Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Holiday Snaps

A couple of weeks ago David and I went on a little trip away, with his parents, to Staffordshire. Our home for the week was Tixall Gatehouse, owned and maintained by the Landmark Trust. It is the most amazing building, originally the gatehouse to an Elizabethan manor house, which was demolished long ago. Work began on the gatehouse in the 1560s, the standard of carving on the stonework is astonishing, and the building uses many classical motifs in a purely decorative way.


The front and rear facades are both equally decorative, and the four turrets, one on each corner, are finished with distinctive ogee shaped domes. (that is me getting into the car by the way!!)

Here are some pictures of the building taken closer up, can you see all the details in the stone work? Do you notice the classical orders are followed vertically, Doric, Ionic and Corinthian, clearly someone had been studying their classical text books!

My favourite feature on the whole building were these elegantly nonchalant angels above the gateway, there to greet us on arrival, they do look a little worn, but then they are over 450 years old!!
The front facade has soldiers above the gateway instead of angels, not quite so welcoming!!

The views from the rooftop over the Staffordshire countryside were incredible. Tixall is on the edge of Cannock Chase an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Our neighbour across the way was Shugborough Hall, ancestral home to the Earls of Lichfield.  

Also in Tixall, a little way from the Gatehouse is this sweet little lodge gate, which also has an ogee shaped roof, and is believed to be part of the same estate as the Gatehouse. It is now a private home.

Our closest neighbours were sheep, with their sweet little lambs, it was a delight to see them, and they slowly got used to us, and get closer to us as the week progressed.

And here are some of the places we visited while on holiday.

Biddulph Grange Gardens

Biddulph Grange has a beautifully kept garden, maintained by the National Trust. The Victorian Garden was created by James Bateman, and is filled with plants and trees he collected from all over the world. The garden has several themes, including the Italian style terrace above...

The Egyptian Garden, complete with Sphinxes and monkey god in the temple...

And a stunning Chinese style garden. The garden looks fairly tranquil in the photos, but when we visited it was absolutely POURING with rain!!

St Mary's Church, Ingestre

This beautiful English Baroque church is believed to be the work of Sir Christopher Wren, and would be his only parish church outside of London. The building of the church was commissioned by Walter Chetwynd, and he paid for its construction. 

Work began on the church between 1673-1676. 

The interior of the church is truly breathtaking! It isn't normally left open, so if you plan to visit you might need to contact the key holder, we were very lucky that someone passing by could let us in.

The ceiling is a very fine example of plasterwork popular in the late seventeenth century. 

Notice the pillars along the nave, which are very similar to a design used by Wren at St Brides in London.

The pulpit and tester are said to be the work of Grinling Gibbons, a prolific carver in the seventeenth century. I'm not entirely sure it's true, but they are certainly in his style. The Tripartite screen above is also attributed to Gibbons.

this is the font.

Here are some close-ups of the carving.

 There are also some stunning Arts and Crafts Movement stained glass windows, one by Burne Jones (on the right)  
The other  by Baroness Gleichen (on the left) from the William Morris Studio.

Lichfield Cathedral

Lichfield is a rather pretty city, it has some beautifully kept parks and this amazing cathedral (note the poser in sunglasses who 'just happened' to get into my shot!! (thank you David!)

The interior of the Cathedral is worth seeing, but the most amazing thing I thought was this doorway,  
the main entrance to the cathedral. The stone carving is exquisite!


Buxton is a small spa town in the Derbyshire Dales, surrounded by beautiful rugged countryside. It is most famous for its Opera House, alongside which is the Winter Garden and Rotunda...

It is also famous for the crescent, almost, if not perhaps more elegant than the Royal Crescent at Bath. The Crescent is currently being renovated after years of neglect, and is due to open as a hotel and spa in the next couple of years.

Here is a shot of the centre of the crescent.

Well, there you are, a little snapshot of our recent holiday. I hope I haven't bored you all!! I realise that there are no miniatures in this post, but they will be coming in another post very soon, as I popped along to the Kensington Dolls' House Festival after my holiday, and have a few things I'd like to show you.

