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Sunday, July 31, 2011

George Eliot's House Cheyne Walk

The celebrated English novelist George Eliot (aka Mary Ann Evans) lived until her death in this house in Cheyne Walk in Chelsea, London.


Born in Warwickshire, Mary Ann Evans was the daughter of a farm manager. Though a voracious reader, Evans grew up with little formal education.

She moved to London aged 30 working as an editor of the The Westminster Review, after living in Coventry during her 20s, and it was her move to the capital and her controversial (for the time) relationship with the married George Henry Lewes that was the stimulus for the publication of her greatest works.


Under the male pen name of George Eliot, Evans was to author such famous Victorian novels as Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Middlemarch (1871–72), and Daniel Deronda (1876).


After the death of Lewes in 1878, Eliot married the American banker John Walter Cross, and following a honeymoon in Venice, the couple settled in Cheyne Walk in Chelsea. Eliot lived here until her death on 22 December 1880 aged 61. She is buried in Highgate Cemetery in North London.



The Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park is across the river from Chelsea.

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Albert Hall, opposite Hyde Park and the Albert Memorial in South Kensington, is famous for its staging of classical music concerts especially the annual summer BBC Proms.


Built to fulfill the vision of Prince Albert (Queen Victoria's husband & Prince Concert) as a multipurpose hall for music and the arts, the Royal Albert Hall opened in 1871. Built mainly in red brick, a mosaic frieze encircles the building proclaiming "The Triumph of Arts and Sciences."

As well as classical music, the Royal Albert Hall also hosts rock and pop concerts, ballet, tennis tournaments and graduation award ceremonies for the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London.




Other attractions in London near to the Royal Albert Hall include Hyde Park, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and Buckingham Palace.

Royal Albert Hall Proms


The nearest underground stations to the Royal Albert Hall are South Kensington, Knightsbridge, Gloucester Road and High Street Kensington. London buses that stop near the Royal Albert Hall include the numbers 9, 10, 52, 360 and 452.

Royal Albert Hall

Box Office
Tel: 0845 401 5045

Royal Albert Hall, London, UK


Royal Albert Hall Map

© 2011 Britain-Visitor.com

Friday, July 29, 2011

Samurai Sushi & Bento

Samurai Sushi & Bento is a chain of Japanese restaurants in London. A bento is a boxed lunch popular with business people and travellers in Japan.


Samurai Sushi & Bento also delivers platters of suhi for home and office parties. There are branches of Samurai Sushi & Bento in Baker Street, Holborn, Shaftesbury Avenue, London Wall and New Row.

Goodge Street is just off Tottenham Court Road close to the Post Office Tower, Regent's Park and UCL.


Samurai Sushi & Bento
1 Goodge Street
London
W1T 2PB
Tel: 0207 631 4858

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Willow Tea Rooms Glasgow

The historic Willow Tea Rooms in Glasgow date from 1904 and the building was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928), the famous Scottish architect, artist and sculptor.


As well as the tearooms at Sauchiehall Street, there is a Willow Tea Rooms at 97 Buchanan Street, which opened in 1997.

Mackintosh was an admirer of Japanese art and design, which can be seen in his sparse, clean design at the Willow Tea Rooms in Glasgow.

Willow Tea Rooms
217 Sauchiehall Street
Glasgow
Scotland
G2 3EX
Tel: 0141-332-0521

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dovecotes

A dovecote is a structure intended to house doves or pigeons. Dovecotes normally contain pigeonholes for the birds to nest. Historically, doves and pigeons were important sources of food in Western Europe, and they were also kept for their eggs and droppings.

In Medieval Europe, a dovecote was a symbol of status and power and was therefore regulated by law. Under this law, a special privilege known as droit de colombier was given to nobles. Many ancient manors in the UK and France still have a dovecote.

Dovecotes may have been introduced to Britain by the Romans, but it is believed that doves were not commonly kept in Britain until after the Norman invasion. The traditional view holds that dovecotes were introduced by the Normans. The earliest known examples of dove-keeping occur in Norman castles of the 12th century.

The photograph below shows a dovecote from Chastleton House in rural Gloucestshire.

Chastleton House

Another example of a dovecote can be seen at Lytes Cary Manor in Somerset (see below).

