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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tower Views from St Mary's Oxford

Visitors to The University Church of St Mary the Virgin can climb the tower and see some of the best views in Oxford.

Tower Views from St Mary's Church, Oxford

Another view available to visitors who climb the tower is of the Radcliffe Camera (see below), England's earliest circular library.

Tower Views from St Mary's hurch, Oxford

Perhaps the most spectacular view from the tower is the one below of All Souls College.

Tower Views from St Mary's Church, Oxford

St. Mary's is located on High Street in Oxford and is open daily from 9-5. Admission is free (visitors who want to climb the tower must pay a fee, however).

University Church of St. Mary the Virgin
High Street, Oxford
Tel: 01865 279111

Map of University Church of St. Mary the Virgin

Hotels and Guesthouses in Oxford UK

© Britain-Visitor.com

Friday, April 29, 2011

Palladian Architecture in England

Palladian architecture is an architectural style derived from the designs of the Venetian architect Andrea Palladio (1508–1580). Palladio's work draws on the symmetry and perspective to be found in formal classical temple architecture of the Ancient Greeks and Romans.

Palladianism became popular in Britain during the mid-17th century, and it returned to fashion in the early 18th century.

One famous example of Palladian architecture to be found in England is of Stourhead House (see below).


Another fine example is The Radcliffe Camera in Oxford (see below).

Radcliffe Camera

The city of Bath features many fine examples of Palladian architecture including this bridge at Prior Park Lanscape Garden (see below).

Prior Park

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dr Johnson's House London

Dr Samuel Johnson's House near St Paul's Cathedral and across the River Thames from the Globe Theatre is now a museum dedicated to the great man of English letters and the first lexicographer of the English language.

It was in the garret of this house that Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) compiled his great comprehensive dictionary of the English language.

The house, which is believed to have been built in 1700, has been fully restored and includes period furnishings, paintings, wood panels and a pine staircase. Dr Johnson's House offers educational workshops students from primary school to university.

Other attractions in London in the vicinity of Dr Johnson's House by tube or bus include St Paul's Cathedral, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Pub (Johnson's local) on Fleet Street, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben or farther afield Buckingham Palace.

Dr Johnson's House
17 Gough Square, London, EC4A 3DE
Tel: 020 7353 3745
Open Monday to Saturday
11am to 5.00pm (5.30pm in summer)

Take a tube to Temple (Circle & District Line), Holborn or Chancery Lane (Central Line).

Dr Johnson's House Map

© Britain-Visitor.com

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Peace Pagoda Battersea Park

The Japanese Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park on the south bank of the River Thames was the inspiration of the Reverend Gyoro Nagase from Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture, Japan, who was involved in the construction of the first Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist sect's Peace Pagoda in Milton Keynes in the late 1970s. Nipponzan Myohoji is an offshoot of Nichiren Buddhism.

Moving to London in the mid-1980s, Nagase was instrumental in the construction of another pagoda in Battersea Park.

The 33.5m high Peace Pagoda can be viewed from Chelsea Embankment and Albert Bridge. The pagoda is decorated with four gilded statues of the Buddha on its four sides. There are over 80 such peace pagodas all over the world including one in Vienna, Austria.

Now a well-known spiritual centre, further information on the pagoda can be found here.

Other attractions in London not far from The Peace Pagoda include Big Ben, Westminster Abbey or farther afield Buckingham Palace all on the north side of the Thames.

Peace Pagoda Map

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Radcliffe Camera Oxford

The Radcliffe Camera is a building in Oxford. The Radcliffe Camera was designed by James Gibbs in the English Palladian style and built between 1737–1749 AD to house the Radcliffe Science Library. The Radcliffe Camera is the earliest example in England of a circular library.

Radcliffe Camera Oxford, UK

Visitors to the Radcliffe Camera may also want to visit nearby Merton College or the Ashmolean Museum.

Radcliffe Square
OX1 3
01865 277200

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Malmesbury Abbey Interior

Malmesbury Abbey was founded in 676 AD and completed in 1180 AD. Malmesbury Abbey is a fine example of late and local Romanesque architecture.

