Home    UK City Guides     London     Contact     Hotels     UK Travel     Maps

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bourton on the Water

Bourton on the Water is the epicenter of the tourist track in the Cotswolds. The River Windrush flows through the town and under a succession of lovely footbridges. Bourton on the Water is sometimes called the "Venice of the Cotswolds."

Bourton on the Water
Visitors to Bourton on the Water can stroll along the riverside and the town can perhaps best be appreciated in the evening when the crowds have dissipated.

Bourton on the Water

Bourton on the Water features a bird sanctuary called "Birdland," a model village, a perfume factory, an automobile museum, and a model railway exhibition.

Bourton on the Water

Bourton on the Water is located on the A429 and is not far from Chastleton House.
Map of Bourton on the Water

© 2010 John Westby

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Southport Station

Southport Station has rail connections to Liverpool and Hunt's Cross with Merseyrail and trains to Manchester with Northern Rail.

Northern Rail runs services to Manchester Victoria, Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport via Bolton. On Sundays there is an hourly train to Stockport via Piccadilly.

Southport Station
Chapel Street
Map of Southport Station

Books on Devon & Cornwall
Hotels and Guesthouses in the UK
Hotels and Guesthouses in Bath UK

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cadbury Castle

Cadbury Castle in Somerset is strongly associated with the Arthurian legend. An Iron Age fort was located on the limestone hill which lies 5 miles north east of Yeovil. Cadbury Castle is on the oldest known castles in England.

Archaeologists have discovered Iron Age, Roman and Saxon remains at Cadbury Castle, which is believed to have been inhabited since Neolithic times. Finds from previous excavations are on display at Somerset County Museum in Taunton.

It is possible that the Romans stormed the fort around 50AD but the evidence excavated from the site is mixed and uncertain as to the likelihood of this violent event having actually occurred.

The hill is 500 feet high and affords magnificent views as far as Glastonbury Tor on a fine day.

Cadbury Castle is located near the village of South Cadbury, along a small road which leaves the A303 at Chapel Cross, 1 and a half miles east of Sparkford. There is free parking at the site and a single, often muddy trail, leads up to the summit.
Map of Cadbury Castle

Books on Devon & Cornwall
Hotels and Guesthouses in the UK
Hotels and Guesthouses in Bath UK

Monday, September 27, 2010

Chastleton House

Chastleton House was completed in 1612 by Walter Jones, one of the 'new men' of the 17th century. He had made his fortune in real estate law as an attorney in London and invested it in the house you see below.

A later Jones, Arthur, aka 'the Cavalier' fought with Charles II at the Battle of Worcester and after the royalists were defeated is said to have fled back to Chastleton House where his wife drugged the pursuing Parliamentary troops allowing him to escape.

Chastleton House

Chastleton House retains much of its original furniture and has been owned by the National Trust since 1991. The National Trust has been careful not to 'over-restore' Chastleton House and the house retains its intangible fragility.

Chastleton House

Chastleton House is surrounded by gardens of an English Renaissance design which have been reworked over the generations. The dove cote near the entrance to Chastleton House can be seen in the photograph below.

Chastleton House

Chastleton House is open Wednesdays to Saturdays from the 24th of March to the 30th of October. Chastleton House is located near the A436 and is not far from Bourton on the Water, Snowshill Manor and Hidcote Manor Garden.

Chastleton, Oxon
GL56 0SU
Tel: 01608 674981
Map of Chastleton House

© 2010 John Westby

Books on Devon & Cornwall
Hotels and Guesthouses in the UK
Hotels and Guesthouses in Bath UK

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Permissive Paths

The Countryside & Rights of Way Act of 2000 created permissive paths, also known as permitted paths or concessionary paths, where use by the public is allowed by the landowner(s), but over which there is no public right of access.

Permissive Paths across private land in the UK offer a public right of way but allow the landowner the right of closure or redirection of the path. The signpost above is taken on Kelston Round Hill in Bath.

Permissive paths are clearly signed posted as such and are closed on certain days to forestall any future claim of continuous public access along the path, which might result in the path becoming designated as a statutory right of way.

Permissive paths thus make it possible for landowners to allow access over their land without dedicating a right of way.

The landowner can make restrictions which would not normally apply to other highways, allowing cycling, but not horse riding, for example.

Permissive paths are often located on land owned by an organization which allows public access, such as the National Trust, a railway or local authority.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Hidcote Manor Garden

Hidcote Manor Garden is often called one of England's great gardens. Hidcote Manor Garden was designed in the Arts & Crafts style. Hidcote Manor Garden has been managed by the National Trust since 1948, and it was the first property to be acquired solely as a garden.

