10 INTO Places for Your Next International Trip
The National Trust for Canada is proud to be part of a global network of Trusts included in the #INTOPlaces program which launched on April 16. The National Trust for Canada membership is not only your ticket to our Passport Places partners in Canada, it is your gateway to INTO Places, with over 1000 global heritage sites. Do you know where your membership will take you? If you’re looking for inspiration for your next international trip, here are 10 heritage sites to check out!
1. Scotney Castle – National Trust (UK)
Nestled in the English countryside of Kent, Scotney Castle whisks visitors away to a fairy-tale-like experience. The large estate includes a 14th century moated castle, a Victorian mansion, as well as parkland, woodland, and hop gardens, which are used to make the craft beer that can be purchased at Scotney’s shop. Dating around 1137, the original Scotney Castle was built by Roger de Ashburnham and the castle ruins are the main attraction of this historical place. The gardens around the moat are a surviving example of the Picturesque style of gardening.
Sometimes referred to as the Scotney New Castle, the Victorian country mansion was built by the Hussey family between 1835 and 1843, made from sandstone quarried from the hill below the house. Designed in the Tudor Revival Style, visitors can explore the many rooms of the mansion and the rich history the Hussey family left behind. The enchanted experience of Scotney Castle is something to be treasured, making it a worthwhile day trip.
2. Verdmont Historic Home and Garden – The Bermuda National Trust
One of the best-preserved colonial homes in Bermuda, the Verdmont Historic Home has remained virtually unchanged for the past 300 years. Located in Smith’s Parish, Verdmont Historic Home was built in 1710. The Verdmont home holds significant stories, many of which are of the enslaved individuals that once lived and worked there. Verdmont Home is part of the African Diaspora Trail where visitors can learn about Bermudians of African descent, and their untold stories. The Georgian Style house now operates as a museum with an extensive collection of antiques and portraits for visitors to appreciate. Visitors can choose to learn about the history through a guided tour or a self-guided tour, as well as tour the gardens that look over the scenic South Shore, which are full of herbs, roses, and fruit trees. As a historic building with a complex history, the Verdmont Historic Home is a place to be discovered when visiting Bermuda.
3. Blue Holes National Park – Bahamas National Trust
Established in 2002, Blue Holes National Park is located on the island of Andros, which is also home to the highest concentration of blue holes in the world. Blue holes are underwater cave systems that occur when the island’s limestone bedrock is eroded over thousands of years.
There are about 22 inland blue holes that the Blue Holes National Park protects which are home to unique cave fish and invertebrates. Visitors can immerse themselves in the surrounding coppice and pine forests, with boardwalks, trails and bird watching. If you are looking for more thrill, you can take a short, guided hike towards a perfectly round blue hole where you can take the “Leap of Faith”. At Capt. Bill’s Blue Hole, visitors can take the plunge off the gazebo which extends 15ft over the water. For those who prefer not to take the leap, there is a lovely seating area and set of stairs descending into the water. The magnificent natural wonder of the island of Andros and Blue Holes is something to be explored and enjoyed by all who visit.
4. Palace on the Meir – Herita (Belgium)
In the heart of Antwerp visitors can find the Palace on the Meir, a genuine palace that was originally an 18th century patrician home. Built in 1745, the grand home was a residence to significant figures in European history, such as Napoleon Bonaparte, Willem I of the Netherlands and the Belgian Royal Family. The interior is much to be admired with grand halls lined with mirrors, and gold trim- the palace is the definition of opulence and grandeur. The building was handed to Herita, a heritage organization working to preserve historical places, by the Ministry of Dutch Culture in 2001 and underwent major restoration. Opening its doors to the public in 2010, the palace now includes a museum, in addition to a variety of shops and food destinations making it so that everyone can indulge in a bit of luxury.
5. Abbazia di San Fruttuoso – FAI (The Italian Environment Fund)
In the province of Genoa, San Fruttuoso abbey is a true oasis accessible by ferry ride from Camogli or Rapallo, or by walking down from the mountains above. The natural surroundings stun visitors with the sparkling blue waters of eastern Liguria, and the vast woodlands of Mount Portofino. Seamlessly integrated into the natural landscape, San Fruttuoso Abbey, with its 16th century bell tower transport visitors to another world. The Romanesque abbey was a 10th century Benedictine monastery, and became the property of the Doria family in the 13th century, who restored the buildings, and relocated their family burial ground to the site, later donating the entire complex to FAI. For those looking to get away from it all, there are options for visitors to stay in The Little House, located inside the San Fruttuoso Abbey. The modest two-bed apartment-style accommodation is perched above the abbey roofs, with a view that looks over the Mediterranean.
