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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

St Teilo's Church Cardiff

St Teilo's Church (see below) stood for 700 years by the River Llwchwr near Pontarddulais in Southern Wales where it was known as the "old church on the marsh". The decision to move the church to the Museum of Welsh Life (aka St Fagans National History Museum) was taken in 1973.

St Teilo's Church

As the building was being taken down to be moved, 500-year-old paintings (see below) were discovered under layers of whitewash.

St Teilo's Church

Those paintings have been lovingly recreated using medieval techniques for today's visitor to enjoy.

St Teilo's Church

The Museum of Welsh Life (St Fagans National History Museum) is situated 4 miles west of Cardiff City Centre, just off the A4232. Visitors to the Museum of Welsh Life may also want to visit the Oakdale Workmen's Institute or the Gwalia Stores also located within the museum.

St Fagans National History Museum
Cardiff
CF5 6XB
Tel: 029 2057 3500

Museum of Welsh Life Map

© Devon-Visitor.com

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Scottish Gaelic Road Signs

Road signs in the Highland region of Scotland have now adopted Scottish Gaelic as well as English following a similar move in Wales, where road signs are displayed in both English and Welsh. Thus the sign below on the scenic A82 from Inverness to Glasgow is rendered as Inbhir Nis as well as Inverness.


Road signs in Scottish Gaelic owe much to Sir Iain Andrew Noble, whose pressure for bilingual signage on a road through his land on the Isle of Skye lead to the first Gaelic road sign in Scotland in 1973. Bilingual road signs in Scotland are now commonplace in the Highlands.

Read about road signs in England.

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Swans in Britain

Swans are a fairly common bird on the lakes, canals and rivers of Britain and are a protected species.

Swans, of the genus Cygnus, are related to ducks and geese and are some of the largest flying birds.



Swans are herbivorous birds and form mostly monogamous pairs. The male swan is a cob and the female a pen. Young swans are cygnets. There are estimated to be about 22,000 swans in the UK.

The British monarch holds ownership rights to unmarked mute swans in open water in the UK.

Since medieval times swans have been considered a royal delicacy.

Swans are a common site on Britain's canals.


Swans can be aggressive in the protection of their young and it is a common fallacy to hear of people having their arms broken by swans.

© 2011 Britain-Visitor.com

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Woodbank Hall

Woodbank Hall in Woodbank Park, next to Vernon Park in Stockport, was built by architect Thomas Harrison between 1812-1814.

Woodbank Hall, Woodbank Park, Stockport

Woodbank Hall was the home of local industrialist Peter Marsland before being donated to Stockport Borough in 1921. The firm of Peter Marsland owned nearby Kingston Mill, which was a large cotton spinning factory.

Woodbank Hall, Woodbank Park, Stockport

Other places to see in and around the Stockport area in Greater Manchester include Stockport Market, Stockport Town Hall, St Mary's Church, Bramhall Hall, the Air Raid Shelters, Vernon Park, Kingston Mill, Lyme Park, the Viaduct and Stockport Hat Museum.

Woodbank Hall
Woodbank Park
Turncroft Lane
Offerton
Stockport
SK1 4RG
Map of Woodbank Park

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Cobbled Streets

Cobbled streets are still much in evidence in the UK especially in the north of the country. Cobblestones were an advance from early dirt roads which were frequently rutted and the cobbles were usually set in sand to make the road surface permeable.


The images shown here are actually setts, which are smooth granite stones laid in the 19th century, whereas cobbles were not worked on and were naturally occurring stones.


Roads paved with setts are natural traffic calmers as cars produce more noise when passing over them and warn pedestrians of their advance.



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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Boat Trips on the River Dee

Summer in England is never more fun than when messing about on boats.

There are a number of possibilities available to get afloat on the River Dee in Chester whether on a rowboat or paddle boat or something a little more grand and much less strenuous.


