A Most Happy Return to England

I left the States on May 4th of this year by flying from Charleston, WV to Atlanta, Georgia and from Atlanta to Amsterdam, Netherlands and from there to Birmingham, England. I arrived on Friday, the morning of May 5th, and was cheerfully greeted by Diane Duke. Thankfully, my hostess ensured that the first day was a restful one and then later that evening we walked to the local pub for a most tasty dinner of soup and fish and chips and dessert. I had wanted to eat fish and chips since I left England last year and my expectations were met…yummy! 😊

On Saturday, we visited the grand estate named Althorp, home of the Earl of Spencer and family and steeped in a long and rich family history. I was excited to visit the home where Princess Diana was raised and found myself thinking of what it must have been like to grow up in a grand place such as Althorp. And how Althorp was woven into the tapestry of the person she became.  I still mourn the loss of Princess Diana and I am grateful to have visited her childhood home though its grandeur was hard to take in in its entirety. Diane had our admission tickets ready and we toured the interior rooms of Althorp guided by a most competent tour guide.  The many rooms were beautiful and held ornate furnishings and the walls were graced with artwork accumulated over the passing of time. I was in awe. Outside, it was an overcast and chilly day though we managed to avoid the heavy raindrops.

Upon our arrival we received this handy tote bag and informative flyer.  It was a wonderful event. 😊

Photos of cheerful vendors flanking the front entrance way.

I believe this grand building had been the stables.

Next…meeting a very lovely lady. ❤️

On the top of my wish list of things to do while visiting Diane was to meet Granny Peggy. It was wonderful to finally meet her. What a dear and gracious lady. ❤️

Helen joined us for a group photo. Granny Peggy’s room is bright and cheery. I love her poppy curtains. What a special visit. 😊

Next… on Sunday, after church, we visited the Canons Ashby house.

A beautiful gate at Canons Ashby in Northhamptonshire. You can see the lovely gardens beyond. Canons Ashby is owned by the National Trust.

The walkway leading to the house.

A lovely view from the upstairs windows.

My indoor photos were all taken in the children’s room where evidence of play was clearly seen. It was my favorite room. 😊

A sampler was nice to see.

The Canons Ashby is constructed using beautiful yellow sandstone.  Inside, there was a very impressive art collection and furnishings.

I took most of the photos outdoors because the day was so lovely and the gardens so nice to see. 😊

A special church can be seen in the distance. I love a terraced garden. What a beautiful place and what a fantastic day we had visiting Canons Ashby. ❤️


An area where a fire 🔥 would be lit and people can gather around.

Diane capturing photos of a proud and handsome rooster.   😊

A welcoming pathway leading to the church. ❤️

A most beautiful church. ❤️

A beautiful and moving wall monument in memory of John Turner Dryden.

A unusual tree beside the church.

We had a very nice break and enjoyed a pot of tea and scones.  It was a such a special day and I loved visiting this part of England and spending time with Diane, a most gracious hostess. 😊

The next post will be our visits to the Cotswolds and Stratford-upon-Avon. I do enjoy writing these posts that allow me to revisit these happy days. ❤️ xxx



25 thoughts on “A Most Happy Return to England

  1. How nice to see your photos Ginger. Althorp is only open to the public on a few days each year so you were very lucky to have the opportunity to go inside while you were here.

    That scone is making me feel hungry again! Xx

    • Thank you Diane and I am glad you enjoyed the photos. Yes, I remember that our timing was perfect to see Althorp. How wonderful for us! I am eating pretzels because that scone made me hungry too! 😊 xxx

  2. Looks like Diane was treating YOU like ROYALTY with all these fantastic outings to some of England’s famous places of interest. I’m definitely along for the ride here too.
    Those old stone buildings at Althorp and Upton House are truly magnificent and their gardens immaculately kept.
    Love St Mary’s Church too with that stunning leafy pathway leading to it.
    With only two visits to the UK so far I’m thinking that you’ll soon know and will have seen more of our country than I do!
    Looking forward to accompanying you to the Cotswolds and Stratford-on-Avon on your next post.
    Bound to bring back memories of our 2012 UK Sasha Festival and those surrounding sandstone built villages.

