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Monday, May 30, 2011

Tower of London Ravens

The Tower of London ravens (see below) are Common Ravens which live in the Tower of London. There are always at least seven individual birds with one of those acting as a reserve. Tradition suggests that the presence of the ravens protects the Crown and the Tower, and a superstition suggests that if the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, then the Crown will fall and Britain with it.

Tower of London Ravens

Visitors to the Tower of London can view the ravens. The Tower of London is situated on the north bank of the River Thames adjacent to Tower Bridge. Visitors to the Tower of London may also want to view Tower Bridge or pay a visit to the nearby George Inn in Southwark.

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

Tower of London Map

© 2011 John Westby

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bath Coffee Festival

The Bath Coffee Festival took place on the 21st and 22nd of May 2011 at the Recreation Ground in Bath city centre. The Bath Coffee Festival celebrates all things coffee related with demonstrations on grinding, brewing and tasting coffee as well as on cooking with coffee.

For tea drinkers, the Bath Coffee Festival features workshops and talks on the preparation and tasting of teas from around the world.

Entrance to the Bath Coffee Festival is free.

Bath Coffee Festival, Bath, Somerset

The Bath Coffee Festival is located at The Recreation Ground, aka 'The Rec', a large open space in the centre of Bath. The Rec is only 6 minutes on foot from the bus station and 7 minutes on foot from Bath Spa railway station. Visitors to the Bath Coffee Festival may also want to visit the nearby Roman Baths or Bath Abbey.

© 2011 John Westby

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Dartmoor Stone Walls

Dartmoor has hundreds of miles of dry stone walls snaking over the moor. The walls are all built with local stone from the area.


The walls enclosed the lands of the farmers on the moor and were mainly built from the 17th-19th centuries.


For more information on Dartmoor walls, legendarydartmoor.co.uk has lots of interesting information including the work of master wall builder, John Bishop.


© Britain-Visitor

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dartmoor Bluebells

Dartmoor in east Devon looks lovely when the bluebells come out in spring, juxtaposed against the dry stone walls. We'll be bringing you a series of beautiful photographs of Dartmoor over the next few days.


© Britain-Visitor

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Holman's Wood Campsite

Holmans Wood Holiday Park is just off the A38 just south of Exeter near the village of Chudleigh.


Holmans Wood Holiday Park has both a campsite and caravan park with excellent facilities as you can see in the photograph of a kitchen block below.


Pitches for tourers all have electricity, water and waste water drainage and campers are free to use the launderette, showers, toilets, and washing up area on the main site. Haldon Forest is nearby and Holman's Wood makes for an excellent base to explore Devon's beaches and its many other attractions including Widecombe-in-the-Moor on Dartmoor.


Holman's Wood
Harcombe Cross
Chudleigh
South Devon
TQ13 0DZ
Tel: 01626 853785

Open 5th March - 31st October.


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Chudleigh
dartmoor

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

High Street Gate Salisbury

One of five gates in Salisbury's ancient city wall and one of the four original gates, the High Street Gate (see below) joins St Ann's Gate, the Queen's Gate, and St Nicholas's Gate. A fifth gate, allowing access to Bishop Wordsworth's School situated inside the Cathedral Close, was created in the 19th century.

High Street Gate Salisbury, Wilts

As its name suggests, the High Street Gate is located on High Street in Salisbury. Visitors passing through the High Street Gate will soon find themselves in front of the magnificent Salisbury Cathedral and near to Mompesson House.

© 2011 John Westby

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Bath Totem

Bearing a strong resemblance to that product of the indigenous peoples of the American northwest, the totem pole, this impressive sculpture carved from the remains of a tree greets visitors to the Botanical Garden in Bath's Victoria Park. The designs on totem poles are incredibly varied; some totem poles celebrate cultural beliefs; whereas others are mostly artistic representations.

Bath Totem, Victoria Park

Royal Victoria Park is situated slightly west of The Royal Crescent in Bath.

