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Rogue Valley Chorale, Medford, OR
Choir Director Lynn Sjoland
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St. Albans                            This ancient city, with narrow, twisting streets was once one of the largest and most important Roman towns in the country.  The Abbey is visible from miles around.  A British settlement existed here prior to the Roman invasion of 54A.D. by the middle of the 1st Century this settlement had become so important it was elevated to the status of Municipium, the only British city to attain such an honour, which accorded the inhabitants the right of Roman citizenship.  The remains of Verulamium were only excavated in the present century, parts of the original city walls up to 12 feet thick can be seen.  The Roman theatre (only one in Britain) has been excavated and restored, semi circular in shapes is 180 feet across and provided seats for over 1,600 people.
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St. Albans Cathedral                         The Cathedral, St Albans Abbey was built on the site where the first British Martyr, Alban was beheaded in 209A.D.  The existing Abbey was constructed by Paul of Caen using materials collected from the ruined Roman city (brick and flint taken from Roman remains) started in 1077 much of the original church remains today.  The church is over 900 years old but the materials used to build it are nearly twice that age.  The nave measures over 275 feet and is the longest in Great Britain, the tower is 144 feet high constructed entirely by the Normans with red bricks from the old Roman city.
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Windsor                                Dominated both in spirit and in fact, by its magnificent castle, yet the town itself is very attractive with Georgian and Victorian buildings, church street being one of its prettiest areas.  The parish Church of St John stands in the High Street with railings designed by Grindling Gibbons.  Nearby is the Guildhall designed at the end of the 17th Century by Sir Thomas Fitch and finished by Sir Christopher Wren.  However it is the castle that made the town and still attracts thousands and thousands of visitors every year.
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Windsor Castle                   The castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world and covers over 13 acres.  Its story starts with William the Conqueror who quickly grasped its strategic position and the advantage of a forest for hunting close by.  Since then practically every sovereign has had a hand in the building, Henry II put up the first stone buildings including the round tower, but the defences are still those built by Henry III. Edward III was born at Windsor and loved it, he enlarged the royal apartments and founded the order of the Knights of the Garter, making Windsor a centre for chivalry.  The castle is made up of three parts, the lower ward, which includes St George's chapel, the upper ward in which lie the state apartments and the middle ward where the enormous round tower gives wonderful views over 12 counties.
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St. Georges Chapel, Windsor    A sumptuous and impressive building which yet gives an effect of light and spaciousness.  The perpendicular chapel was begun by Edward IV in 1475 and completed in the reigns of Henry VII and VIII.  Many sovereigns and famous men and women lie buried here, including Charles I, Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and the present Queens Mother and father.  Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert were also buried at Windsor but in the royal mausoleum at Frogmore in Home Park near the castle.
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The Cotswolds               Developed from the Anglo Saxon words Cot and Wold, Cot meaning sheep pen. Wold meaning high windy ground, that certainly can describe the area well, especially in the winter.  The soil is poor on the Wolds and not a lot of it but a great area for rearing sheep.  Hence the numerous villages with lovely churches (known as wool churches) built by wealthy landowners centuries ago.  The area is also famous for the Cotswold stone a soft stone which yellows with age.  Many cottages will be seen built of Cotswold stone.
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Cotswold Images

Cheltenham                   Set on a sheltered ridge between the high Cotswolds and the Severn Vale the town enjoys a pleasant and equable climate.  Cheltenham is one of the finest Spa towns in Europe, with a wealth of regency houses bordering elegant squares, crescents, terraces and open spaces.  George III an inveterate frequenter of spas, visited the town in 1738 and set his seal of approval by staying at Bayshill lodge.  Lansdown Place and Montpellier Parade, among similar thoroughfares and the Rotunda, the design for its dome being based on the Pantheon in Rome.  Montpellier walk with its shops separated by Caryatids must be one of the most unusual shopping precincts in the world.  Out on the Bath Road are two of Cheltenham`s famous schools, Cheltenham College for boys was originally built between 1841 and 1843.  With the nearby Cheltenham Ladies college founded by Miss Beale, the ardent Victorian champion of good education for girls.
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Bourton on the Water    A picturesque village with the River Windrush flowing under low arched bridges alongside the main street, beside grassy lawns and Cotswold stoned cottages.