When Malmesbury Abbey was built, stone vaulting was just being introduced, and Malmesbury seems to have been designed to have a stone vault. One remarkable feature of Malemesbury Abbey is the plain stone facade which rises above the altar.

Malmesbury Abbey Interior

Visitors to Malmesbury Abbey may also want to visit the nearby market cross or visit the tomb of King Athelstan located inside the abbey.

Malmesbury Abbey
Parish Office
Holloway, Old Squash Court
Malmesbury SN16 9BA
Tel: 01666 826 666

Malmesbury Abbey Map

© Britain-Visitor.com

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Globe Theatre London

The Globe Theatre on the South Bank of the Thames is a faithful reconstruction of Shakespeare's original Globe Theatre (the Bard was a shareholder), which used to stand in the area. The original Globe was built in 1599 and destroyed in a fire in 1613 during a performance of Henry VIII. It was subsequently rebuilt with a tiled roof to protect it from further blazes.

Globe Theatre London

The inspiration behind The Globe theatre you see today is the American actor and director Sam Wanamake who spent 25 years fund-raising and planning the project. Unfortunately, Wanamake died three years before the new Globe was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1997.

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre London

Besides performances of Shakespeare and other dramatists, the Globe is actively involved in Shakespearean research and education.

The theatre includes a shop and bar.

Other attractions in London not far from The Globe Theatre include Westminster Abbey across the river, Big Ben or farther afield Buckingham Palace.

Globe Theatre
21 New Globe Walk
Tel: 020 7902 1400

Globe Theatre Map

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Malmesbury Market Cross

A market cross is a structure which marks a market square in market towns. Market crosses can be found in most market towns in Britain including the market cross in Malmesbury (see below).

Malmesbury's market cross is in the centre of the town. Malmesbury's market cross was built in 1490 AD. Malmesbury's market cross is an elaborately carved octagonal structure, and it is recognised as one of the best preserved in England.

Malmesbury Market Cross

Visitors to the market cross in Malmesbury may also want to view the nearby Malmesbury Abbey and King Athelstan's tomb which is to be found inside the abbey.

Malmesbury Market Cross Map

© Britain-Visitor.com

Friday, April 22, 2011

Castle Combe Market Cross

A market cross is a structure which marks a market square in market towns. Market crosses can be found in most market towns in Britain including the market cross in Castle Combe (see below). Castle Combe's market cross was erected in the 14th century AD when the privilege to hold a weekly market in Castle Combe was granted.

Castle Combe's market cross is located where the town's three principal streets converge. Visitors to Castle Combe may also want to visit nearby St Andrew's Church or Malmesbury Abbey.

Castle Combe Market Cross Map

© 2011 John Westby

Thursday, April 21, 2011

London Eye

London Eye, located on the south bank of the Thames across from Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster, is a 135m-tall Ferris wheel built for the Millennium celebrations of 2000 and initially sponsored by British Airways.

London Eye Illuminated At Night

When it was built the London Eye was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world and it remains the most popular paid tourist attraction in the UK, with visitor numbers over 3.5 million annually, though profitability remains precarious due to the huge costs involved in maintenance and operation.

London Eye, River Thames, England, UK

The London Eye is still the largest Ferris wheel in Europe and was so big it had to be carried in to place by barge on the River Thames.

The London Eye stands outside the old County Hall building part of which is the London Sea Life Aquarium. Jubilee Gardens is close by.

The London Eye's 32 fully sealed and air-conditioned passenger capsules represent the 32 boroughs of London and can carry upto 25 people. The Eye was built in sections and carried to the site by barges on the River Thames.

Visitors to the London Eye may also want to visit the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, or the George Inn in Southwark.

London Eye, South Bank, London, UK


EDF Energy London Eye
Riverside Building
County Hall
Westminster Bridge Road
London SE1 7PB

Waterloo, Embankment, Charing Cross and Westminster are the nearest Tube stations. By London bus take any one of numbers 211, 77 or 381.

