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Former Bishop's palace at Buckden
Buckden Towers

'Tourist in Your Own Town' explores towers and tiles in St Neots area

Jan Reynolds
Our county probably has more than its fair share of architecture on a grand scale.  But there are also many smaller buildings with important associations and extraordinary histories.

Listen to Jan explore the St Neots area:
audio Tourist in your own Town: St Neots area >
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Buckden Towers is a building with an extraordinary history. Originally a palace for successive Bishops of Lincoln, it became a place of confinement for Katherine of Aragon when she was banished there in 1533, following the annulment of her marriage to Henry VIII. 

Bright pink roses
Smell the roses at Buckden Towers

What remains of these picturesque Tudor buildings - the Great Tower and Inner Gatehouse - provides a perfect backdrop to the 15 acres of lovely grounds and gardens.

Having survived since the 15th century, the Towers are in constant need of specialist repair, so the 'Friends of Buckden Towers' was set up to support the care of the buildings and gardens. 

With regular open days and events, and a website that can be visited by supporters worldwide, the Friends have been able to help re-excavate part of the moat, re-establish the fishponds and create a 'Tudor' knot-garden. 

Funded by donations and grants, the work on the garden was carried out by volunteers and men from Littlehey Prison nearby, and the whole project is a tribute to what can be achieved by a small number of people with commitment and passion.

The Friends say that they are always ready to welcome new members, whether interests lie in restoration, landscaping, social activities, fund-raising or simply the quiet appreciation of a unique inheritance. Membership is a modest £6 a year.

For details of membership and the Heritage Day on 10th September, visit the Friends of Buckden Towers website:
Friends of Buckden Towers >
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The Taggart Tile Museum is one of those places that once you've discovered it you wonder why you never knew about it before!

Leafy 16th century cottage, also museum
One of the county's best kept secrets?

One of Cambridgeshire's best kept secrets, the Museum is a feast for the eyes, with ceramics from England's most famous potteries and an extensive display of exquisite Art Nouveau tiles.

Housed in a delightful 16th century cottage in Great Staughton, there is also a gallery shop, and even if your pennies don't stretch to a souvenir tile, you can take home some colourful cards featuring popular designs.

In the summer months, you can also visit the small specialised garden where tiles have been set into the path and walls.

Close-up of art nouveau tile, Taggart Gallery
Gorgeous tiles at the Taggart Gallery

If you think that a tile is just a tile, a chat with the welcoming Annie Taggart, will surely send you away with a very different impression...

The Taggart Gallery is open Wednesday to Saturday, 9.30am to 5pm. Visit the website for more information:
Taggart Gallery >
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Find out more about 'Tourist In Your Own Town' with BBC Radio Cambridgeshire:
A Tourist in your own Town! >
last updated: 30/08/06
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