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Archive for england

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.

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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.

The Original Lord Mayor’s House

By Linda Tancs

Predating London’s 18th century Mansion House (the official residence of the City’s Lord Mayor), York Mansion House is the official residence of the Lord Mayor of York since 1732 and is the oldest Lord Mayor residence still in existence. Located right in the heart of York, England, the Grade I Georgian building has undergone extensive refurbishment and is now open to the public for the first time in centuries. The manor’s collection includes furniture, ceramics, glassware, paintings, photographs and an array of York gold and silver, including the first silver chamber pot and a gold cup bought for the City of York with monies bequeathed by Marmaduke Rawdon in 1672. Drop in for a self-guided tour or book a special guided tour.

Art Without Walls

By Linda Tancs

Art without walls. That’s the moniker for the open-air gallery at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Britain’s first sculpture park, it’s set in a beautiful landscaped garden laid out in the 18th century located 20 miles south of Leeds in West Yorkshire. Current exhibitions include Ai Weiwei’s 12 colossal Chinese zodiac heads and Giuseppe Penone’s bronze trees, the tallest of which (L’ombra del bronzo) is an imposing 52 feet high.

The Great North Road

By Linda Tancs

You might think of the U.K.’s Great North Road as the nation’s version of iconic Route 66 in the United States—only with a lot more history attached. It was the only way of traveling the 409 miles between London and Edinburgh for centuries until it was subsumed into the A1 (the longest numbered road in Britain) and other motorways of today. In prehistoric times it comprised part of the network of Roman roads: Ermine Street led from London to York, and Dere Street from York to Edinburgh. The ancient route is lined today with rusting mile markers; its cultural significance is marked by literary giants like Charles Dickens, a frequent traveler who gave it a nod in The Pickwick Papers. There’s even an old street sign inside the rock at Gibraltar where a vehicle tunnel was dug.

The Dark Side of Victorian London

By Linda Tancs

Perhaps no story in the history of East London in Victorian times is as gripping as Jack the Ripper. At the Jack the Ripper Museum on Cable Street, six floors recreate scenes from the time, such as the murder scene in Mitre Square, the Whitechapel police station, Mary Jane Kelly’s bedroom, the mortuary and more. The museum explores East London during Victorian times, exploring the crimes within the social context of the period. The facility is just seven minutes away from Tower Hill Station.

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