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Haddon Hall - A Glorious Country Manor House

Visiting historic houses is one of my favorite things to do in England and Derbyshire is a county that  offers an  extraordinary triumvirate of sites; Hardwick's Elizabethan glamour, the palatial splendors of Chatsworth and Haddon Hall, described by Simon Jenkins as "the most perfect English house to survive from the Middle Ages."  The joy of a visit to Derbyshire is that in visiting all three you can see the English country house through a variety of lenses and periods. 
In his definitive tome, England's1000 Best Houses Jenkins goes on to say of Haddon, "It has none of Hardwick's promiscuity or Chatsworth's bombast. It has not changed because it never needed to change". 
Indeed the house has remains in the hands of the Manners family since 1563 and is currently occupied by the Duke of Rutland's brother and his family. As they say on the website it has avoided, " fire; warfare;  family misfortune and changing fashions" and as such provid…

Baeza, Jaen Province, Spain

Continuing the grab bag of posts I should have got around to months ago, here are a few photos to give you a sense of why Baeza is well worth visiting...

Only twenty minutes from Ubeda, Baeza is a lovely small town. As you can see from the photos it was deserted when we strolled around on a sunny day in late March.

On the righthand side of the picture above you can see the purple banners going up on the buildings in preparation for the parades leading up to Easter.

The small church above with its Romanseque entrance was a contrast to the Renaissance architecture that dominates the city.

The Cathedral from the attached cloister.
Where to stay Ubeda or Baeza?
We had difficulty deciding whether to stay in Baeza or Ubeda and having visited both towns I'm glad we opted for Ubeda. Somehow it felt like the historic area of Ubeda was more lived in. Baeza was lovely and well worth the visit, it is a lovely small University town but to us Ubeda was a more charming place to stay because the town felt more alive. This may be quite different in the summer when the University of Grenada runs a summer school in Baeza However, the older areas of Baeza (around the old University and the Cathedral) seemed to be more of a historic than a residential quarter. Either way, both of these towns make a nice change if your itinerary is heavily weighted towards larger cities (Grenada, Seville, Cordoba) as our was. 

On our next trip to Andulucia I'm looking forward to spending more time in either the countryside or in smaller towns like Baeza.