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Archive for the ‘Castles of UK and Ireland’ Category

After my stint in Co. Wicklow where I worked for 3 weeks, I decided to spend a few days in Belfast and explore this city I had last seen 10 years ago. As part of my Project 101, I planned to visit Belfast Castle, Dunluce Castle and the Giant’s Causeway…amongst other explorations. I had a fantastic 4 days and before long the time whizzed by and so my time in Belfast came to an end – all too soon.

Explore Belfast - Northern Ireland

Explore Belfast – Northern Ireland

I had to be up early, no lingering in bed as I had to get to the station and back to Dublin in time for my flight to Heathrow. After a hearty breakfast, at 08:45 I left the BnB and walked to the bus-stop and so the the station for the train back to Dublin enroute to Broadstairs…13 hours travelling door-to-door 🤣🤣🤣😔😔 oh well. I actually got to Belfast station 45 minutes early, which is so much less stressful than rushing to get there on time, but due to the station personnel being ever so NOT helpful, I was directed to the wrong place and despite being early I eventually ended up at the back of a very long queue that snaked out the station. Sometimes I think they do that just to annoy the traveller….misdirect you that is!!

Travelling from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland is surreal…..one second you’re on UK time then next on EU time. There are no discernible borders, so unless you know at which station you’re entering or leaving the UK, you’d have no idea just by looking out the window of the train. Talking of which, the scenery in Ireland is just stunning.

I had a fantastic 4 days, saw some amazing places, visited the Dark Hedges,

the dark hedges northern ireland

The Dark Hedges – scenes for Game of Thrones were shot in this area

Bushmills (as in the whiskey),

explored the Giant’s Causeway,

saw Dunluce Castle that appears to cling precariously to the clifftop,

dunluce castle

Dunluce Castle; a now-ruined medieval castle in Northern Ireland. It is located on the edge of a basalt outcropping in County Antrim. Built by the MacQuillan family around 1500, the earliest written record of the castle was in 1513.

saw the most spectacular coastline along the east coast to Carnlough

carnlough county antrim

Carnlough – from Irish Carnlach, meaning ‘place of cairns. A village in Co. Antrim is has the prettiest harbour

where we found a delightful little harbour and stopped for an ice-cream (delicious).

stunning Co. Antrim coastline

stunning Co. Antrim coastline

I climbed Cave Hill (370 meters/1200 feel above sea level) with fantastic views of the city and lagoon, stood in a 1000 year-old hill fort,

visited Belfast Castle,

Belfast Cathedral and the Town Hall,

walked along the river Lagan, visited the Titanic Quarter and Queen Island,

saw extraordinary yet poignant murals and memorials on the streets of Belfast; Shankill Road, Crumlin Road and Antrim Road,

depicting history I learned about in school – absolutely fascinating!!  I walked and walked and walked over the 3.5 days covering well over 60kms, and above all I had superb weather with temperatures in the high 20’s – how marvellous are our summer days!

The Waterworks Belfast

The Waterworks Belfast with Cave Hill to the right

It was overcast on my last day with some rain in Dublin and thankfully a lot cooler. Much as I love summer, I cannot bear humidity.

Once I arrived in Belfast city centre I walked to the station via St George’s Market; a lively, colourful venue for good fresh food. I had coffee there the day before with the host at the AirBnB and spent a few minutes walking around just looking at all there was on offer. Loved every minute of my stay.

Belfast, I’ll be seeing you again…

Once at the airport there was sheer chaos. As usual when you have an enquiry at the airport you get sent from pillar to post and back again….I needed my boarding pass printed so went to the customer services desk for AerLingus…..the woman behind the counter was not very friendly and chastised me for coming to the counter (bloody cheek), but printed the pass anyway…why not just do it without the accompanying attitude.  Anyway, it appears that British Airways had a computer meltdown and AerLingus are affiliated so I’m guessing there was a lot of pressure. I was instructed to check in my own suitcase (nerve-wracking) but at least now I know how to do it. And then I had to weight it and send it off along the conveyor belt into the depths of the airport …also something I had not done before, so I stood behind a couple who were doing it, made a comment of the procedure and they kindly assisted me on the ‘how to’ and now I have learned 2 new travel processes LOL.

Anyway at least my bag arrived on the same plane and at the same time as I did in London, unlike the thousands of travellers affected by the BA computer melt-down whose bags went into the abyss.

I loved the fab new sculpture at Heathrow arrivals: pretty awesome. Then onto the tube, and finally onto a train to home…..my daughter picked me up at the station at 21;35…..

broadstairs kent

Viking Bay, Broadstairs, Kent

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Many years ago, back in the days when I still actually ‘liked’ Facebook and set up my profile (2007), I filled in one of those ‘where have you been in the world’ online maps. At the time I was already living in the UK and had been for a few years, so had had the opportunity to travel to quite a few places.

flag-map-denmark-puerto

Map by andrewfahmy on Reddit

While I was pinning names I realised that not only had I visited quite a few countries, but I had also visited quite a few islands…wow, awesome. And so an idea was born; I would visit 100 islands before I die. Okay!! So since I’m not and wasn’t then, planning on dying in the near future, I set about compiling a list of islands I would still like to visit, and since the UK has 6,289 (LOL) I was spoiled for choice. However, since I also wanted to visit Europe, the scope for achieving my goal widened substantially. Did you know that Norway has 240,000 islands, islets, reefs, coral reefs and cays? Now that…would take me quite a few years then!!! As if!!
Jump forward a few years (almost a decade) and subsequent to my stay on the Isle of Wight in January this year where I discovered the Domesday Village of Nettlestone amongst others, an idea was born! Supported by a previous list of the many many villages and towns I’ve visited in the UK since 2007 in my capacity as a Carer for the Elderly, and of course all my holidays; in the UK and abroad, I started thinking……..
I realised that not only had I unknowingly visited many other Domesday villages, but I had during my travels visited a great number of castles, cathedrals, cities, most of the counties in England and Ireland, palaces, famous houses, a random selection of rivers, and to my surprise, a substantial number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites!!! Wow, I had not realised this.
Thus a new list was compiled and Project 101 was born….100 is so yesterday!! LOL.

I immediately set about updating the list with these new categories and updating the details of those I had already visited or been to – this is Project 101; to visit 101 in each of these categories before I die….whenever that may be. I have a separate list of places still to visit. Clearly some categories won’t cater to my 101 target, like the counties of England for instance…only 48, so not much chance there then, but combine them with Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and the numbers add up ;).

I’m planning (hoping) to write about each of these places, but this will take quite a while as I have to go back in time to find the photos, do some research and write the article….so to kick things off, I’ll start with my more recent travels which to my delight was Italy.

travel in europe

I dreamed of Florence, and Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano and Lucca 😉 all listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites except with the possible exception of Lucca.

With one trip I was able to visit 5 or 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 5 cathedral cities and by extension their cathedrals, 4 or 5 walled cities, famous gardens and a river.  I’ve done research on Lucca and in google searches it comes up, but when I go to the UNESCO site it’s not listed. Further research will be needed… Some places just make it easy; cathedral city/cathedral/UNESCO site(s)/famous house(s)/palace(s)/river……think London & Florence 😉 6 birds with one visit LOL.

