Eltham Palace – Art Deco Heaven

Eltham PalaceEltham Palace, in South London, isn‘t a palace at all (well, except for a small bit of it). It’s a house, built in 1933 by Stephen Courtauld ( younger brother of Samuel Courtauld who founded the Courtauld Institute) and his wife, Virginia. They were both Art Deco fanatics and the house they built is a masterpiece of Art Deco design. It’s now been beautifully restored by English Heritage. Continue reading

Finding the hidden hydrangeas at Kew

hydrangea

It’s hydrangea season, and practically every suburban garden worth its name has a bush covered in big pink pompoms. Along with roses, it’s the flower of the English summer. Down at Kew Gardens they have a different approach. Their hydrangeas grow in secret, tucked away beneath the trees in the woodland glade. You have to seek them out, but at this time of year it’s worth the effort. Continue reading

Strawberry Hill House – where the Gothic Revival began

Strawberry Hill HouseAn icing sugar house in a leafy London suburb with turrets and crenellations like a gothic castle. Even today it’s like something out of a fairytale, but back when it was built, in the mid eighteenth century, hundreds of years after gothic architecture fell out of fashion, it must have been quite mind-boggling. Welcome to Strawberry Hill House, the magical white palace Horace Walpole built himself in Twickenham. Continue reading

Hatfield House – gardens fit for a Queen

Hatfield House garden

The tube strike and a sunny day sent me off to Hatfield House Gardens last week. The entrance to the house and grounds is right opposite Hatfield rail station, so it’s perfect for people like me who don’t travel by car. The House is well worth a visit too, but I was there to see the beauties of the formal gardens. Continue reading

Hyper Japan Summer 2015 – bigger, better, louder

Hyper JapanYes, once again it’s time for the UK’s biggest celebration of Japanese culture, Hyper Japan, a mad mix of food, fashion, gaming, music and cosplay that lets you experience the latest Japanese trends before they hit these shores. This year for the first time it’s going to be at the O2 in Greenwich, starting on Friday 10th July and running all weekend. Here’s little preview of what to expect. Continue reading

A visit to the stunning Hampton Court Palace Gardens

Hampton Court Palace GardenWhen I’ve been to Hampton Court before I’ve spent my whole time looking at the palace, with just a perfunctory glance at the gardens. I’ve always known I was missing out, so I was determined to go on a visit just to the gardens, to give myself time to see them all (and there are plenty to see) and really appreciate them. I was very glad I did, as they are quite stunning. Continue reading

Two Truths at the Griffin Gallery

Keisuke KatsukiThe Griffin Gallery currently has an exhibition of six diverse Japanese artists on show. It’s called Two Truths, in a reference to the relative and absolute truths that underpin Buddhist philosophy. I’m not sure I quite get the connection, but it’s an interesting exhibition with plenty of variety to it. Continue reading

Ranger’s House Rose Garden – in the part of Greenwich Park tourists don’t visit

Ranger's House Rose GardenGreenwich is a park of two halves. There’s the bit down the bottom, near the Cutty Sark with the National Maritime Museum and Queen’s House pulling in boatloads of tourists every day. Some of them walk up the steep hill to visit the Royal Observatory and take a photo of the amazing view from the top. But that’s generally as far as they get. The other Greenwich Park is beyond that – a park where locals go, full of hidden treasures. Continue reading

Hyde Park Rose Garden – surprisingly romantic

Hyde Park Rose GardenThis week is rose week on the blog, so following on from my rose garden top five post I’m sharing a few more pictures of my favourite rose gardens, starting with the one in Hyde Park. I always think of Hyde Park as quite formal, so I was surprised to find how soft and romantic the layout of this garden is. Continue reading

London Rose Gardens – Top Five Guide

RosesWelcome to my guide to where to see the best roses in bloom in London! After all, today’s the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, when the earth is at its maximum tilt towards the sun. What better way to spend it than looking at roses? Luckily the rose season is at it’s height right now. So let’s make a start. Continue reading