organised.

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Throwback Thursday: Church of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas, Liverpool

This church is the parish church of Liverpool and is also referred to as the Sailor’s Church, for its relationship to the Mersey and its shipping. There’s been a place of worship on the site for more than 750 years.

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The Wallace Collection, London

Back in May I went to the Wallace Collection to visit the Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts exhibition. In collaboration with New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art this exhibition, which finished recently, focused on how 18th century French art influenced Disney animators, particularly for the original Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. I enjoyed the exhibit, particularly the hand drawings of the transformation of Cinderella’s dress from rags, and the audioguide which was included in the £14 for adults admission price was really well done. Somewhat inevitably photography wasn’t allowed in the exhibition. Photography is allowed however in the Wallace Collection itself, which is free to enter.

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Autumn 2022 at Woodthorpe Grange Park, Nottingham

Not long ago I went for a walk around Woodthorpe Grange Park, which I’ve blogged about before. The park recently celebrated its centenary having been opened by the Lord Mayor of Nottingham on 1 June 1922. The weather was bright and sunny and did not at all feel like October, but some of the trees were wearing their autumn colours at least.

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Highfields Park, Nottingham

Owned by Nottingham City Council this 21 hectare park is so close to the University of Nottingham that it is often confused for being part of the campus. It is probably decades since the last time I spent any time here, despite trips nearby in recent years, but over the spring we managed a long overdue walk around the lake.

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Stonebridge City Farm, Nottingham

I’m a fairly regular visitor to the farm though I haven’t found time to visit since this trip in the spring. There were lots of baby animals, my favourites definitely being the very cute piglets, called Truffles and Penelope.

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