Titchfield Abbey, Hampshire

Frontage with towers
English Heritage
The ruins of a 13th century Premonstratensian abbey were converted into a Tudor mansion, known as Place House, with a grand turreted gatehouse constructed across the nave. The house was dismantled after 1781.
The remaining structure, with towers, is quite impressive and well worth a visit. Still in position are fragments of tiled floors.
A free downloadable audio tour is available from the EH website.

Directions: Sat-nav delivers you outside the property, but the entrance, opposite a pub and to the right of a garden centre, is quite difficult to spot. If you drive through the narrow gated entrance, you should be able to park onsite. Admission is free.

Floor tiles

Floor tiles

Posted in English Heritage, Ruin, South | Leave a comment

Southwick Priory, Hampshire

Stone wall
English heritage
This was once a famous priory and place of pilgrimage. Now only part of the refectory wall survives.
Casual visitors may feel that tracking down and viewing this ruin is more trouble than it was worth. Some carved features remain.

Directions: The postcode takes you to a layby on the main road, alongside a long wall. The entrance is from Southwick village (right at roundabout, following the long wall). Park in the village car park. The entrance to the ruin is an inconspicuous metal footpath gate directly opposite the car park entrance, to the left of the sawmill. The EH sign is a few feet inside the gate. Follow the path through the wood. When you emerge at the golf course, the ruin is to your right.

Posted in English Heritage, Ruin, South | Leave a comment

Explosion! The Museum of Naval Firepower

Entrance yard

Entrance yard


The Explosion! museum is situated in Gosport, Hampshire, in the 18th century buildings of the Royal Navy’s former armaments depot. The Museum is one if the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard group of attractions.
The displays include historic uses of the site, plus naval weapons of all sizes. The largest complete gun assemblies with mountings are around 4 and a half inch, larger guns being represented by 6″ barrels and a 15″ breech. Some gun mountings can be seen in the photo above. There are also missiles, mines and torpedoes of various ages, including a nuclear bomb. If you like weaponry, this is for you. There are over a dozen display halls.
The Museum has a large number of modern audio-visual displays for interpretation and further information, but I found several that were not working properly.
My tour took around 3 hours, and I could have spent longer.

Access: The site can be reached by water-bus from the Historic Dockyard at Portsmouth, or by road from Gosport. The water-bus is infrequent; however the alternative access by road passes through a long built-up area and is liable to be very slow on a weekday.

Posted in Museum, South | Leave a comment

Imperial War Museum, London

Museum front with guns
The Imperial War Museum was founded to commemorate the First World War. By 1936 it was housed in the former central building of the Bethlem Hospital.
After WWII the museum’s scope was enlarged to commemorate WWII and Commonwealth conflicts. There have been several phases of redevelopment of the Southwark building, the latest being completed in mid-2014 and incorporating a new WWI gallery for the centenary.
There are now several outposts of the IWM in various parts of the country.
Today the main features of IWM London are the WWI galleries, the central display of large exhibits, the Holocaust exhibition, medal collection, and a series of conflict galleries representing the WWII desert campaigns, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, etc.

IWM London is best reached by public transport. There are two Underground stations within walking distance.

Visit date 9 Aug 2014.

Posted in London, Museum | Leave a comment

Duff House

Duff House, front
National Galleries of Scotland
Visited Duff House at Banff. The Georgian house is impressive and was designed by William Adam. It contains some interesting art from the National Galleries of Scotland, and other contents from Dunimarle.
The house formerly contained the art collection of one of its owners. Later it suffered use as a hotel, a nursing home, and a prisoner of war camp.
Visit date: May 2014

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Drum Castle and Garden

Drum Castle
National Trust for Scotland
Drum Castle has a 13th century tower, almost windowless, with rounded corners, and attached to it is a Jacobean mansion. The tower was closed for repairs, but we looked around the mansion which has interesting paintings and furniture. We also visited the walled gardens, which feature roses, and had a walk in one of the woods.

Visit date: May 2014

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Crathes Castle and Garden

Crathes Castle
National Trust for Scotland
Visited Crathes Castle, a tower-like castle. From the upper floor one can get a fine view of the extensive walled gardens. The castle has an attached wing in a Victorian style. This wing was formerly bigger, but was burnt out in the 1960′s and was rebuilt to a lesser height and ground plan. We walked around the walled gardens which are arranged in multiple sections and are very fine.
Visit date: May 2014

Crathes garden view

Crathes Garden

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Castle Fraser

Castle Fraser approach
National Trust for Scotland
Castle Fraser is a substantial tall castle built with three wings, and a long courtyard enclosed by a pair of service wings. We were able to visit the entire interior on a self-guided tour, and were able to get onto the roof of one of the wings, which gave a great view of the grounds. We visited a walled garden.

Visit date: May 2014

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pitmedden Garden

Part of Pitmedden garden
National Trust for Scotland
Pitmedden Garden is a fine walled garden, originally created in the 17th century. When visited there were a few modern sculptures in the grounds, and displays of farm life in outbuildings. The attached house is not open to the public and of no particular interest.

The gardens are well worth a visit.

Visit date: May 2014

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tolquhon Castle

Tolquhon castle front
Historic Scotland
A ruin with interesting carvings on the gatehouse.
We also visited Tarves Churchyard, where there is a tomb for William Forbes, featuring an arch with carvings.
Visited May 2014

Forbes tomb at Tarves

Forbes tomb

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment