Great British Castles

With all the focus on the recent royal wedding between Prince Harry and Megan Markle, it’s a perfect time to take a virtual tour of some of Britain’s amazing castles. There’s Windsor, where Harry and Megan were married, and Buckingham in London, but there are many more castles all throughout Great Britain that can take your breath away.

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle, located outside London, is the largest inhabited castle in the world, with a permanent staff in residence since the queen and her entourage stay there most weekends. It was built by William the Conqueror, and has continually been inhabited by aristocracy and royalty since then, making it the longest-inhabited castle in Europe.

It has a classic fortification encompassing 13 acres, complete with a small town, a church, a motte and bailey design, and a keep in the center of the castle grounds.

Windsor Castle (Birds Eye)
Windsor Castle

The King Henry VIII Gate is a prominent and attractive entrance to the lower ward of the castle grounds.

King Henry VIII Gate at Windsor Castle (StreetView)
King Henry VIII Gate at Windsor Castle

St. George’s Chapel has recently gained international fame as the venue for the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Marke in May 2018. The Gothic structure can hold about 800 people for such events. It is the resting place of many kings, queens and other royalty, including Henry VIII, Jane Seymour, George V and George VI and their wives, and it is the planned resting place of the current queen, Queen Elizabeth II and her immediate family members.

St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle (Birds Eye)
St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle

Buckingham Palace

Easily the most famous castle in Great Britain, Buckingham Palace is located in Westminister, a small city within London. It has been the main royal residence since Queen Victoria, and now serves as the administrative center for Queen Elizabeth II.

Buckingham Palace (Birds Eye)
Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace itself is an iconic part of the royal image. Tourists from around the world gather to view the royal residence, hoping to catch a glimpse of Prince William or Harry, and have a little fun thinking about what it’s like to be royalty.

Buckingham Palace (StreetView)
Buckingham Palace

Visitors love to see the changing of the guard, a ritual as famous as the palace itself. The Queen’s Guard, in their iconic red jackets and tall bearskin hats, march back and forth in front of the main gate, keeping the queen safe and tradition in tact.

Changing of the Guard, Buckingham Palace (StreetView)
Changing of the Guard, Buckingham Palace

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle is an ancient castle originally built at the time of William the Conqueror and reinforced over the next few hundred years as it played vital roles in several wars throughout England’s history. It played a crucial role in the coming to power of the first major royal dynasty, the Plantagenet family.

Warwick Castle (Birds Eye)
Warwick Castle

The castle has iconic medieval features including large towers, the motte and bailey design, and a dungeon complete with torture devices. The castle has daily showcases of castle life including jousting and tournament events. Additionally, exciting amateur but accurate battle reenactments often take place outside and around the castle.

Medieval encampment at Warwick Castle (StreetView)
Medieval encampment at Warwick Castle

Stirling Castle

Anyone who has seen Braveheart or is familiar with Scottish history will know how important Stirling Castle is. Stirling Castle is built on a large hill that has been home to fortifications and settlements since at least the third century CE. Some even believe it is where King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table met.

Stirling Castle (Google Maps)
Stirling Castle

The first castle was constructed around 1110, and was a major center of Scottish government by 1200. Most of the castle structures and fortifications were built in the 1400s and 1500s. Several battles between England and Scotland during the Wars of Scottish Independence were fought here, including the famed Battle of Stirling Bridge where the outnumbered Scots routed the English. However, success was fleeting and the war continued for several more decades. England and Scotland continued to fight one another until their eventual unification in 1707.

Stirling Castle (StreetView)
Stirling Castle

William Wallace, the hero of the Battle of Stirling Bridge, was so famed for his bravery and merciless efforts for Scottish independence that when he was captured by English forces, the King ordered him hanged, drawn and quartered. Wallace is now a Scottish national hero, and the Wallace Monument in Stirling honors his memory.

