Posts Tagged With: #followmeinengland

England’s Bay of Naples :Weymouth, Dorset

Firstly let me confess that the title of this post is not original. I have never been to Bay of Naples other than giving it longing glances in magazines and web. While I was researching on Weymouth’s history to write this post, i came across this classic analogy and couldn’t resist borrowing it; and by Jove, it truly befits.

Weymouth is a beautiful seaside town in the county of Dorset on the south coast of England. Historically it holds its significance being one of the important port towns of England. Today its probably the Top Three most popular beach destination for Brits when the sun shines abundantly.

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The beautiful pebble beach of Weymouth

The Jurassic coast , a World Heritage Site runs along Weymouth. This is home to some of the most beautiful sea views, flora and fauna. However in the town one can enjoy lazing around and walk on the beach.

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View from the Beach

I had no plans to visit Weymouth. My plan was to go for a hiking day trip to Lulworth cove via Poole. Since i missed my train and ended up catching another wrong train, I landed up in Weymouth. Dressed for hiking, i walked like a comical overdressed baboon on the beach. It was a hot day and my boots were like a furnace boiling my feet. Thankfully there are enough shacks of icecream and juices to cool you a bit.

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Not only icecream you can grab your sand shovels, pick one of those peppy umbrellas. Kids would love this.

What i admired most about the Weymouth beach was the white pebble spread. They looked like a million eggshells together.

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Conversations!

Half day over, i took a stroll into the town in search of food. What briefly i read about Weymouth was that it was quite famous for its fish and chips. Well, almost every seaside town in England writes that, anyhow i wanted to honor the dish of the land. By Jove again! it was worth it.

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Highly recommend to pop into one of these seaside joints and have the large cod fish and some thick fat chips. Carb overdose, but loved it!

Contended with my meal, which i struggled to finish, I googled on what else I could visit in Weymouth. Apparently there was something called Sandworld which i read as quite a recommended place to view sand sculptures. I decided to find it which was around 20 minutes walk. Though it was very sunny and I was boiling in my non beachy attire, I made it to Sandworld. It is housed in an amusement park kind of place which has many other attractions. There was an entry ticket.

I recommend this as it had some really good work by renowned sand sculptors.

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Sir Winston Churchill. Yes he did look like this when he was really old.

Ok if this didnt appeal you then how about this!

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Lewis Hamilton, home grown Merc F1 champ

Ok, guess you must be finding this boring, then how about this!

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The Fab Four from Liverpool. The Beatles!

Yes there were many others. Political, historical, modern day celebs carved in sand. I could fill my post with them, but i will show one more, which probably is my favourite.

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A master work of art of the Master of Literature. Famous sculptor Wilfred Stijge depicts here a composition from three plays of William Shakespeare. For you to guess which ones are those!

I walk back to the town. I had an hour to catch my train back home. As i walked back to the beach to go to the town, I clicked this beautiful Jubliee Clock in bright red. Built in 1887 to commemorate the 50th year of Queen Victoria’s reign.

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The Jubliee Clock

On the other side of the town is the short river Wey. A road bridge built on it which is raised to let the ships pass through. Its a sight something similar to the Tower Bridge in London. From the Bridge are the lovely views of the boats parked and people thronging for river cruises.

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The bridge that was raised and now leveled for the traffic to resume.

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The Bay area with ships and cruises

The rocky Isle of Portland is very close to Weymouth. Seeped in history, its also a place to explore if you are in Weymouth. There are ferries from Weymouth to Portland which one must do. I couldn’t because of paucity of time. So i decided to say goodbye to a very lovely day in this beautiful town. While it was a totally unplanned visit because of missing one train and hopping to another wrong one, I can now only say, sometimes Mishaps are beautiful!

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Couldn’t miss clicking the railway platform. It was one of the most beautiful i have seen in England. Weymouth, you are beautiful everywhere!

Notes for Travelers

  • How to reach – There are direct trains from London Waterloo to Weymouth. Most of the main cities are connected with direct or have indirect connections via Poole or Winchester or Bournemouth. I took a train from Reading-Winchester-Weymouth. More details for travel refer the link http://www.visit-dorset.com/plan-your-visit/travel-information/getting-to-dorset
  • What to eat – Hands down fish and chips. Other than that anything that you please. Dont miss ice-cream on beach. Nothing special about them, just for the experience on a sunny day on beach
  • Where to stay – There are lots of beach houses and shacks along the beach which you can book for a day in advance. Other than that the town has many hotels. You can try staying in cheaper towns nearby as well or Dorchester. Link for reference http://www.visit-dorset.com/accommodation
  • What to take home – Not really sure what to recommend. There doesn’t seem to be a specialty here. The beachside is lined with souvenir shops which were selling almost everything that you find around the world in souvenir shops. As always I picked a pretty fridge magnet for my memories.
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A day at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock England

