Category: UK hotels

Falcon Inn, Denham, UK

Over the years, we’ve written a lot about the quaint English village of Denham.

Although only a tiny dot on the map of county Buckinghamshire, Denham has made a big impression on us as a fine example of village culture and British history, set in stunning natural surroundings.

IMG_0382.jpg

It’s the traditional storybook English village – with the advantage of being easy to reach from Heathrow airport and London.

We’ve gathered together a collection of our reviews and articles about Denham over the years.  Some of the information may repeat itself, but we can never get enough of this awesome village — so forgive our enthusiasm.

Our experience of Denham was certainly influenced in no small way by one of the oldest buildings in the village – the Falcon Inn.  Talking about this wonderful inn is a perfect way of introducing this collection.

So, welcome to Denham through our eyes and camera lens — and if it inspires you to visit, please say ‘hi’ to our friends at the Falcon. You can’t miss it!

DSCN0597

This 16th Century inn is an absolute gem, sitting squarely in the historical heart of the village amid stone and red brick cottages, wisteria bushes and bubbling streams.

The Falcon Inn – or Emmots Deye as it was called in the time of Henry VIII – has played a key role in the history of Denham.

According to the inn’s website, it once belonged to Robert Bowyer, the brother of Knight of the Realm, Sir William Bowyer, who had purchased the whole Manor of Denham.

It’s said that the Bowyer family crest was a “Falcon rising”.

DSCN0645

 

Today, the Falcon Inn overlooks Denham’s delightful village green, where you can easily while away restful hours listening to the birds and the relaxing sounds of village life.

If you are a guest, you can also sit on the village green and use the Falcon’s free wifi.

On our visit to the inn, we hired a car and driver for the 15 to 20 drive from Heathrow Airport. Once there, we had no need for a vehicle to explore the wonderful old village set close to a section of the Grand canal.

It’s easy to walk through the area’s parkland and winding bridleways to quickly discover the natural beauty of Denham and its surrounds, especially the regional park in the Colne River valley.

It’s also only a short walk on a level, paved path to Denham station where trains run regularly to the from London.

Our hosts at the Falcon Inn put us in one of the building’s top floor rooms, where we were impressed with the exposed oak beams and old world decor.

DSCN0601

The room radiated the 16th Century charm of the Falcon Inn, yet contained all the modern conveniences you could want.

The free wifi operated perfectly throughout the building.

The bed was comfy and fluffy and the ensuite was the equal of any big city accommodation.

The view across the rooftops of Denham was also eye-catching and scenic. Sure, there were some narrow stairs, but nothing more than you would expect in a building of its age.

DSCN0646

 

Downstairs, the ambience continued in the bar and brasserie where we enjoyed several sumptuous meals and plenty of chatter with people fortunate enough to call Denham home.

The Falcon Inn is apparently well known for its fine cask ales and the few we tasted were as good as any glasses we have raised in the UK.

All in all, the operators of the Falcon Inn went out of their way to ensure out visit to Denham was unforgettable.

We have no hesitation in thoroughly recommending the inn and Denham as a wonderful way of experiencing life in a lovely English village.

The Falcon Inn is located in Village Road, Denham, Buckinghamshire, about 18 miles from London via the A40.

Review: The Wellington Hotel, Boscastle, Cornwall, UK

The Wellington Hotel, in the delightful coastal village of Boscastle, Cornwall, is an imposing sight.

Located in a 17th-century coaching inn with a castlesque turret, the hotel is tucked into the hillside overlooking the bridge that crosses Boscastle’s Elizabethan-era harbour.

Boscastle5.JPG

Copyright Memorable Destination 2013

 

We booked online before leaving Australia and – with the exception of Trip Advisor reviews – we knew little about the Wellington Hotel at the time.

However, all our research suggested that Boscastle was one of the most beautiful spots on the northern Cornish coast – and a ‘must-see’ destination.

Everything we had heard about Boscastle proved correct.

And the Wellington Hotel proved to be the icing on the cake.

On the way to northern Cornwall, we read that the hotel had counted among its guests Thomas Hardy, who fell in love in Boscastle; Guy Gibson of Dambusters fame; and members of the Royal Family. And we were soon to find out why.

