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.
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.
St Augustine Abbey This great Abbey marks the re-birth of Christianity in Britain, founded in 597AD by St Augustine this was originally created as a burial place for the Anglo-Saxon Kings of Kent. The Abbey was well known in Saxon times as a centre of learning but the greatest change to the site came when the Normans rebuilt the Church and Monks quarters. The Abbey continued under Benedictine rules until 1538 when it was surrendered to the Crown under the dissolution of the monasteries. Henry VIII then turned it into a Palace and this is where he first met Anne of Cleves. The site is in ruins today but as you walk amongst the walls you get a feeling for this vast site with its 940years of monastic life.
The inner keep and
bailey dating back to 1180, the royal apartments and chapels used some 800 years
ago. The oldest part of the castle is the Roman lighthouse situated next
to the Saxon church. the well 289ft deep is considerably older than the castle
itself. Take a walk in the 13th century underground fortifications
originally dug in 1216 at the time of the French attack. The battlements
and towers protecting the castle. Over a thousand years of history within the
walls, throughout this long history, until the late 1960s the castle has been a
military headquarters and garrisoned continuously.
Established for over a
thousand years on two islands in the middle of a natural lake. Leeds
castle is one of England's oldest and most romantic stately homes. Known
affectionately as the Ladies Castle, Leeds was home to six of the Medieval
Queens of England and most infamous of monarchs King Henry VIII. The
castle now houses a magnificent collection of Medieval furnishings, tapestries
and paintings. administered by a charitable trust. Surrounded by over 500
acres of rolling parkland and gardens a natural home to many varied varieties of
The historic city of
Winchester has been welcoming groups for centuries, ever since the first
pilgrims visited the shrine of St Swithun. Already an important town in
Roman times, it became the capital under the Anglo Saxons, and in Alfreds time
871-901 was a great centre of learning. William the Conqueror kept
Winchester as his capital and as late as the 17th Century Charles II planned a
palace here. The city is rich in important buildings, one such building is
the Great Hall, completed in 1235 it is a magnificent example of 13th Century
domestic architecture. It is now an Assize Court. Sir Walter Raleigh was
condemned to death here in 1603 and on the wall hangs what is called King
Arthur's Round Table, marked out and inscribed for his knights. However one
building stands out above all others, the cathedral.
building was started in 1079 and consecrated in 1093. Work from this
period can still be seen in the crypt, transepts and East part of the cloister.
Between 1189 and 1204 the Lady Chapel was built and the Quire extended. It
is the longest Medieval Cathedral in Europe (556ft) In 1110 the central tower
collapsed and was rebuilt with the supporting piers greatly strengthened (they
are now 20ft in width). Among its treasures is the Great Winchester Bible, dating
back to the 12th Century. This illuminated copy was written in the scriptorium
at Winchester and is now preserved in the Cathedral library.
Portsmouth Royal Naval Museum
historic dockyard is home to great ships, such as HMS Victory, Lord Nelson's
Flagship from the battle of Trafalgar. HMS Warrior (1860) the worlds first
iron-hulled, armoured warship powered by steam, still afloat in Portsmouth
harbour. Also the Mary Rose, one of the most famous ships in the world,
built in 1510 and capsized and sank dramatically in an accident in 1545.
This great ship was raised again in 1982 and has undergone extensive
preservation work ever since, with the new museum opening in Spring 2013.
The Dockyard also houses the Royal Navy Museum and many other attractions.
There is nothing quite
like this awe inspiring monument anywhere else in the world, yet at first sight
it is curiously disappointing, probably because it is set on a plain so vast
that in comparison the stones seem quite insignificant. It is only when
man stands close to the stones that he seems so puny in comparison and it is
hard to imagine how centuries ago, with only primitive tools to help them, men
could possibly have placed these huge boulders into position.
a historic place covering an area of approx 56 acres. Important due to its
prominence above the countryside below. First remains indicate a Iron age
camp, followed by the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons, then the Danes who pillaged the
area in 1003. In 1070 William the Conqueror reviewed his troops on the
plains below. The site really moved forward just after William departed.
The Episcopal See was moved from Sherborne to Sarum and a new Cathedral and
Castle where built on the site. However by 1220 the area was becoming too
small for the requirements of the community so a new Cathedral was planned
nearby.(New Sarum or as it later became Salisbury) stones from the old Cathedral
where carried away and used in the construction of the new Cathedral.
A town where there is
no need to go looking for interests in dark corners, it is all around. The
city dates back to the 13th Century when it was decided to move the Bishops seat
from Old Sarum. The Cathedral foundations were begun in 1220 and the city
started to grow. Salisbury was built on a grid or chequer system which
left space between the blocks. Cathedral Close is the most beautiful in
all England and the list of buildings with interest is unending. It is
interesting to note that the main wall around the Cathedral Close was granted by
license from Edward III.
The first sight of the
Cathedral is most impressive an early example of English architecture. Its
spire soaring to a height of 404ft the highest in England which imposes almost
6,000 tons of stone on the four pillars of the crossing. The Nave measures
198ft with a clear uncluttered beauty, little having changed since it was built.
With Foundations no more than 4 feet deep on a bed of gravel, the main building was
begun in 1220 and completed in 1258. The Cloisters and Chapter house being
finished in 1280. It was never a Monastic institution but staffed with
Secular Clergy called Canons. This arrangements continues today.
Canons would be away in their parishes for most of the year, just coming back to
the Cathedral for short periods of time. The present houses round the
close are built on the sites of the former Canons' Houses.
