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Friday, December 2, 2016

Deansgate Station Manchester

Deansgate Station in Manchester is on both the Manchester to Preston and Manchester to Liverpool lines. The adjacent Deansgate-Castlefield Station, connected by footbridge, is on the Manchester metrolink.

Deansgate Station Manchester, UK.

The original Knott Mill & Deansgate Station on this site opened way back in 1849.

Trains from Deansgate run to Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport.

Trains also run south to Buxton, Stoke-on-Trent and Macclesfield. Eastbound services are to Liverpool Lime Street, Southport Station, Preston and Blackpool North.

Deansgate Station, Manchester, UK.

Nearby is the Manchester Central Convention Complex, formerly the G-Mex, the reconstructed Mamucium Roman Fort and Beetham Tower.

Deansgate Station Manchester UK.

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Manchester Tennis & Football Centre

The Manchester Tennis & Football Centre is part of the Sportcity development that includes Manchester City's Etihad Stadium, the National Cycling Centre, Manchester Regional Arena and the National Squash Centre that were all originally constructed for the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

Manchester Tennis & Football Centre, UK.

The Manchester Tennis & Football Centre includes six indoor tennis courts, six outdoor courts and three all-weather 5-a-side football pitches. The outdoor courts are fully floodlit to LTA standards.

All the facilities can be booked by members of the public. See the website below for further details.

The nearest public transport is available from Etihad Campus Station on the Manchester metrolink. Alternatively take bus 216 from Piccadilly Gardens.

Manchester Tennis & Football Centre, Manchester, UK.

Manchester Tennis & Football Centre
Sportcity, Gate 13, Rowsley Street
Manchester M11 3FF
Tel: 0161 220 3840
Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-10pm; Saturday-Sunday 9am-6pm

Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

London Troxy

The Troxy is a historic Art Deco cinema-come-music venue in East London.

It originally opened in 1933 as 3520-seater cinema on the site of what was previously a brewery. Being such a grand and decorative building, it cost £250,000 to build and took several years to complete.
London Troxy.
When it opened it was the largest cinema in England, and going to see a film at Troxy was considered to be a very special event. The venue was equipped with a revolving stage, mirror-lined seating areas and glamorous chandeliers. The female staff would wear evening dresses and perfume would be sprayed during film screenings to add to the atmosphere.

London Troxy.
The Troxy closed as a cinema in 1960, partly due to the damage that London's East End suffered during the Blitz, which had a big impact on Troxy's audiences. The last film shown there in 1960 was "The Siege of Sydney Street".

It reopened in 1963 and became the home to the London Opera Centre. It then became Mecca Bingo in the 1980s, but then the company decided to go online in 2005, forcing the Troxy to close once again.

The venue was reopened again in 2006 and has stayed open since, hosting a huge variety of events ranging from film screenings, gigs and prestigious award ceremonies.

London Troxy.
One of the principal attractions of the Troxy now is it's Wurlitzer Organ, which is the largest in the world, with 1,728 pipes which are housed in four separate rooms. The Organ was originally at the London Trocadero until it was bought by the Cinema Organ Society in 1960. It was announced that it would be returned to the Troxy in 2009.

London Troxy.
The Troxy is now considered to be one of the most diverse venues in the UK.

490 Commercial Road
London, E1 0HX
Tel: 0207 790 9000

Troxy is a 3-minute walk from Limehouse Station on the DLR. Buses that pass close by to Troxy include the 15, 115, 135, D3, N15, N550 and N551.

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Outsider Tart Chiswick

Outsider Tart is an American style Coffee Shop, Bakery and Brunch Spot located on Chiswick High Road, London, W4. It is a new addition to the High Road and has filled a gap in it's market, as it offers homemade, authentic American treats that can be difficult to find in London.

Outsider Tart Chiswick, London.

It was opened by a pair of New Yorkers, both called David, who moved to London and found that the classic American baked goods they'd grown up with in The States were really hard to come by over here.

As soon as you walk in you're met by a very long table with a huge selection of divine-looking cakes, brownies, sausage rolls and other amazing treats. None of the cakes are labelled, so the baristas will give you brief explanation of each and every cake if you're not prepared to try an unknown cake.

Outsider Tart Chiswick, London.
Outsider Tart boasts some of the best cakes and comfort food in West London, as well as a 'Barkery' which has a huge selection of gourmet dog treats.

As well as being a bakery and perfect place for brunch, Outsider Tart also acts as an American supermarket, stocking a great variety of American breakfast cereals, an array of maple syrups, root beers, marshmallow fluff, peanut butter and other treats from across the pond.

