Places you can visit in England and Ireland

If you wish to visit the places Sisi and Crown Prince Rudolf came to, these abbreviated routes highlight the main places they travelled to. Sisi’s Road (in Europe) www.sisi-strasse.info/

 

Sisi Route

The Sisi Road (Sisistrasse) allows you to follow Elisabeth as she travelled around Europe.  But it has not included England or Ireland.

 

The main highlights of the many places that Sisi visited are:

 

Isle of Wight

Steephill Castle, Undercliff Gardens, Ventnor.   The castle where Empress Elisabeth stayed was demolished in 1963 and smaller houses built in the grounds.  A blue plaque, at the beginning of Undercliff Gardens, marks the site.  The stable block is now let to holidaymakers for use on vacation.

 

Ventnor Botanic Garden, Undercliff Drive, Ventnor PO38 1UL was formerly the Royal Hospital for Consumption (tuberculosis) which Sisi visited.  The semi-tropical garden claims to be the warmest in England. www.botanic.co.uk

 

Steephill Cove, Love Lane, Ventnor PO38 1AF is where Sisi swam and Marie Valerie played.

 

Sisi’s close companion the Count de Bellegarde stayed at the Royal Hotel, Belgrave Road, Ventnor PO38 1JJ, 500 metres east of the site of Steephill Castle.  The Royal was built in 1832 and became a regular meeting place between Queen Victoria and her friend Sir John Hambrough, who built Steephill Castle. http://royalhoteliow.co.uk/

 

St Wilfred’s Church, Trinity Road, Ventnor PO38 1NL, where Sisi worshipped, is a small, stone-built Victorian Church with a bell tower.

 

Osborne House, York Avenue, East Cowes PO32 6JX www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/osborne was Queen Victoria’s and Prince Albert’s perfect dream of a holiday house where they escaped court life and brought up their large family.   Crown Prince Rudolf stayed at Osborne with the Queen.

 

Sussex

Empress Elisabeth took young Archduchess Valerie to the Aquarium on Brighton’s seafront that had only been open two years.   The Sea Life Centre, Marine Parade, Brighton, Sussex BN2 1TB has been delighting children (and adults) ever since.  This hall originally housed Eugenius Birch’s 100,000 gallon tank, one of the largest display tanks then in existence. www.visitsealife.com/brighton

 

Kent

Deal

Sisi came ashore here and walked across the downs (cliff top hills) to Dover.

 

Bournemouth

Newlyn’s Royal Exeter Park Hotel (renamed The Royal Exeter Hotel), Exeter Road, Bournemouth          BH2 5AG www.royalexeterhotel.co.uk still remains one of the premier hotels in this ever-popular resort.  After Empress Elisabeth and Archduchess Valerie stayed in 1888 the hotel was allowed to fly her personal standard each Sunday.

 

Berkshire

Windsor Castle, Castle Hill, Windsor SL4 1NJ www.royalcollection.org.uk is the oldest occupied castle in the world and still an official home of Her Majesty the Queen.  Both Sisi and Crown Prince Rudolf visited Windsor.  Rudolf walked to the royal mausoleum at nearby Frogmore (open occasionally for charity).

Windsor and Eton Central Station, High Street, Windsor was known as just Windsor Station when Sisi and Crown Prince Rudolf visited Queen Victoria. Today it is part museum, part shopping mall and trains still use it.

London

Austro-Hungarian Embassy, 18 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PX is the only building of the Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Foreign Service still used today by Austrian diplomacy.

 

Jesuit Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, W1K 3AH, known as the Farm Street Church, opened in 1849, and Sisi, Archduchess Marie Valerie and Crown Prince Rudolf all worshipped here. https://www.jesuit.org.uk/church-immaculate-conception

 

27 Half Moon Street W1J 7BN was the block where Bay Middleton had his London apartment and where he met Elisabeth again in 1888, to the dismay of Archduchess Valerie.

 

Leicestershire and Lincolnshire

Harborough Hotel, Burton Street, Melton Mowbray LE13 1AF   www.harborohotel.co.uk.  The late 18th century / early 19th century coaching inn, where Elisabeth stayed in 1874, has an attractive frontage with a centrally-positioned carriageway arch.