Hidcote Manor Garden

Hidcote Manor Garden was designed and created by the self-taught American horticulturist, Lawrence Johnston. He designed the garden to showcase his 'garden of rooms'.

Hidcote Manor Garden

Hidcote Manor Garden features a wide array of rare shrubs, trees, and other unusual plant species.

Hidcote Manor Garden

The photograph below illustrates one of the many 'rooms' that can be viewed by visitors.

Hidcote Manor Garden
Hidcote Manor Garden is located 1 mile east of the B4632 and is not far from Snowshill Manor.

Hidcote Bartrim, near Chipping Campden
Gloucestershire GL55 6LR
Tel: 01386 438333
Map of Hidcote Manor Garden

© 2010 John Westby

Books on Devon & Cornwall
Hotels and Guesthouses in the UK
Hotels and Guesthouses in Bath UK

Friday, September 24, 2010

Kelston Round Hill

Kelston Round Hill is probably an ancient Barrow. The word 'Kelston' itself could be translated as "Hill of the Celts". The Romans may have christened it so when they occupied Bath. Kelston Round Hill is located in the Lansdown area to the west of Bath. The photograph below shows the permissive path giving access to the summit.

Kelston Round Hill

Kelston Round Hill cannot be approached by car but is accessible by foot, on mountain bike, or on horseback. Visitors should follow the Cotswold Trail and/or bridle path from western Bath to approach Kelston Round Hill. Upon nearing Kelston Round Hill, permissive paths (see below) allow access to the summit.

Kelston Round Hill
From the summit of Kelston Round Hill, visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside including views of Bath (see below).

Kelston Round Hill
Looking in the opposite direction , visitors can see as far as Bristol (see below). See a map of Kelston Round Hill

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Davenport Arms Woodford

The Davenport Arms not far from Woodford Aerodrome near Stockport is a friendly, family-run pub with a growing reputation for its food.

The pub, which was built in the 18th century and was originally part of the Capesthorne Estate, has a pleasant beer garden at the back with views of the surrounding countryside.

The Davenport Arms is opposite the picturesque church of St James & St Paul, which dates back to 1343 and is claimed to be the oldest half timber church still in use in Europe.

The Davenports were the King's game wardens for the nearby forests of Leek and Macclesfield and in the living room above the bar is a room where tenants paid their rent and trials took place.

A grisly tale, very likely apocryphal, is that a young boy was caught killing a deer and was sentenced to hanging. The Davenports were known to strictly enforce the Forest Laws and their Coat of Arms featured a felon with a rope around his neck. The hangman was called and duly dispatched the hooded victim only to discover it was his own son. The distraught father promptly hung himself in grief.

The excellent beer, which includes local Robinson's Best Bitter, Old Stockport Bitter, Old Tom, Hatter's Mild plus guest beers added to a roaring open fire make for a cosy atmosphere, just right for the telling of ghost stories from England's ye olde past.

Davenport Arms
550 Chester Road
Tel: 08714 329005
Map of the Davenport Arms

© Britain-Visitor.com

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The George Inn at Norton St. Philip

The George Inn at Norton St Philip has been in operation for over 700 years and claims to be Britain's oldest tavern, though there are quite a few other claimants to that title. The George Inn is a grade 1 listed building. The George Inn was part of the stage coach route between London and the southwest of England.

The George Inn

The George Inn plays an important role in the history of Great Britain. During the Pitchfork Rebellion of June and July 1685, the Duke of Monmouth, who was the illegitimate son of Charles II, led a ragtag army of 8,000 locals armed with muskets, scythes and pitchforks against a professional army of his uncle James II. On the 26th of June, the Duke of Monmouth is said to have been shot at the George Inn. Subsequently, after his defeat at Sedgemoor, the Duke of Monmouth was caught and executed.

The George Inn

The George Inn at Norton St Philip is now a family friendly pub. The garden in the rear of the pub overlooks a playground and recreation area (see below).

The George Inn

The George Inn,
Norton St Philip,
Bath Somerset BA2 7LH
Tel: 01373 834224
Map of the George Inn at Norton St. Philip

© 2010 John Westby

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sham Castle in Bath

The Sham Castle in Bath was erected in 1762 by Ralph Allen, entrepeneur, philosopher, and one time Postmaster of Bath. The construction of the Sham Castle was intended to improve the view from Ralph Allen's townhouse.

The Sham Castle site was restored and presented to the city in 1921. Ralph Allen also built the Palladian mansion Prior Park in Bath.

