Discovering two of the UK’s hidden gems

Over the last month or so, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting two delightful treasures in the UK’s attraction offer. First up, I travelled to the wonderful Chiddingstone Castle in Kent.

In Chiddingstone Castle’s Victorian kitchen.

In Chiddingstone Castle’s Victorian kitchen.

Situated close to Hever and Leeds castles, the site finds itself somewhat in the shadow of these better known destinations but a sustained campaign to re-display much of the offer by the current curator means that it is now an ideal stop for groups. The former home of eccentric antiques collector, Denys Eyre Bower, it has a stunning collection of Japanese lacquer artefacts – the best outside the V&A – as well as renowned Egyptia, Stuart and Jacobite collections. Its Victorian kitchen has recently been reworked to reflect the time when it was in use, complete with original period utensils, and its Orangery is one of the best around. It is most certainly worth adding to your itinerary when visiting Kent, and do consider a curator-led tour.

With some of the inhabitants of the Hawk Conservancy Trust!

With some of the inhabitants of the Hawk Conservancy Trust!

Secondly, I stopped off recently at the Hawk Conservancy Trust in Hampshire where an enhanced experience includes spectacular daily birds of prey displays that give the audience a really hands-on understanding of these amazing creatures.