A Travellerspoint blog

Sampling the Delights of Devon.

A taste of Torquay and Plymouth.

sunny

After leaving Liverpool, we headed to Crewe for two nights. This time we stayed in a house with up and down stairs and a backyard. Our first day there the rain was torrential. A friend who lives in Cheadle Hulme came to spend the day with us and we decided to eat in a nearby restaurant called A Passage to India. Next day the sun had reappeared. Peter, his brother and a friend all went to watch Walsall lose to Crewe Alexandra while I sat in the backyard and wrote up my Liverpool blog with the sound of the football match in the background. That night I cooked - some vegetable content back in our life at last. We had been having too much pub food.

After the storm.

After the storm.

Football Ground.

Football Ground.

Our Front Room.

Our Front Room.

Our Kitchen.

Our Kitchen.

Our Bedroom.

Our Bedroom.

Our Backyard.

Our Backyard.

Our Backyard.

Our Backyard.

Off to the match.

Off to the match.

After Crewe we headed to Birmingham for the last part of our holiday. We checked into the Adagio Apart hotel, which I love as it has coin operated washing machines and dryers, cooking facilities in your room and, unless you ask for it and pay extra, no maid service, so you are left in total peace. Bliss! We spent our time eating, watching TV and shopping for the first couple of nights. On the Thursday we met up with three friends and drove to the Village of Knowle where we ate lunch in the Black Boy Pub, sitting on the banks of a lovely canal. The Black Boy is called after King Charles II as this was the nickname his mother gave him since his hair and eyes were very dark. The pub dates from 1793. On the way to Knowle we were driving along the road when a badger suddenly ran out in front of us. Fortunately, we didn't hit it. This was exciting for me because this was the first time in my life I have ever seen a badger.

The Black Boy Pub.

The Black Boy Pub.

The Black Boy Pub.

The Black Boy Pub.

The Black Boy Pub.

The Black Boy Pub.

The Black Boy Pub.

The Black Boy Pub.

The Black Boy Pub.

The Black Boy Pub.

The Black Boy Pub.

The Black Boy Pub.

Street Art, Birmingham.

Street Art, Birmingham.

Next day we took the train to Torquay where we would spend one night in a bed and breakfast called The Crown Lodge. The scenery when we reached Devon was lovely as we travelled along the coast for much of the way. The weather was also fantastic. No wonder this area is called the English Riviera.

We arrived at Torquay Station way too early to check in so we took a walk along the sea front. I suddenly realised there were people in swimming and since I love swimming and hadn't had a chance to swim since I left Hong Kong, I decided to join them. My swimming costume was in my rucksack but I didn't have a towel. I decided just to swim anyway and try and dry in the sun. To be honest it was pretty freezing getting in, but once in, it was lovely. Another good thing was we could swim off some stone steps rather than getting covered in sand. On a previous attempt to swim in the sea off the Isle of Arran I lasted less than five minutes. This time I swam for at least twenty and could happily have kept going.

Torquay Station.

Torquay Station.

Torquay Station.

Torquay Station.

Torquay Station.

Torquay Station.

Torquay Station.

Torquay Station.

Braving the waves.

Braving the waves.

Braving the waves.

Braving the waves.

On the Waterfront.

On the Waterfront.

On the Waterfront.

On the Waterfront.

On the Waterfront.

On the Waterfront.

On the Waterfront.

On the Waterfront.

On the Waterfront.

On the Waterfront.

After swimming we walked further along the front then headed towards our B and B. It turned out to be rather a long walk from where we had ended up. It wouldn't have been too bad if we'd started straight from the station, and not only was our route long it also involved hills and lots of traffic on pavementless roads. Oh well, we got there in the end. When we walked straight into the centre later on we were surprised how close it really was.

Our Room.

Our Room.

After check in we walked back into town via the grounds of Torre Abbey. Torre Abbey was founded in 1196 as a monastery for Premonstratensian
or White Canons, an order of monks following the path of austerity and seclusion. The abbey is now a museum and art gallery.

Torre Abbey.

Torre Abbey.

Torre Abbey.

Torre Abbey.

Torre Abbey.

Torre Abbey.

Torre Abbey.

Torre Abbey.

Swan Gate.

Swan Gate.

Inspired by my earlier enjoyment of my swim and now armed with a towel, we took a second refreshing dip in the sea. The tide had gone out quite a bit and the water was much shallower than during my first swim. We emerged just as the sun was starting to go down and quickly dried and dressed before it got too cold. We then walked along the seafront towards the English Riviera Wheel, pier and harbour. I just read that the wheel has now been dismantled for the summer season and will be sent to Riyadh for a festival there. Behind the wheel lies the Winter Garden, the marina and the centre of Torquay. We only really had time to look at the pier. Time was waring on and we needed something to eat As we walked along looking for restaurants the sun was starting to paint the sky orange.