Sham Castle in Bath

Working with the architect John Wood, Ralph Allen used his postal wealth to acquire nearby stone quarries and successfully promoted the use of his Bath Stone for the building of Bath. Bath Stone was of course used to construct the Sham Castle.

Sham Castle in Bath

The Sham Castle offers an excellent view of the City of Bath (see below) from its lofty perch near the University of Bath on Bathwick Hill.

view from the Sham Castle in Bath

Access to the Sham Castle is via Golf Course Road in Bath. The golf course itself is private. Access can also be had via the Bath Skyline walking trail.

Sham Castle
Golf Course Rd, Bath, Avon
Map of the Sham Castle Bath

© 2010 John Westby

Books on Devon & Cornwall
Hotels and Guesthouses in the UK
Hotels and Guesthouses in Bath UK

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bath Bus Station

Bath's new bus station is located near to Bath Spa Railway Station and the Southgate Shopping Centre.

The new Bath Bus Station opened in 7 June, 2009 and replaced the old bus station at Manvers Street. There was considerable controversy over the siting of the bus station as Churchill House, an empty 1920s electricity company building was demolished to make way for the new development.

There are 3 bus zones in Bath: Zone 1 – Central Bath; Zone 2 – Lower Weston including the Royal United Hospital, Moorfields, Widcombe, Lambridge and Camden Road; Zone 3 – the rest of the city of Bath.

National Express services operate from bays 1 and 2. Local First services run from other bays.

Here are a number of routes from Bath Bus Station.

SPA1: Bath Spa University - city centre via Newbridge Road, Lower Oldfield Park
SPA2: Bath Spa University - city centre via Newbridge Road, Lower Oldfield Park
2: City Centre - Ensleigh (Bath City Service) via Lansdown Road
5: Bus Station - Whiteway (Bath City Service) via Lower Bristol Road, Twerton
10: Bus Station - Southdown (Bath City Service) via Coronation Avenue, Southdown Road, Mount Road
13: Foxhill - Bathford (Bath City Service) via St Martins Hospital, Bus Station, Batheaston, Elmhurst
14: Weston - Odd Down (Bath City Service) via R.U.H., Bus Station, Bear Flat, Bloomfield Drive, Wansdyke Estate
14A: Weston - Odd Down (Bath City Service) via R.U.H., Bus Station, Bear Flat
17: Upper Weston - Kingsway (Bath City Service) Via Penn Lea Road, Bus Station, Oldfield Road, Moorlands
18: Lower Oldfield Park - University of Bath via Bus Station, Bathwick
19: University of Bath - Bath (Park and Ride) (Bath City Service)
21: Newbridge - Bath (Park and Ride) (Bath City Service)
173: Bath - Wells via Radstock, Midsomer Norton, Chilcompton, Gurney Slade
178: Bath - Bristol via Radstock, Midsomer Norton, Paulton, Marksbury, Keynsham
184: Bath - Frome via Radstock, Midsomer Norton, Chilcompton, Coleford, Mells
231: Bath - Chippenham via Batheaston, Box, Rudloe, Corsham
232: Bath - Chippenham via Batheaston, Box, Rudloe, Corsham
264: Bath - Warminster via Bradford-on-Avon, Trowbridge, Westbury
265: Bath - Warminster via Bradford-on-Avon, Trowbridge, Westbury
267: Bath - Frome via Midford, Norton St Philip, Rode, Beckington
271: Bath - Easterton via Box, Melksham, Melksham Forest, Bowerhill, Devizes
272: Bath - Urchfont via Box, Melksham, Bowerhill, Devizes, Easterton
273: Bath - Urchfont via Box, Melksham, Bowerhill, Devizes, Easterton
337: Bath - Keynsham via Saltford, Keynsham (Park Estate), Saltford
339: Bath - Bristol via Newbridge, Saltford, Keynsham, Brislington
649: Bath - Bristol via Newbridge, Saltford, Keynsham, Brislington
X39: Bath - Bristol via Newbridge, Saltford, Brislington

The bright orange bendy buses #18, #418 and #8 are useful for students at the University of Bath and Bath Spa University.

Books on Devon & Cornwall
Hotels and Guesthouses in the UK
Hotels and Guesthouses in Bath UK

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Cherhill White Horse

The Cherhill White Horse was cut into the hillside in 1780 under the direction of Dr Christopher Allsup. The Cherhill White Horse is 40 meters long and 43 meters high.

The Cherhill White Horse
The Cherhill White Horse is located within view of the A4 in Wiltshire. The Cherhill White Horse is a short drive from the Avebury Stone Circle.

