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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Travelodge Hotels

Travelodge Hotels Limited is a privately operated hotel chain with locations throughout the United Kingdom. Known simply as "Travelodge", it is the second largest budget hotel chain in the UK (Premier Inn is number one). Moreover, Travelodge is the third biggest hotel chain in the UK by number of rooms with 31,600 at the end of 2010.

Travelodge UK, Bath, England

The Travelodge Bath Waterside Hotel pictured above is one of two locations in central Bath. The other is the Travelodge Bath Central Hotel. Located within a mile of Bath bus station and Bath Spa train station, the Travelodge Bath Waterside Hotel offers a less expensive but convenient alternative to lodging in Bath. Nearby attractions include the Bath locks on the Kennet and Avon canal, Pulteney Bridge and Bath Abbey.

Travelodge Bath Waterside Hotel
Rossiter Road
Widcombe Basin
Bath
BA2 4JP
Tel: 0871 984 6407
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Monday, December 22, 2014

Chester Town Hall

Chester Town Hall in Northgate Street opposite Chester Cathedral in the centre of Chester, Cheshire, was completed in 1869.

Chester Town Hall, Cheshire, UK.

Chester Town Hall is constructed in sandstone in the Gothic Revival style of architecture. The building is modelled on the design of the Cloth Hall in Ypres, Belgium. The distinctive central tower has a height of 49m.

Like many provincial town halls across the UK, various rooms are available for hire for such functions as weddings.

Most of the administrative duties of Chester's town hall are now carried on in a modern building opposite Chester Castle.

Chester Town Hall, Cheshire, Britain.


Other attractions to see in Chester include the Roman Amphitheater, the Roman Gardens, Grosvenor Park, the River Dee, St John's Church, the Meadows, and the Rows.

Chester's pubs and cafes include the riverside Boathouse, Ye Olde King's Head and the Victoria at the Cross.

Chester Town Hall
Northgate Street
Chester, CH1 2HJ
Tel: 01244 977703

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Canterbury Cathedral

Canterbury Cathedral is the most famous attraction in Canterbury and has given the city much of its identity over the centuries since a church was first constructed here way back in 602, at the beginning of Saxon England's conversion to Christianity by Augustine.

Nowadays Canterbury Cathedral is the cathedral of the Archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the Church of England and Anglicans worldwide.

Canterbury Cathedral forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site comprising the cathedral along with St Augustine's Abbey and St Martin's Church.

Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, Kent, UK.

In 1070, the first Norman archbishop Lanfranc demolished the original Saxon structure, which had been damaged in a fire and began the building that we now see as Canterbury Cathedral. Little remains of these early Norman structures except for the Romanesque Crypt, which is the oldest of its kind in England, and was begun under an archbishop named Anselm.

Canterbury Cathedral has been much modified and enlarged over the following centuries and includes the 71m-tall Bell Harry Tower (the present central tower) that was completed in 1505, the spectacular Gothic Nave and St. Anselm's Chapel.

Altar of the Sword's Point, Canterbury Cathedral, Kent.


The spectacular interior of Canterbury Cathedral includes the tomb of King Henry IV and his wife Joan of Navarre and a gilded effigy of the Black Prince, the son of Edward III and one of the most famous of English warrior princes of the medieval period.

Also impressive are the stained glass in the Trinity Chapel which depict the life of Thomas a Becket.

Notice the white marble St. Augustine's Chair where archbishops of Canterbury are enthroned.

Tomb of the Black Prince, Canterbury Cathedral, Kent.

Canterbury Cathedral is deeply associated with the murder of Thomas a Becket within its walls in 1170. Beckett's shrine stood within the Trinity Chapel until 1538, when it was looted and destroyed during Henry VIII's Reformation.

Now Becket's martyrdom is marked by the Altar of the Sword's Point at the very spot the "troublesome priest" was murdered by knights of Henry II.

