National Trust homes; Polesden Lacey and Ham House

We are staying in Epsom and we are taking care of two sweet french bulldogs and a rabbit. lilly and mabel

Ronnie the lop eared rabbitWe have gone to two National Trust homes.  The first one was Polesden Lacey.  It was the weekend home of the popular and powerful socialite in the 1900s, Margaret Greville.   No expense was spared to impress the royalty and political men of the time who flocked to her accommodating home to spend the country weekends away from London .

She catered to each guest to make sure they had the best time at her home.   She made sure that the cigars that were preferred by each guest was in his room.  There was a large billiard and smoking room for the gentlemen to use.  Each guest room had the latest novels on the bed stand.  The food was fresh from her farm land and of the highest quality prepared by a famous chef.   Everyone who was anyone wanted to be her guest.polesden lacey house net

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The cafe at the Polesden Lacey house

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Home phone

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beautiful gardens

She died in 1948 and left her house to the National Trust.  This is a lovely home that is still impressive and now it is open for the public to enjoy.

The second house we visited was Ham House.  This was another stately home that was build in 1610.  It was the home of William Murray and his feisty daughter Elizabeth, the Duchess of Lauderdale.    She hosted  important government officials at her home and dining table during the English Civil War.  They did not know that she was  a spy for King Charles II while he was in exile in France.  She even wrote letters to the royalists in France in invisible ink.  She was a member of the secret organization known as the Sealed Knot.   In 1660, when Charles was restored to the British throne, he awarded a sizable reward and pension to Elizabeth for risking her life and fortune in support of him.  She died at Ham House in 1698 at the age of 72.  Her descendants lived in the house until 1948 when it was donated to the National Trust. ham house netHam house entrance net

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the staircase is carved in battle dress

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Wooden windows looking out to the garden

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The house was built a short walk from the River Thames.  No doubt many distinguished guests arrived by way of the river for house parties.Thames river netIt was an inspiring visit to the homes of two women who were powerful political agents in a time when women were considered powerless party ornaments.

Llandudno , Wales for David’s birthday

We took the ferry from Dublin to Holyhead, Wales on the weekend. We arrived in a lovely Victorian seaside resort town, Llandudno in Wales. This city has a lovely crescent shaped bay and is located in North Wales. llandudno bay 5x7 net There are a group of pastel colored guest homes that face the ocean.  We stayed in one of these  the Grafton bed and breakfast.  We had a lovely ocean front room; the one right above the door in this picture.  The hosts Laurie and Paul where exceptional in the gracious help.Grafton B&B Llandudno Wales 5x7 netWe would highly recommend their establishment if you are ever in Llandudno,Wales.

We rode the hop on bus to Conwy to see the famous Conwy Castle that was built in 4 years by King Edward I in 1283.  He was a ruthless king who wanted to keep down the Welsh people with castles like this one.   Wikipedia says, “It is considered that Conwy  is one of “the finest examples of late 13th century and early 14th century military architecture in Europe”, and it is classed as a World Hertiage Site.” There was a lot to explore in the castle ruins and the town itself. conwy castle wales 5x7 netconwy castle tower wales 5x7 net It was also David’s birthday so we had dinner at a lovely hotel facing the beach. David bday dinner 2017 netThe next morning it was good bye Wales.wales flag 5x7 netAnd four trains later; hello Stratford on Avon. british train 5x7 netAnd hello to sweet Enzo our new pet to take care of here in Stratford.  He is a sweet and loving boy who is a joy to walk and play with.  This will be a lovely sit as we are near the old town and lots of Shakespeare historical sites.david and enzo 5x7 net

Arlington Court & saving money by joining the National Trust

We decided to go to Arlington Court today. Arlington Court map small It is a home that was built around 1820 to be the family home of the Chichester Family, and is located on their large estate in Devon. Arlington House small The last owner, Rosalie Chichester, gave the house and grounds to the National Trust when she died in 1949. The National Trust is a organization that protects and conserves important historical places in Britain.

Travel advice:  When you join the National Trust (currently it costs £105 a year for a couple, but if you join in the US, through the Royal Oak Foundation, it is only $95), you get free admission to 300 historic buildings, castles and stately homes.  Plus free access to over 600,000 acres of historical lands, and some other benefits.  If you are staying in Britain for any length of time you will make back this amount in admission fees.  Elizabeth and Matt helped us join, they were very kind and helpful.National trust Matt Elizabeth small

The house is a grand building that shows how the upper class lived in the 1860s when great houses were the homes of the wealthy families.  Here is the grand staircase:arlington house staircase small  There are extensive gardens to admire; Arlington court gardens small There is a beautiful peacock that runs the garden.peacock small  And you can go out into the fields and see the sheep and the lambs.Arlington Court black white lamb small  We had an afternoon cream tea before we left, yum   cream tea small It was sunny and a lovely day in the country.