Tired of London, Tired of Life - A website about things to do in London



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31 August 2013

Attend the Stroud Fringe Festival, Gloucestershire

The annual Fringe Festival in the South Cotswold town of Stroud began yesterday and continues all weekend, offering a range of free entertainment in pubs, cafes and streets around town and in the main stage in Bank Gardens. For the first time in many years your author will not be attending due to a wedding in Worcestershire, but the Festival promises as always to be a good one.

The Festival has grown and shrunk and grown again over the years since it began in the 1990s, but offers some very pleasant entertainment from a range of bands that very few people have ever heard of. Nevertheless it's this small town at its best and brings out a local crowd and many from further afield to enjoy the entertainment.

For more and a full lineup, see http://www.stroudfringe.co.uk/

30 August 2013

Climb down from Birling Gap, Sussex

The ladder at the tiny hamlet of Birling Gap, with its 19th century coastguard cottages, offers a rare chance to access the beach among the world famous Seven Sisters chalk cliffs, which rise to a peak at Beachy Head. Where once there was a rickety ladder, and later stairs now there is a new and improved metal staircase which makes the beach accessible for most able-bodied people.

When your author last visited, he walked from Eastbourne over Beachy Head - with a late lunch at the Beachy Head Pub - and then had an evening drink at the Birling Gap Hotel before catching a taxi back to the station. As a walk, it is highly recommended.

For more, see http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/birling-gap-and-the-seven-sisters/

^Picture © Udey Ismail used under a Creative Commons license^

29 August 2013

See some art at Towner, Eastbourne

An award-winning art gallery in Eastbourne, Sussex, the Towner originally opened in 1923, and in 2009 relocated to its current premises attached to the Congress Theatre in Devonshire Park, where it maintains a rolling programme of great arts for a town with a population of nearly 100,000 people, as well as many tourists and visitors.

The Towner's collection includes works by Tacita Dean, Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso, Eric Ravilious, Eric Slater, Alfred Wallis and the British painter with the best name in the business, Thomas Jones. Nowadays, some say it's part of a 'ring of pearls' of South Coast art galleries that includes the Jerwood at Hastings, the De La Warr Pavilion at Bexhill and the Turner Contemporary at Margate.

For more, see http://www.townereastbourne.org.uk/

^Picture © Rowan Collins used under a Creative Commons license^

28 August 2013

Visit Alfriston Clergy House, Sussex

The very first building acquired by the then-newly-formed National Trust in 1896, Alfriston Clergy House was built as a farmhouse in the 14th century, and was later used as a convenient home for the parish priest, situated beside the parish church on the village green.

It's a peaceful spot, and whilst the house is very interesting the garden is the real pleasure of the place, offering a pleasant setting to soak up what remains of the summer sunshine, whilst considering the work of those who built a charity to care for such interesting places, and the volunteers who keep them open today.

For more, see http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/alfriston-clergy-house/

^Picture © eGuide Travel used under a Creative Commons license^

27 August 2013

Drink at the Five Bells, Brabourne, Kent

An attractive 16th century pub close to the Pilgrims Way - a route that once took travellers by foot to London, Canterbury, Dover and the Continent - The Five Bells Inn is now also on the North Downs Way, a modern walking route that here follows the line of the Downs towards Folkestone & Dover.

Though it has an up-to-date feel inside it is not at the loss of it being a friendly local pub, with woodsmoke in the air when your author last visited and fresh food for sale from the kitchen and also in the form of the in house village shop, as well as added extras necessary to make a pub profitable nowadays like breakfast brunch and morning coffee, tea and cake.

For more, see http://www.fivebellsinnbrabourne.com

^Picture © Adam Hincks used under a Creative Commons license^

26 August 2013

Party at the Notting Hill Carnival

The party looked like it was in full swing for children's day as your author passed by yesterday afternoon, but today the main day for the Notting Hill Carnival has arrived, and already bands and floats are gathering in West London ready to join the parade route.

It's the biggest street party in Europe, and it is surprising how many people have never been. If you have never made the effort it is thoroughly recommended. Come prepared for crowds and lots of bass.

