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Monday, February 28, 2011

Urbis Manchester

Urbis is a modern exhibition center in Cathedral Gardens near the Arndale Center, the Wheel of Manchester and Manchester Cathedral in central Manchester.



Urbis opened in 2002 as part of the redevelopment of the area and was designed by Ian Simpsons Architects.

Urbis will play host to the the National Football Museum from summer 2012. The museum is moving to its new home from Preston. Also in the glass-fronted building are the studios and offices of Channel M, a local, financially-troubled television station.



The Modern Bar and Restaurant, a trendy bar and eatery is located on the top floor of the building with excellent views over the city. The Urbis shop sells Manchester-related souvenirs, prints and books.

Urbis hosted a number of changing exhibitions on popular music, culture and fashion before the exhibition space was temporary closed to accommodate the National Football Museum.



Urbis
Manchester
Tel: 0161 605 8200

Urbis is near the Arndale Center, and Manchester Cathedral in downtown Manchester.

Victoria is the nearest station to Urbis. There is a large multi-storey car park next door to the Arndale Centre with 1450 spaces.

Urbis, UK



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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Teignmouth Pier Arcade

Teignmouth Pier in Teignmouth, Devon, dates from 1867 and is one of the oldest piers in the UK. It was designed by J.W. Wilson and is 212 metres in length.


A now rather faded, ramshackled affair, Teignmouth Pier retains something of its Victorian past amongst the usual souvenir shops, radio controlled models, kids' rides, and go-karting track.


Teignmouth is connected by local bus and train to Exeter and Torquay. The train takes 30 minutes to Exeter and 20 minutes to Torquay. Bus times are an hour to Exeter and 30 minutes to Torquay.

The Pier
Teignmouth
Devon
TQ14 8BB
Tel: 01626 774367

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Teignmouth Pier

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Town Bridge in Bradford-on-Avon

The centre of Bradford-on-Avon developed around the ford across the river Avon, thus the origin of the town's name 'Broad-Ford'.

In Norman times, the stone bridge known today as Town Bridge (see below) was added. The Norman side of the bridge the visitor sees today is upstream and has pointed arches; the newer side has curved arches. Town Bridge is a grade I listed building.

On 2 July 1643, during the English Civil War, Royalists seized control of the bridge on their way to the Battle of Lansdowne. Another event from the 17th century to affect Town Bridge was the addition of a small building on the bridge. It was originally a chapel but later used as a gaol.


Town Bridge in Bradford-on-Avon
Town Bridge in Bradford-on-Avon is located at the conjunction of St Margaret's Street and Silver Street in central Bradford-on-Avon. Visitors should be sure to view Abbey Mill from the bridge. Also, visitors may want to visit the nearby American Museum, Bath Abbey, or Roman Baths.

Town Bridge in Bradford-on-Avon Map

© 2011 John Westby

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Abbey Mill in Bradford-on-Avon

Abbey Mill in Bradford-on-Avon was built in 1857 by Richard Gane as a cloth factory. By 1902, Abbey Mill had closed and remained empty until 1915 when it was used for the manufacture of rubber products by the George Spencer Moulton company. In 1956, that company, including the Abbey Mill, was acquired by Avon Rubber. Abbey Mill has now been converted into retirement apartments.

Abbey Mill in Bradford-on-Avon
The view of Abbey Mill from Town Bridge in Bradford-on-Avon (see below) is sure to please the visitor.

Abbey Mill in Bradford-on-Avon
Abbey Mill is located on Church Street in Bradford-on-Avon. The visitor to Abbey Mill may also want to visit the nearby American Museum, Bath Abbey, or Roman Baths in Bath or the Saxon Church in Bradford.

Abbey Mill
Church Street
Bradford-On-Avon
BA15

Abbey Mill in Bradford-on-Avon Map

© 2011 John Westby

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Caen Hill Flight

The Caen Hill Flight (see below) is a series of locks on the Kennet and Avon Canal near Devizes in Wiltshire. The locks were completed in 1810 and were the final element of the canal link between Bristol and London. The large number of locks was necessitated by a drop in elevation of 72 metres over about 4 km from the Vale of Pewsey as it plunges into the Avon Valley. The locks take 5–6 hours to travel by boat.

Caen Hill Flight
Visitors to the Caen Hill Flight can wander along the towpaths and view the many narrowboats (see below) which ply the canal.

