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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lyme Harbour

Lyme Harbour is situated in front of the town's beaches and The Cobb.

Lyme Harbour gets very crowded with boats in the summer and the harbour is staffed 8am to 6pm seven days a week during the peak season. No fuel is available but there are showers and fresh water at the Lyme Regis Sailing Club.




Nearby pubs and restaurants in Lyme Regis include The Cobb Arms, The Bay Hotel, The Harbour Inn and The Rock Point Inn farther back on Broad Street. The Cobb Aquarium is also situated on The Cobb itself.

Harbourmaster Lyme Regis
Tel: 01297 442137
Mobile: +44 07870 240645

© Devon-Visitor.com

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester

The Royal Exchange Theatre in central Manchester has a reputation as one of the best and most innovative theatres in the country.



The main theatre is housed within the old Manchester Cotton Exchange (hence the name). The building was once the "largest room for commerce in the world," according to the theatre's website.

The theatre is a seven-sided steel and glass module, seating 700 people, suspended from four large columns that also support the building's central dome. A smaller theatre, The Studio, seats an audience of 120 people.



The Great Hall, where the Royal Exchange Theatre is located also features art exhibitions, contains a Craft Shop, an Education Lounge and a restaurant and bar.

One of my best memories of the theatre was the classic production of Samuel Beckett's "Waiting For Godot" starring Max Wall and Trevor Peacock in 1980.

The theatre was officially opened by Sir Laurence Olivier on 15 September 1976 and is associated with a long list of famous directors and actors.

The Royal Exchange Theatre is near the Arndale Center, Urbis, the Wheel of Manchester and Manchester Cathedral in central Manchester.

Royal Exchange Theatre
St Ann's Square
Manchester
M2 7DH
Box Office: 0161 833 9833


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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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lyme Regis Beaches

The main beaches at Lyme Regis are Back Beach, Monmouth Beach, Town Beach and Church Beach. Lyme Regis' beaches are mostly pebble, though there are areas of sandy beach especially at Town Beach and Church Beach, where the River Lym flows into the sea.



Sand has been imported from France to cover Town Beach near The Cobb and this beach is the most popular beach with tourists as it is close to Marine Parade and the lively pubs and restaurants here such as The Cobb Arms, The Bay Hotel, The Harbour Inn and The Rock Point Inn farther back on Broad Street.

There is enough sand here to build sandcastles.

Monmouth Beach gets its name from the Duke of Monmouth who landed here in a failed attempt to overthrow King James II in 1685. Twelve local people were hanged here by the infamous Judge Jeffreys as punishment for the failed rebellion. Monmouth Beach spreads southwest from The Cobb past Lyme Regis Bowling Club.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Tower of London

Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, a.k.a. the Tower of London (see below), is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London.

The Tower of London was founded in 1066 AD during the Norman Conquest of England by William the Conqueror. The Tower of London was used as a prison since at least 1100, but that was not its primary purpose. Instead, the Tower of London served as a royal residence early in its history.

Tower of London

Despite the Tower of London's reputation as a place of torture and death, only seven people were executed within the Tower before World Wars I and II.

On the other hand, executions were more commonly held on nearby Tower Hill, where 112 executions occurred over a 400-year period. Visitors to the Tower of London today can see the axe and chopping block (see below) used in some those executions.

Tower of London

Ann Boleyn was among those held and executed at the Tower of London. She was the second wife of King Henry VIII whose armour (see below) can be seen by visitors to the Tower of London.

Tower of London

The Tower of London is located on the north bank of the River Thames next to Tower Bridge. Visitors to the Tower of London may also want to view Tower Bridge or visit the nearby George Inn in Southwark.

The Tower of London
London
EC3N 4AB
Tel: 0844 482 7777

Tower of London, London, England


Tower of London Map

© 2011 John Westby

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

The George Inn in Southwark

The George Inn in Southwark, London is a pub established in the medieval period. Currently owned and leased by the National Trust, The George Inn is the only surviving galleried London coaching inn. 'The George' was one of many famous coaching inns in Charles Dickens' time. In fact, Dickens visited The George and referred to it in his novel Little Dorrit. William Shakespeare also visited as the Globe Theatre was nearby.

