The Heritage TravellerTravel, History, and exploring British Heritage
The perils of travel in Jane Austen's England were many, from bad roads to highwaymen, but perhaps the most peculiar peril of all occurred in October 1816 when a horse pulling the Exeter mail coach was attacked by an escaped lioness. The passengers travelling in the coach ran into a nearby inn while the coachman and guard tried to hold onto the horses and fight off the lioness. Thankfully the lioness's keeper appeared and recaptured the big cat before she could kill the horses.
That's just one of the wonderful historic vignettes in Sue Wilkes' beautifully written 'A Visitors Guide to Jane Austen's England'.
Read more: A Visitor's Guide to Jane Austen's England Review
William Shakespeare would be pilloried in the tabloid press today; he seems to have made a habit of avoiding paying his taxes, and in 1599 the authorities came after him.
Read more: A Visitors Guide to Shakespeare's London Review
Here at Britain Express we focus on heritage, history, and 'traditional' Britain. Can't you just hear 'Rule Britannia' starting to play in the background? But we also have a 13 year-old-daughter who is absolutely bonkers for Dr Who. So, on a recent trip to Glamorgan to explore historic castles, gardens, stately homes, and the like, we couldn't pass up the chance to visit the Dr Who Experience in Cardiff.
Read more: Dr Who Experience, Cardiff
We've just returned from a wonderful visit to the Isle of Wight, and I thought it might help other people plan their trips if we created a 'Britain Express Travel Awards' summary, sharing our top picks for exploring the island.
Read more: Isle of Wight - Best Attractions to Visit
Its getting closer to the time of year when the film industry stands handing out awards, so it seems like an appropriate time to highlight some of the National Trust properties that have appeared in recent major films and televsion series.
Read more: National Trust Film Locations
Here's a twist on our usual theme of historic houses. Online estate agents Rightmove.co.uk have compiled a list of historic, unusual, and just plain quirky properties that came on the market in 2013. Among them are authentic Scottish castles and a house said to be haunted by the ghost of Oliver Cromwell.
Read more: Quirky and Historic Houses for Sale in 2013
What inspired JRR Tolkien's classic fantasty novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings? Literary historians have always assumed it was simply Tolkien's exposure to ancient myths and legends that he encountered in his role as a professor of linguistics at Oxford University. But could he have been inspired by an actual ring?
Read more: Tolkien 'Curse' Ring at The Vyne
Here's an interesting new resource for exploring historic churches in the north east of England; there's a new full-colour printed guide called Spirit in Stone that covers over 120 churches in County Durham, Tyneside, Newcastle, and Northumberland. Printed copies are available for free at tourist information centres and in churches across the region.
Read more: Spirit in Stone - Historic Churches in Northeast England
The news of the recently announced Academy Award nominations got me thinking; what if there were a similar set of [fun] awards for British castles? This is obviously a gaping need that I decided to fill with immediate effect. So by the power invested in me by myself I have founded the Academy of Castle Enthusiasts (ACE), named myself President of the Academy for Life, and come up with a list of nominations for the first ACE Awards.
Read more: British Castle 'Academy Award' Nominations