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Cotswolds: Delicious food at the Upton Smokery

Tweet  One of the delights of the English countryside is farm shops. Countless times we’ve followed modest signs pointing to discover gustatorial Aladdin’s caves, full of luscious cheeses, tempting meats, fruits so beguiling they’re a little bit obscene. Often I’ll also pick up some bowls or interesting kitchen knickknack as a gift. When we visited the Uptom Smokery (@Uptonsmokery), I...

Wales: Visiting the South Wales Miners’ Museum

TweetImagine the time period: It was the ’80s. We were collectively experiencing Purple Rain, we were wearing neon off-the-shoulder sweatshirts thanks to Wham!, and the miners’ strike was changing the face of that industry across England and Wales. Visit Wales sent Jenography and family to Wales to see what we could do and learn. We went to the Afan Valley, which is a beautiful area that’s a very...

Hampshire: Exploring Hillier Gardens with kids

Tweet   There are few things more glorious than an English garden in fine weather. Before I moved to the UK I had no real understanding of how passionate the English are about gardening. They feel about gardening the way so many other people feel about food or sex or myriad other things-not-gardening. I would recommend any visitor to England makes an effort to visit one of the fabulous gardens, and now on my¬†...

Wales: Mountain biking in Afan Valley

Tweet The first inkling I had that mountain biking was unlike toodling around Battersea Park on my Pashley was from the lovely Louise, owner of the Afan Lodge mountaining biking base and organiser of our bicycles. In a call before our visit, she initially had mused that perhaps our mountain biking coach could take us to the top of the mountain so we could have a nice ride down. In our second call, she had...

Milestone Hotel: Family luxury in Kensington

TweetI’ve added a giveaway of some of The Milestone Hotel’s luxurious Penhaligon’s Blenheim Bouquet travel toiletries (bath essence, body lotion, soap, shower gel, shampoo) and Fine Milk Chocolate. Read the post and leave a comment. It’s soooo easy. Go on, then. a Rafflecopter giveaway I’ve heard of dream hotels, but this is ridiculous. After visiting the sumptuous Milestone Hotel in...

11 British gifts to give Americans

TweetA couple of years ago I wrote a post about the 8 British gifts to get Americans (that I would never give to a Brit). Whoa! People went crazy for this post. It was the Strictly Come Dancing, the hit record of posts. Styles and tastes move on, so this year I’ve updated my (modestly) blockbuster post. These days so many gifts are the same no matter where you are. Living in London, that means I’m...

Review: Self-catering in New Forest, Hampshire

TweetIf like me you’ve never been to the New Forest, I recommend cycling 6 miles across the middle of it, in glorious English summer. You pass low scrubby land, dark dappled forest cover, spindly bare trees with dark arms upstretched. On our cycle ride from Burley to Brockenhurst, we passed all these, as well as a fete featuring a fire engine, honeybee stall and women making raffia-and-flower coronets. And of...

Finding music on the Tube

TweetThis evening, in a foul mood, having just stepped out of a shivery drizzle and into the Tube, I heard something of a rarity: live violin music. I love the musicians who perform in the official spaces in the official busking spaces of Underground stations. But here was a man on a train, travelling along the line, making beautiful music as we journeyed home. He was obviously homeless or at least had fallen on...

The best holiday ice skating in London

TweetOver the past several years my family and I have criss-crossed the city trying out different ice skating rinks. I’ve loved it since childhood, when I would force my mother to drive from 2 1/2 hours to the nearest ice rink so I could pretend I was an ice princess. (I have a great picture of me trying to do an arabesque on ice — the minute my mother hit the shutter, I hit a chink in the ice and she...

Jumping on the giant inflatable Stonehenge

TweetI thought the coolest thing that Jeremy Deller has done was his documentary about Depeche Mode fanatics, “Our Hobby Is Depeche Mode“. That was until we visited Sacrilege, his inflatable Stonehenge. This is surely the only giant bouncy prehistoric World Heritage site in the world. It’s travelling around England and, looking for something more inspiring than another day at the local park, I...

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