Image Map

Cake and Castles

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Whilst halfway up a mountain in Wales over Easter, I turned round to my mum and said something along the lines of "Cake, coffee, second hand bookshops and castles: today has been pretty perfect, hasn't it?"  We were being merrily buffeted by wind and rain at this point, I had a serious case of Castle Hair going on (does anyone else with long hair get this? The tangles are EPIC) and it was generally quite grim but I was so, so content with life.

Britain is an endlessly fascinating place. Trips abroad are all well and good but there's so much to see right here. We stayed in Bishop's Castle in Shropshire which is only about 80 miles away from home. Plus I've visited Shropshire quite a lot over the years and have done most of the obvious tourist things there. That doesn't mean we were short of things to do!

Bishop's Castle itself is tiny but rather lovely. You've got to love a place with polka dot houses and lots of yarnbombing, haven't you?

So where did we go? What did we do? We didn't stay in the cottage reading and playing Bananagrams all week, I promise.

We went to Montgomery and found:

Bunners, the BEST shop in the whole world. It's a proper treasure trove of ironmongery, hardware and kitchenware and even has old fashioned petrol pumps outside!

Also the world's most tasteful Spar

And a ruined castle. As I mentioned above, the weather was not great so it wasn't ideal for arty photos. Also I was too busy facing my fear of falling through gappy bridges to get my camera out. They scare the crap out of me. You can't see it properly but there's a drop of about 50 feet below this and oh my god, what if I fell through the gaps and DIED? It's a looooooooong way down!

We went to Much Wenlock and looked around the very beautiful priory. It was a visit full of topiary and Highland coos and lady selfies in the ruins of the Lady Chapel. Also me utterly failing to pose properly for photos.

We went to an Iron Age hill fort (as you do). It used to look like this:

Now it looks like this:

Imagination is a very helpful thing when visiting places like this!

We went to a stone circle in the middle of nowhere.

We went to Benthall Hall which is beautiful and has the friendliest volunteers. My favourite fact of all time is that one of the previous owners used to eat 16 sausages a day. Sixteen!! Also see that room on the left hand side of the ground floor? There was a Civil War battle in that room - cannons through the windows and dead soldiers all over the floor.

We went to Shrewsbury for the day where I had a delicious lunch and a lovely afternoon with Char.

We went on quite a lot of zooming around Z roads (my mother is a truly intrepid driver) looking at odd place names. Snailbeach or The Bog anyone?

Then on my birthday we all had cake for breakfast and went off to Stokesay Castle and Ludlow. The sun shone and it was utterly blissful.

Cats in shops alert!! This brilliant cafe/bookshop/record shop in Bishop's Castle (which also sells the best apricot slice I've ever eaten) has an excellent ginger moggy.

Then in a tiny, cluttered antiques shop in Much Wenlock we found this enormous fluffmonster. Apparently he lives in a pub, is called Carling and pays a daily visit to the shop.

ps - I bought some books. Quelle surprise.


  1. Sounds like a perfect time was had by all. I hope you had great birthday Alex.

    And no your not the only one that gets castle hair, I always get it too.

    X x

  2. It looks fab. I get the worst tangles!

  3. Oh, your post has shamed me into remembering just how many lovely places there are, literally a stone's throw away from my front door. I've not been to Stokesay Castle in an age.

  4. That sounds like a great way to spend a weekend/celebrate Easter. You certainly have your priorities right. Also that copy of The Wind in the Willows looks beautiful - you lucky thing.

  5. Found this via the 'Katy' blog, via the circle of pine trees year in books post for April, and what a great read. It's several years since I was in the area you mention, but I could have stayed in Hay forever!

  6. That green polka dot house is the best house EVER! I want to live there. Looks like you've had fantastic mini break. I'm a fan of local holidays as well. There's so much to see in the UK. Also, yay for cats in shops! Way better than dogs in shops.

  7. :Scream: What a gorgeous place! I too love nothing better than an explore around our fair isle and finding little gems like this with a lovely book shop and a slice of cake and a cuppa afterwards. Right that's it, I'm heading to Shropshire!

    PS. Love the tasteful Spar - wish they could all be like that!

  8. Oh you're wearing your mint polkadots, pity you didn't get a pic of you in it next to the mint polkadot house! Looks like an excellent place to visit.

  9. Shropshire looks lovely but not as lovely as Wales obviously (not biased, honest) cake and books are my favourite things and most of my job involves them, very lucky x

  10. As always too many things to comment on in these posts so I shall limit myself to words.

    - I want a crocheted flower garland
    - Never mind Bog how did you not go to Shelve?!

    I don't know why some of those are in capitals. They just merited it.

  11. How delightful! You seemed to have made a really good job of enjoying your break!x

  12. Looks like an awesome trip to me, love the moments of content, where things are (although often far too fleetingly) just right.

    Also, windy + hair = much tangling. I feel you pain. Braiding has been my solution to this problem, especially when I'm out on the bike. The only problem is that I'm now struggling to reach for the midsections of hair that are behind my head. Too long!

  13. looks like you had a nice break, the photos are lovely. Really like the pic of the highland cows

  14. This looks like the perfect holiday, can I go away with you soon?!

    Maria xxx

  15. Cats in shops! Cats in shops! I'm going, that's all there is to it.


I'm easily pleased - a simple comment will cheer me up no end. So do drop me a line below...

Sorry to readers who prefer to comment anonymously but I am getting clobbered with spam at the moment so have had to disable anon comments. Feel free to get in touch with me in another way!