Travel

Ellie’s Excursions | Blickling Hall, Norfolk

Around fifteen miles away from Norwich’s city centre stands Blickling Hall estate and gardens, it’s Jacobean house and grounds are worlds away from the hustle and bustle that Norwich hosts on a daily basis.

When I decided to go on a day trip to the Blickling estate, I wasn’t really sure what I was walking into. We had made our decision on it being a nice day and the house having lovely gardens, I certainly didn’t anticipate the amount of history that was housed there. In brief, during the 15th Century the estate was in the procession of Sir John Fastolf Of Caister (that’s quite a regal name) who had made a fortune in the Hundred Years’ War. The more known and perhaps more popular owners of the Blickling estate are the Boleyn family (yes that Boleyn family) It was home to Thomas Boleyn and his wife Elizabeth between 1499 and 1505. Historians are confident that all three of the couples surviving children were born at Blickling, including Anne in 1501 who would later grow up to become Queen of England along side King Henry VIII.

Here’s the slightly cool part, Blicking is supposedly haunted by Anne Boleyn, with her appearing on the anniversary of her death every year. Due to the nature of her departure, Anne is seen to be carrying her head under her arm when she appears (ghost stories are so cute and flowery) in a carriage being pulled by headless horses and driven by a headless coachmen. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure Anne’s not quite over the fact that Henry VIII had her beheaded. The coach is supposedly driven down the main driveway to Blickling before disappearing into the house itself. There are witnesses to this, but I didn’t see Anne when I was there. The very regal, Jacobean house that stands today was built upon the ruins of the Boleyn property.

 

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Before I visited Blickling, I had the basic knowledge like everyone else. I knew it was under the control of the National Trust, who under the National Trust act can make bylaws about their property regarding such things as the consumption of alcohol on their sites. (it’s a reflex I swear) What I didn’t know was that it was the first estate/manor house to be left to the National Trust as part of a will, after the death of Phillip Kerr, 11th Marquess of Lothian the Hall and it’s surrounding acres was left to the National Trust at his request. During World War II the house served as a Officers’ Mess for RAF Oulton, when I visited there was a museum and gallery dedicated to the history of RAF Oulton and it’s pilots, which can be visited for no extra cost once you have entered the grounds of the house.

From 1960, the house was restored by the Trust to reflect the way in which it was left them by Lord Lothian. Which is how the house is now to visitors. His furnishings and personal items are placed around the house with a self guided tour for visitors designed and choreographed in a way that means you don’t miss anything or any room out. What I really liked about this site in particular was the National Trust volunteers that were placed throughout the house, so if you had any questions about the room you were in or the house/estate in general you could ask them and they would either be able to give you an answer or point you to a fellow volunteer who could. I’ve visited a couple of National Trust sites before, and I’ve never seen this set up before, but it was one that I certainly liked and would have liked to see at previous places.

Overall Blickling hall was a great day out with fabulous scenery, historical facts and sunny weather, Okay, so the weather doesn’t come with the house, but it’s rather smashing in the sunshine. Perfect for a family day out or a wander for inspired souls. There truly is something for everyone.

 

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A Week In Review

As far as weeks go I like to think that this week was a pretty good one for me. Because of that, I thought I would share it with you.

Wednesday 9th March:
On Wednesday, I had the honour and privilege to meet and present alongside a survivor of the holocaust, Janine Webber. I have previously mentioned on here that I was granted the opportunity to visit Auschwitz Birkenau with the Holocaust Education Trust as part of one of the programmes they run. As part of this programme me and Holly (my companion in all of this) were required to do something with the knowledge we had learnt from the trip. Early on we decided to do an evening and get a survivor to deliver their testimony, but we never realised all of the different things you have to think about when doing such a thing.100 hand cut programs, a lot of promotion, and a lot of  favours  later we pulled it off and delivered our experiences alongside Janine’s testimony to a crowd of about 100, raising around £450 in the process.

Let me tell you about Janine, as I can officially say with  confidence that she is one the bravest, kindest, most humble and genuine people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, she remarkable and her story is even more so.  Born in Lwow Poland (modern day Lviv, Ukraine) in 1932. Janine spent the majority of the Holocaust escaping persecution at the hands of the German occupying forces by seeking refuge with Polish families and assuming different identities that weren’t observant of her native Jewish faith. Losing her family in the process of running, Janine’s story is an emotional and inspiring one. Finally moving to England in 1956, Janine went on to marry her husband and have a family of her own, but not forgetting the family she was forced to leave.

You can read a full testimony here on HET’s website.

Edited with Janine

Friday 11th March: 
For someone who is possibly moving there in under 6 months, you think I would be spending a bit more time in Canterbury, getting to know where things are, the essentials that sort of thing. Honestly, I hardly ever go to Canterbury, which is a shame really because this week I realised how much history is about 30 minutes from my front door. Me and a bunch of great friends (Holly included) went to a trip with the most enthusiastic teacher I think I have ever met to the Cathedral and to the archives that are housed there, I probably say this a lot, but it’s a day that I will never forget. I’d never been to the Cathedral before so going for the first time with a teacher whose expertise is in medieval history and a tour guide telling us stories alongside. I think I will be disappointed when I go back next.

