When we picked this month’s travel linkup topic, about movies, books & TV series that have inspired travel or visiting set locations in a certain destination, I knew exactly where I wanted to write about.
Over the years we’ve been inspired and surprised by so many places – Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle), The Big Bang Theory set at Warner Brothers studios in Los Angeles, we found an unlikely Batman location near Heathrow Airport, obviously everything Harry Potter in London, oh, and I was an extra in a Lord of the Rings Movie. That’s my only claim to fame.
Forget snow-white steeds tossing their manes and knights in chain mail, baring swords. All the modern princess of today needs is a train ticket, a great friend with exquisite taste in music and a glass of bubbly in the sunshine. Disclaimer: we were guests of Hever Castle.
Leaving London quickly behind (it’s only a 40-minute train ride, the perfect day trip from London Bridge Station.)
I don’t think I’ll ever tire of the London skyline. It’s been a dozen years already, and my heart still thumps every time I get to admire the beautiful views of London town – even more when it’s accompanied by champagne and afternoon tea at the Shangri-La London. Disclaimer: We were guests of Shangri-La London, but all flute tinkling, fork twirling and London skyline admiration is pure, unadulterated me.
Celebrating motherhood and the eagerly anticipated birth of the baby (little Archie!) of His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex, this Royal High Tea takes inspiration from people closest to the chef’s hearts – their mothers.
The beautiful Vintry and Mercer hotel has a beautiful sense of place that is obvious from the moment you step over the threshold. With foundations laid on (the fantastically named) Garlick Hill, this newly opened Small Luxury Hotel is full of moments where the local London history permeates. Disclaimer: We were guests of Vintry and Mercer, but all wistful story scraps, allusions to local history and words are very much mine and mine alone.
Located in the historic Vintry Ward, the hotel is inspired by the rich cultural influences of the historic area – where the Vintry Guild traded wines and the Mercer Guild traded in fine fabrics. I adored the references scattered through the hotel to these historic trades, from an evolving menu of wines to bespoke fabrics and old trading maps throughout the 92 individually decorated rooms, hallways and dining spaces. Often hotels struggle with the dance between being a beige box that you sleep in and tourist overload, but here it’s perfectly balanced.
The honey-stone walls of Oxford city centre conjure all kinds of wishes and whimsy – and each time that I’ve stayed overnight in Oxford, it’s like slipping into an architectural Narnia. Disclaimer: On this visit I was an invited guest of Mercure Hotels and Experience Oxfordshire, but all thoughts and laboured literary metaphors are very much my own.
Oxford is one of those cities that seems unaffected by the passing of time.