Entrance to Bath Botanical Gardens is free.

Parks and Green Spaces
Royal Victoria Park Nursery
Marlborough Lane
Bath, BA1 2LZ
Tel: 01225 394041

© 2011 John Westby

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Devon Beaches

Devon has some of Britain's best beaches stretching along the English Channel coast from Seaton near the Dorset border with Lyme Regis, to the English Riviera beaches at Torbay.

Travelling west along the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Jurassic Coast Devon's many beaches include the shingle beach at the picturesque fishing port of Beer, then along to Sidmouth, Shaldon, the Victorian resort of Exmouth, across the Exe Estuary to the flat sands of Dawlish, Teignmouth then the English Riviera beaches at the resorts of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham including Babbacombe Beach, Watcombe Beach, Maidencombe, Goodrington Sands and Oddicombe Beach.

Seaton

The North Devon Coast also includes Tunnells Beach, Woolacome and Croyde all Blue Flag awarded beaches along with Blackpool Sands, Challabrough, Bigbury-on-Sea, Meadowfoot, Dawlish Warren, Preston, and Breakwater and Broadsands all on the South Devon Coast.



Water temperatures on Devon's beaches are usually fairly bracing even in mid-summer. Though, if you are into sandcastles or surfing, Devon's many coves, bays and beaches, whether sand or shingle, have something for every visitor.

© Devon-Visitor.com


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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lord Nelson In Bath

Bath in its 18th and early 19th century heyday was the place where most of Britain's elite could be seen at some time during the year.

Monmouth Museum

Members of Britain's upper classes and aristocracy came to Bath for a season to take the waters at The Pump Room, relax and socialize. They attended balls, the theatre and enjoyed readings and card games at the Assembly Rooms.

The restorative power of Bath's waters also drew the many military men wounded in the seemingly endless conflicts of the period especially during the Napoleonic Wars of 1803-1815.

Lord Nelson was one such veteran that spent some of his often brief shore leaves in Bath. Nelson's father Edmund, a vicar from East Anglia, retired to Bath and died there in 1802. Nelson's wife Fanny also maintained a house there as the warmer climate agreed with her after her early life spent in the West Indies.

Nelson first came to Bath in 1780 and he returned in 1797 to seek medical advice for the stump of his right arm which had been amputated after a disastrous attempt to storm Santa Cruz on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Nelson's arrival was big news and made three of the Bath newspapers. His arm was treated by a surgeon at Bath General Hospital before he left for London and further medical advice.

For fans of Lord Nelson, 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.

© 2011 Britain-Visitor.com

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Old Well In Totnes

Totnes in south Devon is a centre of New Age, alternative culture, to rank with Glastonbury in nearby Somerset.

Totnes' alternative lifestyle credentials are linked to the foundation of Dartington College of Arts in 1961 (now merged with University College Falmouth) and the establishment of Transition Town Totnes in 2005, which aims to promote a more sustainable, locally sourced way of living in the face of dwindling oil reserves and the onset of global warming.


This old well pictured above and below is decked with candles and ribbons and has something of a Hindu or Buddhist temple feel.


Totnes is north of Kingsbridge on the A381.

© Britain-Visitor.com

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chinese Pagoda Kew Gardens

The Chinese Pagoda in Kew Gardens, south west London, was completed in 1762 and at the time was the tallest reconstruction of a Chinese pagoda in Europe. The mid-eighteenth century was a time of great interest in all things Chinese for European garden designers.

The 50m-tall Chinese Pagoda was designed by Sir William Chambers who had traveled to Canton earlier to feed his interest in things Oriental. The pagoda has 10 floors, which unfortunately is a flaw in itself, as Chinese pagodas traditionally have odd-numbered storeys.



Access

Kew Gardens Station is on the District Line of the London underground.

Leave Kew Gardens Station, walk down Lichfield Road to the Victoria Gate entrance of Kew Gardens.