Of course now that I have started this blessed list my mind is like……’hmmmm, should I add Roman cities to the Project’? Or maybe churches…..and then I remember just HOW MANY churches I have indeed visited in the last 15 years alone….and my head says NO NO NO!!! So for now (?) here are the categories I’ve settled on…for now 😉 I’ve haven’t listed any of the places in chronological order; that would just be too time consuming. So in no particular order….. these are the places I’ve already been to; looks like I have some catching up to do to visit 101 in each category….now where’s that campervan?!!

ISLANDS (17)
United Kingdom
Portsea Island – UK
Ireland
Arran Islands
Manhattan – USA
Long Island – USA
Sanibel – USA
Venice – Italy
Torcello – Italy
Burano – Italy
Murano – Italy
Providence – Bahamas
Île de la Cité – Paris
Bruges – Belgium
Isle of Skye – Scotland
Iceland
Isle of Wight – UK

COUNTRIES (14)
South Africa
Swaziland
England
Ireland
N.Ireland
Scotland
Wales
United States of America
Bahamas
Italy
France
Netherlands
Belgium
Gibraltar

U.K. COUNTIES
ENGLAND (29)
Greater London (I’ve lived in or visited 25 of the 33 boroughs, including City of London)
Hampshire
Surrey
Norfolk
Suffolk
Buckinghamshire
Cambridgeshire
Oxfordshire
Devon
Cornwall
Kent
Hertfordshire
Herefordshire
Lancashire
Warwickshire
Worcestershire
Bedfordshire
Berkshire
Dorset
Middlesex (now considered part of Greater London)
Shropshire
Somerset
Wiltshire
East Sussex
West Sussex
Essex
Gloucestershire
Bristol
Isle of Wight

SCOTLAND (5)
Edinburgh/Midlothian
Inverness
Moray
Fife
Ross and Cromarty

WALES (4)
Pembrokeshire
Cardiff
Swansea
Newport

N. IRELAND (3)
Armagh
Down
Antrim

Republic of IRELAND (14)
Dublin
Wicklow
Galway
Clare
Meath
Cork
Kilkenny
Waterford
Wexford
Kerry
Limerick
Tipperary
Mayo
Donegal

CATHEDRAL CITIES (26)
London
Westminster
Winchester
Dublin
Belfast
Edinburgh
Inverness
Brussels
Antwerp
Canterbury
Rijkavik
Chichester
Oxford
Worcester
St David’s
Venice
Verona
Salisbury
Exeter
Chichester
Wells
Pisa
Florence
San Gimignano
Siena
Lucca

CATHEDRALS (27)
St Paul’s Cathedral – London
Southwark Cathedral – London
St George’s Cathedral – London
Westminster Cathedral – London
Worcester Cathedral – England
St David’s Cathedral – Wales
Inverness Cathedral – Scotland
St Patrick’s Cathedral – Dublin, Ireland
Christ Church Cathedral – Dublin, Ireland
Glendalough Cathedral – Co. Wicklow, Ireland
Exeter Cathedral – England
Winchester Cathedral – England
Chichester Cathedral – England
Christ Church, Oxford – England
Salisbury Cathedral – England
St Mark’s Basilica – Venice
Notre Dame Basilica – Paris
Canterbury Cathedral – Kent
Chichester Cathedral – England
Wells Cathedral – England
Duomo Santa Maria Assunta – Pisa, Italy
Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore – Florence, Italy
Collegiata di Santa Maria Assunta – Duomo di San Gimignano, Italy
Duomo di Siena – Italy
Duomo di Lucca, Cattedrale di San Martino – Italy
St Anne’s Cathedral – Belfast, N.Ireland

ABBEYS (10)
Westminster Abbey – City of Westminster, London, England
Sherbourne Abbey – Dorset, England
Shaftesbury Abbey – Dorset, England
Bury St Edmunds – Suffolk, England
Great Malvern (Priory) – Worcestershire, England
St Mary’s – Trim, Ireland
Kylemore Abbey – Galway, Ireland
Quarr Abbey – Isle of Wight, England
Torre Abbey – Torquay, England
Buildwas Abbey – Shropshire, England

I visited so many abbeys, priories, friaries and monasteries in Ireland that I’ve quite lost track…so if I can I will one day try to revisit as many as possible 🙂

DOMESDAY towns & villages (94) – Domesday Book is a manuscript record of the “Great Survey” of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086 by order of King William the Conqueror.  My list needs updating; research still being done LOL Admittedly when I compiled this list it surprised me that I had already been to so many!

Ashford – Kent
Ayot St Lawrence – Hertfordshire
Bath – Wiltshire
Battersea (London) – Surrey
Bermondsey (London) – Surrey
Brading – Isle of Wight
Bressingham – Norfolk
Blackford – Somerset
Bodiam – Sussex
Bradford-on-Avon – Wiltshire
Brighton – Sussex
Bristol – Somerset
Bromley – Kent
Bury St Edmunds – Suffolk
Bushey – Hertfordshire
Cambridge – Cambridgeshire
Canterbury – Kent
Castle Cary – Somerset
Castle Combe – Wiltshire
Chatham – Kent
Chippenham – Suffolk
Cottenham – Somerset
Deal – Kent
Dover – Kent
Epsom – Surrey
Fishbourne – Sussex
Godalming – Surrey
Gravesend – Kent
Hastings – Kent
Hatfield – Herefordshire
Hawkhurst – Kent
Holborn (London) – Middlesex
Hythe – Kent
Ingatestone – Essex
Kennett – Somerset
Kingston – Surrey
Lambeth (London) – Surrey
Lavenham – Suffolk
Lenham – Kent
Limpsfield – Surrey
London – City of
Maidstone – Kent
Margate – Kent
Meon – Hampshire
Meopham – Kent
Mortlake – Surrey
Nettlestone – Isle of Wight
North Cadbury – Somerset
Norwich – Norfolk
Oxford – Oxfordshire
Oxted – Surrey
Pakenham – Suffolk
Petersham – Surrey
Puckpool – Isle of Wight
Queen Camel – Somerset
Rochester – Kent
Romney Marsh – Kent
Rye – Sussex
Sandown – Isle of Wight
Sandwich – Kent
Shanklin – Isle of Wight
Shaftesbury – Dorset
Sherbourne – Dorset
Sidmouth – Devon
South Cadbury – Somerset
Southwark (London) – Surrey
Sparkford – Somerset
St Albans – Hertfordshire
Stanmore – Middlesex
Stoke Newington (London) – Middlesex
Stoke Trister – Somerset
St Pancras (London) – Middlesex
Stratford-Upon-Avon – Warwickshire
Sundridge – Kent
Tatsfield – Surrey
Templecombe – Somerset
Thames Ditton – Surrey
Titsey – Surrey
Tonbridge – Kent
Trumpington – Cambridgeshire
Tudeley – Kent
Wells – Somerset
Weobley – Herefordshire
West Camel – Somerset
West Meon – Hampshire
Westerham – Surrey
Westminster (London) – Middlesex
Weybridge – Surrey
Whitstable – Kent
Wincanton – Somerset
Winchester – Hampshire
Windsor – Surrey
Woolston – Somerset
Worcester – Worcestershire