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Burford                           Can certainly lay claim to being one of the most beautiful Cotswold towns.  A superb High Street slopes gently down to a three arch bridge spanning the River Windrush.  Some of the buildings such as the Bear Inn, Crown Inn and the Grammer School can readily identify their roots in the 15th Century.  A fine church exists, St John, hidden from view down a lane at the foot of the High Street.  A wonderful mixture of accretion (add on's as and when money became available or persons so decided) the tower is definitely Norman so is the West Doorway.  The Guild of Merchants chapel circa 1200 but remodelled in the 15th Century.  In May 1649 Cromwell imprisoned a group of mutineers in the church for 3 nights after which they were to be shot.  When three had been executed Cromwell relented, one of the group “Sedley” scratched his name on the font.  In even earlier times the Anglo Saxons defeated the Mercians at the battle of Edge now a playing field near the church.  It is also written that in 683 a council was convened at Burford attended by the King of Mercia at which the date of Easter was fixed for the English church.  The wealth of the region coming from the surrounding sheep country during the middle ages.  To really appreciate Burford take time to walk the High Street.
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Bibury                             Best seen in the fading light of a warm summer evening, the houses of golden stone many with cottage gardens facing the River Coln.  William Morris described Bibury as the most beautiful village in England.  Sit on the wall by the river watch the trout running in the crystal clear water and across on the island a protected nature reserve with wild duck and many species of bird.
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Haw Bridge Inn                Built in 1630 as a stop over place for boats, where the old toll bridge crossed the river Severn.  Many a boatman has taken a sip of ale and a Ploughman’s lunch within these walls, while watching the boats plying their trade on this once busy stretch of river.  Today, just pleasure craft glide slowly by. But the Inn still retains the ambiance of a bygone age nestling as it does on the banks of the river.  Flagstone floors, oak panelling & oak beamed ceilings.  Collections of horse brasses and Toby jugs adorn both walls and ceilings.  Home cooked food, enjoy this little piece of real England.
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Oxford                              This great university town is, for its history and associations and for its architecture, one of the most rewarding in all England.  In spite of recent industrialisation, its beauty and dignity have emerged relatively unscathed.  The university is the second oldest in Europe, acknowledging only the Sorbonne in Paris as its senior.  In fact evidence of organised teaching can be traced to the 12th Century.  A Chancellor was appointed in 1214 and the collegiate system began in the latter part of the 13th Century with the establishment in Oxford of various religious orders.
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Christchurch, Oxford                     Quite unique, a Cathedral serving the Diocese of Oxford and a College Chapel serving Christ Church College.  It was made a Cathedral by King Henry VIII in 1545 after cardinal Wolsey had made it a Chapel of the College in 1525.  The building however dates back to the 12th Century when it was a priory of Augustianain Cannons.  The first recorded church on the site was in the 8th Century.  The spire incidentally, constructed during the 13th Century was the first in England the lovely Gothic chancel added in the year 1500.  A superb collection of stained glass windows still exists dating back the 14th Century with the oldest being the magnificent Becket window in the South transept (a rare example of 14th Century glass in situ).
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Ludlow                                           The castle was built in 1085 by either the Earl of Shrewsbury Robert Montgomery or Roger De Lacy.  Built to ward off those marauding Welsh natives.  The massive structure stands today much as it did when it was built and seen by Edward IV, Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII's brother Prince Arthur who died here.  The massive structure stands today much as it did when it was built and seen by Edward IV, Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII's brother Prince Arthur who died here.  The parish Church of St Laurence is one of the largest parish Churches in England.  Largely 15th Century. Interesting Misericords in the church choir.  The East window in the Chancel is 30ft high by 18ft wide and depicts the life, history and miracles of the patron Saint in 27 separate scenes containing approx 300 figures.  The finest thoroughfare in Ludlow is broad street where every building dates back to the 14/15th Centuries.  Tucked into a yard off Church Street is the Rose and Crown first licensed in the 16th century.  The Feathers Hotel in the bull ring is a lovely 17th Century half timbered building. it is believed the entrance door is more than 300 years old.  Few towns in England have as much to show for their history as Ludlow.  Enjoy it in the time you have.
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Snowdonia                      Snowdonia national park. 840 square miles of varied countryside-mountains, lakes, forests, estuaries and 25 miles of coastline.  It is not just a park but a working landscape, looked after by the park committee.