Lytes Cary Manor

© 2011 John Westby

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chudleigh Rocks Nursery

There is a beautiful garden centre at Chudleigh Rocks, just off the A38 and B3344 south of the village of Chudleigh in Devon.


Chudleigh Rocks is a favourite of local climbers with good climbs at Cow Cave and the Western Tower.

The Rock Gardens, located in the old Palace Quarry, offer some pleasant walks among the waterfalls, grottos, limestone caves and koi carp filled ponds, with views out over Dartmoor.



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Monday, July 25, 2011

Graveyard At Widecombe Church

Widecombe Church in Widecombe on Dartmoor is a beautiful church with an evocative graveyard.


The granite church has been undergoing major repair to its exterior and interior.



Widecombe-in-the-Moor
Newton Abbot
TQ13 7TF
Devon, England
Tel/Fax 01364 621 334

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

National Marine Aquarium Plymouth

The National Marine Aquarium Plymouth is the largest aquarium in the UK. The National Marine Aquarium is divided into four main zones: British Coasts, Plymouth Sound, Atlantic Ocean and Blue Planet.



The Atlantic Ocean zone has the biggest tank in the UK and holds 2.5 million litres of water, home to numerous sharks and jelly fish. The Blue Planet zone has fish, rays and turtles from Coral Reefs including the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.



There are various talks and shows for visitors to the aquarium throughout the day. The aquarium offers a cafe and a picnic area overlooking Plymouth Sound.

National Marine Aquarium
Rope Walk
Coxside
Plymouth
PL4 0LF
Tel: 0844 893 7938



Access

The National Marine Aquarium is close to Plymouth Station in the Coxside area of Plymouth. Visitors arriving by bus or train will receive a 10% reduction on production of their ticket.

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tower of Former Church of St Mary Dartington

Close to Dartington Hall is the Tower of Former Church of St Mary Dartington, built in the 13th century.


Only the tower, which is closed to the public, remains as the rest of the church was knocked down in 1878. The tower is surrounded by a number of grave stones.


In World War II the tower was used by the US army as a radio communications centre.


The top of the tower was probably added in the 15th century and when the body of the church was demolished in the 19th century some of the stone was used to build the new Church of St Mary, designed by J. L. Pearson, located 1200 metres to the west.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Sharpham Partnership Estate

The Sharpham Estate on the River Dart near Dartington Hall and south of Totnes is a 1000 year old farm of five hundred acres owned by the Sharpham Trust, producing its own fine wines and hand-made cheeses.


Since the 1980s the Sharpham Trust has been dedicated to producing organic wines and cheeses on its sheltered and fertile land. Visitors are welcome to walk a trail on the estate.



The house on the estate dates from 1770 and was designed by Sir Robert Taylor.

Sharpham
Sharpham is open daily from April until the end of September. Tours of the winery can be booked online. The Vineyard Cafe on the estate is also open April through November and provides alfresco dining with views of the River Dart.
Tel: 01803 732203


Access

At the Ashprington turn off exit the A381 Totnes to Kingsbridge road, then follow signs to "Sharpham Vineyard." In Ashprington village turn left at the War Memorial and continue up the slope.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle peers down on the city of Edinburgh from its perch on an extinct volcano. The history of Edinburgh Castle is bound up with the history of the Scottish nation and as such Edinburgh Castle is the most popular attraction in the country.



The earliest parts of Edinburgh Castle date from the 12th century with additions and renovations taking place right into the 20th century. Edinburgh Castle was the residence of Scottish monarchs until the Union with England in 1603, though by the 15th century Scotland's kings and queens preferred to lodge in other, more comfortable locations. Nowadays the castle remains a military fortress with a Scottish regiment in residence at all times.

Things for visitors to take in on a tour of Edinburgh Castle are the Esplanade - a parade ground used for the annual Edinburgh Tattoo in August, the National War Museum, St. Margaret's Chapel, Edinburgh's oldest building dating back to the time of King David I and the Stone of Destiny (Stone of Scone).


Other notable architectural points of interest at Edinburgh Castle are the Half Moon Battery, the Portcullis Gate and the Mill's Mount Battery, from where Edinburgh's one o'clock gun is fired.

Edinburgh Castle
Castlehill
Edinburgh
Midlothian
EH1 2NG
Scotland
Tel: 0131 225 9846

Opening times
Summer
9:30am - 6pm
1 Apr - 30 Sep
Winter
9:30am - 5pm
1 Oct - 31 Mar

Edinburgh Castle, Scotland.


