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Budapest: Part Two

St. Stephen's Basilica, State Opera House, Matthias Church

Greetings! To round out our visit to Budapest we visited, St. Stephen's Basilica (and opted to do the panoramic view of the city), the State Opera House, and Matthias Church. There is so much to do in Budapest. We had a hard time figuring out how to narrow down all of the sites we wanted to visit in the few days we were there.

St. Stephen's Basilica is a Roman Catholic basilica in Budapest, Hungary. It is named for Stephen, the first King of Hungary (975–1038), whose right hand is housed in the reliquary. On Thursday evenings, there is a concert in the Basilica, which we opted to buy tickets for and it was FANTASTIC! I would highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in classical music. There was an organist, flutist, and vocalist. St. Stephen's is one of the most beautiful Basilicas I've been in so far.
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Panorama view of the cit of Budapest.
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The Hungarian State Opera House located in central Budapest, was originally known as the Hungarian Royal Opera House. Construction began in 1875 and opened to the public in September 1884. We were treated to a mini performance at the end of our tour.
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We crossed the river and went to the Buda side of the city to visit Matthias Church. The church is Roman Catholic and located in the Holy Trinity Square, in front of the Fisherman's Bastion in the heart of Buda's Castle District. Matthias Church was beautiful in its own right and I really enjoyed the painting all over the church.
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Budapest is an absolutely amazing city. We really enjoyed our time there and cannot wait to go back. There is so much to do and see and it is a really beautiful city. I would definitely rank it in my top five most favorite cities I've visited so far.

On to the next adventure...

Posted by LCP 00:32 Archived in Hungary Tagged budapest church basilica house opera hungary st state matthias stephens Comments (1)

Chatsworth House

Duke of Devonshire's Home, Derbyshire

One must see in the Peak District is Chatsworth House. Chatsworth is the seat of the Duke of Devonshire and the house has been in the Cavendish family since 1549. Something to note, the Devonshire name is not necessarily the last name of the Duke and his family. For instance, the Duke of Devonshire's family's last name is Cavendish and the Duke of Rutland's last name is Manners. There is a Kennedy connection to Chatsworth. The sister of John F. Kennedy, Kathleen Kennedy, married William Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington, the elder son of the 10th Duke of Devonshire in May 1944. He unfortunately died in action in Belgium in 1944 and Kathleen died in a plane crash in 1948. Currently, the family is on the 12th Duke of Devonshire, Peregrine Cavendish.

Elizabeth Cavendish, later Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury also known as Bess of Hardwick, was cunning lady who married strategically (she had four husbands) and is often associated with Chatsworth House. Sir William Cavendish (her second husband) and Bess of Hardwick originally started construction of Elizabethan Chatsworth in 1552; however, little evidence remains of the original house. Elizabeth I found Mary, Queen of Scots, to be a threat to the throne and held her captive under the watchful eye of the 6th Earl of Shrewsberry, Bess's fourth husband. Bess teamed up with Mary during part of her captivity at Chatsworth and the two created the Oxburgh Hangings, which are on display in Oxburgh Hall.

Chatsworth House: https://www.chatsworth.org

Side of Chatsworth:
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Our tour started just outside of the North Entrance Hall, where we received a brief talk on the history of the house. We then passed through the North Entrance Hall into the North Sub-Corridor and into the Painted Hall.

Painted Hall:
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Grotto:
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Chapel Corridor:
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The Chapel was constructed between 1688 and 1693:
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The Oak Room apparently used to be called the Summer Breakfast Room by the 6th Duke.
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Great Stairs:
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Great Chamber:
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State Drawing Room:
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This chair was apparently the Coronation Chair of King George III.
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The State Music Room was one of the most interesting rooms to see. For starters, the violin on the door is actually a painting using the "Trompe l'oeil " method which uses realistic images to create an optical illusion. The 6th Duke was apparently very wealthy and very vain. He installed gilded leather walls...yes gilded leather walls... and had his portrait carved into the wooden busts at the top of the walls all around the room. When talking with the docent in the room, he mentioned a story that the Duke purportedly wrote in his diary perhaps he had gone too far with that...you think?
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Gilded Leather Walls:
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The bed in State Bedchamber was originally made for Kensington Palace. George II supposedly died in the bed. The bed was given to the 4th Duke as a gift for serving as the Lord Chamberlain.
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State Closet:
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The Cabinet Room isn't an official room in the house. It was created in 2012 to display some of the many works of art and furniture in the house. The family was hit hard by the inheritance tax in the 1950s. In all, the family owned at least five homes and they all had to be sold off to pay the tax and all of the items in the houses were consolidated in Chatsworth. Many items go on loan to various places for exhibitions. For example, currently Sotheby's New York galleries has "Treasures from Chatsworth: The Exhibition" on view from from 28 June through 18 September 2019.
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Sotheby's link: https://www.sothebys.com/en/series/treasures-from-chatsworth-the-exhibition

