Wednesday, 5th April, 2023

Today was Russell's birthday so we took part in a "Zoom" session to wish him well for the day. Because of the nine-hour time difference between Melbourne and England, we did this at 12:30am our time and 9:30am Melbourne time.
After more discussions with the bank, we resolved to try another car rental company today. Satoshi chose Avis as they were closest to our accommodation. This time we were treated as customers! There was no waiting at all, the agent was friendly, knowledgeable and reassuring. The financial aspect went without a hitch and we were driving out of the gate within half an hour of getting there. We have a very nice Peugeot in which to drive around for the rest of our holiday. Absolutely wonderful, Avis! Issues around getting a refund from Easirent remain. We shall see.

After packing the car, we headed off to Bournemouth. On the way, we visited Highcliffe Castle. This was built in 1830 for Lord Stuart de Rothesay. It remained in the family until the 1950s when all its furniture and 30,000 books were sold. During the 1960s it was purchased by a businessman who wanted to redevelop it. The local council refused to provide building permits. Soon after, there was a fire (which was found to have been started in three different places within the building). Not at all suspicious! The building was then left as a ruin for 30 years until it was bought by the local council who, with the help of English Heritage have done their best to restore it with a new roof and internal floors. Although it is nothing like it was in its heyday (when notables such as Dame Nellie Melba and King Edward VII were guests there) it was still very impressive.

We then drove on to Bournemouth where we had accommodation booked at the Norfolk Royale Hotel which, as its name suggests, is a rather majestic building. After dinner at McDonald's, we went to the musical "The Calendar Girls" at the Pavilion Theatre. The show was entertaining, funny and uplifting. We both thought that the sound was amplified rather too much but it did mean that we could hear the dialogue clearly.

Highcliffe Castle

The Great Hall

This huge stained glass window was made up of many different sections of medieval glass which 
Lord Stuart de Rothesay had collected in France.

Detail of the window

The Great Hall, looking in the other direction. There was once a grand staircase at the end of the hall.

Marble does not burn so this, and some other carvings, escaped the fire.

This was once an intricate fireplace. Its clever design included a chimney which was inside the wall on the left.

Originally, most of the walls were panelled in oak. Most of it was either sold off or destroyed in the fire. Only a few fragments survive.

This and the next few photographs were taken by "Country Life" magazine in 1942 to record the details of country houses in case they were bombed during WWII. It was fortunate that they did as it is believed they are the only record of the house in its heyday.

Part of the gardens at the castle

This track leads down to the beach.

There are so many daffodils in England at present. They grow wild almost everywhere!

The Norfolk Royale Hotel

< Back   Forward >

Back to Calendar