On our way to Ludlow a couple of weeks ago, we passed through the town of Shrewsbury on the train, and thought it looked interesting. When we learned that it has over 660 listed historic buildings we decided it would be a good destination for our final adventure before we head back to London tomorrow.
Continue reading Shrewsbury
Although the Romans knew about the spring at Lamintone (meaning farm on the River Leam), it was lost again until 1784 when William Abbotts and Benjamin Satchwell, inhabitants of the village by then known as Leamington Priors re-discovered the medicinal qualities of the water in a well outside the local church.
Continue reading Royal Leamington Spa
We’ve been for a couple of long walks this week that I’m going to combine in this post. The first was near Northampton, and the second not far from Birmingham.
Continue reading Salcey Forest and Lickey Hills
About 430 million years ago during the Silurian period, the Midlands area of the UK was covered by the shallow Iapetus Ocean. Because it was near to the equator the tropical waters saw the development of coral reefs, shellfish and other invertebrate creatures.
During this time, most of the earth’s dry land was concentrated in the Gondwana supercontinent, which covered the south pole. In the northern hemisphere, three smaller continents named Baltica, Laurentia and Avalonia drifted towards each other and eventually collided. At the junction of the last two, a ridge of limestone was pushed up out of the sea creating a line of hills that can still be seen near the town of Dudley.
Continue reading Wren’s Nest National Nature Reserve at Dudley
Another town we were told we shouldn’t miss is Warwick, on the banks of the Avon River about 15 km upstream of Stratford-upon-Avon. It is about a 30 minute train ride from Birmingham so we arrived by mid-morning yesterday. Continue reading Warwick
About half an hour’s walk along the canal from our apartment is an area of Birmingham known as the Jewellery Quarter. We walked around it soon after we arrived, but did not visit the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter when we saw it was going to cost us NZ $15 each. After reading some reviews we realised this may have been a mistake, so after a morning spent working on our computers, we walked over to check it out.
Continue reading Jewellery Quarter Birmingham
Since it is only half an hour’s train ride from Birmingham, we went to visit the birthplace of William Shakespeare today. The photo above is his actual childhood bedroom. As there is a £5 per person walking tour we decided to start with that and learn a bit about the town.
Continue reading Stratford-upon-Avon
Ten points for any reader who can guess the connection between these two areas of Birmingham without scrolling down the page. Felicity had a 10 am appointment in Moseley, so we decided to catch the bus instead of walking and arriving hot and sweaty. We wondered how we would pay the fare, and were impressed to discover that any credit or debit card can just be touched on the card reader. This technology is coming to NZ over the next few years.
Continue reading Moseley and Edgbaston
When we heard that the medieval town of Ludlow on the edge of the Shropshire Hills is one of the most attractive in the country, it shot to the top of our list for a day’s outing. We had to change trains at Shrewsbury, so it was nearly lunchtime by the time we arrived. Continue reading Ludlow
When we told people where we were planning to base ourselves in the UK, the reaction was almost universal: “Birmingham? Why on earth would anyone want to go there?” After our first few days here, our conclusion is that the city’s biggest problem is its public relations, because it is a attractive and interesting place.
Continue reading Birmingham Central City
We spent most of a day packing our gear, departing Norwich and travelling to Oxford, but we had a couple of hours to wander around the town with our hosts Ros and Peter before heading home to their house. All of this university town is fascinating, but I thought the most interesting stop was the Weston Library, which is part of the Bodleian Library. Continue reading Blenheim Palace Oxford
Today we left Norfolk and visited a beach resort in Essex, mainly because it is somewhere Felicity’s mother used to go for holidays when she was a child. Frinton was just a tiny village until the 1800s when it was developed as an upper-class resort for people who didn’t want to mix with the hoi polloi. Continue reading Frinton-on-Sea
Up in the north-west corner of Norfolk is the town of King’s Lynn, which in the 14th century was Britain’s most important port. Until about 1100 it was known just as Lynn, which some locals still call it today. For the next few hundred years it was called Bishop’s Lynn, then after Henry VIII the official name became King’s Lynn.
Continue reading King’s Lynn
Last Saturday night we were invited to dinner by one of Felicity’s colleagues, and he turned out to be an even more fanatical mountain biker than me. Not only does he have a basement full of bikes, and more in a shed somewhere, but he’s even building himself a new bike in the hallway outside the bathroom! I took the opportunity to inquire about the location of the best single-track in the area. Continue reading Thetford Forest Park
It’s been a stinking hot day here in Norfolk today, so we’ve been to the beach. It was hot enough to swim, but finding somewhere to get changed and keep our bags safe seemed a bit complicated, so we gave it a miss and concentrated on sightseeing.
Continue reading Sheringham to Cromer
Just under a hundred kilometers to the west of Norwich is the city of Ely, which we have already passed through on the train a few times on our way elsewhere. As it had been recommended to us as one of the best preserved medieval towns in the area we made a visit today.
Continue reading Ely
When I first learned we were coming to Norwich, the thing I wanted to do most was to kayak on the Norfolk Broads. A bit of research taught us that the best place for small boats is on the rivers, higher up than drunken tourists can drive their huge rented launches.
Continue reading River Bure
Most of the 98km Weavers’ Way from Cromer to Great Yarmouth is for walking only, but bikes are allowed on two sections, one of which runs between North Walsham and Aylsham for 10km. Since Felicity was at the university all day today I hired a bike and caught the train north.
Continue reading North Walsham to Wroxham via Aylsham
Out on the coast just south of Great Yarmouth is the town of Lowestoft, which is where trains travelling over the swing bridge at Reedham end up. I managed to pry Felicity loose from her keyboard late morning and we hurried to the station just in time to catch the midday train.
Continue reading Lowestoft
Although we have already visited Yarmouth on two occasions, we hadn’t explored the town or seen the beach, so we caught the train out to the coast this morning to see this famous “resort”. Sadly, we discovered that it’s heyday was about a century ago, and that the town seems to have gone steadily downhill since then.
Continue reading Great Yarmouth