I Love England
fell in love with the English countryside on a 2-months-long trip we took in 2004 that would definitely go under the heading of Dreams Come True. We sailed over on the QEII, came home, into New York harbor and past the Statue of Liberty, on the new (at that time) Queen Mary II.
e felt we needed a “quest” and were inspired to follow our hearts through twenty-six English gardens, all of which came with a castle or country house open for tours. No, it did not get boring, because everyday we had to intake a hard breath as we came around a corner in a garden, gasping at the extreme outrageous beauty, history, and artistry of what we were seeing. Here’s the first page of the diary I wrote and watercolored on that trip; will love to tell you more about it and show you my photo album in future updates to this part of my blog. Until then, enjoy these websites for views of the England I adore:
The National Trust, trustees for many homes and gardens in England:
Photos of the garden that first inspired our trip; Sissinghurst
English gardens (just keep hitting ‘next’ for a quick and wonderful garden tour)
Another fun site, with photos of the English countryside
Photos of one of our favorite little towns, Lacock Village in Wiltshire
Organic Gardening; his care for the planet is why I love Prince Charles
An amazingly beautiful hotel, next to a river, in Bibury, in the Cotswolds. We fell in love with it.
Amazing Bibury, where we stayed in the Cotswolds.
And then, there is the adorable Englishman Colin Firth, as seen in BridgetJones Diary. Any discussion of England without an inclusion of this kiss in the snow, just isn’t in the national interest. Rated X-ish. (He is a very bad man.)
issinghurst was the home of Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson. You can read about their unconventional marriage in a book written by their son Nigel Nicolson, with chapters from Vita’s diary, called Portrait of a Marriage. Harold and Vita built this garden themselves and it is a little bit of heaven. We went in May and we were there almost alone, although not much in the famous White Garden was in bloom. It didn’t matter to us; the stroll through the blooming apple orchard more than made up for it. Two video views:
Snowshill Manor Garden
nowshill is one of the twenty-six gardens we visited. I was sitting on a stone bench in the garden waiting for Joe to find his way back to me, noticing how great the texture of the small leaves/large leaves in the plantings looked. I was admiring this darling little “house” in the garden, thinking about who might have lived there; whoever it was must have been very short — I would have had to bend over to get through the wooden door. There was a stone on the wall, engraved with one of my favorite quotes:
Hours Fly ~ Flowers Die ~ New Days New Ways Pass By ~ Love Stays.
wrote the quote in my English Diary, and took pictures. I admired the pink roses climbing on the side of the house, and then I noticed there were white doves sitting on the stone-shingled roof. Suddenly one of them flew into an opening in the roof; then another and another. That got me up, I went over and peeked through the holes in the little door — it wasn’t a house (no, I wouldn’t be moving in after all); it wasn’t for garden storage, it was entirely open inside, the whole thing, two stories, handmade from Cotswold stone, was a dovecote. A house for doves.
From the tea room at Snowshill you can look out on all of England. Did I tell you that every garden we visited had a tea room? Yes, they do. And a gift shop too! Want to see more of Snowshill and other gardens near by?
ritish Country Living is a wonderful magazine. I save all my issues. A subscription is expensive because it comes all the way from England, but it’s like Christmas every month, waiting for it to arrive; it’s so full of inspiration! I take it to lunch. Just me and my Country Living. You can sometimes find it in large bookstores or magazine stands. To get a subscription go to http://www.amazon.com/Country-Living-England/dp/B000UHI334
he Cotswolds painted with exactly the same kind of charm we found when we were there… by G.E. Nicolls in the book published in 1908.
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I love everything to do with England also, we are such kindred spirits in this way. I must have lived one of my past lives in England, (if there is such a thing as past lives). I adore everything about it, the cottages, the gardens, the romance of Jane Austin, Beatrix Potter, Harrods, British movies and even British humor, not everyone gets it but I find it oh so funny.
Oh we must be kindred spirits. I have been to england in 09 and 10 and planning again for 12. My ancestors came from the cotswolds, salford, witney, hailey, chadlington area and i spent many days riding around the countryside and just taking it all in. I am so in love with england, i would move there tomorrow if i could. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, what a pleasant surprise, and i hope all my friends read this who have never been to england and cant understand my feelings about it. marlene
Isn’t tea at Harrods wonderful? Those big round tables, heavy linen tablecloths, the piano playing La Vie en Rose…. tea was good too!
It was a little piece of heaven I can’t wait to go back someday.
We were in England last October and went to Harrod’s when they had their fabulous Christmas displays. It was like being at the North Pole! I had to capture it by video on my camera, so I walked through the whole store with the sweet Christmas music getting me “in the mood” for the upcoming season. Got back to our B&B that night and realized I had started the video and accidentally stopped it in the next moment, so no footage! I was so disappointed!!! Live and learn.
Isn’t that the worst? You’re not alone!
I love the Country Living UK- it gives me a little taste of home 🙂 I was able to take my kids back home last year- it was a fun, but oh too short trip! I swear, there are more lovers of England over here than there are back home!
I agree Rachel! I subscribe to the american version of country living lol xx
I think you’re right about more Anglophiles being here than in England. My sister-in-law has been living in London for 6 months for business and we were lucky enough to go in April for a visit, the week before the ROYAL WEDDING! I was so excited because everything was decorated and there was a lot of advertising to come watch the wedding at pubs and other public places. I even got a special U.K. exclusive Pandora bead. It is a silver heart with a blue sapphire stone on one side (to represent Kate’s engagement ring) and “C and W” on the other side. I love it! Of course, I also got a souvenir Royal Wedding tea towel, tea and biscuits from Harrods and many other wonderful memories. My sister-in-law said I was much more excited about the wedding than her co-workers, at least up until the wedding. Although I have been to London 2 other times, this was definitely special and I can’t wait to go back to explore more of England, like Bath, Canterbury and the Cotswolds. Cheerio!
I so agree Rachel, every time we go home for a visit, the people there are always putting England down and saying there is nothing to come back for, meantime e erywhere you go there are crowds od people shopping , walking laughin and talking to one another, complete strangers! I live in a city where people look away if you make eye contact. With them,
Thank you for letting me accompany you on these daydreams!
Oh Susan…I love everything that has to do with England! My grandmothers family was from there you know, so what’s not to LOVE about it… Thank you so much for sharing all these wonderful stories, photos and links!