I’m kidding, with such beautiful architecture and windows, I don’t think I will ever be disappointed in the Cathedral, or Canterbury in general. After a great time exploring the Cathedral and looking at original pieces from dates as far back as 1072! We went on to all have lunch together, something I found very funny, the entire idea of having a sit down meal with my history teacher just made me laugh, needless to say it was one of the tastiest meals I have had in a while. We went to a place called Byrons near the Cathedral (where Lizzie let me take an ‘Instagram worthy’ photo of her hot chocolate) and all had some form of burger, I had a classic one with sweet potato fries (a new discovery for me). A day with great friends, plenty of history, and even more laughter. What more could I want?

Admittedly, this week as been quite a history heavy one, however I hope you have enjoyed hearing about it as much as I enjoyed living it.

 

See you next time,
Ellie x

My Experience Of Auschwitz

They tell you it’s emotional, they tell you it’s difficult, and they tell you that it was the final place for just over a million people. What they fail to mention is that when you visit Auschwitz and Auschwitz Birkenau, it’s hard to detach yourself from the suffering that took place there. No life is present; it truly is an immortal place of mourning. Seeing the dehumanising conditions that we did, it’s difficult to comprehend how one person can treat another like that. You can never be fully prepared, both mentally and emotionally, for such an experience as I was, and still am, shocked as to how the prisoners were treated, as they weren’t a mere statistic that our education makes you believe, they were people.

I was selected from two A-level history classes along with a good friend to experience Auschwitz and learn about the Holocaust, and I am honoured that I got granted such an opportunity, and I am so thankful that LFA run these trips as they wish to educate people beyond the statistics, they show you the people behind the number, and the individuals behind the Holocaust. I will never forget my experience, and I hope that I can go on and share my experience and educate people much like LFA.

To learn more about the Holocaust Education Trust and the precious work they do, please visit there website.  They are such an eye opening organisation determined to educate the next generation about the Holocaust, and one that I am very passionate about supporting. If you have any questions about my experience, anything at all no matter how small please leave me a comment below.

Till next time,
Ellie

Around The World In About 10 Minutes

I’d like to travel, not like hop on a boat with a map and compass for a year alone travel, and not drunken weekends and alcohol amnesia travel. But just travel, go places that aren’t what I consider home, to me it can be half way across the globe or just up the road. Today I thought I would share with you some of the places I want to visit. Now if you are all aware of the emergency exits and have perused the safety leaflet prepare for take off.

Devon:

We are starting off close to home, kinda, well England. No reason for this one really, it just looks lovely, relaxing, and full of original charm. And check out the beaches, I’d happily grab an ice cream and a bag of chips and sit there for a while!

Bath:

Let’s not go too far on this trip shall we. Bath, where to start? First of all the Roman baths, who doesn’t want to go there? With it’s extraordinary architecture and the ability to transport you back in time with water, it’s oozes a relaxing vibe and I have received very great views about it. Onto another piece of architecture I would love to visit the Royal Cresent in Bath, it’s shire size and magnitude are a much more than what’s conveyed through the pictures, so I can’t imagine how big and impressive it is in the flesh, well brick.

Australia

Now this location has much more of personal reason for my visit, she’s been asking for a mention for ages so here it is. My friend who I haven’t seen since primary school, Hannah (Hi out there if you’re reading!) she’s currently visiting me in my natural habitat, and I would be pretty awesome to visit her in her’s. Plus, Australia seems like a great place, if you exclude the storms, flash flood, hail, and forest fire season! Very idyllic indeed!

Washington DC:

You can’t have one of these posts and not go to America! That would be wrong! DC has always been on my list, for as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to go and see Mr President, well his house, they’d never let me near 😛 It looks like one of them places that is constantly busy, but calm all out once, that and I think my subconscious hopes that if I get there the film ‘National Treasure’ might just happen!

New York:

NEW YORK! NEW YORK! The tourist capital of the world, everybody has been, even King Kong! Unlike DC this place is a recent addition to my list, I was never really interested in New York really, but then I read ‘From Notting Hill To New York…Actually’ by Ali McNamara and my view was changed completely. I quickly fell in love with this city of convenience and history, therefore I deserves a place on my list.  

If you’d all make sure your seatbelts are secure as we come in to land. There was a little preview into my ‘Places to Visit’ list, yep I actually have one! Sorry it’s not really bookish, but I’m working on expanding my horizions, that and I have some fab reviews coming up for you in the next few weeks.

We hope you enjoyed flying with ‘EllieAir’ have a safe trip home, we hope to see you soon!