Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Last Days in The Cotwalds

A fantastic last few days in the Cotswolds. Roman Villas and ancestral homes have occupied and thoroughly entertained us.

Chedworth Roman Villa

Chedworth Roman Villa

I would take a run down manor house run and guided by the owner trying to raise some $$$$ to keep the place going, than the commercial big homes guided by snooty old wannabes like you find at Blenheim Palace any day. 

Yesterday we visited Chavenage house which doubles as Trenwith in the Poldark series, which I love. The visit was a highlight of our time here.

 It is part Tudor, part Georgian, part Edwardian. Caroline the owner was charming, so relaxed and a brilliant and comedic story teller. She did not take herself at all seriously and was completely irreverent of the English class system, which made for a hilarious afternoon.

The Tudor Living Room at Chavenage

Chavenage doubling as Trenwith in the Poldark TV Series

An oft used landscape in the Poldark TV Series.  Elizabeth ponders it often.
Caroline is a neighbour to Prince Charles at Highgrove. She got a call from there one day asking if she had anywhere to land a helicopter. She said 'please hold' and put the call through to herself. They asked her what was her landing fee. Something she had not thought about, but pulled a big figure out of the air, which was accepted without question. Turns out Charles was organising a party for Camilla in the early days and since 9/11 there has been a no fly zone over Highgrove, so their friends flying down from London needed somewhere to land.

 She took us around her house and garden for about 2.5 hours and it went so quickly.

Chedworth Roman Villa

Kids' education room at Chedworth Roman Villa
 All afternoon she regaled us with interesting stories and tid bits going back till 1055. The house and park have been at the heart of British history since at least then.  Even as a billot to WW1 Australian RAF pilots.

 Blenheim Palace birthplace of Winston Churchill and home of the Dukes of Malborough one of which was his grandfather.

Winston Churchill was born prematurely here after him mother went onto labour at a party at Blenheim
 Contrast that with Blenheim Palace, which although great to visit, was stiff, very commercial and a bit money grabbing. 

Learning the ropes of War, Churchill style

The guide made you feel very tiny when asking questions. One American on the tour siddled up to me and said about the guide at Blenheim. "She's got it in for you." The guide probably remembered telling me off in the court yard prior to entering the house for standing on the wrong gravel. Yes gravel. The stuff that was dumped in 1904 and badly signed. Like water off a ducks back to me, but she was a very miserable woman.

Blenheim Palace.Not sure if this the the 'right' gravel or the wrong. It's hard to tell.
Blenheim, although a stunning building and definitely worth a visit, it was not half as much fun as hanging out with Caroline and all her hilarity. Some people just have that knack of being completely charming.

The Chapel at Blenheim

The Backside at Blenheim Palace

Heading to Paris tomorrow. In the end I have loved driving around the beautiful English countryside, it is so pretty, but not looking forward to navigating my way into Bristol airport tomoz.

For more travel stories go here.


  1. Lovely post and so glad you enjoyed 'Trenwith'. Love the story about the helicopter landing fee! Safe travels.

  2. Long time since your last post Carolyn. I miss your Northern Beaches updates..

    1. Hi Nicky Thanks for that I didn't think anyone noticed. I shall publish directly. All the best Carolyn


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