Outsider Tart Chiswick, London.
Since it's opening it's been a roaring success and is continuing to do well. Anyone who finds themselves in West London looking for somewhere to eat, this is the perfect spot.

Outsider Tart Chiswick, London,
Outsider Tart
83 Chiswick High Road
London W4 2EF
Tel: 020 7096 1609

The nearest tube station to Outsider Tart is Turnham Green.

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Friday, November 11, 2016

Underbank Hall

Underbank Hall dates back to the 15th century and was formerly the home of the Arden family of Bredbury until 1823 when it was sold by William Arden, 2nd Baron Alvanley to pay off his debts.

Underbank Hall, Stockport.

The building subsequently became a bank and it still serves today that purpose as the Stockport branch of NatWest.

Underbank Hall, Stockport, Cheshire, UK.

NatWest Bank
10 Great Underbank
Stockport SK1 1LL

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

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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Arbury Hall

Arbury Hall is a beautiful Elizabethan house, built on the site of a 12th century Augustinian Priory.

It has been the home of the Newdegate family for over 400 years. Arbury Hall was transformed by Sir Roger Newdigate (1719-1806) in the 18th century to become the finest example of Gothic Revival architecture in the country.

Arbury Hall.

Arbury Hall is set within 100 acres of lakes and parkland with 20 acres of formal gardens. The house and gardens have literary connections with George Eliot, the author of such English classics as Middlemarch and Mill on the Floss.

Her father was employed as the agent of the estate and Mary Ann Evans (aka George Eliot) was born here in 1819. In her first novel, Scenes from Clerical Life, Arbury Hall becomes Cheverel Manor, and its benevolent and reforming owner, Sir Roger Newdigate, Sir Christopher Cheverel.

Sir Roger Newdigate in the Library at Arbury by Arthur Devis.

Arbury Hall
Arbury Hall, Arbury Park, Nuneaton, Warwickshire CV10 7PT
Tel: 02476 382 804

Hours: Arbury Hall and Gardens are open to the public only on Bank Holiday Sundays and Mondays from April to August.

Arbury Hall, Warwickshire, UK.

Access: Take Junction 3 northbound on the A444 towards Nuneaton from the M6. Then take the B4112 Heath End Road and follow the signs for Arbury Hall.

Arbury Hall can be rented for private functions such as weddings and corporate events.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

New Islington Manchester

New Islington is a stop on the Manchester Metrolink just outside the city centre of Manchester within easy walking distance of the Northern Quarter and just one stop from Piccadilly Station.

New Islington Manchester UK.

The area has been considerably redeveloped as part of the attempted regeneration of inner city Manchester. Formerly the Cardroom Estate, part of Ancoats, the area was previously an industrial zone of mills located along the Ashton Canal and Rochdale Canal. The name "New Islington" was chosen by local residents as part of this regeneration led by the developers Urban Splash.

New Islington Manchester UK.

Chips is a modernist residential apartment building very much at the centre of the area's redevelopment. The brightly-colored wavy building was designed by architect Will Alsop and is called "Chips" as it looks like three, square cut chips balancing on one another.

New Islington Manchester UK.

Murray Mills, which was one of the first steam-powered cotton spinning factories in the world when it opened in 1804, and once employed over 1200 workers. Now parts of the original brick mill are being preserved and converted into over 120 one, two and three bedroom apartments.

New Islington Manchester UK.

Other developments include the Ice plant, previously an ice storage warehouse and Cutting Room Square.

Buses 216 and 231 run from Piccadilly Gardens to New Islington.

New Islington Manchester England.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Ashton's Fish & Chip Shop Stockport

Ashton's Fish and Chip Shop, on the A6 in Great Moor, Stockport, has been serving up delicious fish and chips for a long time now. Most evenings when the shop is open, you are likely to see a queue of regular customers waiting patiently in line for their fix of fried cod or haddock, generous portions of chips, mushy peas, and that most northern of delicacies and acquired tastes, the steak and kidney pudding.

Owner Dave's traditional fish and chips are extremely good and served with a smile.

Ashton's Fish & Chip Shop Stockport.

If you don't want to queue there's a small dining room at the back of the shop.

Ashton's Fish and Chip Shop is on the 192 bus route to Stepping Hill Hospital from Stockport and Manchester, on the opposite side of the road from the Traveller's Call pub. Opening times are limited so please call ahead to avoid disappointment if you are travelling from far.

