Trends, Travel, History, Films and Books

January 18, 2013


Permission granted for a ‘view fit for a Queen’ at Kenilworth Castle

Source:  Cision

Visitors to Kenilworth Castle will be able to enjoy panoramas unseen since the Civil War following the granting of planning permission for a series of platforms within Leicester’s Building, which will give visitors the views that would have been enjoyed by Elizabeth I during her visit.

Under English Heritage’s plans for the new development, viewing platforms would be constructed on three floors within Leicester’s Building, which was built ahead of Elizabeth I’s visit in 1571 to provide the Queen and her retinue with appropriate accommodation and views over Robert Dudley’s estate. At the moment, the inside of the ruins of Leicester’s Building can only be viewed from the basement and ground floor levels.

The building that the Earl of Leicester built for Elizabeth I’s visit was one of the most spectacular works of architecture of its day, with enormous glass windows, and with all the luxury and elegance that a queen might command.

Although the building has stood in ruins since the Civil War, the new platforms will allow visitors a better appreciation of its scale, taking them up to 18m high. For the first time in centuries, they will be able to stand where Elizabeth stood, and with help from new interpretation panels, see what she saw to gain a better sense of the way in which the castle dominated the town and countryside around it.

“Leicester’s Building is an extremely important part of the Elizabeth and Dudley story, so it is wonderful that these plans have been approved, enabling us to explore anothera3112bc72df0f4ce_org aspect of her visit,” comments Holly Woodward, Property Manager at Kenilworth Castle.  “We’ve been delighted with the positive feedback from local people, and are very much looking forward to unveiling the new platforms early this summer.”

Work will begin in January, at which point access into the basement of Leicester’s Building will be restricted.  The design of the platforms has taken into account their fixture into the historic stonework, the architectural significance and importance of the building and visual impact on views from inside and outside the castle.

Until the launch of the platforms, visitors are welcome to explore the re-created Elizabethan Garden at Kenilworth Castle, and learn more about the relationship between Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and Elizabeth I in an exhibition on the top floor of Leicester’s Gatehouse.

Other viewing platforms at Kenilworth Castle are extremely popular with visitors, who are able to access the Keep for views over the Elizabethan Garden, and look out from a platform adjacent to John of Gaunt’s Hall over the area that would have been occupied by Kenilworth’s great mere.

Kenilworth Castle is open at weekends only during the winter from 10.00am to 4.00pm. Admission prices are £8.20 for adults, £7.40 for concessions and £4.90 for children, with a family ticket (two adults and up to three children) available for £21.30 (prices change from 25 March 2013).

Valentine’s Day Deals from California Bed and Breakfast Inns

Source:  Cision

Find a sweetheart deal at a California bed and breakfast inn this Valentine’s Day.  Several members of the California Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns (CABBI) are offering romantic specials and packages, many of which are valid for the month of February or longer.  Gift certificates for California B&Bs are also available.

Give the gift of romance with the Ultimate Carmel Romance Getaway at Tradewinds Carmel.  The package includes a two-night stay in a Deluxe King Room, a welcome floral bouquet, breakfast in bed, a 90-minute in-room massage for two, a box of chocolates, two Monterey Bay Aquarium tickets, two luxurious kimono robes to take home as a memento, a romantic dinner for two at one of four premiere Carmel restaurants, chocolate covered strawberries upon arrival and a late check-out.  The package price is $1,461, excluding tax, and is based on double occupancy.  The offer subject to availability and is not valid during holidays and special events.  Blackout dates may apply. The offer expires April 30, 2013. Call 831-624-2776 to reserve.

The Raford Inn in Healdsburg is offering three romantic specials for the month of February.  For the Valentine’s Day Special, book any two nights at the inn during the month of February and receive 50% off the third night. Guests will find heart of silk rose petals, a bottle of champagne and handmade truffles in their room upon arrival. For $50, guests can purchase a serenade during their stay and a flower-bearing professional musician will surprise their loved ones with a song.  Travelers looking for a last-minute romantic getaway can save 25% off their stay if they book within 48 hours of check-in during the month of February. All of the specials are valid February 1-28, 2013 only and are subject to availability. The specials cannot be combined with any other offer.  Guests must mention CABBI Valentine’s Day Special, CABBI Singing Valentines, or CABBI Romantic Getaway Special when booking.  For more details, call 707-887-9573.