ChesterBoat offer a variety of cruises including a 30-minute River Dee cruise past the Suspension Bridge and the Meadows, a longer two hour cruise and a joint bus and boat tour of Chester. Saturday nights feature a themed cruise with disco and BBQ supper. All cruises sail from the boating station on The Groves.


The River Dee in Chester is a short stroll from the Roman Amphitheater, St John's Church, the Meadows, Grosvenor Park, the Rows, Chester Cathedral and the Cross.



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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Horse Head Statue in Marble Arch

On 18th June 2009, a bronze statue of a giant horse head weighing 6 tonnes was unveiled at Marble Arch in London. The horse head sculpture is part of a £2 million pound refurbishment of the area. The horse head sculpture is by Nic Fiddian-Green.

Marble Arch, London

Visitors to the Horse Head Statue in Marble Arch may also enjoy other nearby London attractions including The Travel Book Shop, Portobello Road or The London Eye.

Map of Marble Arch

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Eyam Hall

Eyam Hall is a Jacobean manor house in the Derbyshire village of Eyam and has been home to the Wright family for over 300 years.



The house and beautiful walled 17th century garden are open to the public on selected days for guided tours throughout the summer.

Visitors can see the magnificent main hall, the tapestry room, and a bedroom complete with tester bed. The nursery has a collection of toys from 1860 to the present. Throughout the building are historic costumes and artifacts that have been in the Wright family's possession over the centuries.



Next door to Eyam Hall is the Craft Centre with five working craft shops, a gift shop and the Buttery for delicious cakes and sandwiches. Visitors can enjoy outdoor seating on a dry day. The Craft Centre is Eyam Hall's former farmyard.

Across the road from Eyam Hall are a set of wooden stocks.

Eyam is well-known as the Plague Village of the Black Death of 1665, when the villagers isolated themselves from the wider community to avoid further contagion of the deadly disease.
Eyam is a short drive from Buxton on the A623.

Eyam Hall
Eyam
Hope Valley
Derbyshire
S32 5QW
Tel: 01433 631 976

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Monday, September 19, 2011

The Cottage Loaf Llandudno

The Cottage Loaf in Llandudno in North Wales is a good place to stay if you are visiting Wales' largest holiday resort.

Home-cooked food and real ale including Courage Directors are the main selling points of this homely lodging. Originally a bakery (hence the name), the building utilizes wood taken from the wreck of the "Flying Foam" a coal schooner wrecked off the Welsh coast in 1936.



Nearby attractions include the Great Orme Tramway and Caernarfon Castle.

The Cottage Loaf
Market Street
Llandudno
Gwynedd
LL30 2SR
Tel: 01492 870762

Llandudno is on the A546 and is a short drive from Colwyn Bay. From Chester follow the A55.


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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Aeolus Acoustic Wind Pavilion

The Aeolus Acoustic Wind Pavilion created by Bristol-based artist Luke Jerram was on display this summer outside Lyme Hall in Lyme Park, Disley before being moved to the Eden Project in Cornwall and later to MediaCityUK in Salford Quays.


Visit the website of Luke Jerram for more information on the Aeolus Acoustic Wind Pavilion or visit the the 'Making of Aeolus' exhibition at the Royal West of England Academy (RWA), Bristol until October 10.

Aeolus (named after the Greek God of the Four Winds) was inspired by the artist's earlier research in Isfahan in Iran, and built with the aid of scientists from the University of Salford. The stainless steel pipes resonate and produce sounds according to the strength and direction of the wind.

Other places of interest in and around the Stockport area in Greater Manchester include Stockport Market, Stockport Town Hall, St Mary's Church, Bramhall Hall, the Air Raid Shelters, Woodbank Park, Vernon Park, the Viaduct and Stockport Hat Museum.

© Britain-Visitor

Many thanks to Arthur McCabe for the video

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Stockport

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Rows Chester

The Rows are a unique feature of Chester's historical civic architecture and one of the town's main tourist attractions.

