Hatfield House and the Old Palace

Hatfield House and the Old Palace

The history of Hatfield House starts in 1485, when the Bishop of Ely (Cambridgeshire) constructed Hatfield Palace, today called the Old Palace. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries (1536-41), Hatfield Palace was acquired by King Henry VIII, passed down in sequence to his children; Edward, Mary and Elisabeth and then inherited by King James I [...]

Lincoln’s Inn Fields – training ground for the English Civil War

Lincoln’s Inn Fields – training ground for the English Civil War

Lincoln’s Inn Fields is named after the former recreation ground for lawyers learning and practising their profession at the adjacent Lincoln’s Inn - one of London's four Inns of Court still operating today. Originally, two separate fields, it was home to public executions before becoming a training ground for parliamentarian troops during the English Civil [...]

Twilight on the Thames

Twilight on the Thames

Tower Bridge, the City of London and the Tower of London greet nightfall after twilight in early March. All awaiting a return to normality.

Nonsuch Park – site of the ‘unequalled’ palace

Nonsuch Park is named after the 'unequalled' palace built for King Henry VIII in 1538.  Nonsuch Palace was the first great Renaissance building in England taking nine years to build and costing £24,000, a phenominal sum at that time. The palace passed to King Edward VI and then Queen Mary I, who sold it to [...]

Hatfield House and the Old Palace

Hatfield House and the Old Palace

Hatfield House (around twenty miles north of London) is home to two fascinating buildings.  A Jacobean stately home built by Robert Cecil (minister to King James I) and the 'Old Palace' - a Tudor brick building built by Cardinal Morton in 1485, seized by King Henry VIII at the Dissolution in 1536 and later used [...]

London’s last great ducal residence

London’s last great ducal residence

Syon House, near Brentford, is home of the Percys, Dukes of Northumberland.   It sits in a 200 acre estate on the River Thames in Middlesex. The house we see today was built by Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset in 1547, refurbished and enhanced by the Scottish architect Robert Adam in the 1760's and refaced in [...]

The ghosts of Tower Hill

The ghosts of Tower Hill

Tower Hill is an open area of raised land just north of the Tower of London.   During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries it was the execution site for those incarcerated in the Tower in London.  It's believed around 125 people were executed, mostly by beheading.   At this time, only a few people (with Royal or [...]

Birthplace of the world’s most famous writer – Stratford-upon-Avon

Birthplace of the world’s most famous writer – Stratford-upon-Avon

The centre of Stratford-upon-Avon is packed with Elizabethan and Jacobean architecture and history that recall the life of the world's most famous writer, William Shakespeare.    This article shows you how to spend one day in Stratford-upon-Avon, exploring the town and its connections to the bard. We start the walk in Henley Street near the [...]

A short history of Shakespearean theatre in London

A short history of Shakespearean theatre in London

The chances are you’ll come across Shakespeare at least once during your visit to London.  You might even visit the Globe Theatre for a performance.  Here’s a primer on how Shakespearean theatre started in London. Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564 and spent the greatest part of his working life in London - living [...]

The Mary Rose – new museum reveals its magnificence

The Mary Rose – new museum reveals its magnificence

King Henry VIII’s warship, the Mary Rose, sank in the Solent on the south coast of England during an engagement with the French Fleet in July 1545.   The disaster was witnessed by many, including the King.   It was 450 years before she was seen again - after the world’s largest underwater archaeological excavation brought her [...]