In these difficult times, not many of us can afford a trip to England, so we have to accept being “arm-chair travellers” for now. I do like to keep up with the places that I used to frequent via their web sites and by re-reading my books. May I share some of these with all the kindred spirits:
http://www.fortnumandmason.com. Do see their restuarants’ menus which change regularly for cooking inspiration; http://www.hatchards.co.uk, next door to Fortnums, they are a dream book store; http://www.heywoodhill.com – another most perfect book store, this time for old books; http://www.stmartin-in-the-fields.org – check out their concert schedule for musical inspiration; http://www.royal-needlework.org.uk – the Royal School of Needlework, say no more! ; halcyondays.co.uk for enamel boxes;
All of the museums’ web sites, e.g., the V&A, the National, etc. ; BBC Radio at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio; All of the Sheila Pickles’ books, especially “The Essence of English Life” and Colefax & Fowler by Chester Jones. Enjoy!
Love this — thanks so much for sharing 🙂
Greta: I love your links, thank you for sharing-If you enjoy cozy mysteries, you would love the M.C. Beaton books on Agatha Raisin, all set in the cozy Cotswolds…I just adore this series.
Deborah, I took you up on this suggestion and checked out several different Agatha Raisin books from the library. Am loving it! There are a lot of titles so it will be fun to follow the series. Thanks for the tip! What I love about them is that she mentions places that we visited so it’s reliving our trip again! 🙂
We all love Susan and her love for England. I went to England, Scotland and Wales 3 times and will never be done talking about it. The first time I flew with a group of Martha Pullen quilt fans and I flew alone. We saw everything you normally see, plus we took a half day embroidery class at the Royal School of Needlework. We shopped til we dropped at all fabric stores. We saw Les Mes. and had HighTea at Harrod’s, Victoria and Albert Museum, dinner theater at Hatfield House at Christmas time. I stood at Grenwich Meridian on the line that starts the time zones. We saw Bath and the American Museum of Quilts. I never thought I could ever see all the things we saw and since then twice with my husband. Everything is so green there and clean and orderly. I just loved the brick-walled gardens behind the homes. Susan gives the essence of England in so many of her designs. Thanks for this website as it unlike any thing else I have found.
Oh, to return to Britain once again. As a 20 something year old I spent two summers there studying embroidery at the Royal School and with the English Embroidery guild. I took bobbin lace making in Devon. Spent a month in a farm in Wales and crossed to Ireland where I drove myself around and stayed at B&B’s. It was the best time of my life, with teas, gardens rambling lanes and big marvelous Cathedrals. More than 25 years later, I still long to return. Thanks Susan for you work and words as they are so beautiful and touch my heart.
This section to your blog made me smile! I live in England ( a village just outside Bath). I have several of Susan’s books and love looking at her website. I drool over images of the US! Everything seems so big and plentiful. Amazing summers and I love American crafts. ‘I Love England’ has inspired me to visit some of the places Susan recommends as many are on my doorstep! By the way it is pouring with rain as I write this and I am wearing a big jumper (pullover?) in JUNE!
Love your new blog, Susan.
All best wishesx
This has made me smile. Like the above………
I am English and live in a village called Prtts Bottom in Kent.
I love all these posts and comments and reading how you all feel about England. I love home and over the years that has been London, our capital city. ( 5 min walk from Bucky P). Kent and Hampshire.
It is true we have many truly Beautiful places to visit and see.
Many of us see the US in the same way. I have never been but long to visit and take in all those wonderful places we see on TV and blogs etc.
I love your passion, the way you praise and celebrate all things.
Thank you for sharing your love of our culture, Judith. It’s easy to forget that we are all really so much alike and we just look different, possibly speak a different language and live other places. Here’s to hoping you come to this “side of the pond” soon!
Many of us in the US have English ancestors and deep roots there. We feel a kinship to the people and the country. While having never been to England, I have several friends there who seem like family to me. Susan’s pictures of England touch our hearts.
I too love everything British. I visited the artist Lesley Holmes in her studio in Moreton on Marsh in the Cotswolds. Goggle her name to find her beautiful watercolors.
Susan, thank you for posting about your trip to England. Reading your blog and the comments, made me want to go back. I took a Literature Tour a few years back and we visited Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Shakespeare, Bronte, Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter sites. Very Fun!
I was in England this past May for 3 glorious weeks to visit my in-laws. My husband, Paul is from Nottingham. We try to go back every 2 years but this time, it was 3-1/2 years. It is so beautiful there. I love the life and the country side. This trip I rode a plane, in a car, on a bus, train, taxi and a tram. Covered everything but a boat, LOL. We are planning on moving over around September, 2012. My husband misses everything about home since we have lived in the US for almost 10 years. It’s not the same. I would advise (being an American) that if you have the money and the chance, everyone should go out of the country to get a better view of the world. You will enjoy it and have pleasant memories for years to come if you do.
Update on moving to England Sept. 2012 ~ Well, today 2-27-12, I was approved for my UK visa and we will be leaving the US around May of this year. Excited but have a lot buzzing around in my head. Moving 4 animals with us so still a lot to be done. Shipping boxes, selling a house and getting rid of a lot of our items but you know what, we will make it. After years of saying we are moving back, no we aren’t, yes we are…..we are moving back. At least I will still have the computer to keep up with Susan Branch and Willard. Thanks goodness because you Susan make my day.
You are moving home? I bet you do have a lot buzzing in your head!! Are you excited? Where will you be living?
I too have been receiving the English version of Country Living by subscription so I don’t miss a copy. Like you, I have kept every copy as the pictures and articles are so full of wonderful sights and information. One day I hope to travel a similar route as I love the English garden style and have tried to create it in my Arroyo Grande garden.
Oh! I can’t wait to visit England!!! As always, thank you for sharing : )
i’m just loving your new blog. i’m an American–lived in vancouver 38 yrs. for my husband’s work. i recommend the miss read books–fictional communities of fairacre and thrush green–cotswold setting–penguin books. i was in England 17 years ago–now, an armchair traveler and love to read about your beautiful finds.
Have you read any of D.E. Stevenson books? They are wonderful, in fact they inspired me to start having tea parties etc about 20 years ago. The books may be a little hard to find, since she wrote many of them during the war, but it is worth the effort.
