England has always provided me with so much inspiration. I can’t count the number of afternoons I have spent gazing at the renaissance collection inside the sun-lit atrium in the Victoria & Albert Museum or drinking copious amounts of English breakfast tea in wallpaper-covered sitting rooms. Once in the countryside, a sweet floral breeze surrounds you and you are easily transported to a world unto itself. I wouldn’t put it past me to one day have to relocate the Sarah Flint office so we can finally justify our afternoon tea breaks!
Shop the Alysia in Navy Houndstooth
Shop the Alysia, $345
Our trip was half wedding planning and half exploring Yorkshire. So when I wasn’t tasting traditional Yorkshire cake flavors of black currant and buttercream frosting or balancing on a cliffside for my engagement photos, I had a list of places I tried to squeeze in.
We stayed at the coziest cottage on the estate of our wedding venue. In the middle of rolling heather-covered moorland, the Higher Scarcliffe cottage has the most enchanting views of the Yorkshire Dales from every window. My favorite window was out the back where the hillside comes alive with hundreds of hopping bunnies. Each room in the longhouse is furnished with mid-century pieces and charming wood-burning fireplaces.
The 17th-century Devonshire Arms property was once owned by the Duke of Devonshire and was part of the Bolton Abbey Estate. It has since been converted to a picturesque English countryside hotel and spa. The first time we visited our wedding venue my fiancé and I stayed here with my parents. It is the perfect place to stop for a spectacular view and an even better cup of tea. Their afternoon tea service features some of my favorite pastries: curry chicken finger sandwiches and homemade buttermilk scones with clotted cream! There is short, but stunning walk along the river down to Bolton Abbey which I highly recommend if you plan to eat as many scones as we did.
Newby Hall & Gardens has been on my list of places to see for a while. The William & Mary house is an Adam style 18th-century estate where each room has an eccentric and beautiful personality of its own. From the French tapestry-draped Tapestry Room to the famous Tiffany-blue Circular Room, it was impossible to not get inspired (hint: you might see some of its influences in our Fall 2020 collection). The incredible gardens were designed in the 1920s. There are over 15 different corners of the garden, but we spent the most time walking up and down the Herbaceous Border.
Out in West Yorkshire’s Brontë Country sits Haworth, a hilltop village where the Brontë sisters lived! I have been in love with the Brontë’s after reading “Jane Eyre” in high school, so I was very excited to visit the home where they grew up. In Haworth, you can also find Top Withens, which is said to be the inspiration for the setting of Heathcliff’s farmstead in Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights.” Aside from the Brontë’s footprints throughout the town, the village’s ease of life is hard not to get lost in. There are so many quaint tea rooms, unique antique shops, and rare bookstores to explore if you have some time to spare.
Just a three-hour drive from Yorkshire, London makes for a great day trip to explore the city. You can, of course, spend an entire month there and still have things to see, but we went to come with me to visit the “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams,” exhibit on its last day at the Victoria & Albert Museum. What I have always admired about Christian Dior, especially in his early work, was how he embraced femininity and focused on the little details that make a big difference like a pointed bow or covered buttons.