A Travellerspoint blog

December 8 2010

A pilgrimage to Peterborough and Lincoln Cathedrals

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It wasn't snowing in Suffolk so why not drive up to Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire

First stop was Peterborough Cathedral:


Then onto Stamford:


And finally Lincoln. Well it wasn't actually snowing in Lincoln but there was plenty of snow still around and most of the non-main roads were really icy and the wind-chill in the evening was around -15C. But what gloriously sunny days (here and everywhere else). And what a glorious city Lincoln is. We stayed at the White Hart Inn - an unbeatable location 1 minute from the cathedral and the castle and Steep Hill and all for 89 GBP per night for an excellent room and a very average breakfast. We also visited the Usher Gallery and The Collection (Lincoln's musuem), both really good places

View from our hotel room:


Jeni preparing to storm the castle:


The frozen river Witham (with a break in the ice for the wildlife):


The magnificent cathedral:


Posted by kforge 14:35 Archived in United Kingdom

December 5 2010

Hartest, Suffolk

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A slight easing in the cold weather, so Steve and Carole came up to visit us. A warm pub and lunch seemed to be the best idea so we drove just a few miles to Hartest to the Crown Inn where we had great meals (and a nice pint of Greene King IPA) in front on an enormous inglenook fireplace. Hartest really is a village where Jeni and I could live - a great pub, beautiful houses, a large green and under an hour from Stansted Airport (it's a good airport these days, hard to believe I know!)




Posted by kforge 12:26 Archived in United Kingdom

December 3 2010

A short stroll

overcast -6 °C

For some reason we decided to walk the one mile from my mother's house to my sister's house; it looked quite picturesque and it wasn't actually snowing. What we didn't realise until half-way there, was that it was -6C out and the breeze was increasing, giving a wind-chill temperature of about -10C. There is serious talk that this cold-snap could last until the New Year

Look closely for the red nose:


My sister's cottage:


Posted by kforge 10:10 Archived in United Kingdom

December 2 2010

Run away!

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We had intended to check out and visit one of the other museums in South Kensingtion before taking a late afternoon train back to Suffolk. Unfortunately, the early morning news on the paralized UK transport system was not good, so we decided to make a run for it. We got to Liverpool Street station but all the trains towards Suffolk and Norfolk had been cancelled, so we skipped back to Kings Cross where the 11:45 to Cambridge was still running. We then discovered that the open-return ticket with London Travelcard that we had bought for a large amount of pounds was in fact just a same-day return ticket; this meant laying out another 65 GBP for 2 single tickets back to Bury St Edmunds. So the moral is: if you use thetrainline.com website, make sure you double-check everything you want to buy as there is no logic whatsoever in the pricing and many of the tickets are badly described

If you want a really luxurious studio (with an oven in the kitchen area) in Earls Court/Kensington then try the Presidential Apartments at about 110 GBP a night on booking.com

The snow settled outside our hotel in Earls Court overnight:


Posted by kforge 09:56 Archived in United Kingdom

December 1 2010

The National Gallery

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We went off to Trafalgar Square to spend a few hours in the National Gallery . On the way we stopped off at the Official London Theatre kiosk in Leicester Square so we could buy a couple of discounted tickets to "An Ideal Husband". This is the official kiosk, all the others on the way to the square from the underground station are agencies

I'd forgotten what a fantastic collection of impressionist work the gallery has and, of course, Turners


Posted by kforge 09:19 Archived in United Kingdom

November 30 2010

Museum of London

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We took the underground across town to The Barbican and then strolled in the freezing wind up to London Wall to visit the Museum of London. For some reason I had never been in there before and it really is a wonderful museum, especially the area dedicated the the Romans. We stayed in there all day and then fought our way back to the Barbican in the ever-increasing wind and snow. We had intended go the Poirot's apartment building in nearby Charterhouse Square but it was just too cold

Jeni admiring a Roman mosaic recovered from a London building site:


In the evening Jeni went to the theatre to see "A Country Girl" and I met Richard Price in the Blackbird in Earls Court for a few pints of London Pride (and they keep it very well)


