Some of the many sights I’m hoping to visit, and post about, include these:
Paris – in all its springtime glory and cultural spectacle. Not just the usual sights; Louvre Musee, Eiffel Tower, Cathedral de Notre Dame etc, but also the streets, gardens we come across, and of course the Rive Seine.
Rouen – Resting place of William the Conqueror and home of some family stories of inspiration. This is a city that has haunted my family for decades and no one knows why, I’m hoping to find out.
Giverny – Monet’s garden at Vernon, the flowers and water lilies that inspired so many of the Impressionist painter, mid-spring should be a perfect time to visit.
Caen/Bayeux – only a brief passing through Caen before heading over to Bayeux and the famous Tapisserie. Hopefully I’ll be able to visit some Cidre and sample some Calvados too!
Mont-Saint-Michel – the famous island and it’s even more famous abbey.
The English Channel – funny to put that on the list of sights I’m looking forward to, but I am. Four years ago I had the pleasure of crossing from Calais to Dover – taking in those pearly white cliffs – and it was a magical afternoon for me. Now I’m looking forward to doing a larger crossing.
Stourhead House and Gardens – much like Rouen, this is a garden that has popped up everywhere for me, pictures in books, stamps, random questions at university, yet I’ve never been. This will be rectified.
Clovelly – beautiful and a photographer’s dream location; cobblestone roads flanked by historic houses that have seen monarchs come and go and that have borne the brutn of some of nature’s wildest tantrums whilst idly winding their way towards an ancient harbour. Sounds pretty perfect doesn’t it.
Exmoor National Park – it’s time to pay tribute to Lorna Doone and of course Coleridge and his cottage at Bridgewater.
Brecon Beacons National Park – picturesque and hiding that infamous gem to all literary folk; Hay-on-Wye. This won’t be my first visit, nor my last, it’s a family favourite and I only hope our bags can cope.
Offa’s Dyke – if you don’t know who Offa was, then in a nutshell; King of Mercia from 757-796. Check the link to read more about it all.
Acton Scott Historic Working Farm – Did you see the BBC’s ‘Victorian Farm’? Well this is where it was filmed and I’m really looking forward to going to see it. Not just because I loved the programme, but because my own family owned and ran a farm very similar to this.
Lake District – Beatrix Potter, rolling hills and serene waterways, it’ll be a lovely break being able to spend a day or two rambling about this area.
Ayrshire, Bute and Argyll – from Rabbie Burns to the malt whisky trail, this area is steeped in Scottish history and I’m really looking forward to getting my teeth into it.
Scottish Borders – if the Western Highlands isn’t enough to satiate the need for tartan and shortbread, then fingers-crossed that the Borders will more than make up for it.
Lindisfarne and the Holy Island – this tiny island has such a tragic and poignant history, the site of great knowledge that when ransacked in 793 by a ‘Viking’ attack it plunged much of Europe into religious and social darkness, such was the light from the holy beacon of Saint Aidan’s Monastery.
North York Moors National Park – its desolation is magnificent, not because it’s depressing, but because of its stark beauty.
York – I lived here once, nearly two decades ago, and I’m looking forward to spending some time here again to refresh my memories and create some new ones too.
Norfolk – many, many moons ago half of my father’s family came from Norfolk, I went to Norwich once in ’94, the night the fire burnt some of the records at the library – where they’d been sent for safe keeping. I’m not keen to see Norwich again, but I am excited to see more of Norfolk itself.
Cambridge and Oxford – rivals through the years (and if I’m honest I’m an Oxford supporter) but there’s something that’s utterly charming about these two university cities and I can’t wait to wander their streets.
London – my other home-town. Not because I’ve ever lived here, but because it’s one of the few places I feel thoroughly comfortable in. I love London, and there’s always something magical about coming home.