I have read all of D E Stevenson’s books, and they are wonderful….well worth the hunt. I have also been listening to as many as I can find on audio. Also, I love Miss Read’s books. Such a fun way to visit a country in my mind that I would love to visit in person someday.
I love all things English too! Have you ever seen the movie Fairy Tale: A True Story? It is an enchanting film and much of it was shot on location in the Cottingley area – magical!
Oh yes, magical . . . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_1q1YBCjwI
Lori, have you ever visited the Cottingley area? When we were in England last year in the Fall, I wanted to go there after seeing the Fairy Tale movie. My husband said, “Karen, you DO know that you won’t be seeing fairies, right?” To which I responded, “How do YOU know!” 🙂 Needless to say, we didn’t go…. 🙁
Lots of lovely thoughts and comments about England. It is beautiful here – I live by Rutland Water in the East Midlands, in a small village called Edith Weston (Edith was the wife of one of our kings (please don’t ask me which one, though). Susan, looking at one of your videos, I spotted that we use the same design of cup – ‘I had a dream last night’ (Bridgewater, I believe) – such a coincidence. But, maybe not, her designs appeal to lots, they’re just lovely. I hope you remember our conversations a couple of years ago? Remember, the invitation to tea the next time you’re in England, will always stand. Love and best wishes. Bernie
I do remember Bernie! Yes, we all love Bridgewater around here! I would love to see you someday!
That would be lovely. I’m still keeping an eye on your site for notice of your new book and really look forward to getting hold of it. I’m coming to the end of my MA in Children’s Literature and been lately studying illustrations in children’s books. Recently purchased a first edition Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens illustrated by Mabel Lucie Attwell – it’s a real treasure for me. I love to read what you’ve recommended (book-wise) on your site, some of them are old favourites of mine, and so I know we’ve got many similar tastes. I’m enjoying this blogging (I’ve never done or followed it before) – isn’t it great? Well, I hope your weather today is better than ours – I’ve a quiet day ahead of me with my dissertation and Alan, my husband, has gone out to Birmingham for the day to photograph steam trains (his hobbie since being a child) – I’ll look forward to dropping in every now and again to catch up with all your news. And, yes, the kettle will be on, there’ll be a home-made scone, or three, as soon as I know you’re on your way. For now, love, Bernie
I’m fortunate to have been to England five times, although it’s been 20 years…the first time I was a little girl of eight, meeting my “adopted Granny” (friend of the family) in Cheltenham for the first time, going to the miniature village at Bourton-on the-Water, seeing the sights in London from the top of a double-decker bus, courtesy of a gentleman who took pity on the lost tourists (my parents and I)…such wonderful memories…
After reading this page, I had to go to Amazon.com and order Country Living – England! It says I will receive my first issue between mid-Sept. and mid-October!! I don’t know if I can wait that long!!
Loooove your new blog, Susan!!! I just told my husband about it and said “Well, I will now be on the computer all day long! ” Sigh ~ he moaned. He loves to play chess on here, but I’ll share it occasionally. 😉 Maybe …… 😉
For any of you that don’t subscribe to the English version of Country Living, let me tell you that Susan is right, it’s like getting a Christmas gift every single month of the year. It is ‘the most’ wonderful magazine I have EVER held in my hands and I, like so many of you, am taken to another world. It’s everything I love ~ sheep in the meadows, chickens (gorgeous ones, btw) little darling hedgehogs, gardens, (vegetable & flower) wonderful foods, oh, I could go on and on and on. The photos are all gorgeous, btw!!! Just trust me, it’s amazingly wonderful in every sense of the word and the editor never ceases to amaze and I know you won’t be disappointed if you love England.
I’ve never been to England, btw, but someday …..
Thank you again, Susan, for bringing all of us so much joy throughout the years with everything you do and now the BLOG …… that just takes it waaaaay over the top for me. Love ~ Jan
i love england as well and have collected emma bridgewater dishes since the early 90’s… i saw them first at a little gift shop on nantucket and just had to have them..and began my collection then.. i have enjoyed your books, your art, and have ordered many items from your store over the years.. thanks for sharing your love of life…in your yearly calendars…i have bought them every year and have “clipped” the art and saved in books and even made my own address book decorated with your art…. : )
What fun to dream. I dream of visiting the British Isles one day. Ireland would be the first stop- – and then the last- – with England, Scotland and Wales sandwiched in between. I love the Irish language especially hearing it sung. It’s a hobby of mine to learn a little Irish here and there- – wish I had time for more.
Currently, I am reading Jan Karon’s book IN THE COMPANY OF OTHERS, lovely! It takes place in Co.Sligo, Ireland. I want to go, want to go! But we’ve no money, “weez po folks”.
Someday Jesus will return , there’ll be a new heaven and a new earth and it will be infinitely lovelier than this one. That is my consolation. Meanwhile, still hope that someday God will make it possible for us to go to Ireland- – and all the rest.
This blog is Delightful.
Susan, I cut my favorite parts from your calendars I have, add magnets and decorate my fridge(and other things) seasonally.
Slán agus beannacht, (goodbye and blessings)
I’m glad you mentioned that Jan Karon book, Heather! I had been wanting to read that since I heard about her new series coming out and totally forgot about it! I pray you’ll make it to Ireland one day!
I LOvE ENGLAND & IRELAND too ! I have always enjoyed Susan Branches cards, artistic talent & personal notes. I Love to write and I am an artist also, but, I dont use my creative gifts because I work at
a newspaper job. what a waste.! I wish I had more time to do the things I enjoy in life ! I have been to England a few times. I took a trip in high school & I’ll never forget it! what fun !the British are so polite. love their accents ! I am British & Irish on my mothers side . My ancesters came over on the Mayflower & settled in Boston where my mother grew up, but, I was born in Milford, CONN. next to New Haven, CT. Because I am an Equestrian I always dreamed of riding horses across the English Countryside, or fox hunting over in Ireland . I took a Horse Trip to Dublin, Ireland with my Olympic trainer & sister & mum. It was fabulous ! we drove all over Ireland.I LOVE ENGLAND most of all , the countryside, the people, the culture. I’ve always dreamed about living in the English countryside. I am still believing GOD will provide the finances to go on a Trip to Ireland & Whales with Kathy Walters Ministry, she takes a group every April over there to
have fun, but, its very expensive. Someday, I really want to go.