Originally medieval in origin, the Rows in Chester are galleried, timber walkways above a lower level of shops at ground level. The Rows lead to the entrances of shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs and run along Chester's four main shopping streets: Bridge Street, Watergate Street, Northgate Street and Eastgate Street, intersecting at The Cross.

The Rows Chester.


The Rows connect with the Grosvenor Shopping Centre, a more contemporary shopping experience.

The Rows were built from the late 13th century onwards and now contain both Tudor and later Victorian buildings. Why the Rows were constructed as they are is not clear from the historical evidence available. Experts suggest the hard bedrock near the surface prevented shopkeepers constructing cellars so they built upwards instead or the amount of Roman debris had raised a level of Chester's ancient streets.

The Rows Chester.


The Rows in Chester can be visited along with nearby Dewa Roman Experience, Chester's Roman Amphitheater, St John's Church, the Meadows, Grosvenor Park, Chester Cathedral, the River Dee and the Cross.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Horse Guards Whitehall

Probably the most photographed horses in history stand outside Horse Guards on Whitehall, just to the north of Downing Street.

Horse Guards, Whitehall

The entrance on Whitehall, just south of Trafalgar Square leads to Horse Guards Parade, once the HQ of the British Army and the site of the annual Trooping the Colour. The Palladian style entrance to Horse Guards is protected by mounted troopers of the Household Cavalry in full regalia of breastplate and plumed helmet.

Other attractions in London close to Whitehall by tube, bus or on foot include the Robert Clive statue, the Cabinet War Rooms, Regent's Park, the British Museum, Dr. Johnson's House, Samurai Sushi Bento, Russell Square, St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben or farther afield Buckingham Palace.

The nearest underground station to Whitehall is Westminster on the Circle, District and Jubilee lines.

© 2011 Britain-Visitor.com

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

BT Tower London

The BT Tower has gone through a number of name changes in its history. Variously known as the Post Office Tower, the London Telecom Tower and the British Telecom Tower.

The BT Tower is located near Warren Street and Euston Square tube stations to the west of Tottenham Court Road. 177m in height, the BT Tower was completed in 1965 and was designed by architects Eric Bedford and G. R. Yeats.


At present a large LED-based display at the top of the tower is displaying a countdown to the London Olympics in 2012.

The BT Tower once featured a revolving restaurant that was bombed by the IRA in 1971. The building has subsequently been closed to the general public since 1981, with only occasional open days. Plans to reopen the revolving restaurant in time for the 2012 Olympics seem to have been shelved.

BT Tower
60 Cleveland Street
Fitzrovia
London
W1T 4JZ

Other attractions in London close to BT Tower by tube, bus or on foot include Regent's Park, the British Museum, Dr. Johnson's House, Samurai Sushi Bento, Russell Square, St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben or farther afield Buckingham Palace.

The nearest underground station to BT Tower is Warren Street on the Northern and Victoria lines.

© 2011 Britain-Visitor.com

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dewa Roman Experience

The Dewa Roman Experience celebrates the city of Chester's heritage as the Roman town of Dewa. Dewa was one of the largest Roman towns in Britain and home to the 20th legion.



The size of the Roman settlement was due to the fact that Dewa was planned as a forward operating base for the eventual invasion of Ireland - a military operation that in the end never took place.

Visitors to the Dewa Roman Experience can see exhibits of a Roman galley and walk through reconstructed streets of Roman Chester taking in a Roman barracks, a bath-house, granary, taverna and market stalls.



Also on display are finds from Saxon and medieval Chester and the different street levels can clearly be seen. The museum is a bit dark and gloomy it has to be said and a re-think on the layout may be in order.

Dewa Roman Experience, Chester


There's a gift shop and a fun place for kids, who can try on replicas of a Roman legionary's armour and try their hands at creating a Roman-era mosaic as well as sit on a Roman latrine and languish in a Roman jail.