Enjoy the ultimate romance package this winter with Some Enchanted Evening at 1906 Lodge at Coronado Beach.  Guests follow a trail of rose petals to their private haven where the fireplace is lit, the music is on, roses are everywhere, the champagne is chilled, and the spa tub is filled with warm, soothing water.  The package is $249 and can be reserved in conjunction with any of the inn’s nine suites, which feature large in-room spa tubs, private porches, and fireplaces facing king-sized beds. Additional complimentary amenities include gourmet breakfast on the veranda, luxurious robes and linens, afternoon wine and snacks and nightly turn down service.  The Some Enchanted Evening package is valid until March 31, 2013 and can be reserved by calling 619-437-1900.

Enjoy a special Valentine’s Day with a Sonoma Coast getaway.

Timber Cove Inn offers the perfect romantic retreat with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. Snuggle by the huge stone fireplace in the lobby, or take a short hike to the inn’s own “Cupids Corner.” Available from Thursday, February 14 through Sunday, February 17, the package includes overnight accommodations, a personalized Valentine’s Day card, Scharffenberger chocolates, a bottle of champagne and a bottle of bubble bath. A special three course Valentine’s Day menu will be served in Alexander’s for $49 and wine pairings for $29 per person (tax and gratuity additional). A photographer will be available to take a photograph to commemorate the evening. Rates start at $199 per night with a 20% discount for additional nights. For reservations, call 707-847-3231.

Treat someone special to a Valentine’s Day Package at Carter House Inn in Eureka on California’s redwood coast.  The package for two includes deluxe accommodations, flutes of bubbly, wine and hors d’oeuvres, a five-course dinner, bedtime cookies and tea, and a two-course breakfast.  Packages start at $299 and are valid February 14-17, 2013.  A special Valentine’s Day prix fixe menu will be served on February 14, 2013; a five-course Discovery Tasting Menu will be served on all other package dates. Call 1-800-404-1390 for menu details and to make reservations.

Gift certificates for California bed and breakfast stays are also available.  CABBI gift certificates allow travelers to choose from over 200 quality-certified inns in the Golden State, including wine country escapes, coastal retreats and mountain getaways. Gift certificates are available in any dollar amount and have no expiration date.

Now through February 14, 2013, gift certificate purchases of $250 or more receive three free gifts: a 21st Edition CABBI Travel Guide, a CABBI Bed & Breakfast Cookbook and an upgrade to priority shipping.

If You Thought There Were No More Hattie Surprises…
In the second webisode of an exclusive online series, Oprah talks with author Ayana Mathis about the most unexpected reaction to her debut novel.


— “Intuition” captures the essence of a family who prays together, stays together. With several underlying messages for women, men and relationships, this novel has Primetime movie written all over it. —


Los Angeles, CA  — Lost Page Publishing announces the release of their latest literary offering, Intuition, by author Shashana Page. Here’s the synposis:

Momma Faye is the link that binds the entire family… Although she has instilled spiritual and moral values within each of her daughters, the choice to follow her wise advice shashana_page_intuition_book remains to be seen. The beautiful, intelligent, and stylish Aniiyah is the youngest of Momma Faye’s three daughters. Married to Doron, a successful Cardio-thoracic surgeon, Aniiyah is blessed to live a luxurious lifestyle similar to the rich and famous.

Doron is everything a woman could possibly desire, but unfortunately, not enough to keep Aniiyah from communicating with the man of her past… Neissah, the middle child of the family, is attractive, educated, and successful. Unfortunately, these attributes cannot fulfill her longing desire to be loved, and Neissah soon finds herself faced with the challenges of dating as a single parent.

Desperately seeking a long lasting romance, she becomes prematurely involved with Roman, and is blinded by the fascination of having a man. However, as Roman’s unfavorable past is revealed, Neissah’s infatuation abruptly comes to an end… Raeyah, the eldest and most wise of the sisters, is widowed and raising three daughters on her own. Her first born, Reign, falls in love with the handsome, charming Mauricio and subsequently, changes his life forever.

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