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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Alfred Hitchcock's London Home

On a busy thoroughfare near Earl's Court is the row house (see below) where Sir Alfred Hitchcock lived from 1926 until 1939. Here he spent his formative London years before being discovered by Hollywood just prior to the start of World War II. Currently, Alfred Hitchcock's London home is just another slightly run-down building of rental flats known as The Turner House and identified by an English Heritage plaque.

Alfred Hitchcock's Home London

Alfred Hitchcock's London home is currently linked to the Independent Turner Society, a group of admirers of the 19th-century painter J.M.W. Turner. The fact that the society now meets in the building where the legendary director once lived is just a coincidence.

Alfred Hitchcock's Home London

Alfred Hitchcock's London home is sandwiched between The Derby Hotel and the Kensington Marriot Hotel at 153 Cromwell Road in London’s Earl's Court neighbourhood.

Alfred Hitchcock's London Home map

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sir John Soane's Museum

Sir John Soane (1753-1837) was a leading British architect and art collector of his day. Born in Goring, near London, the son of a bricklayer, Soane eventually came to study architecture at the Royal Academy, winning a scholarship which enabled him to travel and study in Italy.


Sir John Soane's most famous building was the Bank of England, where a statue of Soane can still be seen, though most of his work was demolished in the early 20th century.

The Sir John Soane's Museum in Lincoln's Inn Fields is a house built by Soane after he acquired numbers 12, 13 and 14 Lincoln's Inn Fields and extended his property to house his growing collection of art and antiquities.

The museum houses a research library containing Soane's collection of 30,000 drawings and 10,000 books as well as a small shop.

Other attractions in London close to Sir John Soane's Museum by tube, bus or on foot include the British Museum, Dr. Johnson's House, the Post Office Tower, Russell Square, St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben or farther afield Buckingham Palace.

The nearest underground station to the Sir John Soane's Museum is Holborn on the Piccadilly and Central lines.

Sir John Soane's Museum
13 Lincoln's Inn Fields
London WC2A 3BP

Tel: 020 7405 2107

Sir John Soane’s Museum is open Tuesday - Saturday, 10-5pm; admission is free.

Sir John Soane's Museum Map

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Anniversary of Jane Austen's Death

Yesterday was the 194th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen, the great English novelist, who lived the last six weeks of her life in the town of Winchester. She died of an unknown illness in the terraced house below on the 17th of July, 1817. Austen is buried in nearby Winchester Cathedral.

Jane Austen

Jane Austen's House in Winchester is currently privately owned and not open to visitors. A plaque marks the spot.

Jane Austen home

Jane Austen's House in Winchester is situated on College Street near the medieval Kingsgate. Winchester is around 2 hours drive from Bath. A visit to Stonehenge can be combined with seeing Winchester in the same day.

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Temperate House Kew Gardens

The Temperate House in Kew Gardens, south west London, was opened in 1863 but not fully completed for another 40 years. The largest Victorian glasshouse in the world, the Temperate House in Kew Gardens was designed by Decimus Burton (1800-1881).

Temperate House in Kew Gardens, London

The Temperate House displays African plants, plants from Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the Pacific. Temperature is kept to a minimum 10°C all year round by a boiler.

The 50m-tall Chinese Pagoda, designed by Sir William Chambers, can be seen in the background (left).

Access

Royal Botanic Gardens
Kew
Richmond
Surrey TW9 3AB

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.

Kew opens at 9.30am daily except 24-25 December.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Greyfriars Bobby Edinburgh

The statue of Greyfriars Bobby (below) stands outside Bobby's Bar near the main entrance to Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh, where the loyal dog's owner, John Gray is buried.

The story of Greyfriars Bobby is well known in Edinburgh. The Skye Terrier spent time at the grave of his owner, a police night-watchman from 1858 until his own death in 1872.


The granite statue was designed by William Brodie in 1872 as a drinking fountain for both humans and dogs and was financed by Baroness Burdett-Coutts, a local bigwig. The statue of Bobby has been restored over the years after it was covered in paint in 1979 and later hit by a car in 1984.

Bobby's loyalty has inspired a number of books and films.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Teignmouth Pier & Beach

Teignmouth Beach is the nearest seaside town for people living in Newton Abbot, just a short drive away. Teignmouth is also on the bus route from Exeter to Torquay on the number #85 as well as on the London-Penzance rail line.