Back to the beach.

Back to the beach.

Peter's turn to be fearless.

Peter's turn to be fearless.

Peter's turn to be fearless.

Peter's turn to be fearless.

Along the front.

Along the front.

Sand Art.

Sand Art.

Along the front.

Along the front.

On the pier.

On the pier.

On the pier.

On the pier.

On the pier.

On the pier.

On the pier.

On the pier.

On the pier.

On the pier.

The English Riviera Wheel.

The English Riviera Wheel.

Sunset.

Sunset.

Sunset.

Sunset.

We decided we'd stop in an outdoor restaurant called the Seabank Cafe that advertised fish and chips. It was licensed so we could enjoy beer and cider with it. I had fish and chips, the batter was very light and crisp. Peter had steak and kidney pie. It was close to the restaurant's closing time when we arrived so we just made it. It stopped serving at 8pm. After the meal we walked home. Some areas along the front were nicely lit up as was Torre Abbey.

Food.

Food.

Food.

Food.

Cheers.

Cheers.

Cheers.

Cheers.

Torquay by night.

Torquay by night.

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Torquay by night.

Next day we took a train from Torre Station to Newton Abbot, then changed to a very crowded train to Plymouth. On arrival we met up with Peter's brother, a fellow football fanatic, and went for a drink in a bar in the students' area right next to Plymouth University. The bar was called James Street Vaults. It had a good selection of beer, a pool table, a special offer on pizza and a pint, free wifi and friendly service.

James Street Vaults.

James Street Vaults.

James Street Vaults.

James Street Vaults.

After the drink Peter and Richard headed to the football ground while I headed along Armada Way to sample the sights of Plymouth. Plymouth seemed to be having an Elmer the Elephant Festival and there were lots of little elephant models everywhere.

Elmer.

Elmer.

Elmer.

Elmer.

Elmer.

Elmer.

Elmer.

Elmer.

Elmer.

Elmer.

The first building of interest I came across was Plymouth Guild Hall. This building was designed by Norman and Hine of Plymouth and was built between 1870 and 1874. It was bombed during the Plymouth Blitz in the Second World War. It was rebuilt between 1951 and 1959. I did not go inside the building. I loved the statues of craftsmen adorning the building's walls.

Guild Hall.

Guild Hall.

Guild Hall.

Guild Hall.

Guild Hall.

Guild Hall.

Guild Hall.

Guild Hall.

Guild Hall.

Guild Hall.

Behind the Guild Hall there was an attractive looking church so I went to take a look. It was called The Minster Church of St Andrew and dated from the mid to late fifteenth century. Outside it there was a lovely statue of Andrew, the fisherman, casting his nets across the waters.

The Minster Church of St Andrew.

The Minster Church of St Andrew.

Next I returned to Armada Way and continued on to Plymouth Hoe. Plymouth Hoe is a large grassy, statue-filled park situated on the edge of cliffs with beautiful views over Plymouth Sound and Drake's Island. The name Plymouth Hoe comes from the Anglo-Saxon word for a sloping ridge. Plymouth Hoe is where Sir Francis Drake finished his famous game of bowls in 1588 before fighting the Spanish Armada. Next to the Hoe stands a massive stone fortress - the Royal Citadel. There are several landmarks on the Hoe. One of these is a lighthouse called Smeaton's Tower. It is possible to climb up this for views. Close to the water there's the wonderful Tinside Pool, a recently restored lido dating from the 1930s. The Hoe also has a statue of Sir Francis Drake by Joseph Boehm which was placed here in 1884. There are also several war memorials on the Hoe. The biggest one commemorates those in the Royal Navy who died in the world wars. It was created by Robert Lorimer in 1924. Another memorial is the Armada Memorial which was built in 1888 to celebrate the defeat of the Spanish Armada. The memorial is made of granite and has a statue of Britannia on top. I also found a weird statue called Beatle bums which shows where the Beatles once sat and posed for a picture on the Hoe.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Smeaton's Tower.

Smeaton's Tower.

Britannia.

Britannia.

War Memorials.

War Memorials.

Lido.

Lido.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Citadel.

Citadel.

Citadel.

Citadel.

Citadel.

Citadel.

Memorial.

Memorial.

Memorial.

Memorial.

Memorial.

Memorial.

Smeaton's Tower.

Smeaton's Tower.

Memorial.

Memorial.

Memorial.

Memorial.

Beatle Bums.

Beatle Bums.

The Memorial.

The Memorial.

After exploring the Hoe. I walked along the front of the citadel and round to the Barbican area. The Barbican is the western and northern side of Sutton Harbour, which is Plymouth's original harbour. This area came through the Plymouth Blitz with relatively little destruction, so still contains cobbled streets and historical buildings. Nowadays it is also home to Plymouth aquarium, many restaurants and bars and a distillery which makes Plymouth gin. When the pilgrims set sail for a new life in the Americas, they boarded the Mayflower from this area.

