Modern art tends to divide people. There are those that hate it, those that see deep meanings behind the canvases and those that aren’t bothered either way. The beauty of taking anyone to the Tate Modern, is that all camps are totally looked after. Confused? Follow me.
The building face only an architect could love…
The Tate Modern is quite some edifice, rising up from the Thames riverbank. A former power station designed by Giles Gilbert Scott, it consisted of a stunning turbine hall, 35 metres high and 152 metres long, with the boiler house alongside it and a single central chimney. It was an imposing building along the London Southbank but apart from a remaining operational London Electricity sub-station, the site had been redundant since 1981. Herzog & De Meuron (Basel architects) were commissioned in 1994 to convert the building into the gallery that we know and love today.
If you google ‘romantic weekends for couples in England’ you’ll get a thousand recommendations. Misty country breaks, city exploring, beach bach staycations full of sand, four-poster beds in castle hotels, forest-dwelling glamping – the lot.
England is a land full of history, romance and a train network that linking up all of these fabulous places to explore.
For the second night of our Stratford-upon-Avon staycation, we went deep into the countryside. (Well, as deep as 20 minutes in a cab could get away from the train station.) We booked at night at the Billesley Manor Hotel for some much-needed relaxation time.
Set in 11 acres of parkland, Billesley Manor is a stunning 16th-century Elizabethan manor house. Located just 3 miles from Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon, this historic property is steeped in history and charm. Once referenced in the Domesday Book, the grounds feature an 11th-century church and an ornate topiary garden, which was planted 100 years ago to replicate a chess board.
This isn’t the Anne Hathway of modern Hollywood fame, but the alleged wife (‘alleged wife’ because as I understand historians can’t conclusively tell us who Shakespeare actually was) of infamous Elizabethan playwright Shakespeare. Anne and her family grew up in this cottage, in the small village of Shottery about a mile out of Stratford-upon-Avon.
On a gorgeous day full of sunshine and blue skies, we walked from Alveston Manor Hotel and Spa in the centre of town, to the gloriously dinky lanes of Shottery. A few years ago I’d read Amanda @ Rhyme and Ribbons’ post about the cottage, and it had been on my bucket list ever since!
Being totally honest, when I went down to Bournemouth it was without any plans, other than watching the sunset with my book in hand and wandering along the beach for an ice cream. So when I was kindly tipped off that Rick Stein has a restaurant just along the bay in Sandbanks, Poole, I knew that I needed to get a little organised and book myself a last-minute lunch table there.
One of the hardest things that people find about solo travelling, is eating by themselves. Weirdly it hasn’t ever really bothered me – though I’ll confess to ordering room service more often than not – but I’d do that regardless of who I was or wasn’t travelling with – except when it’s in a super busy restaurant, and they seat you at the bar to talk to the bartender.