Teignmouth Pier is the main attraction in town and looks colourful in the late afternoon light.




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



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



The Pier
Teignmouth
Devon
TQ14 8BB
Tel: 01626 774367

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Bath Weirs

A weir is a small overflow dam which changes the flow characteristics of a river.

Bath Waterway, south west England


Normally, weirs consist of a barrier across the river that causes water to pool behind the weir but allows water to flow over the top. Weirs are commonly used to prevent flooding and to help make a river navigable.

The Pulteney Weir in Bath (see below) is located in the centre of Bath and serves as a starting point for boating services such as the Pulteney Cruisers.

Pulteney Weir

Upstream from Pulteney Weir is the Bathampton Weir (see below).

Bathampton Weir

Visitors to Pulteney Weir may want to take in the sights of central Bath including the Roman Baths, Bath Abbey, or Sally Lunn's.

Pulteney Weir map

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bath Boating Station

The Bath Boating Station (see below) is located along a navigable section of the River Avon. Visitors can rent wooden boats which they can then propel upstream as far as the Bathampton Weir and/or downstream as far as the Pulteney Bridge. Three types of boats are available to rent at the Bath Boating Station: skiffs, punts and canoes.

Bath Boating Station

Self-catering accommodation can also be arranged at the Bath Boating Station. This accommodation overlooks the River Avon, but it still lies within easy reach of Bath city centre. Access to the Bath Boating Station from Bath's city centre is possible on foot, by bus, by car or via one of the riverboats which stop at the Bath Boating Station.

Bath Boating Station

The opening hours are everyday from 10am to 6pm between Easter and the end of September. Prices (in 2010) are per person, and for adults are:
£7.00 for the first hour,
£3.00 for each additional hour, and
£16.00 for the full day.
The prices for children are:
£3.50 for the first hour,
£1.50 for each additional hour, and
£ 8.00 for the full day.
Visitors to the Bath Boating Station may also want to relax and enjoy a cruise on one of the Pulteney Cruisers which are located nearby.

Forester Road
Bathwick
Bath
BA2 6QE
Tel: 01225 312900

Bath Boating Station map

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Trago Mills Themed Gardens

The themed gardens at Trago Mills store and leisure park in Newton Abbot are one of the main attractions for shoppers and visitors alike.



The new themed gardens include: an Alpine pass, an Oriental garden, a Devon thatched country cottage, a Cornish seaside garden, a classical garden complete with columns and grottoes, a low maintenance garden, an environmental garden, and a railway cottage. In addition visitors can wander a canal street and a wildlife pond area.





Trago Mills
Liverton Newton Abbot
Devon TQ12 6JD
Telephone 01626 821111

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Dartington Hall

Dartington Hall, just north of Totnes, is a progressive arts and education centre first established in 1935 by the American millionaire Dorothy Elmhirst and her husband Leonard Elmhirst through the registered charity The Dartington Hall Trust.



The Elmhirsts purchased the virtually derelict 14th century manor house, which was first built for the half-brother of King Richard II, in 1925 and used it as a base for their ideas on rural regeneration, education and the arts.



The Elmhirst's experiment, based on the work of Rabindranath Tagore in India, attracted help and support from many prominent people over time including Aldous Huxley, Jacqueline du Pré, Helena Norberg-Hodge, Igor Stravinsky, Benjamin Britten, T E Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia), Bernard Leach, Walter Gropius, George Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russell and HG Wells to name but a few.

The Dartington Hall Trust now encompasses the International Summer School of music, Research in Practice, Schumacher College (promoting sustainable living), The Arts at Dartington, the Devon School for Social Entrepreneurs and the Cider Press Centre promoting local crafts and products.



Dartington Hall also serves as a conference centre and wedding venue with the acclaimed White Hart Bar and Restaurant on the premises along with a range of bed & breakfast accommodation available.

The beautiful estate gardens include a tiltyard (an area for jousting) and sculptures by Henry Moore, Willi Soukop and Peter Randall-Page.



The progressive Dartington Hall School was also located on the estate from 1926 until its closure in 1987.

The Dartington Hall Trust
The Elmhirst Centre
Dartington Hall
Totnes
Devon TQ9 6EL
Tel: 01803 847000

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