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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Watcombe Beach

Watcombe Beach is a particularly picturesque Devon beach especially on such a fine day as when these images of Watcombe Beach were taken.

The sandy cove at Watcombe Beach is reached by a steep walk from the nearest car park through a lovely wood.

Watcombe Beach is close to Torquay's Oddicombe Beach and can be reached on the #85 bus to Teignmouth from the centre of Torquay. Maidencombe Beach is also nearby, a little to the north, on the same #85 bus route, which goes along the B3119 or Teignmouth Road.

Map of Watcombe Beach

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Cabot Tower Bristol

Cabot Tower is located in a public park in Bristol on Brandon Hill. Cabot Tower was built in red sandstone and cream Bath stone between 1896 and 1898 to commemorate the navigator John Cabot who had set sail from Bristol 400 years earlier in a ship called the Matthew and landed in what was later to become Canada.

The architect of Cabot Tower was William Venn Gough. Cabot Tower boasts a spiral staircase and two viewing platforms which overlook the city. Cabot Tower was closed for repair in 2007, reopening in 2011.

Cabot Tower Bristol

Cabot Tower is located in Brandon Hill Nature Park in Bristol near Bristol University. Visitors to the park may also want to visit the nearby Clifton Suspension Bridge or St Mary Redcliffe Church.

Cabot Tower is free to climb.

Brandon Hill
Great George Street
Harbourside, Bristol

Cabot Tower map

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Jeremy Bentham's Corpse Auto Icon

Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) the great English polymath of the late 18th and early 19th centuries was rigorous in his pursuit of scientific knowledge right up until his death.

The philosopher, jurist and social reformer is known for his theory of what came to be known as utilitarianism summed up in the phrase: "the greatest happiness of the greatest number" and for his invention of the panoptican - a new design for observation in prisons.

A child prodigy, Bentham was educated at Westminster School and Oxford University and was instrumental in the founding of University College London (UCL).

Well ahead of his time, Bentham advocated freedom of expression, equality for women, animal rights and the abolition of capital punishment and slavery. Bentham was to influence and inspire such men as James Mill, his son John Stuart Mill, the author of On Liberty and the proto-socialist reformer Robert Owen.

In his will Bentham left precise instructions on what was to happen to his body after his death. His corpse was to be dissected for an anatomy lecture open to the general public and his inner organs removed. The head and skeleton were to be preserved and dressed in his clothes in a wooden cabinet he designed called the "Auto-icon."

University College London acquired the "Auto-icon" in 1850 and it is on public display in the South Cloisters in the main building of the college. You will need to ask the security guard on the main gate whether you can enter and sign in and out. Around 60,000 manuscripts written by Jeremy Bentham were also given to UCL.

The Auto-icon now has a wax head, while the real head, badly damaged in the embalming process, is stored separately.

Other attractions in London close to UCL by tube, bus or on foot include the British Museum, the Post Office Tower, Russell Square, St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben or farther afield Buckingham Palace.

Take an underground train to any of Euston Square, Euston, Warren Street, Russell Square or Goodge Street tube stations.

UCL Bloomsbury Campus
Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT


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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Somerset Rural Life Museum

The Somerset Rural Life Museum is located in Glastonbury. Visitors to the Abbey Farmhouse can see reconstructed rooms showing the social and domestic life of Victorian Somerset. The Somerset Rural Life Museum also features a tea room and museum shop. 

The centrepiece of the Museum is the fourteenth-century Abbey Barn. The barn and the surrounding farm buildings as well as the courtyard contain displays which showcase local rural activities such as mud horse fishing, peat digging and cider making.

Somerset Rural Life Museum, UK

The Somerset Rural Life Museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday and Bank Holiday Mondays: 10.00am to 5.00pm. Admission is free. Visitors may also want to visit nearby Glastonbury Tor.

Somerset Rural Life Museum
Abbey Farm
Chilkwell Street

Somerset Rural Life Museum map

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Lacock Village

From the time of Henry VIII until 1944, the Talbot family were the landlords of Lacock Village. In 1944, Miss Matilda Talbot gifted Lacock Village to the National Trust. Since that time, the National Trust has attempted to maintain the 17th and 18th century character of the village by avoiding obtrusive modernization.

Lacock Village

Since the middle ages, Lacock Village had been a prosperous wool town known for its sheep and weaving, but that waned with the advent of cheap cotton imports from the United States in the 19th century.

Lacock Village

Visitors to Lacock Village may also want to visit nearby Lacock Abbey, The George Inn or The Red Lion. Lacock Village is located just off the A350 near Chippenham in Wiltshire.

Lacock Village Map

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Friday, June 10, 2011

St Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul's Cathedral in the City of London is a powerful icon of the city up there with such popular London attractions as Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace and Piccadilly Circus.

St. Paul's is, as every British schoolgirl and schoolboy should know, the masterpiece of Sir Christopher Wren and part of his plan for the rebuilding of London following the Great Fire of 1666.

A St. Paul's Cathedral had stood on the spot since 604 and the present building, the fourth, was constructed between 1675 and 1710. St. Paul's stands at the very heart of some momentous occasions in British history including the state funerals of such celebrated warriors as Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Sir Winston Churchill, the Jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria and, of course, the royal wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana took place at St. Paul's as well.