William Wallace statue (StreetView)
William Wallace statue

Hever Castle

Hever Castle in Kent, England, has been around since the 1200s and was enlarged and enhanced in the 1400s, with a distinct Tudor influence on the design. The strong Tudor influence can be felt throughout the castle and the grounds, including a Tudor style garden maze.

Hever Castle maze (Bing Maps)
Hever Castle maze

However, it later fell into disrepair and it wasn’t until American millionaire William Waldorf Astor purchased it that it was renovated for use as his private residence. It was eventually sold and is now open to the public.

Hever Castle (Google Maps)
Hever Castle

It was particularly important in Tudor England, as it is the childhood home of Ann Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII. It was later given to Anne of Cleves, the fourth wife of Henry VIII.

British history is much older and broader than even these castles can show, but they are am important and famous part of the history and country. Anyone who wants to really get a feel for the island’s history must make sure to stop at at least one castle!

Female Icons and Their Amazing Homes

Many people dream of making it big in fashion, music or entertainment, but having success in these careers requires a lot of hard work, dedication, talent and luck. These women have worked hard and achieved lifelong dreams of success and influence, and have luxurious lifestyles and amazing homes to show for it.

Meryl Streep

Well-known and regarded as the best actress in a generation, Meryl Strep has been active in Hollywood for more than 40 years, earning a record 21 Academy Award nominations and three Oscars. She has countless other nominations and awards to her credit as well. Her reputation is iron clad, and she has used her reputation to advocate for pay and publicity parity among men and women in Hollywood.

She and her family have primarily resided in a private estate in Salisbury, Connecticut since 1985, where her sculptor husband has a large studio for his work and where they could raise their four children.

Meryl Streep's House (Birds Eye)
Meryl Streep's House

Anna Wintour

Anna Wintour, fashion influencer and icon, was born and raised in England, and started her fashion journalism career there under the tutelage of her father. She moved to New York City and worked for several magazines and publications before settling in at Vogue as the creative director and eventually it’s editor. Since then, she has been a major figure in New York fashion circles, with her signature bob and sunglasses. The book and film The Devil Wears Prada was based on her and the magazine.

Anna was married for about 15 years, and has two children from the marriage. She has long owned a townhouse in an exclusive enclave in Greenwich Village.

Anna Wintour's House (StreetView)
Anna Wintour's House

She also owns a home in Mastic Beach, on Long Island. She has said the community is “white trash” but loves the area regardless.

Anna Wintour's house (Birds Eye)
Anna Wintour's house

Beyonce

Beyonce rose to fame as part of the music group Destiny’s Child, and has since become one of the biggest superstars of all time. She has a successful acting career, as well as fashion lines, music management and her success as a solo artist. She has become a crossover influencer, with devoted fans across the globe nicknamed the BeyHive. She is one of the best selling artists of all time, the most-nominated Grammy artist, and even has college courses taught on her music, cultural influence and impact on society.

She married fellow musician Jay-Z in 2008, and while their relationship has been mostly private, the powerhouse couple have ruled over the music industry for a decade. They have three children, and several homes across the country.

After leasing several homes in and around Los Angeles, the couple bought a mansion for nearly $90 million in 2017. It has 30,000 square feet of interior space, a spa, many luxurious amenities and four outdoor pools.

Jay-Z and Beyoncé's House (Google Maps)
Jay-Z and Beyoncé's House

Also in 2017, Beyonce and Jay-Z purchased a $26 million home in East Hampton, NY. The 100 year home sits on two acres. The previous owner rotated the entire home 90 degrees so the living room overlooks the pond and is perfect for sunset viewing.

Jay-Z and Beyonce's House (Birds Eye)
Jay-Z and Beyonce's House

Oprah Winfrey

There’s no one category to hold Oprah Winfrey: Television host who defined and redefined the concept, actress, producer, media mogul, and all over media icon.

Oprah rose to prominence as a daytime talk show host in the 1980 and became famous for her personable and frank interviews, openness with her audience and charisma. Her book club became so popular it would rocket authors to the best seller list overnight. Appearing on her show had the potential to create lasting fame and success for her guests, like Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz, who have gone on to have successful television careers of their own.