 

Belvoir Castle, Woolsthorpe Road, Belvoir, near Grantham NG32 1PE was rebuilt after the Civil War and then remodelled in the fashionable Romantic Gothic style in the early 19th century.  Empress Elisabeth visited Belvoir in 1874. Fee. www.belvoircastle.com

 

Northamptonshire

In 1876 Sisi rented Easton Neston, Northampton Road, Easton Neston, Towcester NN12 7HS is sadly not open publicly.  Towcester races, started after Sisi funded steeplechases at Easton Neston, recently built the new Empress Elisabeth stand.

 

Althorp House, Althorp NN7 4HQ is on the road between Great Brington and Harlestone.  View the fine equestrian portrait of Sisi and pictures of her close friend the 5th Earl Spencer, who she visited regularly. Fee http://spencerofalthorp.com/

 

Cottesbrooke Hall, Cottesbrooke NN6 8PF www.cottesbrooke.co.uk Empress Elisabeth rented Cottesbrooke when she returned for hunting in 1878 and Crown Prince Rudolf visited her there. There is a portrait of Sisi in the house.

 

Warwickshire

Coughton Court, Coughton near Alcester B49 5JA (car entrance Birmingham Road A435, coach entrance Coughton Fields Lane) www.nationaltrust.org.uk/coughton-court Home of the Throckmorton family for 600 years, Mary Throckmorton was Archduchess Valerie’s governess and lady-in-waiting to Empress Elisabeth.  The splendid Tudor house displays paintings and a bust of Mary plus gifts and mementoes of Elisabeth including photos of the Austrian royal family, Mary’s Order of Elisabeth and Order of the Starry Cross presented by Emperor Franz Josef, a fan given by the Emperor and Empress plus a gold locket containing a rose bud from the Emperor’s wreath laid on Elisabeth’s body after her murder.

 

Warwickshire County Record Office, Priory Park, Cape Road, Warwick CV34 4JS preserves the Throckmorton papers that include voluminous correspondence with Archduchess Valerie, Empress Elisabeth, her staff and her Court.  It is essential to check the office’s requirements for obtaining a reader’s ticket before visiting. http://heritage.warwickshire.gov.uk/warwickshire-county-record-office/

 

Cheshire

Elisabeth stayed twice at Combermere Abbey, Shropshire Lane, Whitchurch SY13 4AJ www.combermereabbey.co.uk The house has re-opened after an award-winning restoration programme.  You can visit or stay in cottages in the stables or bed and breakfast in the house.

 

Cholmondeley Castle Gardens, Malpas SY14 8AH, home of the Earl and Countess of Rocksavage, was one of the places Sisi set out for hunting.   If you like gardens you should like Cholmondeley. http://cholmondeleycastle.com

 

Norfolk

Tucker’s Hotel, The Esplanade, Cromer was a family hotel on the seafront.  The building is now private apartments but the current building (painted in pink) is recognisable from old photographs.  Sisi stayed at Tucker’s Hotel for more than three weeks in the summer of 1887.

 

Ireland

 

Dublin

 

Phoenix Park is one of the largest parks within any European capital city.  It covers 707 hectares (1,747 acres) and was laid out as a deer park for Charles II.  Sisi went to the zoo. http://phoenixpark.ie/

 

 

Shelbourne Hotel, 27 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2 was besieged when Empress Elisabeth stayed there and she had to leave by the side entrance in Kildare Street. http://shelbourne-hotel-dublin.hotel-ds.com/en/

 

Maynooth

Maynooth Seminary, St Patrick’s College, Main Street, Maynooth www.nuim.ie/museum.  Founded in 1795, Sisi famously chased a stag into the seminary, made further visits and made two fine presents to the college.  The National Science Museum holds the magnificent gold thread vestments that Elisabeth gave to the college.

 

Meath

Summerhill House, Summerhill, County Meath was rented by Empress Elisabeth in 1879 and 1880 as her hunting lodge.   One of the grandest houses in Ireland it was burnt down by the IRA in 1921.  The site is private but you can see the original gates from the village.  The back entrance from the R158 road to Kilcock, south east of the village is the access point to the Summerhill country park which can be walked across.

 

Culmullin

In 1880 Sisi regularly hunted in and around Culmullin.  The hunts often met at Culmullin Cross Roads or went to Culmullen (Culmullin) House, owned by one of her regular hunting companions.  The tiny hamlet is on the R125 Dunshaughlin to Kilcock Road.   Culmullen House lies 400 metres north west of the cross roads up a small lane (private).