With that much passion, I’m sure you will! Thanks Averill!
All of these posts are so exciting to read through, as I am going to London for 10 days at the end of July! I am with a tour, but have 4 unstructured days. Thanks for all of the great ideas and suggestions. Looking forward to a “plowman’s lunch”, a service at Westminster Cathedral, and to appreciate/soak up all of the English beauty and culture while I’m there. Feel free to send me any suggestions and ideas I shouldn’t miss. Pip pip and cheerio!
I do have one suggestion, that you get on a train one day and go out to the countryside. It’s so amazingly beautiful. Find a garden that’s open to the public. One that has a castle hooked to it. Have a wonderful time! Susan
A castle that has the most amazing gardens is Powis Castle in Wales. While we took great pics through the gates, it was CLOSED the day we drove all the way there to see it so we were unable to walk around in it. 🙁 Maybe next trip?
Hi, Everyone – I thought those amongst you who love England, children and literature might enjoy this site: http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2pBRdY/www.peterrabbit.com
It’s one of the nicest I’ve come across and if you have a little one who loves Peter Rabbit, well, it’s for you. Enjoy. Bernie x
To Becky: Wait until you fly into London and look down and see the London Eye right on the Thames and Parliament. Then you know you have finally arrived after that miserbly long ride. Get a ticket and take a “flight”, as they call it, on the London Eye. Also, ten miles outside of London is the fabulous Hampton Court Palace and gardens. The cone shaped trees out back are a picture postcard. I still can’t believe I walked all through Henry VIII’s palace where he lived 500 years ago. The wax figures at Warwick Castle are from Madame Tussaud’s and just wonderful. Please see Portobello Road one day. I saw it at Christmas time and it was so festive. So many vendors and shops. You will love Kensington Palace and see the dresses of famous people and the sewing rooms of years gone by with all spools of thread and cabinets of trims. Delightful! Of course there’s Harrods which is one square block and several stories tall. The food court (grocery store and restaurants) in the lower level are unlike any grocery store you ever saw. Well done and fancy. I hope you see the Cotswolds too. England is beautiful. Enjoy your days there and take many pictures.
i live in england and i would not want to live anywhere else <:') im a real homely girl, i have everything i need behind those closed doors and i could stay there forever.your work is a huge inspiration to me and your books make me feel all warm and cosy inside, i really do appreciate how your work has touched my heart and made a difference to my life xxxxxxxxxxxx
Susan, Love your new blog! You have given me soo many good ideas over the years, thank you! And I love your fabric and and quilt patterns!
I am hoping you haven’t found this website yet – I wish I could be the first to tell you about it – I know you will love it!
Susan, How nice! I never knew. I love you too…Signed, Karen England (*with a big smile*)
Lived in Uk, Steeple Aston, Oxforshire, when ex was in USAF. Stationed at Upperheyford RAF. Would love to return. We were there before Beatles became famous, however still there when they did.
Hi, just wanted to say that I love the pictures of the store! Now, that IS the sort of shop I’d spend a lot of time in (if not move into!!) I noticed the Norman Rockwell picture – there was an exhibition of his work recently in London and it was just superb. Naturally, I had to buy a couple of his prints and one of them is the one you’ve shown on your blog – the family at dinner together for a Christmas meal. I love it. Just to say, too, I recently tracked down a Gladys Taber book – Country Chronicle – and started reading it yesterday in my garden whilst on my swing and now I see why she’s such a favourite with so many. What a wonderful writer and so inspirational. I’m loving it and know I’ll end up trying to find more of her books, plus, of course, I’m just going to have to try some of those recipes! Love, Bernie
I love Norman Rockwell too, and Freedom from Want is my favorite. His home is sort of near where I live; we’ve been there many times. SO glad you’re enjoying Gladys!
Thanks, Susan. Yes, the opening chapter was so beautifully described I felt I was there, too. I know I’ll be adding to my collection as time goes on. I love Rockwell’s images of Christmas, they are my favourite, but I’m always drawn to pictures of winter, anyway. But, what a talent – he just evoked such wonderful atmospheres in his work. How lucky you are to be able to visit his home – I do hope it’s packed with lovely works of his. We can’t have too many inspiring people or influences in our lives! x
Just wondered if anyone has tried Cornwall – I go every year, haven’t seen anyone mentioning it. It is in the far South west.
Port Isaac, Boscastle, Tintagel Castle, Mousehole (pronounced Mowzel) , Marazion – all beautiful places to visit!
I have loved England since I was 7 years old. My Mom and Dad took me there and I was completely in love! I started watching British TV shows on my little black and white including “Tom Brown’s Schooldays”, “Poldark” and “A Little Princess.” I made it my mission to win a scholarship to study in England and eventually lived there for 2 years! I saw the whole country and have returned there ever since. I even had the chance to take my own two teens and now they love the UK too. My husband knows I must have my tea or I will be very cranky!
So sweet, Donna! I’ll bet your teens just LOVE you for taking them there! (I know I comment aLOT here but I just love everyone’s experiences and have a shared love for England….) I think I must have tea today and maybe make up a batch of scones! (I bought back dried currants last year from my trip…wonder if they’re still good?)
Will you ever consider doing a book about England and all things English (Jane Austen, David Austin Roses, Cornwall, Gardens, Tea, Beatrix Potter, Cotwolds, Laura Ashely, and the list goes on) in the future?
Ooooooh I would love that!
Oooohhhh, indeed! I LOVE that idea, Barbara! Susan, I’d be first in line to buy it!
What a brilliant idea! A book on England by Susan Branch! Barbara hit the nail on the head with her great suggestions!! I’ll take at least 10 books for me and my friends!
P.S. Please do it dear Susan!
That’s great Susan. I am sure your readers would love a book about England too. There are so many of us that love all things English.
We recently returned from Ireland (not exactly England but close enough) and had a wonderful time meeting all the cousins and seeing the countryside. Went over on Holland American from Florida and returned from Southhampton, England on the Queen Mary II into Brooklyn, NY and yes while passing the Statue of Liberty thought of my father coming to America at age 12 from Ireland! You love the Cotswolds………have you read any Agatha Raisin mysteries by M.C. Beaton which take place in the Cotswolds? Love them. You might too!