The Barbican.

The Barbican.

The Barbican.

The Barbican.

The Barbican.

The Barbican.

The Barbican.

The Barbican.

The Barbican.

The Barbican.

After visiting the Barbican I made my way back towards the station. On route I passed a Scandinavian type church, which was the Unitarian Church, and noted the beautiful blue skies above me.

Unitarian Church.

Unitarian Church.

Summer Sky.

Summer Sky.

Of course this holiday was not the luckiest and it ended like this. I met up with Peter at the station and I'd bought us a picnic for our direct train back to Birmingham. I was looking forward to enjoying a pleasant meal while watching the beautiful scenery pass by. We should have arrived back in Birmingham at 9:30 pm. Instead we found the train had been cancelled. No matter how we looked at it we could only get as far as Bristol and then we would be stuck. We asked for help from rail staff who told us: ' You can only get as far as Bristol and then you'll have to ask members of staff.' So we did not enjoy the journey; we worried throughout it and when we finally reached Bristol we were frazzled. Eventually we were placed on a replacement bus and arrived back in our hotel room at 1am. Shouldn't have mattered but we were flying next day. Fortunately we had a late check out so we could still have a long lie, a leisurely breakfast and pack. We flew back to Hong Kong from Manchester Airport. We consumed several beers and wines in the airport lounge and spent much of the flight asleep and that was the end of our summer holiday 2019.

Cheers.

Cheers.

Cheers.

Cheers.

Posted by irenevt 07:56 Archived in England Comments (6)

Living it up in Luscious Liverpool.

all seasons in one day

This is our second visit to Liverpool. On our first visit we were very impressed with this city. It's one of the UK's former industrial cities that has reinvented itself successfully. On our second visit we were no less impressed. Liverpool really is lovely with friendly people and lots to see and do.

On our arrival day the weather was fairly awful. We had got soaked getting from our hotel in Walsall to the train station and it was still raining, though not quite as torrentially, when we got to Liverpool. We were staying in the Ibis Hotel which is quite conveniently located near the Albert Dock Area. The first thing we did was walk to our hotel and check in.

Our Room.

Our Room.

Despite the bad weather, we decided to take a walk down to the Albert Dock. This is nowadays known as The Royal Albert Dock. This area dates from 1846 and originally consisted of a mixture of dock buildings and warehouses that enabled ships' cargoes to be loaded and unloaded straight from the warehouse. The area was designed by Jesse Hartley and Philip Hardwick. The Albert Dock was built using only cast iron, brick and stone, no structural part of it was made of wood. Therefore, it was the first non-combustible warehouse complex in the world. In its heyday this would have been a bustling place, but the docks later went into decline. In the 1980s, fortunately, this area was regenerated. It now consists of restaurants, cafes and museums. There are also many statues dotted around. Among the statues we found one of Billy Fury, the Liverpool born singer of 'Halfway to Paradise'. There's also one of an Irish immigrant family arriving in Liverpool during the famine and one of a working horse that would have pulled wagons laden down with goods.

The Albert Dock.

The Albert Dock.

The Albert Dock.

The Albert Dock.

The Albert Dock.

The Albert Dock.

The Albert Dock.

The Albert Dock.

The Albert Dock.

The Albert Dock.

The Albert Dock.

The Albert Dock.

Immigrants Statue.

Immigrants Statue.

Anchor outside Maritime|Slave Museum.

Anchor outside Maritime|Slave Museum.

Working Horse.

Working Horse.

Billy Fury.

Billy Fury.

Ice-Cream Van.

Ice-Cream Van.

Ice-Cream Van.

Ice-Cream Van.

From the Albert Dock we wandered along to Pier Head. One of the very colourful Mersey ferries was just heading out across the river towards Birkenhead. We had a quick look at the ferry office but would have to say the one in Birkenhead, which we visited last year, was more interesting. Not far from the ferry office there's a fantastic statue of the Beatles. I don't remember this from our first visit. Boy those Beatles were tall! Just checked and this statue dates from 2015, so still fairly new. There is also a statue of Captain F.J. Walker, a hero of the Battle of the Atlantic.

This area is home to the Museum of Liverpool and Liverpool's famous Three Graces: the Royal Liver Building, the Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building. The Royal Liver Building has two Liver Birds on its roof. These are the symbol of Liverpool. The one facing inland represents the sailors heading out to sea and the one facing the river represents their wives staying behind on the docks. The Liver Building was designed by Walter Aubrey Thomas. It opened in 1911 as the home of Royal Liver Assurance. Legend states that if the Liver Birds on the roof should ever fly away, Liverpool will cease to exist. Next door is the Cunard building. This was built between 1914 and 1917 and was the headquarters of the well-known Cunard Cruise Line. The third grace is the Port of Liverpool Building which opened in 1907 as the headquarters of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board. There are a couple of statues in this area, too, such as, the Cunard War Memorial dedicated to company members who died in the wars and an equestrian statue of Edward VII.