For travel information, see http://www.tfl.gov.uk/gettingaround/28101.aspx

^Picture © robertsharp used under a Creative Commons license^

25 August 2013

Attend Sandwich Festival, Kent

It's the Sandwich Festival this weekend, with various events around the Kent town including free live music to watch over a picnic, a dog show and a motorcycle meet this morning. Today's events culminate this evening with an illuminated boat parade on the River Stour from 8pm.

The festivities continue tomorrow, with the added highlight or a Bank Holiday rubber duck race from 3pm to end the festival.

For more, see http://www.open-sandwich.co.uk/community/events/sandwich_festival.htm

^Picture © Richard_of_England used under a Creative Commons license^

24 August 2013

Watch the Arundel Bathtub Race, Sussex

Though there seems to be some dispute over who has the right to organise the race, people will be racing bathtubs up and down the River Arun at Arundel in Sussex, using the stretch of the river in town and visible from Riverside Gardens.

In past years - we are told - more than thirty teams have raced, with previous bathtub rafts themed around Arundel Castle, The Thunderbirds, Vikings and the Village People. It looks like the main race starts about 3pm.

For more see http://www.arundelfestival.co.uk/bathtubrace2013.html

^Picture © Oast House Archive used under a Creative Commons license^

23 August 2013

See Coal Clough Wind Farm

Found in the moors between Burnley and Todmorden in Lancashire, Coal Clough Wind Farm was among the first wave of wind farms in the UK and came on stream on 9th December 1992. The Farm boasts 24 wind turbines towering up to 154 feet above the surrounding countryside.

Your author has always thought there is something rather beautiful about wind turbines - even though they don't generate much electricity and its erratic when they do - but they never without controversy, and this is inevitably the case with Coal Clough, which Scottish Power plans to increase in size.

For more, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal_Clough_Wind_Farm

^Picture © Wildaboutburnley used under a Creative Commons license^

22 August 2013

Have a Brief Encounter at Carnforth Station

Best known its starring role as as Milford Junction in Brief Encounter - which was filmed at the station and released in 1945 - Carnforth Station was opened in 1846 on what was then the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway, and completely rebuilt in 1937 by the London Midland and Scottish Railway Company creating many of the features seen today. Today the station also acts as a heritage centre, including the Refreshment Rooms where Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard met in the film.

Alongside the possibility of having your own Brief Encounter beneath the station's famous clock, there is also an exhibition about the film, some historical artefacts and displays covering the story of Carnforth's role in the First and Second World Wars, changing exhibition at the Bateman Gallery and an all-important gift shop.

For more, see http://www.carnforthstation.co.uk/

^Picture © Stephen McKay used under a Creative Commons license^

21 August 2013

Enter the Trough of Bowland, Lancashire

A steep valley and high pass that cuts into the hills of the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Lancashire, the Trough of Bowland connects Lancaster to the west with the village of Dunsop Bridge in the heart of the Forest of Bowland.

At its high point, the Trough reaches 968 feet, before descending through high sided valleys populated only by walkers, sheep and the odd farm in an area that has been popular with cyclists for some time, it's inevitable that they have also started to plague the area, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

For more, see http://www.troughofbowland.co.uk/

^Picture © Mr T used under a Creative Commons license^

20 August 2013

Visit Lancaster City Museum

An interesting museum gathering together a range of bits and pieces telling the story of an interesting city, Lancaster City Museum was founded in 1923 and is situated in the very grand Georgian former town hall in the city's Market Square, where it has been since its foundation.

The museum is notable for a particularly fine collection of Roman artefacts, as well as some art and some decent displays that tell the story of the city well. It also houses the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum, which tells the story of the infantry regiment that was based in Lancaster from 1680 until the 1950s, when it joined with the Royal Border Regiment to become The King's Own Royal Border Regiment.

For more, see http://www.lancaster.gov.uk/sports-and-leisure/museums/city-museum/

19 August 2013

Climb Arnside Knott

A pretty little limestone hill, rising 500 feet above the northern end of Morecambe Bay, Arnside Knott is the crowning glory of the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is known for its wildlife, which thrives in the area limestone grassland and mixed woodland.

The Knott is - we are told - particularly appealing to insects and butterflies, such as the High Brown Fritillary and the Scotch Argus. Maintained by the National Trust, the hill can easily be tackled on a circular walk visiting the two villages of Arnside and Silverdale, taking in views towards the peaks of the Lake District from the top, seeing Arnside Tower and strolling along the shore.