 

Ballinter

In 1880 Sisi set off hunting from Bellinter House Hotel, Ballinter, Navan.   The 18th century Palladian house is beautifully situated and the hotel welcomes visitors to look around the building (or to stay).  http://www.bellinterhouse.com

 

 

Rudolf Route

 

Whereas an 18th or early 19th century traveller headed for Italy, Crown Prince Rudolf’s ‘Grand Tour’ took in the most-advanced country in 1879, Great Britain and Ireland.  This route follows the order in which Rudolf made his visits.

 

London

Austro-Hungarian Embassy, 18 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PX is the only building of the Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Foreign Service still used today by Austrian diplomacy.

 

Jesuit Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, W1K 3AH, known as the Farm Street Church, opened in 1849.   Crown Prince Rudolf worshipped here as did Sisi and Archduchess Marie Valerie.  Opening times. https://www.jesuit.org.uk/church-immaculate-conception

 

The British Museum, Great Russell St, London WC1B 3DG already had one of the world’s great collections when Rudolf went there. Free http://britishmuseum.org/

 

Westminster Abbey, Broad Sanctuary, London SW1P 3PA Entry fee or attend a service. http://www.westminster-abbey.org/

 

House of Commons, Parliament Square SW1A 1AA. http://www.parliament.uk/visiting/visiting-and-tours/

 

Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly W1J 0BD. Free entry to cafe and shop. Fee for exhibitions.  https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/

 

National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN. Free entry. https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/

 

Albert Memorial (properly called the Prince Consort National Memorial), Queen’s Gate, London SW7 2AR is a ‘high-Victorian gothic extravaganza’ that has been meticulously restored.

 

Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, SW7 2AR had only been open for seven years when Rudolf toured it. Access to cafe and booking area. Fee for Tour. https://www.royalalberthall.com/

 

Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road SW7 2RL was known as the South Kensington Museum when Crown Prince Rudolf and Archduchess Valerie explored it. Free Entry. www.vam.ac.uk

 

Bank of England, Threadneedle St, EC2R 8AH.  Rudolf signed a £5,000 note during his visit.  The bank has an interesting museum (no charge). www.bankofengland.co.uk

 

The London Central Meat Market, Smithfield, EC1A 9LH was re-built to improve what had been awful levels of hygiene. Free entry and monthly walking tour. http://www.smithfieldmarket.com/

 

Tower of London, Tower Hill EC3N 4AB Fee. https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/

Leighton House Museum, 12 Holland Park Road, London W14 8LZ was the home and studio of the Victorian painter Lord Leighton (1830 -96).   The house next door 14 Holland Park Road, London W14 8LZ was the home of Leighton’s neighbour and fellow artist Valentine Prinsep. No fee.

www.rbkc.gov.uk/…/leightonhousemuseum/visitus.aspx

Windsor

Windsor Castle, Castle Hill, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 1NJ.   Rudolf would have been entertained in the private quarters and his standard later went up in the chapel as a Knight of the Garter. Fee. https://www.royalcollection.org.uk/visit/windsorcastle

Windsor and Eton Central Station, High Street, Windsor was known as just Windsor Station when Sisi and Crown Prince Rudolf visited Queen Victoria.   Today it is part museum, part shopping mall and trains still use it. http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/wnr/details.html

 

Northamptonshire

Cottesbrooke Hall, Main Street, Cottesbrooke, Northamptonshire NN6 8PF was visited by Rudolf during his mother’s stay. Fee.

www.cottesbrooke.co.uk

 

Isle of Wight

Osborne House, York Avenue, East Cowes, Isle of Wight PO32 6JX. Rudolf stayed with the aged Queen and planted a tree in the grounds. Fee www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/osborne

 

Portsmouth

Rudolf spent many hours at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Visitor Centre, Victory Gate, HM Naval Base, Portsmouth PO1 3LJ which was building warships. Fee. http://www.historicdockyard.co.uk/

 

 

Scotland

The Court of Session, Parliament Square, Edinburgh EH1 1RF offered Rudolf the chance to sit with the judges but he said no thank you. www.scotcourts.gov.uk/…/about-the-courtof-session

 

Museum of Science and Art now the National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh EH1 1JF was founded as the Industrial Museum of Scotland in 1855. Free https://www.nms.ac.uk/

Scotland’s grandest home Hamilton Palace was demolished in 1921. The grounds are now country parks with museums and a mausoleum. It is in Muir street in Hamilton. http://www.slleisureandculture.co.uk/info/202/hamilton_palace

Ireland

The beautiful Marks and Spencer, 48 Donegall Place, Belfast BT1 5BY was once linen merchant and manufacturer Richardson, Sons and Owdens’ fine warehouse.