Ta ra for now!!
Andy xxx


  1. Dear Andy,
    What a nice holiday snaps! I love the William Morris stained glass windows. But I stick to the Victorian era. I do like William Morris also.

  2. Hi Andy,

    What a great post! The gate house looks fabulous, and how wonderful that you got to stay in it! I just couldn't help but have a quick look at the website and I have book marked it. You have given me lots of inspiration for the next time we make it to the UK. The views of the country side are beautiful and so many wonderful buildings to explore. I love the Church, those ceilings are incredible, and the stained glass looks so amazing, the colours are stunning!

    Well thanks Andy for another wonderful post!

    ML Fi xx.

  3. ...well, you said you were going to post soon and I'm glad I tuned in early (for a change) and caught this. I'm sort of obsessing over the gatehouse. That must have been cool to stay there! All the other buildings are comparably beautiful and I'm especially enamored with the crescent and am glad it's getting a re-hab. And who wouldn't want an Egyptian-themed garden in their backyard with a monkey temple? Looking forward to seeing your Kensington baubles!

  4. Hi Andy,
    Thanks for taking us on a virtual tour!
    The pictures and views are beautiful, not to mention the peeks inside the buildings.
    My favorite is the plastered ceiling.
    What a rare treat to be staying in the gatehouse!

  5. Thank you for sharing your holiday snaps with us. Both gatehouses are fascinating buildings - I love the angels. I also love the entrance to the cathedral.

  6. Great photos and beautiful buildings. Thank you for sharing!
    Big hug

  7. Hello Andy,
    What a great holiday. Every picture is just so inspiring and full of beauty. I hope you had a good time even with the rainy weather.
    Big hug,

  8. Thank you very much for taking us along with you on this fantastic trip - so much beauty! It was really a feast for the eyes.


  9. Love all your photos. You seem to have had a lovely trip.

    Lil on Lilsdolls

  10. Lovely pics, Andy and the Gate House? Not bad for a holiday let! It looks as though you had some great weather too.

    I was very impressed with the Church.

  11. Ooo - it's just like being on holiday all over again. Excellent pictures taken with your little camera. If I'd known you were taking a picture with me in it, I'd have asked you to take it again - and again.

    David x

  12. Wow, Andy! What a Fantastic Holiday! Thanks for bringing us all along.... :):)!
    Really, I am a bit Green with Envy... that Gate-House as your Holiday Home???? It is GORGEOUS! Can you imagine how amazing the Manor must have been to have such a Gate-house?? And the carved door surround of the cathedral is another example of incredible craftsmanship! I know I say it every time... but we just have NOTHING like these buildings over here! Can you see that Gate-house as a Mini Build???? I am putting it on my list for "Someday"!!! That's what I love about England.... everywhere you turn are fascinating old buildings with incredible details and amazing "pedigrees"!!!
    I'm glad you had such a wonderful vacation! Thanks for sharing your pictures... they are fascinating as usual!

  13. Son unas fotografías maravillosas, Andy!! Adoro lo bien cuidado que está el patrimonio en Inglaterra y los muchos conocimientos sobre arquitectura que tienes. Da gusto visitar tu magnífico blog.

    ¡Un abrazo enorme!

  14. sounds like you had a wonderful trip..but thanks to Dr who's "weeping angels" those stone angels now freak me out.


  15. Qué cosas más bonitas nos enseñas!!!! Las fotos son maravillosas. Gracias por compartirlas y seguro que han sido unas vacaciones maravillosas. Besos

  16. Hi Andy, Thank you for taking so much pictures of your trip, now we can enjoy all the places you have visited on your fantastic trip. You and David visited some very interesting buildings and places. I always love to see beautiful places of other people's countries.
    Sorry for being late with commenting, I had so much work to do.
    I hope you'll have a great weekend with good weather, some more sunshine as it is here.
    Hugs, Ilona