Map of Cherhill

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Manor Gardens at Avebury

The Manor Gardens at Avebury are part of the National Trust property at the Avebury Stone Circle. The manor house itself dates from the 16th century.

The Manor Gardens at Avebury
The Manor Gardens at Avebury are open from April to October from 11am-5pm every day except Wednesdays and Thursdays. The manor house itself has more limited opening times.

The Manor Gardens at Avebury
The entrance to the Manor Gardens at Avebury is next to the Stables Gallery in the Old Farmyard.

The Manor Gardens at Avebury
Avebury is located in Wiltshire on the A4361. The Manor Gardens at Avebury are a short drive from the Cherhill White Horse.

Manor Gardens at Avebury
near Marlborough, Wiltshire
Tel: 01672 539250
Map of Manor Gardens at Avebury

© 2010 John Westby

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bath Spa Railway Station

Bath Spa Railway Station is Bath's main train station. A Grade II listed building, Bath Spa was built in 1840 for the Great Western Railway by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Bath Spa has regular inter-city First Great Western services to London Paddington via Swindon & Reading, limited services to London Waterloo via Salisbury and Basingstoke with South West Trains and First Great Western trains to Bristol Temple Meads Station.

There are also trains to Portsmouth Harbour and Gloucester, Westbury and Weymouth.

A weekday morning CrossCountry train to Edinburgh via Bristol, Birmingham, Sheffield and Newcastle departs from Bath.

Oldfield Park is Bath's only other station now in use with some services to Bristol.

Bath Spa is close to Bath's main bus station near the SouthGate shopping centre and provides excellent access with ramps leading up to both platforms.

The station concourse has an ATM, wifi access, shops and a tourist information centre on platform 1.

Bath Spa Station
Dorchester Street
Google map of Bath Spa Station

Books on Devon & Cornwall
Hotels and Guesthouses in the UK
Hotels and Guesthouses in Bath UK

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Crown Cirencester

The Crown in Cirencester is located right in the centre of this attractive market town. Not to be confused with the unscrupulous Crown of Crucis in nearby Ampney Crucis.

A large, friendly pub with a mixed clientele of all ages. Food available.

The Crown
17 West Market Place
Tel: 01285 653206
Google map of The Crown Cirencester

Books on Devon & Cornwall
Hotels and Guesthouses in the UK
Hotels and Guesthouses in Bath UK

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Redesdale Arms Hotel Moreton-in-Marsh

The Redesdale Arms Hotel in Moreton-in-Marsh is a lovely Cotswold stone, 17th century coaching inn. The 3-star hotel offers 24 en-suite rooms each individually furnished and comes highly recommended by many of its guests.

The restaurant makes use of local ingredients including Cotswold meat and locally grown vegetables as well as local game birds and fresh Cornish seafood.

Redesdale Arms Hotel
High Street,
GL56 0AW
Tel: +44 (0) 1608 650308
Google map of the Redesdale Arms Hotel

© Britain-Visitor.com

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Eilmer the Flying Monk

The story of Eilmer the Flying Monk, one of the early pioneers of flight, celebrates 1,000 years this year.

The tale goes that Eilmer, inspired as a youth by the Greek fable of Daedalus, strapped two wings to his arms and legs and tried to fly from the tower of Malmesbury Abbey in 1010. Needless to say, Elmer had a hard landing after covering around 200m, breaking both his legs and walking with a limp thereafter, but he survived and even wanted to try his luck again, blaming his injuries on the lack of a tail.

This account can be found in the Gesta Regum Anglorum written by William of Malmesbury in around 1125.

Since June there have been various events to celebrate the 1000 years of Eilmer's flight and full details can be found on the Malmesbury Council website.

Coming up on the 18th September is the 2009 film "The Flying Monk" directed by New Zealander Matthew Inns at Malmesbury Town Hall. The 25-minute short looks at the life and story of Eilmer the Flying Monk.

© Britain-Visitor.com

Monday, September 13, 2010

Black Bear Inn Moreton-in-Marsh

The Black Bear Inn right on the High Street in Moreton-in-Marsh is a very popular local pub. The Black Bear has a beer garden and offers lunches and evening meals.

The Black Bear is owned by Donnington and is a short walk from Moreton-in-Marsh railway station.

Black Bear
High Street
GL56 0AX
Tel: 01608 650705
Google map of The Black Bear Inn

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Buses From Manchester Airport

Manchester Airport bus terminal has direct buses to a number of local destinations.

Here is a list of local bus services from Manchester Airport.

