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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Discovery Museum Newcastle

The Discovery Museum in Newcastle is one of the city's prime attractions. At the Discovery Museum Tyneside's rich history of science, technology and industry is presented through a fascinating series of exhibits.

Discovery Museum Newcastle.


The Discovery Museum occupies three floors of the former Co-operative Wholesale Society building.

The central exhibit is the 30 meter-long Turbinia, the fastest ship in the world at the turn of the twentieth century. The vessel was designed in 1894 by the local Tyneside engineer Sir Charles Parsons and was the first ship to be powered by steam turbines. Another North East invention is honoured with a replica of first incandescent light bulb by Joseph Swan (1828-1914). Swan's house in Gateshead was the first in the world to be lit by light bulbs.

There's also a fascinating section dedicated to Tyne shipbuilding, an interactive science maze for kids, and a "Story of Newcastle" section giving the low-down on the city's history, from Pons Aelius (Newcastle's Roman name) through to Cheryl Cole.

Play Tyne, which costs 1 GBP, is a special play area for the under 7's, focused on the role of water in the development of Tyneside and the way water is used.

Discovery Museum Newcastle.


The Discovery Museum includes many wall panels as well as hands-on exhibits that are popular with kids. Teachers can download 2 worksheets for the museum from the website below.

Discovery Museum

Blandford Square
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE1 4JA
Tel: 0191 232 6789
Hours: Monday to Friday: 10am - 4pm
Saturday and Sunday: 11am - 4pm
Bank Holiday Mondays: 10am - 4pm
Admission: Free

The Discovery Museum is a short walk from Newcastle Central Station and the Metro.

The second floor Turbinia Cafe serves a range of hot and cold meals, sandwiches and drinks.
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Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Rotunda Birmingham

The Rotunda in Birmingham in the English Midlands is an early 1960's high rise that has been preserved amid the recent redevelopment of the Bullring area of the city that has seen much 1960's and 1970's architecture swept away.

The Rotunda, Birmingham.

The Rotunda is an 81 meter tall Grade II listed building and was completed in 1965. It was completely refurbished by the developers Urban Splash between 2004 and 2008 and now contains private flats as well as serviced apartments on the 2nd, 18th, 19th and 20th floors.

The image below shows how The Rotunda used to look before its redevelopment.

The Rotunda Birmingham - pre-refurbishment.

The Rotunda is very close to Birmingham New Street Station.

Book a luxury, serviced apartment at The Rotunda provided by Staying Cool.

Urban Splash

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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Kennet and Avon Canal Trail

The Kennet & Avon Canal turned 200 years old in 2010. Follow this link to download the Bath Flight Audio Trail. These audio files explore 12 key features on the Kennet and Avon Canal between Halfpenny Bridge and Darlington Wharf in central Bath. Although the canal was originally a commercial route, John Rennie, the chief engineer, ensured that the canal and its bridges and buildings reflected Bath’s Georgian architecture.

Bath Flight Audio Trail, canal

Among the various locks one encounters on the Kennet and Avon Canal in Bath and one of the features along the Kennet and Avon Canal trail is the Bath Deep Lock pictured below.

Bath Deep Lock, canal, Somerset

Another feature is Cleveland House, which at one time housed the headquarters of the Kennet and Avon Canal Company.

Clevedon House, Bath, canal

Other highlights one can find by following the Kennet and Avon Canal include the Dundas Aqueduct and the Caen Hill Flight.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Jewry Wall Museum Leicester

The Jewry Wall Museum in Leicester in the English Midlands is dedicated to the ancient Roman settlement and the following development of the town.

The museum is the excavated ruins of the Roman Baths.

The Jewry Wall itself is the tallest original Roman structure still standing in Britain and was part of the Roman bath house. It stands at a height of 9 metres (30 feet).

Jewry Wall Museum Leicester, England.

Notable exhibits include the Roman Blackfriars Pavement, the Mosaic of Cyparissus, tiles from Leicester Abbey and the Norfolk Street Roman Wall Paintings.

Jewry Wall Museum
156-160 Saint Nicholas Circle
Leicester LE1 4LB
United Kingdom
Tel: 44 116 225 4971

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Kirkstall Abbey

Leeds is a city rich in history. The Royal Armouries Museum hosts the national collection of arms and armour taking the visitor back in time through the history of conflict and war, which some would argue, is the history of humanity itself.

Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds.

The National Coal Mining Museum reveals the history of this once vital British industry that provided the fuel to power the nation's once great manufacturing.

The most impressive medieval structure in Leeds is the beautiful Kirkstall Abbey, founded by Cistercian monks from Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire, and one of the best-preserved medieval abbeys in Britain.

Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds, UK.


Kirkstall Abbey was built between 1152 and 1182, many of its buildings still survive virtually intact up to eaves level. Dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539, the buildings gradually began to fall into disrepair but attracted artists such as J. M. W. Turner who came to paint the romantic ruins.

Across the road from the abbey, the Abbey House Museum, once the abbey's gate house, contains meticulously reconstructed shops and houses that evoke Victorian Leeds, and displays that give an interesting insight into monastic life.

The ruins were also the perfect back drop for outdoor performances every summer at the Shakespeare Festival which ran from 1995 until 2009.

Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds, UK.


Other Cistercian monasteries in Britain include the ruins at Fountains, Netley, Rievaulx and Tintern.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Thai by the Weir in Bath

Thai by the Weir is a restaurant in Bath next to Pulteney Bridge which overlooks the weir and serves a classic Thai menu.

Thai by the Weir, restaurant, Bathy, Somerset

Thai by the Weir may have the lowest prices for Thai food in Bath, as can be seen from the 6 pound lunch menu as advertised above. The lunch menu includes the green curry with chicken dish seen below.


Alternatives for Thai food in Bath include Yum Yum Thai, which is only slightly more expensive. Visitors to Bath may also wish to take a cruise down the River Avon on the nearby Pulteney Cruisers.

Thai by the Weir
16 Argyle Street
Bath, Avon
BA2 4BQ
Tel: 01225 444834

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Sky Garden 20 Fenchurch Street

London's roof garden scene went up a notch recently with the January 2015 opening of the Sky Garden. Billed as "London's highest park", it occupies the top floors of the new skyscraper at 20 Fenchurch Street in the City of London, more popularly known as the Walkie Talkie thanks to its convex outline.

Sky Garden, 20 Fenchurch Street, London.

While anyone can roam the verdant confines of the Sky Garden, adding another landmark to London's list of sights, visits must be pre-booked online at least 3 days in advance*. The tickets for the Sky Garden are free of charge, however, in contrast with the nearby Shard.

Sky Garden, 20 Fenchurch Street, London.

There are 360°  views across London and visitors can easily pick out the London Eye, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament among other famous London landmarks in the distance.

Sky Garden, 20 Fenchurch Street, London.

The Sky Garden is open 7 days a week and includes the Fenchurch Street Bar and Grill, the Darwin Brasserie and the Skypod Bar.

*Tickets are only valid for the date and time stated on the ticket and have a time limit of 90 minutes from time of entry. Weekdays: 10am-6pm (last booking slot 4.30pm); Weekends 11am-9pm (last booking slot 7.30pm)

Monument tube station is the closest station on the District & Circle Line. Fenchurch Street Station is also near by as are Bank (Central Line) & Cannon Street (District & Circle Line).

Sky Garden Walkie Talkie Building.


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