As Becket's tomb became a place of pilgrimage immortalized in Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, drawing pilgrims from all over Britain and Europe, the cathedral and surrounding town became increasingly wealthy and had the funds to expand and beautify the church.

The fascinating Canterbury Tales museum in Canterbury is a recreation of medieval life celebrating Chaucer's masterpiece.

Canterbury Cathedral stained glass window.

Canterbury Cathedral
11 The Precincts
Canterbury
Kent CT1 2EH
Tel: 01227 762862

Visitors to Canterbury should also visit the nearby Canterbury Heritage Museum and the Roman Museum Canterbury.

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Hebridean Cuisine

Hebridean food has much in common with the cuisine of the Shetland Islands.

Hebridean Cuisine.



The Outer Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland, are known for their high-quality fish and seafood especially crabs, lobsters, mussels, oysters, salmon and scallops.

Smoked fish is another treat from the Hebrides and there are smokehouses in Stornoway and on North Uist and South Uist.

Stornoway Black Pudding is a local specialty that visitors should be encouraged to try. Local butchers add a local twist to their puddings make the taste unique to the locality.

Hebridean lamb and cattle are raised on both grass and heather which gives the meat a lovely taste.

Hebridean Cuisine.


Famed desserts from the islands include Scottish tablets and delicious shortbreads. Luxury chocolate truffles are sold across the Hebrides direct from Stornoway's very own chocolate factory - Hebridean Chocolates - while the Hebridean Toffee Company based on the Isle of Barra produces homemade luxury confectionery sold across the islands and in the shops of Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The Outer Hebrides has its own beer brewed in Stornoway at the Hebridean Brewery and for whisky try a dram from the new Abhainn Dearg distillery in Uig, on the Isle of Lewis.

Spirit of Lewis, Hebrides.

Spirit of Lewis is single malt spirit from the distillery but is aged for less than 3 years so is legally not a whisky.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Cumberland Pencil Museum

The Cumberland Pencil Museum in Keswick in the Lake District is one of England's quirkier museums.

Cumberland Pencil Museum, Lake District, UK.


The discovery of graphite in the area led to Keswick becoming an important pencil-making town and the Cumberland Pencil Museum tells this story. Pencils have been made in the area since 1832 producing such famous brands as Lakeland pencils and Derwent Watercolour pencils.

The Cumberland Pencil Museum hosts regular free demonstrations & tuition workshops as well as family fun days, which are great for kids, especially at this time of year when children can draw, create and build their own Christmas presents.

The museum has a shop where you can buy pencils and pastels and also a coffee shop to relax.

Cumberland Pencil Museum.


Cumberland Pencil Museum
Southey Works
Keswick
Cumbria
CA12 5NG

Access

From the M6 motorway, Junction 40 follow signs for A66 Keswick and continue into the town centre. The nearest railway station is Penrith, 17 miles away. From Penrith it is a 40 minute bus ride to Keswick.

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Cerne Abbas Giant Dorset

Dorchester is close to two historic sites, Maiden Castle to the south of town and Cerne Abbas to the north.

The origins of Maiden Castle are thought to be prehistoric, but the Cerne Abbas Giant is believed by archaeologists and historians to be either pre-Roman or Romano-British, though the first mention of it is only in the late 17th century.

Cerne Abbas Giant Dorset, England.
The Cerne Giant is on the left

The Cerne Abbas Giant is a hill-figure carved into the chalk hill with the 2-foot trenches also filled with crushed chalk.

The priapic figure is 180 feet tall, brandishes a club and has a disproportionately small head. The club has led to the comparisons with the Greco-Roman god Hercules.

The figure seems connected with local fertility rites and it was thought that women lying on the aroused, 36-foot member of the figure would increase their chances of giving birth, though this practice is now discouraged by the new owners, The National Trust.

Cerne Abbas Giant Dorset.