Posted by kforge 09:49 Archived in United Kingdom

November 29 2010

The Victoria and Albert Museum and Bill Bailey

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Today, most of the underground system is out of action due to strile action. So we walked the 20 minutes towards the V&A and then spent another 20 minutes trying to found our way across the road to get into it; there are huge traffic works and fencing everywhere but, of course, there are absolutely no simple signs like "This way to the museums" or "This way to the undergound station". How do people live in London, it just doesn't work



Will she tread the boards again:


And now a special photo for Ken:


Meeting up with Colin for a drink in Leicester Square and then Jeni and I are off to the Wyndhams Theatre to see Bill Bailey's new show and here's a picture of Jeni enjoying the show:

London - Wyndhams Theatre for Bill Bailey

London - Wyndhams Theatre for Bill Bailey

Posted by kforge 08:42 Archived in United Kingdom

November 28 2010

Off to London for 5 days

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We left by train from Bury St Edmunds at 10:25am and arrived at our accommodation in Earls Court at 1pm - a very comfortable trip despite having to change at Ely and then hop on the tube at Kings Cross. We dumped our bags and rushed back to Holborn to spend the afternoon in the British Museum. It was bloody freezing all day and looks to be like this for the next 2 weeks. A trip to Cyprus is looking favourite


Decided to spend the evening in our new and very luxurious studio, so tried one of Marks & Spencers "2 meals for 10 GBP" - main course, side dish, dessert and a bottle of French wine. I have to say it was really tasty and a great idea for people who have self-catering accommodation

Posted by kforge 08:25 Archived in United Kingdom

November 26 2010


snow 1 °C

It didn't seem to get down much below zero last night, so today we decided to take a chance and drive over to Cambridge (just 25 miles). Parking is just about impossible in the city, so the various Park and Ride locations are the go (2.30 GBP return) although it's still a slow ride in on the bus because of the traffic and narrow roads

Our first stop once we jumped off the bus was Silvano's Cafe in Emmanuel Street, only a few steps from the where the bus drops you off; one of the few places in the UK where you can get good coffee. I had never been into King's Chapel and Jeni really wanted to see it, so we stumped up the extortionate 5 GBP each - probably worth it


Jeni sporting her 5 layers (yes 5) of clothing:


Sporting my new cashmere and wool heavy-duty overcoat:



A quick felafal roll, then off to the wonderful Fitzwilliam Museum - we only got through a couple of galleries before we had to head back to the car in case it started to snow. Do not miss the Rothschild Gallery of Medieval & Renaissance Art

Posted by kforge 10:28 Archived in United Kingdom

November 25 2010

Back in Cockfield

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Back in Suffolk after our west country travels. We've been catching up on emails and the purchase of warmer clothes as the temperature is due to hit -5C on Friday (maybe even the snow that has already hit the north-east)

After hours on the internet we have finally booked 4 nights in London in a studio apartment; the site says it's in Kensington but it's Earls Court really (where else would Aussies stay?). Only 110 GBP per night and I do mean only. Also booked our train tickets which are not such good value at 41 GBP return each for the 60 mile trip into the city

Posted by kforge 04:27 Archived in United Kingdom

November 19 2010

Into Cornwall

sunny 9 °C

After a morning visit to the old lime-kilns on the Grand Western Canal just near Steve's mansion, we headed off across Bodmin Moor to visit Neil and Kyra in Devoran in Cornwall

The Fal River at Devoran:


Neil has recently had his hand-crafted Cornish Skiff delivered and is lucky enough to live just a minute from the Fal river where he has succeeded in catching absolutely nothing so far


On Friday evening we had dinner at the lovely Old Quay Inn in Devoran; it's a great pub but don't eat there

On Saturday we went into Falmouth which is really "buzzing" these days and then had a really excellent lunch at the nearby Gylly Beach Cafe where we sat OUTSIDE IN NOVEMBER


On Sunday we crossed the Fal River on the King Harry Ferry and then went for a walk through St Mawes. On the drive back we dropped into Roseland Inn in Phileigh, a very original rural pub

Posted by kforge 05:29 Archived in United Kingdom

November 18 2010

Jamie Oliver's Dad's Pub in Essex and onto Devon

overcast 11 °C

Today we cut across country from Cockfield to meet up with Rob Pratley for lunch at the Cricketers pub in Clavering, Essex. Rob was over in England for the Arsenal vs Tottenham game (and didn't he pick a good match)