The George Inn in Southwark
The George Inn in Southwark is on Borough High Street in Southwark, London. The George Inn is located on the south side of the River Thames near London Bridge. Visitors to The George Inn may also want to view the nearby Tower Bridge and Tower of London.

The George Inn in Southwark Map

The George Inn
75-77 Borough High Street
Southwark
London
SE1 1NH
© 2011 John Westby

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tower Bridge London

Tower Bridge is a combined draw bridge and suspension bridge in London over the River Thames.

Tower Bridge London UK


The draw bridge is operated about 1000 times a year. Tower Bridge gets its name from the nearby Tower of London. Construction of Tower Bridge began in 1886 and the bridge opened in 1894. Tower Bridge has become an iconic symbol of London.

Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge is located on Tower Bridge Road in London. Visitors to Tower Bridge may also want to visit the nearby Tower of London.

Tower Bridge London UK

Tower Bridge Map

© 2011 John Westby

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Merton College Oxford

Merton College in Oxford was founded in 1264 AD. Merton College is one of the oldest colleges at the University of Oxford. Today, 303 undergraduates and 330 graduate students attend Merton College. Famous alumni include JRR Tolkien, TS Eliot, and Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan. The first view by visitors to Merton College is of the Front Quadrangle (see below).

Merton College
The large chapel at Merton College (see below) was built from the late 13th to mid 15th centuries. The chapel features stained glass from the 14th century.


Merton College
The Mob Quad at Merton College (see below) is the oldest quadrangle at Oxford.The Mob Quad was constructed between 1288 and 1378.

Merton College
The Fellows Quadrangle at Merton College (see below) was built between 1608 and 1610. JRR Tolkien's college rooms were in Fellows' Quadrangle.

Merton College

Merton College is located on Merton Street in Oxford. Visitors to Merton College may also enjoy viewing nearby Christ Church College, Christ Church Cathedral, University Church of St Mary the Virgin or Carfax Tower.

Merton College
Merton St
Oxford OX1 4JD
Tel: 01865 276310

Merton College Map

© 2011 John Westby

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gulls

Various types of gulls (seagulls) are found along the coastlines of Britain and even as far inland as Bath, where they can prove to be something of a menace.


Gulls are scavenging carnivores but have adapted to eat mostly anything. Gulls nest in large, noisy and often aggressive colonies.


The two gulls above were both photographed at Lyme Regis in Dorset.


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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ashmolean Museum Oxford

The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford is the world's first university museum.

Ashmolean Museum Oxford, UK.


The Ashmolean Museum was first built in 1678-1683 AD to house the cabinet of curiosities Elias Ashmole (1617-1692) gave to Oxford University in 1677. The present building (see below) dates from 1845.

Ashmolean Museum
The painting collection of the Ashmolean Museum grew rapidly from the 1660s to 70s. In the mid 1660s, the Ashmolean Museum began to acquire images of people from the past.

In the eighteenth century, the museum added a number of landscapes, historical paintings and scenes from contemporary life. Other donations included collections of Old Masters and by the early nineteenth century, the museum had become an art gallery of general interest. One painting on exhibit is Canaletto's 'Landscape with a Villa seen through a ruined Arch'(see below).

Ashmolean Museum
Another well known exhibit at the Ashmolean Museum is Powhatan's mantle (see below). Chief Powhatan was chief of a Virginia Indian tribe and the father of Pocahantas. The mantle is thought to have been a wall hanging.

Ashmolean Museum
In the Ashmolean Museum's gallery of Greek and Roman sculpture, this spectacular statue of the goddess Athena can be seen.

Ashmolean Museum
The entrance to the Ashmolean Museum is located on Beaumont Street in Oxford. Visitors to the Ashmolean Museum may also want to visit the nearby Christ Church College, Christ Church Cathedral, University Church of St Mary the Virgin or Carfax Tower.

Ashmolean Museum
Beaumont Street
Oxford OX1 2PH
Tel: 01865 278002

Ashmolean Museum Map

© 2011 John Westby

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sandcastles

Sandcastles are as much part of the British beach scene as ice cream and deck chairs.


