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September trip to Derbyshire and Coventry

In September we took a week’s break to Wirksworth in Derbyshire, via Stratford where we stopped over to see a production of ‘Alls Well that Ends Well’ – a strange play, I would say, but always enjoyable to visit the RSC. The next day we headed north with brief detours to Leamington Spa and Coventry. Coventry has a special significance for Nick as it’s where he was a boy chorister.

The original cathedral was destroyed by bombs in November 1941, when in a single night over 500 people were killed and the city lost two-thirds of its buildings.  The ruins and tower of the old cathedral is joined to the ‘new’ one, which was designed by Sir Basil Spence and finished in 1962.

St Michael, Coventry Cathedral
St Michael and the devil
Coventry Cathedral from the tower
Looking down on the new cathedral from the tower in the old cathedral


Coventry Cathedral from the tower
Another aerial view of the cathedral entrance


Coventry Cathedral interior
The ceiling of the Nave and the massive tapestry ‘Christ in Glory’ by Graham Sutherland
Baptisty window of Coventry Cathedral
Classic view of the Baptisty window


Baptisty window of Coventry Cathedral close up
Close up of baptisty window

As well as the Cathedral, we took ourselves on a mini tour of some of the city’s interesting architecture and features… this is the wonderful staircase in the Herbert Art Gallery:

Herbert Art Gallery staircase

Herbert Art Gallery staircase

The Three Tons Coventry
William George Mitchell’s iconic sculpture at the former Three Tons pub

And who knew there was anything Tudor left in Coventry? Look at this courtyard spotted behind railings in Spon Street…

A tudor courtyard in Spon Street, Coventry

Our next stop was Wirksworth, just north of Derby. We had booked a self-catering flat right in the centre, and I have to say we rather lucked out.

Living room of our rental flat in Wirksworth

kitchen of our rental flat in Wirksworth

Bedroom of our rental flat in Wirksworth

As well as enjoying lolling around in the flat, we managed to get out and about a fair bit.

wirksworth church
Wirksworth Church
Star Disc, wirksworth
The ‘Star Disc’, part work of art, part stargazing circle

Our first day trip out was to Eyam, famous for isolating itself during the Black Death. As luck would have it, it was Eyam Carnival that day…

Eyam carnival queens
Eyam Carnival Queens
Cosplay at Eyam Carnival
Cosplay at Eyam Carnival

One of the traditions is the roasting of a sheep over a spit – I won’t post a pic of that, but here’s the traditional fayre minus the roast sheep…

Oat cakes & beer
Traditional oat cakes & beer at the Sheep Roast

Somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit was Hardwick Hall. Sadly half the famous frontage was under scaffolding, but I did my best to avoid it in the photos!

Hardwick Hall

Hardwick Hall servants hall
Hardwick Hall servants hall

Meanwhile, above stairs…

Difficult not to be impressed by the sheer scale of the rooms and the tapestries, wallpaper and wood carving. It’s a dark interior though, and didn’t feel like there had been a lot of happiness there.

Marquetry detail on a table top

By way of contrast, I absolutely loved Kedleston Hall; actually we both did.

Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire

The Marble Hall
Drawing Room Kedleston Hall
The Drawing Room
Detail of the arm of a sofa
Gorgeous curved corridor

We walked around the perimeter and dodged the showers, before eating our packed lunch on the lawn. On the way home we were caught in a sudden torrential storm – “apocalyptic!” I said to Nick. Then in the pub that evening we learnt that the Queen had died. A sad end to a lovely day.

Kedleston Hall grounds

Kedleston Hall Derbyshire

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