Maybe it’s the time of year but there is a romantic flavour to the spring issue of Discover Britain. Historian Nigel Jones pays a visit to beautiful Kenilworth Castle, where Robert Dudley went to spectacular lengths to woo Queen Elizabeth I. He may have captured her heart, but Elizabeth’s head ruled in the end.
For more successful attempts at finding a royal spouse, we mark 80 years since King Edward VIII abdicated for the woman he loved in our exploration of scandalous stately settings – from Brocket Hall, where the future George IV visited his mistress, to Sissinghurst Castle, where the poet Vita Sackville-West and her husband, diplomat and author Harold Nicolson, conducted their open marriage. Other beauty spots in this issue include picturesque Suffolk, famed for its painters, and the Welsh town of Hay-on-Wye, a book-lover’s paradise.
Less famed for their romantic tendencies, the mighty Normans are another recurring theme. This year marks a very special anniversary: 950 years since 1066, when William the Conqueror defeated King Harold II in the Battle of Hastings. Claimed by some to be the last time Britain was successfully invaded – though that point is one to be debated in the history classroom – what is clear is that the Normans left their mark on Britain’s landscape in the form of their colossal castles and cathedrals. Alexander Larman visits Hastings, while we also explore eight great British cathedrals, most of which have Norman origins.
Finally, don’t miss our revamped Discover London section featuring the summer’s most exciting cultural highlights.