Kenwood House, a place of relaxation

A walk to Kenwood House is the perfect Sunday walk for me. I enjoy the peace and serenity of a stroll through the grassy open spaces of Hampstead Heath. The rambling hills seem to beckon for me to ramble along with them until I reach the stately home of Kenwood House. The shining ponds and ancient woods lend themselves to tranquil thoughts, easing the stresses of the past week. I am rejuvenated by the view of the capital’s skyline from Parliament Hill. As I glance across the panorama, I can see the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral surrounded by the spires of Wren’s City churches. I am reminded of the strength of our forefathers in this beautiful city. I am ready to undertake another busy week. Yes, a walk to Hampstead Heath is the perfect Sunday walk for me.

Kenwood House is a Glimpse into London’s Past

Wandering through the grand rooms of this beautiful mansion transcends me back in time to the 18th century. The high ceilings, tall windows and ornate chandeliers stir the imagination. I imagine the host and his guests toasting one another with the splendid backdrop of the landscape as seen from the south wall of the orangery. I gaze about the dining room and marvel at the magnificent furnishings and the fine old masters collection on the walls. I step out onto the lovely flower garden that adjoins the west wing and dream of the noble first occupants of Kenwood House.

A Sunday stroll to Kenwood House relaxes me after a long week. The scenery rejuvenates me, the interior stimulates my imagination, and the weekends include activities my whole family enjoys.

History of Kenwood House

I have learned that the original Kenwood House dates back to the 17th century. It was about 1700 when the orangery was added. The equivalent of a modern-day greenhouse, an orangery is an idea born in the Renaissance gardens of Italy. The name suggests a place where citrus trees were grown.

The stately house was bought by William Murray, the first Earl of Mansfield in 1754. It was remodeled between the years of 1764 and 1769 when the library and the entrance portico was added. Between 1793 and 1796, two wings were added to the mansion’s north side, office, kitchens and brewery. The old brewery is now a trendy restaurant. A dairy was added to supply the household with fresh milk and cheese.

The house was donated to the public in 1928 by Lord Iveagh, a member of the Guinness family. By the late 1990s, the house received about 150,000 visitors a year. I think it is an amazing mansion to tour for no admission fee.

Something for Everyone at Kenwood House and Grounds

I learned that even more visitors visit the lovely grounds of Kenwood House each year. The large wooded parkland, lake and kitchen garden is perfect for outdoor activities. I can walk around the grounds of Kenwood and enjoy the freedom of open spaces away from the city. I love to stroll around and watch visitors enjoying picnics and pedestrians walking their dogs. It is such a happy place, with kids enjoying the playground and flying kites.

I also like to browse the two shops on the premises of Kenwood. The Brewery House Cafe is a great place for a Sunday Brunch. Every weekend at Kenwood House brings fun activities that me and my entire family can participate in and enjoy.

 

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Tips for visiting Greece from the UK

Greece’s recent economic troubles are no match for centuries of cultural heritage founded on hospitality and a refined, sophisticated social nature, so you can rest assured that it is still the most amazing place to visit on holiday, as millions of UK holidaymakers continue to find out.

Against a backdrop of recent struggles with austerity measures and civil unrest, the majestic vistas of Greece’s rugged limestone mountains and crystal blue waters have done little to alleviate the concerns of travelers. Is Greece safe? Can you trust the locals, the government, the hoteliers? Should you take extra precautions, or wait for things to calm down?

The Foreign Travel Advice page from Gov.uk is clear in its summary: travelers in Greece generally enjoy a trouble-free holiday. That said, just no country is free from it is

there are strikes and protests planned to take place in Athens over the coming the coming months. If you avoid these areas, you’re only difficulty will be with potential delays and disruptions in public transport.

Tip 1: Get the Lowdown

Strikes and protests in Greece generally take place on one of three traditional dates. Disruptions to public transport are publicised well in advance, and dealing with a reputable agent will ensure you have all the travel advice you need for the dates when travelling. Greece is a small country, but it’s many villages and towns, together with landmarks like Mount Olympus, mean that there’s no reason to restrict your self to it’s marginal but inconvenient trouble hotspots. It’s also worth remembering that the 2011 riots in London did little to deter travellers to the UK.