Dewa Roman Experience, gaol


Dewa Roman Experience
Pierpoint Lane
Off Bridge Street
Chester
CH1 1NL
Tel: 01244 343407


The Dewa Roman Experience in Chester is a short walk south from Watergate and Eastgate streets. Dewa Roman Experience is one of Chester's main attractions along with the Roman Amphitheater, St John's Church, the Meadows, Grosvenor Park, the Rows, nearby Chester Cathedral, the River Dee and the Cross.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace was originally built in the early 17th-century in the village of Kensington, and it was known as Nottingham House for the Earl of Nottingham.

The house was acquired by King William III in 1689 because the asthmatic King wanted a home near London but away from the smokey air of the capital. Kensington Palace was renovated and extended by Sir Christopher Wren who attached pavilions to each corner of the central block. Wren also reoriented the house to make it face west and built north and south wings.

Kensington Palace was the favoured residence of British monarchs for 70 years but was never the official seat of the Court which remained at St. James's. Queen Mary and King William III both died at Kensington Palace in 1694 and 1702 respectively. After King William III's death, the palace became the residence of Queen Anne.

Today Kensington Palace is the official London residence of The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Kensington Palace was also the official residence of Diana, Princess of Wales from 1981 until her death in 1997.

The visitor to Kensington Palace today will find that the State Rooms are open to the public.


Kensington Palace is located in Kensington Gardens in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London.

Kensington Palace
Kensington Gardens
London
W8 4PX
Tel: 0844 482 7777

Kensington Palace map

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Stockport Air Raid Shelters

They knew war with Nazi Germany was coming when work began on a series of subterranean tunnels into the soft, red sandstone below the town of Stockport in northern England in 1938.

Stockport Air Raid Shelters


The labyrinth of tunnels were extended again once war was declared in September 1939 and were about a mile in length. The Stockport Air Raid Shelters, known locally as the "Chestergate Hotel" provided nightly protection for thousands of people from as far away as Manchester.

Stockport Air Raid Shelters


Up to 6,500 civilians could take cover in the tunnels which were equipped with electric light, flushing toilets, a First Aid post and wooden benches. To prevent over-crowding a ticketing system was introduced.

Among our tour group was an old lady who had actually sheltered in the tunnels and described the unforgettable stench of the place, caused mainly from the chemical toilets as not all the latrines were plumbed in.

Stockport Air Raid Shelters


Visitors can see the actual beds, toilets, a tool store and a collection of war-time posters along with a laser and sound show demonstrating an air raid with the noise of sirens and falling bombs.

Stockport Air Raid Shelters
Chestergate
Stockport
SK1 1NE
Tel: 0161 474 1940

Stockport Air Raid Shelters


Other places of interest in and around Stockport in Greater Manchester include Stockport Town Hall, St Mary's Church, Bramhall Hall, Stockport Market, Fred Perry's birthplace, Woodbank Park, Vernon Park, the Viaduct and Stockport Hat Museum.

© Britain-Visitor

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World War II
Stockport

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Crich Tramway Village

Crich Tramway Village in the Derwent Valley in Derbyshire is home to the National Tramway Museum and a recreated Edwardian-style village.


The site, located in a former limestone quarry once owned by George Stephenson, includes various historic buildings and stuctures that have been reassambled such as the Derby Assembly Rooms (pictured below), Bowes-Lyon Bridge, the Red Lion Pub from Stoke and a tardis-like police box that once stood in Ealing Broadway in London.


The main attraction at Crich Tramway Village is riding the number of period trams (there are over 60 in the collection of which about 15 are running) and exploring the history of trams in Britain and other countries from the earliest horse-drawn streetcars to models from the 1960s. There are original, restored trams from Douglas in the Isle of Man, Berlin, Blackpool, Derby, Glasgow, Leeds, London, New York, Porto (in Portugal), Prague, Sheffield and Southampton.


Visitors to Crich Tramway Village may also want to visit nearby Cromford Mill, Cromford Station, Masson Mills, Matlock Bath and Cromford Canal.


