Places make us

Where’s the place that makes you feel alive? The place you escape to when you’re stressed? The place you spend precious time with loved ones? These are the places that make us who we are, and these are the stories that will show you why

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Don & Jenny together at Wimpole Home Farm

'It has brought back the man I married'

Don and Jenny, Wimpole Estate

Retirement hasn’t come easy for ex-farmer Don and his wife of 50 years Jenny. With so much time spent on the farm, Don had few hobbies. He was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia five years ago. Thanks to the Farming Memories Group at Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire, Don is able to share his farming passion with like-minded people and Jenny has re-discovered the man she married.

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Brigitte weaving her willow tunnel, Rainham Hall, London

'Children run happily through my creation and that's amazing'

Brigitte, Rainham Hall

Originally from Hungary, Brigitte didn’t feel connected to London until she had her baby. Like many mothers, her local property was a go-to place to spend time with her baby daughter. A chance encounter with the garden team transformed Brigitte’s connection to her new home town, and has allowed her to develop a legacy for the benefit of visitors today and long into the future.

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Sylvia taking a well earned rest on Great Gable

'For all of my happy times, my sad times, Gable's been there'

Sylvia, Great Gable

For 50 years Sylvia has been climbing Great Gable in the Lake District. It has been a constant in her life, so much so that it feels like it is her mountain. Her grandchildren even refer to it as ‘granny’s mountain.’ Following her cancer diagnosis the one thing Sylvia wanted to achieve, was to climb Great Gable again. Along with her brother Robert, she fulfils her dream and continues her deep connection to this special place.

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Lucy planning the wildflower garden, Morden Hall Park

'All kids should be involved in something like this'

Lucy, Morden Hall Park

With no garden, and living in a big city, Lucy used to spend most of her time indoors. Now she is designing wildflower meadows with the rangers at Modern Hall Park. She works with other young people to make a difference to her local green space – and protect the wildlife that lives there.

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Trevor passes on his enthusiasm for birdwatching with his grandchildren

'Felbrigg is a special place. Sharing that with my grandkids has been a real joy'

Trevor, Felbrigg Hall

At Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk, birdwatcher Trevor and his grandkids have some adventuring to do. Stomping along muddy tracks and peering through binoculars, the family bonds over a shared love of nature. As Trevor says: ‘What’s the point in seeing a really nice, rare bird if you can’t share it with somebody else?’

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Ann-Marie at Claydon House

'Places like this help children to think big'

Ann-Marie, Claydon

Visiting Claydon as a child has had a lasting effect on Ann-Marie’s life. Growing up with the influence of Florence Nightingale and her desire to help others inspired Ann-Marie to think big and realise that she could do anything she wanted. Now when she visits it is stories of her childhood visits that she shares with her friends and their grandchildren – sowing the seeds of inspiration among future generations.

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Margaret and the Recycled Teenagers at Sutton House, London

'We’re not related by blood, but we are a family'

Margaret, Sutton House

Margaret has found friendship and fun at Sutton House in East London. As part of the Recycled Teenagers – a group for the over 55s – Margaret keeps busy and shares her love of dancing, socialising and art.

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Rowan and Fred took their first steps at Dunham Massey, Cheshire

'It’s where both Rowan and Fred took their first steps'

Stuart and Rebecca, Dunham Massey

For Police Officers, Stuart and Rebecca, finding quality family time with their two young boys, can be hard. Working shifts or weekends, means that any time together is precious. At their local property, Dunham Massey, they can play with their sons and create treasured family memories.

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Sarah running up a path to Scafell Pike

'It gave me a lot more confidence - in what I was able and capable of doing'

Sarah, Scafell Pike

Running started as Sarah’s stress release, but it has become so much more. Enjoying the feeling of empowerment and time to herself, Sarah decided to set herself the challenge of running up Scafell Pike, in her native Lake District. This achievement proved to Sarah she can do anything she sets her mind to. From this, Sarah has established a running group for women, with the aim of being a positive role model to her young daughter.

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Spending time at Saddlescombe Farm helped Emma feel confident again

'Saddlescombe Farm has been instrumental in my recovery'

Emma, Saddlescombe Farm

Following a period of ill health Emma’s doctor encouraged her love of nature, recommending she attend the Grow Project at Saddlescombe Farm in West Sussex. Designed to improve people’s wellbeing through time spent outdoors, Emma credits the improvement in her health with the sense of calm she gets working on the farm. What began as a one week course has become a much deeper connection to the farm that has changed her life.

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After the death of her husband June found comfort and friendship at Lanhydrock

'I really don't know what I'd do if I didn't have such a place'

June, Lanhydrock

The death of June’s husband left a hole in her life. Struggling between loneliness and the well-meaning sympathy of people when she did see them, June found solace in the woods at Lanhydrock, Cornwall. It was here that June and her puppy found comfort and happiness with fellow dog walkers, who are now her friends.

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John and Keaton exploring Fingle Wood, Devon

'There's been a change in Keaton's behaviour. I think that's come from him being in nature'

John and Keaton, Fingle Woods

As someone who didn’t like school himself, John now a teacher at a small independent school, knew how to help Keaton. With a passion for nearby Fingle Woods, John took his pupil Keaton there, to experience how the sounds of the river flowing and wind rustling in the leaves could help him feel calm and able to cope with his anger.

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Stephen and friends in the grounds of Lanhydrock, Cornwall

'After two or three months of the walks I started to feel better. It turned my life around'

Stephen, Lanhydrock

Following redundancy, Stephen’s life took a turn for the worse. After years spent working outside on a farm, Stephen retreated inside. To add to this, he was diagnosed with dementia, increasing his feelings of unhappiness. However, since Stephen started his walking group, which frequently visits Lanhydrock, his life has changed, being once again filled with fresh air and good company.

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Enjoying their time together at Dunham Massey, Greater Manchester

Stuart and Rebecca, Dunham Massey 

As police officers, Stuart and Rebecca know that finding quality family time with their two young boys can be hard. Working shifts or at weekends means that any time together is precious. At Dunham Massey in Cheshire, their favourite local place, they can escape hectic working lives to play with their sons and create treasured family memories.

Syliva shares her love of climbing

Sylvia, Great Gable 

For 50 years, Sylvia has been climbing Great Gable in the Lake District. It's been a constant in her life, so much so that it feels like it's her mountain. Her grandchildren even refer to it as ‘granny’s mountain’.

Following her cancer diagnosis, the one thing Sylvia wanted to achieve was to climb Great Gable again. Along with her brother Robert, she fulfilled her dream and continued her deep connection to this special place.

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What places mean to people

  • 9 / 10 people would feel upset if their meaningful place was lost
  • 53% say special places are an escape from everyday life
  • 3 in 4 people want to share their favourite place with loved ones
fMRI brain scanning machine

The science behind the stories 

For the first time, pioneering brain-scanning has revealed the science behind the emotional ties we have with the places that we love. Find out what makes you feel the way you do about your favourite place.

Discover the place that makes you

From the place a child takes their first steps to a spot of calm and tranquillity, we all make special connections with different places. These are the places that make us who we are.