An hour outside of the New Forest sits another one of England's treasures; Kingston Lacey, a magnificent estate complete with manor house and many types of gardens.
Owned by the Banks family for over 300 years, (now owned by the National Trust) it has an outstanding collection of art, including a Guido Reni fresco, returned to the library ceiling for the first time in a quarter of a century.
Can you just imagine being invited to a formal dinner and being lavished with a 10 course meal accompanied by music as you ate..
The 'Spanish Room' had an impressive gilded ceiling.
I would have felt very comfortable if this was my bedroom and bathroom (given how old it was...)
My favourite painting had so many shadows, that the artist gave it a life of its own tricking you into seeing a chiseled statue.
Heading to the very top of the house, the children's bedrooms and play areas were well lit by the elegantly carved dome.
The dishes used in the kitchen were obviously chosen by a cat lover. Note the bells in the kitchen that alerted the servants where they were needed by the gentry of the home.
I would have loved to have the key to this wine cellar!
As we strolled the estate, we were taken aback at the beauty of the well manicured lawns and gardens.
Our final evening meal was at the local village pub, The Bell. The perfect burger!
The following day, we said our final good-byes to my aunt, cousins and Isle of Man travel mates (who ironically live in the same village) and flew a quiet, smooth flight back across the pond.
The fork in this road took me back to my home, furries and friends.
A special thanks to everyone who hosted us, drove us, looked after our animals, checked on the house, looked after my business and did airport chauffeuring. You know who you are! THANK YOU.