Crich Tramway Village
Matlock,
Derbyshire
DE4 5DP
Tel: 01773 854321
Map of Crich

Crich Tramway Village is south of Matlock off the A6 to Derby.

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cromford Station

Cromford Station close to Cromford Mill, Masson Mills and Cromford Canal is a delight and the striking waiting room has been converted into a holiday cottage.



Cromford Station lay on the line from Derby via Matlock to Buxton, services on which was severely cut by the Beeching Report of 1963. The line is now operated by East Midlands Trains with services from Nottingham to Matlock (via Derby).


The waiting room gradually fell into disuse and has been painstakingly restored as holiday accommodation.

The stone building dates from the 1860s and was designed by GH Stokes in a French Chateau style. The waiting room was probably the original station building and became a waiting room on completion of a new station in 1874.


The building features on the cover of the record Some Might Say by Oasis.


Cromford Station Waiting Room


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Friday, September 9, 2011

Wigan Brick Terraces

Wigan's surviving brick terraces hark back to its days as a thriving mill town and coal mining centre in the 19th century.


Immortalized in George Orwell's The Road To Wigan Pier, which focused on the poverty of the town's industrial workers in the 1930s, Wigan has preserved much of its industrial heritage, including the famous pier on the Liverpool-Leeds Canal.


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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Masson Mills

Masson Mills in Matlock Bath was originally built by Sir Richard Arkwright in 1783 on the banks of the River Derwent in the Peak District of Derbyshire.

Masson Mills, Matlock

Since 1999 Masson Mills has been converted into a modern shopping centre, restaurants, a conference venue and industrial museum.

The red brick structure, which was built next to an existing paper mill, harnessed the water energy of the fast-flowing River Derwent to power Arkwright's spinning wheels.

This ground-breaking building was to become the model for other factories in the UK and also in the USA. Thomas Marshall, an American supervisor at the mill in the 1780s, took the design of the structure back to America, where it became a progenitor of the American cotton industry.

Masson Mills, Matlock, Derbyshire

Masson Mills were in continuous operation from 1783 until 1991 making them the oldest continuously operating mills in the world.

Masson Mills is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site that includes nearby Cromford and the Cromford Canal the site of Arkwright's first mills.

Masson Mills
Derby Road
Matlock Bath
Derbyshire
DE4 3PY
Tel: 01629 760208

Access

The nearest railway station to Masson Mills is Matlock Bath, which is easily accessible from Buxton, Stockport, Manchester (via the A6), Derby and Nottingham.

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Masson Mills

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

View of Haytor from Teignmouth

This spectacular view of Hay Tor and Dartmoor is taken from Teignmouth.


This summer the weather has been cool and wet, indeed, the coolest August since 1993 and the dark clouds over Dartmoor have been pretty constant.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hilltop Nursery near Ashburton

Hilltop Nursery near Ashburton is a great day out if you like gardening or gardens. At Hilltop Nursery near Ashburton there are lots of lovely plants to buy. There is an old church next to the grounds where it is possible to have a picnic. Hilltop Nursery is 10 minutes off the A38 near Ashburton.


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Monday, September 5, 2011

River Dee Chester

The River Dee flows through the town of Chester in the north west of England. The River Dee is approximately 110km long and forms part of the border between England and Wales. The source of the River Dee is in the mountains of Snowdonia but by the time the river enters Chester it is broad and smooth-running, ideal for the many boat rental companies offering row and paddle boats to tourists.

River Dee, Chester.


A number of bridges cross the Dee in Chester. These are the Queen's Park Suspension Bridge, the Old Dee Bridge pictured below and Grosvenor Bridge next to Chester Racecourse (The Roodee). Chester Weir, built by Hugh Lupus to supply power to his corn milling business is near the Old Dee Bridge.

River Dee, Chester.

The River Dee in Chester is a short walk from the Roman Amphitheater, St John's Church, the Meadows, Grosvenor Park, the Rows, Chester Cathedral and the Cross.

River Dee, Chester, Cheshire.


