Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hunstanton The Wash

Hunstanton ("Hunston") is a small seaside town in west Norfolk on the east coast of England facing The Wash. Hunstanton is known for its red sandstone cliffs topped with chalk and also for the fact that as it faces west, it is one of the few places on the east coast of England where you can see a sunset over the sea.

Hunstanton Beach, Norfolk

Hunstanton grew as a resort in the 19th century when a railway line was built from King's Lynn in the 1860's (now closed).

The existence of the resort built close to the existing village of Hunstanton was due to the considerable entrepreneurial talents of Henry Styleman Le Strange (1815–1862).

Nowadays, Hunstanton still draws extensive summer crowds to visit the aquarium, fairground, the Esplanade Gardens, the Oasis Leisure Centre, seal sanctuary, Wednesday and Sunday local produce markets and to ride the Wash Monster for tours of the coastline.

The Wash Monster, Hunstanton

The amphibious Wash Monster offers tours along the Norfolk coast to see the lighthouse, the village of Old Hunstanton, and the wreck of The Sheraton, a trawler requisitioned by the Royal Navy during World War II, that ran aground in a storm in 1947. The Wash Monster also ferries visitors to a boat to view the seals on the sandbanks, where over 3,000 Common Seals can be seen.

Hunstanton, The Wash, Norfolk

The beach at Hunstanton was first awarded Blue Flag status in 2011 and the sea is popular with wind surfers. Dogs are not allowed on the beach from Easter until the end of October.

The Wash Monster, Hunstanton, Norfolk

Hunstanton offers a variety of accommodation from holiday chalets to hotels. Bed & Breakfast places include the Sunset Inn, the Gate Lodge Guest House and the 4-star Shellbrooke. The Caley Hall Hotel in Old Hunstanton comes recommended. View a complete listing of accommodation in Hunstanton.

Hunstanton The Wash


Hunstanton is a 30 minute drive from King's Lynn on the A149.

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Books on Britain

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Beatles Story

Beatles Story museum at Albert Dock on the waterfront in Liverpool is dedicated to the four local lads who took the world by storm in the 1960's.

Together for only 8 years, The Beatles - John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison have left a lasting legacy on the world of popular music and attract fans from all over the world.

Beatles Story Liverpool


The Beatles Museum offers a nostalgic insight into the life, times, culture and music of the quartet, with films, songs, lyrics, exclusive photos and genuine artefacts from their time at the top. The headset tour is narrated by John Lennon's sister, Julia.

The Beatles Story has a full-size replica of the Cavern Club in Liverpool and Abbey Road studio in west London, along with the white piano from John Lennon's Imagine and George Harrison's first guitar.

The Beatles Story is split between the Albert Dock site and the nearby Pier Head site which has the Fab4D theater.

The Beatles Story, Liverpool, UK

The Beatles Story
Britannia Vaults
Albert Dock
Liverpool L3 4AD
Tel: 0151 709 1963

Hours: November 1 - March 31 10am-6pm; April 1 - October 31 9am-7pm.
Admission: £12.95

The Cavern Quarter Liverpool

The Beatles Story is a 20 minute walk from Liverpool Lime Street Station or take a Citylink bus. St James Street Station is only 5-10 minutes away.

The Beatles Story includes the Fab 4 store with lots of Beatles' related goods.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Puffins in the British Isles

Puffins (Fratercula), with their colorful beaks during the breeding season and somewhat clownish appearance, are some of Britain's best-loved birds.

Puffin in The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Puffins are seabirds belonging to the auk family and have a predominately black and white plumage. Puffins in the UK are mostly found in a few sites in the north of England, Angelsey in Wales and Scotland.

Puffin in The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Some of the big breeding grounds for puffins in the UK are South Stack in Angelsey, Bempton Cliffs in North Yorkshire, St. Kilda in the Outer Hebrides, the Shetland and Orkney islands and north Devon. Puffins also come to breed along the coasts of Ireland.

Puffin in The Shetland Islands, Scotland

There are believed to be over 580,000 breeding pairs of puffins in the UK. Puffins arrive here for the breeding season from March and April and stay until around mid-August, when they decamp for warmer climes.

Puffin in The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Puffins feed on fish and are particularly fond of sandeels, capelin and herrings. The beak of the puffin allows them to hold several fish at one time which they take back to their chicks.

Puffins in The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Puffins nest in colonies and prefer cliff sides and islands. The male bird of the Atlantic Puffin is responsible for building the nest, though Horned Puffins share this duty between the sexes. The female lays only a single egg during the breeding season. The nests are tunnels or rock crevices.

Puffins in The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Puffins were hunted in the 19th and early 20th centuries for their eggs, feathers and meat and are still taken in Iceland and the Faroe Islands, where hunting is legal. Gordon Ramsey, the celebrity chef, ate puffin hearts in Iceland, considered a local delicacy. The birds are trapped in nets using a technique called "sky fishing."

Puffin in The Shetland Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom

The Puffins seen in the photographs below are all Atlantic Puffins or Common Puffin. An adult specimen will weigh around 350-380g and have a wingspan or just over 50cm. Birds are about 32cm in length.

Puffin in The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Their colorful beaks lose their bright colours and become darker after the breeding season ends and the birds moult.

Puffin in The Shetland Islands, Scotland, UK

After the breeding season is over, puffins migrate to the open sea and do not return until the next year.