CASTLES (38)
Cape Town – South Africa
Dublin – Ireland
Trim – Ireland
Blarney – Ireland
Clontarf – Ireland
Dalkey – Ireland
Howth – Ireland
Kilkenny Castle – Ireland
King John’s Castle – Ireland
Rock of Cashel – Ireland
Malahide – Ireland
Waterford – Ireland
Tower of London – England
Edinburgh – Scotland
Urquhart – Scotland
Eilean Donan – Scotland
Deal – England
Dover – England
Midhurst – England
Sherbourne – England
Rochester – England
Canterbury – Engalnd
Pembroke – Wales
Tonbridge – England
Hever – England
Warwick – England
Leeds – England
Bodiam – England
Oxford – England
Windsor – England
Hastings – England
Rye (Ypres Tower) – England
St Briavels – England
Carisbrooke – Isle of Wight
Rocca Scaligera – Sirmione, Italy
Castelvecchio – Verona, Italy
Dunluce – Antrim, N.Ireland
Belfast Castle – Belfast, N.Ireland

PALACES (20)
Buckingham Palace – City of Westminster, Great London
Hampton Court Palace – Hampton Court, England
Kew Palace – Kew, London
Windsor Palace – Windsor, England
Burlington House – City of Westminster, London
Westminster Palace – City of Westminster, London
Banqueting House (remains of Whitehall Palace) – City of Westminster, London
St James’s Palace – City of Westminster, London
Richmond Palace – Richmond (now a private residence), Greater London
Lambeth Palace – Lambeth, London
Winchester Palace – Southwark, London
Tower of London – Tower Hamlets/City of London, London
Kensington Palace – City of Westminster, London
The Old Palace – Hatfield (home to Elizabeth I)
Eltham Palace – Royal Borough of Greenwich, Greater London
Palace of Versailles – France
The Doges Palace – Venice, Italy
Palazzo dei Cavalieri – Knights’ Square, Pisa, Italy
Palazzo Pitti – Florence, Italy
Palazzo Vecchio – Florence

FAMOUS HOUSES (19)
Jan Smuts House – Transvaal, South Africa
Anne Franks House – Amsterdam, Netherlands
Burlington House – City of Westminster, Greater London
Chartwell (Winston Churchill) – Kent, England
Ham House – Ham, Greater London
Strawberry Hill House (Horace Walpole) – Twickenham, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames
Downe House (Charles Darwin) – Kent, England
Benjamin Franklin’s House – City of Westminster, Greater London
Marble Hill House (Henriette Howard) – Twickenham, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames
The Queens House – Royal Borough of Greenwich, London
Bleak House (Charles Dickens) – Broadstairs, Kent
Turner House (JMW Turner) – Twickenham, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames
Apsley House – (1st Duke of Wellington) – City of Westminster, Greater London
Kenwood House (William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield) – Hampstead, Greater London
Hatfield House (Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury) – Hertfordshire, England
Shakespeare’s House (William Shakespeare) – Stratford Upon Avon, England
Keats House (John Keats) – Hampstead, Greater London
Chiswick House (Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington) – Chiswick, Greater London
Darby Houses – Ironbridge, Shropshire

UNESCO World Heritage Sites (27)
Venice and it’s lagoon – Italy
City of Verona – Italy
Pinvellir National Park – Iceland
Historic Centre of Bruges – Belgium
Palace and Park of Versailles – France
Cathedral of Notre Dame – Paris, France
Paris; Banks of the Siene
17th century Canal Ring Area of Amsterdam inside the Singelgracht – Netherlands
City of Bath – England
Stonehenge – England
Palace of Westminster – London, England
Westminster Abbey – London, England
Canterbury Cathedral – England
Tower of London – London, England
Old and New Towns of – Scotland
Maritime Greenwich – London
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew London
Everglades National Park – Florida, USA
Piazza del Duomo – Pisa, Italy
Baboli Gardens & Palazzo Pitti – Florence, Italy
The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore – Florence, Italy
Historic centre of Siena – Italy
Historic centre of Florence – Italy
Historic centre of San Gimignano – Italy
Historic city of Lucca – (although this is mentioned as a UNESCO site, I can’t find it listed)
Giant’s Causeway – Co. Antrim, N.Ireland
Ironbridge Gorge – Shropshire

WALLED CITIES (37)
Dublin – Ireland
Cashel – Ireland
Cork – Ireland
Galway – Ireland
Kilkenny – Ireland
Trim – Ireland
Waterford – Ireland
Wexford – Ireland
City of London – London
Exeter – England
Canterbury – England
Winchester – England
Chichester – England
Oxford – England
Rochester – England
Rye – England
Hastings – England
Salisbury – England
Warwick – England
Worcester – England
Bristol – England
Warwick – England
Worcester – England
Edinburgh – Scotland
St Andrews – Scotland
Pembroke – Wales
Verona – Italy
Amsterdam – Netherlands
Gouda – Netherlands
Paris – France
Gibraltar – British Overseas Territory
Brussels – Belgium
Pisa – Italy
Florence – Italy
San Gimignano – Italy
Siena – Italy
Lucca – Italy

RIVERS I’VE MET ALONG THE WAY (33)
Orange River – South Africa
Vaal River – South Africa
Great Kei River – South Africa
Storms River – South Africa
Sabie River – South Africa
Klip River – South Africa
Jukskei River – South Africa
Blyde River – South Africa
River Thames – London
Eden – England
Avon – England
Spey – Scotland
Ness – Scotland
Medway – England
Severn – England
Wye – England
Yealm – England
Lea – England
Exe – England
Wey – England
Stour – England
Cherwell – England
Cam – England
Itchen – England
Dart – England
Hudson River – USA
East River – USA
Tennessee – USA
Seine – Paris
Liffey – Ireland
Arno – Pisa and Florence – Italy
Lagan – Belfast, N.Ireland
River Bush – Bushmills, N.Ireland

So, I’m guessing that if I ever get to visit 101 of each of the above categories, I’ll be able to consider myself; Well Travelled LOL

inspirational quotes

Die with memories, not dreams

UNUSUAL PLACES I’VE BEEN/THINGS I’VE DONE
Toured the HMS Eagle Aircraft Carrier in Durban Harbour – South Africa
Explored the Echo Caves – South Africa
Explored the Cango Caves – South Africa
Hot-Air Balloon ride – South Africa
Abseiled off a bridge – South Africa
Paragliding – South Africa
Rock wall climbing on a cruise ship – Bahamas
Parasailing – Bahamas
Wookey Hole – Somerset
Climbed the O2 – London
Helicopter Ride over London (my 60th birthday gift from my daughter)
Fire-walk – London
Stood on Greenwich Meridian Line – London
Sailed along Thames on a Tall Ship – London
Visited the Roman Amphitheatre – London
Kissed the Blarney Stone – Ireland
Climbed The Monument to the Great Fire of London 1666 – London
Followed the Gloriana in the Tudor Pull – London
Participated in the Green Man ceremony – London
Part of the Magna Carta flotilla – London
Stood on two of the earth’s geological plates at the same time; Eurasia & American in Iceland
Visited Stonehenge
Visited all the Cinque Ports in England; Sandwich, Dover, New Romney, Hastings, Hythe, Rye and Winchelsea
Walked along WW2 Tunnels at Ramsgate
Lived in a Gypsy Caravan on Eel Pie Island on the banks of the River Thames
Lived in a Castle in Scotland
Slept on The Mall in London for the Wedding of William and Kate 🙂
Bell ringing at Church of St Edward King and Martyr, Cambridge
Climbed Cave Hill, Belfast, N.Ireland

If you’ve read this far…bravo!!! Thank you, I appreciate that you did. I post photos of the various places I travel to on instagram and will be updating Project 101 as I go. My next trip is Ironbridge in June which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I’d love for you to join me on instagram …say hello if you do.

