Residence of the Crown Jewels

By Joanna Ninh

What’s royalty without luxury and being lavish? Being royal we think jewels, stones, crowns – but not many people know where the Royal family store their priceless pieces. The residence of the Crown Jewels are held in the top of the Tower of London and many of them are still being currently worn by the Queen.

Below is a link all about jewels and crowns. Here you can learn the history of all the extraordinary diamond collections.

The Tower of London was once a palace, prison, and arsenal. It was used as a prison from the 15th-16th century. Today, it is the home of the Crown Jewels and is a World Heritage Site. Tourists drive past the Tower everyday and for those who want a tour, they offer a free guided tour by the Yeoman Wardens with admission. This historic fortress  is located on the north bank of the Thames River in central London where the guards are all in uniform around the fortress to stroll the grounds.

You can find many tours that give you the benefits of the insight of the royal fortress. The Tower of London is one of the top attractions that is a must see in any itinerary.


Kiss the stone of eloquence in this castle but enter its poison garden at your own risk

Learned about this in my class last week! Cool stuff!

Languages, communication and travel at their best

The stone of eloquence and poison garden of fascinating Blarney Castle, Ireland

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle in IrelandAmidst the blue Irish skies and green lands of Blarney, lies the Blarney Castle, an intriguing medieval fortification. One of the features that make this place really popular is the well-known Blarney Stone, also known as ‘The Stone of Eloquence’. According to a legend, anyone who kisses this stone is rewarded with eloquence and persuasiveness, an enticing prize for many of the world’s powerful and famous.

The Blarney Castle is set against the refreshing greens of the gardens dotted with colorful flowers and trees you will find it hard to resist the charm the fort exudes. However, hidden behind the Castle battlements, you will find the new poison garden, which you must enter at your own risk. It is believed that a similar garden once occupied the same site, from as early as the 1800′s, where plants would…

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Memories of castles

The Quiet Writer

I’ve always had a fascination with castles, cathedrals too, but castles have greater variety in architecture and location.  As a kid I’d run around the grounds, up and down the towers and paid little attention to the historical aspects. They all looked the same – ruined: windows without glass, hearths without fires and walls without roofs.

I’ve memories of certain occasions….

The mist rising up around Goodrich castle.

Making sand castles on the beach next to Bamburgh castle.

Charging up and down the cobbled paths of Chepstow castle.

The racing pigeons on the cliffs by Dunstanburgh Castle.

The reflections in the moat at Leeds Castle.

…. there are others, all just snapshots in time – the colour of the eroding stone, the view from the upper most tower, the relics of the kitchen ovens.

I enjoyed many authors as a child, one author of historical books – Ronald Welch –…

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Scotland a Land of Mist and Castles


I’m sorry not to have blogged for some time but I have just returned from a trip to Scotland.  A land full of castles frequently shrouded in mist. We had a great time and hope that my internal batteries have re charged!

There was an absence of shopping opportunities but I managed to track down a few charity shops! imageWhen my first Grandchild was born nine years ago I realised that she would be a child of the internet. I decide that everywhere I went I would send her a postcard. I love the written word and worry that modern children will use it less and less. Indeed postcards are getting less and less available as I suppose their days are numbered!

I now have three grandchildren so that means three postcards. I send them even when I go on a day out somewhere. I always date them and say…

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Return of Mary, Queen of Scots

By Joanna Ninh

Today’s blog is dedicated to the return of Reign, the American historical fiction television series that sparked my interest to pursue medieval history and significant of castles. The series traces back to the life of Mary, Queen of Scots, in her days at French Court. It tells the tale of Mary’s life being threatened ever since she was a child because she was a threat to England’s crown.

She joins an alliance with France to wed the future King Francis II of France. Her future was laid out at the age of 6 for her own protection. This was to ward her away from the dangers of her fate and was sent to live in a convent for most of her childhood life. With an assassination attempt that occurred, she was rushed back to court at the age of 15 years old and awaits for marriage to bond her protection.

Most of the filming took place in Toronto, Canada and Ireland.

Opening narration (episodes 2-11):

Since Mary, Queen of Scotland, was a child, the English have wanted her country and her crown. She is sent to France to wed its next king, to save herself and her people – a bond that should protect her but, there are forces that conspire. Forces of darkness, forces of the heart. Long may she reign.