For more, see http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/arnside-and-silverdale/

^Picture © Barbara Carr used under a Creative Commons license^

18 August 2013

Drink at the Woodlands, Silverdale

At the top of a track in the village of Silverdale on the Lancashire Cumbria border, the Woodlands is a decent community pub housed within the grand surroundings of what was once the Woodlands Hotel, a large 19th-century country house.

Thankfully, your author had a guide with a little local knowledge to show him the way, but there was still some confusion en route, but on arrival the pub was welcoming and full of other drinkers who had found their way to drink in the faded glory of its grand surroundings.

For more, see http://www.greatbeer.co.uk/lanwo.htm

^Picture © Karl and Ali used under a Creative Commons license^

17 August 2013

Attend Cowgill Church Arts, Craft & Flower Festival

The Church of St John the Evangelist at Cowgill in Dentdale, Cumbria, celebrates its 175th birthday this weekend with an arts, craft and flower festival and a display of historical photographs of the surrounding area.

The church itself is Grade II listed and was designed by the Lancaster architect Edmund Sharpe and built in the 1830s of coursed sandstone rubble. If you can't make it to Cumbria today, there's probably an equally interesting festival - in which real people have invested an equal amount of love and effort - happening in a village near you.

For more, see http://www.dentdale.com/TempNotices/CowgillChurch175AnnversaryAugust2013.htm

^Picture © Alexander P Kapp used under a Creative Commons license^

16 August 2013

Visit Walney Island

Hanging off the tip of the Furness Peninsula in Cumbria, and including Walney and the Victorian industrial settlement of Vickerstown within the town of Barrow-in-Furness, Walney Island is an interesting place. Eleven miles long and one mile wide, it is the 8th largest island in England, but often gets overlooked as a suburb of a town which is more famous for building submarines than it is for wildlife and nature.

Despite the rather bland settlements in the middle of the island, the southern end boasts a bird observatory and Cumbria Wildlife Trust nature reserve with views east across Morecambe Bay and to Piel Island and Sheep Island, and a distinctive lighthouse. At the northern end is another nature reserve with sand dunes, salt marsh, popular with wading birds and Natterjack Toads.

For more, see http://www.walney-island.com/

^Picture © Alexander Baxevanis used under a Creative Commons license^

15 August 2013

Walk the Cumbria Costal Way

Though Cumbria is a county often best known for its hills, it also has a beautiful coastline, and a long distance path stretches from Silverdale on Morecambe Bay to the Solway Firth and up the River Eden to Carlisle, taking in 185 miles of walking in between.

Though it was only established in the 1980s, it takes in a part of the country as rich in history as it is in wildlife, touching the route of Hadrian's Wall, the RSPB reserve at St Bee's Head, the shipyards at Barrow-in-Furness and the sands of Morecambe Bay.

For more, see http://www.cicerone.co.uk/product/detail.cfm/book/430/title/the-cumbria-coastal-way

^Picture © Yohan euan o4 used under a Creative Commons license^

14 August 2013

Talk to Strangers in London

Back in London,  your author is once again teaming up with the people from top London events group Thinking Bob this evening for Talking to Strangers, one of a regular series of events encouraging Londoners to talk to new people, this time - weather permitting - taking place in Regents Park.

The evening always prompts some interesting conversations and the mix of people is always a pleasant surprise, with a group from across London and the world all with interesting things to talk about.

For more, see http://www.meetup.com/talkingtostrangers/events/132026302/

13 August 2013

See the Beltingham Yews, Northumberland

Found in the churchyard of St Cuthbert's - in the Northumberland village of Beltingham - three ancient Yew Trees are found, with the oldest tree on the north side of the church said to be at least 900 years old, and claimed by some to be around 2,000 years old.

We are told that local legend is that the branches of the tree were used by local archers to make the longbows ahead of the  Battle of Flodden.

For more, see http://www.ancient-yew.org/mi.php/the-beltingham-yews/76

^Picture © Andrew Curtis used under a Creative Commons license^

12 August 2013

Visit the site of Chew Green Roman Camp

Found at the head of the beautifully remote Coquet Valley on the border between England and Scotland, Chew Green Roman Camp was once on Dere Street, the Roman Road that stretched north from York towards the frontier with Caledonia.