The Museum of Liverpool.

The Museum of Liverpool.

Captain F.J. Walker statue.

Captain F.J. Walker statue.

Mersey Ferry.

Mersey Ferry.

Mersey Ferry Building.

Mersey Ferry Building.

Mersey Ferry Building.

Mersey Ferry Building.

The Three Graces.

The Three Graces.

The Three Graces.

The Three Graces.

The Beatles.

The Beatles.

The Beatles.

The Beatles.

The Beatles.

The Beatles.

Liver Bird.

Liver Bird.

Cunard War Memorial.

Cunard War Memorial.

Edward VII.

Edward VII.

That evening we ate in a Wetherspoons yet again. Next day the sun had appeared again and we began the day by heading out to visit Liverpool's two cathedrals. On route we stumbled upon the bombed out Church of St Luke. This was a great find as we did not even know it existed. Outside the church was a lovely statue of the famous football match between Britain and Germany during a Christmas Day truce in 1914. The statue is called All Together Now and was designed by Andy Edwards. There were also memorials to those killed in the Irish famine and to the people of Malta receiving the George Cross. St Luke's Church was built between 1811 and 1832, and was designed by the two John Fosters - father and son. The church was almost destroyed in the 1941 Blitz on Liverpool when it was hit by an incendiary bomb. Instead of demolishing the building, its outer shell has been preserved. Apparently theatre events, concerts, exhibitions and other forms of entertainment take place here. I liked the fact that a couple of fragments of the church's stain glass windows had survived as had many gargoyles on the church's exterior walls.

All Together Now.

All Together Now.

All Together Now.

All Together Now.

George Cross Memorial.

George Cross Memorial.

St Luke's Church.

St Luke's Church.

St Luke's Church.

St Luke's Church.

St Luke's Church.

St Luke's Church.

St Luke's Church.

St Luke's Church.

Gargoyles.

Gargoyles.

Gargoyles.

Gargoyles.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, which is also known as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, is the Catholic Cathedral of Liverpool. The cathedral was designed by architect, Frederick Gibberd. It's a very modern building, circular in shape, with a high spiky cylinder on top. Construction began in 1962 and was completed in 1967. I found the cathedral very beautiful inside with the different colours of light streaming in from the roof. I also liked the artwork on display as I walked around the building.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

After visiting the Metropolitan Cathedral, we walked to the Anglican Cathedral. On route we passed a monument made out of suitcases and the Philharmonic theatre and hotel. The suitcase monument was called 'Case History'. It was created by John King in 1998. It consists of suitcases of people who had a connection with this area such as Arthur Askey, Paul McCartney and Charles Dickens.

Case History.

Case History.

Case History.

Case History.

Philharmonic Hotel.

Philharmonic Hotel.

Philharmonic Theatre.

Philharmonic Theatre.

Liverpool Cathedral is Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral. It was built in 1904. Like the other cathedral it is beautiful inside. Outside it there is a lovely old graveyard.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral.

In the graveyard.

In the graveyard.

In the graveyard.

In the graveyard.

After the cathedral we walked down to Chinatown, home to the oldest Chinese community in Europe. It had a lovely entrance archway.

Chinatown.

Chinatown.

Chinatown.

Chinatown.

Chinatown.

Chinatown.

Chinatown.

Chinatown.

Chinatown.

Chinatown.

After Chinatown we returned to the Albert Dock and visited the Maritime Museum and Museum of Slavery. This had exhibitions on slavery as a lot of Liverpool's prosperity in the past came from its role in the slave trade. There were also exhibitions on customs and excise, the Titanic, the Mauritania and the Lusitania.

Slave Museum.

Slave Museum.

Slave Museum.

Slave Museum.

Slave Museum.

Slave Museum.

Slave Museum.

Slave Museum.

Slave Museum.

Slave Museum.

Slave Museum.

Slave Museum.

Slave Museum.

Slave Museum.

Shipping Poster.

Shipping Poster.

Shipping Poster.

Shipping Poster.

Shipping Poster.

Shipping Poster.

Items from luxury liners.

Items from luxury liners.

Items from luxury liners.

Items from luxury liners.

The Captain of the Titanic..

The Captain of the Titanic..

Masthead.

Masthead.

View from the museum.

View from the museum.