(I found the map at the top of this article on 40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World. Fascinating; worth a visit)

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Day 2: After a very disturbed night, and struggling to get back to sleep after being woken at 01:30 in the morning by a hell of a ruckus downstairs (I did look but couldn’t see who or what), I was tempted to just shut my eyes and snuggle back under the covers when my alarm went off at 7:30! Urgh. But, I had adventures ahead so after a most welcome cup of tea I got dressed, partook of the ‘continental’ breakfast the B&B had kindly provided for me, and set off for the bus to my first stop……Brading Roman Villa.

visit Brading Roman Villa on the Isle of Wight

Brading Roman Villa on the Isle of Wight

It was great travelling along a different route and of course in the daylight I could see so much more of the countryside. Before too long the driver let me off at my requested stop and directed me to the entrance to the villa. On the whole I found the bus drivers on the IoW to be very helpful. It was a real thrill to walk along the route that had possibly been traversed by the Romans nearly two centuries ago. I was quite early so I enjoyed a 30 minute excursion of the site before entering the building.

visit brading roman villa isle of wight

the outside area of Brading Roman Villa

The Brading Roman Villa heritage site is owned and operated by the Oglander Roman Trust and they have done a superb job of preserving the remains. There are a number of cabinets exhibiting ancient artefacts..fab!!

visit brading roman villa

Brading Roman Villa

I had a very entertaining guide give me a head start and then I was off to explore. Oh my gosh! I cannot tell you how stunning the place is. Imagine being able to see the stunning mosaics insitu as they had been laid all those hundreds of years ago. And they are astoundingly beautiful. It always gives me a thrill to walk in the footsteps of long ago civilizations…..I always wish I could just time-travel for an hour or so…just to experience what it must have looked like.

visit brading roman villa isle of wight

some of the stunning mosaics. what a wonderful way to decorate your house

After thoroughly exploring the villa I set off once again for the next leg of my journey to Shanklin. The route took us through Sandown and since I had already visited the town previously, decided to not get off there again.

whistle stop tour of the isle of wight shanklin

scenes of Shanklin

Shanklin was lovely and I had a fantastic walk around the town, discovered some beautiful places and managed a short walk along the clifftop before heading back into town centre to the little tea-shop I had seen earlier: Cinderella’s Tea Room and Dress Shop…how could I not stop off 😉

whistle stop tour of the isle of wight shanklin

Cinderella Tea Room and dress shop

Then it was off back uphill through the town and since my bus wasn’t due for another 30 minutes I decided to walk as far as I could before the next one was due. Along the way I passed the most delightful set of cottages you could imagine. Totally quintessential England. The Old Thatch Teashop was closed for the winter, I am most certainly going to plan a visit the next time I visit the island.

whistle stop tour of the isle of wight shanklin

Chocolate Box perfect – quintessential England – Shanklin Isle of Wight

Unfortunately the clouds had by now settled and it began to rain…I had already walked a fair distance so wasn’t too unhappy to wait for the bus – it arrived just before the heavens opened!! Glad of the snug warmth of the bus I enjoyed the scenery whizzing by. One of the things that surprised me the most about the IoW is how hilly it is. I thought it might be fun to walk around the island next visit, and that thought was uppermost in my mind as we traversed the hills and dales…..those hills will be a test of my endurance, that’s for sure.

Next stop was Newport. Located at the point where the River Medina splits into two; one branch, the Medina continues almost all the way across the island to the southern most point, splitting into lots of smaller tributaries and off shoots along the way, and the other continues as the Lukely Brook to Bowcombe where it peters out.

visit newport isle of wight

Newport Harbour and the River Medina, Isle of Wight

Newport, located in the centre of the island, is the principal town on the IoW and often referred to as the capital. With the town’s quay a short distance away, the town centre is made up of 2 squares surrounded by elegant Victorian and Georgian architecture.

visit newport isle of wight

scenes of Newport, Isle of Wight

With a historic past that goes back 40,000 years to the Neanderthal period, mousterian remains; tools made by Neanderthals were found in the 1970’s, there are also Roman remains and two Roman villas, as well as links to the Norman Conquest.  I spent an hour or so walking around and visited The Guildhall Museum which is a delightful showcase for the history of the island. Well worth a visit.

guildhall museum visit newport isle of wight

Guildhall Museum, Newport, Isle of Wight – only £2 entry fee, it’s so worth a visit

As mentioned previously, the buses are not exactly very regular so instead of waiting for 45 minutes for the next one out of town, I walked to Carisbrooke Castle which was next on my agenda. Carisbrooke was for centuries the Isle of Wight’s capital and was once called Buccombe or Beaucombe, and means the ‘ fair valley’ and I’m sure on a fine day it would be an amazing sight from the top of the hill across the valley.

visit Carisbrooke, Newport, Isle of Wight

Carisbrooke, Newport, Isle of Wight

I so enjoyed the walk; it took no time at all and I was within sight of the castle…only at the top of a great big bloody hill LOL. I wasn’t in the mood for climbing!!! Jeez. Anyway, I put on my big girl panties and started trudging uphill. Ever so worth it.

visit carisbrooke castle newport isle of wight

Carisbrooke Castle – Charles I was detained here before his trial

Carisbrooke Castle is stunning!! Carrisbrooke, an historic Motte-and-Bailey castle, originally a Roman fort, is located in the village of Carisbrooke, not too far from Newport. The castle was built soon after William the Conqueror came to England and the following centuries saw a tumultuous history with a number of owners. In 1293 the castle became the property of Edward I and the crown. In 1647 Charles I took refuge at the castle, but this later turned into his prison from which he tried to escape in the months prior to his trial. His daughter princess Elizabeth later died there aged 14. Also managed by English Heritage the castle was unfortunately closed on weekdays at the time of my visit. I’ll definitely have to visit again.

carisbrooke isle of wight

the village of Carisbrooke with the castle on the other side of the river Lukely

The village of Carisbrooke appears to be split in two by the River Lukely with a major part of the town on one side and the castle on the other.  The views from the hill on which the castle perches are outstanding, even though it was a grey and glum day.

From there I made the insane decision to make the long journey to see The Needles. I had planned on doing this as part of my whistle-stop tour, but the day was already closing in, it was raining and I was cold and hungry. But after a quick whatsapp discussion with my daughter I drew breath and started walking…yes, you guessed…the next bus was 37 minutes away and I don’t like standing endlessly waiting!!! ….LOL I tell you it was a real challenge getting around the island with the ludicrous bus timetable. On the way I passed through the village of Gunville, of which I saw little besides the name and a convenience store where I bought something to eat….I was famished by that time : 15:30!! I decided at this point to wait for the bus….the road out of the village was narrow with high hedges and it was raining…..I didn’t fancy becoming a statistic on the Isle of Wight!

Located at the South Western tip of the Isle of Wight above Alum Bay, The Needles, an iconic image, immediately spring to mind when you think of the island.  Am I ever so glad I decided to go!! We got to The Needles tourist area at 16:50 – completely deserted. The bus I arrived on was due to leave again at 17:05. It was raining. It was getting dark. The next bus after was at 17:35…..I did not feel like hanging around. So I dashed over to the viewing platform, had a quick look, took some photos and dashed back to the warmth of the bus. Wow, what a thrill to see them in the distance even though the light was fading rapidly and I could barely see.

visit the needles on the isle of wight

The Needles above Alum Bay on the south-western tip of the Isle of Wight

An added bonus was being able to see the Marconi Monument. Located at The Needles, the monument marks the precise location where Guglielmo Marconi undertook his pioneering work at the end of the 19th Century.  This led to radio and all telecommunications as we know it today.

