In pictures: Snowdrops at Colesbourne Park in the Cotswolds

Colesbourne Park snowdrops

After winter seems to have dragged on for ever, the first snowdrop peeking out of the ground is a sign that spring is finally on it’s way. But Colesbourne Park in the Cotswolds has taken snowdrop growing to extremes. Described as ‘England’s greatest snowdrop garden’, the estate has over 250 different varieties of snowdrop on display in ten acres of traditional country garden. Colesbourne Park has been home to the Elwes family for centuries and Henry John Elwes started off the snowdrop collection when he discovered a new species, named Galanthus elwesii after him, in Turkey in 1874…. 

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In pictures: The best of the rest of 2014

Sailing out of Santorini

Only a fraction of the huge amount of photos I take each year ever make it onto the blog, so it’s become an annual end-of-year tradition for me to share some of the ‘best of the rest’ of the year’s photos (here are my choices from 2011, 2012 and 2013). These are some of my favourite unpublished photos from the last 12 months, starting from the seas off Santorini in Greece all the way to a Marrakech rooftop sunset. Hope you enjoy them, and wishing you all a great New Year’s Eve and a fantastic 2015! Lucy x… 

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In pictures: Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle, Wales

In the heart of Cardiff, the city’s castle brings together 2000 years of history in one place. Over the years it’s been a Roman fort, Norman Castle, Victorian Gothic mansion and a Second World War refuge. The first building here was a Roman fort, long-destroyed by the time the Normans arrived in 1181. They built a new castle, with an imposing keep on top of a motte – or hill – which you can still climb for fantastic views over the city. The castle was passed down through generations of noble families until it reached the Bute family in 1766 who transformed it again. … 

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In pictures: Poppies at the Tower of London

Poppies at the Tower of London

As you approach the Tower of London, the moat is a sea of red, with tightly packed flowers as far as the eye can see. It’s an awe-inspiring sight, and even more so when you realise that every single bloom equates to a life lost in the First World War. It’s all part of an art installation called Blood Swept Lands And Seas Of Red, created by ceramicist Paul Cummins, which centres around the symbol of remembrance – the poppy. … 

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In pictures: The ruins of Lindisfarne Priory

Lindisfarne Priory ruins in Northumberland

Northumberland’s Lindisfarne Island has such religious significance they even named it Holy Island – and its holiest site is its priory. The region’s earliest Christian monastery was founded here by Irish monk St Aidan in 635 AD. Despite its remote location it was close enough to Bamburgh’s castle for protection, making it the perfect base for converting the local pagans to Christianity. Over the years the priory was also home to St Cuthbert, who’s commemorated by a statue amongst the ruins today, and the illustrated Lindisfarne Gospels were written here. But after a series of Viking attacks at the end of the 8th century, the monks packed up the Gospels and Cuthbert’s body and relocated to Durham. … 

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In pictures: Amongst the ruins at Ephesus

Ancient ruins at Ephesus, Turkey

On the western coast of Turkey, Ephesus has some of the Mediterranean’s best-preserved, grandest ruins. As a major port for trade routes to Asia it grew from a coastal town in the 10th century BC to the second largest city in the world. A series of rulers over the years left their mark – from the Greeks and Romans to the Byzantines and Ottomans. But when its port silted up, Ephesus was abandoned and fell into ruin. … 

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In pictures: Santorini in blue and white

Blue and white in Fira, Santorini, Greece

Santorini is the classic Greek island – its blue and white shades featuring on magazine covers across the world. But would it be as impressive in person? Docking in the port, we dodged the cable car queue and the donkey handlers and climbed up the 650 steps to the town of Fira. Despite 30 degree heat it was worth every step for the views that greeted us at the top – a maze of whitewashed buildings spilling down over the edge of a steep cliff, with the backdrop of the deep blue Aegean Sea. … 

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In pictures: Bryggen, the old heart of Bergen

Bryggen old town in Bergen, Norway

Along the waterfront in the Norwegian city of Bergen is one of its most historic and beautiful areas – Bryggen. A row of colourfully painted shopfronts face the wharf, but down the narrow alleyways in between you’ll find a jumble of overhanging balconies and walkways. This is the oldest part of Bergen, which was first built on back in 1070. … 

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In pictures: Cruising out of Venice

Sailing out of Venice, Italy

When I found out our cruise was departing out of Venice, I knew I’d have to try and fit in a glass of prosecco in Piazza San Marco on the way. But my plans were thwarted by a rainstorm and a flight delay, and instead we had to head straight on board our ship. That didn’t mean we missed out on the views though – or the bubbly. As we set sail, we toasted the start of our trip from underneath an umbrella on our balcony. … 

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In pictures: The fjords from Flåm

The Sognefjord as seen from Flam
Norway has no shortage of fjords, but the longest and deepest of them is the Sognefjord. It stretches over 200km inland from the ocean, and the tiny town of Flåm lies at the end of one of its most scenic stretches. The best way to see the fjords is by boat, but before we got to that there was time for a taster with a walk along the waterside in Flåm. In one direction, steep cliffs rose out of the water, with trees clinging perilously to sheer rock faces. … 

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