Roman Leicester under our feet uncovered

When I heard about a 2 day event for the public to see spectacular Roman mosaics discovered by the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS)  in the heart of Leicester city centre decided it was an opportunity to not be missed.

For those unable to visit here are photos (probably too many) for what lay under the old Stibbe factory  between Great Central Street and Highcross Street.

Archaeologists have discovered one of the largest Roman mosaic floors in the city, two Roman streets containing a number of buildings and lots of artifacts. So far these objects have been found…pottery, a flute, a knife handle, brooches, beads, coins and hair pins. The viewing platforms around the edge of the site were fantastic and guides brought the area to life explaining about the buildings that once stood there, it was also great to see Archaeologists still working and discovering more items.

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We queued for 2.5 hours for a short but exciting visit, thank goodness the sun was shining!

May 6th and 7th were the dates decided to open, due to popular demand the opening has been extended for this week.

Click here for a short video across the Roman Leicester site

Beacon Hill birthday

Frost sprinkles sparkling like icing sugar over my birthday cake, with beautiful clear blue sky to accompany it, a perfect day for a family walk around Beacon Hill Country Park in Leicestershire. Great way to blow off the cobwebs, get out for a run around to try and shed all the Mince Pies and Christmas pudding from the past few days. Winter sunlight was definitely a welcome companion.

Some of my favourite trees are in this wood, their shapes are so aesthetically pleasing, combined with the light, green barked trees and copper coloured Beech leaves what more was needed for stomping, leaf kicking and exploring.

The rocks are pretty fantastic too, formed from volcanic activity 700 million years ago, the summit was originally created at the bottom of the sea from compressed volcanic ash and tilted into their vertical position by an earthquake.

World Book Day – Libraries & books of National Trust Midlands

My kids say they are too old to dress up for #WorldBookDay so rather than create a costume I have been looking through photographs of books, book shelves, libraries and snugs of National Trust Properties in the Midlands area.

National Trust Baddesley Clinton

National Trust Belton House

National Trust Calke Abbey

National Trust Charlecote Park

National Trust Hardwick Hall

National Trust Packwood House

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National Trust Stoneywell

National Trust Sudbury Hall

National Trust Upton House

National Trust Wightwick Manor

Inside a canal lock gate

Not really what I expected to do for the weekend but had a fascinating trip to Mountsorrel locks near Leicester where the Canal and River Trust are restoring the lock gates.

The lock has been drained – first time in 30 years. No treasures were found at the bottom but it does have the original red  bricks dating back from between 1780 and 1794. The top and bottom lock gates are being replaced, together they weigh nearly 4 tonnes! The lock chamber itself is a massive 28 metres long, 4.6 metres wide and 3.4 metres deep and it can hold 438,000 litres of water, standing inside it was awe inspiring and almost hard to believe how much water should be above my head.

Also had a lovely little trip along the canal in a barge thanks to Sileby Mill Boatyard.

The event is on again tomorrow (28th Feb 2016)
There’s also a lovely pub next to the canal (The Waterside Inn)

An Elizabethan Christmas at Hardwick Hall

In the past 3 weeks I have visited six National Trust properties.

So here is my sixth festive visit, National Trust Hardwick Hall and hopefully it will not the last one for Christmas 2015

Before afternoon light disappeared we wandered around the garden spotting Santa logs, each with a different and slightly comical facial expression.

A grand welcome with 2 huge Christmas Trees festooned in red and gold baubles with beautiful skeleton leaves hanging from a branch over the dining table.

Upstairs yet some more gorgeous Christmas trees, candles, cerise and purple baubles and a birds eye view from the balcony of the entrance

The light had really dimmed by the time our visit inside Hardwick Hall was over but what an amazing sky & silhouettes of Old Hardwick Hall.

Some National Trust houses may still be open over the festive period but remember to check opening times before you leave.

Copyright Susan Guy

Tudor Christmas at Packwood House

In the past 3 weeks I have visited six National Trust properties.

So here is my fifth festive visit, National Trust Packwood House

Walking into the Entrance Hall to be greeted by the bushiest Christmas Tree that I’ve seen this festive period. It looked splendid with dried oranges, silver bells, red stars and cinnamon sticks tied with raffia.

From the entrance hall and along the long gallery with a Christmas Tree in each alcove each adorned with paper lanterns, Delft print origami paper stars and multi coloured Elephants, down the steps and into the Great Hall. To be astounded with magnificent fresh fruit display running the length of the Refectory table. Citrus and cinnamon smell was delightful and pungent although due to my fresh fruit allergy I did have to step back a little.

I love the dining room at Packwood and it just seems to come to life with the Christmas finery displayed on the gateleg table with tree twinkling in the corner. I can imagine myself curled up in the corner in front of the fire with good book and small glass of warm spiced wine. Even the study had a tree in the corner and bright red Carnation floral arrangement in the fireplace.

Some National Trust houses are still open over the festive period but remember to check opening times before you leave. Parkland ususally remains open in the winter months but houses close for conservation, cleaning and to get ready for Spring

Copyright Susan Guy

Christmas at Upton House

In the run up to Christmas I have been trying to visit as many National trust properties as possible, so far so good as I’ve visited 5 in the past 2 weeks. Only drawback is looking at photos and selecting just a few favourites to go into a blog.

So here is the first, with a 1940’s wartime feel National Trust Upton House

I urge you to visit a National Trust property or properties over the festive period, so many beautiful trees, handmade decorations and wonderful volunteers

Copyright Susan Guy

National Trust Croome from sky cafe – Capability Brown landscape architect

National Trust Croome from sky cafe – Capability Brown landscape architect
Fantastic view from the sky cafe at National Trust Croome landscaped by Lanceleot ‘Capability’ Brown was baptised 299 years ago on this day 30 August 1716
Croome was Capability Browns first large scale landscape and what a magnificent job he did.
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