She has also starred in, produced and backed several box office and critically successful films. She ended her talk show in 2011, but has continued to produce, sponsor and support television and film projects, as well as run a monthly magazine.

Oprah has a 65 acre estate named The Promised Land in Montecito, CA. She has renovated and expanded the estate since purchasing it in 2001. The mansion itself is over 23,000 square feet.

Oprah Winfrey's House (Google Maps)
Oprah Winfrey's House

Not to be outdone by her California home, Oprah has a 163 acre estate in Kula, on the Hawaiian island Maui. In addition to a lovely white mansion, she has an expansive garden that grows over 100 types of organic fruits, vegetables and herbs. It is truly a paradise.

Oprah Winfrey's House (Bing Maps)
Oprah Winfrey's House

These icons have shown how it’s done-find something you love, something you can do better than anyone else, and work harder than anyone else is willing to work. If you do that, you too can reach the pinnacle of success in your area of expertise. And maybe, you too can own a piece of your own personal paradise.

 

Homes of “The Voice” Stars

The 14th season of The Voice is underway and has a new coach sitting in the red chair. Starring in the United States’ most popular reality television show, the show’s coaches enjoy a significant amount of fame and success, and it shows in the amazing homes and properties they own.

Blake Shelton

One of two judges on the show since it began in 2011, Blake Shelton has been very successful as a coach, with a member of his team winning in five of the past twelve seasons. His personal life has been tied into the show, as he divorced his wife Miranda Lambert and then started dating Gwen Stefani while the two were both on the show.

Shelton is a country boy at heart, and after his divorce from Miranda Lambert, he bought his Oklahoma home in Kingston, Oklahoma, on Lake Texoma.

Blake Shelton lake house (Google Maps)
Blake Shelton lake house

Additionally, his Ten Point Ranch in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, was for sale as of August 2017.

Blake Shelton 10 Point Ranch (Google Maps)
Blake Shelton 10 Point Ranch

Jennifer Hudson

Perhaps no one knows better the rigors of participating in a musical talent competition than Jennifer Hudson, who was a finalist on the third season of American Idol, the famous American singing competition show. She has since been successful in both the music and acting industries.

She joined the other coaches for the thirteenth season on The Voice, coinciding with a record release in early 2017. She has always maintained strong ties to her Chicago roots, with a home in Burr Ridge, outside Chicago.

Jennifer Hudson's House (Birds Eye)
Jennifer Hudson's House

Adam Levine

Like Blake Shelton, Adam Levine has been a judge on all thirteen seasons of The Voice. His personal life has changed almost as much as Blake’s,  including marrying Behati Prinsloo in 2014, having a baby girl with her in 2016, and preparing for another girl due in 2018. He and Behati bought a beautiful mansion with a pool, lots of privacy and plenty of space for their girls in Los Angeles, California in 2017 for about $18 million.

Adam Levine & Behati Prinsloo's House (Google Maps)
Adam Levine & Behati Prinsloo's House

Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus now has two seasons of coaching under her belt, and it is just one of many aspects of her dynamic and successful career in music and entertainment. Her role on the show is entertaining, to say the least. She is as dynamic in her personal life as she is in her professional, with multiple homes and places to crash throughout southern California.

Since 2015, she has owned a home in Hidden Hills, an exclusive gated community in Los Angeles, purchase for roughly $15 million.

Miley Cyrus' House (former) (Birds Eye)
Miley Cyrus' House (former)

One LA house isn’t enough for Miley, though, since she bought another house in Malibu, on the coast of California just a short drive from downtown Los Angeles. This home was purchased in 2016 for $2.5 million.

Miley Cyrus's House (Google Maps)
Miley Cyrus's House

After rekindling her relationship with actor Liam Hemsworth, the couple purchased a beautiful home in Franklin, Tennessee, for $5.8 million.