The Cerne Giant is close to the charming village of Cerne Abbas, off the A352 Dorchester-Sherbourne road, with its Tudor cottages and ruined abbey

By public transport there are Damory Coaches 216 buses from both Dorchester and Sherbourne to Cerne Abbas on weekdays. Maiden Newton train station is 6 miles distant, while Dorchester West train station and Dorchester South stations are both 8 miles away.

Cerne Giant (National Trust)
Cerne Abbas, Dorset, DT2 7AL
OS Grid Ref: ST666016

Cerne Abbas, Dorset, UK.


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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Bus from Heathrow Airport to Bath

National Express runs express buses from Heathrow Airport to various parts of the country including Bath. An alternative way to reach Bath from Heathrow is to take the Heathrow Express train to Paddington Station and then train to Bath Spa.

national express coach, heathrow airport

Taking a National Express coach to Bath, however, avoids having to journey back into central London and then out west again. The service between Heathrow and Bath takes about 2 hours and is reasonably priced (around ₤30 return for an advance fare booked online). Amendable fares are slightly more expensive.

There are presently services leaving Heathrow at 8.20am, 10.24am, 1.10pm, 3.15pm and 6.25pm.
Some of the scheduled departures would involve a change of bus and a wait in Bristol adding up to a journey time of nearly 4 hours. Check for the direct services which take 2 hours for the fastest service.

national express coach, heathrow airport, london, uk

National Express tickets are available in a variety of ways and different pricing schemes. Booking on line at www.nationalexpress.com is easy. Traditionally, however, tickets are sold through National Express ticket offices located at coach stations, or by third-party agents including travel agents around the country. In general, tickets are sold at the 'Standard Fare' or at 'Advance Fares' when booking in advance.

Customers looking for a discount may want to consider a coachcard. National Express currently offers four different coachcards. These include:
the Young Person Coachcard – for those under 26 or full-time students of any age. This card allows for one-third off the standard fare;
the Family Coachcard – which enables one child (ages 3–15) to travel for free with one full fare paying adult (or 2 children with 2 adults);
the Senior Coachcard – which allows for one-third off the standard fare;
and the Disabled Coachcard – which also allows for one-third off the standard fare.

Buses from Heathrow Airport arrive at Bath Bus Station.

www.nationalexpress.com

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Republican Murals in Belfast

The murals in Belfast and (London)Derry are now as much of the tourist scene in Northern Ireland as the Giant's Causeway. Taxi tours of the best murals out of the 300 or so "quality" murals can be arranged by taxi. Check with the local tourist office for the best deals.

Republican Murals in Belfast, Northern Ireland.


Many of Northern Ireland's murals reflect the religious and political divide in the country during the so-called Troubles of the late 1960's to the 1990's.

Not all murals however are political or religious in design and can portray other topics such as social causes, sports and even humour.

Republican Murals in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK.


Murals reflect the shared values and beliefs of the communities where they were painted and are mostly found in working class areas. They are often found on the end walls of terraced houses.

Republican Murals in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Britain.


Various books on the subject of murals in Northern Ireland include Politics and Painting: Murals and Conflict in Northern Ireland, Murals of Derry and Drawing Support 4.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sydney Gardens in Bath

Bath's oldest park, Sydney Gardens, is located behind the Holburne Museum at the end of Great Pulteney Street. Sydney Gardens was designed by the architect Harcourt Masters in 1795 and covers 12 acres. The gardens were purchased in 1909 by the city.

Sydney Gardens, Bath, England

Sydney Gardens became very popular towards the end of the 18th and 19th century and was frequented by members of the Royal family as well as the famous author Jane Austen who lived nearby at number 4 Sydney Place.

Sydney Gardens sign, Bath, England

Today, Sydney Gardens features fine trees, shrubberies, lawns and flower beds, tennis courts and a children's play area. Sydney Gardens is also popular for its bridge views of the railway line and for the Kennet and Avon Canal which runs through the park. The canal's wide paths are ideal for cycling or canal walking.
 