South West Trains services from Waterloo, via Vauxhall and Clapham Junction, stop at Kew Bridge Station. Alternatively buses #65 and #391 to the Victoria Gate entrance.


© 2011 Britain-Visitor.com

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Temple Bar Monument

The Temple Bar Monument topped by a griffin marks the boundary between the City of London & Westminster as Fleet Street merges into The Strand. The present Temple Bar was designed by Charles Bell Birch and stands in front of The Royal Courts of Justice.

A pair of dragons are actually part of the symbol of the City of London rather than a griffin.

The Temple Bar was historically a barrier to regulate trade and goods into the City of London.



A previous version of Temple's Bar designed by Christopher Wren is now in Paternoster Square near St. Paul's Cathedral.

Other places to see in London in the vicinity of the Temple Bar Monument are the Twinings Museum, Somerset House, Dr. Johnson's House, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Pub (Sam Johnson's local) east on Fleet Street, the LSE, St. Paul's Cathedral and on the South Bank across the River Thames the Globe Theatre.

Take a tube to Temple (Circle & District Line), Holborn or Chancery Lane (Central Line).

Temple Bar Monument Map

© 2011 Britain-Visitor.com

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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Piccadilly Circus London

Piccadilly Circus in Westminster is an iconic location and a magnet for the millions of foreign tourists that visit London every year.



Piccadilly Circus was laid out in 1819 to connect Regent Street to the north with Piccadilly to the west.

The big draws at Piccadilly Circus are the large neon displays on the north side, the statue of Eros by Alfred Gilbert and the Shaftesbury memorial fountain erected in 1892-1893. Piccadilly Circus tube station, directly below is served by both the Piccadilly and Bakerloo Lines and is an extremely busy intersection.


Piccadilly Circus is close to London's main theatre district on Shaftesbury Avenue and a short stroll to Chinatown, London's gay village centred on Old Compton Street and the entertainment mecca of Soho.

The London Pavilion and the Criterion Theatre are both located in the circus. Shops close by include Lillywhites retailing sporting goods and the Japan Centre for Japanese food and books on Japan. Jermyn Street for high-end gentlemen's fashion is just to the south running west. London Trocadero connects with Piccadilly Circus underground station.

Other attractions in London in the vicinity of Piccadilly Circus by tube or bus include Westminster Abbey and Big Ben to the south and Buckingham Palace to the south west. South of the River Thames are Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and the London Eye.


Piccadilly Circus Map

© 2011 Britain-Visitor.com

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Statue of Sir Robert Clive

A statue of Robert Clive or "Clive of India" stands in King Charles Street off Whitehall near the Cabinet War Rooms.

Clive (1725-1774) is credited with establishing British rule in India for the East India Company (EIC) through his campaigns against the French and Indian native rulers.

Born at Styche near Market Drayton in Shropshire, Clive was a teenage tearaway and ruffian. Sent to India by his despairing father in the 1740s to work as a clerk in Madras (Chennai), Clive tried twice to take his own life with a pistol.

Though he had received no formal military training, Clive distinguished himself in various sieges and skirmishes with French forces commanded by General Joseph Fran├žois Dupleix, as the two countries' conflict in Europe spread to their trading stations in India.



After 10 years service for the East India Company, Clive returned to England but was soon back on the sub-continent, where he was to make himself a legend and an incredibly rich man.

Retaking Calcutta, which had been attacked by the Nawab of Bengal, Clive was to defeat his adversary at the Battle of Plassey in 1757, after the desertion of a number of the Nawab's supporters, following secret negotiations with the wily Clive.

Clive's third and final spell in India from 1765-1767 saw him campaigning again against the Mughal Emperor of Delhi and his allies. A victory at the Battle of Buxar saw Clive receive the lands of Bengal from the Shah and thus formally establish the British presence in India.