Further attractions in the Stockport area of Greater Manchester include Stockport Town Hall, Stockport Air Raid Shelters, St Mary's Church, Bramhall Hall, Woodbank Park, Vernon Park, Stockport Market, Fred Perry's birthplace, Woodbank Park, the Viaduct, the Hat Works and Stockport Art Gallery.


Ashton's Fish & Chips
316 Buxton Road
Great Moor
Stockport SK2 7DD
Tel: 0161 487 2760

Ashton's is closed at the weekends and is usually open 11.30am-1.30pm and 4.30pm-6.30pm on weekdays, closing a little bit later at 6.45pm on Thursday and 7pm on Friday. Call to avoid disappointment.

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Books on Britain

Monday, October 10, 2016

BBC North Media City Manchester

Fans of long-running BBC Breakfast, which is presented live from MediaCityUK in the Salford Quays area of Manchester, can relax on a replica sofa of the one used in the popular show.

BBC North Media City Manchester

As well as BBC Breakfast, BBC North produces Children's TV including Blue Peter, Sport's programmes including Match of the Day (MOTD), Learning, Radio 5 Live and Future Media and Technology.

BBC's buildings at Media City include Quay House and The Studios where the BBC Breakfast sofa can be found for your selfie.

The nearest Metrolink station to BBC North is MediaCityUK or Harbour City - take a tram from Piccadilly Station on the Eccles Line. The #9 bus links Salford Crescent rail station and Salford Shopping City with MediaCityUK and The Lowry at Salford Quays.

BBC North Media City Manchester

BBC North is close to The Lowry, The Lowry Outlet Mall, and the Imperial War Museum North.

Other attractions within the cities of Manchester and Salford include the Canal Street Gay VillageKing StreetChinatown, the Arndale CenterUrbis, the Royal Exchange Theatre and Manchester Cathedral.

BBC North, Media City, Manchester.

Holiday Inn Hotel Media City

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Monday, September 26, 2016

National Cycling Centre

Much of the success in recent years for British cycling at the Olympics and Tour de France can be put down to the National Cycling Centre in Manchester. Riders such as Sir Chris Hoy and Sir Bradley Wiggins have made their base here.

National Cycling Centre, Manchester

The National Cycling Centre opened in 1994 and has a world class board track as well as a more recent indoor BMX track and outdoor mountain bike trails that run through the green space in Clayton Vale.

National Cycling Centre, Manchester.

The Manchester Velodrome as it was then called, was built for the World Track Cycling Championships in 1996. The velodrome was a central part of Manchester's unsuccessful bids to host the Olympic Games in 1996 and 2000.

National Cycling Centre, Manchester, UK.

The track is available for use by riders of all abilities. Regular courses are held for novices to learn how to access the track safely and to ride safely with other solo riders. These novice starter courses feed in to accreditation courses for the over 15's who want to get more involved in the sport.

National Cycling Centre, Manchester, UK.

The velodrome hosts regular competitions including next month's World Masters Track Cycling Championships 2016 from October 1-8.

The National Cycling Center also has courses in basic bicycle maintenance and has facilities for other sports such as futsal, badminton, netball, handball and basketball.

The Velopark Cafe on site serves tasty refreshments after a hard day's cycling. It is also possible to book a weekday tour with the possibility of seeing Team GB training. The tour takes in the facilities at the National Cycling Centre and the British Cycling Hall of Fame, the Reg Harris statue and the Beryl Burton display.

Velopark Cafe, National Cycling Centre.

National Cycling Centre
Stuart Street
M11 4DQ
Tel: 0161 223 2244


From Piccadilly Gardens take bus number 216 to Sportcity (10 minutes). By Metrolink to Velopark Station. The National Cycling Centre is a short walk from Manchester City's Etihad Stadium and the Manchester Tennis and Football Centre.

National Cycling Centre.

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Snowdon Mountain Railway

Snowdon Mountain Railway in North Wales has been celebrating its 120th anniversary this year. The Snowdon Mountain Railway is one of several scenic railways in Britain.

Snowdon Mountain Railway began in 1896 and the 4.7-mile (7.2-km) railway has transported passengers from Llanberis, at the foot of Snowdon, to the 3560-foot (1085-metre) summit of the mountain (the highest peak in Wales) ever since (despite a fatal accident on its very first journey).

Snowdon Mountain Railway, Wales.

In fact, so popular has the railway become that around 130,000 people ride the trains in season and advanced booking is usually necessary. The railway is now owned and operated by British Heritage plc.

