Friday, December 22, 2006

Greenwich , centre of time.

On Saturday 16th December I took my young lion cubs south of the river Thames to visit Greenwich, its one of my favourite parts of Englands capital, it has a strong naval heritage and is home to the Royal Navy college, along with it's fine museum also the famous wool and tea clipper known to all Englishman from my generation and older as the Cutty Sark. It's the fastest tea clipper ever built and defines the age of sail.
Greenwich is a great place for a day out, fine pubs and restraunts, a great market and a walk along the Thames, not to mention the Cutty sark and navy Museum, but one place you must go is on the hill overlooking Greenwich, it's called the Royal Observatory. From this point you can take in a magnificent view of London as the picture above shows. Also at the observatory is the greenwich meridian Line.
What is the Meridian Line?
The Meridian Line is an imaginary line which runs from the
North Pole to the South Pole. By international convention it runs through "the primary transit" instrument (main telescope) at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. It is known at Zero Longitude and it is the line from which all other lines of longitude are measured. This includes the line that runs 180° away from Greenwich also known as the International Date Line.
In the other picture above you can see my young cubs standing on the Meridian line, on one side it's the east and on the other side it's west , they are standing at 0' longitude , the centre of time. If your visiting London, why not sail down the Thames to Greenwich , do a spot of retail therapy at the market followed by a nice pub lunch and then walk up the hill to visit the Observatory, taking in the view and standing at 0' longitude.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Time travel in North East England.

No I have not invented a time machine and sent my Lion Cubs back to 1850's County Durham ( I plan on inventing one when I get a bit more spare time) This wonderful place is the Beamish museum situated near Stanley in the North West of the Prince Bishop county. Beamish is set within a picturesque 300-acre valley, it's a working museum showing how the good people of north east England lived and worked in the years between 1825 & 1913. The site is split into various themes such as the town, the colliery village and pit, the manor, railway station and other areas, all of which can be visited. You will see people dressed in the clothes of the era whom will interact and educate you as to how things were. It really is like going back in time. My particular favourites are eating the freshly made cinder toffee at the sweet shop and going down the drift mine, my lion cubs enjoy riding on the trams, stagecoaches and buses which you catch to each area of the museum.
Beamish is a great family day out and well worth a visit if your passing through the Prince Bishop county of Durham.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bamburgh's Northumbrian fortress

This magnificent fortress is Bamburgh castle situated on the Northumberland coast just south of Lindisfarne holy island.
Northumberland has more castles than any other county, hardly surprising when it is situated along Englands northern border with the Scotch and this is my favourite of them all. On one side of the castle is the pretty village of Bamburgh and on the other side is the most beautiful stretch of sandy beach stretching around 3 miles south to Seahouses. Bamburgh castle is built on the site of a much older castle and it is itself the former capital of the Anglo Saxon kingdom of Northumbria, Bamburgh was originally known as Bebbanburh this was in honour of King Ethelfriths wife in the days when Northumbria stretched from the River Humber to the Firth of Forth. Just south of Bamburgh is the small harbour town of Seahouses, from here you can take a boat out to the Farne Islands to observe the wonderful sea life and visit the lighthouse, or you can stay on shore and eat some of the finest fish 'n' chips in England. Seahouses is quite small but has some wonderful traditional seaside gift shops and is a hive of activity during the summer months with locals from the North East whom flock there for day trips wearing their Sunderland or Newcastle shirts. If you are planning a visit to this beautiful part of England, may I recommend to you the Bamburgh Castle Hotel with fine views of the harbour and farne Islands.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Rochester's Dickensian Festival

On December 2nd I took my young Lion Cubs down to Rochester on the river Medway in Kent. It was the annual Dickensian Christmas festival. It was the first time I had been to Rochester With the exception of a quick work related visit a few years ago and I have to say that I liked the place. It is not a stunning city but it has a likeable rough kind of English feel to it, a working city enhanced by it's Norman castle and cathedral. The narrow streets below the castle and cathedral were full of characters dressed In Victorian costume parading up and down and mingling with the visitors including a very believable Fagin, there were also various displays relating to the era and plenty of stalls offering traditional English fayre, the smell of roasting chestnuts is a particular favourite of mine.
Upon the castle green was a fair ground where I joined my littluns on the ferris wheel but left the other rides to their strong stomachs. It was a very nice day. Unfortunately we could not stay for the candlelight parade and snow machine Later in the day but next year we will be better prepared.