Caen Hill Flight

The Caen Hill Flight is located near Avoncliff in Wiltshire. Visitors to the Caen Hill Flight may also want to visit the nearby Wiltshire Heritage Museum, St John the Baptist Parish Church in Devizes or view Devizes Castle.

Caen Hill Flight Map

© 2011 John Westby


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wiltshire Heritage Museum

Visitors to the Wiltshire Heritage Museum (see below) can explore the museum's outstanding collection that traces the history of Wiltshire, its environment, and its people over the last 6,000 years. Visitors can also explore the finds from Bush Barrow which have been described as the crown jewels of the "King of Stonehenge".

Wiltshire Heritage Museum
The archaeology collection at the Wiltshire Heritage Museum (see below) is among the finest in Britain; it traces the history of people living in Wiltshire through a series of galleries - Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman, Saxon, and Medieval. The collection features important finds from the World Heritage Sites of Avebury and Stonehenge.

Wiltshire Heritage Museum
Wiltshire Heritage Museum is located on Long Street in Devizes, Wiltshire. Visitors to the museum may also want to visit St John the Baptist Parish Church or view Devizes Castle.

Wiltshire Heritage Museum
41 Long Street
Devizes, Wiltshire
SN10 1NS
Tel: 01380 727369

Wiltshire Heritage Museum Map

© 2011 John Westby

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Manchester Cathedral

Manchester Cathedral or to give it its full title, The Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St Mary, St Denys and St George in Manchester, dates from the 15th century and was heavily restored in the Victorian period and after bomb damage in World War II and again following the 1996 IRA bombing of the nearby Arndale Center.


Church services are held every day. Please consult the cathedral website below for full details. Manchester Grammar School's Founders' Day Service is held in the Cathedral on the third Friday in October. The school used to occupy what is now Chetham's School of Music next to the church.




Manchester Cathedral
Victoria Street
Manchester
M3 1SX
Tel: 0161 833 2220

Manchester Cathedral is a short walk from the Arndale Center, Urbis, Victoria Station, the Old Wellington Inn and the Wheel of Manchester.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Exeter Taxis

Exeter St David's Station is a major assembly point for both buses and taxis for ongoing passengers alighting local and inter-city trains in Exeter.



Exeter taxi companies include:
Gemini Taxis, 50A-53A, South Street, EX1 1EE, (Tel: 01392 690 105); Capital City Taxis, 3⁄4 Isambard Parade, St Davids, EX4 4BX (Tel: 01392 43 43 43); Z Cars on South Street, J Cars, 69a Sidwell Street, Exeter, EX4 6PJ, (Tel 01392 21 7000).

Exeter St David's Station


Exeter St David's Station
Bonhay Road
Exeter
EX4 4NT
Tel: 08457 000125

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Devon Exeter

Sunday, February 20, 2011

St John the Baptist Devizes

St John the Baptist Parish Church in Devizes, Wiltshire (see below) was founded in 1130 AD by Bishop Roger of Salisbury, Chancellor to King Henry I. Much of that original Norman building survives today, although Devizes Castle with which it was historically linked was destroyed by Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil War. St John the Baptist Devizes has been alternately described as the finest Norman church in Wiltshire and as the second best Norman church in Wiltshire, after Malmesbury Abbey.


St John the Baptist Devizes
St John the Baptist Devizes has a 15th century 'Perpendicular' nave (see below) but the sanctuary, chancel, and crossing are Norman.

St John the Baptist Devizes
St John the Baptist Devizes is located on Long Street in Devizes, Wiltshire. The visitor can also view the exterior of Devizes Castle from the church grounds. Nearby attractions incude Avebury Stone Circle, Lacock Abbey, and Great Chalfield Manor.

The Parish of St John and St Mary
Devizes, Wiltshire
39 Long St.
SN10 1NS
Tel: 01380 723705

St John the Baptist Devizes Map

© 2011 John Westby

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Devizes Castle

The original Devizes Castle was built in 1080 AD by Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury. This wooden castle burnt down in 1113 and was rebuilt in stone around 1120 by Roger, Bishop of Salisbury.

During the English Civil War, Devizes Castle was occupied by Royalist troops. In 1645, Oliver Cromwell's forces, accompanied by heavy artillery, invaded the town and laid siege to the castle, which surrendered after a bombardment. In May 1648, the castle was dismantled on the heels of a Parliamentary Order, a process known as slighting.