No, but I wrote that down! Thank you!
I especially appreciate your I Love England page because I relocated here from the States in 2003 and married my precious British man. I absolutely adore England and have learned so much since being here. It’s like a new little personal adventure for me, each and every day! It is so beautiful and breathtaking here and nearly every weekend, we take a picnic and drive up to the magnificent hills of Northumbria, where castles, beaches and undulating landscapes are abundant. The tearooms are gorgeous and the people are lovely and friendly. Scotland is just a hop, skip and a jump away from where we live so each time my friends and family visit from America, we make sure they get to see Edinburgh….a fabulous city! Oh England, my lionheart ♥
Loved seeing all the pictures of England, it made me quite homesick, I am from England but came to Canada 10 years ago… Thanks for sharing!
Hi, I had a visit to Emma Bridgewater factory this week. It’s just about 2 hours’ drive from where I live. It’s set in a Victorian red-brick building – there’s a lovely shop, tea-room and outlet centre as well as the factories which are crammed with all the most beautiful Bridgewater creations in their various stages of production. The very narrow streets inbetween the buildings are cobbled and on a very steep slope, and the factory and warehouse are about 5 storeys high in places. The shelves inside the shops are packed with all her ranges – polka dots, starry skies, pink hearts, big loves and union jacks. There are jugs of all sizes, plates, bowls, commemorative crockery, too, for Betty’s Tea Shop in York, for example, in fact anything you might want for your kitchen is available with recognisable (and some unrecognisable) styles and designs. The Tea Room has shelves reaching to the top of the very high ceiling and as you sit on the mismatched chairs at the mismatched tables drinking and eating from beautiful Bridgewater crockery your eyes are drawn to the shelves displaying the most incredible pottery and glass you can imagine. And (just as importantly) one little section of the shelves has been devoted to a range of books – gardening, cookery, crafts, so if the delight in front of you isn’t enough you can get lost in the beautiful books whilst eating home-made soup or sipping a fruit-tea. The flooring is wooden, uneven and varnished and the walls have huge polka dots as have the handles on the shopping baskets. And, at the far end of this room is a section where one can paint ones own plates, dishes or jugs. Families are kept busy there for ages and children, obviously, just love the whole thing. Once their artwork is sent back to the kilns and eventually finished off in the factory they are then posted back to the ‘artist’ and this process takes about 3 weeks (I believe). I wanted to share this little visit with anyone of you who is interested in visiting this factory if/whenever you come over to see England. I think you would enjoy it for its historical beauty, try to visit early in the day and then you can tour the factory itself, and, of course, you will just love all the ranges of Bridgewater pottery – oh, should have said, too, you can also buy her fabric. All my love, Bernie
Can’t wait to go there Bernie! Thank you for the virtual tour! We carry lots of Emma in our store, if anyone wants to see what it looks like…just Love it!
Haven’t checked on the “I Love England” blog lately (obviously not)…just saw your sweet tour of the Emma factory! How wonderful, Bernie, that you live right there! Did you make it to the factory sales this summer? I receive their e-mails….wish I lived in England….(sigh) I have some Emma pieces but not nearly as much as I could/would have if I lived nearby and could make a routine visit! I LOVE the new personalized Christmas design. Thanks, again, Bernie, for that marvelous tour! xoxo….kp
Hi, Susan…..living in England, we, of course, didn’t feel it but all my loved ones experienced that east coast earthquake! I was just wondering and hoping you’re all ok up there in MA. I heard it could be felt all over the place. Very unusual for this to happen in VA….wow! Keep well xxx
I didn’t feel it, it seems to unreal to have an earthquake on this coast!
Susan, Hi Again….and happy you didn’t have to go through all that…..still, it’s scary! I wanted to tell you, I’ll soon be watching those British classic films you had mentioned in your most recent Williard and am excited. I adore movies about England! I wanted to ask if you’ve ever heard of the period drama series called Poldark, starring Robin Ellis and Angharad Rees (she’s Welsh.) I’m a fan of Robin’s (Captain Poldark) and he always writes me on his FB page! He’s so lovely and looks great some 30 years after the series was made! If you get the chance, you must watch it….one or two episodes a night and you’ll be hooked! My sister visited us here in England at Eastertime and we watched one or two every night she was here. She fell madly in love with it so we had to send her home with the full DVD set as a gift. I think you will so love it as well. It is my favourite (and my sister’s!) x
I am originally from Stratford Upon Avon and I now live in SW Illinois with my husband and children. I miss home so very much and I appreciate the photos you posted so much because I cannot get home easily anymore, due to cost etc – thanks for bringing some memories to me – I used to ride my bike around the Cotswolds with my friends, we love Snowshill espcially – did you visit my home town? I hope you liked it…I am now very homesick so off for a nice cup of English tea and a scone…..thanks again.
I’m homesick for it and I’ve never lived there; I left a piece of my heart there . . . We didn’t get up as high as Stratford Upon Avon, I’m sure it’s beautiful! We spent time in the south, but got only as far north as Bibury. That’s why we have to go back…
Linda! You used to ride your bike through the Cotswalds!? That’s like something I DREAM about! We visited there last year in early October. It was beautiful. Saw so many sites….Cotswalds were my fav! When we went into London and Liverpool it was like culture shock after spending a week in the Lake District and the Cotswalds. And ever since then, I’ve been talking about when we can go back! Hope you can get back “home” one day soon, sweetie. It’s a wonderful place….”other-worldly!”
I fell in love with England also when I visited a friend who lived in Gerard’s Crossing outside London, near Windsor. We had so much fun there and I loved the country side. Besides London we spent time in York which is just magical. My love extends to Ireland too where I have been twice. I would love to pick a small village and live there for few months to experience life there the way it is. Life is on such a different level, slower and most people love life and enjoy every minute. Thanks for listening to my little note. Karen
Nothing more wonderful than d a y – dreaming . . .
Susan…….I have fallen “in-love” with the prints from the book, “The Cotswolds” by E.G. Nicolls………How can I find a print of the 2 lovely pictures from that book that are posted on your “I Love England” blog……..If that is not possible, do you have any prints for sale of something similar?……Thank you………
I know what you mean, I would Love to find them too, I’ve looked all over the internet for them, but no luck. Perhaps you can find a copy of the book, but even that wouldn’t be easy. They are SO wonderful. I don’t have any similar, so sorry! That’s why I put them there, so you can see them, there are several more in the book, maybe I should do them all?