The Needles and the Marconi Monument, Isle of Wight

The Needles and the Marconi Monument, Isle of Wight

And then we were off and on the way back to Newport where once again and for the final time that day I had to change buses to get back to Ryde.

A magical day, albeit exhausting. I got to see 90% of what I had planned on seeing and even though it was a whistle-stop tour, it was fun. I was however really really glad to get back to the B&B and bed!

The following day; Saturday was my final morning on the Isle of Wight and I had planned a trip to see Osborne House; once the seaside home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

For more about my first day of adventure….

Day 3 – 1/2

 

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2016 was indeed a very weird year. For some it was marred by tragedy, for some it will be remembered with love. We all watched in horror as the tragedies in Syria unfolded, many sobbed at the deaths of favoured pop stars, actors, musicians and the like, either cheered or reacted with fury at the result of Brexit, and millions watched amazed and not without trepidation as America elected Trump as their next president (I use the diminutive ‘p’ deliberately). So much has happened in 2016 it seems that it was a year of extremes.

For me personally it was a year of highs and more highs, of love and laughter and a few tears. These were the highlights of my 2016

January:

goodbye 2016

January 2016

My daughter and I saw in 2016 at the London Eye and then went for waffles and cream at Caffe Concerto in London

Saw the amazing Les Lumineoles in London

February:

goodbye 2016

February 2016

I got my citizenship – my daughter attended the ceremony with me at the Archbishop’s Palace in Maidstone.

Managed my very first ‘proper’ #selfie LOL

Got arty with my photography

March:

goodbye 2016

March 2016

My daughter treated me for Mother’s Day with a journey on the British Pullman Orient Express.

goodbye 2016

Cémanthe – my Mothers Day treat

Squeezed in a visit to my favourite palace; Hampton Court while in Thames Ditton

Bumped into my sister and Yoda at Trafalgar Square in London

I received my very first British Passport.

My daughter bought her first UK car

April:

goodbye 2016

April 2016

I travelled by ferry from Dover to Calais and got to see the White Cliffs of Dover for real

I went to Windsor to see the Queen for her 90th birthday walkabout

goodbye 2016

April 2016 Happy 90th Birthday Queen Elizabeth II

My daughter and I went to Paris for a day to celebrate both my birthday and my citizenship

I celebrated my birthday at Dover Castle and St George & his dragon

goodbye 2016

St George & the dragon 23 April

May:

goodbye 2016

May 2016

I spent 2 weeks in South Africa visiting family and preparing to send my possessions to the UK.

I got to meet my nephew and niece for the first time.

Started my Camino 2016 practice walks

June:

goodbye 2016

June 2016

I went to Trooping the Colour for the 6th year in a row – London in summer is gorgeous

I walked my first 28 km stint from Broadstairs to Sandwich (45279 steps!!)

July:

goodbye 2016

July 2016

An early and first visit to Bath to celebrate my daughter’s birthday

I saw the Clifton Suspension Bridge at Bristol – finally!!!

I visited my lovely friend Valy in Brussels and visited Antwerp

August:

goodbye 2016

August 2016

Visited Dover Castle to watch the 1216 Siege re-enactment

Spent the day in Canterbury with my daughter to celebrate her birthday

September:

goodbye 2016

September 2016

My daughter and I did our first geocaching treasure hunt.

I watched the annual Great River Race in London – my friends of the Trinity Tide won in their category again 🙂

I watched the wooden replica of City of London burn  at the 350th Anniversary event

goodbye 2016

04.09.2016 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London 1666

My first visit to Great Malvern in Worcestershire – added another county to my list

Spent the day in London and went up The Shard with my daughter and my sister

October:

goodbye 2016

October 2016

Spent a few days in Rye with my sister for her birthday and went to Hastings

Watched the cheeky Russian Navy sail their warship through our waters…

November:

goodbye 2016

November 2016

Went to my lovely friend; Lucy’s wedding – she married her sweetheart Tom

Visited Gravesend in Kent at last

My first visit to Lancashire – and added another county to my list

Reached the Worcestershire Beacon in the Malvern Hills

goodbye 2016

November 2016 – climbed the Worcestershire Beacon

December:

goodbye 2016

December 2016 – Worcester

Visited Worcester and the fabulous cathedral

Climbed to Worcestershire Beacon again

My daughter and her boyfriend got engaged at Tower of London – he asked me to be his Best Man for the South African ceremony 🙂

goodbye 2016

Cémanthe & Simon – engaged to be married in 2018

Celebrated an early Christmas with my daughter and her now fiancé Simon

goodbye 2016

2016 our first Christmas with Simon, first of many more

And along the way I watched hundreds of sunrises and a few sunsets, travelled far and wide and visited quite a few new places.

goodbye 2016

2016 sunrise and sunset around the country

I started my Camino practice walks that changed from 2016 to 2017 ;).

 

UPS lost my hard-drive with 10 years worth of my photos, memories and incalculable information (bastards). I finally upgraded my phone and made great strides in figuring out how to do stuff on the internet on my own.

goodbye 2016

2016 – some of the books I’ve read and 2 of my Camino practice walks

My daughter and I had many amazing mini adventures,

goodbye 2016

2016 mini adventures with my daughter

enjoyed numerous cream teas, I read a number of terrific books, watched The Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament and on Christmas Day.

goodbye 2016

2016 treats and the Queen

I’m no richer, no poorer, not thinner or fatter…my hair has grown down past my shoulder again and I have spent innumerable hours of fun and laughter with my daughter.

This is my last blog for 2016.

It’s been a good year all in all; goodbye 2016….see you soon 2017!!!

Happy New Year

 

 

 

 

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The 1066 story includes the Norman Castle built in Hastings by order of William, Duke of Normandy aka William the Conqueror after the Battle of Hastings….ironically fought at a place now called Battle and not at Hastings per se. So it was vitally important that we visited the castle. After our visit to the East Cliff, it was off on a jaunt across town to see the ruins of the marvellous Hastings Castle on the West Cliff. Heading more or less straight across town, I took her along a route I had used before, a pathway and steps that took us past the blue house and so to the top of the cliff. The architecture and houses along the way are a delight.

1066 country, a visit to hastings, seaside towns of britain

a walk through Hastings from the East Cliff to the West Cliff

We meandered past some marvellous places that set the juices flowing with house-envy and stopped often to admire the view. After a relatively easy walk we reached the top of the cliff and so to the castle.

1066 country, a visit to hastings, seaside towns of britain

the view from West Cliff across Hastings towards East Cliff – thats my sister on the ground 😉

Originally a wooden tower built on top of a man-made mound or motte surrounded by an outer courtyard or bailey, Hastings castle was typical of the Norman motte and baily castle that would become a common fixture across England following the conquest. Subsequent to his victory at the Battle of Hastings, and after being crowned on Christmas Day 1066, William issued orders that Hastings Castle was to be rebuilt in stone.

