Stourhead, Wiltshire

National Trust.
Noted for its world-famous 18th century landscape garden. There’s a lake, with temples, follies, exotic trees etc, set in a 2650 acre estate with downs, woods and farmland. The house has furniture and paintings. Around two miles away, Alfred’s Tower stands on part of the wider estate. Suggested as half-day to all-day destination.

Library windows
pietra dura Cabinet
Picture Gallery
Garden temple interior

Stowe Parish Church

Stowe Parish Church
The church is situated on the National Trust’s Stowe Park estate, and a few yards from the far end of the school building. This is a working parish church, not a museum, but anyone is welcome to visit. The church is screened by trees, so if you have no idea where it is, head towards Grenville’s Column and watch out for signs. The church dates from the 13th century.

Sulgrave Manor, Oxfordshire.

Private (HHA)
Mainly notable as the ancestral home of the Washingtons (=American president) in Britain, the manor was restored in the 1920’s as a symbol of British-American friendship. The original house was built by one Lawrence Washington in the 16th century. John Washington, Lawrence’s great-grandson, emigrated to the United States. By this time the manor had already passed into other hands. A descendant of John Washington became the first President of the United States.
Subsequent owners added on or demolished various parts, with the great Hall and the chamber above it being the oldest surviving parts. The wing completing the symmetry of the frontage is a 1920’s addition built to house caretakers of the restored house and gardens.
The house contains representative old furniture and artefacts. The grounds were laid out in the 1920’s when the house was restored. There is also a collection of George Washington memorabilia.
When visiting, if you drive through the village, look for the Sulgrave Manor entrance on your right, at the end of the village. Do NOT turn left into Manor Lane, as your satnav may indicate.
All photos 2024

Bed with modern embroidery
Kitchen fireplace
Oak Parlour
From garden
Formal garden

View from courtyard

Tate St Ives

Sea View
View from Tate Gallery roof terrace
Tate Gallery at St Ives is almost too well known to require a special write-up. Inside, there is a warren of galleries on several floors and it can take some time to find your way around. There’s a lot to see. If you are planning a special trip, note that the gallery is in the old town, the streets are narrow and the town is popular and crowded in summer. If you arrive by car, you are advised to park in a car park above the town and walk or take a bus to the old town. There are fine views from the rooftop cafe terrace. Outside the gallery, there are other private galleries you could visit, plus the beach, etc.

RAF Hendon, London.

A former airfield, now one of the two sites of the RAF Museum. It’s near the railway, and many years ago when passing by, one could see some large parked aircraft from the train. Nowadays the collections are housed indoors, including some purpose-built buildings. Admission is free, though I recollect that they expect visitors to “check in”. It’s accessible by public transport. Access by car is easy, but note that there is now a charge for car parking. This is a large and diverse museum – they say it is impossible to see everything in one day. For more information check the museum’s website. An essential visit for those interested in military aviation.

Telegraph Museum, Porthcurno, Cornwall.

The Museum is housed in a large white building, and associated tunnels, which formerly housed the shore terminal for Britain’s trans-ocean telegraph cables. It now contains exhibits about marine cables, telegraph equipment, etc. If you are interested in electronics or the history of technology, you should find this a rewarding visit. Don’t underestimate the time required to look at everything inside – I allowed two hours and found that this wasn’t long enough. If you are parking in the car-park between the Museum and the beach, I recommend that you pay for 3 hours’ parking. Note that should you need to lose the rest of the family for two or three hours, a beach and coastal walks are nearby.

Twinwood Airfield and Museum, Beds.

This is the airfield from which Glenn Miller departed before his disappearance. Wartime buldings remain on the site, and house the Glenn Miller Museum and other small museums devoted to aviation, militaria, old vehicles and the Fire service. The wartime runways have reverted to agriculture. Enough to keep airplane and history buffs amused for half a day.