The Victorian era 'castle' we see today (see below) is Neo-Norman/Gothic in style and was built by the Leach family in the 19th century.

Devizes Castle

Devizes Castle is now privately owned and is not accessible to visitors. Visitors to Devizes Castle may also want to visit the nearby Avebury Stone Circle, Lacock Abbey, or Great Chalfield Manor.

Castle Grounds
Devizes
Wiltshire
SN10 1HL

Devizes Castle Map

© 2011 John Westby

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Arndale Center Manchester

The Arndale Center in Manchester is the largest of the numerous Arndale Centers across the UK and also the largest inner city shopping mall in Europe.


Built during the 1970s and criticized at the time, the Arndale Centre was devastated by an IRA bomb in 1996 and completely redeveloped.



The huge shopping center is home to the UK's largest branch of Next, a food court and around 250 other stores including Adidas, Aldo, Ann Summers, Argos, BHS, Boots, Body Shop, Evans, Foot Locker, H&M, HMV, Lacoste, Monsoon, Nike, Nokia, Starbucks, Swarovski, Swatch, TK Maxx, Topshop, Waterstones, WH Smith, and Wings.

Arndale Centre
Manchester
M4 3AQ
Tel: 0161 833 9851

The Arndale Centre is located between Market Street and Withy Grove, close to Deansgate, Urbis, the Wheel of Manchester and Manchester Cathedral. Victoria is the nearest station.

There is a large multi-storey car park next door to the Arndale Centre with 1450 spaces.


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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Birds of a Feather Primrose Hill Community Woodland

Walking through Bath in February, the visitor is treated to a multiplicity of birds and their songs. Near a bird feeding area in the Primrose Hill Community Woodland, a blackbird (top left), robin (bottom left) and bullfinch (bottom right) have gathered.

Birds
Hanging upside down on one of the feeders at the Primrose Hill Community Woodland, a blue tit (left) is observed by its near relative, the great tit (right). Both of these birds are common visitors to bird-tables.

Birds of a Feather Primrose Hill Community Woodland
Spotted high up in a nearby tree at the Primrose Hill Community Woodland, a chaffinch appears to puff out its breast.

Birds
Primrose Hill Community Woodland is easily accessible from either Lansdown Road or Weston Village (where it connects to the Cotswold Way) in Bath.

Primrose Hill Community Woodland Map

© 2011 John Westby

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

King Street Manchester

King Street is now one of central Manchester's trendiest shopping streets. A number of designer outlets have taken up premises here including Max Mara, Adolfo Dominguez, Diesel, Ted Baker, The White Company, Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, Timberland, Calvin Klein Jeans, Polo Ralph Lauren, Paul Smith and Jaeger. King Street is now pedestrianized.

Places to eat and drink on King Street include the trendy bar All Bar One at 73-79 King Street and Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Italian at 100 King Street.


King Street began life in the 18th century and King Street West (across Deansgate) was once the centre of banking in Manchester and many legal firms also had offices here. Notable buildings include the Former Bank of England Building, the Grade II Listed Midland Bank Building designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1929, and the Manchester Reform Club by architect Edward Salomons, which dates from 1870.


Nearby Police Street also has a number of upmarket stores including a branch of Fred Perry.


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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Clifton Suspension Bridge

The Clifton Suspension Bridge (see below) spans the Avon Gorge and is the symbol of the city of Bristol. For over 150 years, this Grade I listed structure has drawn visitors from around the world.

Clifton Suspension Bridge was designed by the then 24-year-old Isambard Kingdom Brunel who had been declared the winner of a design contest for the bridge and was appointed project engineer - his first major commission.

Work on the bridge began in 1831 but was interrupted for financial reasons, and the bridge wasn't completed until 1864, after Brunel's own death in 1859.

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Visitors to Clifton Suspension Bridge will find an Interpretation Centre (see below) at the Leigh Woods end of the bridge. At this centre, visitors can learn about the history of the bridge and purchase bridge related souvenirs.

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Clifton Suspension Bridge is a toll bridge and is located on Bridge Road in Bristol. Visitors to the Clifton Suspension Bridge may also want to visit another of Brunel's marvels, the SS Great Britain, which is nearby, as well as Leigh Woods, and Bristol Cathedral.

Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust
Bridgemaster's Office
Bridge Road
Leigh Woods
Bristol
BS8 3PA
Tel: 0117 974 4664

Clifton Suspension Bridge Map

© 2011 John Westby

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Royal York Crescent

Royal York Crescent is a residential street in the fashionable Clifton area of Bristol. Royal York Crescent has some of the highest property values in Bristol. On this street, there is a terrace of 46 grade II listed houses (now mostly divided into flats). Construction of the terrace began in 1791 and was completed in 1820. Princess Eugenie, later wife of Emperor Napoleon III of France, attended school in one of the houses in the terrace.

Royal York Crescent

Visitors to Royal York Crescent may also want to visit the nearby SS Great Britain, Leigh Woods, or Bristol Cathedral.

Royal York Crescent Map

© 2011 John Westby

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Monmouth Castle

Monmouth Castle (see below) probably started out in the 11th century AD as a wooden fortress surrounded by an oval ditch. In 1067, William Fitz Osbern had been granted the lordship of Hereford and used Monmouth Castle as a base to subdue the adjacent Welsh districts of Archenfield and Gwent.

The establishment of Monmouth Castle was Fitz Osbern's attempt to stamp his authority on the region with a stronghold overlooking the confluence of the Monnow and Wye Rivers. The wooden fortress was replaced by a stone one in the 12th century.

Monmouth Castle

Remnants of the Great Tower (see below) and Hall are all that remain of the medieval Monmouth Castle. King Henry V may have been born in the Great Tower in 1387. The Great Tower is now inaccessible to visitors.

Monmouth Castle

Monmouth Castle is located just off Priory Street in Monmouth, Wales. Visitors to Monmouth Castle may also want to visit Monnow Bridge or the nearby 'Three Castles' (White Castle, Skenfrith Castle, and Grosmont Castle).

Monmouth Castle Map

© 2011 John Westby

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

National Railway Museum York

The National Railway Museum in York is a world class museum dedicated to the glory days of Britain's railways, sadly long since gone. Opened in 1975 the museum is housed in a former steam locomotive depot within walking distance of York Station.



The National Railway Museum displays over 100 locomotives and nearly 200 other items of rolling stock and presents the history of the railway from the early 19th century onwards.

On display are such iconic trains as Stephenson's The Rocket dating from 1829, The Flying Scotsman, a Japanese Shinkansen Bullet Train, the 'Green Arrow,' the LNER steam locomotive 'Mallard,' and a Royal Train. There are also a number of foreign locomotives among the collection.



Also on display are 1000s of exhibits related to trains, stations and railways including posters, signals, bells, uniforms and tickets.

The museum also has a railway library and archive called "Search Engine", a shop and a restaurant to relax and eat.





NRM York
Leeman Road
York
YO26 4XJ
Opening Times
Daily 10:00 - 18:00
Closed 24, 25, 26 Dec
Admission Free

The museum is a short walk from York Station and less than a kilometer from York Minster. A sister museum is located in Shildon, the NRM Shildon "Locomotion", Shildon, Co Durham, DL4 1PQ. The are train services to York from both Manchester Piccadilly and London Euston.

National Railway Museum, York


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Friday, February 11, 2011

Monmouth Museum

Monmouth Museum is a combination local history museum and Lord Nelson museum. The two museums were combined in their present location in 1969. The local history museum celebrates well-known local figures such as Charles Rolls (of Rolls-Royce fame) and King Henry V.

Monmouth Museum
The Nelson collection at Monmouth Museum features a fine selection of Lord Nelson memorabilia (including Nelson's fighting sword) and outrageous forgeries such as Lord Nelson's glass eye.

Monmouth Museum
Monmouth Museum is located on Priory Street in Monmouth, Wales. Visitors to the Monmouth Museum may also want to visit nearby Monnow Bridge or the 'Three Castles' (Skenfrith Castle, White Castle, and Grosmont Castle).

Monmouth Museum
Market Hall
Priory Street
Monmouth, Monmouthshire
NP5 3XA
Tel: 01600 713519

Monmouth Museum Map

© 2011 John Westby

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Monnow Bridge

Monnow Bridge was built around 1270 AD to defend the town of Monmouth. Monnow Bridge is the only surviving medieval bridge in Britain with a gate tower standing on the bridge. The gate tower has historically served as toll house, gaol, guard room and dwelling house.


