One of the largest still inhabited castles in the country, Alnwick Castle has been the home of the Percy family for over 700 years. In 1309 Henry Percy purchased a Norman style castle and converted it into a border fortress – over the following years the Scots did mount raids against the castle – and since then it has been extended and rebuilt, and faced other threats such as during the War of the Roses and the Civil War.
One of the things we definitely wanted to do on a recent trip to Scotland was visit Edinburgh Zoo. Naturally we were hoping to be able to see the pandas – a timed ticket for their enclosure is a must and is included in the main ticket price which is cheaper if booked in advance. Thankfully we were rewarded in our planning by arriving just in time to see the male panda enjoying some bamboo before lying down for a sleep in the sunshine.
The Houses of Parliament, or more correctly the Palace of Westminster, doesn’t really need any introduction. It is thanks to a fire which destroyed much of the site of the palace in 1834 that we owe the present design of the building (the Jewel Tower was among the few buildings to survive intact).
Recently I went on a walk around Nottingham to take photos of the Christmas decorations around the city including at the Winter Wonderland and the Exchange.
Continuing the Christmas theme, we recently visited Clumber Park, a country park run by the National Trust and went for a walk around the lake. We’ve been there before (post here) but never done the full walk. It was freezing but a nice bracing walk that took us just over an hour and a half. There is a bit of an Alice in Clumberland Theme going on at the moment which was quite fun – especially in the café where we stopped for a very nice lunch – and we also managed to see and photograph a lot of robins.
To get in the mood for Christmas we decided to head out to Calke Abbey, a Grade I listed National Trust property in Derbyshire. This was my second visit – you can read about the first visit made in 2011 here. This time, because it’s the winter season, a lot of the house is out of bounds but it is making an effort by decorating the areas that are open, though as we visited early in the day we didn’t get the full effect of the lantern trail and other light displays. Whilst walking around the grounds we also came very close to some deer and spent a long time taking photographs of them – some of those shots are below.
The Museum of Scottish Railways at Bo’ness Station is Scotland’s largest railway museum. It opened in 1995 and displays items of Scotland’s railway heritage such as trains, coaches, signals and my personal favourite, old railway posters.
Kirby Muxloe is an English Heritage property that was built by William, Lord Hastings, who owned Ashby de la Zouch Castle. Like that castle Kirby Muxloe Castle was built around an existing manor house around 1480.
Ashby de la Zouch Castle is an English Heritage property in Leicestershire, the ruins of a castle dating from the 15th century. The town of Ashby de la Zouch got its name from the Le Zouch family who owned the manor of Ashby in the 13th and 14th centuries. By 1472 William, Lord Hastings was transforming this manor into what would have been a magnificent castle that you can still appreciate from its remains.