The Cricketers is owned by Jamie Oliver's father and despite the fact that a huge coach arrived just as we did, and disgorged dozens of pensioners, the food was excellent


From Clavering we made to long drive to Tiverton in Devon to stay with Steve and Louise overnight in their lovely Grade-II Listed mansion


On Friday just before we headed off to Cornwall we had a look at the old Tiverton Leat in Castle Street


Unfortunately we had missed the "Perambulation of the Tiverton Leat 2010" by a couple of months and it only takes place every 7 years

Posted by kforge 03:48 Archived in United Kingdom

November 12 2010

In Shrewsbury

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In Shrewsbury for the weekend to meet up with Jo

On Sunday, we took a short drive into Cheshire to Audlem to have a look at the Shropshire Union Canal and push my idea of buying a canal boat - shot down in pieces! Back to the chateau plan



Posted by kforge 00:28 Archived in United Kingdom

November 11 2010

To Liverpool

sunny 9 °C

After the morning in Manchester we took the long 30 mile drive to Liverpool and once again headed for the re-developed dock area, this time Albert Dock. The Ibis Hotel (GBP 60) we checked into did not compare well with the Holiday Inn Express in Manchester but the parking was easy and it was just a 2 minute walk across to the actual quays.


The weather was still sunny but the wind was gusting at 60 mph so our stroll around Albert Dock was breezy to say the least. Fortunately, the Tate Liverpool was open for another couple of hours so we spent a marvellous time looking at their very good collections


Next morning we were almost the first people into The Beatles Show (GBP 12.95). It's a pretty good exhibition but why anyone would take a school class of 8-year old Russians there, I have no idea



Then it was into the Maritime Museum that had a wonderful Shackelton in the Antarctic exhibition which included the photos taken by the Australian Frank Hurley



After lunch we left Liverpool to drive to Shrewsbury and decided to call into Port Sunlight, a planned village built by Lord Lever (of soap fame) for his employees. There is the truly fantastic Lady Lever Art Gallery there; do not miss it if you ever go anywhere near the area


Posted by kforge 10:43 Archived in United Kingdom

November 9 2010

To Manchester

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A quick drive across country (well 3.5 hours) to Manchester. We discovered that on our route was the Kettering Little Chef. So what you may say. Well the chef Heston Blumenthal has re-designed the decor and menu for this old chain of 175 roadside cafes. So far only a few have been changed over and Kettering is one of them. As vegetarians it was great to see 2 or 3 items on the menu and I must admit the food was pretty good (but not great). So if your near one of them and fancy some lunch, they're defintely worth stopping for but I wouldn't go as far as making a big detour to get to one

We decided before we left that we would try to stay in the re-developed dock area of Salford Quays and easily found the Holiday Inn Express (GBP 68) with the aid of our newly-purchased, bells and whistles Tom Tom "satnav"

Eat your heart out, ManU supporters as this was the view from our room:


That night we drove to Manchester's Curry Mile along a stretch of the Wilmslow Road in Rusholme. It's claimed there are over 70 Asian takeaways and restaurants in Rusholme in less than a mile stretch. There's a massive choice of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Perisan restaurants. And yes, we had a great meal

The following day we took the tram from the Quays into the city (please note Australia - electric trams running every 12 minutes) and strolled around the Manchester Art Gallery and the Town Hall. In the afternoon we drove to the Whitworth Gallery (very disappointing) and then to the Imperial War Museum North (an amazing new structure just across from The Lowry)

Wednesday evening was Manchester City vs Manchester United and as I couldn't get hold of a ticket (of course) the next best bet was a bar close to Old Trafford. There was a great atmosphere in the pub but what dreary game; Jeni resorted to reading from her Kindle. Get rid of Mancini

By the way, just outside the hotel as we walked to the bar, these people were playing Kayak Polo by floodlight; the air temperature was about 4 Celsius and very few of them had gloves on!


First thing Thursday we walked the mile or so to The Lowry, an arts and theatre venue that contains one of the largest collections of LS Lowry paintings. And we had lunch there



Posted by kforge 09:55 Archived in United Kingdom

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