Monnow Bridge
Monnow Bridge crosses the River Monnow just above where it flows into the River Wye.

Monnow Bridge

Monnow Bridge is located in Monmouth, Wales. Visitors to Monnow Bridge may also want to visit the nearby 'Three Castles' (White Castle, Skenfrith Castle, and Grosmont Castle).

Monnow Bridge Map

© 2011 John Westby

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Grosmont Castle

Grosmont Castle along with Skenfrith Castle and White Castle were all built of earth and timber before 1100 AD by the Normans to control the lands they had conquered in North Gwent. In 1201, the three castles were granted to Hubert de Burgh, a powerful Marcher lord, who proceeded to rebuild Grosmont Castle in stone between 1201 and 1230.

Grosmont Castle
In the 14th century, the earls of Lancaster added, among other things, a chamber block with an elegant chimney (see below) and a drawbridge.

Grosmont Castle

Grosmont Castle is located in Grosmont, Monmouthshire very near the present English / Welsh border, approximately 8 miles northeast of Abergavenny. Grosmont Castle is just off the B4347.

Grosmont, Monmouthshire
NP7 8LW

Grosmont Castle Map

© 2011 John Westby

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

York Minster

York Minster is one of Britain's finest cathedrals. Constructed over 200 years from the 1220s to 1470, York Minster is a must-see on any visit to the historic city of York in northern England.

York Minster, York, UK


The first wooden church near the site was built for the baptism of the Anglo Saxon King, Edwin of Northumbria in 627. Later a stone Norman church was begun nearby, remains of which can be seen in the Undercroft.

York Minster, England, UK


From 1220 this Norman church was gradually enlarged to become the Minster we see today, one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in northern Europe after Cologne Cathedral. The earlier Roman influence on York can also be appreciated from the remains of Emperor Constantine's palace that are located under the central tower.

York Minster

York Minister is known for its famous Rose Window (shown in the photograph above) and the Great East Window, (completed in 1408), the largest area of medieval stained glass in the world, showing scenes from Genesis and Revelation - the beginning and end of the world.

The Minster has been damaged by fire and other calamities (there was extensive damage done in the English Reformation) and repaired over time including as recently as 1984, when a roof was destroyed in a blaze.

York Minster

York Minster is the seat of the Archbishop of York, after the Archbishop of Canterbury, with his seat in Canterbury Cathedral, the second-highest office of the Church of England.

The church plays host to various musical concerts, which can be booked online. There is also a shop within the church selling CDs of music from York Minster, books and carvings.

York Minster


York Minster
Administration offices:
10-14 Ogleforth, York
YO1 7JN
Tel: 0844 939 0011

Admission 9 GBP
Hours: Monday - Saturday: open 9am (9.30am November- March); last entry 5.30pm

Sunday: 12.00 noon - 3.45pm

No sightseeing on Good Friday and Easter Sunday or on Sundays before 12.00 noon

York Minster is a pleasant 700m walk from York Station. There are train services to York from both Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester International Airport as well as London Euston.

York Minster, York


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Monday, February 7, 2011

St Bridget's Church Skenfrith

St Bridget’s Church was founded in 1207 AD by Hubert de Burgh, First Earl of Kent (1160-1243) who was also responsible for rebuilding Skenfrith Castle in stone; the church was reconstructed and enlarged in the 14th century.

St Bridget's Church Skenfrith


The tower, nave (see below) and chancel of St Bridget's Church date from its 13th century origin. The porch and north and south aisles were constructed in the following two centuries.

St Bridget's Church Skenfrith

St Bridget's Church in Skenfrith is home to the impressive tomb of John Morgan (see below)who died in 1557. Morgan was Steward of the Duchy of Lancaster and the last Governor of the 'Three Castles' (Skenfrith Castle, White Castle, and Grosmont Castle).

St Bridget's Church Skenfrith

St Bridget's Church in Skenfrith is located in Monmouthshire, Wales just off the B4521. Visitors to St Bridget's Church may also want to see see the adjacent Skenfrith Castle and the 17th century coaching inn The Bell pub, which was voted 2007 Michelin Pub of the year. Grosmont Castle and White Castle are also nearby.

St Bridget's Church Skenfrith (home page of the church)

St Bridget's Church Skenfrith Map (Google map)

© 2011 John Westby