Susan…..You mentioned that there are more pictures in the book and that maybe you should put them all on the “I love England” site…….That would be so great…….Please do and thank you so much for replying…….Sincerely……ellie
Ah well…I love England too…which is VERY lucky because I live here, and was born here too! We are quite near the Gerrards Cross already mentioned in the beautiful county of Buckinghamshire. I also ADORE the USA, such a glamorous place to me (still!) and I’ve visited many times…the land of Hollywood, cowboys, Hershey Bars, Oprah, the Grand Canyon, Cagney & Lacey, Frasier (the BEST!), the Empire State Building, George Washington, Little House on the Prairie (Ma! Pa!), root beer, Cheers, American Football (touchdown!),Obama (swoon), tickertape parades, fabulous service and GREAT coffee…and SUSAN BRANCH above all! The thing I’m most grateful for is the internet…that lets us share and experience a little of each other’s cultures. And planes (sorry, Sue, and SHIPS)…that enable us to visit, not often enough but still. Long live the Allies. Friends forever. xox
Makes me want to put on a red coat and sing Rule Britannia! Love you Rachel!
I loved England but I have to tell you about Niagara-on-the-Lake,Ontario,Canada.It’s my favorite place in the whole world so I know you would love it.No matter what time of year you go,it’s magical!And..you can drive there.Sooo,if you are in need of a Brit fix..it’s the next best thing.The Prince of Wales Hotel is my favorite place to stay.The Queen of England stayed there on her last visit and I’m sure she felt right at home.Just magical….and you can drive there!
I ask myself now why I never thought to check and see if you had a blog before now…. It is like magic in here! ~
and I had no idea we had so much in common! ha ha !!
I have a photo of the plaque at Snows Hill Manor… the quote is written in my travel journal too… I love England; and Beatrix Potter. 🙂
Thanks also for introducing me to Gladys Taber!
Just Wonderful! :))))))))
Welcome to the neighborhood!
Susan, I found your first book last year in an very old second-hand bookshop where I live in Oxfordshire, UK. Until then I had never heard of you! I was instantly smitten and sought out more online. I’m now a big fan and collecting them all. I was charmed by your little details on the Cotswolds which is just up the road from me. We go there frequently. It is beautiful here and we never take it for granted. It’s like stepping into a storybook every day! If ever you’re this way again please visit us for a cream tea and scone. x
It is SO beautiful there. Thank you! We hope to be back there very soon!
Just wanted to say how good you all make me feel about my country, England. I really wish you all lived here, instead of the moaning masses, complaining about the “bad” weather. How I wish I could swap them for some upstanding anglophile Americans, Canadians etc. Thankyou for all your great comments about England.
PS- I’m 45 and single, not much to look at, but if you want to get in touch….???
Darren, I have to say (and I know I’m commenting ALOT!) that we absolutely fell in love with England on our trip last year in the fall. We only encountered one really rainy, foggy day on our 2 week trip and that was in London. (People will always find SOMETHING to complain about, won’t they?) The food there was fabulous…every place we ate! The countryside and other sites, unlike anything I’ve seen here! You are fortunate to claim England as your home! We hope to go back again soon.
Dear Ms. Branch,
It was lucky that I stumbled upon this page today. Just last week was my grandmother’s 74th birthday and it had always been one of her dreams to visit England but she rarely got the chance to travel since my grandfather spent the last 20 years of his life very sickly. He passed away in February, and my grandmother was heart broken having been with him since age 16—and so I decided to cheer her up by taking her to England next summer to visit the countryside and London for about 2 weeks. It was a wonderful birthday! But long story short, I will definitely take your tips on England that you offer here. Do you happen to know of any cottages that are hotels? What 2 or 3 places must we absolutely visit?
P.S. Have you ever seen the movie The Holiday? If not, rent it!! You’ll love it!
OH yes, I’ve seen it, it’s adorable, I love the English Cottage in that movie! I think (and this is a sort of blasphemy I know) you should skip London, and go to the country. I would find a house to rent and stay in one place and drive out from there each day to see the sights in the surrounding countryside. You cannot go wrong by choosing a little town in the Cotswolds. Bath is nice too, but less countrified. Go somewhere safe, like a supermarket parking lot near you at home, and sort of practice driving on the wrong side of the road. Have a wonderful time!!!
Oooh thank you for the great ideas! Another great movie that takes place in a cottage—The Ghost and Mrs.Muir, although its quite a bit older…being in black and white….
Great movie! I love black and white–seems right for the old movies.
When we were in England, we stayed at Yew Tree Farm. It’s a B & B, a working sheep farm, in the Lake District that was once owned by and is still partially furnished by Beatrix Potter. We drove all over The Lake District from there. Beautiful countryside, especially if your mom might happen to like all things Beatrix Potter. The Cotswalds are wonderful! One sweet little village after another! London is quite a culture shock after having spent time in the Cotswalds and The Lake District.
Hope your grandmother has a wonderful trip. How sweet are you to take her there!!!
Katherine – I hope you don’t mind me also replying to your note to Susan. I lived there for 4 years when my ex got orders stationing him at RAF Lakenheath.I consider those 4 years the best in my life (well, that and the births of my 7 children)! I love England so much I would go back there in a heartbeat if I could, but I my budget and health no longer allows it, so I have to content myself with frequent ‘armchair visits’ which bring back many pleasant memories. With 7 children, i had to be thrifty, but we managed to go so many places that even some of my friends who were married to Officers (my ex was Enlisted personnel) were envious of all the places we managed to go.You can see so much there and still manage to have it not cost a lot. You can email me privatrely if you would like and I can give you some suggestions if you’d like. Just some of the places we managed to visit were: Cambridge, London, Bristol, Bath, Colchester, Clare, York, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Lavenham, Norwich, Ipswich, Lincoln, Cheddar Gorge, Great Yarmouth, Saffron Walden, Kings Lynn, and many more places I haven’t listed. Most areas have bus specials that run on Sundays during the summer that allow you to visit several places in one day. They go by different names, the one in our area was called the ‘Sunday Rover’ and it cost less then $10.00 per person to ride the bus all day and get off where ever you want to. Even though I know I’ll never be able to go back, I get excited when I hear of someone else getting the chance to experience this wonderful place! So, if you’d like some suggestions, feel free to drop me a line – I’d love to chat with you. Taske care!
