A Victorian Valhalla: Meeting London’s Famous Dead at Highgate Cemetery

Visitors come to a dead stop when they first see the gateway to Egyptian Avenue. Flanked by two pairs of columns with lotus bud capitals and a forbidding overhead archway, it leads to the “Street of the Dead”.

London’s renowned Highgate Cemetery exudes its own distinct spirit as you stroll through its long, narrow winding gravel paths. Shaded by a forest canopy of ancient, leafy, towering oaks, alders, willows, and silver birch and chestnut trees, you can see all of England’s quintessential natural beauty within the 37-acre confines of this park-like necropolis. At Highgate, nature’s ground cover ... Read Full Article

Taking the Waters in Baden-Baden, Germany

Further along “Culture Row” we take a quick walk through the 19th century Kurhaus. The austere white exterior of the Kurhaus—with eight towering Corinthian pillars—belies what lies inside.

  The immaculate little town of Baden-Baden, tucked away in the foothills of S.W. Germany’s Black Forest, is a luxurious cross between Monte Carlo, Paris, a spa, and an English park. Within a few minutes’ walk in Baden-Baden you can see the world’s most beautifully appointed casino, stroll through a verdant green park that is a dead ringer for an English Victorian garden, and sip an ... Read Full Article

One Day in Brussels

Guild houses in the Grand Place

  The “wow” factor is high as you walk through the narrow uneven cobblestone alleys to suddenly emerge on the large square at the Grand Place. It’s the number one sight in Brussels, and one of the finest medieval squares in Europe. The tall Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque facades of the elaborately crafted guild houses tower above you on all four sides of the square. Rebuilt in the 1690’s ... Read Full Article

York’s Medieval Streets Resound With History

Yorkshire Museum. Although this museum is last on my list, it’s definitely not the least!

  The Romans knew it as Eboracum. To the Saxons it was Eoforwick. Then the Vikings named it Jorvik. Today we know it as York, England. In Roman times York became such a well-established political and commercial center that people lived on here for millennia afterwards. The city still bears evidence of all its eras and occupations.   Due to the numerous uncovered artifacts ... Read Full Article

Zurich: Switzerland’s Little Big City of Charm and Elegance

Several bridges cross the Sihl River--old Zurich in background

  On a clear day, Zurich  proudly shows off its medieval squares, towering stone churches and spires, and the ever-present Limmat River. Easily explored by foot, Zurich's main sights are clustered for one mile along the banks of the placid, blue Limmat River. With a walking tour, you really get to know the winding, narrow, hilly cobblestone streets and fascinating museums, including the ... Read Full Article

The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum

17th century house

You’ve got to hand it to the English—they do a marvelous job of preserving their heritage, especially in museums. But the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum has taken preservation of ancient buildings to a whole new level. In the middle of the rolling green hills of rural Sussex, about 50 miles southwest of London, you’ll find an enormous 50-acre farm dotted with 45 historic homes, farms, and ... Read Full Article

Tarry a While at England’s Medieval Festival, Herstmonceaux Castle, East Sussex

women

  Drawing on their authentic medieval heritage, the British do a superb job of re-enacting the life and times of their forebears. And no re-enactment is better than England’s Medieval Festival, held in late August every year, near the tiny village of Herstmonceaux in East Sussex, a 1.5-hour drive southeast of London. Two things make this event especially noteworthy. It’s the largest such ... Read Full Article

Smugglers Adventure, St. Clements Caves – Hastings, England

Sign for the smugglers adventure St. Clements Caves, Hastings.

  In 1786, 34-year old Joseph Golding was cutting a garden seat into the side of a cliff overlooking the famous coastal town of Hastings, England when his pick broke through the rock. He gazed in awe down into a vast cavern. Golding had accidentally rediscovered a rabbit’s warren of secret tunnels and passageways that reopened a period of England’s most infamous history. When exploring the ... Read Full Article

Villers-la-Ville Abbey: Belgium’s Most Beautiful and Haunting Monastery Ruins

Herbal garden at Villers-Ville Monastery, Belgium

  With her atmospheric medieval squares and castles, and magnificent renaissance palaces, Belgium is Western Europe’s most underrated tourist destination. Foremost amongst Belgium’s extraordinary historic sites are forty-one ancient weathered gray stone and red brick abbeys. Today, many of these monasteries lie sadly in ruins, derelict victims of revolution, war and other turbulent ... Read Full Article

Where The Canterbury Tales Come to Life

The Canterbury Tales

  After London, the small historical town of Canterbury may well be England’s best town for Renaissance fans to see glimpses of this, and earlier periods of history. Walking through the gates of the ancient Roman and medieval stone walls that still surround the city, immediatly takes you back to medieval times. It is here, along Canterbury’s cobblestone streets, where you will be greeted ... Read Full Article