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Archive for england

A Roundabout View in London

By Linda Tancs

Located in the large, irregularly shaped island in the middle of the Hyde Park Corner roundabout in London, England, Wellington Arch offers panoramic views of the city from its balconies. Originally intended as an entrance to Buckingham Palace, it later became a victory arch proclaiming Wellington’s defeat of Napoleon. The facing masonry of Portland stone is capped off with the largest bronze sculpture in Europe, “Peace Descending on the Quadriga of War,” by Adrian Jones.

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England’s Wool Town

By Linda Tancs

Located in the heart of Suffolk, Lavenham is widely recognized as one of England’s prettiest medieval villages. Known in particular as a wool town, it was granted its market charter in 1257 and started exporting its famous blue broadcloth across the globe. Although its woolen trade fell to market forces in the 16th century, the village’s half-timbered medieval cottages remain the same today as they would have looked in those halcyon days. The Guild Hall, in particular, dominates the town and offers exhibitions on local history, farming and industry, as well as the story of the medieval woolen trade.

300 Years of Freemasonry

By Linda Tancs

Freemasonry began in medieval Europe as a guild for stonemasons who built the great castles and cathedrals of the Middle Ages. Today it is one of the largest fraternal and charitable organizations in the world. The United Grand Lodge of England at Great Queen Street in London is celebrating its 300th anniversary this year. Their facilities include The Library and Museum of Freemasonry. Open to the public, it’s located on the first floor of Freemasons’ Hall, where guided tours of the Grand Temple and ceremonial areas are provided when the hall is not in use. The free museum displays one of the world’s largest collections associated with Freemasonry, including pottery and porcelain, glassware, silver, furniture, clocks, jewels, regalia and items belonging to famous Freemasons like Winston Churchill and King George IV (the first Royal Grand Master). The closest tube stations are Holborn, Covent Garden and Leicester Square.

Candlelight in Bournemouth

By Linda Tancs

When Princess Eugenie of France visited Bournemouth in 1896, the Lower Gardens were lit with candles in her honor. That event sparked a tradition in this Victorian spa town on England’s south coast that continues to this day. Tonight is the annual Candlelight Procession, a candle-lit walk in the dusk from the Lower Gardens to Pier Approach. The lighting of thousands of candles in colored jars brings a magical touch to a garden adorned with floral displays that feature a range of colors, textures and scents.

Cuddy’s Corse

By Linda Tancs

Cuddy’s Corse is one of two heritage trails in Chester-le-Street, a historic market town in County Durham, England. The 7.5 mile walking trail starting at St. Mary’s and St. Cuthbert’s church follows in the footsteps of St. Cuthbert’s community on their final journey from Chester-le-Street to Durham Cathedral, carrying the uncorrupted body (corse) of Cuthbert (the patron saint of the North) and his book, the  Lindisfarne Gospels. It was at the parish church that the gospels were first translated into Saxon English, and one of only three facsimiles of them can be viewed there. The ancient town also traces its roots to a Roman fort; catch a glimpse of the site behind the parish center.

Dressed Up in Faversham

By Linda Tancs

Just over an hour from London, Faversham was one of Kent’s leading ports. In the 17th century more wool was exported from Faversham than from any other British port, and when London began to expand in the same century, it was the main source of its crucial supplies of wheat and, later, bricks and cement. Nowadays the bustling market town celebrates its nautical heritage with the annual Faversham Nautical Festival. Taking place on July 22 and 23, traditional vessels will be moored in the upper regions of Faversham Creek, including Thames sailing barges, Dutch barges, tugs, smacks, gaffers and many other boats “dressed overall” (the stringing of maritime signal flags on a ship from stemhead to masthead, from masthead to masthead if the vessel has more than one mast and then down to the taffrail). Visitors shouldn’t miss the chance for a walk about this pre-Roman town boasting nearly 500 listed sites.

The Cotswold Way

By Linda Tancs

A walker’s delight, the Cotswold Way in England is a 102-mile National Trail running from Chipping Campden to Bath. It’s recognized as much for the picturesque views as for its biodiversity. The trail passes through many lovely villages and close to a significant number of historic sites, such as the Roman heritage at Bath, the Neolithic burial chamber at Belas Knap, Sudeley Castle near Winchcombe and Hailes Abbey. No two days alike, a hike through this region exposes landscapes as diverse as wildflower meadows and shaded beech woodlands. Seven days is optimal for a full hike. This time of year brings the best views of the woodlands and grasslands.

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