The Snowdon Mountain Railway is Britain's only rack and pinion mountain railway, and also has the nation's highest station, perched just below Snowdon's summit. On clear days the views over the surrounding Snowdon mountains are simply spectacular. An interesting new visitor centre has recently opened at the top station.

Snowdon Mountain Railway, Wales.

Given the local geography it comes as little surprise that the railway is operated in some of Britain's harshest weather conditions. Services are stopped in cases of extreme weather, with the line remaining closed in the winter season from November through to mid-March. Steam and diesel locomotives hauling individual carriages take about an hour to complete the journey from Llanberis along a single track narrow gauge line.

Those lucky enough to have tickets on "The Snowdon Lily" or newer "The Snowdon Mountain Goat" carriages will be pushed by one of the railway's original 1896 steam locomotives.

The Snowdon Mountain Railway connects with the Llanberis Lake Railway at Llanberis Station on the A4086.

Online Ticket Prices
Adult: (16 years+)
Return From £29.00
Child: (3 - 15 years)
Return From £20.00

Snowdon Mountain Railway
LL55 4TT


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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Jane Austen's House Museum

Jane Austen's House Museum is located in the village of Chawton near Alton in Hampshire. The museum occupies the 18th-century house (also known as Chawton Cottage) in which novelist Jane Austen spent most of the last eight years of her life. Jane Austen lived in the house with her mother, sister, and a long time family friend from 7 July 1809 until May 1817. Shortly before her death she moved to lodgings near her doctor, where she stayed for six weeks before she died. The Jane Austen House Museum is a Grade I listed building.

Jane Austen's House Museum, Winchester, UK.

Upon her arrival at Chawton Cottage, Jane Austen had already written three novels in draft form: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey. These novels may have been revised at the cottage prior to their publication. In addition, Austen wrote Mansfield Park, Emma and Persuasion while living at the cottage.

Jane Austen's House Museum.

Jane Austen's House Museum is located near the A31/A32 roundabout in the centre of Chawton Village. Visitors to Chawton may also like to visit nearby Winchester and view the magnificent cathedral in which Jane Austen is buried.

Jane Austen's House Museum
Chawton, Alton
GU34 1SD
Tel: 01420 83262

Hours: 10.30am-4.30pm

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Bela Bartok Statue in Onslow Square

A life-size statue of the Hungarian composer Bela Bartok (1881-1945) stands in Onslow Square a short walk from South Kensington underground stationin London. The bronze statue on a granite base is the work of Hungarian sculptor, Imre Varga.

Bela Bartok Statue in Onslow Square, London.

Bartok visited London on a number of occasions from 1922 on. His stayed at 7 Sydney Place in South Kensington, which was the home of Sir Duncan Wilson and Lady Freda Wilson at the time. A blue plaque at the house records his stays while performing in London.

Bartok is shown in the statue wearing a trilby and overcoat. There are other statues of Bartok by the same sculptor in Brussels, Budapest and Paris.

Bartok is considered one of the most important classical composers of the 20th century. His work is full of the rhythms of Hungarian folk music, which he studied, recorded and collected during his time in Europe. Bartok fled his native country for New York in 1940 to escape the Nazis.

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Books on Britain

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Walmer Castle

Walmer Castle in East Kent in the south east of England makes for a pleasant half-day tour along with nearby Deal Castle.

Walmer Castle, Kent, England.

Walmer Castle, like Deal Castle and Sandown Castle, was built by Henry VIII between 1539 and 1540 as an artillery fortress to protect England from overseas invasion from France.

Walmer Castle consists of a central keep, four circular bastions and a moat. During the 18th century, the castle morphed into a private residence for the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.

Extensive gardens were added during this time and are one of the main reasons to visit this lovely English Heritage maintained site.

Walmer Castle Gardens, Kent, UK.

The castle interior is a museum with various exhibits relating to the castle's history and its various residents.

The superb Queen Mother's Garden was designed by the noted garden designer Penelope Hobhouse.

Walmer Castle
Kingsdown Rd, Walmer, Deal
Kent CT14 7LJ
Tel: 01304 364 288

Walmer Castle has various opening times depending on the season. Summer is generally 10am-6pm daily. Please consult the website above for full details.
Admission £10.10 (adults)

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Manchester Museum

The Manchester Museum is on Oxford Road in the university area of Manchester.

The Manchester Museum, Oxford Road, Manchester.