Guest Bedrooms:
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Oak Stairs:
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The Library was my favorite room in the house.
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Ante Library:
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Great Dining Room:
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Vestibule:
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Sculpture Gallery:
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The House puts on different exhibitions every year (as well as spectacular Christmas display, I'm told) and this year's theme was The Dog. I really enjoyed how The Dog theme was worked into every room we went into and not just set off at the end with everything in the exhibition in one room. There were paintings, statues, modern works of art, etc. So, here is one of the pieces. Meet Bashaw, The Faithful Friend of Man...he was created by Matthew Cotes Wyatt, 1831-1834. Bashaw is made of marble and headstone. His eyes are topaz, sardonyx and black lava. The snake is made of bronze and has ruby eyes, the mount is made of gilt bronze. The piece was on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum.
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Capability Brown left his mark on the Gardens at Chatsworth:
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I enjoyed Chatsworth and I would absolutely return. The weather wasn't very cooperative and the house was crowded. There was also construction happening on the grounds and it appeared there was some sort of event being set up, so all of that kind of took away from the grandeur of the house in some regard. The land surrounding the house was all farm land with lots of grazing sheep all over the hills. I hope we do get back to the Peak District and to Chatsworth at some point. That concludes our trip to the Peak District!

On to the next adventure...

Posted by LCP 11:35 Archived in England Tagged dog the of queen house i mary elizabeth devonshire duke brown hangings chatsworth capability scots oxburgh bess hardwick Comments (1)

Belton House

National Trust Property in Lincolnshire

Greetings! This weekend's adventure took us to Belton House in Lincolnshire. Belton House was north of Burghley House and Grimsthorpe Castle, and also just off of the A1. It is situated in Belton near Grantham. The house sits on over 1300 acres of land and is often referred to as a traditional English country estate. The architecture of Belton is Carolean or Restoration style, which was popular in England following the restoration of the monarchy in the 1660 until the 1680s, after Charles II. Belton House is a National Trust property. The guides at the National Trust properties are FANTASTIC and so helpful.

Belton House: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/belton-house

Belton House has been in the Brownlow and Cust families for over three hundred years. The land for the house was purchased in the late sixteenth century by Richard Brownlow, who was appointed to the very important and very lucrative position of Chief Prothonotary of the Court of Common Pleas. I am not sure what all of that means, but one of the wonderful guides said in layman's terms, he was a tax collector for Queen Elizabeth I. Richard Brownlow was interested in investing in land and spent a lot of his income on land in Lincolnshire. This proved lucrative for future generations. Construction of the home did not actually begin until 1685 when the land belonged to Sir John Brownlow. The land and House passed through many Brownlow and Custs families, who did various things to the home. Belton House was given to the National Trust in 1984.

Ownership timeline
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Belton House
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The tour started on the side of the house. This is the courtyard entrance to the tour.
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The tour started in the Anteroom, which led into the Study.
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After the Study, we went into the Tapestry Room. Tapestries were a sign of wealth back in the day, so the more you had and displayed, the more wealthy you appeared. I noticed a lot of pictures of the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson in this room, so I asked the guide what connection the Duke had to Belton House. Apparently, Peregrine "Perry" Adelbert Cust, the 6th Baron of Brownlow, who inherited Belton in 1927, was a close friend of the Duke of Windsor, while he was king and was even appointed Lord in Waiting. He advised Edward VIII (his name as king), to move Wallis to France to prevent an abdication, since the government would not recognize the marriage of the King to Wallis. Perry even persuaded Wallis to give up the King and sign a statement to that effect on 7 December 1936. The King rejected this and ended up abdicating on 10 December. And naturally, Perry fell out of favor with the family. According to the guide, when the current Queen, Elizabeth II, was getting married in 1947, the invitation to her wedding was addressed to Lady Brownlow only.
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After the Tapestry room, it was into the Marble Hall.
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The Marble Hall led us to the Staircase Hall, which was rather impressive.
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Next was the Saloon.
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This was the view from the ceiling room. The gardens looked lovely, but we were dealing with some remnants of Storm Hannah, so we didn't get to go into the gardens...oh well that just means we have to go back!
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Tyrconnel Room
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Coat of arms in the Tyrconnel Room
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Cabinet Room. This is where you will find the famous lapis lazuli cabinet.
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Blue Bedroom
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Yellow Bedroom
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Chinese Bedroom. This was the room the Duke of Windsor liked to stay in.
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Queen's Room. This room was named for Queen Adelaide, the widow of William IV.
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Ante Library
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I think my favorite room was the Library.
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Boudoir
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Windsor Bedroom and Windsor Bathroom. These were the most modern rooms at Belton. The Windsor Bedroom is the only room with an attached en suite. This room was used by Prince Charles when he was a cadet at the nearby RAF base.
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West Staircase. Not as bright as Staircase Hall.
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Breakfast Room
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The Breakfast Room led into the the Dining Room and the Red Drawing Room. The Dining Room was used for entertaining and in the evening the men would stay in the Dining Room while the ladies would retreat into the Red Drawing Room

