Long weekend in and around London

24 Aug

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Spent almost a complete day at Ightham Mote, near Sevenoaks in Kent. A huge, mostly medieval Manor House with massive character and atmosphere. Hot weather and sun added to the fun.A National Trust property, well worth visiting. Great food and lovely folk acting as guides
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The journey down took us through central London to avoid traffic holdups and we got within a sat nav estimated 15 minutes of our journey’s end which eventually took over 1 1/2 hours.
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Eltham Palace is in sight of “The Shard” but it’s large grounds defy being so close to central London. Now run by English Heritage, this was once the home rebult by Steven Courtauld and his Italian wife, “Ginie”. The oldest bits remaining include a medieval hall, a moat and a bridge. Built in the then luxurious Art Deco style, it is not one of my favourites but interesting non the less. The audio visual tour is excellent and gives a superb impression of how good life was at Eltham. With loads of background information about guests, war experiences and much more, it inspires you to research more following the visit. As an example, following the Courtaulds eventual move away from Eltham, one of their friends’ sons was hanged for treason after he tried to recruit British POWs to join Hitler’s forces . John Amery had close links to very influential people in England. His story somewhat smears the happier atmosphere created at Eltham. Another highly recommended place to see.
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Once described as looking like a “pencil factory” , Eltham Palace differs from the much more pleasing properties that we have seen so far.The interior is well lit, decorated and interesting, though which makes up for the first impression from the exterior.
Once again, we witnessed some appalling driving on the M1 North of Milton Keynes. We saw at least 5 near misses between HGVs and cars, mostly due to tailgating. Driving at the legal limit, we kept out of most of the fairground behaviour and got home in a more reasonable 4 hours including stops, averaging 55 mpg.

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