Very much a Cathedral city
and dominated by it, the existing building was started in 1180 continued in
stages until 1424. Many of the buildings in the Cathedral precincts are
used today for much the same purposes as that for which they were originally
built. The Vicars Close consists of a cobbled street with a total of 42
small houses built in the 14th Century for the Vicars of the Cathedral.
The Cathedral school was started in 909 and while closing for one short period
of 6 years in 1861 now records over 600 pupils. On the West front there
are 294 sculptures left of the original 386 some damaged beyond recognition, 3
new ones were unveiled by the Prince of Wales in 1985. The Chapter House
reached by an ancient stone stairway is octagonal in shape and part of a two
storey building, could be one of the most beautiful Chapter Houses in Britain.
The Cathedrals South doors lead to beautiful 15/16th Century cloisters
The Romans built a city
here and called it Aquae Sulis. It grew up around the Baths establishment, one
of the foremost of its kind in the Western empire. Its remains form an
impressive monument to Roman Britain. In the 18th Century Bath became a
fashionable resort for society presided over by Beau Nash. It was at this time
that the work of providing a suitable environment began. From the early 1700s -
to the early 1800s many beautiful buildings, streets, squares and crescents were
completed. The pump room in 1795 and the only bridge left in England built with
shops, Pulteney Bridge completed in 1777 by William Pulteney. The city abounds
with acres of parks and gardens which sets off the formality of the Georgian
name means bath, it
is not Roman but a pure English word. The Romans did originally call the area
Aquae Calidae (hot waters) then Aquae Sulis (waters of sulis, referring to their
pagan god) the Anglo-Saxon name was Akemanchester, which is generally regarded
as being derived from the latin Aquae (ake) and the Roman road of Akeman Street
which ran via Bath. Also the old English word Ceaster meaning Roman Fort.
A Saxon Abbey first stood
on this site followed by a Norman one. It was not until 1499 that a Gothic
Church was erected. Progress was very slow and by the dissolution only the
choir and the walls had been completed. However the west front had certainly
been given its famous turrets and ladders. After the dissolution the Abbey was
looted and the church was given to the parish. The building was soon enclosed
by houses and the North aisle became a walk through for towns people. In 1864 a
new rector Charles Kemble at his own expense began a reconstruction of the
building. Hence what we see today is a Victorian replica of the original Tudor
It is believed by many
people that under the waters of a spring on the slopes of its Tor Joseph of
Arimathea buried the chalice used at the last supper. That when on a nearby
hill, he thrust his thorn staff into the ground it took root to produce the
distinctive Glastonbury Winter flowering thorn tree, and that, on what was later
to be the site of the great Abbey round which the town grew, he built a church
of daub and wattle. Briefly this is the legend which has drawn pilgrims to this
place for centuries. In 688, King Ine of Wessex gave it a Monastery, majestic,
rich and the most beautiful in Britain which is clear from the ruins of the
church. It is also believed that King Alfred and Queen Guinevere were re-buried
in the Abbey. In the town St Johns church is a fine 15th Century example. The
George Inn was built in the 15th Century to lodge pilgrims and the handsome
market cross is 19th Century.
Once one of the most
important ports in the country, the earliest records of its commercial activity
going back to Edward II in the 10th Century when silver coins were minted here.
All this due to the fact that the River Severn and Avon was navigable to this
point. It was from
Bristol in 1497 that John Cabot and his Bristol born son Sebastian set sail with
18 sailors in the 100 ton ship “Matthew” before reaching the mainland of America
A centre for trade and commerce for over 1,000 years, the city still has much to
offer and although the large container ships now dock at the entrance to the
Avon Gorge at Avonmouth, much activity still remains around the old dock side
Augustinian Abbey founded in 1142 by Robert Fitzharding. In 1542 it became
the Cathedral Church of the newly formed Diocese of Bristol. It still
retains much of its Norman solidarity, particularly the fine Chapter House.
The Church building is known as a “Hall Church” type where high Chancel, aisles
and an Eastern Lady Chapel are of equal height. The Choir is full of
absolutely fine woodwork dating back to the 1500s and the Misericords of great
interest depicting as they do Biblical scenes. The organ was built in 1685
by Renatus Harris and all the pipework is original. Grinling Gibbons
created the superb organ case. Choristers are educated at the adjoining
Cathedral school. One important feature in the Berkeley Chapel: a Medieval
candelabrum (understood to be the only one of its kind in England recorded) has
being given to the Temple Church in Bristol
during 1450 and passed on to its present home during the terrible blitz of World
St Mary Redcliffe
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
Abbots Barton Hotel, Canterbury Situated about 10
minutes walk outside the City Walls this hotel is in a lovely quiet spot set in
2 acres of landscaped gardens. This 3 star hotel offers en-suite
facilities, TV, coffee/tea, hairdryer and FREE internet access. A full
English Breakfast is available each morning.
Winchester Royal Hotel This 3 star hotel is very
central with the main shopping street close by and the Cathedral less than 5
minutes walk away. Each room is en-suite and offers TV, coffee/tea making
facilities and hairdryer. The Hotel is in the process of a full refit
which will be completed by January 2013. The hotel also boasts an award
Marriott Royal Hotel, Bristol A very nice 4 star hotel within
100yds of the Cathedral, in the heart of the City. Established hotel with
a traditional feel, modern but with an old world charm of a bygone age. Each room is en-suite with
Coffee/Tea making facilities and hairdryer. The Hotel also boasts an
indoor pool, gym cocktail bar and restaurant.
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge
Situated on the South
Bank of the Thames at the end of Westminster Bridge, directly opposite the
Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. You really can not get must more central
in London. The hotel only opened in 2010 and boasts 5 restaurants and
bars, a health spa with 15metre pool and 24 hour gym access and free WiFi
through out the hotel.