I have been in England for about two years now. Taking a stock of the places I have explored here, I realized that I have been more of an outdoor person; trekking and hiking the cliff paths, seaside, walking across towns on long hiking trails. As fate would have, my knees caught up with over stress and have been very bad last one month. So no climbing, no hiking for next 2 months. Apparently the only travel I have been making is from home to office and back. In this gloomy scenario, my good friends lightened my dull life with a day out to Blenheim Palace in Woodstock near Oxford in England. I have never spent one full day in just one monument, this was exceptional and I still felt when we left at 6:30pm that I didn’t have enough of it.

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Entrance to Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has so much of historical significance for the English, most of which was not known to me before I visited.

This is a grand palace; built from 1705AD to 1733AD. The battle of Blenheim was won by the Duke of Malborough, John Churchill; to celebrate the success, this Manor house and parkland was gifted to him with £240,000 as a gift from Queen Anne. After this began the construction of the Palace that we see today.

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Palace grounds from inside

Designed in old English Baroque style architecture which had a short life; however the magnificence of the architecture is evident in every corner of the Palace. It resembles the Palace of Versailles in France in terms of its overall layout and architecture. I certainly could relate the similarities between them.

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The skyline with statues in typical Baroque style

The palace belongs to the Marlborough lineage. Another major reason why this palace is so significant and hogs much historical limelight is because Sir Winston Churchill was born in this palace. From his birth to his childhood, his days of youth, entering wedlock, this Palace has been witness to the life of one of the most powerful and renowned statesman the world has seen so far.

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Sculpted – Sir Winston Churchill

In the backdrop of Marlborough family tree and the life of Sir Winston Churchill, you would tour the whole palace. There are royal rooms and apartments which are open for public viewing. The rooms spell richness and royal splendor with precious collections of furniture, porcelain, tapestries, silverware and other antiques.

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One of the state rooms

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The room in which Winston Churchill was born

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Beautiful painted ceiling of one of the rooms

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One of the official Rooms of the Dukes

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The royal dining place

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And my favourite room, The Library!

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The ornate and massive organ is placed in the entrance of the Library

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The base of the organ has these operational knobs.

Last hour in the palace, we attended a 30 minute of audio-visual tour titled ‘The Untold Story’. A very enthralling dramatic set up in the Eastern Wing of the Palace which has puppets and a story that plays as a dialogue in the background. The story is of the Marlborough family set in the Palace.

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One of the rooms with the puppet

The palace sits in acres of lush green parklands and a beautiful lake.

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View of the castle from the gardens. Retro look!

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The gardens

While the palace interiors will take most of your time, there is a lot to explore outside as well, specially if you are with kids and pets. The large parks have great spaces, rose garden, botanical gardens housing exotic plants, butterfly garden which is a very cute greenhouse observatory with lovely butterflies and humming birds, a green shrub maze, a small toy train to ferry passengers, a large lake with sloping grassy lawns; you will be really spoilt for choice here.

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The beautiful scenic lake

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Lovely view of the palace from the parks

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A small toy train ferries passengers from the front of the Palace to the Pleasure Gardens

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The Maze at Pleasure Gardens. Its fun. It will take you 25-30 min of running around to find your way out.

I am sure you would have got a fair idea that how we spent one full day in the palace and its green ambiance. The Blenheim Palace is a treasure trove of English heritage. Its a must visit for anyone who is looking at visiting a great monument, a world heritage site, a wonderful family day out and learn more about the British history.

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My last shot before leaving the majestic Blenheim Palace. This photo shot reminds me of Palace of Versailles and certainly there is a similarity in both

 

Note to Travelers

  • Travel : The Blenheim Palace is not easily accessible by Public transport. Its outside the city limits. You must come to Oxford Station and take a Bus to Woodstock and further ahead a taxi. Its best to drive if possible. There is ample car park space in the Palace.
  • Food : There are quite a lot of options in the Palace. From coffee shops to restaurants there is a decent spread of quite bites and elaborate lunch options.
  • Walking Shoes : There is a lot of scope of enjoying the green spaces by walking around. Ensure you wear your walking shoes or very comfortable flats.
Categories: castle, castles of europe, palaces, travel, travel blog, Uncategorized, visit britain, visit england, weekend trip | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Stonehenge and Salisbury : The Mystery Wonders of England

Stonehenge needs no introduction to anyone in the world. Brushing shoulders with Pyramids of Giza, as one of the seven wonders of Ancient World, this pristine wonder is one of the gems of English Heritage. Generally people are caught in a dilemma whether to visit or not, as there is nothing touristy to do there and to travel so far to see some stones may not sound as an exciting holiday idea; however I would say for those who are looking to explore British Heritage and go down the lane of history, it cannot get better than this.