London Eye

January - March; daily 10.00am - 8.30pm
April to June; daily 10.00am - 9.00pm
July and August; daily 10.00am - 9.30pm
September to December; daily 10.00am - 8.30pm

London Eye seen from Westminster, UK

London Eye Map

© 2011 Britain Visitor

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859), the great Victorian engineer, built the Great Western railway (see below). STEAM Museum of the Great Western Railway pays homage to Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Steam Museum of the Great Western Railway

Isambard Kingdom Brunel also conceived and designed the SS Great Britain (see below), which has been called "The World's First Great Ocean Liner". Brunel's conception included the revolutionary combination of a screw propeller, an iron hull, and a massive 1000-horsepower steam engine, and this combination revolutionized international travel. So groundbreaking was the design that in 1843 when the SS Great Britain was launched, she was called "the greatest experiment since the Creation".

SS Great Britain

Clifton Suspension Bridge (see below) was also designed by the then 24-year-old Isambard Kingdom Brunel who had been declared the winner of a design contest for the bridge and was appointed project engineer - his first major commission.

Work on the bridge began in 1831 but was interrupted for financial reasons, and the bridge wasn't completed until 1864, after Brunel's own death in 1859.

Clifton Suspension Bridge

© 2011 John Westby & Britain-Visitor.com

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Shambles York

The Shambles district of York dates back to a 14th century meat market in the area and is known for its picturesque narrow streets and overhanging timber-framed buildings.

The Shambles in York was voted "Britain's Most Picturesque Street 2010" in a contest sponsored by the internet search giant Google.

Of historic interest in the Shambles area is the home of Margaret Clitherow, arrested in 1586 for harbouring Catholic priests and allowing the Mass to be performed on her property. The unfortunate Margaret was duly condemned to death by the authorities of the day by pressing with a heavy stone for her "religious crimes".

The Punch Bowl pub is an historic drinking venue near the Shambles area dating from the 18th century. This pub has stood at the corner of Blossom Street and Nunnery Lane since 1770.

The Shambles is a reasonably short walk from York Station, the National Railway Museum and York Minster.

The Shambles York, northern England

The Shambles York.

The Shambles York UK.

The Shambles York.

© Britain-Visitor.com

Monday, April 18, 2011

King Athelstan's Tomb

King Athelstan's Tomb is located in Malmesbury Abbey. The tomb itself is empty but Malmesbury Abbey is the place where he chose to be buried. King Athelstan was the favorite grandson of King Alfred the Great. King Athelstan died in 939 AD.

King Athelstan's Tomb

Malmesbury Abbey is located within sight of the long stay car park in Malmesbury. Visitors to Malmesbury Abbey may also want to visit nearby Cirencester Park or Tetbury.

Malmesbury Abbey
Parish Office
Holloway, Old Squash Court
Malmesbury SN16 9BA
Tel: 01666 826 666

Malmesbury Abbey Map

© 2011 John Westby & Britain-Visitor.com

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Weston Festival

Weston Festival or 'WestFest' will be held on Saturday, 30 April 2011 from 11am to 5pm to celebrate the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The event will be held on Weston High Street which will be closed to traffic. Weather permitting, parking will be available at the Weston Recreation Ground.

Weston Festival

Weston Festival will feature food and refreshments as well as market stalls selling local foods and items. The Old Crown Pub will have a street barbecue and the King's Head Pub will feature live music. There will be maypole dancing for all as well.

Weston Festival

Weston is located in western Bath, and WestFest will be located on Weston High Street. Visitors to WestFest may also want to visit the nearby Roman Baths or Primrose Hill Community Woodland.

Weston High Street Map

© 2011 John Westby

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Britain's Oldest Door

Britain's oldest door is thought to be the one pictured below in Westminster Abbey in Westminster, London.

The oak door is thought to date from the 1050s and was made for the Saxon King Edward the Confessor, the founder of Westminster Abbey.

Britain's Oldest Door

Animal hide has been found on the door and there was a legend that the skin on the door was human in origin, a theory found to be false by modern archeologists.

Britain's oldest door is thought to have been made from a tree that grew in Essex and has five panels and is 6 foot 5 inches high and 4 foot wide.

