In Hove, actually

Among the sand, on promenades, or in groups of tiny “villages”, are brightly coloured, shed-like structures that make the British coastline unique. It is estimated that there are at least 20,000 of these typical and iconic beach huts along England’s shores.

Local authorities usually stipulate colour schemes. Here in Hove, beach huts must be a specific iceplant green and dark cherry. Doors can be any single solid colour or vertically striped in multiple colours. Hut doors can now be constructed from either panelling or tongue and groove.

A licence fee for 2018/19 is £367.20 including VAT.

These huts are in not in Brighton but in Hove, actually. An important distinction between where is posh and where is not.

Stories about the tower

Back in the day, there was only one bridge in London: the London Bridge. This meant that anything coming into London by boat would have to pass the tower. Hence giving it the importance it had as a defence building. It was also the highest building around, I would imagine making an impressive sight.

The Tower of London is not as bloody as they make it seem. There were only 22 executions that actually took place within the Tower. It was also not meant to be a prison but its location meant that to was quite convenient for it to be so.

The Tower of London was also not meant to be a zoo but in the 1200s the King received exotic animals such as elephants and polar bears as gifts and thus a zoo was started. It remained there for 600 years. In 1835 the zoo part of the tower closed and all the animals where moved to the new London Zoo in Regent’s Park.

It is known that the Crown jewels are kept in the Tower of London. What is not known is that the oldest and only original item of the jewels is a spoon. The story says that after the English civil war, the parliamentarians that won wanted to get rid of the Crown and thus the jewels. They sold the jewels cheaply and an employee bought the spoon. When the Royalty was re-established this said individual sold the spoon for a lot more, making it a worthwhile investment. The rest of the jewels were never recovered, most of them were melted into weapons.

The Tower of London is now also a residence for about 140 people. These people are the Yeoman Warders or Beefeaters – which name comes from their role as food tasters to the King when they ate his beef to ensure it wasn’t poisoned. To be part of the Beefeaters, individuals must have completed 22 years service in the Forces and be at least a former warrant officer holding the Good Conduct and Long Service medals. A fair requirement for your own pub at the Tower of London I would say!

London by Sea

Less than an hour South East from London by train, is one of the UK’s most popular destinations and one of the top 10 attractions in England outside of London. It’s Official Name Is Brighton Marine Palace and Pier. This pier was the third to be built and it had to be closed during the WWII to prevent it being used by enemy troops as a landing point for an invasion. Given its almost 2km length, it is not a surprise that it takes 3 months to paint the pier. And by night this sight is very different with the 60,000 lightbulbs that lights it up.

The only question I have is, if this officially is Brighton and Hove, how come the pier is not called the Brighton and Hove Marine Palace and Pier?

On the banks of loch ness

Legend has it that this castle was built on a site where a clan chief was converted to Christianity on his death bed. History has it that the first area of the castle was built in 1200. Whatever its beginnings, through its history, this castle witnessed violent squabbles between the Scottish clans and later between, the English and Scottish.

Urquhart castle was repeatedly raided by the MacDonald clan for anything of value, even the doors, locks and bolts was taken at one point. These walls also saw the British civil war. By the end of it, the castle was blown up as it was no longer considered of any strategic value.

Its position on one of the ways through scotland was the main reason for the disputes in the past though now, being at the very edge of, Loch Ness – home of ‘Nessie’ or the famous Loch Ness Monster, gives the ex-castle a mystical and mysterious air.

[bonus] The Blue Bicycle

With a menu full of different and exciting (mainly fish) dishes – all sourced with local produce, the Blue Bicycle was definitely a great way to end the England tour of the holiday.

At the side of the River Foss, the restaurant expands two levels. It is said that the venue used to be a pleasure palace and the small cave like tables downstairs had once upon a time curtains in where the clients would go in to see a little bit of heaven between the legs of an unknown stranger. It is also believed that the owner or madame used to leave out a blue bicycle to let the clientele know the place was open for business. A tradition that is still being followed to let people know the restaurant is ready for service.  

Whether this story is true or not I cannot be sure. I like to believe it is as the place certainly has character. In any case the perfect place for a date or the end of a holiday. 

  

Cliché

The Gothic cathedral of York is considered the largest of its kind in Northern Europe. It is built upon an older minster. This cathedral has a police of its own, added to many more staff (they add up to 150) it costs the minster £7 a day! Plus the government doesn’t contribute to the maintenance of this building, it is no wonder then why they have to charge!

The highest point in York is the minsters 230 feet tower. Climbing the 275 steps to the top means close up views and overviews of York Minsters pinnacles, gargoyles and carvings; plus views of the whole city. Plus who knows, on a sunny day you might even see a proposal! The exercise might also be insightful and a good time for reflection as you twist and twist to the top. 

Next time you are in York, even if it is cliché and you are not religious, definitely worth a visit. And climb the tower, it really is not that scary regardless of whatever they say about vertigo!

  

Hidden jewels

I wonder how many towns pass inadvertent to all tourists that are actually worth a visit. This one has some interesting components that make of this historic little market town in North Yorkshire, England a worthwhile visit.

The river Nidd carved a 120 feet deep gorge. The name Nidd it is said to come from Celtic hidden or covered. A much apt name for this river as it disappears underwater somewhere in the valley. The town Knaresborough seems to have a bit of history featuring in the Domesday Book in 1086 as Chenaresburg. 

Knaresborough also has a railway viaduct which was originally built to complete the Leeds Northern Railway. It was completed three years after the first viaduct collapsed before completion in 1848. 

A random character from Knaresborough is Blind Jack who despite of losing his sight at the age of 6 he became an accomplished musician, guide and road maker. He was responsible for the making of hundreds of miles of roads in the North of England.    

Strolling along

Being 346 km (or 215 miles) long, it is no wonder that the River Thames crosses many villages, towns and cities in England. It has around 44 locks including the one where the World’s Poohsticks Championship is held since 1984, Day’s Lock.
The Thames is so integral to English and Londoners as two thirds if London’s drinking water comes from this river. It crosses at this point Kingston, an ancient market town where Saxon kings were crowned. A nice stroll for a lazy and sunny Sunday early afternoon. 

  

Scotch eggs

Some say it was originally made for rich/posh people as a transportable snack; others that it was for the poor made with leftover food and easy to take to work; the reality is that no one really know the origins of this dish. 

The perfect Scotch egg has a hard boiled egg (with a soft yolk -though nit runny) covered with sausage meat and coated with bread crumbs. Either baked or deep-fried. It seems a bit excessive though it is pretty tasty. 

And of course there are varieties, in the Manchester area they pickle the egg, the sausage meat is actually pork meat combined with black pudding! In any case, a famous second class dish for the English. 

To close this post, here is a random fact: The world record for a Scotch egg is 6.2kg using an Ostrich egg imported from Mexico. 

  

Seven sisters

The South Downs Way I have learnt is 100 miles, and two thirds as long as its nothern equivalent, though has been used for a little bit longer (some 8000 years). A really good walk for a day or two. 

Between Seaford and Eastbound there are the seven sisters which are chalk cliffs. There is supposed to be seven but there is an eighth on its way due to erosion of the sea. Do not let the eye fool you though, these hills are a lot steeper than they seem. Plus just because you have finished the sisters does not mean you are done the ups and downs!

At the end, in Beachy Head there is a reward as you can have a cold pint in the pub. Though thus place is also known for being a popular spot for suicides and also being featured in many films like Quadrophenia and  most popular, the Quidditch World Cup in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.