Visiting Stonehenge would certainly require a day. If you are based at London it will take you a 2 hour travel by Train or a little over 2 hours by road depending on the traffic. My personal suggestion would be to take a Train from London to Salisbury which in itself is quite a treat of historical marvels. There are Stonehenge Bus Tours from Salisbury which will take you around Salisbury, Old Sarum and Stonehenge. So you get to explore some more pearls of British history.

Salisbury

Salisbury is a town in south-west England in the county of Wiltshire which basks in the glory of the magnificent Salisbury Cathedral.

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Salisbury Cathedral

Built in 38 years, Salisbury Cathedral has a Gothic architecture style, quite evident from its spires. It is difficult to get enough of its detailed designs and sculptures on the façade. The saints and kings on its walls seem to be talking to you every time you look at them.

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The facade of the Cathedral

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View of the Cathedral from one of its gardens

The inside of the Cathedral is intimidating with its huge stained glass windows, tall pillars and high arches.

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The interior of the Cathedral with its tall columnar pillars

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View of the interior of the Cathedral

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The gardens and the intricate arches all around it.

However other than its magnificent architecture, what makes this Cathedral attract visitors is that it houses the original best preserved copy of ‘Magna Carta’. A quick refresher from our textbooks, Magna Carta was the royal charter which led to the rule of the Constitutional law in England. Beautifully handwritten in Latin, The Magna Carta is on display in the Chapter House of the Cathedral. Photography is not permitted.

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Magna Carta. Original copy of the document is preserved in the Cathedral.

Though a lesser known one than its peers, this Cathedral has many entries in the record books of UK.  Standing tall with its 404 feet high spire, which is the tallest in the UK, it pretty much dominates the skyline of this quaint town. Dated as old as 1220 AD, this Cathedral has the largest ‘Cloister’ and ‘Close’ in Britain and houses world’s oldest mechanical working clock.

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The tall spire of the Cathedral can be spotted from miles. This is certainly the major highlight of this structure.

Stonehenge

Around 9 miles from Salisbury lies the World Heritage site of Stonehenge. Unlike other monuments, the entry to Stonehenge is highly regulated. One cannot go near the stones and have to view them from the periphery of a restricted fencing.

View of the Stonehenge from outside the fence

Well, an obvious question arises in every visitor’s mind what is after all the hullabaloo around Stonehenge? I had the same apprehensions arising in my mind too prior to my visit. This matter can be very subjective and would be more appropriate to say that it depends what interests a traveller. I am a history freak so it was a natural incline to visit places of historical significance which made me plan a trip to Stonehenge.

As a visitor to Stonehenge, I was completely awed with the brilliance of its placement in the middle of a countryside. It also amazes me like many theorists as to how these gigantic stones were transported and then made into these vertical and horizontal patterns.

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A close up view

Some theories mention these stones were transported from Wales through waterways and then rolled to its current site, while some believe that this is not possible without human intervention and a large workforce was involved to get these stones. Definitely there must be a deep study of some science involved. Maybe it was an observatory, maybe it was not.  A part of me also goes with the Pagans and Druids to go by the thread of Religion that this place was of religious significance and has a supernatural dimension too.

Another close up from another side of the stone arrangement

Yes a day out seeped in history can be tiring; if its summers you can come back to the quaint markets of Salisbury to soothe your nerves with some retail therapy and chilled beer.

Some of the photos from a local market in the town center of Salisbury

Polish Sausages; quite a common site in any local market

The world would be different without Italian desserts and we are all are bitten by the ‘Italiano’ bug.

Wooden toys which are actually plant holders.

And as I call it a day and walk back to the station, there is an English flavour that i cant help clicking. Canals in the towns with bushy canopies and bridges with the charm of yore.

Salisbury is at the confluence of 5 rivers. One canal flowing in the town.

A bridge across the canal

*Note to Travelers*

The cheapest and easiest way to travel would be to purchase the tickets of the Stonehenge tour from either Salisbury Railway station or get onto the Bus at the marked stops and purchase directly from the Driver.

Online Resource Pool: There is plenty of information on web about Salisbury and Stonehenge and other stone circles in the UK. My suggestions would be to refer the below prior to making your visit.

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/

http://www.stonehenge.co.uk/about.php

http://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/

For train bookings from London to Salisbury

https://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/

http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/

For booking tours to Stonehenge

http://www.thestonehengetour.info/

Categories: cathedral, cathedrals of europe, England coastline, english cathedrals, magna carta, salisbury, stonehenge, visit england | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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