At the northern end of the hills sits pristine Chipping Campden, with its showpiece main street and famous acre Hidcote Gardens. Nearby is the deservedly popular village of Broadway, its architecturally striking High Street lined with antiques stores. The Cotswolds is a prime area for walkers, whether they seek gentle riverside strolls or more serious hikes.
One of the most popular long-distance trails is the Cotswold Way, a clearly marked path along the crest of the Cotswold Edge from Bath to Chipping Campden. A more relaxing tour lets you saunter along the tranquil valleys of the rivers Colne or Windrush. On the banks of the latter, the old market town of Burford offers another enticing place to stay: the 15th-century inn The Lamb, with traditionally decorated rooms and a great restaurant.
Top off your tour of this region with a stay in the spa town of Cheltenham just to the west of the Cotswolds , with its beautiful Regency-era Promenade, gardens, and famous horse-racing festival. In , Samuel Cunard secured the first contract to carry mail by steamship between Britain and America, and to this day the cruise line that bears his name remains the most recognized in the world.
The first ships were paddle steamers, the fastest vessels of their time, serving the route from Liverpool in England to Halifax and Boston in North America. For more than 30 years the QE2 was the only ship sailing that route on a regular schedule. Carrying about 1, passengers, she was the epitome of luxury, strength, and speed in an age of jetliners and more prosaic cruise ships, delivering an old-fashioned Atlantic crossing filled with white-glove service, informal lectures, a preponderance of eating options, idle hours in the top-drawer spa or library, and much gazing out over the rail at the high seas.
In , QE2 sailed her last transatlantic voyage, replaced by her younger—but much larger and more luxurious—sibling Queen Mary 2. The Queen Victoria joined the fleet in , and a brand-new Queen Elizabeth followed in The three Cunard Queens cruise the world from the Caribbean to the Baltic, while the Queen Mary 2 continues the original Cunard legacy as the only ship to consistently ply the historic transatlantic route between Southampton and New York on a regular schedule.
Eastbound departures from Brooklyn, NY. In England, tel ; www. Work first began on Winchester Cathedral in , on the site of an even older Saxon church, to create what would be the longest cathedral in existence feet , famous as well for its soaring bay nave.
The surrounding city of Winchester, which still feels like a market town, is even older than the cathedral. As capital of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex and the seat of legendary King Alfred the Great, Winchester was a major religious, political, and commercial center in the 9th century.
While slightly austere on the outside, the cathedral has a grand and awe-inspiring interior. Lovers of classic English literature can pay a visit to the tomb of novelist Jane Austen — in a quiet corner of the church.
They may combine a Winchester excursion with a visit to Chawton Cottage, her pleasant country home 15 miles west of town. Victorian author Thomas Hardy — hailed from the neighboring county of Dorset and also mined this bucolic area for literary inspiration. Walkers can get a taste of the landscape by following the South Downs Way from Winchester eastward toward Beacon Hill or the village of Exton.
For more of a challenge, follow this national trail miles, all the way to Eastbourne in Sussex and the famous white cliffs of the Seven Sisters. The food and service are the principal draws, while the atmosphere is relaxed and inspiring, with log fires in winter and croquet on the lawn in summer. Best times: 2nd and last Sun of every month for market. The Isle of Wight lies off the southern coast of England, a short ferry ride from the major ports of Southampton and Portsmouth, or, more scenically, from the little harbor town of Lymington.
In the 19th century, Charles Dickens was drawn to its sandy beaches and dramatic cliffs, while another man of letters, poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, spent time strolling the hills overlooking the sea. A compact 23 by 13 miles, it is a favorite summer destination of the British.
It was here that they managed to leave royal responsibilities behind, enjoying long walks and informal family dinners with their nine children.
Family mementos fill the bedroom where the queen died in The best-preserved Norman castle in the country, it provides spectacular views for those who climb to the top of the keep. A less enthusiastic visitor, Charles I, was held hostage here by Oliver Cromwell in pending execution: His attempt to escape was foiled when he got stuck between the iron window bars.