Westminster Abbey is located just west of the Palace of Westminster. Visitors to Westminster Abbey may also want to visit nearby Big Ben or Buckingham Palace.

Westminster Abbey
20 Dean's Yard
London SW1P 3PA
Tel: 020 7222 5152

Westminster Abbey Map

© Britain-Visitor.com

Friday, April 15, 2011


Cardiff (Caerdydd), the Welsh capital, with a population of around 336,000 people, is the administrative, economic and cultural centre of Wales.

Cardiff, Wales, UK

Cardiff is situated in the south east of Wales on the River Taff, close to the Bristol Channel. The easy access of the town to the sea and the adjacent coalfields of south Wales underlined the city's growth and prosperity, as it's dock area Tiger Bay became the largest coal port in the world around the turn of the 20th century.

National Museum Cardiff

Cardiff has enjoyed something of a renaissance of late after the slump of the 1970s and 1980s caused by the contraction in the mining industry. The city is now a major center for tourism, education, finance and media and the construction of such landmark buildngs as the Millennium Stadium and the National Assembly of Wales (Senedd) have given the city a new confidence and international standing.

Cardiff City Hall

The city's many attractions include the impressive National Museum Cardiff, Cardiff City HallCardiff Castle, Clock Tower and Castle Apartments.

Cardiff Map

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

St Andrew's Church Castle Combe

St Andrew's Church Castle Combe (see below, second image) was founded in the 13th century, but the church building has been extended over time. The nave was added in the 14th century, and the tower was started in 1434 but finished in the 16th century.

Castle Combe

In the 1850's, the church fell into disrepair and had to be rebuilt. Visitors to the interior of the church can see fan vaulting reminiscent of Bath Abbey. At the base of the tower, visitors can see the faceless clock which was probably made by a local blacksmith. That clock is among the oldest working clocks in England.

St Andrew's Church Castle Combe

Visitors to St Andrew's Church Castle Combe can also see the picturesque churchyard (see below).

St Andrew's Church Castle Combe

St Andrew's Church is located on West Street in Castle Combe. Visitors to St Andrew's Church may also want to visit the nearby Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Tetbury or Cirencester Park.

St Andrew's Church
West Street
Castle Combe
SN14 7HT

Castle Combe

St Andrew's Church Castle Combe Map

© Britain-Visitor.com

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Flight Arrivals & Departures From Stansted Airport

Stansted Airport is one of the four major airports serving the London area. Heathrow, Gatwick and the City of London Airport are the others.

Stansted Airport serves many budget and charter flights mainly to Europe including flights by Ryanair, EasyJet and Air Berlin.

Domestic flights fly to Belfast, Edinburgh, and Glasgow.

Hotels at Stansted Airport include Hilton London Stansted Airport Hotel and Radisson Blu Stansted Airport Hotel.

To get to Stansted Airport take the Stansted Express from London Liverpool Street, which runs every 15 minutes and takes 45 minutes.

National Express East Anglia trains run from Stansted Airport to Stratford in East London) via the Lea Valley.

Coaches operate to Stansted Airport from Baker Street, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street, Stratford and Victoria.

Stansted Airport
Enterprise House
Bassingbourn Road
CM24 1QW
Tel: +44 (0) 844 335 1803
Google map of Stansted Airport

© Britain-Visitor.com

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ye Shakespeare Bristol

Ye Shakespeare is a pub near the city centre of Bristol. The pub is located in a Tudor style building dating from 1636. The pub has wooden beam ceilings and two bars. Ye Shakespeare serves a range of real ales.

Ye Shakespeare Bristol

Ye Shakespeare is located on Victoria Street in the Redcliffe area of Bristol. Visitors to Ye Shakespeare may also want to visit the nearby St Mary Redcliffe Parish Church or Bristol Temple Meads Station.

Ye Shakespeare
78 Victoria Street
Tel: 0117 949 7708

Ye Shakespeare Map

© Britain-Visitor.com

Monday, April 11, 2011

Three Castles

The "Three Castles" refers to White Castle (see below), Skenfrith Castle (see second photo below), and Grosmont Castle (see bottom photo below) in South Wales.

