It’s only open to the public six days a year – and as today is one such, we thought we’d better go and have a look. The 2nd Lord Berwick, of nearby Attingham Park, had it built for a friend, a little over 200 years ago. Gosh! – here he is in person, looking sprightly despite his years, explaining those things which might not be obvious. John Nash designed the house to be a little corner of Italy in the Shropshire countryside. Is that Vesuvius over there? (No, it’s just the Wrekin).

Attingham Park Estate: Cronkhill NT

Royal Oak

Thurs. 25 May: a visit to Boscobel House. It’s where King Charles I hid in the oak tree in 1651. The oak’s no longer with us, but a descendent is there for visiting. It’s looking decidedly tired, though beside it stands its successor, grown from one of its acorns and planted there 350 years later by the chap who may one day be King Charles III. We have to bide our time outdoors, until a guided tour has finished, and then we can explore this interesting old house.

Boscobel House (English Heritage)

Fruit and nut

Mon 24 April: we’re heading north, towards an overnight stay in Glen Devon. We’re slightly ahead of schedule – let’s have a look at this pineapple thing… It’s quite startling, and definitely strange – a huge carved stone pineapple, at the head of a walled garden not far from the south bank of the Forth, a few miles east of Stirling. Other than the pineapple, and the walls (three of them), and a little pool, there’s nothing else and no-one else there. (There are further grounds to explore, but on this day of sunshine and snow showers, it’s too cold to hang around for long)

The Pineapple NT Scotland