That evening we ate in the Baltic Quarter in a pub called the Baltic Fleet. The pub was shaped like a ship. It had some traditional Liverpool dishes. I had a stew called scouse. Apparently the word scouse comes from a kind of Norwegian stew. Peter had a cod dog which is a long piece of breaded fish in a hotdog roll. After that it was back to the Ibis for our free drink which we get for being Accor members.

The Baltic Fleet.

The Baltic Fleet.

The Baltic Fleet.

The Baltic Fleet.

The Baltic Fleet.

The Baltic Fleet.

The Baltic Fleet.

The Baltic Fleet.

Drinks in the Ibis.

Drinks in the Ibis.

Next day we were getting ready to leave. It was pouring again. We had a quick look at the nearby Nordic Church which is actually called the Gustaf Adolfs Kyrka. This was created for Scandinavian sailors. It is shaped like a traditional wooden Swedish stave church but made of bricks. It also had a strange half sized spire. Unfortunately we could not get inside as it was closed.

The Nordic Church.

The Nordic Church.

The Nordic Church.

The Nordic Church.

Just before leaving we went for a drink in the Midland Bar. I left Peter with his drink and had a wander near the station where I came across St George's Hall and St John's Garden.

The Midland Bar.

The Midland Bar.

St George's Hall.

St George's Hall.

St John's Gardens.

St John's Gardens.

St John's Gardens.

St John's Gardens.

Posted by irenevt 14:20 Archived in England Comments (8)

Back in Lovely Lancaster.

This time with a bit of sunshine.

sunny

We are both rather fond of Lancaster. It is a member of our list of places we might retire to. We've visited several times before and I've already done a Lancaster page. This was the first time we actually stayed overnight there, so we could explore at leisure and for once the sun was out. Yippie!!

We stayed in the Royal Hotel and Bar which turned out to be quite pleasant and friendly. Our bed was very comfortable and I would have had an excellent night's sleep but for an overnight rainstorm that beat down torrentially against our windows and woke me up in the middle of the night.

Our room.

Our room.

We began this visit with a walk along the Lancaster Canal as this is something we have not done before. This was very enjoyable and felt pretty safe as there were lots of people around. The scenery was nice, too. There were lots of ducks and houses with well kept gardens right on the water. The Lancaster Canal was originally supposed to run from Westhoughton in Lancashire to Kendal in South Cumbria, but it was never finished, and now has largely become part of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. We also noticed that this was a good place to photograph Lancaster Cathedral. It's tricky to photograph it from the road. Lancaster Cathedral is also known as The Cathedral Church of St Peter. This was a Roman Catholic church until 1924, when it was made into a cathedral. It was designed by E. G. Paley.

The Lancaster Canal.

The Lancaster Canal.

The Lancaster Canal.

The Lancaster Canal.

The Lancaster Canal.

The Lancaster Canal.

The Lancaster Canal.

The Lancaster Canal.

The Lancaster Canal.

The Lancaster Canal.

After a while we left the canal and headed for the River Lune. We took some photos with the rather attractive Millennium Bridge, skilfully avoiding the building site behind it. The Millennium Bridge is a single stayed foot bridge which dates from 2001.

River Lune.

River Lune.

River Lune.

River Lune.

River Lune.

River Lune.

River Lune.

River Lune.

From the river we took the footpath to the priory and castle. The Priory and Parish Church of St Mary mainly dates from the fifteenth century. However, it was founded earlier in 1094 by Roger of Poitou. He was a relative of William the Conqueror. He also founded Lancaster Castle, which is located next to the priory. The castle has had quite a dark history. It was the site of the Pendle witch trials and was once used as a gaol. I also nipped down to take some pictures of the Judges House, too. The severity of some of the sentences handed out here in the past earned Lancaster the nickname ' the hanging town'.

Lancaster Priory.

Lancaster Priory.

Outside the priory.

Outside the priory.

Lancaster Castle.

Lancaster Castle.

Lancaster Castle.

Lancaster Castle.

Lancaster Castle.

Lancaster Castle.

Lancaster Castle.

Lancaster Castle.

Way to Judges' House.

Way to Judges' House.

Way to Judges' House.

Way to Judges' House.

Judges' House.

Judges' House.

View from steps of Judges' House.

View from steps of Judges' House.

As seems to be becoming a habit with us nowadays, that evening we had an excellent meal in the local Wetherspoons. I had fish and chips; Peter had Wiltshire ham, egg and chips. Then we decided to have a nightcap in our hotel bar. They were having a board game evening which was well attended by several serious minded individuals. The atmosphere of the pub was pretty quiet and relaxing. No loud music, no Neds.

Bar in our hotel.

Bar in our hotel.

Next day we had some chores to do. Peter had researched some places we might retire to in the town and we viewed these from the outside.

