Amberley Castle, the best afternoon tea in Sussex

Walking down a country lane, I turn a corner and catch my first sight of the 12th century, Amberley Castle, in the South Downs National Park in the south of England. I have lived all my life just 15 miles away yet had never visited before. When my mother asked me what I would like for my 50th birthday I knew straight away – afternoon tea at Amberley Castle, now an elegant hotel and restaurant.

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The Cotswolds in Black and White

When I recently visited the Cotswolds, a particularly lovely region of England famous for its honey-hued limestone cottages and the most charming of villages, I was very disappointed that the weather forecast predicted rain. A clear blue sky and sunlight really brings...

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The Secret Cottage Tour of the Cotswolds

Peeping through the windows of this pretty chocolate-box, thatched cottage, I see a welcoming sight. A large refectory table is laid with blue and white crockery and fancy pastries abound. As I step inside the heat from the cooking range adds to the warm and inviting...

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Beheadings, ravens and whopping great diamonds!

As I walk through the one foot deep, steel doors, that would have looked more at home protecting a high-tech bank vault in the latest blockbuster, I catch my breath and gaze at the bejewelled sword and scabbard suspended in the air before...

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Hoovering Hogwarts (The Making of Harry Potter)

I was surprisingly, unsurprised when I received a text one afternoon simply saying "I'm hoovering Hogwarts". The sender of the text was indeed referring to the school of witchcraft and wizardry from the magical world of Harry Potter, brought to life by the pen of J K...

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Fortnum and Mason at Christmas

Having recently visited the world-renowned department store, Fortnum and Mason, in London's Piccadilly, let me take you back in time... The shop's story began way back in 1705, when royal footman, William Fortnum, opened a shop in St James Market with his landlord,...

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London Days Out: Christmas shopping in Covent Garden

I love Covent Garden at Christmas. There's always a lively atmosphere, the buildings are decorated with festive garlands and baubles, there's a huge Christmas tree and of course the usual excellent street entertainers; it's the perfect place to pick up some unusual...

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London Days Out: A luxury shopping spree in Harrods

Just say the word 'Harrods' and images of stylish luxury fill my mind from Yves Saint Laurent couture to Steiff teddy bears, not forgetting, the famous food halls of this, the largest department store in Europe. Covering over 4.5 acres, spread across 5 floors and with...

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London Days Out: The Natural History Museum

I'd heard good things about the Natural History Museum in South Kensington in London, so when we arrived to find a long queue I wasn't too worried, thinking it would be worth the wait. And boy, was it worth it. Even without a single exhibit inside this is a must see...

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Memories of the golden age of travel

When my grandmother set forth in the 1920s on a journey that would take her quite literally around the world it is amazing to think that P&O Ferries were already 90 years old. To this day there is still something romantic about travelling by ship. While for my...

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The oriental splendour of the Royal Pavilion, Brighton

At the end of the 18th century Brighton, in East Sussex on the south coast of England, was just a small fishing town. Under the patronage of the Prince Regent, later George IV, it started to flourish as a pleasure resort and soon became fashionable with royalty, the...

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Winchester Cathedral, one of the loveliest in England

Last year when I visited The Christmas market at Winchester, I took the opportunity to look inside the cathedral and I am so glad I did. Never before have I walked into a building and literally gasped out loud! In the heart of the historic city of Winchester, the...

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Zest for Taste! A fantastic foodie find in Chichester

Zest for Taste is a wonderful shop, I stumbled upon quite by chance, in the lovely cathedral town of Chichester. When I noticed the large amphores full of oils and vinegars through the shop window catching the sunlight, I couldn't resist a peek inside.    As...

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Cultural cock-ups and blogger blunders!

No matter how well-travelled you are it is still possible to make mistakes when you are in a new culture or even one you are fairly familiar with. What to you may seem a perfectly innocent remark or action can cause offense or even outrage! Here are four tales from...

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South England, from Brokenhurst to Brighton

For many years now I have dreamt of buying a restored VW camper van and touring England. Over the years I've been so busy visiting other countries that I have not made enough effort to get to know my own. One region that I do know fairly well though, is the area...

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London Days Out: Brick Lane

Brick Lane, in a part of East London once known for its slums and Jack the Ripper, has long since been famous for its Indian restaurants, markets and the biggest Bangladeshi community in London.   Brick Lane Market The best time to visit Brick Lane is without...

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London Days Out: Camden’s Markets

Camden is one of my favourite parts of London. Full of life throughout the day and late into the night there's plenty to see and do there whether you're looking for interesting shops, great inexpensive restaurants, lively pubs, superb live music or simply fancy a spot...

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London at Christmas

London at Christmas really is a wonderful place to be. The Christmas lights in town look stunning and shops such as Harrods and Selfridges are famous for their seasonal window displays. Everywhere is hectic but there's a feeling of celebration...

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Mela, one of the best Indian Restaurants in London

When the Mela restaurant invited me to dine at their restaurant on Shaftesbury Avenue I was delighted. From the outside it certainly doesn't look anything special but having read about the awards they have received and the many excellent reviews, I knew we were in for...

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Winchester Christmas Market

Winchester Christmas Market, which has been running since 2006, has established itself as one of the best in Europe. Inspired by traditional German markets, all the stalls are in delightful wooden chalets in the grounds of the city’s majestic Cathedral. If you...

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A Victorian Christmas Festival

For one weekend every year the historic docklands of Portsmouth are transformed into a scene straight out of a Dickensian novel! Singing street urchins, chimney sweeps and ladies of the night (hold on to your husbands girls) are among the many characters...

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England’s Historic City of Bath

As I was growing up my family's annual holiday was in Wiltshire in the south-west of England and each year we took the opportunity to visit the picturesque city of Bath in the neighbouring county of Somerset. I recently returned there and was delighted to find it just...

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Snowed in!

With Halloween and Bonfire Night having come and gone, autumn will soon be turning to winter. While I love the warm sunny weather of the summer there's nothing as invigorating as a walk in the autumn sunshine when the air is crisp and clear or a walk in the...

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The mystery of Stonehenge

I haven't seen Stonehenge, one of England's most famous and oldest landmarks, since I was a little girl. To be honest I really can't remember much about it, so I was very excited to be going again on Viator’s Independent Stonehenge and Bath Tour from London. Although...

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