Each of these places has a story to be told. Some of them originate from our teaching website in France (with its less complicated language) and these are listed after a grey horizontal line in the side menu.

Some of these posts are vehicles for pixels, some for words; some posts have both working in harmony. My hope is to be able to do justice to more places with a degree of penmanship truly worthy of each. (Most of these posts use small thumbnail photos which, when clicked, will pop up larger versions.)

February 3, 2020

The name Ightham Mote - whose four-consonant apparent tongue-twister contributes to the surprisingly easy Item Mote - may be derived from the Anglo-Saxon words eyot and ham, meaning ...

November 25, 2019

It has been difficult not to glimpse the Brighton i360's pencil-thin outline from the South Downs, showing it black against the sea below it or flashing sunlight off its aluminium and glass surfaces as the coast...

November 9, 2019
Lincoln Cathedral

Lincoln's majestic cathedral dominates the surrounding plain from its spectacular perch atop Lincoln Cliff. Its bulk - already planted 50 metres above the surrounding plain - soars skywards a further 83 metres.

November 9, 2019
Hardwick Hall

Hardwick Hall exudes the ego of Bess of Hardwick - its builder - as much as it is today buffeted by the constant drone of traffic from the nearby M1 motorway, both equally transient and fleeting yet strangely...

November 8, 2019
Stokesay Castle

Climb to the top of Stokesay Castle's south tower and you are rewarded with a 360 degree prospect that could be one of the loveliest in all England, the gently rolling hills of Shropshire, Houseman's "blue remembered...

November 3, 2019
Sezincote

Sezincote near Bourton-on-the-Hill, Gloucestershire, was an early 19th century attempt to replicate the architecture of the Mughal Emperor Akbar who ruled from 1556 to 1605 and was known for his conscious mingling of...

October 20, 2019
St Botolph's Church, Hardham

The white-washed St Botolph's Church in Hardham, West Sussex, was almost certainly built before the Conquest.

October 10, 2019
Haddon Hall

When the rain of Derbyshire falls on the Peak District, the stones of Haddon Hall are scoured by it and progressively rounded.

September 8, 2019
St. Celynin‘s Church at Llangelynnin

Sloping down to the seashore and pointing towards distant Bardsey Island, which appears as a smudge of shadow shaped like a jockey's cap on the far horizon, is the medieval St.

May 24, 2019
Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges

Some of this country's finest houses are perched on a hilltop, others tucked away in woodland, some dominate a landscape with imposing intent, others block uninvited entry with obvious fortification.

October 2, 2018
The Uig Sands Chessmen

The oldest rocks in Britain are found in the Outer Hebrides. These are twisted Lewisian gneisses which were formed up to 3,000 million years ago, two-thirds of the known age of our planet.

August 30, 2018
House for an Art Lover

On the inside this might be just another sugar-coated wedding venue - for which purpose it can indeed be hired - but the grey flanked House for an Art Lover in Glasgow's Bellahouston Park is another key to...

June 28, 2018

Try for a moment to imagine the noisy industrial clamour of Glasgow at the very start of the twentieth century, when shipyards and their associated engineering works made the Upper Clyde the ship-building centre of...

June 27, 2018
Lacock Abbey

Be prepared to be overwhelmed when visiting Lacock Abbey (even on a heavily overcast day, as it was when we visited it).

June 22, 2018

Kew Gardens, June, first sunny day for a while, first visit and one is weak-kneed and pea-brained at the scale and splendour of the place.

June 19, 2018
The Kintyre peninsula

A separate post on this site marks the joy I feel about parts of the Kintyre peninsula in western Scotland.

June 16, 2018

Kintyre, not too unlike a finger of home-made shortbread on the map, leaves Argyll behind by bending a knuckle at Tarbert and then pointing nearly due south towards the shores of Northern Ireland, leaving at its tip...

June 16, 2018
The Glasgow School of Art

Shed tears today that the beloved Glasgow School of Art has yet again been enveloped by flame and gutted by fire. Shed tears that an icon of the Glasgow skyline is again a source of black smoke.

May 28, 2018

Browning's "Oh, to be in England now that April's there" tugs with even greater poignancy as May moves on and the season's heat builds under blue skies.

May 18, 2018
The Giant's Causeway

I'd not be troubled if above the entrance to the Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre it said "Here be Giants" because everything about this place is, well, gigantic, whether stamped into being by Finn McCool on...

May 12, 2018
Downhill Demesne and Mussenden Temple

What a mouthful, a place called "Downhill Demesne and Mussenden Temple". What a puzzle that the person who built it was called "the Earl-Bishop", an earl or a bishop, well both actually.

