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United Kingdom & Ireland Travel Articles

Travel notes and articles for England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Ireland. Articles posted must be approved by the Admin before they are published.
England was populated in prehistoric times and many burial tombs, stone circles and hill forts remain. The Roman conquest of Britain started in 43AD during the reign of Emperor Claudius. They built roads, towns and villas in the countryside and the remains of many have been preserved. The medieval history is everywhere, in the castles and historic houses. The industrial revolution also left sites that are interesting to explore today. Designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)...
In the Middle Ages there were dozens of churches in York. Some still survive as churches, others were declared redundant and put to new use. Still more were demolished. This article covers some of the Medieval churches in the centre of York, beginning with the Minster. The rest of the churches are covered in alphabetical order. York Minster - the centre of Christianity in the north of England since the C7th The tall towers of York Minster dominate the historic centre of York. It is one...
A virtually unchanged fortified manor house and a much loved family home of the Manners family Haddon Hall is one of the nicest stately homes we have visited. It is only a short distance from Chatsworth House, but is completely different. Set high on a cliff overlooking the River Wye, it is a virtually unchanged medieval fortified manor house. It is one of the seats of the Dukes of Rutland. Between 1700-1912, they lived in Belvoir Castle and Haddon was left unlived in and untouched. In...
For many people their first view of Bolsover Castle is from the M1, on top of a hill dominating the surrounding landscape. It was a display of wealth which was meant to be seen and to impress. Although it appears at first sight to be a medieval castle, it is in fact a C17th rich man’s extravagance, built for show rather than defence. Entry through the grand gateway takes you into a grassy area with a massive old copper beech tree in the centre. To the left is the Riding School, with the...
The Settle to Carlisle Railway is a wonderful trip across the Pennines on a railway that nearly wasn’t built, managed to survive the Beeching cuts of the 1960s and closure in the 1980s. Some history By the mid C18th, railway lines between England and Scotland had been built along both the east and west coast. The Midland Railway Company had no direct link to Scotland and was dependent on gaining access to its rivals tracks. The Midland Railway built a line as far as Ingleton where it...
Chester was an important Roman settlement and the museum has an excellent collection of Roman artefacts The Grosvenor Museum is a flamboyant brick building built in 1885 to house the collections of the Chester Archaeological Society and the Chester Society of Natural Science, Literature and Art. It is almost too large to photograph. It is named after Hugh Lupus Grosvenor, Ist Duke of Westminster who owned most of the land in Chester and donated the land and paid part of the building...
The longest aqueduct in the British Isles and the highest in the world This is an impressive sight both from above and below. It is exhilarating either to cross on foot or by boat. The late C18th was a time of peak building of canals, needed to carry raw materials and finished goods across the country. A canal was proposed to carry cargoes from the mineral rich coalfields of North East Wales. This was an ambitious project across difficult terrain. William Jessop and Thomas Telford were...
Llangollen is an attractive market town on the banks of the River Dee, and is surrounded by the Berwyns and Clywdian mountains. It is overlooked by the ruins of the Welsh stronghold, Castell Dinas Bran. The name comes from the C7th monk, St Collen who founded a church here, although the present building is C15th. The town grew up to the north of the river, where there was more flat land. The railway and canal are on the south bank. The Dee Bridge across the river was built in 1345 and was...
Llandudno is dominated by the massive limestone headland of the Great Orme rising nearly 700’ above the town and bay. It is impressive seen from below. Seen from above, as can be seen from this photograph from the Visit Conwy website, really shows just how big and impressive it is. It is equally as impressive when seen from the town. One of the best ways to appreciate its bulk is from the Marine Drive, cut out of the side of the cliffs.
Mold is a small and attractive town on the River Alyn , overlooked by the Clwydian Hills. It used to be one of the main routes to North Wales, but is now bypassed. It is still a thriving market town for the area with a lot of independent shops in the town centre which have survived the arrival of the out of town supermarkets A motte and bailey castle was built here in the late C11th and was one of the early castles built by the Normans to consolidate their hold on Wales. A town grew...
This is probably one of the nicest and easiest low level walks in the Lake District. There is a good footpath all the way round the lake and it is best walked anticlockwise for the views. The walk is about four and a half miles and takes two and a half to three hours. The path runs just above the level of the lake through a mix of open woodland and open pastureland. There is a short stretch along the road at the far end as well as a short stretch through a tunnel cut through the cliff...