Tip 2: Take Advantage

It sounds a little mercenary, but Greece’s tourist trade is the countries biggest source of income, and recent media coverage has been unfairly biased towards its political situation. This has resulted in fewer tourists, and as a result many hotels are offering reductions and unbeatable promotional offers. On an economic level, your trade is doing the country a service, for the same reason that more brazen investors are scooping up properties in Cyprus – it’s a good opportunity.

Greece itself is characterized by an easy-going culture and laid-back populace, renowned for endearing habits like enjoying meals with extended family of the extended family on a regular basis, and refusing to lock doors. It retains its unique charm, even in turbulent conditions, because it is an essential part of the hospitable Greek nature.

The country is still safe, but coverage of civil unrest paints an unfair picture and is largely disproportionate to the actual cultural climate. The Telegraph recently surmised the majority of media attention as simply ‘alarmist’.

Tip 3: Follow the Usual Precautions

Laid-back and hospitable it may be, but Greece is no exception to the general rules of travel. Pickpockets operate in busy areas, and young people are advised to travel together if only because they can wind up in precarious situations through a lack of street-smarts.

Troubles in Athens will not concern the majority of UK holidaymakers, who favour Greece’s many beautiful islands. Larger resort complexes carry the usual risks, and travelers are advised to take only registered taxis, drink moderately, or, failing moderation, staying in groups. Assault and rape is rare in Greece, and when it does happen, it’s usually an altercation between holidaymakers rather than with the Greeks themselves.

 

 

Gluten Free Travelling: What to Watch out for When Travelling in Europe with Children

Going on holiday is something that so many people wait all year for. When the summer or days off from work finally manifest, the whole family is packed and ready to be on their way. When you want to eat gluten free on holiday in Europe, what do you need to watch out for to ensure your children’s safety?

Understanding The Labels

Europe is a diverse continent, and so many different languages are spoken within its bounds. If you are picking up some packaged foods, you need to be 100 percent certain that you are reading the labels correctly. In order to do so, you might need to enrich your knowledge of Spanish, Italian, German or whatever other language is spoken in the country to which you are traveling. Research some foods before you go to the country so that you know which ones are safe for your children to eat.

The Hotel Breakfast

Whether you are staying at a grand hotel or spending your nights away in more moderate accommodations, the establishment might offer a complimentary breakfast. Calling ahead to find out what foods are offered is in your best interest. Otherwise, you may find that your children are unable to eat the foods presented to them. As a result, you would have to bring other foods for breakfast. Some of the items in the buffet or sit-down breakfast will likely be gluten-free. It’s all about knowing what is included and making smart decisions.

Eating at Restaurants

Unless you have rented a house or other type of accommodation with a kitchen, you are probably going to be dining at a lot of restaurants in Europe. Before your trip, do some research on the particular area you are visiting to find out if gluten-free restaurants are available. Even if the restaurants are not dedicated to gluten-free foods, they should have an array of options available for your children. Be sure that these foods are child-friendly as well. Some restaurants may cater only to adults who are gluten-free, and your children may not enjoy these types of meals.

Snacks Offered in at Various Attractions

Perhaps you are going to explore historical and religious sites, or maybe you want to spend the afternoon in some beautiful parks or walking around a particular part of the country. No matter where you are going, you may very well see vendors who are selling treats or offering free samples. Unless you really know the specific origin of the food, it would be better to afford these types of treats. The person selling them may have had little to no role in actually baking or cooking them. Furthermore, the language barrier could cause an inaccurate answer as well

Talking to Your Children

Little ones will probably not be out of your sight much, so you can monitor what they are eating. You should talk with your children, however, about the foods they can eat. Explain that people may speak a different language in this country to which you are travelling and that they need to check with you whenever they are going to eat something.

Traveling with children who have strict dietary rules to follow can definitely be challenging, but you can accomplish it and have fun when you are willing to follow some of these tips.