The Manchester Museum is housed in an historic red brick building, designed by Alfred Waterhouse (1830-1905) in 1890. Waterhouse was also the architect of Manchester's Town Hall and the Natural History Museum in London. Later extensions to the museum were undertaken by Waterhouse's son and grandson.

The museum is a real mix of different exhibits including archery, dinosaur skeletons, ethnography, mineralogy, natural history and entomology exhibits, Egyptian mummies and even a vivarium.

The Manchester Museum, Oxford Road, Manchester.

The origins of the museum go back to the 19th century and the collection of the local Manchester manufacturer John Leigh Philips (1761-1814). After his death the Manchester Natural History Society was established to preserve the collection, which also expanded rapidly, thanks to donations by the members over the years.

Highlights of the Manchester Museum include the large Egyptology collection with stone temple sculptures and the Living Cultures collection with a range of exhibitions from all over the world including exhibitions of Japanese art and furniture.

The Manchester Museum also hosts temporary exhibitions throughout the year. The museum also has a shop with fair trade gifts and a cafe. The latter has reductions for students with a student card.

The Manchester Museum, Oxford Road, Manchester.

The Manchester Museum
Oxford Road
The University of Manchester
Manchester M13 9PL
Tel: 0161 275 2648
Hours: 10am-5pm; daily
Admission: Free

Manchester Oxford Road Station is 15 minutes on foot. From Manchester Piccadilly Station take a 147 bus (weekdays only). Other buses that run close to the museum are the 85, 86, 250, 41, 42, 43 and 111.

A visit to Whitworth Art Gallery can easily be combined with some time at The Manchester Museum.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Scuttler's Wine Bar

Next door to the The Lower Turk's Head pub in the Northern Quarter of central Manchester is Scuttler's Wine Bar.

Scuttler's Wine Bar, Manchester.

Scuttler's Wine Bar offers a wide range of excellent wines as well as several cask ales and decent food. Despite the narrow shop front the bar is surprising roomy once you enter and you can walk through from The Lower Turk's Head.

Scuttler's Wine Bar is close to the Arndale Centre.

Scuttler's Wine Bar
34 Shudehill
M4 1EZ
Tel: 0161 834 2910

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Monday, May 23, 2016

The Lower Turk's Head Pub

The Lower Turk's Head pub in central Manchester, close to the Arndale Centre in the Northern Quarter, is one of the city's oldest pubs dating back to 1745.

The Lower Turk's Head Pub, Manchester.

After being closed for a period, the pub reopened in 2013 and is located right next door to Scuttler's Wine Bar - a converted bookshop. The pub retains its original 1920's tile work and the interior has been lovingly restored with wooden benches, a brick fireplace and period signs.

There are seven bedrooms offering good value accommodation with optional breakfast.

The Lower Turk's Head Pub, Manchester, UK.

The Lower Turk's Head serves a range of local real ales and guest beers as well as food.

The name "Lower Turk's Head" supposedly comes from the fact there was another Turk's Head pub higher up Shudehill.

The Lower Turk's Head
36 Shudehill
M4 1EZ
Tel: 07814 184384

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Sunday, May 22, 2016


Hayfield is a pretty village at the foot of Kinder Scout in the Peak District. Hayfield is 18 miles south east of Manchester and about 10 miles north of Buxton.

Hayfield Cricket Club, Hayfield, Derbyshire.

Hayfield is in the pretty Sett Valley between the towns of Chapel-en-le-Frith, Glossop and New Mills. The village is a nice place to come for a pub lunch and a walk in the surrounding hills. There are a number of good pubs in the village including the Sportsman Inn, which is close to the outskirts and close to a walking trail along the River Kinder. Popular walks include going up to Kinder Scout (which is on the Pennine Way) and the Kinder Reservoir.

Hayfield, Derbyshire.

Hayfield, like many of the surrounding towns and villages such as New Mills and Glossop, developed during the Industrial Revolution, with the opening of a number of textile mills and a railway link to manchester. Nowadays, however, industry and railway line have both long gone and Hayfield has returned to being a quiet rural village. The nearest railway stations are at New Mills and Glossop and there are bus connections to Buxton, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Glossop, New Mills and Stockport.

Hayfield, Derbyshire.

The natural springs in the village, though no longer used as a source of drinking water, are still celebrated in annual "well dressing" ceremonies.

Hayfield is a pleasant place to spend an afternoon and is within easy reach of both Manchester and Stockport by car.

Castleton and Mam Tor are a short drive to the south east.

Hayfield, Derbyshire.

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