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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.
St Andrew’s church is set back off the busy A170 and I’ve often driven past it with hardly a glimpse. It is worth stopping though, as the church contains some of the best Viking Crosses in England. Part of the churchyard is a wild flower area. There has been a church here since Saxon times and the base of the tower is Saxon. On the west wall is a blocked off Saxon doorway with a later oval window at the top. The battlemented top is later and probably late 12th or early C13th...
Hutton le Hole is often described as one of the prettiest villages in the North York Moors National Park with Hutton Beck running down the green, flanked by stone built cottages. It is popular with locals and day trippers in the know, who picnic on the green while children paddle in the stream. Unlike the nearby honey pot of Thornton le Dale, Hutton doesn’t actively promote itself to casual visitors through its website, although there is an information board in the village...
Rievaulx is one of the great ruined Yorkshire abbeys and popular with visitors. Set in the wooded Rye Valley a few miles for Helmsley, many visitors choose to walk rather than drive, as the car park for the abbey isn’t very big. The walk is about 3 miles and follows the start of the Cleveland Way in Helmsley. It is described as easy walking on paths, a few hills with some steps that aren't particularly challenging. That is true for the young and fit, but perceptions off ‘easy’ change with...
Malton is made up of two separate settlements, each with its own unique character The area was settled by the Romans who built an auxiliary fort, Derventio, on the north bank of the river, in the area now known as Orchard Fields. The only remains are a few earthworks. The ‘ton’ ending indicates an Anglo Saxon farm settlement and Domesday Book records a small settlement and church in what is now Old Malton. New Malton, which is usually just called Malton, grew up as a walled settlement...
A tourist honeypot, trading on its Heartbeat and Harry Potter connections Goathland is a small settlement set on the hillside above the wooded valley of the Eller Beck and surrounded by the moors of North Yorkshire. It is a popular stopping off point on the North York Moors Railway. It is very much a tourist honey pot trading on its connections to Heartbeat, the popular TV police drama, where it was used as the setting for Aidensfield. More recently, the station was used in the Harry...
A honey pot village on the edge of the North York Moors Thornton le Dale is an attractive small village on the edge of the North York Moors and is very geared up for day trippers and coach trips. It has a very good website with a map showing the layout of the village, where the shops are, local attractions and ideas of short walks. It really can be described as a ‘honey pot ‘ village and is always busy with its beck, ducks, stone cottages and even a thatched cottage. The area has been...
Stone age man left his mark on Scotland with the mighty hill forts of Tap O’ The North near Rhynie and the Brown and White Caterthuns near Brechin with their impressive ramparts. Craig Phadrig near Inverness is unusual as the walls have been vitrified by tremendous heat. No-one is sure how and why this was done, although there are suggestions it might have been a ceremonial destruction. Now surrounded by commercial forestry, and reached by a way marked walk, there isn’t a lot to see...
There is something special about stone circles and no visit to the Outer Hebrides is complete without visiting Calanais, which has been described as perhaps the most exceptional prehistoric monument in the west of Scotland.. Standing on a bare ridge above Loch Roag, Calanais Stone Circle is a prominent landmark in all directions, with the stones standing silhouetted against the sky line. On a sunny day against a blue sky, they look benign. In the midst of a thunderstorm with lightening...
One of the oldest libraries in Europe Although each of the Oxford Colleges has its own library, the Bodleian Library is still at the heart of Oxford life. Not only is it one of the oldest libraries in Europe, it is one of the few libraries in Britain which receives a copy of every book and magazine published in Britain. It is very much a working library, although it is also popular with film makers. Harry Potter fans will recognise Duke Humphrey’s library and the Divinity school which was...
A deserted quarry village that has been brought back to life as a Welsh language and heritage centre The hard granite hills of the Llyn Peninsula provided excellent stone for roads. In the C19th setts from these quarries paved the streets of Liverpool, Manchester and other industrial cities. Nant Gwtheryn was site of three large quarries providing employment for over one hundred men. Stone was taken down steep inclines and loaded onto ships at one of three small piers from the beach...
