Darlene Foster's Blog

Authors, Kings and Charming Villages

Posted on: July 29, 2018

I wrote about my recent visit to Winchester Cathedral here, the final resting place of Jane Austen and King Canute as well as other notables. I spent a couple of days in this enchanting part of the UK with friends who took me on drives full of pleasant surprises.
Winchester itself is an interesting city full of history and stories. It was made the capital of England during Saxon times by King Alfred The Great. Whether he let the cakes burn or not is debatable but when I read that story as a child, I was always intrigued by this man. In the center of town is a statue of one of my childhood heroes and the only monarch in England to be called Great.


Winchester is a perfect place to wander around, with many historic buildings and interesting shops, including many bookstores.


I love the boot above the Clark’s Shoe Shop


At the university sits a bench dedicated to Jane Austen and Phillis Wheatly displaying the importance of literature to this city. It was at the University of Winchester that I attended a writer’s festival that weekend.


Driving through the New Forest made me think of days of yore and those who would have traveled by horse and buggy down these same paths.


And then we came upon a thatched-roofed village – right out of a book!


The village of Wherwell

DSCN2134 (2)

Can you imagine living in a house like this?

Later, on the way to a pub for dinner, we came upon a wonderful old church with an awesome graveyard. Since I have this fascination with cemeteries, I had to take a few pictures.




And to my delight, we passed through yet another thatched-roofed village. My friends were kind enough to stop so I could take pictures.


The charming village of Monxton




The following day we went to the seaside city of Bournemouth, a place I had not been to before. I loved the casual elegance of the place and the lovely gardens in the center of town.


Bournemouth seafront


A fabulous building housing a LUSH store


Lovely gardens in the middle of the city


A huge lilac bush with the cathedral in the background

I discovered that Mary Shelly, although she never lived there, is buried in Bournemouth.


St. Peter’s in Bournemouth where Mary Shelly is buried, along with her parents.


Yes, that Mary Shelly, the author of the novel, Frankenstein, and wife of Percy Shelly. Did she ever imagine there would be a pub named after her?


We stopped for an ice cream and had a stroll along the seafront before I was dropped off at the airport. A perfect couple of days with good friends.


Making memories with friends.

87 Responses to "Authors, Kings and Charming Villages"

Ah, Bournemouth brings back fond memories. I lived in London for three months many many years ago and although I didn’t see much else than that fabulous city, I did make it to Bournemouth. These photos are gorgeous!

Happy to bring back good memories, my friend.

Been to Winchester once only, specifically to see the Gurkha Military Museum which my wife, being from Nepal, was interested in. The soldiers there were fascinated to meet her being the first woman from Nepal to get a PhD! It looks a very interesting place especially with its Saxon history. Do you know about Æthelflæd who was Alfred’s eldest daughter? She was actually Britain’s first Iron Lady, not Boudicca and not Thatcher for quite different reasons. Just been some major celebrations about her https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Æthelflæd

Fascinating! Thanks so much for the link to Æthelflæd. How wonderful that your wife is the first woman from Nepal to get a PhD! I´m sure the Gurka Military Museum would be interesting to visit.

Great post, Darlene. Are you going to post about the writers’ conference? How was it?

I guess I should. I didn´t take many pictures for some reason. Thanks again for the suggestion, these posts are because of you!!

Oh, I don’t think it matters if there aren’t many pictures and I’m sure others would love to know about the writers’ conference and how it went.

We went to Winchester several times, but we didn’t see Wherwell. What a beautiful village! I loved this account of your visit with friends.

Thanks, Anna. Wherwell is located on a small road on the way to Andover, where my friends live. They took this road so I could see the village. It was a surprise!

It’s marvelous to have knowledgeable friends.

Recognised some of your pics, as lived on the edge of the New Forest for 10 years, before retiring to Spain. Very lovely part of the UK.

Thanks, Sue. I didn´t know you lived by the New Forest. I love this part of England.

Charming indeed and a part of England that I have never visited. I always seem to get drawn to the North!

There are many parts of Canada I have never visited either and still parts of Spain I need to explore. So many places, so little time. The North is great too.

So glad you have been to my present home town ( nearly fourteen years in Bournemouth ). There is also the Shelley Theatre, restored now, built by Percy Florence Shelley at his home to entertain his friends. It is good you looked up, not everyone does, the church spire is lovely and many interesting buildings which must have seen many changes to their ground floors! Beales department store opposite the church was bombed during the war, the present building dates from the fifties I think.

