Finally, at last, some hot and sunny weather for my last week in the UK. A drive to Nyman’s gardens near Copthorne a National Trust property, and a look around the amazing gardens. June is a perfect time to visit the UK, the weather is warmer (if you’re lucky) and the countryside, gardens and roses are at their peak. Leave it later in the summer, say August and the roses are past their best and the lush lawns and fields turn brown quickly.
Tuesday brought a visit to Arundel Castle, the ancestral home of the Duke of Norfolk. The Norfolk family have lived at the Castle since the Middle Ages. If you’ve watched the Tudors on (TV and Lightbox – NZ) you will recall how the Duke manipulated his niece Anne Boleyn into seducing and marrying Henry VIII. Another of his niece’s Katherine Howard, also married Henry, not surprisingly the 3rd Duke fell from grace and was hauled off to the Tower.
Surprisingly the Howard family managed to hold onto Arundel Castle but their estates were divided up. During Elizabeth’s I reign the 4th Duke was imprisoned because he schemed to marry Mary Queen of Scots. The tour of the interior of the Castle takes over an hour, and for an extra 2 pounds, you can see the bedrooms where visitors of the Howards stay. Piles of books are placed on the bedtables, and the bathrooms are not all en-suite. For those who watched Victoria on tv, the dining room (great hall) at Arundel was used in the production.
If you’re in Sussex and have a spare day, Arundel is a wonderful place to visit, and it oozes history.
The next day was my brother’s birthday and I’d booked tickets for “The Play That Goes Wrong” for the evening. So, we headed up to London by train on a sweltering day. Arriving at London Bridge we saw the floral tributes for the victims of the Borough Market attack and we walked through the market. This was the first day it had re-opened and it was packed. Good to see that people are carrying on with their lives and defying the terrorists.
We had booked to go up the Chard. This is London’s tallest tower block, and stands a whopping 309 metres tall, and consists of 95 floors. When you’re looking upwards at street level, it looks a hell of a lot bigger than in photos. Following a thorough security check, similar to airport ones, we were whisked up to the observation platform. Edging to the window I looked down, a fatal mistake!
Immediately I felt nauseous, and I swear I could feel the tower moving. I managed to negotiate my way around half of the deck taking two photos, before rushing to the lift. The lift attendant said.
“Have you been up to the top deck?”
“No, take me down now. Immediately.”
He didn’t need telling twice as I leapt into the lift. I breathed a sigh of relief as it descended. My family didn’t report any negative effects and managed to enjoy a glass of champagne while admiring the view.
I’d never walked over the Millennium bridge so we strolled across ending up at St Paul’s Cathedral, which I’d never seen so clean. Back to the West End on the tube, and to Jamie Oliver’s restaurant in Covent Garden. There’s a terrific choice of dishes, ranging from pasta to burgers and for London not hideously expensive. Onto the theatre, where the play is still playing to packed houses. It’s a skit on “The Mousetrap” and the audience laughed throughout the play. Recommended if you’re in London.
Back to Brighton after an action packed day, for me a day off before my trip to Berlin.
More at the weekend.