Saturday, 14 May 2011

The ABC Tour Continues (Cliffs, Castle, Countryside)

We haven’t travelled very far as yet, but we have seen lots.

After Canterbury, we headed south to Dover, to see the White Cliffs.  We found them easily, but initially thought we would be seeing the white fog of Dover.  Fortunately, the fog cleared quickly.

 JH Canterbury to Royal Tunbridge Wells 031

From our vantage point we had a great view of the docks and the ferries coming and going to Calais.  What a well oiled machine.  In the short time we were there we saw two go out and two come in.

JH Canterbury to Royal Tunbridge Wells 013

While we were at the White Cliffs we joined the National Trust as we felt it would be well worth it.

After Dover we started to head west.  We travelled beside a big earthen wall for quite a while so thought we’d better see what was on the other side.  Wow!  They actually have sandy beaches.  The wall appears to be a sea wall.

JH Canterbury to Royal Tunbridge Wells 040

Our plan was to visit Sissinghurst Garden, but when we got there it was closed. You know what they say about best laid plans of mice and men….

So, we got out the National Trust booklet and decided to visit Scotney Castle, which was nearby….and open.  This property was bequeathed to the Trust about 40 years ago, but they have only had the use of the grounds until 2006, as there was a life estate for the wife of the owner.  She lived to be 99 and for 36 years beyond her husband.  Maggie Thatcher had a flat in the castle for many years.

 JH Canterbury to Royal Tunbridge Wells 073

I loved the interior, as it was full of books.  From the grand leather bound to Penguin paperbacks.  I could settle into this room quite nicely.

MH Canterbury to Royal Tundbridge Wells 017

One of the main attractions of this property is the garden folly, which are the ruins of the predecessor of the current castle.

JH Canterbury to Royal Tunbridge Wells 137

You can see the castle in the background.

MH Canterbury to Royal Tundbridge Wells 041

That was all on Wednesday.  It was great to get off the main roads and into more rural area.

On Thursday we decided to head towards Winchester and found another interesting place in the National Trust book to visit.  We travelled along many country lanes and didn’t get too lost.

JH Royal Tunbridge Wells to Winchester 023

Some roads are so narrow that it is quite interesting when you meet an oncoming vehicle.  Everyone is very patient and polite when passing.

JH Royal Tunbridge Wells to Winchester 027

As we travelled along we came to a village market and bought the makings of lunch and a lovely scarf for me.

JH Royal Tunbridge Wells to Winchester 010

We enjoyed our rustic picnic of olive bread, Broad Oak cheddar, farmhouse pork pate and scotched quails eggs in the grounds of “Uppark”.  We had a chuckle when four older people set up their picnic at the next table, complete with fine china, chilled wine in real wine glasses and food with all the trimmings.  I think we enjoyed ours served on paper bag just as much, if not more.

JH Royal Tunbridge Wells to Winchester 041

After lunch we looked through “Uppark”.  It is a lovely old house. It was built in the 1600s and was given to the National Trust in 1954.  Unfortunately, there was a fire in 1989 which destroyed the upper levels.  There was quite a debate at the time as to whether to rebuild or demolish the building.  Fortunately, it was decided to rebuild.  As the fire was in the upper levels, they were able to save most of the contents of the ground floor, which have now been returned to the house.

JH Royal Tunbridge Wells to Winchester 059

There is huge stable and dairy wing to one side of the house and I was particularly interested in the dairy, as in 1913 my Grandma and her sister attended a dairy school (now an agricultural college) in northern England. This is what she was trained for, although the family then immigrated to Australia, so she never used the skills anywhere like this.

JH Royal Tunbridge Wells to Winchester 050

This is the view from the front steps of the house.  Impressive, isn’t it.

JH Royal Tunbridge Wells to Winchester 061

After “Uppark” we made our way into Winchester for the night.  We dined at the “Royal Oak”, the oldest bar in England.

JH Winchester to Lyndhurst 073

I hope you don’t mind that I don’t reply to all your comments, but I’m trying to spend not too much time at the computer.


BubzRugz said...

I am so enjoying touring with you... some of these places I have been and it is fun... this will be such a great journal for your trip....

Kayly said...

I'm also enjoying this trip.I'm taking notes, as all being well we'll be going to England in September.Keep up the great commentary. Don't reply to any comments I make. Keep having fun.