Cast Iron Bridges, Sydney Gardens, Canal

Visitors to Sydney Gardens can admire Cleveland House which is located within the gardens as well as nearby Pulteney Bridge and Henrietta Park.

Sydney Gardens
Sydney Road
Bath, North East Somerset
BA2 6NT
Tel: 01225 394041

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Leicester Jain Temple

The Jain Temple in Leicester in the English Midlands region was the first Jain temple built in the west and was completed in 1988. The site was a former church on Oxford Street in the city.

Leicester Jain Temple.

Jainism originated in India and is one of the world's oldest religions. "Jina" means victory over the self. Jains believe that nonviolence and self-control are the means by which they can obtain liberation from the karmic cycle. Vegetarianism and non-violence are cornerstones of Jainism.

There are estimated to be over 1,000 practicing Jains in the city of Leicester.

Leicester Jain Temple.

Jain Samaj Europe
Jain Centre
32, Oxford Street
Leicester
LE1 5XU
England, UK
Tel: +44 (0)116 254 1150

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Royal Armouries Leeds

The Royal Armouries in Leeds hosts the national collection of arms and armour and is part of the Royal Armouries museums, which includes the Tower of London and Fort Nelson in Hampshire.

Royal Armouries Leeds.


The collection was moved from the Tower of London to the new building which opened in Clarence Dock in 1996.

Among the themed galleries are exhibits of arms from ancient to modern times, exhibits of arms and armour used in jousting as well as galleries dedicated to hunting, oriental arms and armour, self-defence and peace - a look at a future world without weapons.

The Arena, along the River Aire, puts on occasional jousts and other demonstrations of military skills.

Royal Armouries Leeds


Royal Armouries
Armouries Drive
Leeds LS10 1LT
Hours: 10am-5pm
Tel: 0113 220 1999
Admission: Free

The museum is a 20 minute walk from Leeds Railway Station or can be reached by bus.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Dove Cottage

A must-see attraction in the Lake District especially for poetry fans is William Wordsworth's Dove Cottage, where he wrote his classic "I wandered Lonely as a Cloud."

Dove Cottage, near Grasmere, Lake District.


This quaint whitewashed house near Grasmere was Wordsworth's first home in the Lake District, where he stayed between 1799 and 1808.

Dove Cottage is now owned by the Wordsworth Trust, the cottage is full of Wordsworth memorabilia, including the poet's ice-skates, his passport, a pair of his reading glasses and a portrait of one of his favourite dogs, Pepper, given to him as a present by Sir Walter Scott. Also on display is the Grasmere Journal, written by his sister, Dorothy, with whom he lived, wrote and gardened in the cottage.

Dove Cottage
Grasmere, Cumbria
LA22 9S
Tel: 015394 35544

Access
Dove Cottage is on the A591, the main Kendal–Keswick road through the middle of the Lake District.

Driving from the south, exit the M6 motorway at junction 36 and follow the signs for Kendal, Windermere and Ambleside.
From the north, exit the M6 at junction 40 and follow the signs first to Keswick, then to Grasmere/Ambleside.

The nearest train station is Windemere 8 miles away. There are buses running past Dove Cottage from the station: #555 or #599.

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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Cleveland House in Bath

The Bath Locks are a series of locks situated on the Kennet and Avon Canal in Bath, England.

Bath Locks

Above the top lock, the Kennet and Avon canal passes through Sydney Gardens where it passes through two tunnels and under two cast iron footbridges. Cleveland tunnel, which is 173 feet long, runs under Cleveland House. A trap-door in the tunnel roof was employed to exchange paperwork between clerks above and barges below. Cleveland House (formerly called "Canal House") was until 1864 the headquarters of the Kennet and Avon Canal Company. Cleveland House was built between 1817-20 by John Pinch. Cleveland House is now occupied by offices and is a grade II listed building.