Red Drawing Room. The guide mentioned the room was being prepared for a restoration project, so furniture had been moved around.
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Dining Room
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Gardens
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We also opted for the Basement Tour, but unfortunately, photography was not allowed. The tour was interesting because it covered life as a servant in the house and in the times of Belton and how the house changed to meet evolving needs. One interesting note was the importance of beer. As a servant, if you missed a meal you just had to go hungry; however, the beer served with the meal was saved for you.

We will definitely have to return to Belton House to visit the park and gardens. I also wouldn't mind another look at the House.

On to the next adventure!

Posted by LCP 09:12 Archived in England Tagged house national charles windsor prince duke trust wallis belton brownlow cust simpson Comments (2)

Burghley House and Gardens

Lincolnshire

Greetings! This weekend's adventure took us to Burghley (pronounced Bur-lee) House in Stamford. This magnificent house is also off of the A1. Burghley claims to be "England's Greatest Elizabethan House" and I certainly understand why. I am just amazed at how this is called a "house," in my non-expert opinion, this fits the "castle" bill.

A little history on Burghley House. The house dates back to the 16th century and was built for Sir William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, who was the Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I. Burghley House has been in the Cecil family for over 16 generations. Michael Exeter is the current Cecil family member associated with the property. He is also known as the 8th Marquess of Exeter, 17th Earl of Exeter and 18th Baron Burghley. Fun fact, Michael was born in Canada and educated in England. During his schooling in England, he lived at Burghley with his grandparents (the Fifth Marquess and Marchioness). He now lives in Oregon. His cousin lives at Burghley and is the House Director for the Burghley House Preservation Trust, which oversees the house and gardens and overall estate. The main part of the house has 35 major rooms on the ground and first floors. There are more than 80 lesser rooms and numerous halls, corridors, bathrooms, and service areas throughout. We were able to go into 16 of the rooms. Much to my dismay yet again, Capability Brown left his mark on several parts of the property and not just the gardens.

Burghley House: https://www.burghley.co.uk

Entrance to Burghley House
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Our entrance to the tour
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Our tour started in the Old Kitchen. The kitchen was massive, which is of no surprise. I took a few pictures of different "appliances" in the kitchen.

Roaster
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Oven
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After the kitchen, the tour went to the Hog's Hall. Not quite sure why it is called that. There were several fire buckets here and a porter chair. I quite enjoyed the "bell system" which was the intercom system back in the day (this should look somewhat familiar to Downton Abbey fans!). Until 1950, the only telephone in the entire house was located in the Hog's Hall and Burghley was connected to mains electricity in 1956. I would call that an upgrade.
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From Hog's Hall we walked up the Roman Stairs which were beautiful and decorated with Tudor emblems.
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From the staircase, we reached the Ante Chapel and then the Chapel. The Chapel was beautiful.
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The guide in the room mentioned that this is the family bible dating back to the 16th century.
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From the chapel we walked through the Billard Room, where as one could imagine was a billiards table. The table was made of wood from the HMS Royal George which sank at Spithead in 1782. We then went into the Bow Room.