After that we strolled around a few sites of the historic centre such as Market Street with its museum, some churches, the town hall and the Queen Victoria statue. Market Street is home to Lancaster Museum housed in the old town hall. It's also in the shopping heart of Lancaster. The Queen Victoria statue is located in Dalton Square in front of the New Town Hall. The Queen Victoria Statue was erected in 1906 and was paid for by James Williamson, 1st Baron Ashton.

The Old Town Hall.

The Old Town Hall.

Near Market Street.

Near Market Street.

Dalton Square.

Dalton Square.

Dalton Square.

Dalton Square.

Dalton Square.

Dalton Square.

Dalton Square.

Dalton Square.

Then it was time to leave. Just before our train we went to Merchants near the station for an excellent Stowford Press cider. As a special surprise Peter had booked us on first class on our train down to Birmingham New Street, so we had comfortable seats, table service, wine and snacks. Luxury!

Merchants.

Merchants.

First Class Luxury.

First Class Luxury.

Posted by irenevt 14:54 Archived in England Comments (2)

Border Town.

Beautiful Berwick.

semi-overcast

When we had to rush up to Scotland unexpectedly at the start of our holiday, we bought a return ticket up the east coast, but we didn't seem likely to have a chance to use the return part. In the end we decided we would use it, not all the way back to Horley, but just part of the way to Berwick on Tweed which is a reasonable day trip from Glasgow.

To get to Berwick we first had to travel across Scotland to Edinburgh. The train was very very busy as there was flooding at Penrith and the west coast line was temporarily closed. Everyone heading down south from Scotland had to switch to the east coast lines. From Edinburgh we got on The Flying Scotsman which was heading south towards King's Cross but we got off just 40 minutes after departure at Berwick on Tweed. For me it was my first visit here.

From the station the first place we spotted was a very pleasant park called Castle Vale Park. This had pathways down to the River Tweed where we could visit Berwick's magnificent bridges and its ruined castle. It also had a very pretty lily pond, lots of lovely flowers and several viewpoints.

Our Journey Down.

Our Journey Down.

Lily Pond.

Lily Pond.

Lily Pond.

Lily Pond.

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For me by far the best part of Berwick was its bridges. They are quite stunning, especially the Royal Border Bridge. The Royal Border Bridge was the final step in creating a continuous railway line between London and Edinburgh. The bridge was designed by Robert Stephenson and was completed in 1850. It has twenty-eight stone arches, thirteen are above the river and fifteen are above land. The bridge is an amazing feat of engineering and is visually very beautiful, especially with its arches reflected in the water.

Royal Border Bridge.

Royal Border Bridge.

Royal Border Bridge.

Royal Border Bridge.

Royal Border Bridge.

Royal Border Bridge.

Royal Border Bridge.

Royal Border Bridge.

Royal Border Bridge.

Royal Border Bridge.

Other bridges in Berwick include the Old Bridge. This was the first road bridge across the River Tweed. It was built between 1611and 1634. There is also the Royal Tweed Bridge. This is a fairly modern bridge. It is a major road bridge with four big arches. Its northern span is 371 feet which makes it the longest concrete span in the UK. Berwick's newest bridge dates from 1984. It is the Berwick A1 Bridge which carries the A1 road over the Tweed.

Bridges.

Bridges.

Bridges.

Bridges.

Bridges.

Bridges.

Bridges.

Bridges.

Bridges.

Bridges.

Berwick Castle is now in ruins. It is situated just past the Royal Border Bridge by the water's edge and stretches up the hill towards the train station. The path up the hill is nicknamed 'Breakneck Walk'. I did not try this. I've had quite enough bad luck already this holiday. Berwick's train station is actually built on top of some of the castle's remains. Berwick Castle was built by David I of Scotland. Throughout its history it frequently changed hands between Scotland and England. In 1292 when Edward I chose John Balliol over Robert the Bruce for the Scottish succession, he made this announcement in the castle's Great Hall.

Berwick Castle.

Berwick Castle.

Berwick Castle.

Berwick Castle.

Berwick Castle.

Berwick Castle.

Berwick Castle.

Berwick Castle.

Berwick Castle.

Berwick Castle.

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Berwick's position on the Scottish|English border led to it being frequently fought over, so to protect it, it was surrounded by strong fortified walls. These were adapted and strengthened over time. We walked part of the walls, but not all. It is possible to walk all the way round. Be careful if you have small children or dogs on the walls. We watched a dog dash right over the edge of the fortifications and drop down about 15 feet into an enclosed area. It seemed unhurt though and eventually made its way out through various tunnels. From some parts of the walls there were good views of the sea.

City Walls.

City Walls.

City Walls.

City Walls.

City Walls.

City Walls.

City Walls.

City Walls.

City Walls.

City Walls.

City Walls.

City Walls.

City Walls.

City Walls.

City Walls.

City Walls.

View towards sea.

View towards sea.

