Yes folks, the annual extravaganza of the Herbie Awards nears its climax as we have one final item before a special new award on New Years Day. For this penultimate award I’d like the Academy to consider the Best Visitor Attraction near the Waterway.
Although sticking to the tradition of limiting entries to places we have been to this year, I am cheating a bit by including a place we visited which is near a waterway but, we didn’t actually go there by boat. However it was so good that I couldn’t leave it out. So our first nominee is
Kettles Yard in Cambridge.
Park your boat as far into the city as you can get and walk on past Jesus weir to Magdalene Street bridge then uphill for a minute and you’re there. Cambridge has lots to see of course, but for me, Kettles Yard, or at least The House takes the biscuit. I’ve been to visitor houses all over the place, but none delighted me like the house at Kettles Yard. The former home of art and design enthusiast Jim Eade, it has a wonderful calming atmosphere, Lovely light and space, lots of lovely pictures – many of boats and ships, some proper comfortable chairs of classic design (yes, you can sit on the them), amusing little things like the transparent light switches and some quirky collections of pebbles and the like.
A quiet corner.
I would move in tomorrow if they’d let me. And it’s free!
Kelmscott Manor – upper Thames
We tied Herbie to the river bank and wandered the couple of hundred yards to the house where William Morris and some of his gang lived for many years.
Inside looking out. William Morris could have seen Herbie if he waited. You can just see her on the river.
If you like Morris’s wallpaper and all that Arts and Crafts stuff, this is the place to go. A bit of a shrine to the A&C movement I suppose. There are lots of rooms to see and lots of nice things in the rooms. Doing the tour, you get a good sense of how they lived and what they might have been like. It’s all quite intimate. The gardens are lovely too. A film they show you before you go in reveals the dreadful state of the building’s construction and you wonder how it didn’t collapse by the time Morris left it. he might have been good with his hands but his DiY interests obviously took a back seat. Well worth a visit, and the pub in the village is a nice one. I’m giving them a one off special award for Most Innovative Pub Seat.
Abbey ruins – Reading
If you tie up at the excellent Chestnut Walk visitor moorings by the jail in Reading, you’d be daft not to have a wander round the abbey ruins which are adjacent. Whilst it’s only a collection of crumbling walls, the information boards tell a fascinating story and reveal the huge importance this abbey once had. Henry III must have liked it because spent several weeks a year there. Henry VIII was clearly not so keen , hence the ruinous state of the buildings. On a summer’s evening it’s a lovely calming place to sit and ponder.
Well they’re all worth visit, but the one that I most t to go back to and the winner of the
Best Visitor Attraction near the Waterway
And so dear readers, we only have one award left, and it’s a new one. Come back tomorrow and see what it is.