Miley Cyrus' House (Google Maps)
Miley Cyrus' House

Carson Daly

Carson Daly has had a long career in entertainment and music, and has been the host of The Voice since the beginning. He does other hosting for NBC, including on the morning show Today and hosting of special events such as the annual New Year’s Eve show on television.

He maintains a lower profile than the other celebrities on the show, choosing to spend time with his wife and three children. He has owned the Santa Monica mansion since 2006.

Carson Daly's House (Birds Eye)
Carson Daly's House

The coaches and host of The Voice all work hard and help others learn about successful singing, entertaining and show business, so it is a very good thing they have awesome places to rest after a long day of work on set.

Celebrity Nurseries

Being a pregnant celebrity has come a long way from the days of hiding their pregnancy and staying out of the limelight until after their delivery. Now, having a baby bump is a trendy accessory in Hollywood, and so is having a fashion-forward and fabulous nursery to bring the baby home to. Recent trends are clearly focused on gender-neutral and age-neutral themes, which make decorating fun and adaptable for a growing family.

Savannah Guthrie

Savannah Guthrie, co-host of NBC’s morning news show Today, decorated her daughter Vale’s room in a neutral animal theme that is anything but boring!

Savannah Guthrie & Michael Feldman's House (Birds Eye)
Savannah Guthrie & Michael Feldman's House
Savannah Guthrie
Photo credit http://celebritybabies.people.com/2015/08/19/savannah-guthrie-daughter-vale-nursery/

Ivanka Trump

Whether you love or hate her dad, it’s impossible not to love Ivanka Trump’s nursery in her upper East Side apartment with husband Jared Kushner. The neutral palate of cream and gray are on trend even for the most sophisticated adult, but the softer touch of stars, plenty of books for his older siblings to read to him, and the portable Moses basket make the room a great place for Theo to grow up and interact with his entire family.

With her great taste in style, it’s a sure bet that her new house in Washington, D.C. will be as fabulous as her New York apartment!

Ivanka Trump & Jared Kushner's House (Google Maps)
Ivanka Trump & Jared Kushner's House
Ivanka Trump
Photo Credit: Ivanka Trump

Kevin and Danielle Jonas

Kevin and Danielle Jonas were in tune with the new trend of sophisticated and adaptable baby rooms when they decorated the nursery for their baby girl, Alena Rose, in 2014. Starting with a neutral palate of dark wood floors and ivory furniture, they accented the room with stunning navy blue and natural wood furniture, making the room both perfect for a new baby and ready for a toddler to learn, play and grow. Navy is a neutral color that will make it so easy for the Jonas family to use the nursery for whoever joins their family next!

Kevin Jonas' House (Google Maps)
Kevin Jonas' House
Kevin Jonas
Photo Credit: http://www.newarrivalsinc.com/Celebrity-Spotlight-Danielle-Kevin-Jonass-New-Playroom_b_207.html
Kevin Jonas
Photo Credit: http://www.newarrivalsinc.com/Celebrity-Spotlight-Danielle-Kevin-Jonass-New-Playroom_b_207.html

Nicky Hilton Rothschild

After years of fashion hits and misses that were always entertaining and anything but low-key, model, socialite and trend setter Nicky Hilton married James Rothschild and settled down to married life. She gave birth to baby girl Lily Grace Victoria Rothschild in July 2016, and shared details of the baby’s nursery shortly before her birth.

The New York City nursery is decorated in soft blues and whites, which would be perfect for either a boy or a girl, but the furniture makes it clear Nicky and James have a baby girl! The antique dollhouse and Madame Alexander dolls set it apart, and the cat-themed mobile above the crib shows off Nicky’s personality and love of all things cat.

Nicky Hilton's House (Birds Eye)
Nicky Hilton's House
Nicky Hilton
Photo Credit: http://ca.hellomagazine.com/health-and-beauty/02016072828320/nicky-hilton-stylish-stroller/
Nicky Hilton
Photo Credit: Nicky Hilton Instagram