Cleveland House, Bath, UK


Nearby cast iron bridges in Sydney Gardens date from 1800.

cast iron bridge, sydney gardens, bath England

Visitors to Cleveland House should take in the nearby Holburne Museum of Art as well as Jane Austen's former residence at 4 Sydney Place.

Cleveland House
Sham Castle Lane
Bath
BA2 6NU


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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Belfast Central Station

Belfast Central Station in Belfast, Northern Ireland is the city's main railway station.

Belfast Central Station was last refurbished in 2003.

Belfast Central Station


Regular Enterprise trains from Belfast Central Station run to Dublin in the Republic of Ireland.

There are also trains operated by Northern Ireland Railways to Bangor, Carrickfergus, Derry, Larne, Newry and Portadown.

Belfast Central Station, Northern Ireland

Belfast Central Station is one of the four railway stations in Belfast. The other three stations are: City Hospital, Great Victoria Street and Botanic.

Great Victoria Street Station is nearer to Belfast city center than Belfast Central. Your train ticket can be used for a free ride into town on any Metro bus.

Belfast Central Station

Belfast Central Station
East Bridge Street
Belfast
Translink

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Platform Morecambe

The Platform in Morecambe is a restored Edwardian train station on Morecambe promenade and the northern seaside town's main event space.

The Platform Morecambe, UK


Now owned by Lancaster council, the Platform hosts a variety of events throughout the year including comedy, cabaret, music concerts and dance.

The Platform also houses the Morecambe Visitor Information Centre, The Station pub and a children's play area.

The Platform puts on regular workshops and lectures.

Platform Morecambe
Old Station Buildings
Marine Rd Central
Morecambe LA4 4DB
Tel: 01524 582 803
Google map

The Platform Morecambe, UK

The Platform is within easy walking distance of Morecambe railway station, the statue of comedian Eric Morecambe, unveiled by the Queen in 1999 and Morecambe Leisure Park. The The Midland Hotel is also right on the doorstep, if you wish to stay close to the venue.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Crown Liquor Saloon

The Crown Liquor Saloon in Belfast, Northern Ireland, is one of Belfast's most historic drinking places and a tourist attraction in its own right due to its fantastic external architecture and unique internal decoration.

The Crown Liquor Saloon, Belfast, NI


The Crown Liquor Saloon dates from the 1880's and the exterior tiling and interior wooden snugs and stained glass are testament to the "overtime" of Italian craftsmen, whom the then owner Michael Flanagan paid to work on his pub after their day shift labouring on a number of churches in the city at the time.

The Crown Liquor Saloon is a superb example of a Victorian gin palace and well worth seeking out at lunch time or in the evening for a drink or something to eat.

The historic bar was purchased by the National Trust in 1978 after pressure by such luminaries as the poet Sir John Betjeman to preserve it and the Crown Liquor Saloon was further refurbished in 2007.

The Crown Liquor Saloon, Belfast, NI


The bar is now run by Nicholson's, who provide a wide range of cask ales and delicious Irish food including pork and black-pudding sausages and rare roast beef and mushroom salad.

The Crown Liquor Saloon
46 Great Victoria Street
Belfast
County Antrim
BT2 7BA
Tel: 028 9024 3187

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Murals in Northern Ireland

The over 300 "quality" murals in Belfast and other towns in Northern Ireland, such as Derry, have recently become a new tourist attraction.

Ulster Freedom Fighters mural in Northern Ireland


Many of them depict support for both sides of the religious and political divide in Northern Ireland during the so-called Troubles of the late 1960's to the 1990's.

However other murals are dedicated to Trade Unions, football and footballers such as George Best and Jimmy "Jinky" Johnstone and more recently murals depicting social harmony, which aim to portray a different image of Northern Ireland, apart from the earlier "bombs and bullets" of the violent and deadly paramilitary struggle.