How wonderful that you live in this delightful place. I didn’t know about the Shelley theatre. I loved the combination of old and new in the buildings. I stopped in at Waterstones to introduce myself. They were so nice there and said my books could be ordered from their store. I was happy to hear that.

I’ve seen thatch-roofed houses but not whole villages. How gorgeous.

I know, a whole village is amazing!

How wonderful to explore soaring spires and other fabulous architecture with friends. As I write this, I’m listening to the melody from your earlier “Winchester” post. Love all of this – thanks, Darlene!

Thanks, Marian. Pleased you are enjoying my time in Winchester and area.

Thank you for the memories, Darlene, I have family in Winchester and spent many happy holidays there as a teenager. Love your photos they are beautiful 🙂 xx

So glad I brought back fond memories for you. What an ideal place to spend your holidays!

It was Darlene it is beautiful and has a lot of history 🙂

You certainly bring back happy memories, Darlene. I too was fascinated by the postcard-pretty thatched cottages in Hampshire when I first arrived and Bournemouth was my home for 10 years. 👍💖

What a great place to live. Lucky you.Glad to bring back some happy memories for you.

Darlene, I live in Bournemouth just few minutes walking distance from the pier. I would have loved to have met you, but heyho maybe next time?

Oh, my goodness. Definitely next time we will meet for a coffee or an ice cream!

Oh shivers, Bournemouth. I spent unconscionable hours in the Winter Gardens as a teen, having been to some rock concert or film in town. My family moved to the New Forest in 1970 and I lived there until Uni in 1975 but they are still there. It is a beautiful part of the country though as a teen I couldn’t wait to get to the brights lights. Lovely reminder of all that’s good with a place from my past (my ears are still ringing after Deep Purple…)

After reading your book about your family, I realized I had been in your home territory. I can just imagine your mother’s wonderful garden that she loved so much. We never appreciate where we came from until years later. I too couldn’t wait to leave the farm/ranch and move to the big city. (It was my British hubby who introduced me to Deep Purple) Thanks for commenting and glad the post brought back good memories.

What lovely pictures, Darlene. It brought back very old memories for me. I had a great-aunt who lived near the New Forest and when I was a teenager I travelled all the way from Edinburgh on the bus to have a holiday with her. She took me to visit Winchester and Bournemouth. It looks like you had a great trip.

I had a wonderful trip and I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Anne. I am surprised at how many of my readers have spent time in this area.

What a beautiful place! Thank you for these photos, Darlene. Love everything from the thatched roof houses to the cemetery. 🙂

The world is full of beautiful places and it was my grade three teacher that inspired me to search them out!

How wonderful! Is that the same teacher who introduced you to classical music (Grand Canyon), or was that your fifth grade teacher?

The very same teacher! She made such a huge difference in my life.

That is wonderful! I had a feeling it was the same teacher.

That thatched roofed village is just adorable Darlene. Definitely straight out of a fairy tale. 🙂

That’s how I felt! Amazing to think they still exist.

Wonderful post, Darlene! I’ve never visited Winchester, but now I want to! Thatched cottages are aplenty on the Isle of Wight, especially in Godshill. In Freshwater there’s a thatched church too, very quaint.

A Thatched church would be wonderful to see. I didn’t see all the wonders of the Isle of Wight when I visited so I must return one day. Glad you enjoyed the post.

The photos are awesome. Thank you for sharing. Travelling is inspirational.

It really is. I always come home with so many ideas!! Glad you enjoyed the photos.

I am so envious, Darlene. What a fantastic place to visit. I really enjoyed your photographs and the virtual visit with you.

You would just love it. Perhaps you can make a thatched roof house cake!!

I would love to take this trip.

You would not regret it.

What a fun trip. There’s so much to like in your pictures. I have never been to England but it is on my travel bucket list. Thanks for this peek.

And I have never been across the US on a train! You would love England as the history goes so far back.

Great pictures. So much history.

Thanks for visiting my blog! There is a lot of history in this part of the world.

What a great trip. Triggered memories of my visit there in 1997. I loved the tiny villages and thatched roofed homes. I visited so many churches, I became weary. They are stunning. Loved your photo journey.