    • Yes, Diane did treat me like royalty in every way! We had amazing outings each day leading up to the Sasha Celebration Weekend. I was very much at home due to Diane and Tony’s warm and welcoming hospitality. 😊

      I really love the time I have been in England and I am grateful to have visited two years in a row. Our Sashas really do connect us and open up possibilities that I would not have dreamed of before collecting these amazing dolls. I am grateful for the friendships both old and new. ❤️ xxx

  3. Oh, I’m glad you’ve got back to blogging and have started to write about your UK visit, after some very tough weeks since your return home. I’ve been to Althorp but haven’t yet visited Upton House (on my wishlist, it isn’t far and I’ve got National Trust membership). That sampler is very apt (and only 2 years older than one in our family). Good to see some sunshine and flowers (and that proud rooster). Big hugs xx

    • Thank you DollMum. I had wondered at one time whether I would write again or at least I thought not for a very long time. But caring family members and my church pastor, along with the loving support from blog friends and the friends attending the Sasha Festival, all have helped me to start again. I am very thankful for so many kindnesses. ❤️

      It was such a beautiful day while visiting the Upton House and the gardens just spoke to me. It was so very lovely to be there and spend time appreciating the rich history. It was the best of times and reliving it now in my mind is very good to do. ❤️ xxx

  4. Hi Ginger it looks like a great start to your ventures and it is so nice of you to share them. The route that I work on serves the local railway station to Althorp and I can just see the tip of Althorp house as I go by on my train. Did they tell you that Princess Diana is buried there out on a little island on the lake. Looking forward to seeing the next part of your adventures xxx

    • Thank you Theresa, it was good to write again. How nice for you to be able to regularly see Althorp from your train! I did know about Diana’s burial place being there on the island but I don’t remember if the guide told me or I knew from reading books and seeing television specials, or maybe Diane told me. It was a very wonderful place to visit. 😊 xxx

  5. Great blog Ginger and such a strange coincidence. When I was 21 I was a nanny for 6 months and Upton House was my employers Father’s home. I spent Christmas there and then most weekends. I am surprised to see it now as a property of the Nation Trust. There used to be an amazing triptych painting by Hieronymus Bosch in the hall, I expect that was sold! How lovely of Diane to take you to some of our fine homes and to cater to your Fish and Chip craving!

    • Thank you Janet and how amazing it is that you spent time at Upton House as a nanny! As you can tell by the photos, I found the house and especially the grounds enchanting. With the church across the road, I can picture myself quite happily living there in my mind’s eye.

      Diane was so kind and generous during my entire stay and the local pub’s Fish and Chips were just delicious! It reminded me of our meal shared at the Treehouse Restaurant last summer. I hope to one day again have Fish and Chips in England. ❤️ xxx

  6. *Note: please excuse that I mistakenly identified the house we visited as Upton House when in fact it was Canons Ashby in Northhamptonshire. I hopefully have corrected the post in all the references. Diane reminded me that we discussed going to both places and chose Canons Asby to visit. I think that, and the passage of time, lead to my error. However, my thoughts and affection for that very special place are unaltered by correcting the house’s name. After all, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, would it not? 🌹

    Thank you friends for understanding. 😊

  7. What a lovely start to your visit to England this year. The places you visited look lovely and very interesting.
    I look forward to seeing the next installment of your trip , It’s lovely to see these place through your eyes 🙂 xx

  8. Beautiful photos of an obviously wonderful trip Ginger, I’m glad you had such a great time. And so lovely that you were able to visit the home of the late Princess Diana. I just happen to be reading a book about her so it was a bit of a coincidence when I read your post.
    Big hugs xxx

    • Hi Sharon and thank you! It was a fantastic trip and I loved visiting Althorp. It is interesting to read about the Princess Diana and I bet you like your book very much. ❤️ XXX

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