1066 country, william the conqueror and hastings castle

the 1066 story and William the Conqueror. Hastings

The ruins we see today are less than half of the original structure that remained after the savage storms of the 13th century when the harbour was destroyed and large parts of the castle fell into the sea. There is enough to leave you in awe of what there once was. It was a mighty fortress that saw the Kings and Queens of Britain visit on many occasions.

1066 country, hastings castle, a visit to hastings, seaside towns of britain

scenes of Hastings Castle. Much of the original castle fell away when the cliffs collapsed

The chapel is in a far better state of repair, so to speak and you can wander and wonder amongst the ruins. I love to just stand still and imagine the scenes of yesteryear with Kings and Queens arriving for once est or another…Knights, Priests, Lords, Ladies, Hand-Maidens, Servants and Serfs…..what a melee it must have been.

1066 country, hastings castle, a visit to hastings, seaside towns of britain

scenes of the ruined chapel at Hastings Castle; The Collegiate Church at St-Mary-in-the-Castle was built in about 1075

One of the things I love most is to run my hand over the stones and flint of these ancient places and try to imagine the person who placed it there….how did they live, where were they from, were they young or old, did they have family…..how long did they live. Because lets face it, I’m pretty certain the builders of these castles probably didn’t have the same privileges our builders of today have! I’d say they probably lived very poorly and were not very well treated by their masters and without doubt the Health and Safety elves hadn’t yet made an appearance!!

1066 country, hastings castle,

imagine the amount of work that went into this wall….

Hastings Castle is a fascinating part of British history that includes ‘The 1066 Story’. An exciting 20 minute audio-visual programme covering the Conquest and the history of the castle through the centuries can be seen on the premises. The short film is well worth watching as it gives you a better idea of how the castle looked before the cliffs gave way and it vanished never to be seen again…except perhaps in the houses that used the pebbles and stones to rebuild some of the more ‘modern’ places you see today.

There is a small underground dungeon you can visit…..nothing too fearsome – certainly not like some dungeons I have seen in the past, but interesting nevertheless to imagine the people who trod those stairs centuries ago.

1066 country, hastings castle,

the dungeon….my sister looking a tad trepidatious climbing down the stairs

Although not as impressive as Dover Castle just up the coast and in much better nick, I do enjoy exploring the walls and nooks and crannies of Hastings Castle. I also love the views across the channel. Imagine how awe-inspiring it must have looked to the sailors of yesteryear as they approached the English coastline…..did they come in peace, were they merchantmen intent on trade, or pilgrims seeking a passage to Canterbury, or were they soldiers who quaked in fear of the unknown daunted by the size of the castle,  or were they fearless warriors intent on mischief.

1066 country, hastings castle, english channel

view across the English Channel towards France

My sister and I meandered, and admired, took hundreds of photos and then before they locked us in for the night we took ourselves off back down to the town.

I love Hastings…it is so quirky with loads of history and amazing houses to photograph. Definitely well deserving of a 9+ for interesting ‘things to see’.

1066 country, hastings

Hastings – 1066 country with a history that dates back over 950 turbulent years

Then a quick stop for hot jacket potatoes filled with a yummy concotion at the Hot Potato in Queens Road and then into the car and back to Rye….what a great day. I know for sure I’ll visit Hastings again some day.

Along the way we stopped along the Pett Level Road to watch the sunset. Glorious!!

sunset at pett level road

watching the sunset from Pett Level Road between Winchelsea Beach and Pett Level

For more information on Hastings Castle and the 1066 story

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My sister thought it would be a great place to celebrate her birthday, her first in the UK and it was on my list of places to go in my quest to visit all the Cinque Ports; Dover, Hastings, Hythe, New Romney and Sandwich and their ‘7 surviving limbs’: Deal, Faversham, Folkstone, Lydd, Margate, Ramsgate and Tenterden.

Rye, now classified as an ‘ancient town’ was once a Cinque Port as was the ancient town of Winchelsea (of those listed, I have yet to visit those not highlighted)…. Places to go 😉

As mentioned in an earlier post my sister’s initial plan had been to visit the Isle of Wight but after reading an article about Mermaid Street in Rye, the decision was made to spend a few days in this ancient of towns. The first thing we discovered is that the cobbles in Mermaid Street were laid in the 1600’s!!

why go to rye

imagine all the history these cobbles have seen….

History that’s right up my street, so to speak 😉 How could I not want to go there. And so our plans were laid.

Initially there were meant to be four of us, but my sister’s two friends pulled out and so it was just the two of us…that reminds me of a song….LOL But let me not digress, Rye awaits.

We decided to arrive the night before so as to be in the town on her birthday…great idea! I had the hotel tie balloons to her chair for breakfast and persuaded them to put candles onto her breakfast plate!

Where will we put the candles they asked? Oh stick them in the sausage, I replied (as I crossed my fingers and hoped she ordered a full-English) – she did and to her surprise the breakfast arrived with 5 flaming candles!!! accompanied by a fantastic rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’, if I may say so myself 😉

So those were our reasons; here are the reasons you should go!

Ancient history: Rye’s history dates back to before the Norman Conquest at which time it was a small fishing village almost surrounded by water. Since then, the sea has retreated and although there is still a small harbour and a river, the town now lies 2 miles from the sea. Fascinatingly the river is affected by the tides, so it’s fun to watch the ships and boats moored alongside rise and fall on the incoming and outgoing tides. I know – it’s the little things that please me!

why you should go to rye

old fishing boat in Rye Harbour on the Rother

Mermaid Street: listed as one of the prettiest streets in Britain, this quintessentially English street is lined with amazing architecture; the Mermaid Inn, a Grade II* listed building – one of the oldest inns in Britain; restored in 1420 (hello!! note it was ‘restored‘ in 1420!!),

why go to rye

The Mermaid Inn, Rye – restored in 1420

sits comfortably alongside extraordinary Tudor Houses, gorgeous Georgian Houses and a mix in between, bearing some of the most quintessential house names you could imagine, in fact the house names in the whole town were just wonderful.

why go to rye

House names in Rye

We found the street utterly enchanting and spent ages photographing just about every house. The cobbles lend a charming aspect to the atmosphere of stepping back in time and you feel as if at any time a pilgrim could come slowly by, followed perhaps by a knight on his horse or maybe a royal entourage on it’s way to the inn….talking of which, you simply must step into this gem of a building. Oh the history!! It’s extraordinary and I would love to spend a few nights there!!

why you should go to rye

Mermaid Street in Rye

Rye Castle Museum and Ypres Tower: there is something quite spine-tingling when you turn a corner and discover a castle!! My jaw dropped…just wow!!

why go to rye

Rye Castle; Ypres Tower

Thought to have been built in the early 14th century, Ypres Tower (Rye Castle) was part of the town’s defences and the 2nd oldest building in Rye. Although not as big as some castles I have visited before, Ypres Castle is beautiful. Explore the building to discover the Tower’s role through 9 turbulent centuries. Climb to the battlements for a view of the salt marshes and the remains of what during the 16th century was one of the largest and 7th busiest port in England. The views are to die for!!

why go to rye

the view from the battlements of Rye Castle

Head below ground to the dungeons and try your hand at archery! It’s not as easy as it looks in the movies and the swords are rather heavy!! There are some helmets you can try on for fun 😉 We made ourselves look quite silly. while you are there be sure to visit The Women’s Tower; a 19th century prison (believed to be the only women’s prison to survive unaltered from the 1800’s to the present day), the Medieval Herb Garden and the gun garden.  At 3 East Street in Rye and just a short walk from the castle is the Museum where you will find an eclectic and fascinating collection of relics from Rye’s past; costumes, toys, pottery, shipbuilding, an ancient fire-engine and so very much more.

