Kenilworth Castle – Lavish Love Token

Elizabeth at KenilworthNicola here. One of the things that I have missed the most about Lockdown is not doing my tours at Ashdown House, and not being able to visit other castles and stately homes whilst everything has been closed so it was very exciting when English Heritage started to re-open a number of their historical sites and I could get my history fix again. Last week, for the first time in 5 months, I went to a castle and I thought I would share the trip here for those who would enjoy a virtual history fix.

A place I’d never been to but had always wanted to see is Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire. Kenilworth has a very long and fascinating history from the time of its building as a great tower in the 1120s, through a period when it was one of the favourite palaces of the Lancastrian kings, and the royal visits of Queen Elizabeth I. It was this aspect of Kenilworth’s history that particularly fascinated me, and Robert Dudley’s final, failed attempt to persuade Elizabeth to marry him. So I took The Forgotten Sister along with me on the road trip as I thought Amy Robsart would enjoy seeing the place (more on that later!)

Read more

Georgian and Regency Wallpapers

Nicola here, and today I am talking about Georgian and Regency wallpapers. Wallpaper is a small detail when a writer is describing a setting but it can be a useful way of showing the grandeur – or otherwise – of a house and it's certainly a way of portraying character. When I saw this rather gorgeous 18th century wallpaper with parrots and apples on it I immediately started to imagine the sort of flamboyant heroine who might decorate her bedroom in this style, but of course it could equally belong to a hero who is an explorer! A few weeks …

Read more

Gardens of Pleasure

Hello, Nicola here! I enjoy reading about garden history and a couple of weeks ago I went on a research trip deep into the Wiltshire countryside to visit some pleasure gardens created in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century at Old Wardour. The centrepiece of the Old Wardour gardens is… a genuine, ruined medieval castle. That's quite something to incorporate into your garden design. The Castle Old Wardour Castle was originally built in the late 15th century and served as an impressive family home for 250 years before it was partially destroyed during a siege in the English Civil War …

Read more