Saturday, September 10, 2016

First Three Days in Brighton Beach

Second story for September 6, 2016

Corfe little space to tell the story that I thought I'd give it a special spot. We arrived at the parking area and found that we had to walk about 10 minutes uphill to reach the village and castle. A gentle walk along a woodland path. The village is alive and doing well right into the 21st century. It was built to support the building of the castle and continued into a full-fledged town during the life of the castle. In 1106 Corfe was one of the best fortified castles in England. Many important battles took place here as the royal owners continued to make improvements, including Henry III and Edward I. The last royal owner was Elizabeth I who sold the castle to Sir Christopher Hatton in 1572. In 1635 the castle was sold to Sir John Bankes. During the civil war many sieges took place here and much damage was done. The castle was ordered to be demolished by Parliament as a punishment during the wars. The Bankes family tried to recover what they could but the damage was too much. They built a new mansion at Kingston Lucy....yes the home we visited just prior to the Castle. In 1982, after three and a half centuries of ownership by the Bankes family, the castle was given to the National Trust.

September 7, 2016

We were out the door early today with plans to visit three sites. Our first was the village of Shaftesbury, known for its hill of gold, a steep cobbled street lined with picturesque cottages, one with a thatched roof. It has become renowned as a television and movie site. One of the more famous was directed by Ridley Scott. It's known locally as Hovis Hill because of an advertisement for Hovis bread that is an all-time favorite ad. Walked the street and the village before visiting their tiny museum.
Soon we were on the highway towards our second location. It was a 400 year old home known as Montacute House that was built by Edward Phelip. A true manor house in every detail right down to one of the longest gallery used to display their paintings and for the ladies to walk daily for exercise during bad weather. This one was located at the top of house. Forever views on a massive estate with wonderful English gardens. Wolf Hall was filmed here.
Back on the highway we had good roads all the way back to Salisbury. Of course we still had to negotiate the last two blocks: 3 lanes up hill and curved at the top. Two way traffic and parking on both sides of the street. Leaving one lane for traffic. During our six days we've never met another car coming in our out. One more trip tomorrow!
We parked and then walked over to the Salisbury Cathedrale Close for our last house. Mompesson House is an 18th Century town house located within the Cathedral grounds. It was used in the movie Sense and Sensibility. Beautifully maintained by the National Trust. One of my favorites was a door on a brick wall for decoration and used to make the house appear larger than it was.
Soon we were headed back to our apartment
For dinner and laundry. Tomorrow we move to Brighton Beach with a surprise stop along the way which the guys will love...tune in tomorrow for the details.

September 8, 2016

Out the door before 9 am, we headed south to the most important car museums in England: Beaulieu National Motor Museum.
Amazing collection of automobiles that tell the story of the Industry by Lord Montagu who inherited the estate in the late 18th century. There are over 250 automobiles.
The original land grant was to Cistercian Monks by King John in the year 1204 for an abbey.
The original Abbey, one of the largest in England, was destroyed by King Henry VIII except for a few buildings. When the Montagu family took control of the property they built what they call the Palace House...a large country manor home that is now open for tours.
It was a long drive almost to the English Channel and then back out again for our drive on to our new home in Brighton; but worth the effort. We were there for over three hours and could have stayed longer. Many extra exhibits, a monorail around the property and a double decked bus ride. It's definitely a destination for a day.
The weather was beautiful all day and the wind is brisk tonight here in Brighton. We're not on the beach but in a residential neighborhood about 20 minutes inland. We are in a self contained cottage at the back of a single family home. Karen even stocked the refrigerator for our English breakfasts.
September 9, 2016

Another great day of looking history in the eye and finding the real feeling for the history book we read so many years ago.
We first drove the tiny roads lined with eight foot hedge rows scraping the sides of our car. I literally stop breathing on some of the roads when we are passing other vehicles. But we made it to the town of Battle. Here the famous Battle of Hastings took place...some twenty plus miles from where they came ashore in 1066 with William the Conqueror. He killed King Harold and became the King Of England. He built a beautiful Abbey on the site with the main altar on the spot where Harold died.
Six hundred years later this beautiful abbey was destroyed by Henry VIII. The main remaining building...the guest house has become a school. We climbed 53 steps to the top for views over the countryside before leaving.
Back down the hill to the shores of the English Channel in Hastings where we walked all the way to the end of the massive pier on the beach. Then we drove into the ancient town for a quick look at the buildings that were built according to one in the circa 1450. Smallest streets even!
Back up the hill we decided to go see the ancient Bodiam Castle. It is a shell but very complete on the outside. It sits in the middle of a moat. We climbed 73 steps to the top for some great views of the countryside. They were sitting up for a trialthon on Sunday. The athletes will swim several laps in the moat before riding their bikes and finishing several laps around the castle.
A fun day completed by another hair raising drive back to Brighton Beach. Did I mention the problem when you go from bright sunshine to a tree tunnel that is nearly black! Old eyes don't function well with fast changes! But we made it home by 5 pm and have just enjoyed a pint of beer with pizza at our favorite pub around the corner from home. Now we go home for a game of cards with our wine and chocolate. Good night everyone and thanks for tuning in.

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