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Web Link to Snowdonia National Park

Snowdon Mountain Railway    The narrow gauge railway was opened in 1896 and the steam powered locomotives climb to within yards of the summit.  The track runs parallel to one of Snowdons most popular footpaths.  The mountain is 3,560 ft above sea level.
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Llandudno                        Wales`s premier seaside resort, unspoilt with its carefully preserved Victorian architecture and superb natural setting.  Fine shops, cafes, restaurants and local attractions.  Set in a crescent shaped bay, the promenade adjoins the wide 2 mile long sandy beach guarded by cliffs at both ends.
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Menai Strait        For many years the only access to Anglesey was by the famous Thomas Telford Menai Bridge opened on the 30th January 1826.  It is 1,000ft long, 579ft from pier to pier and 100ft above the water. When crossing the straits remember those other invaders who came 2,000 years ago.  The Romans.  Who also crossed these swirling waters to put the Druid Priests and their flower maidens to the sword in the 1st Century AD.  Their action broke the mystique of ritual and sacrifice that flourished at that time in the oak groves of the isle.  The isle of Anglesey is a bastion to the Welsh Language.
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Llanberis                          People have lived in the area of Llanberis since the Iron age.  Celts, Romans, St Padarn an early Christian Saint, and the Welsh Princes of Gwynedd.  The area abounds with ancient Welsh legends and folklore.
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Pass of Llanberis          The road down the pass descends some 1,200ft and is described by many as one of the most spectacular in Britain as it is squeezed between the flanks of Glyder Fawr (3,279ft) on the right and Snowdon (3,560ft) on the left.  The road snakes down between vertical cliffs which tower above, punctured by boulders some as big as houses.
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Caernarfon                       Walls dating from the same period as the castle surround the town, which is a grid iron pattern of narrow streets.  The castle has stood guard over this busy little town situated on the Menai Strait for 700 years.  The towns earliest days are recalled as Segontium, a Roman fort on the road to Beddgelert.  The town is apparently built on the site of the Roman fort.  In Welsh- y gaer ar fon- means the fort or stronghold on the land opposite to Anglesey, or Mon as it is known.  Therefore the words gradually became Caer-nar fon.
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Caernarfon Castle          Begun in 1283 by Edward I, this magnificent fortress took 40 years to build.  Its walls, with the coloured bands of stone, are said to copy those of Constantinople.  It was the chief stronghold of the English invaders against the proud and warlike Welsh, but was completely destroyed by their attempts. Today its towers and walls still present an impressive sight.  It was here in 1969 that Prince Charles was invested as Prince of Wales and presented to the Welsh people from the balcony overlooking the square.
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Beddgelert                        The dramatic beauty of Beddgelert`s setting is equalled by few British villages.  It stands where three valleys meet and looks South towards the pass of Aberglaslyn,  while Snowdon rises to the North.  The village of course is famous for the legend of Gelert the dog owned by Llywelyn the Great in the 13th Century.  According to legend he left the dog to guard his son, on returning he found the dog covered in blood and no sign of a body.  Thinking the dog had killed his son he had the dog killed, a little while later his son was found alive with a dead wolf nearby.  Gelert had in fact killed the wolf to save the son, Llywelyn was so upset he arranged for a grave to be dug for the dog in the village.
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St. Mary's Church, Beddgelert             The parish church had its origin in a Celtic Christian community established on the present site in the 6th Century.  It eventually became an Augustinian Priory Chapel in the 13th Century.  Little remains of the original chapel except the two fine 12th Century arches in the North wall, the doorway to the vestry and the East wall with its beautiful triple lancet window.
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Conwy                              The mighty castle and complete town walls on the river bank make Conwy a picturesque and richly historic centre.  It is probably one of the finest and most complete walled towns in Europe.  The walls themselves are over three quarters of a mile in length with 22 towers and three original gateways.  Conwy`s setting on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park and the Western bank of the River Conwy is unrivalled, as is its colourful history.  The Romans arrived in the area during the First Century A.D. and many invading kings from the East endured great hardship trying to cross the river to subdue the Welsh Princes on the Western bank.  When Edward I did eventually seize the bank, he built a castle to strengthen his position.  The population now spreads beyond the town walls to nearby Deganwy and Llandudno.  Along the quay in the shelter of these ancient walls is an old world full of interest.  Together with a house reputed to be the smallest in Britain and furnished as a mid Victorian Welsh cottage.