Dear Ms Branch, Im from Wales and just like kathrine above have just stumbled on to your blog, and have totally enjoyed reading your posts, I love your peter rabbit room so sweet, i just like to say to kathrine that you can rent cottages; look for holiday rents in the uk on the internet.
I knew somebody smart would answer that question!
oh thank you valerie!!!! will do!!!!
I’ve just returned from a trip to England. Among other places, we visited Port Isaac, in Cornwall, a little fishing village where the TV series “Doc Martin” is/was filmed.
If you haven’t been introduced to that show, I would suggest you run- don’t walk- to rent it.
Loved reading all the comments about England on here! My husband and daughter are English (having been born in England!). I spent several years living in England (in the north in Lancashire, in the south in Hampshire, and for several months in Herefordshire…I prefer the north mainly because our family live up there) and truly loved it. We try to go back every 1- 2 years to see my father-in-law and other family members. Also my husband wants our two daughters to grow up knowing that part of their roots. Currently we are getting read for Bonfire Night- which my husband throws each year on November 5….though he just said again yesterday “we have to go back for a proper Bonfire Night one year….and to see Blackpool Illuminations.” It’s a lovely country and culture and I’m so happy to see so many people who also love England. (it will make my husband happy to see- he always gets cross that the “bad guys” in movies are always English- LOL)
Or they’re the cute ones like David Niven, or the adorable Colin Firth, or the funniest ones, or the Beatle-like ones — I LOVE England!!! You are so lucky!
I have been enjoying your calender all year a cheery lift on a dark day, after discovering your website today i find a kindred spirit in that you enjoy all things British ,I was born there and am often homesick even after all these in Canada. After reading that you love England it all makes sense!
It makes sense for me too and I wasn’t even born there!
I Love your website and your blog. I just found it after I opened a recipe binder I purchased to organize my recipes. I am half English, mom is from Nottingham, and have always loved it. I took my husband and 2 daughters there for Christmas 2 years ago. We drove from Nottingham to Edinburgh, Scotland by way of the countryside…it was beautiful. then back to England for Christmas with family. I look forward to your blog and pictures as I read more. :o). Allison
What a wonderful trip!!!
Just got around to visiting this page, and Oh My! I could spend half the day lingering over it (and following the links, hehe)…
A trip to England has been a long time dream of mine, and my husband is also longing to go back (he’s from Lancashire). Alas, I have a near-crippling fear of flying, and barring an unexpected windfall, a crossing is out of the question. Still, a girl can dream – and gaze at books, websites and magazines. British Country Living has been a favorite for years, and like the American Country Living, every once in a while I’m tickled to find blogging and facebook art friends featured there.
Thanks so much for sharing your British adventure, and all those fabulous links – it made my morning!
We can be armchair travelers . . . and sometimes the dream is the best of all!
I too love England.My mother was born there and I was fortunate to travel there with her and my daughter to the village(Shaw) she was born in,I believe in Lancashire County. I would recommend Susan Toth’s books on England. Christine
We spent 3 1/2 years living in Suffolk when my husband was stationed there with the Air Force, and we fell in love with England, too! Scotland is SO beautiful, too, and the people are the best part (even their accents are endearing!). And if you are in the South again next time, don’t miss the Minack theatre in Cornwall, I believe. It sits on a cliff-face overlooking the water and it is just stunning. 🙂
Thank you Debbie! Right now I have my very own English people asleep in the guest room upstairs! 🙂 Complete with cute accents and adorable ways. They flew over the pond to celebrate their first-ever Thanksgiving with us! It was wonderful. I’ve written the Minack Theater in my places to go book for next time. Thank you!
I am so glad you enjoyed England. I am an English woman living in Michigan. I love Michigan but miss England every day of my life and always will. Thank you for sharing
“… and always will.” I’m not even English and I will miss it for the rest of my life.
May I suggest a book about the Cotswolds? Title: Life in Lower Slaughter: can a Yank from large, filty New York find happiness in England’s Cotswolds?” Author: Robert G. Deindorfer. We stayed in Snow’s Hill on our last visit to England. Have been there 3 times and also would suggest spending only a few days in London and the rest in the country side.
We didn’t even go to London last time, all country side. Went to Snowshill too, and just loved it! What a view!
SUSAN! You guys are still young and fit enough to walk The Cotswolds Way! We’re talkin’ a reservoir if the deepest magic EVER just waiting for you and Joe. My husband and I planned for 2 years for the 120 mile walk through the heart of merry old England. No roads, paths through ancient forests, (we saw a 1,000 year old Lime tree and an 800 yr. old Oak!) Start at Chipping Camden, stay at pubs or B&Bs on your way to Bath. We made no reservations, just perfect! I wrote a book called “Two of Us Upon The Cotswolds Way”. (thinking of Paul’s song, Two of Us, love that song!). You walk through fields for which you cross stiles over the fences. The Way Walks of England became part of the National Trust so they are the same routes and paths that the Druids and Romans plodded, meaning if the trail goes through someones rose garden or a member of the royal families estate, that is where you walk! Surely you’ve heard of these? You have no idea how on and on I could go here, but I won’t! Well, anyway, I firmly believe you just gotta do it. I can tell . . . !!!
Love it! This is on our list for our next visit! All we did is walk last time we were there, it was so wonderful!
when you get ready to go on a “way walk”, email me and i’ll give you a list of what to take in your backpack. (has to include a little black dress for london before or after or BOTH!) not a big backpack that sticks up over your head, but one for about 15 pounds with nice support. we learned and i’d love to share with another couple who are in love with england. i bet you already have one of those tiny yet all inclusive set of paints, miniture brushes, pencil, eraser and bitsy bin for water in a little box. of course you do. SO CUTE!
we were taught by a pro walker and boy, were we ever thankful. she’d been walking these walks for over 20 years. at the time she invited us over and spread out everything on her floor, she was in her 70s. next time we go, however (blush blush), we plan to make use of the transportation of your pack option! then all you carry is a day pack and raincoat and little box of paints with doodling paper. feels sort of like a cop out, but how nice to arrive at your b&b or pub with upstairs bedrooms to find your toothbrush, etc. waiting for you. only thing is, then we’ll have to make reservations ahead which can cramp a style of wanderlust. but at our age, we plan to “branch” out. ha ha!
we want to do a wales way walk next. however, the “dales way walk” in yorkshire beckons. oh, they ALL do!
happy new year. may your 2012 dreams come true plus unexpected surprises. those are the best.