The iconic 1970’s film “The Railway Children” really put the Keighley and worth Valley Railway on the map when it featured the then little known station of Oakworth and many scenes set along the railway. The Railway have capitalised on this with a circular walk taking the walker passed many places featured in the film. The shops sells a leaflet with details of the walk. The walk is 6 miles although being a figure of eight can be walked as two separate loops. The eastern loop covers...
Do you remember the iconic film of “The Railway Children” with Jenny Agutter – well this was where it was filmed… The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway is a delightful short branch line running through some splendid West Yorkshire scenery from Keighley to Oxenhope. Stations have been beautifully restored to what they might have looked like in in the 1950s with the red and cream paint of the Midland Railway, gas lamps and coal fires in the winter months. There are fire buckets...
One of the oldest and most important religious centres in Britain Iona is a small island off the coast of Mull and reached by a foot ferry. Visitor vehicles are not allowed on the island. People visit for the isolated beauty, traditional life style, walks, but above all for its early Christian heritage. Iona Abbey is one of the oldest and most important religious centres in Britain. This was where Christianity started and spread to the rest of Britain. Iona was on a busy sea route...
Worts, worms and plain British spirit - a trip round an old distillery North east Scotland is big whisky country and there are dozens of distilleries. Some like Glenfiddich are well known names. Others are smaller and produce whisky for the named blends. Many offer tours. Dallas Ddu Distillery is different as it is closed and no longer distils. Now owned by Historic Scotland, it is possible to wander round by yourself with the audio guide, take photographs and get into places not normally...
A small traditional whisky distillery producing two very different malt whiskies. Tobermory in the Isle of Mull was made famous by the children’s TV programme “Ballamory’. It is a popular destination with its brightly coloured houses along the shore. The tiny distillery on the edge of the town is one of the oldest in Scotland, dating from 1795. Known as Ledaig distillery, which was the oiriginal name of Tobermory, it has had a chequered history and has closed down and reopened several...
There are several white horses carved into the hills of Wiltshire. These are large images of horses carved at the top of hills so they can be seen from a distance. Most are created by digging down to the natural white limestone. Some are modern, some are hundreds or thousands of years old. They are fun to spot as you are driving or walking in this area. The most famous, and the oldest, is the Uffington White Horse just across the county border in Oxfordshire. I include it on this page...
Although this is one of the best examples of a great cistercian monastery, it is ignored by the tourists and never gets as busy as nearby Rievaulx. In its heyday, Byland Abbey was one of the three great monasteries of Yorkshire along with Fountains and Rievaulx Abbeys. It had extensive lands with many farms and its main income was from sheep farming. On the edge of the Vale of York and North York Moors, it now lies ruined and forgotten by most of the tourists. This is a shame as it is a...
The author Jane Austen (1775 - 1817) wrote six perfect novels: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion. They are not simply romance novels, although who will marry well is always the main plot, but are also witty commentaries on life at the end of the 18th century. Her observations on society are as valid today as they were when she wrote the novels. If you have not read any Jane Austen, do yourself a favor and start with Pride and...
A working monastery and school As well as being a highly regarded school, Ampleforth Abbey is a working monastery set in the North York Moors. It is a delightful setting with lakes, woodlands and trails. Visitors can join the monks at prayer as well as visiting the abbey between services. The Benedictines were expelled from France in 1792 during the Revolution. Fr Anselm Bolton came to England and became chaplain to Lady Anne Fairfax of Gilling Castle. She built Ampleforth Lodge for him...
There are many interesting prehistoric sites in the Cotswolds - stone circles, standing stones, dolmen, long barrows, hill forts. The two best sites are the Rollright Stones (stone circle and a dolmen) near Chipping Norton in the north-east Cotswolds, and Belas Knapp (long barrow) near Winchecombe in the north Cotswolds. The Cotswold-Severn group of neolithic long barrows (chambered tombs) are located on the Cotswold escarpment above the River Severn. Below I have listed three of them -...

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