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Angus and Dundee | Argyll | Ayrshire and Arran | Borders | Dumfries and Galloway | Edinburgh and the Lothians | Fife | Glasgow | Grampian | Highlands | Isle of Mull | Isle of Skye | Lanarkshire | Orkneys | Perthshire | Shetland Isles | Stirlingshire | Western Isles
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December 2017: A West Country Christmas – Dorset in December

Thomas Hardy’s celebration of Christmas in Dorset in his early novel Under the Greenwood Tree is perhaps second only to A Christmas Carol (a version ...More
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British Castles

Eilean Donan castle
From tiny towers like Dalton Castle in Cumbria, to Windsor, the biggest castle in the country, from the Iron Age fort of Castell Henllys in Pembrokeshire to Lethendy Tower in Scotland, the last true fortified house built in Britain, this country has a huge variety of historic castles.
The four capitals each have fortifications with their own story: Cardiff Castle haunted by the Marquess of Bute who restored it in the 19th century; The Tower of London the scene of thousands of executions; Edinburgh with its one o’clock gun and Stone of Destiny; Belfast’s which nearly ruined the Donegalls when it was rebuilt in 1870.
Castles are a painless way to teach kids history: Dover Castle makes a great stop off when crossing the channel, a fortified introduction to British history from Roman times to WWII.
These days, though, many of Britain’s castles show some imagination beyond retelling history. Alnwick in Northumberland – Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films – amuses guests with medieval games, dressing up, and falconry. Ludlow Castle, a magnificent reminder of how unsettled the marches once were, is the venue for plays and concerts during that town’s festival. Traquair Castle, the oldest inhabited house in Scotland, revived its brewhouse some time ago and produces fantastic beers. Bamburgh north of Newcastle has an aviation museum - and if the kids are bored the beach is only yards away.
But perhaps it is just the look of the things that fascinates us. Framlingham Castle in Suffolk with its 12 towers, a rival for the chateaux of the Loire; Scotland’s romantic Eilean Donan Castle near Skye proving that small can be utterly beautiful; and the marvellously symmetrical Beaumaris on Anglesey.
A castle makes a great focus for a day out, and leaves memories for a lifetime.

Brit Quote:
I think if Keith Moon was here today and you asked him to recall most of his early life or most of his life, he wouldn't be able to recall it. - Roger Daltrey
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On this day:
Henry VIII ex-communicated - 1538, 1st Bowler Hats go on sale - 1849, The Wright Brothers take Flight - 1903, Mary Bell found Guilty - 1968, IRA bomb Harrods - 1983, Work begins on the Channel Tunnel - 1988, Ian Huntly found Guilty of Soham Murders - 2003
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