Clive committed suicide with a pen-knife in Berkeley Square in London in 1774. A manic depressive throughout his life and wracked by a painful illness, which he attempted to treat with opium, Clive's death at only 49, came at a time of personal attacks on him in the Houses of Parliament, sparked by jealousy of his huge wealth. Though buried in an unmarked grave, Clive remains as one of the great English adventurers. His legacy in India was to prove immense.



Other attractions in London in the vicinity of Whitehall by tube or bus include St Paul's Cathedral, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Pub on Fleet Street, nearby Westminster Abbey and Big Ben or farther afield Buckingham Palace. South of the River Thames are Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and the London Eye.

Whitehall Map

© 2011 Britain-Visitor.com

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Soay Sheep

The Soay sheep (see below) is a primitive breed of domestic sheep. The Soay sheep is a Northern European short-tailed sheep breed.

Visitors to Cheddar Gorge may encounter Soay sheep along the road through the gorge.

Soay Sheep, Cheddar Gorge

Cheddar Gorge lies on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills. The maximum depth of the gorge is 137 metres, and there is a near-vertical cliff-face to the south, along with steep grassy slopes to the north. The B3135 runs along the bottom of the gorge. Visitors to Cheddar Gorge may also want to visit nearby Ebbor Gorge.

Cheddar Gorge, UK.


© 2011 John Westby

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sarum College

Sarum College in Salisbury is an ecumenical study and research centre. The College attracts scholars and students from throughout the UK and has an excellent reputation for theological education. Sarum College is based in Salisbury’s Cathedral Close.

Sarum College, Wiltshire

Visitors to Sarum College may also want to visit the nearby Salisbury Cathedral or Old Sarum.

19, The Close
Salisbury, Wiltshire
SP1 2EE
Tel:01722 424800

© 2011 John Westby

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Statue of Zeus Bath

This statue of the Greek god Zeus can be found in Royal Victoria Park in Bath. Royal Victoria Park was opened in 1830 by the then 11 year old Princess Victoria. The statue can be found in the Great Dell just north of the botanical garden.

Statue of Zeus Bath

The 57 acre Royal Victoria Park in Bath is located a little west of The Royal Crescent. Car parking can be found within the park.

Parks and Green Spaces
Royal Victoria Park Nursery
Marlborough Lane
Bath, BA1 2LZ
Tel: 01225 394041

© 2011 John Westby

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Somerset House Courtyard

Somerset House near Waterloo Bridge on the River Thames and south of The Strand is an imposing neo-classical building designed by architect Sir William Chambers and was built between 1776 and 1796.


Built on land once owned by the Duke of Somerset, the building housed various government offices since its construction including the Tax Office (Inland Revenue), the Navy Office, the Admiralty, the Registrar General of Births, Marriages and Deaths and The Hawkers and Pedlar Office, no less.

The University of London's King's College also had buildings here as well as the Royal Academy, now in Piccadilly.


Nowadays the central courtyard has a set of "dancing fountains" in the summer and the space is used as an ice rink in the winter. Concerts are also staged here and such stars as Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen have performed here. Somerset House is also a world class venue for contemporary art and design exhibitions.

Other attractions in London in the vicinity of Somerset House by tube or bus include St Paul's Cathedral, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Pub on Fleet Street, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben or farther afield Buckingham Palace. South of the river is the Globe Theatre.

Somerset House
Strand
London
WC2R 1LA
Tel: 020 7845 4600


Somerset House Map

© 2011 Britain-Visitor.com

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

John Locke's Grave

John Locke (1632 – 1704) is widely known as the 'Father of Liberalism'. Locke was an English philosopher and physician, and Locke is regarded as one of the most influential Enlightenment era thinkers. Locke is also important for his contributions to social contract theory. Visitors to Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford can view Locke's grave (see below).

John Locke's Grave

Christ Church Cathedral can be viewed as part of a visit to Christ Church College at Oxford.

Tel: 01865 276492

Map of Christ Church Cathedral Oxford

© 2011 John Westby

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