From the Bow Room
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After the Bow Room, it was into the Brown Drawing Room. The bed in the room was used by a young Queen Victoria.
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After the Brown Drawing Room, it was into the Black and Yellow Room. Apparently this room has had King George VI, HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and the Duke and Duchess of York stay here when they visited Burghley. The guide in the Black and Yellow Room mentioned that a sign of wealth was buying tapestries or having tapestries made. There were dozens of tapestries on the walls of the house, indicative of the wealth of the family.
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The Marquetry Room was immediately following the Black and Yellow Room. I really liked this room. I found it interesting with its large doorway and corner chimney. There was also a small Jewel Closet hidden away in the side of the room and a beautiful mural painted on the ceiling of the closet.
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Corner chimney
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Jewel Closet
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Mural on ceiling of Jewel Closet
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From the Marquetry Room, the tour led into Queen Elizabeth's Bedroom. Unfortunately, Queen Elizabeth was prevented from staying at Burghley when she visited in 1566 due to a contagious illness within the household, so she never actually stayed in this room, despite it bearing her name.
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We next went into the Pagoda Room, which reminded me of an office. This room also had two little closets on the sides; one had a tub and the other looked to be a dressing room.
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Next, was the Blue Silk Bedroom, followed by the ever creatively named, Blue Silk Dressing Room. I, again, really enjoyed the corner chimney in the room as well as the paintings.
Blue Silk Bedroom
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Blue Silk Dressing Room
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The tour continued through to the First, Second, Third, and Fourth George Rooms.
Fireplace in the First George Room
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This was the Second George Room. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert stayed in this room during their visit to Burghley in 1844. I enjoyed the little closet with the washroom in the corner. There were also a pair of gloves Queen Victoria had worn during her visit in a case in the room.
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Third George Room
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Queen Victoria used the Fourth George Room as her Withdrawing Room....because doesn't everyone need a room to withdraw into? I found the table really unique as well as a few pieces of furniture in the corners of the room.
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After the Fourth George Room, was probably the most spectacular room in the house, in my opinion. We came to the Heaven Room, aptly named for the murals painted on the walls and ceilings of the room. The murals, which were painted by Verrio, depict Vulcan discovering his wife Venus in a compromising position. Other gods and goddesses are summoned or presumed to be curious as to what is happening. Verrio had painted himself in the corner of the room as one of the onlookers. The room was used as one of the first rooms for guests as they entered the home because it would evoke conversation, according to a wonderful guide in the room. The view from this room was also spectacular.
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View from Heaven Room
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If there is a Heaven, there must also be a Hell, right? Indeed there was, but it was called Hell Staircase in Burghley and it did not disappoint. Verrio also painted this scene, depicting the mouth of Hell as the gaping mouth of an enormous....cat. A cat of all things.
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Cabinet in Hell Staircase
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Cat's mouth
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The final room in the house was the Great Hall, which was rather impressive. This was reportedly used as a large dining room.
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And last but not least, the gardens.
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In comparing Grimsthorpe Castle and Burghley House, I much preferred the gardens at Grimsthorpe and the wonderful parkland with trails. I enjoyed both the castle and the house as they were very different in appearance and decor.

On to the next adventure!

Posted by LCP 09:13 Archived in England Tagged gardens england park house hidden burghley Comments (1)

Wimpole Estate

A unique working estate in Royston, part of National Trust

Hello! Welcome back! Apologies for the lack of posts over the past few weeks - we finally came down with the "English cold" which as we were told, usually strikes around the six month mark following your arrival and lingers for several weeks. I would say that is an accurate timeline for sure.

So, in this week's post, I'm going to summarize our trip to Wimpole Estate in Royston. I have wanted to go to Wimpole for a while now. Wimpole, as well as many other sites here, are National Trust properties. National Trust was founded in 1895 as a charity to preserve and protect dozens of properties, and sites throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Trust also includes conservation. The National Trust oversees: "780 miles of coastline, over 248,000 hectares of land, over 500 historic houses, castles, ancient monuments gardens and parks and nature reserves, and finally, close to one million objects and works of art," according to its website. We signed up for a membership, which is pretty reasonably priced (you can usually recoup your membership costs after visiting three or so sites and you get free parking at most sites). There is another similar yearly membership, English Heritage. English Heritage overseas "over 400 historic monuments, buildings and places - from world-famous prehistoric sites to grand medieval castles, from Roman forts on the edges of an empire to a Cold War bunker," according to its website. We chose National Trust because most people here we have talked to have that one, while some have both. We do plan to get an English Heritage membership at some point, but we went with the National Trust because it has more parks and gardens, and more properties. I've included links below to both, if anyone has an interest in looking at what each has to offer as far as properties and sites.