Red Hand Commando mural in Northern Ireland


Murals reflect the shared values and beliefs of the communities where they were painted and are mostly found in working class areas. They are often found on the end walls of terraced houses.

Unionist mural in Northern Ireland


Nowadays, a number of taxi companies in Belfast arrange guided tours of the murals and there are also a number of tribute websites to Northern Ireland's murals on the Internet.

Various books on the subject include Politics and Painting: Murals and Conflict in Northern Ireland, Murals of Derry and Drawing Support 4.

Football mural in Northern Ireland


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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Scarborough Spa Complex

Scarborough's history as a tourist resort dates back to the discovery of spa waters way back in the 17th century at South Bay.

Scarborough Spa Complex, Yorkshire


People began to come in numbers to take the waters in what was to become Britain's first seaside resort. In 1873, Britain's first funicular railway was built to bring visitors from South Cliff Esplanade to the Scarborough Spa.

The waters were declared unsafe in the 1930's but visitors continued to come for the entertainment on offer at the Scarborough Spa

The Scarborough Spa Complex visitors see today dates back to the 1880's and includes the Spa Theatre, the Grand Hall concert hall, the Promenade Lounge and the the Ocean Room.

Scarborough Spa Complex

The Scarborough Spa Complex now hosts jazz and classical music concerts, conferences, theatrical shows, dances and wedding receptions and also brings people to enjoy the bars, cafes and relaxing views.


The Spa
South Bay
Scarborough
North Yorkshire
YO11 2HD
Tel: 01723 82 1888

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Britannia Grand Hotel Scarborough

The Britannia Grand Hotel Scarborough is one of the best hotels in Scarborough.

Britannia Grand Hotel Scarborough


The Britannia Grand Hotel Scarborough is part of the Britannia Hotels chain with 47 hotels across the UK.

The Victorian era hotel, now a Grade II listed building, was built in 1863 around a theme of time, hence there were originally 365 bedrooms, four towers representing the four seasons, 12 floors for the months of the year and 52 chimneys for the weeks.

Britannia Grand Hotel Scarborough


The V-shape of the hotel honours Queen Victoria.

Britannia Grand Hotel Scarborough
St Nicholas Cliff
Scarborough
YO11 2ET

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Heathrow Terminals 1 2 3

For many visitors to London and Britain, Heathrow Terminals 1, 2, 3 Station will be the first time they ride the London Underground (Tube) into central London.

Heathrow Terminals 1 2 3


This is the station to buy your Oyster Card for travel on London's buses, tube and overground network during your stay in the English capital.

Heathrow Terminals 1, 2, 3 Station is on the Piccadilly Line of the London Underground in Travelcard Zone 6.

The station opened as Heathrow Central in 1977, but was later renamed with the opening of Heathrow Terminal 4 and Heathrow Terminal 5 stations.

The next station heading west into central London from Heathrow Terminals 1, 2, 3 Station is Hatton Cross which is above ground.

Heathrow Terminals 1 2 3, London, Piccadilly Line


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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tyne Bridge Newcastle

The Tyne Bridge is an icon of the city of Newcastle and is an arch bridge across the River Tyne linking Newcastle with Gateshead.

Tyne Bridge Newcastle

The Tyne Bridge opened in 1928 and has a span of 162 metres. The road is 26m above the level of the river. The towers at either end of the bridge are made of Cornish granite and were originally designed as warehouses.

Other bridges over the Tyne nearby include the Swing Bridge and the High Level Bridge.

Tyne Bridge Newcastle

The historic road and railway High Level Bridge was designed by Robert Stephenson, the son of George Stephenson and constructed between 1847 and 1849.

The Swing Bridge was the largest swing bridge ever built when it opened in 1876. Now the bridge can be turned by electric power rather than the original hydraulics. The swing bridge is said to stand on the site of the Roman Pons Aelius, the first bridge to span the Tyne.

Altogether seven bridges span the River Tyne.

Tyne Bridge Newcastle


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