St Mary’s Church; the oldest building in Rye; the Parish Church of Rye has, for 900 years, dominated the hill on which this ancient town stands. Sometimes called the ‘the Cathedral of East Sussex’ the building of the present church was started in the 12th century.

why go to rye

The fantastic 16th century clock at St Mary’s Rye

In 1377 the town was looted and set on fire, the church suffered extensive damage causing the roof to fall in and the looters carried the bells off to France – not taking this lying down, the following year, the men of Rye and Winchelsea set sail for Normandy, set fire to and raided two towns and thus recovered the bells. Today you can climb the battlements and be amazed at the fantastic views of the surrounding town and countryside  and Romney Marshes from the tower.

why go to rye

view of Rye Castle and the River Rother from the battlements of St Mary’s

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view across the roofs of Rye and the windmill in the distance

On your way up, beware the bells – they bong on the hour and could damage your ear drums (ask my sister who stuck her head above the parapet just as the bells gonged the hour for 2pm!! She nearly fell off the steps in shock. One of the oldest church turret towers in the country still functioning, the ‘new’ clock made by the Hugenot, Lewys Billiard, was installed in about 1561/2. You can see the pendulum swinging as you enter the church. Do note that the stairway leading to the tower’s viewing platform are VERY narrow!! LOL.

why go to rye

Sioux and The Bell!!

 

The Landgate Tower: What a startling discovery!! I had seen it listed on the town map the hotel gave us, but that didn’t prepare us for the reality. Again we stumbled upon this ancient treasure quite by accident whilst meandering the streets and couldn’t forsake a closer look. After the French attacked the town in 1339 burning 52 houses and a mill, the Mayor and town corporation decided to build town walls and gates. They received a grant from the King; Edward III and got busy building walls and 4 gates.

why go to rye

The Landgate

The Landgate dates from about 1340. Of the original 4 gates, this is the most complete remaining. Touching the stones that make up this amazing structure gives me goosebumps. Just think about the history and the people this gate has seen…as they say: if walls could talk. There’s a delightful antiques shop right next to the gate and just beyond the gate is ‘Crepes on the Corner’ – the best crepes in town..and they were. I had Nutella and banana…delicious!!  There are glimpses of one of the other gates; Strandgate, incorporated into the Old Borough Arms Hotel at the bottom of Mermaid Street.

The Windmill:  We had seen this marvellous structure the previous day and on our way to Mermaid Street we decided to ‘pop in’ and have a look. I adore windmills, they add such a sense of history and mystery to a place….you feel almost compelled to go have a look. The distinctive and famous Rye Mill is a Grade 2 listed building and has been the inspiration for artists and photographers throughout the centuries. It occupies an historic site in Gibbet’s Marsh where a windmill has stood, in one form or another, since at least the sixteenth century. The Symondons map of Rye created in 1594 shows an illustration of a windmill in the exact spot where today’s mill now stands.  Now a B&B, we had a quick peek at one of the rooms. Located over the railway line and right next to the river, it’s charming and I can assure you that I am so going to stay there some day in the future.

why go to rye

The Rye Windmill

Rye Harbour: classified as a village, this tiny cluster of houses, jetty’s and buildings relative to a harbour are a delight to see. One of the most recognised images is an abandoned fisherman’s hut; black walls, a red tin roof with white painted windows and door that look like a face, stands almost halfway between the harbour and the river mouth.

why go to Rye

the old fisherman’s hut in Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

Rye reached the zenith of her power during the 16th century and at any one time there could be 200 ships anchored near the Strandgate – handling every kind of cargo from around the world. The largest and busiest port on the south coast during Tudor times due to it’s proximity to the continent, Rye’s harbour was more important than Portsmouth or Southampton. Although still a busy fishing harbour, today there are but just a few glimpses left of the original Rye Port, and to reach anything that resembles a harbour requires a short drive from the town to Rye Harbour – a drive well worth taking.

why go to rye

Rye Harbour

The harbour borders onto the nature reserve which is marvellous to walk through of an early morning.  The decline of Rye’s harbour was ultimately caused by the silting up of the river. Silt carried by the incoming tides stayed and settled in the bottom of the river leaving a film of silt which finally made the river un-navigable for ships. Today you can walk along the gravel road that runs between the salt-marshes and the river to the pebbled beaches. Perfect at sunrise.

why go to Rye

The River Rother flows down to the sea…

Rye Harbour Church: as you drive towards Rye Harbour and Nature Reserve, look to your right for a glimpse of this beautiful little church. Built in 1849 in the gothic style, the church of the Holy Spirit was designed by Samuel Sanders Teulon and constructed of local blue stone and Caen stone. Support for the construction of the church came from local estate owners; Mr & Mrs William Lucas Shadwell. In the churchyard is a memorial commemorating the 1928 Mary Stanford Lifeboat tragedy when 17 crew members lost their lives.

why go to Rye

Rye Harbour Church

Pubs: as with all towns like Rye there is always a church and those quintessential essential necessities of community life; the pub!  😉  We managed to eat at two and have drinks in one. On our first night in Rye, after exploring the lower reaches of Mermaid Street and surrounding area, we stopped at the Ship Inn for a yummy meal. A congenial location we enjoyed the atmosphere so much we tarried awhile and played a game of scrabble.

why go to rye

a game of scrabble at The Ship Inn

I love how you can do that. The pubs in the UK (and Ireland) are more like family gathering places than drinking houses.  For our 3rd night in Rye we booked to eat at the Ypres Castle Inn, a 17th century pub nestled at the foot of the castle! Accessed down a steep flight of steps the lamps cast an inviting pool of light for a weary, hungry traveller. As you walk down the steps you will find an ancient set of ‘stocks’ used for the naughty people of Rye LOL. We enjoyed a most delicious meal there; for my sister it was the Lamb Hot Pot and for me Battered Cod (the biggest piece of fish I have ever been served), delicious chips and mushy peas.  Although we didn’t tarry for long, it wasn’t due to the ambiance which was lovely. We had in fact both walked ourselves stupid that day exploring every corner and Lydd, and were exhausted by the time we had our meal. The staff were lovely.

why go to rye

the history of 4 inns in Rye

The streets of the medieval town: Rye is quite simply the picture perfect place to meander.  We set off just after breakfast on Saturday to explore and photograph Mermaid Street more fully…..5 hours later and we were still meandering.

why go to rye

Rye architecture

What an extraordinary array of cobbled streets, lanes and alleyways leading hither and thither, quaint houses line the cobbled streets up and down, each an enchanting delight. Every corner we turned opened up to more delights; with an “oh my gosh”, or “ooooo look there!” from me and a laugh of bemusement from my sister as my constant “okay, just one more corner” eventually turned out to envelope almost the whole town.

why go to rye

Rye, a gem of South East England

There are 15th century inns, Tudor houses, the Vicarage where John Fletcher, the Jacobean dramatist, was born in 1536, the Old Rye Grammar School erected in 1636, the old water tower next to the church and so very much more to see.