Possibly one of the few parts of the country which was better connected 2000 years ago, the site remained in use until the late medieval period, still recorded as Kemylpethe around 1550. The village was known to have had an Inn for travellers on Dere Street, and a chapel,  and used as a meeting place for discussing cross-border disputes as early as 1249.

For more, see http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=9

11 August 2013

Walk in the gardens at Parcevall Hall, North Yorkshire

Originally created by Sir William Milner - a founder member of the Northern Horticultural Society who lived at Parcevall Hall at Skyreholme in what is now the Yorkshire Dales National Park from 1927 until his death in 1960 - the Hall's gardens were restored following decline during the 1980s and are now open to the public.

Though the Hall itself is Grade II listed, it is not open to regular visitors and is instead used by the Bradford Diocese as a retreat and conference centre. Knowing their audience well, however, the Gardens have a tea room that is open daily during the summer season, with views to the surrounding countryside and artwork by local artists inside.

For more, see http://www.parcevallhallgardens.co.uk/

^Picture © Bob Cantwell used under a Creative Commons license^

10 August 2013

Stay at Beamsley Hospital, North Yorkshire

A beautiful almshouse in the countryside near Skipton in North Yorkshire, Beamsley Hospital was founded in 1593 by the Countess of Cumberland - Elizabeth I's maid of honour Lady Margaret Russell - to provide accommodation for poor local widows, and remained in operation until as recently as the 1970s. Follow its closure the Trustees passed it to heritage charity the Landmark Trust, who undertook work to allow it to be rented for holiday lets.

Though it is a good many years since your author stayed at the Hospital, it still has a place in his heart, and was a particularly enchanting place to stay, in a thoroughly interesting corner of the country. The centre of the Hospital remains a chapel and family legend tells of everyone searching high and low for your author before eventually finding him happily reading sat on the floor of the pulpit at the chapel, such was the peaceful serenity of the setting.

For more, see http://www.landmarktrust.org.uk/search-and-book/properties/beamsley-hospital-5014

^Picture © Humphrey Bolton used under a Creative Commons license^

9 August 2013

Walk High Cup Nick

A popular walk along the Pennine Way on the western slopes of the Northern Pennines takes participants to High Cup Nick, an interesting geological formation at the head of a valley called High Cup Gill where once a huge glacier was found.

The dramatic valley owes its existence to the presence of a layer of hard, dark, igneous rock known as Whin Sill - formed nearly 300 million years ago - and is the result of erosion at the edge of the Sill.

For more, see http://www.visitcumbria.com/evnp/high-cup-nick/

^Picture © Peer Lawther used under a Creative Commons license^

8 August 2013

Visit Bolton Priory

A ruined 12th-century Augustinian monastery in a private estate in Wharfedale, North Yorkshire, Bolton Priory stands beside the River Wharfe, founded as early as 1154 on land granted to the black-robed Augustinians by Lady Alice de Rumilly. For nearly four hundred years, the Priory thrived and building work to expand it was still ongoing at the Priory in 1539 when its closure was forced under the dissolution of the monasteries. As a result of swift action by the last Prior, Richard Moone, the villagers were given permission to continue to use the nave of the Priory as their parish church, the Church of Saint Mary and Saint Cuthbert website.

The church underwent restoration in the 19th and 20th century, notably to add stained glass designed by Augustus Pugin. The church sits at the heart of the privately-owned Bolton Abbey Estate, which is opened to the public with a charge of £7 per car and offers - we are told - 30,000 acres of countryside, with 80 miles of footpaths, and the chance to see the Barden Tower, the ruined hunting lodge of the 10th Lord of Skipton, who used it for hunting trips in the ancient Forest of Barden.

For more, see http://www.boltonabbey.com/whattodo/priory.htm

^Picture © John Sparshatt used under a Creative Commons license^

7 August 2013

Walk on Ilkley Moor

Probably best walked upon with a hat, Ilkley Moor separates the towns of Keighley and Ilkley in West Yorkshire rising to a height of 1,319 ft and probably best known for its celebration in the words of the Yorkshire folk song,

The moor is also known for various rock formations in its carboniferous limestone, including the Cow and Calf, its areas of heather and bracken, and various birds, lizards, frogs, toads and butterflies, and its interesting archaeology including various ancient carvings.

