Make your way to Kent in south east England and you will see signs all around proudly displaying itself as the Garden of England. I’m not one to disagree, my recent trip down that way was blessed with beautiful sunshine that made the area simply sizzle with colour.
With so much beautiful countryside to see its no wonder some amazing buildings have been built in the area to absorb it all. And by beautiful buildings I’m talking about Canterbury Cathedral, Leeds Castle and Penshurst Place. Three places that everybody should make the time to visit, especially with their close proximity to London.
Canterbury Cathedral is perhaps the epitome of cathedrals. It stands tall and proud in the centre of town as the city goes about its business at its base just like it has throughout history. The exterior alludes to the beauty that lies hidden within its walls. Once inside that beauty and detail is enough to engage even the biggest snobs in a little flash photography.
If that’s not enough then the history of murder and miracles should be enough to draw the stragglers in. For many visiting cathedrals the tales of history take the back seat to the building but not for me. While there I learnt some amazing little snippets like that of the Black Prince who’s “shield of peace” now lends itself to be the Prince of Wales Feathers which has been worn by every heir apparent since.
Just last week I posted about Leeds Castle but I’m giving it another mention as it really is worth a visit. Walking down the road with the castle in the distance, the lake surrounding it and beautiful green grass laid out before you just oozes fairytale in my opinion.
The outside really does strike a formidable pose with the sun shining above and from inside looking out it’s just as rewarding. Windows and doors with nothing but water and greenery at your door step would in this day and age make for fine entertaining on a warm summers evening. I don’t think you can wander from room to room and not imagine what it must have been like to call this place home.
And finally we come to Penshurst Place. A hidden gem unknown to many (including myself) tucked away in the garden of England. Penshurst Place is home to the Sidney family which some Australian history fans might know given William Sidney was the last non Australian to be our Governor General.
This estate is still home to the Sidney family who have set up part of the building as a museum. While the public are also allowed to tour its gardens which are considered one of the oldest private gardens in England. I’m no garden expert but suffice to say having this in your backyard sure beats what I grew up with (sorry mum).
As an expat here in the United Kingdom I think some of us forget just how much there is to see close to our adopted home. I know I’m guilty of setting sail for Europe any chance I can get after all it so big with so much to see. It’s only now that as my visa draws close to ending that I’m realising just how much history I’ve ignored on my door step while living in London. Don’t do the same as I did, see England and the rest of the country as from what I’ve seen none of us will be disappointed.