The home of the Pennington Family for over 800 years. Set high above the High above River Esk, it is a prominent land mark, and there are spectacular views across the fells. The land was granted to Alan de Penitone of Pennington in Lancashire in 1208 by King John, although the family may have lived here since 1026. A castle was built here in the late C13th and enlarged in C14th when a pele tower was added. Henry VI sheltered here after the Battle of Hexham in 1464 and is...
The remains of the bath house of Ravenglass Roman fort are among the tallest Roman structures surviving in northern Britain. Ravenglass is on the coast at the mouth of three rivers and was probably an important port. In the 1st century AD, the Romans built an earth and timber fort here to guard the harbour. In around 130AD this was replaced by a larger, more important fort named Glannaventa. It was a naval base as well as the the main supply centre for other forts across the region as far...
A narrow gauge railway was opened in 1875 to bring iron ore from the mines in Eskdale to the Furness Railway at Ravenglass. The line is now a major tourist attraction, run by an enthusiastic Preservation Society. The seven mile long mile track climbs 210’ from the coast at Ravenglass to the foot of England’s highest mountains in Eskdale. It follows the valleys of the River Mite and Esk to its terminus at Dalegarth. Some History This was the first public narrow gauge railway to be built...
This is one of the most popular short walks in the area, with many well made footpaths through the woods. The walk begins in the National Trust Car Park at Monk Coniston and climbs steadily up through the wild flower meadow to the woodland above. There are views back down to Lake Coniston The path continues through the walled garden of the Monk Coniston estate. The path crosses a road and enters more woodland, with a few stone steps and a wooden bridge and the car park for Tarn Hows...
Coniston Village is set back from the lakes side and surrounded by the peaks of the Old Man and Wetherlam. The houses scramble up the hillside. The flat land around the lake provided good farming and much of the land was owned by the monks of Furness Abbey. As well as farming, iron ore has been smelted here since Medieval times, using charcoal to fuel the furnaces. The discovery of copper in the C16th led to a rapid expansion in population and copper was mined until the early C20th...
A splendid Elizabethan Mansion built around a C14th pele tower. Levens Hall is a splendid Elizabethan house in the valley of the River Kent and surrounded by rich farmland. The original building dates from C13th, when the Redman family built a pele tower here as a defence against the Scots. The estate was sold to Alan Bellingham in 1562. The pele tower was in poor condition and he was responsible for rebuilding and extending the building. Only the base of the pele tower survived. The...
Kendal Mint Cake and the Gateway to the Southern Lakes Kendal’s origins date back to the C8th when the monastic settlement of Kirkland was established near a crossing point on the River Kent. A small settlement grew up round the church. William II established a barony here to secure his Northern territories. A motte and Bailey castle was built at Castle Howe, later to be replaced by the larger stone built KendalCastle. Richard I granted Kendal the right to hold a market in 1189, this...
This is a fascinating place to visit. On the outskirts of Malton, this was originally one of about 1500 Prisoner of War Camp built to accommodate Italian and German POWs between October 1939 and July 1948. The first prisoners were 250 Italians who arrived in Malton by train and were marched to the site. They were initially housed in bell tents and helped to build a more permanent camp which was occupied by Italian and later German prisoners. The completed camp covered 8 acres and had 45...
Forget the Dracula connection (Bram Stoker used the churchyard as the setting for his novel) this is a lovely church that is older than the abbey ruins next to it. Standing high above the town on the East Cliff, it is a well loved local landmark. Most people reach it by climbing the 199 steps, the route taken by coffins for burial in the old graveyard. Whitby was a major Christian centre from the C7th and the famous Synod of Whitby held here in 664 AD confirmed the Roman form of...
The dramatic ruins of Whitby Abbey stand proud above the town, silhouetted against the sky. The first monastery was founded by King Oswy of Northumbria. This housed both monks and nuns with Hilda, a Saxon princess, as Abbess. The monastery became on of the most important religious centres and hosted the Synod of Whitby in 664 intended to reconcile differences between the Roman and Celtic branches of Christianity and determine the future direction of the English Church. Nothing remains...

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