6. Ammersoyen Castle – Geldersch & Landschap Kasteelen (Netherlands)
Next to the village of Ammerzoden, sightseers can experience one of the best-preserved medieval castles in the country. Built around 1300- 1350, the moated castle features a significant innovative design for the time, introduced by Count Floris V. wherein towers are set aside from the central building for more effective defence. In 1975, a complete restoration of the castle was completed by the Friends of the Geldersche Kasteelen foundation. With guided tours available, visitors can explore the museum attic, where archaeological finds from the moat are kept, as well as the knight’s hall and living quarters. If you are looking to add some outdoor adventure to your trip, outside of the castle are bike routes that journey around the Ammersoyen Castle and Loevestein Palace. The archeological gems, and impressive architecture with characteristic Dutch landscape, the Ammersoyen Castle is a fantastic place to tour for your next journey!
7. Pencarrow Lighthouse – Heritage New Zealand, Pouhere Taonga
Located within the East Harbour Regional Park on the Wellington Harbour, the 1859 Pencarrow Lighthouse captivates visitors with its landscape and inspiring tales of perseverance. The Pencarrow Lighthouse is a 12 metres high cast-iron tower that once guided ships sailing below, making it New Zealand’s first permanent lighthouse. Reaching the lighthouse is an adventure in and of itself; visitors can take transit, drive, or take the Days Bay Ferry from downtown Wellington. From there, visitors can walk or rent a bike to make the journey on the flat gravelled path towards the hill where the lighthouse stands. The final leg of the journey is a narrow walking track up the hill or a four-wheel-drive track that is further around the coast. . One of the most inspiring tales told at the lighthouse is that of the first and only female lighthouse keeper, Mary Bennet. After the tragic drowning of her husband George Bennet, Mary, who was pregnant at the time, managed to raise five children while operating the lighthouse until 1865. The quest of getting to the lighthouse in combination with the fascinating tales and remarkable views, makes this historic place a perfect day trip for those seeking adventure.
8. Morgan Lewis Windmill – The Barbados National Trust
See how the sugar industry was run in the 18th and 19th centuries with the largest surviving windmill in the Caribbean and one of only two functioning sugar windmills in the world. For much of its modern history, Barbados was a British Colony that became one of the largest sugar producers during the late 17th century. The sugar-based economy was sustained by the work of enslaved individuals for over a century. With slavery abolished and the country gaining independence in 1966, the sugar-based economy remains an important export for the country. Barbados National Trust has worked hard to restore the windmill as a museum to share the economic and social history of Barbados.
When visiting the windmill, visitors can learn how the wind-driven machinery was used to ground and produce sugarcane. A main point of interest is the construction of the building; at the time it was being built, cement was not yet in use, and bricks were unavailable. Rather, the building’s walls are composed of rubble and boulders which are then held together with a mixture of egg-white and coral dust for mortar. The Morgan Lewis Windmill is a fascinating historical place and symbol of Barbados’ history, which makes it a noteworthy place to tour.
9. Old Melbourne Gaol – National Trust of Australia – Victoria
In the heart of Melbourne lies the infamous Old Melbourne Gaol where visitors are immersed in the dark history and atmosphere of this spooky facility. Built in the mid-1800s, the Gaol once held prisoners of all sorts, from dangerous criminals and petty offenders to the homeless, mentally ill, and even children. Some of Australia’s most notorious citizens walked the dark halls, including the folk hero and bushranger Ned Kelly. Visitors can also tour the Old Magistrate’s Court and City Watch House to learn more about the places where some citizens stood for bail, committal hearings and were brought to face justice.
Closed in 1929, The Old Melbourne Gaol no longer operates as a jail. In 1972, The National Trust reopened its doors as a museum that tells the sometimes unsavoury history of its inhabitants as well as general history of war and conflicts in the area. Step back in time and investigate Melbourne’s most dreaded destination with informative guided or self-guided tours and programming.
10. World’s View – National Trust of Zimbabwe
As one of the highest points in Zimbabwe (approx. 2,300 metres), World’s View offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The escarpment and surrounding landscape are steeped with layers of history, with archaeological traces of early Nyanga settlements made visible by large stone wall segments.
The activities of World View are plenty, whether you are interested in bird watching, exploring the wildflower conservancy, or taking in the incredible views, there is so much for you to discover. Visitors can enjoy the large Astra Toposcope at the top of the hill with plaques indicating the distance and direction to thirty significant places, cities, and towns of the surrounding area. There is also an art gallery and sculpture garden featuring the work of local Nyanga artists, as well as a small shop selling pottery, carpets and baskets to promote local craftspeople.
National Trust for Canada is proud to highlight amazing historic sites across Canada and the globe with Passport Places and #INTOPlaces. Where will your membership take you?
Explore 1000+ National Trust properties around the globe by showing your National Trust for Canada member card and receive *free or discounted entry at sites operated by partner organizations. The International National Trusts Organization’s INTO Places program features special places from England to Zimbabwe. From castles and inns, to ranches and landscapes, these are places you won’t want to miss. Visit INTO.org/Places to discover all the participating countries.