And last but not least: the three rivers – Rother, Brede and Tillingham.

why go to rye

Three rivers of Rye

The River Rother flows down to the sea….This is the river along which we meandered in the morning and the evening for photos. Used for navigation since Roman times, the river is navigable by small boats as far as Bodiam Castle. With it’s source near Rotherfield and it’s mouth in Rye Bay, the river flows for 35 miles through the English counties of East Sussex and Kent. Its mouth was further to the east at New Romney prior to 1287, but a great storm blocked its exit to the sea and changed its course to flow via Rye.

The River Tillingham rises from two springs near Staplecross, a small settlement in the Parish of Ewhurst in East Sussex and joins the Brede and Rother at Rye.

The River Brede takes its name from the Village of Brede which lies between Hastings and Tenterden. It flows into Rock Channel which is the tidal section of the River Tillingham and joins the River Rother at Rye.

With tales of sailors’, smugglers, storms, ships, seas and derring do, of pilgrims and kings, heroes, dramatists, writers, and a nursery rhyme, you simply must visit Rye!

Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep! – According to legend, this well-known nursery rhyme derives from the deeds of smugglers in the town of St Leonard’s.  West of Burtons St. Leonards is the area known as Bo-Peep which was once a tiny village renowned for smuggling in bygone days:

why go to rye

One of 4 Smuggler gangs that operated in the area of Rye

           Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep and doesn’t know where to find them;                                                      leave them alone, And they’ll come home, wagging their tails behind them

Little Bo-peep fell fast asleep, and dreamt she heard them bleating;
but when she awoke, she found it a joke, for they were still a-fleeting.
Then up she took her little crook, determined for to find them; she found them indeed, but it made her heart bleed, for they’d left their tails behind them.
It happened one day, as Bo-peep did stray into a meadow hard by,
there she espied their tails side by side, all hung on a tree to dry.
She heaved a sigh and wiped her eye, and over the hillocks went rambling,
and tried what she could, as a shepherdess should, to tack each again to its lambkin.

Rye is a real gem of England; playing a very important role in the history of the country, remnants of which can still be seen today.   It’s pictureque, charming and an absolute delight to explore. We loved it!

why go to rye

Originally, the Cinque Ports (pronounced ‘Sink’ Ports) were a confederation of five harbours, Sandwich, Romney, Dover, Hythe, and Hastings plus the two Ancient Towns of Rye & Winchelsea. Grouped together, for defence purposes, by Edward the Confessor, they supplied the Crown with ships and men.

 

Interesting links:

What are Cinque Ports?

http://www.ryemuseum.co.uk/home/ypres-tower/

http://www.faversham.org/history/maritime.aspx

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One of the benefits of my job as I’ve mentioned before is that I get to travel around the country…not just in England but Scotland and occasionally Wales too. Since 2007 I’ve travelled east, south, north and west of the UK. In that time I’ve pretty much been to nearly every county in England, a few in Scotland and over the border into Wales, then out again. In the years between 2002 and 2007 I mostly worked in London, and that of course has become my passion. However, it is brilliant to be able to travel to new places and see the country.

uk-mapA while ago I was working in East Sussex, not the first time in this county, but in a new town. I was chatting to my client, sharing travel stories (she’s also quite well travelled), and just for fun I had a look at the map of Britain and listed all the counties I had either worked in, or travelled to during the course of my job…..i.e. some clients enjoys driving so we get to travel far and wide. Needless to say I do the driving 😉

I have been to villages so small that they don’t even have a Post Office never mind a traffic light or stop street, where the evening traffic jam is sheep going home! I’ve worked in numerous towns, and quite a few cities…namely London of course…I always jump at the chance to work in London although I’m not sure why since my breaks are so short I seldom get time to do much exploring…but still it’s a constant thrill to me to wake up in the city that never sleeps. I’ve also visited a few counties in Scotland and Wales, but those in the capacity of a tourist, rather than for work. For the purposes of this article, I’ll stick to those I’ve been to for work….

So heading round the country, these are the counties I have worked in and travelled to; 27 so far:

ENGLAND

Suffolk, Middlesex, Norfolk, Essex

work and travel as a carer

and my favourite county of all Suffolk….amazing!!!

Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire

work and travel as a carer

Beautiful Cambridge and surrounding areas

Shropshire, Herefordshire,

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quirky and fabulous Weobley

Gloucestershire, Wiltshire

work and travel as a carer

the views from St Briavels are hard to match

Somerset, Devon,

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another of my favourite counties, Somerset is splendid

work and travel as a carer

one of my favourite counties – Devon is on the Jurrasic coast…

Warwickshire, Hampshire

work and travel as a carer

as with Kent, there are many farms in Hampshire as well as fabulous villages

Oxfordshire

work and travel as a carer

the bells ring out in Oxford….stunning city

Surrey

work and travel as a carer

pretty as a picture, and snow…

West Sussex

work and travel as a carer

West Sussex has a most amazing array of historical towns…and quite a few castles

East Sussex

work and travel as a carer

Stunning houses and pebble beaches

Kent

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the garden of England – Kent is mostly farmlands and fields

Greater London

work and travel as a carer

wonderful, wonderful London I’ve worked in so many areas, I’ve lost track..

Worcestershire – which is the latest and where I am now 🙂

work and travel as a carer

Worcestershire…..what a delightful surprise, and those hills

view of the Malvern Piory and countryside of Great Malvern, Worcestershire

view of the Malvern Piory and countryside of Great Malvern, Worcestershire

I’ve visited Cornwall, Dorset and Warwickshire whilst working, but not yet actually worked in those counties. I’ve travelled through (by train), but not actually stepped on the soil of 4 others: Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland…I will have to address that pretty soon!! I have however noticed that there are still quite a few counties to go, particularly in the Midlands…see you there 😉

SCOTLAND

Inverness-shire and Ross and Cromarty – I’ve worked in both these counties and truly Scotland is amazing.

One of the most advantageous aspects of this job of mine is that I go to places I would probably never have considered, simply because they’re not on the ‘Visit England’ tourist trail so to speak. However, these places invariably have a fascinating history and if you visit the one thing you will find in every hamlet, village, town or city…..the church, you will learn the oftentimes extraordinary history of the area…sometimes stretching back as far as pre-Norman times.  Reading the epitaphs and headstones, you gain a fascinating insight to the history of the area. I’ve even been into a church where there are marks on the entrance where knights of yore used to sharpen their swords!!! Mind-blowing.

My most amazing experience was in Midhurst. As town names go it’s fairly simple, but did you know they have a castle!!!

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Midhurst….one of my most delightful discoveries

caravan

I’m desperately keen to travel the width and breadth of the UK and initially I had planned on buying a campervan…those cute little symbols of the 60’s, but since I will be spending a lot of time travelling and living in the thing, I’d prefer something I can actually stand up in…so the search is on. It is now my goal to buy a motor-home within the next few years…by my 65th birthday in fact, & then travel the width, breadth, and length of this country…visiting outlying islands, historic cathedrals, ancient villages, quirky pubs and the furtherest points of the island; north, south, east & west.

Once I find what I am looking for, I shall be off. I plan to travel and work, work and travel. Mostly in the spring, summer and autumn months and in winter I shall head to Europe. What a plan!!!  Why not come along, travel with me and see all the wonderful things I shall see.

If you have any suggestions of quirky traditions or places you think I should add to my list, then please leave a comment and I’ll add them to my itinerary.

Have a fab day.

and talking of quirky, here is a blog you should definitely follow. The Quirky Traveller 

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