You are giving me wanderlust right now! I’m going to print this and put it in my “to go” file! I’m with you and the transportation of the pack option; it may feel like a cop out, but it also sounds like very good common sense! How wonderful that you did this and have all this experience! Thank you Suzee!
I just came across the most wonderful web site – http://www.afternoontea.co.uk.
I bookmarked it! Never have to look for a place to have tea again!!!
The day just gets better. I found another great web site for tea lovers – http://www.tea-reader.com and she is in New England!!
I just discovered this site (I LOVE ENGLAND). Please don’t do away with these links until I get a chance to check out each and every one! Thanks for sharing!
No, I won’t! So glad you like it!
Oh goody, I’m glad you won’t do away with this blog – I love it too, have to visit Merry Olde England lots, vicariously through you, such a treat! Thank you!
This just keeps getting betterer and betterer! I’m a tea drinking, tea pot collecting, tea party giver from way back. I never realized I was not alone. (I am alone among my circle of family and friends…only I have one whole section of kitchen cabinets devoted to teas and teapots filling all the space above them…and on shelves…and teacups…I had to stop…there was no more room for them!) I’m 1/4 English on my mother’s side….is that where this obsession comes from? Who knew? While living in Japan, I was introduced to green tea….I love it! Have all kinds and Japanese teapots and tiny cups….there is just no end. I’ll be spending lots of time on the ‘tea’ websites now…and dreaming of an English tea garden, while sipping Japanese tea in my ‘Americanized’ Japanese garden in my small back yard. It’s going to be a great year! C
Love the sound of all of it!!
this is just a thought i had about the pack option. i wondered that since steve and i plan to use transport next time, then why the pack? i realized it is still a good way to go since a soft frame pack with 15 pounds fits in the overhead. that’s reason enough! no waiting for luggage! get to london quicker! we hope to go this year as it’s our 25th anniversary. whoa!
i don’t expect you to post this, but i just had to tell you that you can see my daughter, pollyanna, caught in the act of a side-splitting laugh on my last blog. she starts everyday with you. and is presently into the mind-mapping with workbook and all. i call it “anatomy of a laugh”, encouraging mirth for 2012. there are 7 pics showing her laugh develop. AND did you know . . . there is an actual Pollyanna Day in Littleton, New Hampshire every summer?
It’s our 25th too!
How lovely to find all these wonderful comments about England!
I was born in England but now live in Scotland. The countryside is stunning.
Have you read any Rosamunde Pilcher novels? Many of her books are set in Cornwall where she originated from but she also writes of Scotland where she now lives. ‘Winter Solstice’ is her latest book, I’m sure you’d enjoy it.
Where are you in Scotland? We’ll go up there one of these days and I want to know which stunning “countryside” you’re speaking of! 🙂
I am taking my grandaughter to England end of Feb she is at university and it is reading week she is so excited as am WE ARE IN THE COTSWOD AREA CHESTER MANCHESTER WITH RAIL PASS AS SHE SAYS LOOK OUT GRAM AND I ARE TAKING ENGLAND BY STORM MAY NEVER BE THE SAME
CELEBRATING MY DAD S 100 BIRTHDAY IF HE WAS STILL WITH US CAME TO CANADA AT 6WEEKS OLD LEARNED THE LOVE OF THIS COUNTRY FROM MY GRAN
You are going to have the most wonderful time!!! It is a beautiful country! I’m jealous!!! Enjoy — you two together! Magic.
Hi Susan… I have recently become a daily devotee to your blog. It’s a great way to start the day. I LOVE this part of your website…I am a dedicated Anglophile. My husband and I moved to England for a year back in the 80’s and taught in one of the international schools outside London. We traveled EVERYWHERE in the British Isles, every weekend and every vacation and holiday time. We joined the National Trust and took advantage of every opportunity to visit their sites. I was delighted to see you’ve been to Bibury Court. We discovered that enchanting place when we were there in 1984 and have been back several times. My favorite time to go is in the fall; after a day of brisk walking through the fields from pub to pub, to come back to the hotel in the early evening and smell the wood fires buring….such romantic memories! From the current advertisement photos, it looks like many of the dining areas have been updated. I love it there. (Wouldn’t you love to have a solarium like that?) My favorite bedroom overlooks the graveyard by the church next door. I also love the “great” room where we would sink into comfy chintz covered chairs and order our dinner while sipping a cocktail in front of a roaring fire. How nice to be in such a setting while waiting for our dinner to be ready. And isn’t Arlington Row wonderful? I felt like it was a 100 years ago when I walked along the river. Bibury is where I first experienced finding a piece of “shot” in my mouth while devouring a very fresh pheasant! I also have been a devotee of Beatrix Potter and have done a lot of research on her. I have been collecting the figurines, dishes, books, stuffed animals, etc. for many, many years and decorated our “baby” room with everything Beatrix Potter! You’ve inspired me to gather them all together and find a new home for them in our house where they will bring me many happy memories. Finally, I have also been collecting Emma Bridgewater things…I discovered her through her husband’s work, Matthew Rice….he doesn’t seem to be creating as much now, but I LOVE his tins, boxes, books, etc. Anyway, I could go on FOREVER about England. I go back anytime I get the chance! Thanks for the opportunity to reminisce!
I held a fuzzy yellow baby duckling while having breakfast one spring morning on the patio of the Bibury, I don’t think I’ll ever get over it, his little feet kept paddling as if he were swimming. All the things you mentioned are just a big part of my heart!
PS – I can’t believe I forgot to mention Laura Ashley! What a priceless English treasure. (I am currently struggling to fit back into some of the lovely floral skirts and blouses I bought when I lived there!!!) When my daughter Jessie came along, I dressed her in as much LA as I could afford! The big winter splurge was a Laura Ashley winter dress coat and hat for her….all is packed up in a cedar chest for future granddaughters! Thank you Susan….I think I won’t be getting any paperwork done this morning and instead will pull out our “England” photo albums for a trip down memory lane!
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