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Conwy Castle                  The castle was built by Edward I between 1283 and 1289.  He made it his headquarters for the struggle against the Welsh Prince Llywelyn.  Edward was himself besieged there by a large Welsh force from the hills in 1290.  The castle`s shape is actually dictated by the very rock on which it stands.  It has barbicans at either end and eight massive towers.  First impressions are of tremendous strength, a dominating position and yet with a compactness of design which renders it one of the most picturesque Welsh castles.
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Bodnant Gardens            Situated above the River Conwy, with stunning views across Snowdonia.  Over 80 acres of cultivated land on a slight slope.  Combining 5 Italian style terraces and formal gardens while below a stream runs through the secluded wild garden.  200year old redwoods are to be seen, and in the summer months the terrace gardens are extremely colourful with displays of roses, hydrangeas, herbacious borders, water lilies and clematis.  Bodnant is described by many as one of the finest gardens in Europe
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Chester           A combination of Roman and Medieval relics, as well as many fine timber framed buildings, makes Chester (Roman city of Deva, one of England's most interesting cities.  Roman occupation in the later 1st Century made Chester an important military point.  During most of the Roman occupation it was the headquarters of one of the three Roman legions in Britain.  The present city wall follows the line of the Roman wall and in places incorporates pieces of it.  The most important Roman area is the amphitheatre.  It is the largest amphitheatre so far discovered in Britain.  Built of stone it covers an area of 314ft by 286ft with an arena of 190ft by 162ft.  The rows, a unique feature of the city can be found in Watergate Street, Eastgate Street and Bridge street.  You can inspect modern shops in the appropriate stretches of the streets, take the first flight of stairs you find between shops and find yourself walking on the roofs of the shops besides another row of shops set further back, an interesting form of pedestrian precinct.
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York                                           The fascinating townscape of this walled city illustrates much of its nearly 2,000 years history.  York possesses in its Minster the largest medieval church in Northern Europe, the general scale of its building is small and human.  Even today York seems more medieval than almost any other English town.  The compact core is a treasure house for anyone interested in history, architecture or ancient crafts, and is best seen on foot.  The Romans called the place Eboracum, and built a fort in AD.71.  Under the Angles, York was capital of their Kingdom of Deira.  King Edwin was baptised here by Paulinus, who became the first Archbishop of York in 634.  The Danes captured and burnt York in 867 and it was their capital in England for nearly 100 years, they called it Jorvik and it is from this that the present name derives.  There is nothing left to see of Anglo Saxon and Danish York, but the use of the word gate for street is a reminder that the Danes did settle here.  The Norman's found a thriving little trading centre and burnt it in 1069 during their frightful ravaging of the North, and then rebuilt the walls, expanding them to take the present 263 acres.  Medieval York is everywhere, not least in the web of narrow streets.  The Shambles and Stonegate are two of the best preserved examples.  Too the East of the Minster is the half timbered St William's College.  Three of the nine Guildhalls still survive.  All the city walls are medieval rebuilt on the Roman and Norman foundations in the 13th Century.  A 2.5 mile footpath on the walls gives a circular tour of the city.  In the middle ages, York was England's second city a great religious and commercial centre.  A lovely city with much to see and enjoy.
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Web Link to Historic York

York Minster                    The Minster is York's chief glory, appropriate to the dignity of an Archbishopric, built between 1220 and 1470, it contains England's greatest concentration of medieval stained glass, principally from the 13th and 14th Centuries.  The two most famous windows being the five sisters and the magnificent 15th Century east window, the largest in the world.  The Ministers length is 518ft and is 241ft wide at the transept.  The central tower rises 198ft and is the largest lantern tower in Britain.  The 14th Century Chapter House with seven lovely window walls has no central support for its conical roof, just the great buttresses on the eight sides.  The Choir was completed by 1400 and its great climax the east window with 2,000 sq ft of ancient glass by John Thornton of Coventry was finished in 1408, the massive towers came last.