View towards sea.

View towards sea.

View towards sea.

View towards sea.

In addition to bridges, ruined castles and walls, Berwick also has museums, a town hall, several lovely churches and some beautiful statues. One of the museums is Berwick Main Guard and Barracks Museum. This impressive castle like building was built in the early eighteenth century by architect Nicholas Hawksmoor. It was Britain's first ever purpose built barracks.

Berwick Barracks.

Berwick Barracks.

Berwick Barracks.

Berwick Barracks.

Berwick Barracks.

Berwick Barracks.

Berwick Barracks.

Berwick Barracks.

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Berwick's Town Hall dates from the middle of the eighteenth century. Inside there is a courtroom and a gaol. It is possible to do a tour of the building.

Town Hall.

Town Hall.

Town Hall.

Town Hall.

I had a quick look at the churches across from the barracks. These were Holy Trinity Chapel and Saint Mary's Church, which is also known as Berwick Parish Church; just across from them stands St Andrews Church. St Mary's and Trinity Chapel were built during the English Civil War Church. St Mary's dates from 1650 and was built using stones from the ruins of Berwick Castle. The chapel has a beautiful, historic graveyard containing graves of many plague victims.

St Mary's Church.

St Mary's Church.

Trinity Chapel.

Trinity Chapel.



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We noticed a couple of interesting statues dotted around the streets. One was of Lady Annie Jerningham and her pet dogs. Apparently she was a local philanthropist.

Statue.

Statue.

Nearby Flowers.

Nearby Flowers.

There was also a lovely war memorial shaped like an angel. This was designed by Scottish sculptor Alexander Carrick.

War Memorial.

War Memorial.

Unfortunately we did not have time to eat in Berwick, but we did have some excellent ice-cream and a pint in the White Horse Pub near the station before departure.

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Posted by irenevt 05:22 Archived in England Comments (7)

'Doon the Waater.'

A day trip to Rothesay.

sunny

Inspired by enjoying being tourists on the previous day, we decided to be real tourists and spend a day in Rothesay on the beautiful Island of Bute, located in the Firth of Clyde. For some unknown reason, despite having been brought up near the west coast of Scotland, I have never been to Rothesay before. To get there we bought a combined rail and ferry ticket from Glasgow Central Station to Rothesay. The train goes down to the small village of Wemyss Bay, which has one of the most beautiful railway stations in Scotland, but not a lot else. I personally enjoyed seeing Dumbarton Rock on the journey down from the south side of the River Clyde as I rarely travel down that way.

Looking towards Dumbarton Rock.

Looking towards Dumbarton Rock.

Dumbarton Rock.

Dumbarton Rock.

Wemyss Bay Station.

Wemyss Bay Station.

Wemyss Bay Station.

Wemyss Bay Station.

Wemyss Bay Station.

Wemyss Bay Station.

Wemyss Bay Station.

Wemyss Bay Station.

Wemyss Bay Station.

Wemyss Bay Station.

Scenery on journey.

Scenery on journey.

Wemyss Bay.

Wemyss Bay.

Wemyss Bay.

Wemyss Bay.

Wemyss Bay.

Wemyss Bay.

From Wemyss Bay Station it's a very short walk onto the Rothesay ferry. I raced around the ferry taking lots of photos while my husband tucked into a Scotch pie and cider. Scotch pie is a typical Scottish dish consisting of minced mutton cooked inside a crispy hot water pastry shell. Personally I love the pastry rather than the filling.

On the ferry.

On the ferry.

On the ferry.

On the ferry.

On the ferry.

On the ferry.

On the ferry.

On the ferry.

In heaven with his Scotch pie.

In heaven with his Scotch pie.

Pictures taken from ferry with zoom.

Pictures taken from ferry with zoom.

Pictures taken from ferry with zoom.

Pictures taken from ferry with zoom.

Pictures taken from ferry with zoom.

Pictures taken from ferry with zoom.

Pictures taken from ferry with zoom.

Pictures taken from ferry with zoom.

The phrase 'going doon the watter' comes from nineteenth century Scotland. After the launch of the Clyde's first steamboat, Henry Bell’s Comet, in 1812, many Glaswegian families were able to travel down the River Clyde to Helensburgh, Gourock, Largs, Millport, Dunoon and Rothesay for day trips or short breaks. This led to Rothesay developing into a seaside resort. At the start of the twentieth century going doon the watter had become especially popular during the Glasgow Fair. This gave families a chance to escape from the dirt, grime and pollution of industrial Glasgow and take in the clean healthy sea air.

On the ferry pier.

On the ferry pier.

On the ferry pier.

On the ferry pier.

On the ferry pier.

On the ferry pier.

On the ferry pier.

On the ferry pier.

On the ferry pier.

On the ferry pier.

