I love a castle.
I love the history, the sense of thousands of people who’ve walked the same corridors you’re now walking. I love exploring winding staircases and narrow battlements and cramped cellars. I’m less interested in learning the actual facts of what happened there, in what century, involving which people, and would rather just run around, pretending to be in Game of Thrones or a Philippa Gregory novel; treating the whole place like an acceptable grown-up version of a playground.
But it’s not just any castle that makes it to third on my list of all time favourite castles (yes I really have a list of all time favourite castles. I swear I’m perfectly normal). The Castel Sant’Angelo makes the cut because it is a sprawling maze of interconnected rooms and passageways and you never come out quite where you expect to – perfect for losing yourself from modern life for a day. It feels like nowhere is off limits, which is never usually the case. And there’s nothing that crushes my daydreams about being Cersei Lannister quicker than a cordoned off staircase marked ‘do not enter.’
It’s not on the typical tourist agenda for a trip to Rome because, I suppose, comparatively it’s not really that old. What’s a castle built in the 14th Century AD compared to a Colosseum built in the 1st Century AD? But it just had that bit of magic to it that won me over completely.
This started as a book blog, then I included baking, took a brief foray into fashion blogging so why not add travel? Now I just need make-up and I’ll have every angle covered. Apart from I still use the same make-up I did when I was 14 years old so I don’t think I’d be very good at that.
Back to travel. I recently spent four days in Kent and had a very nice time and took some (for me) very good photos so I thought I’d write up my adventures.
Picture a castle in your head. That’s what Bodiam Castle looks like. Turrets, battlements, arrow-slit windows and a moat. Just a stereotypical castle. There’s not a lot to actually see once you’re inside as it’s pretty rundown now but it was still a great day out. And the pub at the end of the road (conveniently called The Castle) does a really good Ploughman’s lunch.
THE WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER
This is not a place I recommend you go to in March. I know, I did it, I was FREEZING. And because it was an overcast, drizzly kind of day The White Cliffs of Dover were more The Miserable Grey Cliffs of Dover. Even a slice of cake in the coffee shop couldn’t save it.
This is about as picturesque an English village as you can get (if you ignore all the cars parked everywhere ruining my photos). There’s lots of little cottages, a church, a manor house (owned by a Ukip fundraiser so we won’t talk about that) and even a proper red post box. I’m not sure why I found that quite so entertaining – we have one at the end of our road – but I went all Japanese tourist while I was there, taking photos of every slightly interesting thing.
This house was owned by Winston Churchill and it became clear looking around it that he was not short of a bob (and, according to all the tour guides, rather grumpy). It was beautiful but massive. And there was a studio in the grounds which was as big as the house again. But another great day out – it did help that this was the only day the sun came out and I was briefly warm!