 

Rudolf attended a ball at Dublin Castle, Castle Street, 1 which was built on the site of the 10th century Viking fortress by the Normans.  Fee http://www.dublincastle.ie/

 

He saw the Guinness Brewery, St James’s Gate, Dublin that has become the number one tourist attraction in the city. Fee for tour. www.guinness-storehouse.com/en

 

Chester

Arriving at 2 a.m., Rudolf stayed at the Queen Hotel, City Road, Chester CH1 3AH opposite the railway station. www.hallmarkhotels.co.uk/hotels/Chester-The-Queen

 

He went to mass at the newly-opened St Francis’s Roman Catholic Church, Grosvenor St, Chester.http://stfrancischester.co.uk/

 

Liverpool

In Liverpool Rudolf visited Albert Dock, Liverpool Waterfront L3 4AA which was officially opened in 1846 to handle sailing boats up to 1,000 tonnes in weight. Museums in the dock include Tate Liverpool and Beatles Story. http://www.albertdock.com/attractions/

 

The Walker Art Gallery, William Brown Street, Liverpool L3 8EL had only been open to the public for a year when he saw the pictures.  http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/

 

Manchester

Rudolf went to the Town Hall, Albert Square M2 5DB, which was then new, and is now widely-seen as the finest city hall in the country. www.visitmanchester.com/things-to-see-and-do/albert-square-p33691

 

Bradford

The Grand Victoria Hotel, Bridge St, Bradford, BD1 1JX, built by local architects Lockwood and Mawson, welcomed Rudolf and his party. http://www.victoriabradford.co.uk/

One of the mills visited by Crown Prince Rudolf was Salt’s Mill, Saltaire BD18 3LA (sat nav for car park BD17 7EF).  It is now a world heritage site and tourist attraction. http://www.saltairevillage.info/Saltaire_WHS_01_Saltaire.html

 

Sheffield

Kelham Island Industrial Museum, Alma Street, Sheffield S3 8RY holds the year knife with its 2,000 blades that Joseph Rodgers proudly showed to the Crown Prince. http://www.simt.co.uk/kelham-island-museum

 

Birmingham

The Jewellery Quarter is just north of the city centre and Birmingham New Street. https://jewelleryquarter.net/jewelleryquarter.net

Gillott’s pen factory in the Victoria Works was on the corner of Graham Street and Newhall Street (east side), Hockley B1 (blue plaque).

The Pen Museum, Unit 3, The Argent Centre, 60 Frederick Street, Hockley Birmingham B1 3HS  (open daily) recalls the history of the 12 pen making companies.

Elkington’s plating works in Newhall Street is marked by a commemorative blue plaque.

 

Stratford -Upon-Avon

Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Henley Street, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire CV37 6QW has been a tourist attraction for over 270 years.  Rudolf visited the Bard’s home. Fee. www.shakespeare.org.uk

 

Warwick

Warwick Castle, Castle Street, Warwick CV34 4QU.  Perched high above the river Avon, beautiful Warwick Castle dominates the town today, just as it has done for 1,000 years. Fee. www.warwick-castle.com

 

Leamington Spa

Crown Prince Rudolf finished his tour of Britain and Ireland in Leamington Spa, home of Mary Throckmorton, his sister Archduchess Valerie’s governess.  The Regent Hotel opened in 1819 and was named by permission of the Prince Regent (later George IV).  It was stayed in by Princess Victoria (later Queen), the Duke of Wellington and the future Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie.  It is now the Premier Inn, 154-156 Parade, Leamington Spa CV32 4BQ  www.premierinn.com/Warwickshire/Leamington_Spa

 

Unless otherwise stated © Picture  L. and R. Offer own photos and where relevant  personal possession

 


