Another trip back to my home country…a catch up in photos.
First to Farnham, a pretty market town in Surrey less than an hour from London by train and close to the ruins of Waverley Abbey to spend a couple of nights with old friends James and Stef. Tools and prehistoric bones have been found in Farnham in deep gravel pits. A walk around the old town, the castle moat filled with wild grasses and out in to the scenery; The Flashes, a local nature reserve owned by the National Trust. Rare lowland heath little of which is left in the UK and Europe. Stunning scenery alive with the colours of purple moor-grass and heather; but tinder dry and cracked earth from a frightening lack of rain.
In London to see my wonderful friend Lucy and a wander around Portobello Market with her daughter Emma. Based on Portobello Road the market runs almost the entire length of Notting Hill. On Saturdays it is crammed with stalls selling antique dealers, food stalls and vintage clothes. Winding streets lined with Victorian houses run into small boutiques and restaurants. A vibrant established market community that has served the area in one form or another since the 1850s.
A Sunday visit to family and an evening BBQ with old neighbourhood friends Max and Carole. A day later, a cancelled train (train strikes) getting on to an alternative train from London heading north to the county of Lancashire, to Chorlton-cum-Hardy Manchester to visit my cousin Rachel. 2 days full of laughter and bad puns. Lunch at North Star Delicatessen, a fabulous night at the Manchester Armchair Philosopher’s Club, watching Crown Green Bowling at The Lloyds, lunch with family at Horse and Jockey pub on Chorlton Green…and a meeting with old friend and colleague Kate who coincidentally lives just down the road from my cousin. Red brick terraces, corner shops and beautiful old buildings give this area a wonderful character all of its own. Chorlton-cum-Hardy you won me over big time.
Manchester Victoria Train station where this large tiled map is displayed at one of the entrances; leaving Lancashire heading east to the county of North Yorkshire via a train to York.
From York a car drive with my sister further north-east. To my sister’s place, camping on cleared ground with my niece on their wooded property near a pond.
Walking the cobbled streets of harbour town Whitby on the North East Coast, North Yorkshire.
North Yorkshire villages, I’ve visited so many and they’re all picturesque; this time exploring the 1896 stone Church of St Margaret in Aislaby North Yorkshire. About a 20 minute drive from Whitby.
Walking the footpath from Aislaby to Sleights North Yorkshire.
Back in to the town of Whitby, from glorious sunshine and cloudless sky in the villages to heavy fog and grey seascapes walking the harbour wall with Averil.
A drive with my sister and niece further north to Northumberland. Stopping at Amble in Morpeth to look out across the harbour among the crab and lobster pots. Eating locally bought sausage and black pudding rolls…hot from the oven rolled in buttery crumbling pastry.
Passing the 12th century Warkworth Castle.
Further north we stopped at Craster Harbour in Alnwick, looking through the fog to Dunstanburgh Castle further along the coast. A peaceful fishing village with traditional fishing boats known as ‘cobles’. The small harbour was built in the 19th century to serve the herring fishery; curing sheds produce Craster kippers…the smell of smoked fish, pungent, delicious.
Following the A1 north staying a night in Berwick-upon-Tweed Northumberland; the northernmost English town 2 and a half miles from the Anglo-Scottish border, 56 miles from Edinburgh. Dinner and an amble through town is a step back in time. Original shopfronts line steep cobbled streets.
In the artist Lowry’s footsteps we explore alleyways and doorways….held fast in time…beautiful.
Situated at the mouth of the River Tweed the area suffered 400 years of historic border wars between England and Scotland, ownership changing hands between the two until 1482 when Richard of Gloucester retook it for England. Wonky doorways, beautiful stone, medieval town walls rub up against Georgian buildings Elizabethan ramparts and Britain’s earliest barracks buildings (1717) built by Nicholas Hawskmoor. It’s a beautiful market town; tidy streets, friendly people, good places to eat and a lot of character.
Breakfast books and art; a perfect start to the day. Breakfast at The Mule on Rouge where ‘Let It Bleed’ was playing on an old record player, music related photographs hung on walls and music biographies and memorabilia lined shelves. A look in ‘Slightly Foxed’ an independent bookshop on Bridge Street with a domed ceiling from which Hagrid from Harry Potter eyes the customers. A wander in to Bridge Street Gallery to see beautiful innovative work meeting two of the artists; Mark Irving and Mark Barnard.
