Country excursions out of London

Royal Naval College Greenwich

We can confidently recommend the following interesting and pleasant day and half-day excursions.

Burnham Beeches. Buckinghamshire. Over 500 acres of fine woodland scenery bought by a far-sighted Corporation of London as long ago as 1879. By Green Line coach from Victoria.

Epping Forest, bought a year earlier than Burnham Beeches, is a magnificent 6,000 acres of forest land. Railway from Liverpool Street station to Chingford or Green Line coach from Baker Street.

The Planetarium

The Planetarium

The Cutty Sark Greenwich

The Cutty Sark Greenwich

Royal Naval College Greenwich

Royal Naval College Greenwich

Greenwich. The only right and proper way to approach such a famous maritime town is by boat, and boats ply from Westminster and Charing Cross piers. On landing, one sees the ‘Cutty Sark’, last of the great tea- clippers. Then we make our way to the National Maritime Museum, occupying the charming Inigo Jones building completed in 1685 and known as the Queen’s House. To all with a sense of the sea this is an absorbing collection, heightened by the knowledge that at Greenwich was’established the prime meridian which revolutionised navigation. London’s smoke and many bright lights hampered astronomical observation and between 1946 and 1958 the telescopes were moved to Hurstmonceux, in Sussex. The meridian of zero longitude still passes through the old site where now is the Astronomical Section of the National Maritime Museum.

Neighbouring the Royal Maritime Museum is the Royal Naval College, occupying the site of the old royal palace in which Henry VIII, Elizabeth and Mary were born. The present building was begun by Charles II. For a time it was a kind of naval counterpart of Chelsea Hospital but in 1873 it became the Royal Naval College.

Hampton Court

Hampton Court

Hampton Court. This wonderful mellow redbrick palace built by Cardinal Wolsey and taken over by Henry VIII, with its magnificent grounds and gardens, must be seen. Many of the thousand rooms are occupied by fortunate ‘grace and favour’ tenants. The State Apartments, open to all, contain many valuable tapestries and pictures. There is the famous maze and a great vine which was planted as long ago as 1768. Just across the road is Bushy Park of more than a thousand acres over which deer roam at will and with a notable avenue of chestnut trees. The best way to reach Hampton Court is by boat; otherwise train from Waterloo to Hampton Court Station or by Green Line coach.

Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens

The Thames at Richmond

The Thames at Richmond

Kew Gardens and Richmond. Can be reached by boat from Westminster or Charing Cross pier or by regular London tube or bus services. Kew, of course, is an object lesson for all gardeners, but it has a more serious purpose as is exemplified by the fact that at Kew seeds from Brazil were raised into the plants from which the rubber industry was introduced into the Malay Peninsula and Ceylon. The gardens cover nearly 300 acres and are beautifully beside Thames, on the opposite bank of which is Syon House, a seat of the Duke of Northumberland. It incorporates part of the buildings of the Nunnery of Syon erected in 1431. In 1578 it was granted to the Duke of Northumberland and was repaired under the superintendence of Inigo Jones. In 1766, the interior was transformed by Robert Adam, with the most delightful results. The lion on top of the house came from Northumberland House in the Strand (demolished when Northumberland Avenue was made). Credulous visitors were in the habit of watching it in the belief that it would be seen to wag its tail I

A mile or so upstream from Kew is Richmond with charming Georgian houses around its equally charming Green, an elegant bridge and the famous view over the Thames from the terrace. The road rises steeply from the river bank to where the Star and Garter Home for

totally disabled servicemen occupies the site of the Star and Garter Inn, a favourite 18th century meeting place. Opposite is an entrance to Richmond Park (2,350 acres) where deer are plentiful among the bracken and where there are trees which must have been here in the time of Elizabeth I. It is a fine place for horse-riding and ideal for picnics, and the authorities have wisely organised excellent car-parking facilities. Quite close to Richmond is Ham House, a notable 17th century mansion ‘probably the finest and most valuable collection of Charles M’s reign to survive’. It is now administered by the Victoria and Albert Museum.

St. Albans, about 20 miles north-west of London is well worth a visit. Its cathedral dates from 1077 and includes a tower built of tiles and bricks taken from Verulamium in the valley below which was a Roman city of size and importance. Among the many fascinating excavations has been that of the site of the Roman Theatre. The neighbouring museum contains mosaics and other relics which help to fill in many of the gaps in our knowledge of Roman life and customs. By train from St. Pancras or by Green Line coach.

Wernher Collection, Luton Hoo, Beds. Magnificent collection of beautiful things in an Adam mansion. This could be combined with a visit to the country zoo at Whipsnade.

Wimbledon Common, a breezy expanse of about 1,200 acres some 200 feet above sea level, beautiful with trees and bracken, lakes and ponds, a wijidmill and a larce earthwork known as Caesar’s Camp, though its origin is Celtic. The area also boasts three golf courses.

The Long Walk Windsor

The Long Walk Windsor

Windsor. Paintings and photographs have made Windsor Castle with its great Round Tower one of the most famous buildings in the world, and it is certainly the most popular excursion from London.

The road route is not very interesting and trains from Paddington are preferable. The first castle was built by William I and in the course of the centuries has naturally been extended and altered but it keeps its original plan and is every inch a royal residence. The chief features are St. George’s Chapel, a superb specimen of 15th and 16th century Perpendicular work. The interior is hung with the banners of the Knights of the Garter and contains several notable royal tombs, while in the vault below lie Henry VIII, Jane Seymour, Charles I and others. The Albert Memorial Chapel contains the effigy of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s consort.

The State Apartments are breathtakingly beautiful with famous pictures, tapestries, sculpture, furniture, and other works of art, and near the entrance is the Queen’s Doll’s House, a perfect replica of a 20th century house on the scale of an inch to a foot. It was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and decorated by many eminent artists and craftsmen.

The Round Tower, on its Norman site, commands splendid views across the river to Eton and over the Great Park.

Eton College, on the opposite side of the Thames, was founded by Henry VI in 1440 and is probably the best known of English public schools.

Parts of the building are open to the public at certain hours and guides are at hand. The famous playing fields stretching down towards the river, are there for all the world to see. Eton’s great day is the 4th of June, the founder s birthday, a great social occasion which is followed by a procession of decorated boats and a fireworks display.

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