Built nowadays with a plastic bucket and spade or by hand, sandcastles or sand sculptures have probably been made since the beginning of human history, though it seems that late 19th century Atlantic City really got things going. Nowadays, there is even an annual World Championship in Sand Sculpture in Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia, Canada.



The sandcastles above were both photographed at Lyme Regis in Dorset.


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Monday, March 21, 2011

Carfax Tower Oxford

Cardfax Tower (see below) in Oxford is all that remains of the 13th century St Martin's Church. Carfax Tower is 23 metres tall, and no taller building in central Oxford is allowed to be constructed. Visitors can climb the 99 steps to the top for a bird's eye view of Oxford. Mechanical figures on the tower called 'quarterboys' strike the quarter hour on bells.

Carfax Tower

Carfax Tower is located on the northwest corner of the Carfax crossroads in Oxford. Visitors to Carfax Tower may also want to visit the nearby Christ Church College, Christ Church Cathedral, or University Church of St Mary the Virgin.

Carfax Tower
Queen Street
Oxford
OX1 4
Tel: 01865 790522

Carfax Tower Map

© 2011 John Westby

Sunday, March 20, 2011

National Museum Cardiff

The National Museum Cardiff (see below) officially opened in 1927. The National Museum Cardiff houses Wales’s national archaeology, art, geology and natural history collections. Visitors can discover the history of humankind in Wales beginning with the Neanderthals in the archaeology gallery, 'Origins: in search of early Wales'. The art collection at National Museum Cardiff is one of Europe's finest with five hundred years of magnificent paintings, drawings, sculpture, silver and ceramics, including one of Europe's best collections of Impressionist works. Visitors can also encounter dinosaurs and woolly mammoths and find out how life evolved in Wales.

National Museum Cardiff
Visitors to 'Origins: in search of early Wales' (see below) at the National Museum Cardiff can follow the history of humankind in Wales from the arrival of the first Stone Age humans to the end of the Middle Ages. The exhibition continues with the invasion and conquest of the Romans and ends in the 1500s. The gallery boasts the earliest human remains in Britain and spectacular Bronze Age goldwork.

National Museum Cardiff
These stone carvings (see below) from the early medieval period are on display in the 'Origins: in search of early Wales' gallery at the National Museum Cardiff.

National Museum Cardiff
One of the sculptures exhibited at the National Museum Cardiff is the 'Jenkins Vase' (see below). The body of the vase is made from a round Roman altar that was transformed into a vase in the eighteenth century. The reliefs on the vase show the marriage of Paris, son of Priam of Troy, to Helen. Thomas Jenkins (1720-1798) probably bought this work in Naples in 1769.

National Museum Cardiff
National Museum Cardiff is located on Cathays Park in central Cardiff. Visitors to Cardiff may also want to view the nearby Cardiff City HallCardiff Castle, Clock Tower and Castle Apartments.

National Museum Cardiff
Cathays Park
Cardiff
CF10 3NP
Tel: 029 2039 7951

National Museum Cardiff Map

© 2011 John Westby

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cardiff City Hall

Cardiff City Hall (see below) in Cardiff, South Wales, was completed in 1904. The design was inspired by English and French Renaissance architecture, but Cardiff City Hall is also an Edwardian symbol of confidence from a time when Cardiff’s coal-fueled prosperity was at its height. Cardiff City Hall is dominated by the 194 foot high clock tower, and a Welsh dragon sits atop the dome.

Cardiff City Hall

Cardiff City Hall is located on Cathays Park in central Cardiff. Visitors to Cardiff may also want to visit nearby Cardiff Castle and view the Clock Tower and Castle Apartments inside its grounds.

City Hall
Cathays Park
Cardiff
CF10 3ND

Cardiff City Hall Map

© 2011 John Westby

Friday, March 18, 2011

Castle Combe

Just 12 miles from Bath, Castle Combe in Wiltshire is an historic Costwolds village.



With a population of around 350 inhabitants, Castle Combe is known for its tranquility along with some fine medieval structures: the 14th century St Andrew's church has a rare faceless clock supposedly made by a local blacksmith in 1380, Market Cross, built when the village was granted a weekly market, and the 4-star Manor House Hotel.