On the ferry pier.

On the ferry pier.

On the ferry pier.

On the ferry pier.

On the ferry pier.

On the ferry pier.

Rothesay is the capital of Bute. It has Viking origins. Magnus Barfod built a Viking fort here in 1098 when he seized control of the area after an all out Viking invasion of Scotland's western coastline. Then in the thirteenth century, when Bute was once again under the control of Scotland, Walter, High Steward of Scotland, built a castle here and a town grew up around it. In a turbulent history Rothesay fell under Viking control again until the Vikings were driven out after the Battle of Largs. Rothesay was at one time also under English control. During the Victorian period Rothesay began to develop as a seaside resort for holiday makers from Glasgow. At that time its waterfront promenade was developed.

We began our trip to Rothesay with a walk along the seafront promenade and a look at the Esplanade Gardens with their fountains, putting greens, war memorial and statue. The statue here is of Alexander Bannatyne Stewart. He was born in Glasgow on 30th October 1836 and died in London on 27th May 1880. He was Convener of the County of Bute. The ornate pavilion in the centre of the gardens dates from 1924 and is now home to the Discovery Centre which houses the tourist information and a 90 seat cinema. One sad site on the seafront was a memorial bench to six year old Alesha McPhail who was kidnapped and murdered by a 16 year old boy while holidaying on Bute. Rothesay is not a dangerous place. I'm sure this killing sent shock waves through the community here.

On the waterfront.

On the waterfront.

Statue of Alexander Bannatyne Stewart.

Statue of Alexander Bannatyne Stewart.

War Memorial.

War Memorial.

War Memorial.

War Memorial.

On the waterfront.

On the waterfront.

Esplanade Park.

Esplanade Park.

Esplanade Park.

Esplanade Park.

Esplanade Park.

Esplanade Park.

Esplanade Park.

Esplanade Park.

Esplanade Park.

Esplanade Park.

Bench for tragic Alesha.

Bench for tragic Alesha.

Esplanade Park.

Esplanade Park.

Floral clock.

Floral clock.

Typical buildings in town.

Typical buildings in town.

Eating Zavaroni's ice-cream.

Eating Zavaroni's ice-cream.

Flowers in Esplanade Park.

Flowers in Esplanade Park.

Flowers in Esplanade Park.

Flowers in Esplanade Park.

The main square of Rothesay is called Guilford Square. It is home to the town's main bus stops. There are local buses to Kilchattan Bay. A hop on hop off tour bus also leaves from here on a round trip of Bute.

Rothesay Castle is now a beautiful ruin surrounded by a moat and green tree-filled lawn. Admission to the castle is £6. Behind the castle is the Bute Museum, admission - £4. Near the museum is a little wildflower garden with a statue of Howard Hopalot the rabbit.

Rothesay Castle.

Rothesay Castle.

Rothesay Castle.

Rothesay Castle.

Rothesay Castle.

Rothesay Castle.

Rothesay Castle.

Rothesay Castle.

Bute Museum.

Bute Museum.

Wildflower Garden.

Wildflower Garden.

Howard Hopalot.

Howard Hopalot.

Flowers near Castle.

Flowers near Castle.

Wildflower Garden.

Wildflower Garden.

Flowers near Castle.

Flowers near Castle.

Buildings near Castle.

Buildings near Castle.

Buildings near Castle.

Buildings near Castle.

Flowers near Castle.

Flowers near Castle.

A lot of businesses in town such as cafes, ice-cream parlours and fish and chip shops are owned by the Zavaroni family. Lena Zavaroni, the tragic child star and singer who shot to fame after appearing on Opportunity Knocks, was a member of this family. We had fish and chips and ice-cream from here. Both were very good.

One of the businesses owned by the Zavaroni family.

One of the businesses owned by the Zavaroni family.

We strolled around the centre of Rothesay for a while then walked up the seafront on the other side. There is an extremely posh hotel out this way called the Glenburn Hotel. The Glenburn Hotel was built in 1892 and has wonderful flower filled gardens. We stopped for a drink in Summers Bay Hotel which has a lovely beer garden overlooking the water. Then we headed back to the ferry and took the train back to Glasgow. I went to spend a penny or rather forty pennies at Rothesay's posh Victorian toilets by the pier but unfortunately they were shut.

Waterfront.

Waterfront.

Waterfront.

Waterfront.

Waterfront.

Waterfront.

Waterfront.

Waterfront.

Glenburn Hotel.

Glenburn Hotel.

Summers Bay Hotel.

Summers Bay Hotel.

Victorian Toilets.

Victorian Toilets.

Buildings by the water.

Buildings by the water.

Buildings by the water.

Buildings by the water.

Calmac Ferry.

Calmac Ferry.

Posted by irenevt 06:46 Archived in Scotland Comments (8)

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