VI Follies and Fantasies

The British have a great fondness for the fantastical and odd .

At Starhead in Wiltshire is an idealized landscape of the 18th century.

Here surrounding an artificially created lake you can see a medieval cross, several grottos, an ivy-clad gothic cottage, and no less than 3 classical temples.

The British fondness for the ancient Greece and imperial Rome led to a Victorian copy of the Parthenon being built in Edinburgh and a version of the Roman Colosseum being erected in the Scottish town of Auburn.

In Brighton there's what looks like the Palace of a Maharajah.

This is the famous Pavilion, an Anglo-Indian fantasy built for Queen Victoria's uncle the Prince Regent.

Every bit as exotic and yet more curious there's a house in Scotland shaped like a pineapple ; in Dorset there's a little thatched cottage shaped like an umbrella; and in Suffolk there is the house in the clouds built around a water tower.

Perhaps the grandest and certainly one of the most delightful of follies is Castech Coch near Cardiff.

This fairy-tale castle, taken straight from the pages of medieval romance, was built not in the Middle Ages but in Victorian times.

In the great hall of the castle is a piece of pure fantasy with an elaborate mural depicting the birds and animals of Aesop's Fables.