I’m not overly electronic so don’t rely on apps and the like. However, with a few resources I’m able supply myself enough architecture to keep me happy:
- some membership cards – yes I am a life member of the National Trust – it gets me and one other in for free to NT properties for the rest of my life!
- Hudson’s Historic Houses and Gardens (who have also recently launched a website);
- Open Houses, particularly London Open House;
- London Open Gardens Square Weekend;
- the RHS – the limited number of gardens means membership only makes sense when we want to go to Chelsea but for 2013 we’re planning a round-England trip of all the RHS gardens so I guess I’ll be buying a membership at some point soon. This year we’re going to the Hampton Court Flower Show;
- the National Garden Scheme;
- HMRC’s list of properties with heritage exemptions (e.g. from inheritance tax), which obliges the properties to allow public access; and
- Simon Jenkins’ England’s 1000 Best Houses.
This means I’ve got a long list of houses to be getting on with.
Right now I’m busy visiting all the houses that I can get into with my memberships and it takes a special one, such as Chatsworth, for me to pay to get in. There are, however, some modern classical houses that I would pay dearly to get into, such as Ferne Park.
Maybe in the years to come when hopefully I’ll have visited most of the HHA and NT properties, I’ll combine houses with ruins and sites, taking inspiration from Jeremy Musson and John Harris. I might even turn to Pevsner. Who knows…
I would be delighted to hear of any other invaluable sources of information but thought I’d share with you my kit.