Upstairs, downstairs at Cliveden House

Bells in the former servants quarters of Cliveden House credit Irene Caswell

This week saw the launch of a new summer pop-up Champagne Terrace bar at Cliveden House. The Italianate mansion is the former home of Nancy Astor, wife of the 2nd Viscount Astor. In the 1920s and 1930s Cliveden was the meeting place of the Cliveden Set. In the early 1960s, it became the setting for the events of the notorious Profumo Affair.

Continue reading “Upstairs, downstairs at Cliveden House”

Review: Queen Victoria’s Palace, Buckingham Palace summer opening

Portraits of a young Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II at the entrance to the summer opening at Buckingham Palace 2019.

Today sees the annual summer opening of Buckingham Palace. The palace doors will be thrown wide from today for just a few weeks. There is nothing I like more than taking a peek inside beautiful homes and this one also features a new exhibition every year. This year Queen Victoria’s Palace marks the bicentenary. It is 200 years since Victoria’s (and coincidentally Prince Albert’s) birth. The young Queen moved into the Palace within three weeks of her coronation and transformed it from a private house into a working royal residence, a family home and a space where the public could be invited. A tradition that continues to this day.

Continue reading “Review: Queen Victoria’s Palace, Buckingham Palace summer opening”

Leonardo 500th anniversary exhibition preview

A film crew at the press preview. Leonardo da Vinci: A life in Drawing, The Queens Gallery, Buckingham Palace

At the press preview today of a NEW blockbuster exhibition marking the 500th Anniversary of the death of Renaissance Master, Leonardo da Vinci. The largest UK exhibition of drawings in 65 years opens tomorrow at The Queens Gallery, Buckingham Palace. I was privileged to be invited to take a sneek peak, and thrilled to get up close and personal with these beautiful, intricate drawings.

Continue reading “Leonardo 500th anniversary exhibition preview”

The Odyssey – restaurant opening

The Holiday Inn at Winchester has been undergoing a front of house transformation. The previously vast open space has been transformed into an ‘Open Lobby’, a vibrant mix of cosy sofas, an e-bar with WiFi, a Media Space with comfy seating, games and TV, and a swish new bar and elegant restaurant.

Continue reading “The Odyssey – restaurant opening”

Surviving or Thriving

A new exhibition on ‘Plants and Us’

Four eyes, a rare photo of me wearing my specs!

All life depends on plants. I’ll say that again. All of life, and that means human life, depends on the survival of plants, and 25% are currently under threat, according to the Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst at a preview of a new exhibition.

Continue reading “Surviving or Thriving”

Exhibition review

The Many Faces of Tudor England, Mary Rose, Portsmouth

The Many Faces of Tudor England at the Mary Rose museum, Portsmouth opened today. The preview was 8am this morning and followed the Channel 4 documentary Skeletons of the Mary Rose: New Evidence part of the award-winning Secret Histories series, which aired last evening. 10 months in the making, it reveals new information, the result of unique, cutting-edge scientific DNA and genealogical investigation. It turns out the crew of Henry VIII’s favourite warship, Mary Rose, was multi-cultural which the programme makers claim ‘redefines what we thought we knew about Tudor England’.

Continue reading “Exhibition review”