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Fountain Abbey  (Declared a world heritage site)          The majestic ruins of possibly the Greatest Abbey in England, stand in this scenic valley of the River Skell.  Just a few miles South West of Ripon.  Even today so much of the building is still visible.  From very humble beginnings, a rise to power then total Dissolution under Henry VIII.  It was from St Mary`s Abbey York, that the prior and some followers left to establish a new Cistercian order here at Fountains in 1132.  They started to build and over the years the community grew in property, prosperity & recruits. Unfortunately this power and wealth replaced the original Cistercian ideals and was a great prize for Henry VIII during the Dissolution.  He sold it to Sir Richard Gresham in 1540.  One can clearly see from the ruins the picture of what life in a Monastic institution was like during the middle ages.  The tower stands a remarkable 168ft in height with the church extending some 360ft.  In 1738 William Aisdale who owned the adjoining Studley Royal Estate purchased Fountains and continued to mould the two together.  Landscaping and gardening as he went along.  Today the Cistercian Abbey ruins are the largest in Britain blending in naturally with a landscape of ornamental lakes, cascades, bridges, river walks and eye catching vistas.  A 500 head deer colony live in the deer park and at night the whole area of the ruins are floodlit.
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Hawes                    One of the highest market towns in England.  Known as the capital of Upper Wensleydale.  Set amongst a thriving farming area of outstanding beauty home to thousands of sheep and cattle.  A small town with broad cobbled streets where local industries such as cheese making, pottery and rope making still survive.  Small shops offering local produce together with antique shops offer glimpses of times gone by.
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Wensleydale Cheese            The story of cheese making in the Yorkshire dales dates back to possible Roman times.  However it was Cistercian Monks from Jervaulx arriving here in the 12th Century who bought with them a knowledge of cheese making which they used to produce a soft, blue veined cheese made from Wensleydale Ewes milk.  By the 17th Century most farmhouses had their own recipes which were passed down from generation to generation.  The first commercial creamery in Hawes was set up in 1897.  Then followed a history of high points and a very low point reached in 1992 when the creamery was closed.  However within 6 months some ex managers a local businessman together with skilled help from former workers re-opened for business. Today going from strength to strength the creamery once again is proud to produce the real Wensleydale cheese.
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Coventry                                            Probably owes its origins to the erection in the 7th Century of an Anglo Saxon convent.  However it was the later Benedictine Abbey founded by Leofric, Earl of Mercia in the 11th Century that gave the town its impetus to grow.  It was granted its first charter in 1553.  The mechanization of the 19th Century brought the manufacture of sewing machines and bicycles right into the city.  The Daimler company produced the first English motorcar in 1898 and the car industry increased rapidly, giving rise in turn to aircraft production.  It was the aircraft production Germany came to bomb in 1940, it was a cold November night in 1940 when much of the city was wiped out by a devastating fire bombing air raid, thousands of people killed and injured, the Cathedral was also destroyed, leaving only a tower and a spire standing.
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Coventry Cathedral                      In 1951 an open architectural competition for a new Cathedral was held and won by a design by Basil Spence.  A new Cathedral was born, started in 1954 it was finished in 1962.  Today thousands of visitors are drawn to the new building, acclaimed as one of the most striking examples of modern architecture.  The nave is 270ft long and 80ft wide with the focal point a superb 75ft high tapestry designed by Graham Sutherland and woven in France.  The theme reconciliation and unity by all people from whatever religion of whatever creed or colour, the rising of hope from the ashes of war.
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London the Capital City of England & the United Kingdom         Within a few years of invading Britain in 43AD the Romans had built forts and towns across the land.  They linked these outposts with a number of well constructed roads, some of which had to cross a wide tidal river (Thames).  The Roman engineers eventually picked a crossing point from generally marshy ground on the South bank (with islands of firm ground) to an area on the North Bank situated on two low hills, these hills formed the highest and driest site on the tidal river.  At this point the Romans built their bridge and before long a settlement grew up on the hills and then a City took shape, the Romans called it Londinium.  The landscape that greeted the Romans now lies deep beneath the modern city, upto 8 metres deep, the reason, every new building over the past 2,000 years was built on top of the rubble of the old.
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London Eye                        Opened in January 2000 as a part of the Millennium celebrations it is 135mtrs high and is the worlds highest observation wheel.  The fourth tallest structure in London. It is 35mtrs taller than Big Ben, 30 mtrs taller than St Pauls, three times as high as Tower Bridge and a third taller than the Statue of Liberty.  The 360` rotation will take approx 30/35 minutes.  The wheel has 32 fully enclosed capsules holding up to 25 people each. From its highest point passengers can see 25 miles in each direction on a clear day.
