Wednesday, 18 May 2011

A Castle near Cascais and the Famous 5...

Secret tunnels are brilliant.
When I was little I loved stories that had secret tunnels and stuff. There was one in the first Famous 5 story Five on a Treasure Island that went under the sea from Kirrin Island, near their uncle's house, and openned at the bottom of a well. There was another story set in a big house, where secret tunnels joined up the chimneys. Called Green Knowe, or something.

Last weekend I went to a house in Sintra (just inland from beautiful Cascais, Portugal) where eccentric multi-millionaire who built it decided he wanted to live in the mansion with the secret tunnels. So he dug them all under his massive garden. He built a chapel, with a crypt underneath, and a tunnel coming out. He had a pond which you crossed on stepping stones, to a passage that went behind a waterfall and joined up with the other tunnel and led to the bottom of a well!!!

I wrote my first children's story last year, The Quaravan Quartet and The Lost Ocean (see more here) and even before I started I knew it would have a secret tunnel in it. The kids find it under the staffroom at their school....
So when I went to Quinta da Regaleira it was like being a kid and pretending to be in the Famous 5 all over again. I ran round the tunnels like an idiot, while my Mum and Dad laughed at me and I had a GREAT time...

If you're in Lisbon with three hours to spare, get the train from Rossio to Sintra and follow the signs from the town centre. You won't regret it.


  1. Such an interesting post. Thank you for sharing. I am your newest friend here. I would love a visit/follow to my blog when you have a moment. Hope you enjoy! Donna

  2. 5 go to Smugglers top had tunnels too. And even better a servant called Block who pretended to be dead.

  3. umm that should say deaf not dead...

  4. Ooh. I'd forgotten Block. I can remember thinking how smart that was...