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