April 27, 2018
Belfast's Murals and Peace Walls

When faced with another couple of tourists saying how welcoming and kind they found everyone in Belfast, our driver Danny said, "Well, yes, that's it really. Belfast people are very kind to everyone.

April 21, 2018
Rathlin Island

Rathlin Island is Northern Ireland's only inhabited offshore island. It lies 15 miles from Scotland's Kintyre Peninsula and is a 6 mile ferry hop from Northern Ireland's Ballycastle.

December 9, 2017
The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2017

A shimmer of sub-Saharan warmth alighted in central London earlier this year when the Serpentine Gallery's 2017 Pavilion was opened to the public.

October 31, 2017
Lancing College Chapel

Dominating the lower stretches of the River Adur as it flows towards Shoreham, and perched imposingly above the A27 Shoreham Bypass, is Lancing College Chapel.

May 2, 2017
Casa Batlló, Barcelona

Barcelona's Passeig de Gràcia would have been a competitive whirl in the years between 1870 and 1914, with wealthy residents vying with each other to build or renovate homes on this fashionable city centre avenue.

April 24, 2017
Casa Milà, La Pedrera, Barcelona

Casa Milà was Antoni Gaudí's fourth project on Barcelona's main avenue Passeig de Gràcia and was to be his last civil work before he devoted himself entirely to...

April 8, 2017
La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Judged by almost any standard you choose, Barcelona's Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família is extraordinary.

December 1, 2016
The dance in moonlight

This post is not just about a place. It is about an event.

July 26, 2016
Standen House

Standen House near East Grinstead was the home of a successful Birmingham solicitor and his family.

June 22, 2016
Barrington Court

But 10 miles away from Montacute House, Barrington Court is another fine Somerset manor house.

June 22, 2016
Montacute House

If you saw the BBC 2 serial Wolf Hall, you will have seen a little of the inside of Montacute House in Somerset.

June 16, 2016
East Coker

East Coker, a small village on the border of Somerset and Dorset, placed its mark on my mental map when I first read T.S. Eliot's long poem The Four Quartets.

July 1, 2015
Simorre

In a nearby village here in the Gers is a church that would not be out of place in north Africa. It has six towers, four of which are topped with pyramids as if they were minarets in a mosque.

August 22, 2014
Auch cathedral

Our nearest big town is Auch and, although Auch Cathedral is not spectacular, is has some truly spectacular stained-glass windows and choir stalls.

April 19, 2014
Trapeharde's wheel of time

There's a finger of land that stretches out from Trapeharde and continues on through the woods, emerging in a valley on the other side of the trees.

November 24, 2013
Lewes Crescent, Brighton

Some of our visitors have heard of the English seaside city of Brighton (where we lived before we moved to France in 1998).

September 25, 2013
Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges

An hour south of us, the foothills of the Pyrénées mountains provide a majestic backdrop for the commune of Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges and its former cathédrale Sainte Marie.

July 11, 2013
Le Lac du Pêcher

If you enjoy comfortable surroundings, fine food, nature at its best and peace and quiet, then we can highly recommend the superb instants d'Absolu Ecolodge and Spa at Lac du Pêcher near...

July 10, 2013
A late spring in France's Patagonia

As it did nearly everywhere in Europe this year, spring arrived late in this region, the Cantal. We enjoyed a brief stop-over there this June and it was as if spring had just started.

November 22, 2012
Prieuré de Mimizan

On the outskirts of the town on Mimizan on France's Atlantic coast there's a fascinating bell tower which is all that remains of an extensive medieval priory, l'ancien Prieuré de Mimizan.

November 21, 2012
Solférino

Running almost from Bordeaux to Biarritz - and spreading inland to form an area of perhaps a million hectares - in the south-west of France, the forest of Les Landes is the largest maritime-pine...

November 15, 2012
La Romieu

Up in the north of the Gers, some distance from Trapeharde, is the beautiful bastide village of La Romieu.

September 27, 2012
The Maquis de Meilhan

Not far from us here in the Gers is a monument that marks a battle that took place between a group of French Resistance fighters and a battalion of German soldiers on the night of July 6th and 7th 1944.

August 4, 2012
Bostah Iron Age Village

The Isle of Lewis is the most northerly island in the Outer Hebrides and therefore lies in the path of the wild Atlantic Ocean.

August 3, 2012
The Glasgow School of Art

Scotland's Outer Hebrides - where we recently took a few days' break - are a long distance away so a night-stop in the fascinating city of Glasgow is well worth it.