Eleri’s Doorstep Discoveries

After six months of volunteering with HODs, reading and writing about all the incredible events taking place, it was great to finally experience the festival in person. Here's my thoughts on the three sites I discovered this year, all conveniently right on my doorstep...

Prior Park Landscape Gardens - stunning in the sun

De Vere Tortworth Court - incredible inside and out

This was my first HODs and it certainly didn’t disappoint! I stayed close to home for the three events I visited, though strangely hadn’t heard of any of the sites. First up was a wander around De Vere Tortworth Court, a luxury hotel in Gloucestershire. It was a lovely sunny day, the ideal weather to explore the perfectly-kept gardens and Victorian arboretum. Unsurprisingly, the interior of the hotel was just as incredible as the outside too.

Cleveland Pools - a hidden gem

I went a little further afield to Bath for day two, starting at Prior Park Landscape Gardens, a National Trust site just outside of the busy centre. From the moment we arrived we were amazed by the view from the top of the hill, which stretches for miles from the stunning gardens below to the historic city in the distance. Luckily it was again such a gloriously warm and sunny day, so we took our time and leisurely wandered down the hill to the lake at the bottom, before going over the little bridge and back up again. It was a steep climb through the woodland, but well worth it for the views along the way (and the ice cream we stopped for at the end).

On the way home, we made a spontaneous visit to the Cleveland Pools, the UK’s only surviving Georgian lido. Here we really didn’t know what to expect and knew very little about what we were going to, but it far surpassed our expectations. Being hidden behind a row of houses, we emerged from the little alleyway to find a site bustling with visitors enjoying the sunshine, learning about the site’s history and looking at the plans for its upcoming restoration. We left feeling like we’d uncovered a hidden gem, which I’ve learned is exactly what HODs is about, and looking forward to discovering more next year.

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