Castle Combe

The village of Castle Combe once had a castle, which gave its name to the place, first a small Roman fort and later a Norman stone castle constructed in 1135, though the castle later fell into ruin.



Castle Combe was a centre of wool weaving using the water of By Brook which guaranteed it's prosperity.

Castle Combe has featured in a number of movies including Doctor Doolittle, Stardust, The Wolf Man and Steven Spielberg's War Horse.

Castle Combe, England, United Kingdom


Castle Combe is the home of Castle Combe Circuit, a motor racing venue, located on the now disused RAF Castle Combe airfield.

Visitors to Castle Combe may wish to see nearby Avebury, Lacock Abbey, Stourhead and the Wiltshire White Horses.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Castle Apartments at Cardiff Castle

From 1866 AD, the 3rd Marquess of Bute employed the architect William Burges to transform the Castle Apartments at Cardiff Castle. Inside the gothic house (see below), he created lavish interiors using murals, stained glass, marble, gilding and elaborate wood carvings. Each room has its own theme including Mediterranean, Italian and Arabian decoration.

Castle Apartments at Cardiff Castle
Visitors to the Castle Apartments can tour the Banqueting Hall (see below) and Library which were designed and built by Burges on the site of the old medieval hall. The Banqueting Hall is the largest room in the castle. The Banqueting Hall has a lovely timber vaulted ceiling and the walls are painted with brightly coloured shields and murals depicting scenes from the Civil War.

Castle Apartments at Cardiff Castle
The ceiling of the Arab Room (see below) in the Castle Apartments at Cardiff Castle is a particularly impressive bit of wood carving and gold gilding.

Castle Apartments at Cardiff Castle
Cardiff Castle is located on Castle Street in central Cardiff. Visitors to Cardiff Castle may also enjoy seeing the nearby Caerphilly Castle, Caerleon Fortress Baths, Caerleon Amphitheatre or Roman Legionary Museum Caerleon.


Cardiff Castle
Castle Street
Cardiff
CF10 3RB
Wales
Tel: 029 2087 8100

Cardiff Castle Map

© 2011 John Westby

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Clock Tower at Cardiff Castle

The Clock Tower at Cardiff Castle was designed by the architect William Burges in 1866 AD. Burges was a great lover of medieval Gothic architecture. The Clock Tower was a sensation at the time because of the colorful statuary and heraldry used in its exterior decoration. The Clock Tower at Cardiff Castle was designed for the 3rd Marquess of Bute.


Clock Tower at Cardiff Castle
Cardiff Castle is located on Castle Street in central Cardiff. Visitors to Cardiff Castle may also enjoy seeing the nearby Caerphilly Castle, Caerleon Fortress Baths, Caerleon Amphitheatre or Roman Legionary Museum Caerleon.

Cardiff Castle
Castle Street
Cardiff
CF10 3RB
Wales
Tel: 029 2087 8100

Cardiff Castle Map

© 2011 John Westby

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle is one of Wales' leading historical sites. Located in central Cardiff, the capital of Wales, the castle has a 2,000 year history.

Cardiff Castle


The earliest history of Cardiff Castle dates to a Roman fort which was probably established on the site at the end of the 50s AD. The castle grounds were then a strategic site that afforded easy access to the sea. This fort was the first of four that occupied the present site. Remains of the Roman wall can be seen today.

After the Norman conquest, the Castle's keep was constructed on the site of the Roman fort. The first keep on the motte (probably built of wood) was erected by Robert Fitzhamon, the Norman Lord of Gloucester.

Cardiff Castle then passed through the hands of many noble families, and in 1766, it passed to the Bute family. The 2nd Marquess of Bute turned Cardiff into the world's largest coal exporting port. The Castle and fortune was inherited by his son John, the 3rd Marquess of Bute, who by the 1860s may have been the richest man in the world. The 3rd Marquess died in 1900 having transformed the Castle into a Welsh Victorian Camelot.

