Category Archives: travel

National Trust: The Vyne @ Basingstoke, Hampshire

今回のNational Trust第一弾は、ハンプシャー州 BasingstokeにあるThe Vyne。このお屋敷は、ヘンリー八世の宮内長官であったWilliam Sandys、後のサンズ卿(Lord Sandys)によって、16世紀初頭に建てられた。ヘンリー八世も何度か訪れ、エリザベス1世も賓客の一人であったという由緒あるお屋敷(歴史)。

The National Trust No.1 of this trip: The Vyne in Basingstoke, Hampshire. The Vyne was built in the early 16th century by William Sandys, later Lord Sandys of the Vyne, who was Henry VIII’s Lord Chamberlain. Henry VIII visited the house several times and Elizabeth I was also a visitor (history).


The Tudor Chapel, with its Renaissance glass, is one of the most perfect private chapels in England.

チャペル内のマヨリカ焼きのタイルは、フランドル地方産(National Trust

Early 16th century Flemish Majolica tiles in The Chapel (National Trust)

1770年頃、館主のJohn Chuteが、裕福な弁護士で後に庶民院議長を務めた彼の先祖で、1653年に屋敷を購入した、Chaloner Chuteを記念して作った墓所。

In around 1770, John Chute built the tomb chamber as a memorial to his ancestor Chaloner Chute, a wealthy barrister who later became a Member of Parliament and Speaker of the House, who purchased the house in 1653

Oak Galleryに飾られた、イギリスの大法官で科学者、哲学者でもあった、フランシス・ベーコンの肖像画(左。National Trust

Portrait of a Lord Chancellor, scientist, and philosopher Francis Bacon (left) in the Oak Gallery (National Trust).

Tapestry Room内の、リッチモンド&レノックス公爵夫人・Lady Frances Howardの肖像画。ハンカチにあるイニシャル「F.R.L」で、公爵夫人の肖像画だと分かったという

Portrait of Lady Frances Howard, Duchess of Richmond and Lennox in the Tapestry Room (National Trust). You can see initials of F.R.L on her handkerchief


Henry VIII’s bathroom

18世紀に流行した「Print room」と呼ばれる部屋。Vyneのものは、当時のprint room中でも最大級。印刷した絵画を切り抜いて、壁に糊付けしてある。

Print room, an 18th century fashion, at the Vyne. One of the largest, though atypically the prints are cut out around shapes, that are pasted well spaced apart (Wikipedia)

The Olde Bell Inn @ Hurley, Berkshire


宿泊地はMr & Mrs Smith過去ブログ参照)で見つけた、ロンドンとオックスフォードの中間に位置する小さな村・HurleyにあるThe Olde Bell。近くのベネディクト会修道院を訪れる人たちの宿泊所として1135年にオープンしたという、現在も営業中のイギリス最古の宿だそう。第二次世界大戦中は、ルマンディー上陸作戦前に、アメリカ諜報部の秘密基地として使われていた近くのLadye Place Mansionを訪れたチャーチル首相やアイゼンハワー米大統領なども宿泊したという由緒ある宿で、エリザベス・テーラーやケーリー・グラントといった錚々たるスターも宿泊者名簿に並ぶ。また、ダスティン・ホフマンの初監督作品「カルテット!人生のオペラハウス」の撮影場所としても使用されたらしい。ちなみに、Mr & Mrs Smithのメンバーになると(無料)、シャンパンのボトル一本が特典でつくのも魅力。

このホテル、敷地は意外に広くて、本館と隣接のMalt House、コテージ風客室を備えたCottage、そして道を挟んで、農業用の納屋を改装したBrick BarnとTithe Barn、Bell Lodgeに、合計48室有する。また、広々とした庭や野菜畑、テニスコートもある。私たちの部屋は、ヴィクトリア時代の建物で、図書館や音楽ルームなどが備わっているMalt Houseで、イギリス版Elle Decorationの初代編集者でインテリア・デザイナーのlse Crawfordがデザインした部屋の小さい方(1泊£135)。ロケーション、値段の割に部屋は狭いけれど、落ち着いた色調でセンスよくまとめられている。バスルームはシャワーのみだけれど、広くて使いやすい。難点は各部屋が水を使う度に聞こえるボイラー音が結構煩い事。眠りの浅い時など、起こされてしまう時もあった。


