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Archive for england

Music for All in North York Moors

By Linda Tancs

Moor, coast, forest and dale. It’s all there in England’s North York Moors National Park. And with sunlight extending well into the evening this time of year, there’s plenty of time to enjoy it. August also brings a flush of purple to the area’s prized heather, another reason to visit, along with the many village, arts and music shows. A favorite is the North York Moors Chamber Music Festival, a gathering of renowned classical musicians from around the world, bringing beautiful music to nine churches within the heart of the park. St. Peter & St. Paul in Pickering hosts the opening concert of the festival, taking place this year between August 11 and August 24.

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Stour Valley Path Celebrates 25 Years

By Linda Tancs

The Stour Valley Path is a 60-mile route following the valley sides of the River Stour through the beautiful Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire countryside. The path was established 25 years ago, and the local tourism authority is celebrating that milestone with its own passport, stamped by local businesses along the route. A popular stretch is from Newmarket to Cattawade, involving a series of bus and train transfers along with moderate walks. Not far from  Cattawade you’ll have the opportunity to view the site inspiring John Constable’s Hay Wain painting, based on a locale in Suffolk near Flatford. It’s arguably one of Constable’s most famous paintings and one of England’s most popular.

Head-to-Toe in Kent

By Linda Tancs

If you’re longing for a safari-like experience outside Africa, then a visit to Kent, England, might just be the ticket. Yes, that’s right. Kent, the “Garden of England,” offers an enviable wildlife experience at Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve. The park is home to over 760 animals across 90 species, including spectacled bears, Kent’s only giraffe and the largest herd of black rhino in the UK. For added excitement, stay at one of their special lodges where floor-to-ceiling windows in each guest room afford head-to-toe views of wolves, tigers, lions, bears and giraffes in special enclosures. You can even hand-feed the giraffes at the Giraffe Lodge, just like at the Giraffe Manor in Kenya.

A Milestone for the Cleveland Way

By Linda Tancs

The Cleveland Way, England’s Yorkshire national trail skirting the North York Moors National Park, turned the big 5-0 this year. Spanning nearly 110 miles, the country’s second-inaugurated national trail runs from Helmsley to Filey. If the length of it sounds intimidating, you should know that the fastest official completion time is 19 hours, 53 minutes and 38 seconds. No need to rush, though. You’ll want to take all the time you can enjoying the mix of dramatic coastline and heather moorland. Most people walk the route from Helmsley through to Filey in a clockwise direction. Rail or bus services can easily get you to the start.

The Great West Way

By Linda Tancs

Based on ancient routes, England’s Great West Way is a new, 125-mile touring route between London and Bristol. It beckons the independent traveler, offering a mix of journey options like the A4 Great West Road, the Great Western Railway, the Thames, canal transport and multiple foot and cycle paths. With that many options, you don’t have to miss a thing, like the honey-colored limestone villages of the Cotswolds, the urban culture of Bath and Bristol, riverside towns like Henley, Wiltshire’s market towns and plenty of renowned attractions along the way.

Exeter’s Underground

By Linda Tancs

Predating the arrival of the Romans, Exeter is an ancient English city boasting Exeter Cathedral, one of England’s most beautiful medieval cathedrals and one of the finest examples of decorated Gothic architecture in the country. Perhaps less known but equally interesting is the city’s underground passages. Built to house the pipes that brought clean drinking water into medieval Exeter, these are the only passages of their kind open to the public in Britain. Early booking is advisable.

One of the World’s Best Small Gardens

By Linda Tancs

York Gate Garden in Leeds, England, teaches that you can build a stellar garden on a small bit of land. Just one acre in size, it’s divided by yew and beech hedges into a series of small gardens, each with a distinctive theme and style. Abounding with sculpted evergreens, pretty paths and pergolas, the “garden rooms” include a topiary-laden herb garden and an exquisite folly at the Dell, boasting half-hidden pathways and a stream. Given its small size, it should come as no surprise that the locale was once a private family garden. Now it’s enjoyed by visitors from April to September.

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