A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about siteseeing

Convent Garden, British Cycle Tour Finish, London

Street Entertainment on a sunny Sunday

sunny 20 °C

After a sleep in we decided to catch the underground to a subway near Prince Edward Theatre. Once we found the theatre where Miss Saigon was being held we headed off to find a booking office, several near here. We found one that was selling tickets at a good price. It is a bit different to years ago when you would have to queau for tickets. There were so many shows on in London. There were lots I would have liked to see but a decision had to be made and we hadn't seen Miss Saigon before. It was a sunny Sunday and I knew we were close to Convent Garden. With the help of my phone we soon found it. What a great way to spend a sunny Sunday. As well as the colourful interesting markets there were lots of street performers of a high standard. We spent a long time watching the street entertainers. We put a donation in the containers of those we spent time watching. There were the knife jugglers. One of these was on a ladder with only one rung it was a long way off the ground. He took off his shirt, not sure why he did that we had to watch his quivering flesh. There was a good Mr Bean Impersonator. He was charging for photos taken with him. We liked the dog in the kennel he was funny. I posted a video of that on my face book page. The Charlie Chaplin Impersonator was very good, he did a long stint and was funny. He certainly picked on people in the crowd so we were keeping our distance. There were various other acts as well. We watched a sculptor sculpting a young boy. I was very impressed with how still he sat. His mother dressed very fashionable and he looked very smartly dressed as well. We eventually headed off to find barriers everywhere and we were marooned. I am not sure how we missed this action earlier must have approached from a different angle. We stood by the fence and chatted to some nice young English people and found out it was the finish of the Cycle Tour of Britain. Fancy that, first we catch the end of the Tour de France in Paris accidently, now here is the finish of the British Tour. Events just seem to follow us around. We decided we might as well stay and watch. They certainly fly by and it didn't take long for each round. It was fun watching the support vehicles whizz past and the ambulance where the passenger seemed to be hanging on around the corner where we were. People realised that the finish was across the street but by then you couldn't get across, we wandered around and found net barriers on our side, someone had conveniently torn a big hole in one barrier. The interesting part here was watching an angry young man have an altercation with a security guard on the other side of the barrier. Obviously angry about the netting he tore a big hole in another screen. The security man was right in his face and was well out of order when he took a swing at the young man's nose. Luckily no blood. The security man about to take action but of course by then the young man had disappeared into the crowd. Why put the net up in the first place the barrier was enough. We finally walked to an underground station and found a train to take us back to Kings Cross Station. Six flights of stairs to negotiate to our room, at least we now weren't setting off the fire alarm.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 13:27 Archived in England Tagged city siteseeing Comments (0)