Detailed review
Q: Were there any problems with the booking?

A: None at all. We had booked two months ahead of our arrival, yet when we checked the night before reaching Boscastle, the staff knew who we were and were expecting us.

Q: Was there adequate parking space at the hotel?

A: This is always a concern in southern England, as on-site parking can be difficult to secure at some coastal hotels. However, at the Wellington Hotel, we were able to park our hire car directly outside the front of the building, in a well lit and secure parking area.

Q: Did check-in run smoothly?

A: Like clockwork. the reception staff were friendly and efficient. Check-in took only a few minutes and we were shown to our room.

Q: Was the room as expected?

A: The room was spacious and straightforward, with traditional furnishings, a comfortable bed and an en-suite bathroom. There was a TV and tea and coffee-making facilities. The free Wifi worked well and the room had adequate and well-placed power points.

Boscastle6.JPG

Copyright MemorableDestination 2013

Q: Did the room have a view?

A: Yes. there was a pleasant view over the front of the hotel to the heart of the village and harbour walk.

Q: Was breakfast included?

A: Cooked breakfast was included. As usual at English country hotels, the breakfast was hearty and filling.

Q: Did you use the restaurant?

A: Yes, we had dinner on our first night at Boscastle – and the restaurant offered a large range of European cuisine in a stylish dining room.

Q: Would you return to The Wellington Hotel and recommend it?

A: Without hesitation.

Independently owned, the Wellington Hotel has 14 bedrooms, three suites and a public bar.

Graffiti that tugs at the heart

Most pubs have colourful stories.

But, few tales could be as touching as the story of The Eagle, a public house in the charming British city of Cambridge.

A former coaching inn during the 17th century, The Eagle has a back room known as the ‘RAF Bar’.

And the ceiling of that bar contains some of the world’s most revered graffiti.

It all started in the dark days of World War II when the Eagle was a popular haunt for British and American pilots, fighting a deadly air war with Germany.

Facing death almost every day, these pilots enjoyed unwinding at the pub.

In 1940, a young British pilot apparently stacked a chair on a table and reached up to burn the name of his unit into the ceiling with a candle.

IMG_0048The idea quickly caught on among airmen in Cambridge and the numbers and names continued to be added throughout the war and beyond.

Later, the ceiling at the RAF Bar was preserved during refurbishment of The Eagle and the site is now treated almost as a memorial.  Although off the usual tourist trail, the ceiling is well worth seeing on a visit to Cambridge.

The numbers and names on the ceiling at The Eagle are not the only examples of famous graffiti in the city.

Not far away, in the world famous Kings College Chapel – with its incredible medieval fan vaulted ceiling and magnificent stained glass windows – there are much older markings on the stone walls.

During the English Civil War – between 1642 and 1651 – Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarian troops occupied the chapel – and scribbled on the walls.

P1010089The red paint marks left by the troops are faint, but still visible and are a fascinating and unexpected aspect of one of the UK’s best known attractions.

Cambridge is full of such surprises.

Harking back to The Eagle pub, it is also well known as the place where, on February 23 1953, two Cambridge-based scientists, Francis Crick and James Watson first announced their discovery of how DNA carries genetic information.

A blue plaque now marks the site.

Visitors can also check the site of the White Horse Inn, where scholars debated the works of Martin Luther in the early 16th century.

The inn earned the title of ‘Little Germany’ because of these debates and is, therefore, described  as “a birthplace of the Reformation in England”.776px-TheEaglePub-Cambridge-BluePlaque

Like much of England, Cambridge also contains silent reminders of an infamous attempt to tax daylight.

Sharp-eyed visitors will see windows in many old buildings permanently ‘bricked in’.

These windows were sealed about three centuries ago in a public backlash against a Daylight Tax introduced by King William III.

The expression “daylight robbery” may also have been coined as a reaction to the tax.

These Cambridge sights are less well known but are absolutely fascinating in a city that certainly qualifies as a  truly memorable destination.image29

To discover how to get to The Eagle pub and other attractions in Cambridge, check the ‘Visit Cambridge’ website.

Located about 50 miles or one hour by car from London, the city of Cambridge is ideal for day trips from the UK capital.

At off-peak times, about six trains run between the two cities each hour.