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Hampton Court and Stokesay Castle by michael ,  Aug 12, 2013

Hampton Court was the estate of King Henry IV of England prior to his ascension to the throne. The estate was then bestowed as a reward for a knight's bravery at Agincourt, and the manor home took shape in the 1430s. Hampton Court became famous throughout Europe in the eighteenth century for its formal gardens.

Since its acquisition in 1994, Hampton Court has been carefully restored to its former splendor, and its gardens are once again a sight to behold.

The gardens are a particular feature, and include an organically managed kitchen garden, as well as a maze, a secret tunnel, Dutch garden, island pavilions and a 150 year old wisteria arch.

Hampton Court has a twelve acre garden which was largely created by the Van Kampens and is open to the public throughout the summer months, and now offers special events such as outdoor theatre productions, concerts and family days out.

The house featured extensively in the 1970s BBC TV Series Survivors: large parts of the first series were filmed in and around the house in spring and summer of 1975. The house was empty at the time.

Stokesay Castle is quite simply the finest and best preserved fortified medieval manor house in England. Set in peaceful countryside near the Welsh border, the castle, timber-framed gatehouse and parish church form an unforgettably picturesque group.

Lawrence of Ludlow, a wealthy local wool-merchant wishing to set up as a country gentleman, bought the property in 1281, when the long Anglo-Welsh wars were ending. So it was safe to raise here one of the first fortified manor houses in England, 'builded like a castle' for effect but lit by large domestic-style windows. Extensive recent tree-ring dating confirms that Lawrence had completed virtually all of the still surviving house by 1291, using the same team of carpenters throughout: more remarkably, the dating also revealed that it has scarcely been altered since.

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