[caption id="attachment_818" align="alignnone" width="800"]Royal Hotel, Isle of Wight where some of Sisi's courtiers stayed. Royal Hotel, Isle of Wight where some of Sisi's courtiers stayed.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_840" align="alignnone" width="709"]Brighton Aquarium visited by Archduchess Marie Valerie and her mother Sisi. THe Aquarium is still open today. Brighton Aquarium visited by Archduchess Marie Valerie and her mother Sisi. THe Aquarium is still open today.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_863" align="alignnone" width="800"]Windsor Castle from the river Thames with geese. The castle was visited by Sisi and her son Crown Prince Rudolph Windsor Castle from the river Thames with geese. The castle was visited by Sisi and her son Crown Prince Rudolph[/caption] [caption id="attachment_820" align="alignnone" width="398"]Bay Middleton's Apartment at 27 Half Moon Street, London, W1J N where Sisi met up with him Bay Middleton's Apartment at 27 Half Moon Street, London, W1J N where Sisi met up with him[/caption] [caption id="attachment_866" align="alignnone" width="399"]Jesuit Church, Farm Street, London used by Sisi and Rudolf for worship. Jesuit Church, Farm Street, London used by Sisi and Rudolf for worship.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_839" align="alignnone" width="800"]Althorp House, the home of the 5th EArl Spencer and the Childhood home of Diana, Princess of Wales Althorp House, the home of the 5th Earl Spencer and the childhood home of Diana, Princess of Wales[/caption] [caption id="attachment_852" align="alignnone" width="800"]Belvoir House owned by the Duke of Rutland who entertained Sissi Empress of Austria. Belvoir House owned by the Duke of Rutland who entertained Sisi Empress of Austria.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_844" align="alignnone" width="800"]Coughton Court, the home of Mary THrockmortom. She was the governess to Marie Valerie, the youngest daughter of Elisabeth Empress of Austria Coughton Court, the home of Mary Throckmortom. She was the governess to Marie Valerie, the youngest daughter of Elisabeth Empress of Austria[/caption] [caption id="attachment_841" align="alignnone" width="800"]Cholmondeley Castle visited by Empress Sisi of Austria Cholmondeley Castle visited by Empress Elisabeth of Austria[/caption] [caption id="attachment_845" align="alignnone" width="800"]Bellinter House Hotel, Meath Ireland which was visited by Empress Elisabeth of Austria of Austria Bellinter House Hotel, Meath Ireland which was visited by Empress Elisabeth of Austria of Austria[/caption] [caption id="attachment_849" align="alignnone" width="398"]Maynooth Chapel, KIldare, Ireland. Sisi's horse chased a stag into the Seminary Maynooth Chapel, KIldare, Ireland. Sisi's horse chased a stag into the Seminary[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_870" align="alignnone" width="800"]Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, London Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, London[/caption] [caption id="attachment_847" align="alignnone" width="800"]Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London visited by Crown Prince Rudolf. Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London visited by Crown Prince Rudolf.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_865" align="alignnone" width="398"]Royal Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens, London visited by Crown Prince Rudolf Royal Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens, London visited by Crown Prince Rudolf[/caption] [caption id="attachment_861" align="alignnone" width="800"]The Quuen's Hotel in Chester where Crown Prince Rudolf stayed by the Railway Station The Quuen's Hotel in Chester where Crown Prince Rudolf stayed by the Railway Station[/caption]         [caption id="attachment_389" align="alignnone" width="490"]Sisi's son Rudolf attended a ball at Dublin Castle Sisi's son Rudolf attended a ball at Dublin Castle[/caption] [caption id="attachment_843" align="alignnone" width="300"]Hamilton Palace in 1880 Hamilton Palace in 1880 where Crown Prince Rudolf attended a ball with the Prince of Wales the future King Edward VII).[/caption] [caption id="attachment_842" align="alignnone" width="800"]Osborne House, Isle of Wight. Rudolf visited Queen Victoria. Osborne House, Isle of Wight. Rudolf visited Queen Victoria.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_855" align="alignnone" width="416"]Warwick Castle visited by Sisi's son Rudolf. Warwick Castle visited by Sisi's son Rudolf.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_854" align="alignnone" width="540"]Saltaire MIll originally by Sir Titus Salt visited by Crown Prince Rudolf Saltaire MIll originally by Sir Titus Salt visited by Crown Prince Rudolf[/caption]