Madam Tussuard's, Primrose Hill and Swiss Cottage

Revisiting some favourite places in London

sunny 24 °C

It was Saturday in London, we set off first to visit Madam Tussuard's. We found our way to Kings Cross Station. At our entry point to our underground destination they had just stopped the train line due to someone on the line. Police and medics running everywhere, we never did find out what happened. Plan B. We found another way to get there with one train line change. At the beginning of our big trip when we were in London we found the buses worked well from our accommodation. But as we were near Kings Cross Station the underground certainly worked better for us. Kings Cross a local and international station. We headed to Madam Tussuard's to join lots of other tourists on this very sunny Saturday. I enjoyed my last visit here about 10 years ago. The displays are constantly changing. It always surprises me that you can get up so close and personal with the wax figures. David Becham no longer in footie clothes and pose but now in a fancy suit posing beside his wife Victoria, famous for the Spice Girls and now her fashion empire. Kylie Minogue on surfboard replaced with Miller Cyrus sitting on a long tongue. There was a feature of some of the young singing stars. Beyonce was the head feature with 3 models of her along with Lady Gaga who wouldn't have existed on my last visit. Also Britanny Spears looking very glam. I was amazed how small Madonna was she isn't very tall, she always seems larger than life in real life. Freddie Mercury still there, his Song Barcelona with the Spanish Opera singer still the best Olympic song ever. A little bit of home New Zealand's legendary rugby player Jonah Lomu striking a great pose, possibly on display with the Rugby World Cup taking place in England. With my interest in art it was good to see some of the famous artists on display. The Royal family pose now controlled with an official photographer. You can still take your own photo. Of course I had to do that pose for my late Grandma who was such a royalist. It is rubbing off on me as have had a rather Royal time this trip. Lady Diana no longer attracting queues but replaced with queues to do the selfie with Kim Kardashian. I admit I did this pose. Interesting how the moody Kane is relegated to the back. There were all the usual world leaders, sports stars too numerous to mention. A new area was showing the making of the wax figures, with Beyonce featured here. Also there was a display of the history of Madam Tussuard's. She was the tiniest little lady. We did the London Taxi ride through various displays that flash past. Soon we were queuing to head upstairs then waiting upstairs to go into the 4 D theatre. We were so hungry by then the only drink we could find was some sugary icy drink the cup was threatening to collapse we had with a bag of crisps. The 4 D was based around saving Buckingham Palace. You got sprayed with air and mist at the correct time, jabbed in the back by your chair, vibrations through the floor. Puff of air where you would least expect. After this we ended up in a Star Wars exhibition. I am not sure how this got added to our ticket. The Grandchildren would like this part. We had a very late lunch. Afterwards we decided to walk through Regent Park to Primrose Hill. Daughter Janine and Tim's old stomping ground. London rather flat, Primrose Hill gives views over London. A few families up here, lots of tourists and the younger generation up here. Young lovers of every orientation up here as well relaxing. Londons certainly enjoy lapping up the sunshine when they get it. Then there was us the two oldest up the top of Primrose Hill. For nostalgic reasons we then decided to walk to Swiss Cottage where Tim and Janine lived while in London and later along came baby Joe, now a big boy. We spent lots of happy times at Swiss Cottage on our previous 3 visits to the United Kingdom. We found new apartments, the favourite Costa Coffee Shop still there as is Alex's Hairdressers. There were lots more restaurants across the street from the flat and a very nice restaurant at the nearby sports Centre. We found our way to the underground where we used to catch the Jubilee Line, here we managed to find a train heading to Kings Cross Station.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 12:56 Archived in England Tagged city siteseeing Comments (0)

Leeds to York

Love Home Swap in York.

overcast 19 °C

After a good night sleep in our comfortable bed and a late leave time we felt refreshed and ready for the next adventure. We arrived in York at 2.00am. This place we found no problem and as it was on the outskirts we had no trouble finding the house. Parking was behind the house. We had everything well explained to us and there were plenty of brochures to peruse. We soon made ourselves at home in this cosy home, which came with a shared cat. Still don't know what its name is. We ventured over to the large shopping complex not far away for some supplies. We had been left all the basics as well as some treats. We had a restful afternoon and evening. The next morning we caught the number 5 bus, a short walk away, to the Opera Theatre where we got out. The theatre having major renovations. We soon found our way into the city through an arch on the historic walls that surround the city. We found a bike cafe for a tasty lunch before wandering around the city getting our bearings. We came across the Merchant Adventurers Hall, so decided to take a look. This is a medieval guild hall, and was one of the most important buildings in the medieval city. It was built in 1357. It was granted the status of the Company of Adventurers of York by Queen Elizabeth I in the 16th century. The main part of the building consists ofthe Great Hall and the undercoat, which was originally a hospital or alms house for poor people of York. The great Hall is a timber framed structure and is the largest timber framed buildings in UK still standing and used for its original purpose. After viewing this we decided to visit York Minister. The Cathedral and Metropolitan Church of Saint Peter in York is commonly known as the York Minister. The minister is the seat of the Archbishop of York, the second highset office of the Church of England. The minister has a very wide Decorated Gothic nave and chapter house. The Chapter house was amazing loved this part. There is always so much history in these churches and this was no exception. Even with all the tourists they were holding a church service in one of the many chapels. This church had a large area which included audio visuals of restoration work. The ornate lead light windows need cleaning from time to time. What a delicate job this is from the careful removal of the lead light to the cleaning process of years of grime. Just when we thought we had seen everything we realised there was a huge underground area. One area showing A former army building that lies undeneath the minister, during a renovation of the foundations in the early 2000's this was discovered. Lots of treasure was found and now on display. Off to catch the bus home. Geoff has been adopted by the shared cat. It is always waiting for our return.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 14:31 Archived in England Tagged in york siteseeing Comments (0)

