Ceres is a small village about 8 miles inland from St Andrews, or less than 5 miles from Strathkinness, where I lived before moving to Canada. Growing up in the area, I’m almost certain I had heard of the Ceres Games, but as a teenager, it probably wasn’t high on the priority list.
Oh! how times change with age. One day, while returning to Strathkinness, we drove through Ceres noting signs advertising next weekend’s highland games. Back at the house, I googled and found that it was the 703rd anniversary, of the first games held in 1314. OMG, we have to check it out, and bonus, admission is “free”.
Blenheim Palace, located about 20 miles from Oxford has 2 claims to fame – it is the only palace in UK that is not a royal residence, and it was the birthplace of one of UK’s most famous Prime Ministers, Sir Winston Churchill.
Our visit coincided with one of the Nocturne concerts, which that night featured The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. This resulted in some areas not being open and the home closing earlier than usual.
Having lived in St Andrews for many years, I looked forward to exploring another university town. Yes, similar to St. Andrews, most buildings in Oxford are connected with the university.
Considered as the oldest university in the English speaking world, the exact foundation date is unknown, but teaching is known to have existed from 1097, with rapid expansion over the next hundred years. University ratings are highly subjective and many raters vary widely with their results, however, The Higher Education World University Rankings rate Oxford, as the world’s number 1 university for 2016-17.
In 1987, UNESCO accorded World Heritage status to the entire city of Bath. While hundreds of cities throughout the world have designated world heritage sites, I believe Bath and Venice are the only 2 cities where the entire city, is so designated.
Venice is an easy one to understand, as we probably all know about the canals, and many may have actually visited the city, but Bath? Unless you are from UK, or have studied UK history, you may not be aware of this beautiful city.
Departing Widbrook Barns B&B in Bradford-on-Avon, our next destination is Oxford, a mere 65 miles distant. Preferring to avoid motorways and major roads, our route today takes us to Avebury, followed by a scenic drive through North Wessex Downs AONB, then onto the oldest bridge over the River Thames at Radcot, before finally heading towards Oxford.
We have probably all heard of Stonehenge, but as I alluded to in my last post, this area of UK has numerous lesser know, but equally impressive attractions from about 5,000 years ago. Continue reading →
Many years ago, when the kids were still young, we spent a couple of days around the SW, with friends Mark & Andrea. We spent a day visiting Bristol, Bath and the local canals. Being a whirlwind tour, in Bath, we only visited the Roman Baths, so this time we wanted to see other parts of the city, which is UK’s only city with a UNESCO World Heritage designation.
We planned a 2 night stay, with our preference again for a more rural location. I looked for small towns within a 10 mile radius of Bath, with easy train or bus links to downtown. Bradford-on-Avon met all the criteria. Searching for B&B’s, I found Widbrook Barns, which again ticked all the boxes and had great reviews.
After our final breakfast at 15 Bed & Breakfast, in Fareham, we said our goodbyes to hosts Lorraine and Dave, setting off for Widbrook Barns B&B in Bradford-on-Avon. It’s only about 70 miles, so we opted for a circuitous route, taking in Stonehenge and a number of other lesser known Neolithic attractions.
The previous post covered Stonehenge, so this one will focus on the route we took from Stonehenge to Bradford-on-Avon. Continue reading →
Two years ago, while on the World Cruise, we called at Southampton and contemplated taking the ship’s tour to Stonehenge. However, friends from Dorset and Isle of Wight came to Southampton, joining us for lunch. This turned out to be rather fortunate, as the ship’s tour only visited Stonehenge, completely missing the other local pre-historic attractions in the area.
This post will focus entirely on Stonehenge, with the next post covering other local sites – West Kennett, Avebury, to name just a couple of them.
Driving through Salisbury, while heading to our first stop of the day at Boscombe Down, we noted the Petersfinger Park & Ride, right off the A36.
After a couple of hours at Boscombe Down Aviation Collection, we returned to Salisbury, arriving at the Petersfinger Park & Ride about 13:00. Parking is free and the return fare is UKP 4.00, for groups of up to 4 persons. Buses depart about every 15 minutes, with the last bus from town about 18:40, so that gave us about 5 hours to explore.
The bus dropped us off on Milford Street, which is right downtown and a short 5 to 10 minute walk from the cathedral. This post will cover our walk to the Cathedral, tour of the Cathedral and finally the Magna Carta, of which Salisbury has one of the four remaining original copies.
While staying at 15 Bed & Breakfast in Fareham, we drove up to Wiltshire for the day, visiting Boscombe Down and Salisbury. The Boscombe Down Aircraft Collection is truly amazing, and when visiting UK back in 1995, I can only wish the collection was already open. At that time, our son was about 10 years old and loved planes, so we visited the Fleet Air Arm and Royal Air Force Museums, which were both big hits, seeing all the aircraft. However, I can just imagine his delight had he been able to climb into the cockpits at Boscombe Down.
Yes, this is no stuffy museum with, “Please do not touch” signs everywhere, in fact, it is totally the opposite, they encourage you to touch and experience the exhibits. For me it was somewhat of a trip down memory lane, as I seriously contemplated RAF pilot training rather than the marine industry. Continue reading →