Hurleyは小さいけれど、ロンドンやオックスフォードへのアクセスもいいので、住宅価格は国の平均の約5倍もするという裕福な村。特別な見所はないけれど、テムズ川縁をのんびり散歩するのもいいし、近隣の、レガッタで有名なHenley-on-Thamesや、National Trustが管理するお屋敷や庭園を訪れるのもいい。私達もこの旅行で4つNational Trust巡りをした(詳細は明日以降ブログに書く予定)。寒波で春の訪れまだ遠く、庭園には水仙程度しか花が咲いていなかったのが残念。

It’s been freezing cold in UK though it is almost April. Despite of the depressing weather, we traveled to countryside to breath fresh air.

The destination is a tiny village of Hurley in Berkshire, between London and Oxford, and we stayed at The Olde Bell that we found on Mr & Mrs Smith website. Free gift of a bottle of champagne for a member of Mr & Mrs Smith (and it’s free!) was a good incentive too (see details). The Olde Bell is the oldest still-working inn in Britain, first opened its doors in 1135 as a guest house for visitors to the nearby Benedictine Priory. During World War II, Sir Winston Churchill and Dwight D Eisenhower stayed this inn when they visited Ladye Place Mansion, next to the church, which was being used as a secret US intelligence base prior to the Normandy Landings. Other famous guests include Elizabeth Taylor and Cary Grant, and the inn was also used as the filming location for Dustin Hoffman’s first directorial film “Quartet“.

The inn has surprisingly large estate and has total of 48 rooms at the main building “The Inn” and the adjacent Malt House and The Cottage, and two converted barns of Brick Barn and Tithe Barn as well as Bell Lodge across the street. Also there are spacious gardens, vegetable garden and a tennis court as well. Our room “Malt House smaller” (£135/night) is in the victorian building of Malt House which has some gathering spaces such as library and music room, and the room is designed by lse Crawford, an interior designer and founding editor of British Elle Decoration. The room is relatively small with its location and the price, but chic and intimate – design costs. Bathroom has shower only but spacious and bright. The only problem is the noise caused every time someone use water in the bathroom – it woke me up sometimes during the sleep. 

We had dinner and breakfast at the Inn restaurant. This rustic-chic restaurant has few separate rooms and is more spacious than we expected. The food is a little bit pricey, which is almost the same level as London, but their delicious meal using local produce was worth its price. But breakfast was disappointing – it was continental breakfast instead of full breakfast, which is a rarity in British countryside (warm food costs extra) – this seems to me rather a lack of an effort. In fact, some people complains about the breakfast on reviews.

Hurley is very small but an affluent village and house prices are approx five times higher than the national average (Wikipedia), due to its easy access to Oxford and London. It is nice to have a lovely walk on the Thames, or visiting Henley-on-Thames, famous for regatta race, and National Trust estates nearby. We visited four National Trust sites this time and I will write about them tomorrow. It was a shame that we couldn’t see those gardens with flowers due to this cold weather!


Dinner at the Inn restaurant


Continental Breakfast

Music Room at The Malt House


easyJet’s Allocated Seating Now on Every Flight


最近、格安航空会社のeasyJet(イージージェット)でフライトの予約をしたのだけれど、その時、今はeasyJetの全フライトで事前に席が選べるようになった事に気づいた。easyJetは、約200万人が利用したフライトで試験運用を実施。その結果、71%の乗客がこのallocated seating(座席割当)に対して好感を感じたという結果を踏まえ、11月27日から正式採用するに至ったそうだ。

