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Category: Places

Linlithgow Palace

Birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots, Linlithgow Palace and”once a majestic royal residence of the Stewarts, Linlithgow Palace today lies roofless and ruined. Yet entering the palace gates still inspires awe in visitors.

James I ordered work on a palace to begin in 1424, following a fire that severely damaged the earlier residence. The elegant, new ‘pleasure palace’ became a welcome rest stop for royals on the busy road between Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle.

The Stewart queens especially liked the peace and fresh air, and Linlithgow Palace served as the royal nursery for:

  • James V – born 1512
  • Mary Queen of Scots – born 1542
  • Princess Elizabeth – born 1596

But the palace fell quickly into decline when James VI moved the royal court to London in 1603, following his coronation as James I of England.” [Historic Scotland]

…and my camera decided to have a life of its own but thought I would include the photos so you can see what a glorious day it was and such a lovely view from the vehicle…


…back past the Kelpies…

…and home for a dip in the spa…  Not a bad day, all in all…  🙂

~ Bella


Blackness Castle – another Outlander filming location

I have been to several film locations for the ‘Outlander’ production, and Blackness Castle is yet another.

…but first past the enormous horse head sculpture know as the Kelpies…

This 15th century fortress provided the setting in ‘Outlander’ for the Fort William headquarters of Black Jack Randall, as well as featuring in the heart-wrenching scene of Jamie’s incarceration.

In Mary Queen of Scots (2018), starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, Blackness Castle featured as the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the place where she married Lord Darnley and where her secretary and good friend David Rizzio was murdered.

~ Bella

Lady Penelope’s Doctor

Lady Penelope, my beloved Baby Jaguar, is going in for some TLC while I am in Europe – and when I went to visit her ‘doctor’, this is what greeted me!

…and then I spied a 1949 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith – and not just any old Rolls Royce – this one was previously owned by Grace Kelly!

Fancy an VW Beetle limousine, anyone?

~ Bella

Bignor Roman Villa built between 190 A.D. and 290 A.D.

I went out exploring this morning in search of the Bignor Roman Villa that was built only two hundred years after Christ, and was discovered in 1811 when farmer, George Tupper hit part of the stonework with his plough.


By 1815 the remains of an impressive Roman villa had been uncovered, complete with some of the most complete and intricate mosaics in the entire country.

I found it extraordinary to think this window glass came from so long ago…

…and back to the Crown Inn for lunch before getting back to work…

~ Bella

Staying in a glorious thirteenth-century inn

Leaving dear old London town, I ventured a little south for my next stop – an inn originally built in 1285…

Welcome to the Crown Inn that was not only build over 800 years ago, but in 1552 King Edward VI visited, and so too did his elder sister, Queen Elizabeth I in 1591.


It was apparently originally built as a Rest House for monks on the pilgrimage from Winchester to Canterbury.

The dog on the left only has three legs; the dog on the right is blind and deaf.


…then climbing this staircase, I head up to my room…


~ Bella

Buckingham Palace Royal Mews

The current Royal Mews was built in the gardens of Buckingham Palace in 1825.

The name ‘Mews’ comes from the royal hawks that were originally kept at the King’s Mews. The word ‘mew’ means moulting, and the birds were kept in a ‘mews’ as they weren’t used for hunting whilst their feathers moulted.

The Royal Riding School, where all of Queen Victoria’s children learned to ride…

…and the next morning was delighted to see they have finished doing repairs to the clock tower…

~ Bella

Hampton Court Palace, home of King Henry VIII

After a glorious day at the Concours of Elegance, we again ventured through the magnificent gates to go and explore some of Hampton Court Palace itself…


Every house should have a chocolate room AND a chocolate kitchen…

At over 3m in diameter, the astronomical clock overlooks the inner courtyard.

It was installed in 1540 and is not simply a clock as one might think.  It shows:

  • the hour,
  • the day
  • and the month,
  • it shows the phases of the moon
  • and its age in the month,
  • the signs of the zodiac,
  • the movement of the sun (according to pre-Copernican theory),
  • and, most usefully for the members of the court, who usually travelled by barge, the time of high tide at London Bridge.

This tidal information was necessary as the unembanked Thames at the time had strong currents that created rapids at low tide around the bridge.

I was explaining to Sharon that King Henry VIII is actually one of my favourite kings and I feel much understood, so was delighted when we came across this exhibition that explored the king’s early life and in particular his very loving marriage to his first wife…

Time to head home after a day full of truly beautiful vehicles, in a magnificent setting, with a lovely friend.  Perfect!

…and I enter my lovely room, only to find a huge bunch of flowers waiting for me as an early happy birthday…

I feel very blessed.

~ Bella

Rutland Reservoir

Originally called Empingham Reservoir, the lake came into being since the late nineteenth century to provide water for an ever-increasing population. Lying near Oakham in the county of Rutland, the reservoir was completed in 1977 and is one of the largest artificial lakes in Europe.

…local home-grown, home-made produce…

…and what better way to see the lake than to take a cruise on the Rutland Belle…

I was also delighted to learn that there are several wildlife trusts set up in the park, including one to support the endangered osprey population.

~ Bella

Oakham Castle and its 500-year collection of horseshoes

Another of the places I have wanted to see for such a long time – the room full of horseshoes at Oakham Castle, collected over 500 years.

According to custom, whenever a peer of the realm visits Oakham for the first time, they must present a horseshoe to the lord of the manor of Oakham. The oldest surviving horseshoe was given to the Castle by Edward IV in 1470 – and although mostly from England, I did find a couple of Scottish horseshoes.

I also particularly liked the 12th century carved musicians at the tops of the columns – even though they have lost their heads…  oh dear…  🙂

…and while it might not look like it, this is Oakham Castle!

…and such a pretty little village…

~ Bella