Puffin in The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Less is known about the life cycles of puffins when they are living on the open sea, where they are solitary.

Puffin on Orkney Island


© Britain-Visitor.com

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Monday, September 22, 2014

St John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Bath

The foundation for St John the Evangelist Church in Bath was laid in October 1861, and it was completed in October 1863. The tower and spire were added four years later. St John the Evangelist church was designed by the architect Charles Hansom, who designed some fifty Catholic churches in the UK. Hansom regarded St John's as his best and most rewarding work. St John the Evangelist was built on the site of an earlier priory by the Benedictines of Downside Abbey who handed it over to the Clifton Diocese in 1932.

St John the Evangelist church interior Bath

St John the Evangelist is built in the decorated Gothic style. Bath stone was used throughout the entire building. The stone tower and spire are 222 feet high, the highest in Bath.


St John the Evangelist is located adjacent to the River Avon and near such landmarks as the Empire Hotel and Pulteney Bridge.

St. John the Evangelist
South Parade
Bath
BA2 4AF
Tel: 01225 464471

St John the Evangelist map

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Books on Britain

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hermaness National Nature Reserve

As Scotland goes to the polls this week to decide whether it remains part of the UK, it is interesting to focus on The Shetland Islands, that only became part of Scotland in 1468.

Fulmar, Hermaness National Nature Reserve
Fulmar
One of the most beautiful parts of The Shetland Islands is Hermaness, the most northerly headland of Unst, the northernmost inhabited island of The Shetland Islands.

Great Skuas (Bonxie), The Shetland Islands, Scotland
Great Skua
Designated in 1955 as a National Nature Reserve, Hermaness remains privately owned by the Edmondston family, and is world famous for its birds.

Lots of birds, including breeding colonies of Fulmars, Gannets, Great Skuas (Bonxie), Guillemots, Kittiwakes, Puffins and Shags.

Gannet, Scotland
Gannet
The numbers of birds is amazing. Over 25,000 pairs of Puffins breed in the Hermaness area every year, part of the total of 100,000 breeding sea birds in the summer months. The Gannets in Hermaness represent 5% of the entire European population of the birds.

Puffin, Hermaness National Nature Reserve, Scotland
Puffin
Allow 3-4 hours for walking in the area. Access is unrestricted but please follow the marked paths to preserve this unique environment. The cliff-top setting is amazingly beautiful but also hazardous, especially in bad weather. Please take care near any drops and of damaging the delicate bog areas, though part of the path is covered with a boardwalk.

Hermaness National Nature Reserve, Scotland


The summer months in Hermaness National Nature Reserve are noted for their beautiful flowers and plants including bog bilberry, crowberry, heather and mosses. Seals can often be spotted on the rocks below the cliffs.

Hermaness National Nature Reserve, Scotland


Muckle Flugga Lighthouse is a local landmark and is Britain's most northerly lighthouse and dates from 1854, constructed to protect shipping during the Crimean War.

Hermaness National Nature Reserve, Scotland


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Friday, August 1, 2014

Mousa Broch The Shetlands

Mousa Broch located on the island of Mousa in The Shetland Islands, off the north coast of Scotland, is the finest example of an Iron Age, drystone, round tower in the world and among the oldest buildings in Britain.

Mousa Broch, The Shetland Islands, Scotland, UK


Archaeologists differ as to the purpose of "brochs" some arguing that they were early forts or castles, while other specialists see them as dwellings for the elites of their times.

Mousa Broch, The Shetland Islands, Scotland, Britain


Brochs can be found in the Shetland Islands, the HebridesOrkney and parts of northern Scotland. There are around 570 brochs in total scattered throughout this wide, geographical area.

Mousa Broch, The Shetland Islands, Scotland


Mousa Broch is believed to date from around 100 BCE and is 13m high with thick walls and only one entrance. Mousa Broch is built in stone without the use of any mortar.

Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland


Inside would have been two floors built of wood. Mousa Broch is referred to in Norse sagas.

Mousa Broch is well known among bird enthusiasts for its breeding European storm-petrels and the island is a Special Protection Area for the birds. Other animals to be found on the island include common and grey seals, guillemots and Arctic Terns.

Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Mousa has been uninhabited since the 19th century. The island of Mousa lies off the east coast of Mainland Shetland about 24 km south of Lerwick.

Mousa, The Shetlands, Scotland

Mousa or "Mosey" means "Mossy Island" in Old Norse and Mousa has some lovely lichen and alpine-like flowers. Access to Mousa is by passenger-only ferry in the summer season from Leebitton, Sandwick, 18km south of Lerwick.

Mousa, The Shetlands, Scotland


Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland, UK

Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland


Resources
Shetland Heritage
Mousa Boat

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Busta House Hotel

Busta House Hotel in the The Shetland Islands, off the north coast of Scotland, is an historic accommodation dating in parts from the 16th century and makes for an excellent base to explore the island. The garden and surrounding countryside are a delight.

Busta House Hotel, Shetland, UK


Busta House Hotel is located between the village of Brae and the island of Muckle Roe and offers some excellent Shetland Islands cuisine.

Busta House Hotel, Shetland, Scotland, UK


Busta House Hotel has both WiFi in public areas and modem connections in the 22 bedrooms. The bar offers a fantastic range of wines and whiskies.

Busta House Hotel, Shetland


Busta House Hotel
Busta
Brae
Shetland
Scotland
ZE2 9QN

Busta House Hotel, Shetland, Scotland, UK