National Trust: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk
English Heritage: https://www.english-heritage.org.uk

Wimpole Estate encompasses the property and the Hall, which we would call the house. Wimpole took ten years to build, begun in 1640 and completed in 1650. It is considered a "country house" located in Cambridgeshire (fun fact the "-shire" that the end of words here is pronounced "sheer" don't say "shire" as you will get some looks here...speaking from experience). Ownership has passed through many important hands over the years, including: Sirs, Earls, a Duke, a Baron, a Lord, and a Viscount. The final owners were Captain George Bambridge and his wife, Elsie Bambridge. Elsie Bambridge was the only surviving child of Rudyard Kipling, who was awarded The Nobel Prize in Literature in 1907. The Bambridges then bequeathed the estate to the National Trust in 1976. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited the Hall in 1843. There is a portrait of Queen Victoria above the fireplace in the Grand Dining Room, which she reportedly said was a " a perfect likeness" of herself.

We went on a self-guided tour of the Hall which consisted of two stories plus the basement area. We began in the Entrance Hall, followed by the Ante-Chapel, the Inner Hall, and the Saloon. The Saloon was a fantastic room with big bay windows to view the gardens and landscape behind the Hall. I could definitely see myself sitting in this room taking my coffee and reading a morning paper while staring out into the gardens. The Yellow Drawing Room was next and did not disappoint, probably one of my favorite rooms. It was built for entertaining and has a unique shape and decor to it, yellow fabric-lined walls. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert reportedly enjoyed this room during their visit and the Queen supposedly wore a yellow bird of paradise silk dress which would have matched the room's decor. We then went through the Red Drawing Room, the Book Room, Library, Long Gallery, South Drawing Room, Ante-Room and the Breakfast Room. Rounding out the first floor were the Grand Dining Room and Grand Staircase. Mrs. Bambridge had converted the Grand Dining Room into a kitchen which consisted of three rooms and a corridor. The National Trust converted this room back into a dining space in 1990 to reflect the room's original purpose. We reached the second floor via the Grand Staircase, and were led into the Lord Chancellor's Bedroom. There is a rather gaudy and ornate red and gold bed in this room, an eighteenth century state bed is what the placard said, which happens to be an elaborately decorated or carved bed...go figure. Next, we went into the Lord Chancellor's Dressing room, which had a smaller twin-sized bed in it. We then came to the Vestibule which led into Mrs. Bambridge's Study, a small little room where Mrs. Bambridge could view the front of the house. The Study led into Mrs. Bambridge's Bedroom, she definitely had a thing for pink and chintz. Right outside of her bedroom, was the Print Room which contained some of Captain Bambridge's collection of prints, but Mrs. Bambridge converted the Print Room into a bathroom suite in 1958 and installed a pink toilet, which is the first thing you see as you walk into the room. Next, it was downstairs to the basement. Here we saw the Bath House. This was interesting because it was designed in 1793 by John Soane and was reportedly used for health benefits, rather than cleanliness and could hold almost 3,000 gallons of water! Apparently group bathing was a thing, not sure I understand the health benefits of that. It kind of reminded me of a very large and deep hot tub in its own room. We then went into The Chapel which was used by both the families who owned the Hall and the servants. It was beautiful. The interior was painted in the 1720s by James Thornhill who used "trompe l'oeil" (trick of the eye), which is a painting technique that uses realistic imagery to create an optical illusion, making objects appear three dimensional. The paintings and the ceiling were beautiful and so interesting, I suspect the "trompe l'oeil" helped with that. We then walked the corridor to the Housekeeper's Room, Butler's Pantry and Steward's Room. The Housekeeper's room was quite large, we were quite surprised by the size of the room actually, compared to that of Mrs. Hughes, the housekeeper in Downton Abbey (a good comparison for all of the Downton Abbey fans). We exited the Hall and walked around the gardens. Much to my dismay, Capability Brown also left his mark on the gardens here (he left his mark at Kimbolton). The day we visited, the weather was rainy and windy, typical English weather, so we didn't get a lot of pictures.

Wimpole Hall
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View with your back to the Hall
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Church next to the Hall, I believe still in use
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Back of the Hall
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Gardens in the back of the Hall
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Ruins viewed from the back of the Hall
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Wimpole Hall was a lovely house. There is also a working farm on the property that we will have to visit next time.

Onto the next adventure...Poland and Slovakia!

Posted by LCP 23:52 Archived in England Tagged gardens england house national farm estate hall trust wimpole royston Comments (1)

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