#18 To The Trafford Centre via Wythenshawe, Baguley, Sale and Stretford
#18 To Altrincham via Hale
#18A To Flixton via Altrincham, Sale and Urmston
#19 From Altrincham via Sale and Wythenshawe
#44 - Gatley - East Didsbury - Fallowfield - Manchester
#43 To Manchester via Wythenshawe, Fallowfield and Rusholme (24 hours a day)
#105 To Manchester city centre via Wythenshawe, Benchill, Sharston, Northenden and Moss Side.
#369 To Stockport via Wythenshawe, Heald Green, Cheadle Hulme, Adswood and Edgeley
#199 To Stockport Express via M56 & M60 Then Hazel Grove, New Mills, Whaley Bridge, Chapel en-le-Frith and Buxton
#200 To Wilmslow, Moss Nook, Styal Village and the National Trust's Quarry Bank Mill.

National Express runs buses to Manchester Airport from Victoria Coach Station via Birmingham.

Track your arrivals and departures from Manchester Airport.

Manchester Airport
5th Floor, Olympic House
Manchester Airport
M90 1QX
Tel: +44 (0) 8712 710 711
Google map of Manchester Airport

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Corinium Museum Cirencester

The imaginative Corinium Museum not far from the parish church of St John the Baptist is a must-see on any visit to Cirencester.

Corinium was the name of the large, provincial capital and flourishing trade centre under the Romans.

The Corinium Museum displays a large collection of Roman and Saxon remains and has a number of fine mosaic pavements. Highlights include Roman stone columns, jewellery and grave stones.

The Saxon gallery holds the reconstructed body of 6th century Anglo-Saxon princess and some of the many treasures buried with her.

The medieval gallery in the Corinium Museum reveals the economic impact that the local wool trade had on the town of Cirencester and its Abbey.

Totally refurbished in 2004, this impressive museum has hands-on exhibits, audio-visual, interactive displays, an interesting shop and can be of particular interest to children and school groups.

The Corinium Museum also has temporary exhibitions featuring arts and crafts, often by local artists.

Corinium Museum
Park Street
Tel: 01285 655 611

Google map of Corinium Museum Cirencester

Friday, September 10, 2010

Anne Hathaway's Cottage

Anne Hathaway's Cottage is a major tourist attraction in the English Midlands.

The family home of Anne Hathaway's father, Richard, the large farmhouse and gardens are located in the village of Shottery about a mile from the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon. The house remained within the Hathaway family and its descendants until 1892 when it was purchased by The Shakspeare Birthplace Trust.

The house today contains many household items and furnishings from Anne's day. The extensive gardens include a sculpture trail and tree garden, with sculptures inspired by Shakespeare's plays and trees mentioned in his work, a traditional orchard, a cottage garden and a peaceful woodland walk. In a specially-made willow cabin visitors can listen to selected sonnets by the great poet.

The gift shop is popular with souvenir-hunting foreign tourists and includes books, tea, ceramics and Shakespeare-themed goods.

Little is known about Anne Hathaway herself. She married William Shakespeare in 1582, when she was 26 and William 18 and while she was pregnant with their first child. The couple had three children in all during their marriage. Shakespeare spent much of his adult life away from Anne in London, but returned to Stratford in later life to live with his wife again, leaving her his "second best bed" in his will - a detail much debated by scholars and other writers searching for clues into their relationship.

Tel: 01789 204016

© Britain-Visitor.com

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Exeter Cathedral Exeter

Exeter Cathedral is formally known as "The Cathedral Church of St. Peter in Exeter". The construction of Exeter Cathedral began in 1112 AD in the Norman style but a major rebuild between 1270 and 1350 converted Exeter Cathedral to the Decorated Gothic style.

Exeter Cathedral Exeter

Exeter Cathedral is well known for the three rows of sculptures decorating its facade (see below). These sculptures are in varying degrees of deterioration.

Exeter Cathedral Exeter

The interior of Exeter Cathedral features the magnificent Bishop's Throne (see below) which is 18 meters tall.

Exeter Cathedral Exeter

Exeter Cathedral is equally well known for its ceiling or "vault" which was designed as a vision of heaven. This vault extends for 96 meters and is the longest of its kind in the world. This style of vaulting is called "tierceron".

Exeter Cathedral Exeter

The vault incorporates round stones called "bosses". The boss in the center below shows the murder of St. Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170.

Exeter Cathedral Exeter

Exeter Cathedral is located in the city of Exeter within the Cathedral Close.
Tel: 01392 285983

© 2010 John Westby