Turning back south to visit Lindisfarne Northumberland, the 6th century Holy Island. Only accessible at low tide by a causeway stretching across mudflats. Lindisfarne Castle 1550 (show from the front and back approach); some of its stone taken from the nearby priory ruins. The castle was restored and altered in 1901 by English architect Edward Luytens. A small community of people live on Holy Island but with scarce services…driving to Berwick-upon-Tweed for groceries, medical needs and work.
The Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932) garden on Holy Island. Enclosed by stone walls that buffer against the wind. Jekyll was a famous horticulturalist who created over 400 gardens in the UK Europe and US.
Turning back and travelling south to the old Alnwick railway Northumberland station, now the hugely popular Barter Books. Lunch at their busy restaurant.
Another cancelled train due to the strike action and gutted to have to cut my Northern journey short by several days. We scramble to book me on to another train back to London…nearby Newcastle offering the option. An hour and a half free to wander the city centre and take in some architectural gems.
Back in London hanging out with old friend Peter…to Chiswick House (completed 1729 Neo-Palladian style) in Chiswick, West London…a wander in the grounds.
Running around central London with Peter. First stop, exploring Mayfair.
The Ivy Asia restaurant. Too early to eat but snuck inside to take photographs of its opulent interior and stunning backlit agate floor.
Mercato Mayfair…a food hall inside St Mark’s church. An innovative spectacular repurposing of the building.
On to Tottenham Court Road and Soho. A cleaned up towering landmark, Centrepoint which now has a bar and food place on the ground floor and a carved sleeping dog outside. Tom of Finland in Soho advertising vodka and Tom Hardy as the Kray Twins graffiti.
On to the tube (London Underground) and barrelling under the city to South London to look up at The Shard, a visit to Peter’s friends in a stunning warehouse conversion and to Maltby Street Market to eat delicious Banh Mi from the Vietnamese food stall.
Over to the sprawling wonderful Borough Market a favourite place of mine. To wander the vast array of stalls selling everything from fresh organic fruit and veg to huge wheels of parmesan, Turkish sweets, pies, pastries, venison sausages, Portuguese tinned sardines. Watching men cook massive paellas for hungry locals and tourists. The best smelling market in London.
Covering a lot of ground in one day we made our way back via Paddington Station and the new Elizabeth Line…having a quick wander up into Paddington Basin where old canal boats have been repurposed as a restaurant, a coffee boat… even a cheese boat, but some still lived on.
Next day. A visit to an old favourite, The Victoria and Albert Museum or V&A. Seeking out the Chihuly glass centrepiece in the main entrance lobby, the French wooden staircase (1522), the giant pillars in the cast courts and Paul Pindar’s housefront built 1599 which survived the 1666 Great Fire of London. Afternoon tea with a scone smothered in strawberry jam and clotted cream with my friend Julie in the beautiful cafe surrounded by stained glass windows and William Morris tiles.
Next day. Dog walking Archie with Peter on Hampstead Heath North London followed by coffee with old friends Lyes and Katrina and baby Isobel.
Next day wandering on my own around Kings Cross North London…it’s come a long way. The gas cylinders now fancy apartments. The old warehouses are restaurants and shops. The railway station ceiling is a beauty in latticed steel. The canals have been cleaned up.
Last day on this trip back to the UK and a 1 hour drive to Oxford with my friend Peter. I haven’t visited the city for years. Its origins are late Saxon era and the city is home to Oxford University first established in the 12th century; the oldest university in the English speaking world. Also known as the court of King Charles I during the English Civil War, bell foundries, brewing and Balliol, one of Oxford’s oldest colleges founded around 1263. The architecture is beautiful, the centre compact and easy to walk.
And my main reason to visit, the extraordinary Pitt Rivers Museum. Founded in 1884 by General Augustus Pitt-Rivers who gave his huge collection to the University of Oxford and housed in the Oxford Museum of Natural History.