飛行機の乗客を立たせるのは安全上問題があるので、基本、全ての乗客に席は与えられている。でも以前は、他の大手航空会社のように事前に席は割り当てられず、機内で先着順で席を選ぶシステムだったが、新システムでは、チケット予約時に席の事前選択が可能になった(予約後でもOK)。ただ、格安航空会社の辞書に「無料」という文字はない。allocated seating料金は、座席カテゴリーによって3種類に分かれている(以下参照)。allocated seatingを選択しない場合は、以前の通り、機内で先着順に席を選ぶ事になる。

  • £12: 1列目の足元の広い席 + Speedy Boarding(専用チェックインカウンターの利用及び優先的搭乗)
  • £8:2〜5列目(A319)または 2〜6列目A320の前方座席、及び足元広めの非常口横の座席 + Speedy Boarding
  • £3:その他の座席

easyJet plus!メンバーや、高額の特典付きFlexi Fareの利用客は、Speedy Boarding及び無料で座席選択が可能。

allocated seatingの導入は、良い席を確保するために前もって行列に並んだり、機内で他の乗客と席の取り合いをしなくてすむようになるので、大歓迎。他の格安航空会社も追随する事を望む。

Recently we booked a flight on UK’s no-frill airline easyJet, and we found that now we can select a seat of your choice in advance on every flight when you book. easyJet has introduced its allocated seating on all of its flights from November 27, 2012, after a completion of trials; 71% of nearly 2-million passengers who have travelled on an allocated seating flight, think positive about the scheme.

Of course nothing is free on discount airlines. All passengers are allocated a seat for free on board on a first come, first served basis, but if you prefer, you can select a specific seat for a fee when you book flights, or adding them later. You can choose not to pay, but you have to choose a seat on board as before, and it is not guaranteed if you can sit your preferred seat. The allocated seating is available for three price ranges.

  • £12 for Aisle 1 seats with extra legroom + Speedy Boarding with dedicated check-in desk and priority boarding to board first
  • £8 for up front seats (row 2-5 on A319 or 2-6 on A320) or emergency exit seats with extra legroom + Speedy Boarding
  • £3 for any other seat

easyJet plus! annual cardholders and Flexi Fare customers are able to select a seat free of charge as well as Speedy Boarding.

This is great, so that we don’t have to wait on a queue well in advance or don’t have to fight with other passengers for better and adjacent seats! Hope other discount airlines will follow easyJet.


Missed Flight Cover

これまた新しいサービスの「Missed Flight Cover」。4時間までの遅刻なら、一人£9.50で、次のフライトへの搭乗または全額が返金される。

Another new service “Missed Flight Cover” that gives you next available flight or full refund up to 4 hours late.

A Day in Cardiff, Wales



When we went to see the Olympic women’s football quarter final in Cardiff, we stayed over night and enjoyed sightseeing the day after.

It takes just a little bit more than two hours to go to Cardiff by train from London Paddington station. Cardiff became prosper as a major port for the transport of coal in the early 19th century, and became the capital of Wales in 1955. Wales is one of the four ‘countries’ in UK, and it has retained a distinct cultural identity and is officially bilingual with English and Welsh. The Welsh Language Board indicated in 2004 that 21.7% of the population of Wales were able to speak the language, but I had never heard anybody speaking Welsh in Cardiff, though I saw the signage written in two languages.


Major tourist attractions in Cardiff are Cardiff Castle and Cardiff Bay. Cardiff Castle is situated in the heart of the city centre. The castle is a medieval castle and Victorian architecture Gothic revival mansion, transformed from a Norman keep erected over a Roman fort. The castle substantially altered and extended during the Victorian period by John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute, and the architect William Burges.

豪華絢爛のアラブルーム / Gorgeous Arab Room

ウェールズのシンボルで、国旗にもあしらわれている赤い竜 / The red dragon (Y Ddraig Goch) , incorporated on Flag of Wales

カーディフ城の隣にある公園・Bute Parkの外壁には、熊やたぬきなど様々な動物の像があしらわれている / You can see statues of various animals on the walls of the Bute Park, next to the Cardiff Caslte



Cardiff Bay is the new tourist destination where old Cardiff docklands have been redeveloped in the last decade, and home to a large freshwater lake for sailing and water sports as well as restaurants and hotels. It is about 10-15 minutes by bus no.6, running every 10-15 minutes, from the city center.