Fast forward to a few years later! We find Mary Queen of Scots, had a short lived life as Queen of France. This was due to the fact that her husband Francis II, King of France, died from an ear infection forcing Mary with a life of heartbreak and hardship. She was later captured by the English that longed for her head and was imprisoned in the Loch Leven Castle in 1567–1568.

The ruins of Loch Leven Castles still holds significant history in the the life of Queen Mary of Scots.

The castle is located on an island in Loch Leven, in the Perth and Kinross local authority area of Scotland. This late 14th or 15th century tower was where Queen Mary was sentenced to imprisonment and her dramatic escape a year later.

Loch Leven Castle Ruinsthomas-brown-mary-queen-of-scots-is-compelled-to-sign-her-abdication-in-loch-leven-castle

Explore Ontario

By Joanna Ninh

The purpose of this tour was to determine whether or not Paris, Ontario suits Sheridan Tours inbound international student groups for our upcoming tours. I have been selected to research and report back on a new area for potential emerging markets. My task is to explore in the Brant County area of Ontario and from suggestion it has brought me to Paris, Ontario. This location offers river raft educational and aboriginal experiences.

From first impression I can tell that Paris, Ontario is filled with natural resources. Paris, being a small town with a population of 11,763, is located on the Grand River. Needless to say the plants, wildlife, forest, wetlands and parks are all protected for ecosystems and the tourism factor the Brant County is trying to establish. I found that the tour guides were very well trained and informative with respect to where to go and the history of this small town. My tour guide Jack took my rafting group to a special remote area where pure spring water was flowing and one by one let use drink from the small stream. He was also well educated about the birds and how the climate changes during the winter months which I think the inbound international student groups would enjoy and appreciate during their tour.

During my walk around town with the Brant County Tour guides, we stopped at every location that supported the tourism in the area. Areas such as, the bridge crossing over the Grand River, the building where the world’s first long distance telephone call was made by Alexander Grand Bell, the inventor of the telephone. This is where he successfully called his son. We also stopped at the Syl Apps hockey stadium, where great Canadian hockey players, like Charles Joseph Sylvanus trained in. Lastly, there was one surviving building from the tragic fire the town endured where you can see the aged bricks and old styled building. The place that stood out the most to me was the Asa Wolverton House. Today it is home to a very kind lady and her husband that maintain the property very well. She was kind enough to talk about the history of the house and was even willing to give a tour around the property, but unfortunately there wasn’t that much time in the tour for it. I would comment that the infrastructure permitted to tourist is well maintained and indicated for Sheridan Tours clients.

The town was established in 1800, where the first settlement in 1829, was founded by Hiram Capron. The buildings of mills and the small town of Paris was officially established in 1856. Since then, Paris’ population has grown and buildings were built on top of buildings and the significance of the land it was built on still prospers. For instance, the first long distance telephone call was successfully made on the top of a building that has since been renovated, but the significance still remains the same today. The futures of supporting the type of groups Sheridan Tours take on are replied on places such as this because of the history the land supports on.

The hospitality that was the Brant County and a special guest of the member of the aboriginal Iroquois tribe was a warm welcome with a traditional cleansing for those who wanted to participate. Other activities were the drumming and the quick lesson of the history of the Iroquois tribe where men and women were allowed to play the drums together. Being a history fanatic, the only thing I like to recommend is maybe a longer lesson on the history. For those who are interested to book something if Brant County offers it for more in-depth history lessons on the culture and history of the Iroquois people. It was well put together; perhaps that’s what they were aiming for, wanting people to come back for more!

The value of the trip was $42.00 which was reasonable considering the transportation on coach and the lunch menu at the hotel. It was a disappointment learning that the menu was changed day of, and the frustration people had with the new menu. For people with food allergies or religious reasons, it was not convenient. I will say bravo to the hotel that did their best to accommodate us. They ended up arranging the original menus for the right people with allergies and religious diets. I would say considering what was offered it was money well spent. The only thing I would change is to let the customer dine where they wish and let them explore more of the town as well. By extending the time limit of the tours, it could benefit those who wish to explore as well as the town itself.

Overall, I enjoyed the one day tour at Paris, Ontario and would recommend it to anyone. With the research conducted, I hope it will bring more people back because it is a very beautiful place to travel. Especially to those participating in the river rafting, it was the biggest highlight of this trip. It’s definitely a must do! I for one, was not a fan at first, but with the help of the guide and the weather that went along, it all contributed to a well spent day and great tour conducted by the Brant County.