Trim, Newgrange and The Battle of the Boyne

A varied lot of siteseeing

sunny 19 °C

Our first stop on this Sunday was to Trim, in County Meath, Ireland. It is situated on the River Boyne. The town is noted for Trim Castle - the largest Cambro-Norman castle in Ireland. Other features are two ruined churches and the river is popular for fishing. Trim Castle (or King John's Castle) was built in the late 12th century following the Norman invasion of Ireland. We enjoyed wandering around the town and Castle. This day all National Trust sites were free to enter. We are members of the Trust so would have got in here anyway. We wandered over the historic bridges and walked in the park where we found the ruins of a church. We met a historian along the way who gave us a lot of history of the place. Back on the road again still two more circles on the map to visit. To tell you the truth I had no idea this day what we were visiting till we arrived at each place, so it was a nice surprise when we found these varied places. Second stop was Newgrange. Newgrange is a prehistoricmonument in County Meath, Ireland. It was built during the Neolithic period around 3200 BC, making it older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. The site consists of a large circular mound with a stone passageway and interior chambers. It is speculated that it had religious significance. Human corpses were placed in it along with cremated remains. Various grave goods were deposited alongside the bodies. There was a large tourist building here, cafe, gallery and museum. We didn't do the bus trip to Newgrange site as had to wait a good 2 hours. It was busy due to it being a free day. Instead we had lunch with an interesting couple who live 1/2 the year in Latvia and half in California. They still considered themselves war refugees. The lady was not at all happy with what was happening in Latvia. After lunch spent a long time looking around the interesting museum we learnt a lot about the monuments and how people of the time would have lived. Soon it was off to circle number three on our map placed there by the man at our first stop in Dublin. This was another interesting site. The battlefield of Boyne. We arrived to the cannons being fired. The museum was well done with lots of information on the battle. The battle took place in 1690 between the Catholic James II and the Protestant William III of England and Scotland, who, with his wife, Mary II (his cousin and Jame's daughter) had overthrown James in England in 1688. The battle took place at the River Boyne near the town of Drogheda and resulted in a victory for William. This turned the tide in James's failed attempt to regain the British crown and ultimately aided in ensuring the continued Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland. We watched various enactment of people dressed in costumes from the 16th century such as forging, doctors instruments and various musical instruments played. We then wandered around the gardens and found a band playing we listened to this for awhile. We headed to the cafe for a coffee before heading to our hotel in Dublin close to the airport. We used the postcode and it took us right there. We were puzzled as it had a different name. Luckily we had a little photo that looked like the hotel. The name had changed two months earlier. It was now called Clayton Hotel. It looked like the place had been given a makeover it was rather flash. We ate in the bar area that had comfortable seats. There was also a separate cafe in this place. It was a good price and very close to the airport also there was a service station very near here. A very busy day and a great finish to our Irish holiday. One thing we noted was that Ireland does not have the mountains like you would find in New Zealand it was mostly flat and rolling countryside.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 13:01 Archived in Ireland Tagged siteseeing Comments (0)

Checking out our local attractions in Somerset, England

Cricket Cafe, The Walled Gardens of Cannington, Blackmore Farm Shop and Cafe and Coleridge Cottage

all seasons in one day 19 °C

We had been driving past places and signs so decided to go and see what they were about. Our first stop was the Cricket Cafe just down the road. We were expecting to see cricket paraphernalia, but no that was not so. The place was a farm shop with lots of produce, they specialised in cheese and the place had a cheese factory. Cricket derived from a local identity who had the surname of Cricket. The nice chatty lady here made us a reasonable flat white. Soon it was off to stop number two. We kept passing the sign The Walled Gardens of Cannington. It was time to investigate. This place even had its own parking area. The gardens lie within the grounds of a medieval priory many of the buildings, including the walls remain. Having undergone extensive renovation the gardens were officially opened by Prince Edward. The gardens have classic and contemporary features, there is also a large botanical glass house. Students from Bridgewater College gain hands on experience working in the gardens. We enjoyed wandering around these colourful gardens. There was an area devoted to Australasian plants. We had lunch at the cafe here. Nice fresh toasted sandwiches. There is also a shop here and plants can be purchased. Our next stop was Blackmore Farm Shop and Cafe. This place has lodgings a cafe and produce shop. They also do weddings, dinner parties etc. There is also a historic manor house on the property you can visit. They specialised in local cheeses and meats they had a vast range of goods. We bought some vintage cider. We had coffee and cake here, talk about the foodie day. The owners of the business were very friendly, Geoff enjoyed chatting about farming. The brother runs the farm. By this stage it was pouring with rain. Next stop was Coleridge Cottage, home of romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge for three years, he wrote some of his best work while living here, including The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Both Coleridge and Wordsworth who visited here are seen as crucial in the development of the literary Romantic Movement. The cottage dates back to the 17th Century. The cottage was well presented and also had a cottage garden and well. Soon it was off home to cook dinner.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 13:31 Archived in England Tagged local siteseeing Comments (0)

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