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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.
 
Castle, church, an old hospital and some lovely gardens. Lonely Planet listed Warwick as one of top ten places to visit in Europe in 2016. The area has been inhabited since early neolithic times, so there is a lot of history attached to the town. A castle was built just after the Norman Conquest to subdue the north. The Earls of Warwick were powerful noblemen during Medieval times. The Great Fire of Warwick in 1694 destroyed most of the town, so most of the architecture is Georgian or...
 
Shakespeare and lots more. Stratford upon Avon is on nearly every tourist’s tick list because of the Shakespeare connection, with millions of visitors who want to visit the place where Shakespeare was born and see his grave. It is hard to avoid the Shakespeare influence and the shops exploit it to the full. The Shakespeare Properties are run by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust which runs five properties with links to the Shakespeare family. Tickets are valid for 12 months and are slightly...
 
Kippers to Count Dracula. With Dracula, Captain Cook, Whitby Jet and fish and chips, Whitby has something for everyone as well as narrow cobbled streets to explore and the iconic 199 steps. It is an attractive settlement nestled along the mouth of the River Esk and in summer months this is a popular spot for crabbing. The remains of the abbey and the even older St Mary’s Church are set high above the east cliff. These were what inspired Bram Stoker to write his Gothic Novel...
 
There's more to Durham than the Cathedral and Castle. This is probably the most popular image of Durham. The cathedral and castle occupy the centre of a deep incised meander in the River Wear and are the place most people head to first. The usual route is from the market place along Saddler Street with its small shops and The Bailey. This is the heart of the original university with Hatfield, St Chads College, St Johns College and St Cuthbert’s Society. It is lined with attractive...
 
One of the best folk museums in the country. Folk museums are cropping up all over the country. Some are better than others and Beamish must rank among the best with its mix of agricultural, industrial and social history. In fact, there is too much to see properly in a single visit and fortunately the ticket is valid for twelve months. By the 1950s, the traditional industries and communities in the North East were declining and disappearing rapidly. Frank Atkinson, the director of the...
 
Romans, medieval walls, black and white architecture and a cathedral. Chester may not be an automatic choice when it comes to picking a holiday destination, but it is a city with a long history and a lot to attract the tourist, whether it is for the day or longer. It has the only complete set of city walls, the oldest racecourse, largest Roman amphitheatre in Britain, plus a 1000 year old cathedral, 700 year old unique shopping rows and a town crier. Then there is the zoo which is ranked...
 
One of the best folk museums in the country. The Black Country is an area of the West Midlands which was rich in coal, ironstone, limestone and fireclay and is the first industrial landscape anywhere in the world and later the most industrialised region of Britain. This is where Thomas Dudley first mastered the technique of smelting iron with coal instead of wood charcoal and making iron enough for industrial use. With the arrival of steam power and canals this became the greatest iron...
 
Most people rush past Carlisle on their way between England and Scotland, but few take the time to stop here. This is a shame as Carlisle has a lot to offer the tourist and is also an excellent base to explore the surrounding countryside. The Northern Lakes, North Pennines, Hadrians’ Wall and South West Scotland are all easily reached from Carlisle. For millenia, the Solway Gap has been the main route up the west coast between England and Scotland. This has been the ‘debatable land’ with...
 
Names of historic eras in Britain. Historic eras are visible in the present day through their architectural remains. We experience the layers of history when we stand in a prehistoric stone circle in Wiltshire and look over to our car parked on the nearby road. Most of the United Kingdom has been settled since Prehistoric times and all the historic eras have left something for us to see. Many guidebooks describe a time period as "Georgian" or a church as "Norman with a Perpendicular tower"...
 
Brief history of the British Letter Box. We have letter boxes in the US, but most of us put our outgoing mail in our mailbox, put up the red flag and the mail carrier takes it when delivering the day's mail. In England the Royal Mail delivers to your front door but does not take outgoing mail. Instead we walk to the nearest red letter box. These are scattered throughout towns, sometimes built into a garden wall or the wall of an old house. It is called the "Royal" Mail because originally...
 
A small sample of some of the great specialist food shops, pubs and restaurants. Focused very much on specialists, so no supermarkets or chains. These are places that are unique to Norwich and places we use pretty regularly. Just two layers - city centre, for places very much walkable within the centre, plus a suburbs layer for places you could walk to, but might choose to take car, bicycle, taxi etc. I'll look to add some more places, such as the Fat Cat pub, Lakenham creamery ice-cream...
 
Kingston-upon-Hull (or Hull as it is more usually called) is tucked away in the bottom right hand corner of Yorkshire is well off the usual tourist itinerary. Since winning the coveted European City of Culture for 2017, it has made tremendous strides to rediscover itself and put its name very firmly on the map. The city has been detattified and there is a wide and varied programme of events 
throughout the year. This began with a massive firework display and you can’t ignore Hull now... 


...
 
On the tourist map for 900 years. Little Walsingham is a timeless small village of brick, flint and timber frame houses based around the village pump house in the depths of rural Norfolk. In the Middle Ages, Little Walsingahm was one of the four great shrines and places of pilgrimage alongside Rome, Santiago del Compostella and Jerusalem. All the kings of England from Henry III to Henry VIII visited it. Then came the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and Walsingham became a rural backwater...
 
Again, you are spoilt for choice and this is a very brief section covering some of my favourites. The north east was the centre of early Christianity and Lindisfarne Priory was founded in the C7th by St Aidan and St Cuthbert was Prior here. The beautifully illustrated Lindisfarne Gospels were written here in the C8th. The church survived the Dissolution of the Monasteries, becoming the parish church, but the rest of the priory buildings are now in ruins.The small museum has a collection of...
 
The North Tyne is off the main tourist beat and gets few foreign visitors. Many British tourists only manage a day visit. This is a shame as the area warrants a longer stop. There are lots of ideas in this guide to the area There is information about walking trails here. Kielder is also the site of an impressive sculpture trail.The area suffers little light pollution at night and is now a Dark Sky Park with an observatory. If you have never seen the wonders of the Milky Way, this is the...
 
To many people, Hadrian's Wall IS Northumberland and the main reason most people visit. Hadrian’s Wall is a world heritage site and snakes across some of the most dramatic scenery in England. This map shows the major sites along the wall. There is a footpath along the length of the wall. Unless you specifically want to walk the whole length of the wall, limit yourself to the middle section between Housesteads and Walltown. This has the best remains, the best scenery and the best walking...
 
Northumberland is one of England’s hidden secrets. Most people rush through on their way to Scotland. This is a shame as they miss so much. There are glorious empty beaches stretching for miles as well as the largest man made lake and man made forest in the country. Over the years, we have visited Northumberland many times. Each time we go back, it feels like going home. The Northumbrians are such friendly and welcoming folk. I love the wide open spaces, where I can relax and breathe again...

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