The dome at St Paul's is modelled on that of St. Peter's in Rome and is 108m tall - St. Paul's remained the tallest building in Britain, in fact, until 1962. The cathedral holds the tombs or memorial plaques of a number of famous people including the poet John Donne, The Duke of Wellington, Lord Nelson, Sir Winston Churchill, T. E. Lawrence, Florence Nightingale and Dr. Samuel Johnson, who lived nearby.

St. Paul's sustained bomb damage in World War II but remained in tact as a symbol of British defiance despite a few very close shaves.

South of the River Thames near St. Paul's are Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Tate Modern and the London Eye.

St Paul's Cathedral
Saint Paul's Church Yard
London EC4M 8AD
Tel: 020 7246 8357

The nearest tube stations are St. Paul's on the Central Line and Mansion House on the District & Circle Line.

St Paul's Cathedral Map

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Red Rum Statue Southport

The racehorse Red Rum is an icon of the town of Southport on the north west coast of England.

Born in Ireland, Red Rum won the Grand National at nearby Aintree a record three times and also came in second twice in a stellar career as a steeplechaser.

Trained on the sands and in the sea at Southport, there is a life size statue of the celebrated gelding inside the covered Wayfarers Arcade shopping centre in Southport a short walk towards the sea front from Southport Station.

Red Rum died aged 30 and the horse has a memorial stone at the scene of its greatest triumphs at Aintree race course.

© Britain-Visitor.com

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tennyson Memorial on the Isle of Wight

At the top of Tennyson Down at 147m above sea level, stands a huge granite cross commemorating the life of the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson (see below). Tennyson Down itself is a hill at the western end of the Isle of Wight near Totland. The poet Lord Tennyson lived nearby at Farringdon House for nearly 40 years.

Tennyson Down is part of a chalk ridge which ends with The Needles. The Down is owned and managed by the National Trust. It is open to the public.

Tennyson Memorial on the Isle of Wight

The Tennyson Memorial is located just off the A3055 on the Isle of Wight. Visitors to the Tennyson Memorial may also want to view the nearby Needles.

The Tennyson Memorial Map

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Monday, June 6, 2011

The Needles on the Isle of Wight

The Needles is a row of three chalk formations rising out of the sea at the far western tip of the Isle of Wight, near to Alum Bay. At the end of the row is The Needles Lighthouse which was Built in 1859 and has been automated since 1994.

The Needles on the Isle of Wight, UK.

The Needles takes its name from what used to be a needle-shaped formation called Lot's Wife which collapsed during a storm in 1764. The remaining rocks (see below) are not at all needle-like, but the name remains.

The rocks and lighthouse have become symbols of the Isle of Wight.

The Needles on the Isle of Wight

The Needles Park is located on Route B3322 on the Isle of Wight.

The Needles Park
Totland, Isle Of Wight
PO39 0JD
Tel: 01983 752401

The Needles Map

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dartmoor Stone Gate

We looked at Dartmoor stone walls earlier and some of these walls have gates and stiles allowing public access.

Some of the stones for the gates have been ingeniously cut to allow the wooden gate to fit smoothly. The wooden gate has long gone but the ancient marks in the stone can still be seen.

The tops of the stone walls are covered in some of the 1700 species of lichen found in the British Isles.

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Totnes Houses

Totnes in south Devon has some very beautiful and desirable houses. Property prices in Totnes range from Totnes range from around £135,534 for a 1-bedroom flat to £228,000 for a 2-bedroom house to £480,000 for 4-bedroom houses.

Buyers can pay over a million pounds for detached farmhouses with a couple of acres however!

Situated on the River Dart, Totnes is an easy-going market town - the Elizabeth Market, still takes place on Tuesdays from May to September. Totnes is known for its go-ahead ecological policies and New Age, alternative lifestyle credentials.

Totnes has much to see including Totnes Castle built by the Normans, The Guildhall, originally part of the Benedictine Priory of St Mary founded in 1088, the Museum of Costume, Fashion and Textiles on the High Street and featuring an historic collection of clothes from the mid-17th century to the present day, Totnes Elizabethan Museum and Study Centre, the 16th century Town Mill on Coronation Road, which also includes the Totnes Image Bank and Photographic Archive and the Tourist Information Office.

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wild Flowers On Dartmoor

Dartmoor is one of Britain's few remaining wilderness areas and as such is a haven for wild flowers. Spring is a great time for botanists to ramble the moors.

Widecombe-in-the-Moor is a good area to start on a search for Dartmoor's wild flowers.

Bluebells, foxgloves, orchids, cowslips, dog violets, flax, sedge, rush and lily can all be found on Dartmoor.

Please do not pick any of the wild flowers you may find on Dartmoor.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

UK Road Signs

Road signs in the UK are generally black text on a luminous white background with the odd piece of graffiti thrown in for good measure.

Distances are shown in miles. One British mile is approximately 1.6km. The sign pictured above shows the distances from Lyme Regis to Seaton, Exeter and Sidmouth to the half mile.

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