celebreal estate

May 11th, 2009

NTPL/Dennis Gilbert

Ever wondered where the Beatles gathered to rehearse and write their songs or even what John Lennon’s childhood bedroom looks like?  Travelers “across the pond” can enter these spaces and tour many others that were once occupied by the likes of Winston Churchill, Sir Isaac Newton, and, yes, even an American – George Washington!  These places are protected and preserved by the National Trust of Great Britain. 

Americans visiting should be sure to join The Royal Oak Foundation – the U.S. membership affiliate of the National Trust, which protects and conserves some of the country’s top gardens.  Royal Oak membership, just $55, grants free access to such homes with famous past residents as well as all other Trust properties – over 300 historic houses and gardens, 700 miles of coastline, and 620,000 acres of open countryside. 


“We’re with the band”

Mendips – Woolton, Liverpool and 20 Forthlin Road, Allerton – Allerton, Liverpool

Who would have thought it was in a little terrace house in Liverpool that one of the greatest musical groups in history met?  Sure enough on Forthlin Road at Paul McCartney‘s childhood home, the Beatles congregated to rehearse and compose many of their songs.  Not too far away is Mendips, John Lennon‘s home.  Both are filled with photos and memorabilia, making this just as much of a “must see” as Abbey Road.

What goes up, must come down …

Woolsthorpe Manor – Grantham, Lincolnshire 

Watch out for that falling apple!  Sir Isaac Newton, one of the most famous scientists in history, must have learned this lesson the hard way, here, at his family home, where he developed his remarkable work about life and gravity.  Visitors can actually visit the famous apple tree and discover the scientist’s ideas in the hands-on Science Discovery Centre on site.

 “Prime” Real Estate

Chartwell – Westerham, Kent

This was family home of former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, who lived here from 1924 until his death.  The rooms and gardens remain as they were when he was in residence, with pictures, books, maps, and personal mementoes from his career and wide-ranging interests.  Also on view in his garden studio are many of his own paintings.

“Father of His Country’s” Motherland

Washington Old Hall – Washington, Tyne & Wear

It’s all in the name.  OK, so George Washington never actually slept here, but his ancestors did!  This 17th-century stone manor house includes portions of the original medieval home of Washington’s ancestors, and it is from this house that the family took its surname.  Inside is an exhibit on the first U.S. President.  Guests may wander through the garden on the property; see if you can find any cherry trees!

Healthy Travel

Claydon House – Buckingham, Buckinghamshire 

Florence Nightingale was a regular guest at the home of the Verney family (Nightingale was Sir Harry Verney’s  sister-in-law).  Today Claydon House is home to many of her personal belongings, and new this year is an exhibit entitled “In Sickness and in Health,” which chronicles health care during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries through the family’s archives and relies heavily upon Nightingale’s writings.

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