For more, see http://www.ilkleymoor.org/

For more, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilkley_Moor

^Picture © Terry Madeley used under a Creative Commons license^

6 August 2013

Explore Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire

An attractive wooded valley immediately north west of Hebden Bridge, Hardcastle Crags follows Hebden Water from just beneath the moors of Bronte country past Gibson Mill, a 19th-century cotton mill, to join the neighbouring valley of Crimsworth Dean before the Water tumbles over weirs and through the town and joins the River Calder.

The valley is otherwise known as Hebden Dale and offers shady woodland, stepping stones and riverside walks, as well as a chance to learn about the industrial history of the area at the Gibson Mill visitor centre, and as a special treat from later this week the National Trust is allowing camping in a special area of the Crags.

For more, see http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hardcastle-crags/

^Picture © Richard Carter used under a Creative Commons license^

5 August 2013

See the monument on Stoodley Pike

Standing proudly on the top of Stoodley Pike, a 1,300-foot hill in the south Pennines, the Stoodley Pike Monument is 121 feet tall and was completed in 1856, replacing an earlier monument to celebrate victory in the Battle of Waterloo, which fell down in 1854.

The monument is a popular place to walk to, and many visit as part of a circular walk from Hebden Bridge, as well as some on a shorter loop from the village of Mankinholes. It also stands on the Pennine Way, a 267 mile which extends to Edale in the south and Kirk Yetholm in the north.

For more, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoodley_Pike

^Picture © Stoodley Pike Monument used under a Creative Commons license^

4 August 2013

Drink at the Nook, Holmfirth, Yorkshire

A great little pub in the Yorkshire town of Holmfirth - the setting for the world's longest running TV comedy Last of the Summer Wine - the Nook (also known as the Rose and Crown) is found in a little alleyway in the backstreets beside the River Ribble, and is popular with locals, tourists and ale fans, who come to sample beers from around the country, and from the Nook's own brewhouse, established in July 2009.

The pub has been standing for two and a half centuries, built in local stone, and has been in the hands of the Roberts family for more than 40 years, offering beer and simple pub food, 365 days a year.

For more, see http://thenookbrewhouse.co.uk/the-nook-pub

^Picture © Humphrey Bolton used under a Creative Commons license^

3 August 2013

Ride the bus to Imber ghost village, Wiltshire

In November 1943, the people of Imber - an isolated village on the Salisbury Plain - were given notice that they were to leave their village so that it could be used by US forces practicing ahead of D-Day. They were never to return, and today the village still lies abandoned, open to the public only occasionally.

Today is one of the rare open days, and as a special treat visitors are able to arrive by a vintage bus service, and see the remains of the village and its beautiful church. Your author is off there now, thanks to the organisational foresight of Ian from Ianvisits. It should be fun.

For more, see http://warminstervbrd.wordpress.com/imberbus/

^Picture © Maurice Pullin used under a Creative Commons license^

2 August 2013

See the Kilburn White Horse, North Yorkshire

Found above the village of Kilburn in North Yorkshire, the Kilburn White Horse was created rather later than many hill figures in England, having been laid out in 1857, probably either by a local school master named John Hodgson or by a local man named Thomas Taylor.

The figure is one of the largest white horses, measuring 97 metres by 67 metres and covering more than 6,000 square metres.

For more, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kilburn_White_Horse

^Picture © Andy Beecroft used under a Creative Commons license^

1 August 2013

Find the cross on Lilla Howe, North Yorkshire

One of a number of stone crosses found at high points in the North York Moors, the Lilla Cross is said to date from about 626 AD, claimed by some to be the oldest Christian monuments in the North of England. The monument is reputed to have marked the grave of Lilla, a member of the court of Edwin, King of Northumberland, who was killed trying to save the King.

The Cross is found on the Moors just north east of RAF Fylingdales, and close to another later cross known as the Malo Cross. Following a couple of moves, it was re-set in its current position by 508 Field Squadron Royal Engineers Territorial Army of Horden, County Durham in 1962.

For more, see http://www.stone-circles.org.uk/stone/lillahowe.htm

^Picture © Stevie D used under a Creative Commons license^