FREE TO USE - VIRGINMONEY EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL FIREWORKS

Concert-Going at Edinburgh’s International Arts Festival

The rippling notes of a Beethoven piano sonata pour into the auditorium. Edinburgh’s Usher Hall, filled to capacity, is under a spell. It’s world-famous virtuoso Alfred Brendel’s final performance at the Edinburgh International Festival and some 2200 Read More

Fountains Abbey North Yorkshire

Walking Into the Past at Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire

Visiting Fountains Abbey is like peeling away layers of history. Are we exploring the 12th century Cistercian Abbey that became the wealthiest foundation in Europe, or the monastery that was plundered by Henry VIII, or the ruin that became part of an Read More

Edinburgh-festival-Fringe on the Royal Mile

Embracing Chaos at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe on the Royal Mile

“Do you want to see something dangerous?” the man shouts at the crowd of onlookers. They clearly aren’t impressed with what they've seen so far: they barely muster a mumble. He tries again. “Do you want to see something really dangerous?” When he Read More

Isle of Eriska Hotel Manor House (Stillman Rogers photo 2012)

“The Sweetness of Doing Nothing” on Scotland’s Isle of Eriska

A private island, a staff to indulge my every whim, a skilled chef to please my palate, a 19th-century Scottish manor house as a setting, and a day with absolutely nothing I needed to do. My goal was to spend a blissful day basking in something the Read More

Dover Castle

Exploring the Secret World War II Tunnels in Dover, England

Walking up the hill to Dover Castle, I expected tales of jousting and medieval brutalities: chain mail and armor, cold old stone, and a torture chamber or two. And indeed, there were plenty of old stone walls, and I'm quite certain a dungeon -- Read More

Butresses at Rosslyn Chapel

Cracking the Da Vinci Code: a Visit to Rosslyn Chapel, Scotland

You surely know all about Rosslyn Chapel: you’ve read The Da Vinci Code and if you haven’t, you must have seen the film. So have I, but for some strange reason I don’t seem able to recall exactly where the chapel comes into it. Not that that’s a Read More

King Arthur's Castle

Encountering the Real Camelot at King Arthur’s Castle in Cornwall, England

With my poo-hoo nose firmly in the air, I’m on my way to Tintagel on Cornwall’s northwesterly edge. Tintagel is widely known, and wildly visited, for the ruins of its castle – King Arthur’s castle. King Arthur’s castle? Had no one noticed that Read More

Massive buff-coloured factory with allotment gardens in front

Peering into the Life of a 19th-Century Mill Worker in Saltaire, Yorkshire

Whenever I discover something about one of my English ancestors, I wonder, "What was it like for them?" and begin to imagine the streets and houses of their time and place. To find out more about life as a Victorian-era worker in a woolen mill, my Read More

Gladstone's Library is both homey and a little bit imposing.

Living the Life of a 19th-Century Scholar at Gladstone’s Library: Hawarden, Wales

Weak spring sunshine streamed through the mullioned windows of Gladstone's Library as I settled into a wing chair with a stack of books. I opened the first, which I'd picked mainly because it was dated 1881 and so might have been owned by the Read More

Main Street, Haworth, West Yorkshire

Exploring the Landscape that Inspired the Brontës: Haworth, West Yorkshire

The town is full of men with neat moustaches and women in high heels picking their way between the cobbles of the main street. The sound of We’ll Meet Again comes from an old gramophone and the whole place is festooned with Union Jacks. We had Read More

The old buildings of the Canongate, from the churchyard

Exploring the Canongate in Edinburgh’s Royal Mile

Right in the centre of Edinburgh, on its famous Royal Mile, I’m at the World’s End. Sounds like a riddle? It isn’t. I’m actually outside the World’s End pub, named because it was here that the security of the medieval city ended and the great Read More

Looking up Glen Nevis

Following a Geological Trail in Scotland’s Glen Nevis

I’ve chosen the wrong companion for my geological time travel adventure: Like most girls of her age, the only type of rocks my daughter is interested in are the ones you find sparkling on the fingers of the Real Housewives of Orange County. "Get Read More

Balmorl Castle, starting point for the tour

Land Rover Tours of the Queen’s Balmoral Estate, Scotland

I’ve never really had a lot of time for royalty. Perhaps it’s because the image of privilege (all at the taxpayers’ expense, of course) doesn’t go down so well with a commoner like me. But today something very strange has happened. I’ve had a Read More

Flowers in February at Kew Gardens (photo credit: Jill Browne)

Smelling the Flowers at Kew Gardens, London, England

I’m looking at hundreds, possibly thousands, of orchid blossoms in one of the world’s absolute best plant places: Kew Gardens, London. The waxy lustre of the extravagant petals gives the deceptive impression that these plants are indestructible. Read More