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Museum of London          Telling the story of London from prehistoric times to the present day.  Highlights include the Lord Mayors Coach, together with artefacts, jewellery and furniture from all the periods of occupation.
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Horse Guards Parade      The former tiltyard or jousting field of Whitehall Palace, used for the ceremony of Trooping the Colour each June to celebrate the Queens official birthday.  The Horse Guards building by which one enters the parade ground from the direction of Whitehall was reconstructed in 1750 prior to which it was the gatehouse of the Palace of Westminster.  The horse mounted guards who stand duty under two archways either side of the clock tower stand guard for just one hour at a time not all day.  The soldiers belong either to the Life Guards (red tunics & white plumes) who formed the bodyguard for Charles I or the Royal Horse Guards (blue with red plumes) who grew out of a regiment formed by Cromwell.  Both regiments now belong to the Household Cavalry which provides the Queens Bodyguard on all state occasions.
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Houses of Parliament       The present building occupies the site of the old Royal Palace.  The oldest surviving part of this palace is Westminster Hall (some of the walls dating back to 1097/99).  In 1840 Sir Charles Barry with the help of his eccentric assistant, Pugin began building the neo Gothic new house which still graces Parliament Square.  Although it was badly bombed in 1941 the Commons Chamber was completely destroyed, the new one was opened in 1950.  As you look at the palace from the square the commons are on the left and the lords on the right.  Standing a little to the left of the building is Westminster Hall.  This ancient hall is 290ft long, 68ft wide and 92ft high, it was built in 1097 by William II and modernised by Richard II in 1399.  It was here that Charles I was condemned to death in 1649, Edward II abdicated in 1327, Oliver Cromwell was installed as protector and the Guy Fawkes conspirators sentenced to death.  It was the centre of London life, a very public place in which to have sentence passed. it remains lofty, beautiful, impressive and empty, the oldest part of the palace and the most lovely.
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River Thames                     One of the longest rivers in England at 215 miles in length, it flows from its source near Cheltenham to the sea through some of the most beautiful countryside before becoming the main artery that the wealth of Britain has been bourn.  No river can have influenced a nations destiny more, from Roman times to the present day. 
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New Globe Theatre           Situated on the South bank as close as possible to the site of the original Globe Theatre stands the New Globe.  Faithfully reconstructed to the Elizabethan design using the same materials.  The Globe now stands as a fitting memorial to Shakespears work and also to the vision of the late actor/director Sam Wanamaker whose dream it was to rebuild a theatre in the round.
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Westminster Hall                This ancient hall is 290ft long, 68ft long and 92ft high.  It was built in 1097 by William II and modernised by Richard II in 1399.  It was here that Charles I was condemned to death in 1649.  Edward II abdicated in 1327.  Oliver Cromwell was installed as protector and the Guy Fawkes conspirators sentenced to death.  It was the centre of London life, a very public place in which to have sentence passed.  It remains lofty, beautiful, impressive and empty, the oldest part of the palace and the most lovely.
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Cabinet War Rooms         In 1940 as the bombs rained down on London, Winston Churchill, his Cabinet, his Chiefs of Staff and intelligence chiefs were meeting below ground in a fortified basement in Whitehall, later to be known as the Cabinet War Rooms.  They offered shelter in which to work, sleep and live for as long as necessary.  When the war ended the lights were switched off and the rooms left silent and untouched for many years.  The rooms were in operational use from 27th August 1939 to the Japanese surrender in 1945 the war cabinet held more than 100 meetings in these somewhat cramped rooms.  Without doubt some of the most important decisions of the Second World War were taken here. 
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Buckingham Palace         Until the 18th Century the original site was occupied by Buckingham House which was bought by George III in 1762.  When George IV acceded the throne in 1820 he commissioned John Nash to build a palace fit for a King on the same site.  Much of the original structure and decoration survives to this day.