Cardiff Castle
50 soldiers from the C Company 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh (see below) marched through the streets of Cardiff from Millennium Plaza to Cardiff Castle.

The servicemen were accompanied by the Regimental Band and Corps of Drums of the Royal Welsh, and the procession was led by the battalion’s mascot, Taffy the Regimental Goat.

Cardiff Castle
The keep and motte (see below) on the Cardiff Castle grounds was built by the Normans around 1081 AD. The original keep was wooden but was replaced by the current stone stucture in the 1130s. The keep never had a roof and this type of keep is called a 'shell keep'.

Cardiff Castle
From 1866, the 3rd Marquess of Bute employed the architect William Burges to transform the Castle lodgings (see below). Burges created opulent interiors utilizing murals, stained glass, marble, gilding and elaborate wood carvings. Each room has its own theme, including Mediterranean, Italian and Arabian decoration.

Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle is located on Castle Street in central Cardiff. Visitors to Cardiff Castle may also enjoy seeing the nearby Caerphilly Castle, Caerleon Fortress Baths, Caerleon Amphitheatre or Roman Legionary Museum Caerleon.


Cardiff Castle


Cardiff Castle
Castle Street
Cardiff
CF10 3RB
Wales
Tel: 029 2087 8100

Cardiff Castle Map

© 2011 John Westby

Cardiff Castle


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Monday, March 14, 2011

Farleigh Hungerford Castle

Farleigh Hungerford Castle is located 9 miles south east from Bath in the Frome Valley on the Somerset/Wiltshire border. The castle ruins are a Grade I listed building.



The castle or actually fortified manor house dates originally from the 14th century and was the family home of the Hungerford family for 300 years until sold off in 1686. The early development of the castle by Walter Hungerford was funded by a ransom paid for the Duke of Orleans, who Hungerford captured at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.

Highlights of a visit to the castle include the chapel with its rare medieval wall paintings and tombs of the Hungerford family and the human-shaped lead coffins in the eery crypt.

Visitors to Farleigh Hungerford Castle may care to see the nearby George Inn in Norton St Philip.

Farleigh Hungerford,
Norton St Philip
Bath
Somerset
BA2 7RS

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gorgon's Head Roman Baths Bath

Another highlight of the Roman Baths in Bath, along with the gilt bronze head of Sulis Minerva, is a stone Gorgon's head founded during the building of the Pump Room in 1790.

The stone is part of the main pediment at the temple of Sulis Minerva, which was situated at the spring in Bath, and is thought to have been made in Gaul, due to the quality of the stone work.


Gorgon is a female creature from Greek myth that was killed by Perseus with the help of the goddess Athena, Romanized later as Minerva, who is the central diety of the Roman temple at Bath.

The creature depicted in the sculpture is definitely male, with a beard, which has sparked debate that the image could be the water god Oceanus, or a Celtic sun god, rather than a Gorgon.


The pediment as a whole is full of symbolism including images of the half men and half fish Tritons, servants of the god Neptune, a dolphin's head, a small owl and female Victories. Specialists are still debating the full meaning of the various iconography of the pediment.

The Roman Baths
Abbey Church Yard
Bath
BA1 1LZ
Tel: +44 (0)1225 477785

Opening Hours

January - February
9.30am-4.30pm exit 5.30pm
March - June
9am-5pm exit 6pm
July - August
9am-9pm exit 10pm
September - October
9am-5pm exit 6pm
November - December
9.30am-4.30pm exit 5.30pm




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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Blenheim Cascade

Blenheim Cascade (see below) lies within the grounds of Blenheim Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and was designed by the famous landscape architect, Capability Brown, in the 1760s. The flow of the River Glyme over the cascade is augmented by pumps.

Blenheim Cascade
Blenheim Palace is located just off the A44 in Woodstock, Oxfordshire. The palace is open daily until 30 Oct. and then from Wednesday to Friday between 2 Nov. and 16 Dec. in 2011. Visitors to Blenheim Palace may also want to visit nearby Burford, Christ Church College or Christ Church Cathedral.

Blenheim Palace map
Blenheim Palace
Woodstock, Oxfordshire
OX20 1PX
Tel: 01993 811091

© 2011 John Westby