Herstmonceux Castle


Hey guys, hope everythings going well back home!  Sorry that I haven’t posted anything in over a month, but I’ve been crazy busy over here.  I will describe my last weekend just so that you kinda get the drift of my life.  Classes here only go from Monday to Thursday and then field trips run on Friday and Saturday, but basically, I have only one class at 8:30 Thursday morning so I get most of Thursday off as well.

So my weekend started with an 8:30 philosophy class, then I helped out in the gardens here raking up leaves and trimming hedges and such and just getting to know all the staff in the area, everyone is so nice here. So I did that for about 2 hours (which included half an hour for tea and another half of just chatting with the gardeners… I love English life)  I then ate lunch… and promptly ran into to one of my friends who was going horse riding in 10 minutes and asked if I wanted to come along.  Of course, I said yes, but seeing as that made a rather uneven people to horse ratio (ie. I didn’t have a horse), I had to walk…. and every now and then run.  So please imagine this situation if you were just a nice little english farmer… Two people on horses, one of which is a rather small pony which wouldn’t be out of place under Napoleon, and following those people is a skinny, tall kid running after the horses waving a tree branch about (I found a nice walking stick…).  Now, the odd part about this is that because the horses (or rather ponies I guess) were so small, that tall kid is actually running faster than them, therefore making this a very strange event to witness.

Now after my adventure frollicking around through rolling english hills chasing horses, I decided that it would be a good time to get some homework done… bad idea… trying to read a chapter of political science after having had 6 hours of sleep, and running around for 4 hours, isn’t very useful.  I woke up two hours later just in time for dinner with my face stuck to page 32 on political ideologies.

The next day, I went up to london at 2 for a Jack the Ripper tour of London (which is pretty sweet if you ever make it over here), and returned to the castle at 11:30pm, which was lots of fun because I had to wake up at 6:30 the next morning to go back up to London to see the British Library collection.

The British Library is amazing for book-lovers (like me!), they have original manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales, Alice in Wonderland, Jane Eyre, two Gutenberg Bibles, the only surviving copy of Beowulf, Buddhist illuminated texts, the Magna Carta, some of Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks, along with Galileo’s, original music by Mozart and Beethoven in their own hand, and original Beatles lyrics (did you know that Ticket to Ride was written on the back of John Lennon’s 5 year old sons birthday card?  You think he would keep a notepad handy or something like that…).  So after 2 hours or so in the British Library, I wandered out of there with 4 hours until the bus returned to the castle, so I wandered down Oxford Street with some friends, and turned onto Regent Street where I saw…. the coolest store in the world… Hamley’s.  Now for those of you who know what Hamley’s is, you know my amazement upon walking into that store.  For those of you who don’t, it is an amazingly large and amazingly cool toy store where you can find anything your heart would desire as a child (or a child at heart as I am).  It has six… I repeat… SIX floors of craziness, including a Build a Bear section, and the most amusing Tickle-me-Elmo I have ever encountered.  It was incredible.  So I kinda got a little to in touch with my childhood and spent about 3 hours wandering through the store, before we realized that we had to leave if we wanted to get to the pick-up point on time.  So I returned to the castle, and then promptly went down to the pub as it was my friends 18th birthday.  Eventually, I went to bed and spent all of sunday doing homework.

So that was basically my weekend in a nutshell, and I’m going to finish this quickly because this is getting longer than most essays.  But basically, life is busy, but amazing.

Cya guys



  1. Hey Riley,

    <3 the post 😀

    In response to the comments:
    I am currently at the castle myself 😀 I love it here, in some ways it is isolated, but there are tons of things to do and there is a mini-bus that takes you to nearby towns such as Brighton and Eastbourne. I have done travelling to London Bath and quite a few other European cities (there are many cheap flights), I know many have also gone to Wales 😀 It really depends on how you organize your time, but there is tons of time to explore. You have 5 classes and each class has 2 1 hour and 20 min classes a week. I often spend time during the week going to Herstmonceux village or walking through the grounds with my camera. The pub at the castle is also fun to go to every once in a while and the staff there are great!
    The profs are amazing, they are always there to talk to and really love what they teach!I wouldn’t worry too much about the weather although rainy, we got snow once and if you live in Vancouver we did not get as much rain as there. Mainly it was just overcast.
    I hope you have fun next year!!

  2. hello! I was accepted to Herstmonceux on monday, and confirmed it today! I have the same questions as Marianne 🙂 I’m extremly excited about this wonderful oppurtunity!

    Marianne, if you do decide to go, (and eventaully read this lol) add me on facebook 🙂 I’m the one that goes to East Northumberland Secondary School.

  3. Hello there,
    I found this by chance in searching for information about Herstmonceux castle. I am considering studying there for my first of university year next September. I was wondering if after several months it still exceeds your expectations. I was quite charmed in reading about your adventures frollicking about on English hills ahead of the ponies. Do you have enough spare time to really appreciate and explore where you are throughout the year? What is it like to live on the castle grounds, how are the professors, and is it difficult getting around? I was wondering how I would ever get a haircut actually. Also, when the weather’s cold and you can not be outside, are you allowed to wander about in the castle? It is completely understandable if you have given up checking this and do not reply, however I would apreciate any insight you have about castle life. Thanks a lot,


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