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The British Monarchy
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Banqueting House            Completed in 1622 and designed by Indigo Jones, it was the first building in London to embody the classical Palladium style together with the use of Portland stone in the construction.  Built originally as a part of Whitehall Palace it was the only building to escape the great fire which destroyed the Palace in 1698.  The main hall is 115ft long and 60ft wide but it is the ceiling which catches the eye.  Painted by Rubens for Charles 1st in 1629-34 it depicts the Apotheoses of the Stuart Dynasty in nine panels, which should be viewed from the far end of the room.  In 1649 Charles 1st stepped out of one of the windows of the hall on his way to the scaffold erected outside in the yard, to his execution.  Ironically Charles II celebrated his restoration to the throne here 20 years later.  Still used for state banquets and official functions by the Government and the Queen.  
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British Museum                 Founded in 1753, it is the oldest museum in the world.  The original collection was started by the physician Sir Hans Sloane but over the years it as been added to many times over.  The immense hoard of artefacts spans nearly 2 million years of world history.  It is stored in 94 galleries covering over 2 miles of displays.  Some of the treasures include Egyptian mummies, the Mildenhall Saxon silver tableware found after being ploughed up in a Suffolk field in 1942, Lindow man preserved in a bog since the first century AD, pottery from Greece and Rome, Lindisfarne Gospels from the 7th Century, an original copy of Magna Carta from 1215. Together with specimens from all over the world which bring the very history of our civilisation alive.
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Covent Garden                  Believed to have been the Convent Garden of St Peters, Westminster, where the Monks sold surplus vegetables.  In 1638 the area was very residential developed by Indigo Jones, with arcaded walks based on the Piazza D` Arme at Livorno.  In 1671 by right of charter it became a small market which gradually filled the Piazza.  In 1830 the 6th Duke of Bedford rebuilt it in its present form.  It became the largest fruit, vegetable and flower market in the country.  Since the market moved South of the river the area has been redeveloped.  Still keeping the magnificent canopy and many of the buildings from the early 1800s. the area is now well known for its restaurants, shops, market stalls and of course the Royal Opera House.  The Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London Transport Museum, Theatre Museum and much, much more.
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10 Downing Street            Has been the official residence of the Prime Minister since Sir Robert Walpole, the first Prime Minister lived here in 1732.  The street was named after its builder, Sir George Downing.  The iron gates were erected for security reasons in 1989.
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St. Paul's Cathedral, London        The original Cathedral was built on Ludgate Hill by the Anglo Saxons in 604A.D. built of wood it burnt down and was rebuilt on a number of occasions.  The present Cathedral was started by Sir Christopher Wren in 1675 and it took 35 years to build.  The Cathedral was damaged during the Second World War with bombs falling through the roof and destroying the alter and one damaging the North transept.  A famous picture taken at the time shows the cathedral surrounded by fire and smoke and through the gloom appearing unscathed the dome of St Pauls rising dominantly and defiantly from the inferno below, a source of inspiration to the whole country in its hour of need.  In the crypt lie buried, Wren, Nelson, Wellington and many other famous British people.  The peel of 12 bells is outstanding and the choir of 38 boys and 18 men maintain a very proud tradition.
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Westminster Abbey                          Legend has it that the first Church built on Thorney Island in the Thames was built by King Segbert in the 7th Century, there is also mention of a Charter from King Offa of Mercia to the people of Westminster granting land.  We also have a Charter from King Edgar in the 10th Century for the restoring of the Benedictine Abbey.  It is also written that a substantial foundation existed in Westminster when King Edward the Confessor became King in 1042.  We do know that Edward started to build a Church here close to the previous building and it was consecrated on 28th December 1065.  Eight days later Edward died and he was buried in front of the high altar.
William the Conqueror was crowned in that Abbey on Christmas Day 1066. this Coronation began a tradition and all Kings and Queens of England (Britain) with the exception of Edward V & Edward VIII have been crowned in the Abbey since that date.
Work began in 1245 in rebuilding the Abbey. The work proceeded rapidly and by 1269 the Quire and one bay of the Nave was completed.  At this time the body of St Edward was removed and laid to rest in a Chapel bearing his name.  In 1272 Henry III died and his body was buried in the front of the high alter where Edward`s had once lain.
The complete history of this famous Abbey would take many pages to write, hence it is possibly to conclude by saying “many Kings and Queens together with famous people lie buried within its walls and therefore this one building is a unique testament to 1,000 years of the history of the British people”.

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Science museum   Shows the application of science to our lives directly and though industry.  A replica of Stephensons first locomotive The Rocket.  The evolution of the motor car.  The aeronautical exhibition and much, much more.
