The very concept of what constitutes culture arouses a fair bit of discussion even in my office, not least as one of my colleagues originally hails from Hull. On 1st January 2017 the city will take up its place as the UKs City of Culture. I could just about cope with understanding the concept behind Liverpool as the European Capital of Culture in 2008. But I just don’t see Hull as cultural. Perhaps it’s simply because I grew up not a million miles away.
The UK isn’t alone in having its own city of Culture and I was recently fortunate enough to spend a day in the beautiful northern Italian town of Mantua. Continue reading A tale of two Cultural Cities
Vienna is a beautiful city with attractive architectural delights and an array of fantastic coffee houses such as Demel or Hotel Sacher. There is so much to see and do that invariably you need a guide to help you plan beforehand. We have found the Lonely Planet Guides as good as any and have a shelf full of them at home.
But they really don’t cover everything. Continue reading One you won’t find in the guide book… Vienna
The Kunsthistorisches Museum or KHM, as it’s known to locals, is an absolute must on any trip to Vienna. Its collection is a superb treasure trove of art to rival the worlds very best. The building itself is in my humble opinion the most beautiful major museum in the world. I’m not trying to do down either the Louvre or the Hermitage (both are beautiful), it’s just that the KHM edges them out. Continue reading If you could take away just one thing from… Kunsthistorisches Museum (Vienna)
No, it’s not the Book of Kells… Often it’s hard to pick out just one thing as a real highlight from a trip. Dublin’s most famous work of art is undoubtedly the Book of Kells. It’s beautiful but, well, manuscripts however fine don’t really do it for me.
So if you want to see something equally world class make the short walk over to the National Gallery of Ireland. Entry is free and there’s nothing like the volume of people you’ll find queuing up over at Trinity College.
On display you will quickly find a real masterpiece. It’s a great example of Vermeer at his absolute best. Continue reading If you can see just one thing in… Dublin
I love going home to Yorkshire but often I need something else to do to help pass the time. Family chit chat isn’t really me. So when I first read of the opening of the Portland Collection at The Harley Gallery, I thought it made the perfect trip. Art and history combined in less than an hour’s drive from my parents. Continue reading Michelangelo and other treasures from the Portland Collection
Blenheim, Burleigh, Chatsworth and Castle Howard: the English country house is a thing of beauty. Each year millions of us visit these great ancestral piles from a bygone age. One long forgotten house deserves to be returned to the roll call of the greats. More fortunate than some, Wentworth Woodhouse has not survived until today without showing her age. She is, however, even in her present condition, exceptional.
Continue reading Wentworth Woodhouse: a slumbering great English country house
Books are such a rich accompaniment to life. A trip or holiday is so often enhanced by what we are reading. I can still recall what I was reading when I got engaged to my wife whilst in Florence. I don’t really understand the kindle as anything other than a device to beat the weight limit of our airport luggage. For me there is a simple unadulterated joy in placing the finished book, preferably hardback, on the shelf. Not very enjoyable – and the book may eventually make the second unseen row. A great or interesting tome might also find a place next to classics like Brideshead Revisited, to which I have returned again and again. Continue reading A pocket size hit
It’s no exaggeration to say that around every corner of Venice you can meet an unexpected pleasure, a beautiful little church, an impressively grand palazzo or one of the many breath-taking views. It is also an art lovers’ paradise. Not far from the Grand Canal and a short walk Galleria d’Accademia lies such a treasure. Palazzo Cini has in the last 12 months been further enhanced with a new group of art works from the original Cini collection. So it’s a place that may have escaped the visitors’ attention. I’ve been to Venice many times in recent years but knew nothing of the Palazzo Cini. Hardly a surprise, as it only reopened to the public at the beginning of April 2016. Continue reading Palazzo Cini the new jewel in Venice