Welsh National Opera(ウェールズ国立オペラ団)の本拠地で、バレエやダンス、ミュージカル、コメディなどが催される、Wales Millennium Centre(ウェールズ・ミレニアム・センター)。愛称「Armadillo(アルマジロ)」。正面には、センターがウェールズ出身の作曲家、カール・ジェンキンスに委託して作られた曲名「Creu Gwir Fel Gwydr O Ffwrnais Awen(ウェールズ語 / 英語では In These Stones Horizons Sing)」くりぬかれている。

Locally nicknamed “the Armadillo”, the Wales Millennium Centre is home to the Welsh National Opera and has hosted performances of opera, ballet, dance, comedy and musicals. On its facade, you can read “Creu Gwir Fel Gwydr O Ffwrnais Awen” in Welsh, or In These Stones Horizons Sing in English, which is the name of a work for chorus and orchestra composed by Welsh composer Karl Jenkins, which was commissioned for the opening of the Wales Millennium Centre.

1897年に建設されたPierheadは、Bute Dock Companyがあった建物 / The Pierhead, built in 1897, was formerly the headquarters of the Bute Dock Company.


The Norwegian Church Arts Centre, is a rescued historic wooden church that was rebuilt in 1992 and is as a venue for small concerts, art exhibitions, conferences, meetings and celebrations.

宿泊したPark Plaza Hotel Cardiffは、モダンで広々として居心地のいいホテルで、値段もそんなに高くない。目の前はナイトクラブが集まる通りだけれど、部屋はとても静かで、外の騒音は聞こえない。

Park Plaza Hotel Cardiff where we stayed was a modern and chic hotel with a moderate price and has spacious rooms. It is situated in front of the street with full of night clubs and bars, but the room was very quiet and we didn’t hear any noise from outside.

YOtel @ Gatwick Airport


日本のカプセルホテルをモデルにしたYOtelは、1997年に創業しイギリスの寿司ブームに貢献、現在ロンドンを中心にイギリス、ヨーロッパ、中近東に展開する回転寿司チェーン・Yo! Sushiヨー!スシ)の創始者、Simon Woodroffe(サイモン・ウッドロフ)が立ち上げたミニホテルチェーンで、現在、ロンドンのヒースロー空港とガトウィック空港、アムステルダムのスキポール空港、そしてニューヨークのタイムズスクエアの計4軒営業している。


A while ago, we missed our flight due to severe delay of a train to an airport. Next flight was 7 hours later. M was furious and insisted to go back home and to take the next day flight. But I wanted to fly on the day as we planned, and then I remembered about YOtel at the airport, and persuaded him to kill the time there.

Inspired by Japanese capsule hotelsYOtel is a mini-hotel chain and was launched by Simon Woodroffe, a founder of the sushi chain  YO! Sushi using the Japanese style ‘kaiten’ conveyor belt in 1997, which has contributed Sushi boom in UK and now have its branches mainly in London but also in other UK cities, Europe, and Middle East. Currently YOtel are in four locations; London Heathrow Airport, Gatwick Airport, Amsterdam Schipol Airport, and Times Square in New York.

YOtel Gatwick where we stayed, it was £70.34 for twin room for 4 hours (minimum stay), but it is much cheaper (£42.50), if you pay in advance online. It was worth it when we imagined of doing nothing but killing 7 hours at the airport. We walked through dim corridor lighten up in purple to our room. It was basic simple room with no window but pull up work desk, small chair, 2 bunks (one upper and one lower), and toilet & shower – it was like a cruise ship cabin. However, service was not bad. The room was equipped with flat screen TV and free WiFi. Hot drinks were free, and you can order food, beverages, snacks and amenities from their “TO GO” menu. The room was clean, and their beds with good quality sheets were quite comfortable to sleep. M was grumpy at first but became in a good mood after sleeping well. We could leave on the same day, without cancellation of a hotel room, and were on an itinerary as we planned – happy ending!