The island is crisscrossed with hiking trails, including the mile Coastal Path, which encircles the island. A favorite section crosses Tennyson Down, past a monument celebrating the poet, then continues to the western tip of the island for outstanding views of the Needles, three offshore rock pinnacles battered by the waves of the English Channel.
If you cross to the island from the New Forest see here via the Lymington ferry, stop at the George Hotel in the historic town of Yarmouth. Dating from , it is known for its traditional ambience, waterfront location, and the fine Brasserie restaurant, making this old inn a popular choice.
Best time: early Aug for the yachting festival Cowes Week. Becket was canonized 3 years later, while a repentant Henry established the cathedral as the center of English Christianity. The surrounding city of Canterbury, located on the main route from London to the English Channel port of Dover, was already an important town in ancient Roman times.
It gained further favor when, in A. Augustine established Canterbury as his base, and became first Archbishop of Canterbury. Much of Canterbury was destroyed during a World War II air raid, but the cathedral remained largely unscathed, including its outstanding 12th- and 13th-century stained-glass windows, which locals temporarily removed for safekeeping. The most important are considered to be the Great West Window, the Bible Windows, and the suitably named Miracle Windows, while the spot where Becket died is now marked by a solitary candle.
Many modern-day pilgrims come to Canterbury by train as a day trip from London. Others spend the night at the Abode Canterbury, a boutique hotel very near the cathedral, offering contemporary luxury in a building that dates back to the 16th century.
Day-trippers should at least linger for a meal at the excellent hotel restaurant under the supervision of the acclaimed chef Michael Caines before catching the last train back to London. Best times: Sat—Sun, P. Like a lady of the lake, Leeds Castle appears as if a mirage, its buff-colored stone and crenellated towers reflected in the distinctive waters of the ornamental pond and moat.
Described by historian Lord Conway as the loveliest castle in the world, it is historically noteworthy as well as visually striking. Construction began in the 12th century replacing a wooden structure built in the 9th century , when the site was known as Esledes.
It was much loved as a royal residence, not unlike Balmoral today see here , from , when it was given to Edward I by a wealthy courtier seeking favor.
Henry VIII enjoyed spending time here, and he invested much effort and money in expanding and redecorating it to look more like a royal palace and less like a military fortress. For many years it was a dower castle: six queens called it their favorite residence. Its lake-like moat is unlike any other castle setting in England. The castle stands at the heart of acres of gardens and parkland that are perfect for country walks; it includes an aviary opened in that is considered one of the best in the country.
Then there is the unlikely Dog Collar Museum dogs once played an important role in guarding the grounds : It sounds like an oddity but winds up being a highlight for many visitors. The collection spans a period of years, and some of the collars are veritable works of art. Best time: Apr—Jun for the gardens. Situated southeast of London, the wealthy and fertile county of Kent lives up to its affectionate nickname of The Garden of England.
The most renowned gardens in this Garden —and some of the most beloved in a nation besotted with them—are found at Sissinghurst. Vita Sackville-West—Bloomsbury writer and famed eccentric—added inspired gardener to her list of talents in the s when she spectacularly transformed the grounds around the house where she lived with her diplomat husband Harold Nicolson with a series of gardens within gardens, each one based on a family of plants or a single color.
Most famous, and imitated around the globe to this day, is her White Garden, which reaches its zenith in June. Nearby, the Rose Garden, whose old Bourbon, centifolia, and moss varieties are world renowned, bursts forth in June and July, while the Cottage Garden, a riot of red, yellow, and orange flowers, is at its best in the fall.
Little remains of the original castle, in reality an Elizabethan manor house, but the standing ruins—including a gateway flanked by a pair of towers—add a touch of atmosphere, while the parkland surrounding the gardens is perfect for sylvan strolls. If time allows for a detour within Kent, head 10 miles south to Knole House, a castellated stately home dating from For much of the 18th and 19th century, a small part of the room house served as the residence of the Sackville family, and the remaining chambers—containing decorations, furniture, and works of art little changed over yearsaare the highlight of a visit today.
When: estate year-round; garden mid-Mar—Oct. We will continue to offer Borrow by Mail to all residents of Cumberland County.
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