Tour of Southern England

Steve and I just returned from our last car tour from Berlin through England. One of the great advantages to living in Europe is that we can drive from Berlin to the UK in our car. We love driving for two days across Germany, through Belgium, the Netherlands and France, taking the ferry across the Channel and landing in Dover.

View of the White Cliffs of Dover from our ferry.

In this post I’ll give you an overview of what we did and later I’ll be writing about the things that are of specific interest to embroiderers.

Our first stop was in Leamington Spa to see our dear friends Nicola and Dave. I collected the Acorn Pillow and Loveday tree I embroidered years ago to take back to our new home in the USA. It was wonderful to see these pieces again! Nicola also gave us a house warming gift of the original drawing of the Acorn design! How very special these two people are to us and we’re looking forward to them visiting us in Iowa in the not too distance future!

All by Nicola Jarvis: Loveday screen, original Acorn drawing and pillow I embroidered.

On Monday morning we left early to go see Neil at Benton and Johnson and get supplies. It was just wonderful to see Neil and Dot again. I’ve made a video of Dot making bullion with one of their old machines which I’ll share with you in a later post!

Benton and Johnson, Bedworht – Dot, Kathy and Neil

We stayed in Chiswick for a few days (visiting Chiswick House, the home of William Hogarth and the Fuller’s Brewery) and then moved on to West Sussex where we had a delicious lunch with the delightful Magda(of M.R.S. Embroidery)  and her husband Nick. I was there to pick up a pair for trestles which I’ll be talking about more in a later post. For now I can say they are beautifully made!

M.R.S. Embroidery trestle!

We visited Penshurst Place while we were in the area, as well as the Weald and Downland Museum. I can highly recommend both places as interesting and fun, although textiles and embroidery do not figure into either collection. We also visited and rode on a steam train at the Spa Valley Railway.

Penshurst Place, near Tunbridge Wells.

We stopped at the studio of Jonathan Hatelely to collect a statue I purchase 18 months ago called “Releasing”. It was very special to meet the artist and take time to talk with both Jonathan and his wife Sarina.

Jonathan Hateley and the statue “Releasing”

We packed up the statue in our now VERY full car and carried on to Cambridge the next day. On the way up to Cambridge, we made a detour back into Walthamstow to see the May Morris exhibition at the William Morris Gallery. It was fabulous! I hadn’t been in the Gallery since Nicola Jarvis had her exhibition there. This exhibition is well worth going to if there is any way you can get to London. I’ll write more about it later as well.

May Morris Exhibition, William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow, London.

We got to Cambridge with only one short traffic jam and, after checking into our hotel. went straight to the Fitzwilliam Museum so I could see the Sampled Lives exhibition. Amazing samplers! Again, more in a post coming soon…

Sampled Lives Exhibition, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

The next morning we were up early to go to King’s College Chapel – Cambridge is a much busier place than we imagined and there were crowds of people everywhere we went once the day got under way!

King’s College Chapel, Cambridge.

After lunch we walked to the Pepys Library. To see the library of a man who left us a first hand account of history that is so personal. It was very special.

Library entrance to Samuel Pepys Library, Cambridge.

We drove down to Dover the next day to see Dover Castle. As many times as we’ve been through Dover, we’ve never taken time (or had time!) to see the castle. As a student of English history I loved walking through the rooms of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Port of Dover from Dover Castle.

The next morning we sailed across the Channel, back to France from the port you can see in the photo above. I couldn’t help but think about all the boats throughout history that have come across the Channel!

Watch for articles about the places we visited that are of particular interest to embroiderers coming soon!

8 thoughts on “Tour of Southern England

  1. Wow looks like a wonderful trip , when are you off to Iowa ? Sorry to have missed you again – as ever your always welcome in Clevedon.

    Speak soon – Debs xx

  2. Thank you so much for sharing I travel thru you and enjoy more info on the sites from the computer, you are a true treasure… Colleen… Florida, USA

    • Dear Colleen,

      I’m so glad I can take you places via my blog. I feel very lucky to have lived in Europe and be able to get to these places easily!

      Liebe Grüße,


  3. I too am sorry to have missed you, would have liked to meet up with you on one of your trips to the UK.

    My husband and I travel to Amsterdam at least once a year, often via the Channel; it is indeed one of the joys of being part of Europe. I hope that does not change when we are no longer part of the EU.

    Look forward to reading more details about your trip.


    • Dear Coralseas,

      Honestly, I never think that people would want to meet up with me…silly, I know! Next time we’re n the UK I will definitely let people know and maybe we can have a big meet up with everyone who wants to come!

      I’m sure everyone will continue to travel back and forth between the continent and the UK – it just might be a bit more time consuming at the border!

      Liebe Grüße,


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