The castles are grouped together as they were usually under the control of a single lord in the Monnow Valley in what is now present-day Monmouthshire.

The castles were built to secure the trade route through the valley and as a watchpost against the Welsh.

White Castle

The Three Castles were often granted as a set to a favourite lord by the ruling king of the time. Hubert de Burgh in the 13th century undertook a variety of improvements to the fortresses, upgrades that can still be seen today.

Skenfrith Castle

White Castle is located between the B4521 and the B4233 east of Abergavenny in Monmouthshire, Wales; Skenfrith Castle is situated 6 miles northwest of Monmouth on the north side of the B4521, and Grosmont Castle is located in Grosmont, Monmouthshire very near the present English / Welsh border, approximately 8 miles northeast of Abergavenny. Grosmont Castle is just off the B4347.

Grosmont Castle

The Three Castles Walk is a public path that takes in the Three Castles on a 19 mile (30 km) circular route.
Visitors to the Three Castles may also want to visit nearby Tintern Abbey, or Caerleon.

White Castle Map

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Sunday, April 10, 2011


Corsham on the fringes of the Cotswolds in Wiltshire is an historic market town with much to see and do.

Corsham Court

The present day town has a population of just over 10,000 people and its prosperity was built on the back of local agriculture and the wool trade, allied to its strategic location on the London-Bristol turnpike. Nowadays the Ministry of Defence is a major employer and the period buildings and Bath Stone quarries are often used as locations for film and TV productions.

The town is also associated with Charles Dickens' Pickwick Papers - as the small village of Pickwick featured in the book is now incorporated within Corsham.

Famous previous residents of Corsham include Camilla Parker Bowles and her first husband, Andrew Parker Bowles, who lived at Middlewick House from 1986 to 1995.

The Royal Oak

Places of interest in Corsham include The Royal Oak pub, the 16th century manor house and grounds of Corsham Court, The Almshouses, built by Dame Margaret Hungerford, wife of Sir Edward Hungerford, Commander of Cromwell's Forces in Wiltshire, in 1668, the lovely 12th century Saint Bartholomew's Church, or another pub The Flemish Weaver.

Corsham Map

© Britain-Visitor.com

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Finsbury Park Mosque

North London Central Mosque, maybe better known as Finsbury Park Mosque (its former name) is a mosque serving the large and diverse Muslim community of north London, made up largely of people with origins in the predominately Islamic countries of North Africa, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia.

Infamous during the 1990s as the power base of the radical Egyptian Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri and the epitome of the tabloid press depiction of the UK's capital as "Londonistan", the mosque was opened in 1994 in a ceremony attended by Prince Charles.

The mosque is close to Finsbury Park tube station on the Piccadilly and Victoria Lines, as well as a short walk or cycle from Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.

North London Central Mosque
5 St Thomas Road
Finsbury Park
N4 2QH

Finsbury Park Mosque Map

© Britain-Visitor.com

Friday, April 8, 2011

Westminster Abbey London

The real name of Westminster Abbey is 'The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster'. Westminster Abbey is a large, mostly Gothic church, in Westminster, London.

Westminster Abbey's history may date to the time of Mellitus (624 AD), Bishop of London. It is known, however, that in the 960s or early 970s, Saint Dunstan, assisted by King Edgar, installed a community of monks in the Abbey. A stone abbey was built on the site around 1045–1050 by King Edward the Confessor. Since the coronations of both King Harold and William the Conqueror in 1066, coronations of English and British monarchs have been held in the Abbey.

Prince William and Kate Middleton have chosen to marry at Westminster Abbey on 29 April 2011.

Westminster Abbey

Visitors to Westminster Abbey can also view the cloisters (see below).

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey claims to contain Britain's oldest door (see below).

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is located just west of the Palace of Westminster. Visitors to Westminster Abbey may also want to visit nearby Big Ben or Buckingham Palace.

Westminster Abbey
20 Dean's Yard
London SW1P 3PA
Tel: 020 7222 5152

Westminster Abbey Map

© Britain-Visitor.com