Yes, too many churches at one time can get a bit much. I try to spread the visits out if I can. I recall my 8-year-old daughter saying, after visiting yet another old church on one of our trips, “Mommy, I’m tired of looking at all these dead people.” I took her to a fun park then. Pleased you enjoyed the pictures of the thatched roofed villages and that they brought back good memories.

What an awesome trip and as you say wonderful memories to treasure. Thanks for sharing at Senior Salon

A lovely post recounting what was obviously a lovely time, Darlene. I confess that Winchester and the New Forest are two of my favourite places. Alfred is reputed to have burned the cakes while hiding in the marshes of Athelney, in Somerset; as you do. A pub named the Mary Shelley is, of course, a frightening prospect.

So pleased you liked the post and I hope I got the facts right. It is a fabulous part of Britain. I didn´t even venture into the Mary Shelley pub and stumbled upon it quite by accident!

It sounds as if you had a lovely time and Winchester looks an interesting place to visit. I don’t know it, or Bournemouth, at all, but I can see they both have attractions. That lilac bush is gigantic, I’ve never seen one that big.

It is a lovely part of England. But you have some beautiful parts of Scotland to that I would love to explore. The lilac bush was amazing!!

There are wonderful pieces of history in almost every village city or town in England. Lovely post and pictures.

Thanks for visiting and commenting. I like to pick one area and have a good look around instead of the whirlwind tour of England many folks do.

I live near Lavenham Suffolk, if you google it you will want to come.

This is a dream vacation for me! Love your photos and can’t wait until I visit. 🙂

I do hope you get to visit this area soon. I know you will just love it! Thanks for stopping in.

Great photos, I truly love the thatched cottages, they always have such an oldy-worldy image. The graveyard was also lovely… I have a thing about graveyards, I find them so peaceful and calming. 🙂

So I am not the only one who is fascinated by graveyards! Pleased you liked the photos.

lol Oh I love them. We almost bought a house that had a graveyard in the land attached, sadly the owner decided not to sell. I could walk through them for hours 😀

How cool would that be?? Even as a child I enjoyed spending hours at graveyards.

You certainly keep the company of wonderful friends, Darlene! I’ve been to England half a dozen times but have never visited the places you so beautifully captured by photographs. Makes me hunger for another trip soon. By the way, I love your butterfly blouse!

I do have some amazing friends! So pleased you enjoyed the photographs. For such a small country, there is so much to see and do in England. I picked up the butterfly top on my last trip to Canada and I feel very comfy in it. Thanks!

These are wonderful photos, Darlene. This is one of the joys of blogging. One gets to vicariously visit places one might never get to. I too love walking through cemeteries, especially old ones. There’s something soothing as well as sad about them and I love to imagine what the people’s lives must have been like. ❤

I am so happy to meet another person who enjoys walking through cemeteries. I too like to imagine the lives of those souls resting there. Blogging does let is visit a variety of places. So pleased you enjoyed this trip. Thanks for visiting my blog!

You covered it all…I am a history buff…architecture buff and fascinated by England (the Tisdale name originated in England). Great post…thank you for sharing!!

And just think of the painting ideas you could collect! England is a fascinating place with so much history around every corner. Glad you enjoyed the photos.

This looks amazing. Such beautiful photographs too. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks for stopping in to visit my blog!!

I’ve really enjoyed it! It’s a work of art honestly.

Darlene it looks like you had a marvellous time exploring with good friends. Winchester seems fascinating both from a history perspective and architecture. The thatched roofs look like many we saw in Ireland.

It is a very interesting part of the UK, as are many others of course. It is so cool to see the places I read about as a child. Those thatched roofs never cease to amaze me. They call them chocolate box villages!

That sounds like my kind of village!

Wow, that village. Sigh, yes, I can imagine living in a house like that. I’ve “seen” Bournemouth on TV and would love to visit it one day. (And other seaside places in England. I think Dorset might be quite pretty, too.) Yet another wonderful trip, Darlene!

It was wonderful and I am so lucky to be able to visit these places. English seaside places are wonderful and just as you see on TV or in movies. I do hope you get there one day. Lovely to see you here!

Winchester seems like a very charming place to explore and a perfect walkable destination, Darlene. Thanks for introducing this place to me and whetting my appetite for there!

Winchester is not very big and easy to walk around. The castle ruins are at one end of the main street and the cathedral at the other. It is an enjoyable place to visit.

That’s an odd kind of honor, having a pub named after you. I wonder how she’d feel about it.

I know, I thought so as well. But I imagine she would be OK with it.

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