The South Kensington museum from which the science museum developed was founded in 1857.  It sprang from the confidence and prosperity of a generation for whom Britain`s manufacturing industry led the world
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Tower of London               Built by William the Conqueror because he did not trust his new people.  Over the years it has been a garrison, armoury, prison, royal mint and royal palace.  Among well known heads that have rolled or languished in the tower were Kings of Scotland, France and England.  Lady Jane Grey, Duke of Monmouth, Queen Elizabeth for six months, Sir Walter Raleigh and many more.  There is even a gate directly off the river called traitors gate.
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Southwark Cathedral                       Hiddern away beneath the modern arches and bridges of busy London.  This jewel is known as “Londons hidden glory” Londons oldest Cathedral.  The doomsday book records that in Anglo Saxon times a Monasterium was situated on this site, some recent excavations have unearthed some Roman remains but the origins of the church unfortunately are lost in the mists of time.  The church was rebuilt in 1106 and was closely linked to the Bishops of Winchester.  The present choir was constructed in the 13th Century, the tower in the 14th and the altar screen in the 16th Century.  It finally became a Cathedral in 1905 to serve what was a growing population on the South bank.
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Canterbury             A very ancient city with more than 2,000 years of history and the site of Canterbury Cathedral.  There were Belgic settlements here pre-Roman time and Julius Caesar took the area by storm in 54B.C. after their conquest in 43A.D. the Romans established a centre here called Durovernum.  In 597 St Augustine arrived on his mission to spread Christianity in England and built his first cathedral.  Something like half the Medieval walls which encircled the old city on the Eastern side still remain.  They date from the 13th & 14th Centuries, they were partly built on Roman remains.
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Canterbury Cathedral   The Cathedral of course dominates the city, the original was built by St Augustine but nothing remains.  In fact nothing pre-Conquest does remain.  A little while after the Conquest a new Cathedral was built by Lanfranc, the first Norman Archbishop.  Since that time there have been many additions, the oldest remaining part of the Cathedral is the crypt dating from 1100.  Only one English monarch is buried here, Henry IV, who lies with his Queen Joan in Trinity Chapel.  The tomb of Edward, the Black Prince is close by and described by many as the most magnificent in England.  In Trinity chapel you will also find the shrine of St Thomas a Becket, Archbishop from 1162-1170 when he was murdered by four knights of Henry II after a long and bitter feud.  The nave completed in the early 15th Century is 187ft in length, 71ft in width and 79ft in height.  The tall central bell tower which dominates the external views of the cathedral dates back to 1498 and is certainly one of earliest large brick structures in England.  Viewed from inside all but the top 50ft is visible.  130ft above the floor level is the magnificent fan vaulted ceiling, the South window is a splendid example of 12th Century art and the whole Cathedral is alive with stained glass, despite the Civil War and the Second World War damage.
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Hotels

Chase Hotel, Cheltenham     A nice modern 3-4 star hotel on the out skirts of Cheltenham.  All rooms are en-suite with colour TV's, tea/coffee making facilities and air conditioning as standard.  The hotel also has a very nice lounge and Restaurant.
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St. George Hotel, Llandudno       A 4 star hotel situated right on the promenade of this sea side resort.  All rooms are en-suite and come with colour TV's, tea/coffee making facilities and air conditioning.  The Hotel has a Lounge, Bar & Restaurant.
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The Park Inn Hotel, York          Located in the Centre of York this 4 star hotel has just undergone a £5million re-fit and boasts 26in LCD TV's in every room, Wi-Fi, Air conditioning, tea/coffee facilities and complimentary use of the on site Health and Fitness Club.
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Corus Hyde Park Hotel, London    A 3 star hotel very well situated opposite Hyde Park, close to Lancaster Gate Tube and only a couple of minutes walk from Paddington Station.  All rooms are en-suite with colour TV's and tea/coffee making facilities.  Air conditioning is standard.  The hotel also has a nice Lounge, bar and restaurant.
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You May find this link useful, it offers some discounts on entries into places in London and also discount at some restaurants.  Charter Travel does not have any connection to the company offering the discounts but we found it on the Web and thought it may benefit you during your visit.
Discount Vouchers | Discount Codes | Family Days Out - Smartsave