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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Portobello Road

Portobello Road is a street in the Notting Hill district of London. Every Saturday, Portobello Road is home to the Portobello Road Market, one of London's most famous street markets. Portobello Road Market is known for its second-hand clothing and antique dealers. There are also fruit and vegetable stalls in the market (see below), and these stalls are open throughout the week.


Portobello Road was built in the Victorian era. Before around 1850, Portobello Road was just a country lane connecting Portobello Farm with what is today Notting Hill. The Portobello Road Market began as a fresh-food market in the 19th century. Dealers of antiques began selling their wares there in the late 1940s and 50s. In addition to the market and every August since 1996, the Portobello Film Festival has been held in locations around Portobello Road.

Apart from the market's influence, Portobello Road's unique atmosphere stems from the diverse communities inhabiting the nearby area as well as the many restaurants and pubs in the area. The role of architecture cannot be understated as Portobello Road curves gracefully along most of its length. Victorian-era terraced houses and shops squeezed tightly together make for an intimate and attractive streetscape.


Visitors to Portobello Road may also want to visit the nearby Travel Bookshop or one of the many other London attractions such as the London Eye or Buckingham Palace.

Map of Portobello Road

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Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Travel Bookshop

Made famous by its role in the 1999 film Notting Hill, The Travel Bookshop is an iconic presence in the Notting Hill section of London.

The Travel Bookshop was founded in 1979 and aims to offer the literary traveler a complete reading experience which includes every country in the world. The Travel Bookshop is situated among the local art galleries, cafes and the many boutiques of Notting Hill. The Travel Bookshop is open from 10am to 6pm Monday to Saturday and 12pm to 5pm on Sundays.


Visitors to London may also enjoy visiting the Tower of London, St Paul's Cathedral, or the Houses of Parliament.

The Travel Bookshop
13-15 Blenheim Crescent
Notting Hill
London
W11 2EE
Tel: 020 7229 5260

Map of The Travel Bookshop

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Piccadilly Station Manchester

Piccadilly Station is Manchester's major railway station and one of the busiest in the UK outside London. Piccadilly Station has intercity services to London Euston with Virgin Trains, Birmingham New Street, Edinburgh and Glasgow Central.



Local and mainline services from Manchester Piccadilly Station include trains to Altrincham, Blackpool, Bolton, Bournemouth, Bristol Temple Meads, Buxton, Cardiff, Chester, Crewe, Hadfield, Hazel Grove, Huddersfield, Leeds, Levenshulme, Liverpool, Macclesfield, Manchester Airport, Marple, New Mills Central, Northwich, Nottingham, Preston, Rose Hill, Sheffield, Southport, St Helens Junction, Stockport, Stoke-on-Trent, Wigan and Wolverhampton.



Follow the steps or escalators down to connect with Metrolink trams to Altrincham, Bury, and Eccles including stops at Old Trafford for the football and cricket stadiums and Salford Quays for the War Museum and the Lowry.

Stores within the Piccadilly Station concourse presently include Body Shop, Boots, Burger King, Costa, KFC, Sainsbury's Local, Starbucks, Superdrug, Threshers, Tie Rack, Upper Crust, WH Smith and Yo Sushi.



Manchester attractions within easy reach of Piccadilly Station include the Canal Street Gay VillageKing Street, Chinatown, the Arndale Center, Urbis, the Royal Exchange Theatre, the Wheel of Manchester and Manchester Cathedral.

Manchester Piccadilly Station
Manchester
M1 2QF
Open 24/7,
Tel: 08457 11 41 41

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Piccadilly Station
Manchester

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Urinals

Gentleman's urinals in the UK come in all shapes and sizes.



The toilets shown in these pictures are of the stand and squirt variety with the third image showing a school toilet.



The bowl or panel is usually ceramic though stainless steel toilets are often installed in pubs and football stadiums.



Public toilets are normally free in the UK, though a small fee is often charged at large stations such as Piccadilly Station in Manchester and Euston Station in London.




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