Architecturally the building is a wonder but walk to the rear of the Natural History museum and you enter the collection of Pitt Rivers where everything is arranged by type; instruments, masks, textiles…it’s a mind-blowing array of artifacts, many displayed with their original museum handwritten labels and displayed in beautiful wood and glass cabinets. And you can visit all of this for free. It is quite breathtaking…and the perfect end to my visit to England.
Farnham The Flashes heathlands http://www.surreycc.gov.uk/culture-and-leisure/countryside/what-to-see/heathlands
Manchester Chorlton-cum-Hardy Crown Green Bowling http://www.lloydhotelbowlingclub.com
Manchester Chorlton-cum-Hardy https://wikishire.co.uk/wiki/Chorlton-cum-Hardy
North Yorkshire Whitby en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitby
North Yorkshire Whitby Museum and Pannett Park whitbymuseum.org.uk
North Yorkshire Whitby Captain Cook Museum http://www.cookmuseumwhitby.co.uk
North Yorkshire Whitby Goth weekend fantastic fun/twice a year festival en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitby_Goth_Weekend
North Yorkshire Whitby http://www.eborjetworks.co.uk (lots of jet jewellry shops in Whitby this is one of the best with more innovative designs and a jewellry workshop onsite).
North Yorkshire Villages http://www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/visiting/see-and-do/market-towns-and-villages
Northumberland Alnwick Barter Books http://www.barterbooks.co.uk
Northumberland Berwick-upon-Tweed Slightly Foxed Bookshop http://www.slightlyfoxedberwick.co.uk
Northumberland Berwick-upon-Tweed Bridge Street Gallery http://www.bridgestreetgallery.co.uk
Northumberland Lindisfarne Holy Island http://www.lindisfarne.org.uk
Oxford Pitt Rivers Museum http://www.prm.ox.ac.uk
London Chiswick House http://www.chiswickhouseandgardens.org.uk
London Borough Market http://www.boroughmarket.org.uk
London Maltby Street Market http://www.maltby.st
London Victoria and Albert Museum (The V&A) http://www.vam.ac.uk
London The Shard http://www.the-shard.com/viewing-gallery
Manchester Chorlton-cum-Hardy Horse and Jockey http://www.joseph-holt.com/pubs/horse-and-jockey
Manchester Chorlton-cum-Hardy The Lloyds https://www.thelloydschorlton.co.uk
Manchester Chorlton-cum-Hardy North Star Delicatessen https://northstarchorlton.co.uk
North Yorkshire Whitby Fusco’s fish and chips http://www.whitbyfishandchips.com
North Yorkshire Whitby Bothams Tea Rooms http://www.botham.co.uk
North Yorkshire Whitby Rusty Shears http://www.rustyshears.co.uk
North Yorkshire Whitby http://www.fortuneskippers.co.uk
Northumberland Alnwick Anglers Arms http://www.anglersarms.com/food-drink
Northumberland Berwick-upon-Tweed Mule on Rouge Instagram @the_mule_on_rouge_berwick
Northumberland Berwick-upon-Tweed Mavi Turkish Restaurant http://www.maviturkishrestaurant.co.uk
Oxford Busaba http://www.busaba.com/locations/busaba-oxford
London The Olive Bar Portobello Market @theolivebarlondon (a favourite food stall in London)
London Mercatoi Mayfair https://mercatometropolitano.com
London too numerous to mention but if you don’t want to spend loads these chain restaurants are excellent quality.
Nandos (Portuguese flame grilled chicken Peri Peri chips) http://www.nandos.co.uk
Busaba (Thai with intense flavours) http://www.busaba.com
Dishoom (Indian) http://www.dishoom.com
Wahaca (Mexican and amusingly spelt so folks can pronounce it) http://www.wahaca.co.uk
Wagamama (Japanese influenced) http://www.wagamama.com
Giraffe (world flavours) https://giraffe.net
Pizza Express (Italian style thin crust pizza/Garlic dough balls – yum) http://www.pizzaexpress.com
Northumberland Berwick-Upon-Tweed Premier Inn http://www.premierinn.com/gb/en/hotels/england/northumberland/berwick-upon-tweed/berwick-upon-tweed.html
Northumberland Alnwick The Anglers Arms http://www.anglersarms.com/accommodation
Whitby The Horngarth http://www.horngarth.co.uk
London with friends!