What we learned about the UK in 2017 – Part 2

A much shorter post to mop up the things that I forgot to put in my 1st!

  • In East Sussex in April we found that the birds sang all through the night – bizarre!
  • There are numerous red kites – we saw them everywhere 🙂
  • Most beaches along the East Coast (once you’re in East Anglia and beyond) are sandy.
    • And most of them are absolutely spectacular
  • Some people are incredibly – shall we say daft?  Watching parents standing right on the edge of cliffs with their young children…. just so they can get a selfie, was quite distressing
  • We learned more about the civil war of the 17th Century, and Oliver Cromwell; mainly through our visit to Ely where we found a house that Cromwell and his family had lived in for some time.
  • We learned that Hull is definitely worth a visit; as is Newcastle
  • We found numerous cliff railways and funiculars, including one that is still powered by water at Saltburn by the Sea.  Scarborough had 5, 2 of which are still in operation

  • There are so many heritage railways in operation – mostly operated by volunteers.  Even the prices don’t put people off riding them… The North Yorks Moors steam railway is really rather expensive, but all the trains we saw were packed.  This may have something to do with the fact that Goathland, the 2nd stop on the line, is otherwise known as Hogwarts Station, or even Aidensfield 🙂
  • Attractions are well visited.  People are definitely getting out and about enjoying what this country has to offer
  • It seems that it’s never too early to get your kids starting to trek up mountains; when we went up to Roseberry Topping we encountered a couple with a 1 year old in a back pack!
  • If you look up when encountering sheer hills or mountainsides it’s possible you’ll see a few specks up there – climbers!
  • The Angel of the North is huge.  And really rather impressive
  • Angel of the North 22.9 (12)
  • There were very few towns that we were disappointed to have wasted our time visiting, but there were dozens that we absolutely loved and several that we will definitely return to.  I will deal with all of this in a separate ‘favourites’ post.
  • There are some amazing unsung heroes from recent history who saved much of interest for the public, or simply created areas, buildings or follies that are still of interest today – John Clayton who ensured that Hadrian’s Wall was not dismantled any further; William Armstrong who was an prolific inventor, who built Cragside in Northumberland, the 1st house in the country to be powered by hydro-electricity; ‘Mad Jack’ Fuller who built the Brightling Follies and also bought Bodiam Castle to save it from destruction.
  • Seals bark like dogs – we discovered this when visiting Lindisfarne.  We could hear the noise and found out it was a colony of seals on the other side of an offshore islet
  • The weather at home (on the South Coast) is generally better than what is being experienced further north…
    • However, this doesn’t actually mean that the weather further north is unpleasant.  We had some really lovely days.  It was just generally at least 5 degrees (centigrade) warmer at home!!
  • It is possible to camp at a reasonable price just a short train ride from the centre of London (Kelseys, Sidcup)
  • The coastline is constantly changing.  Various towns are disappearing at varying rates and Spurn Head changes yearly – the road here has been pretty much given up on!
  • And finally, we discovered how much we love travelling and that we will, at some point, pick up where we left off in the UK – with everything else we want to do though this trip may be a few years away 🙂
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Ely – a dream come true :)

As I said in a previous post I’ve always wanted to visit Ely (Eel-ee. Not Eel-i), and I still have no idea why (although this morning my sister has given me some ideas – which make me thing maybe I once saw it the old Holiday programme when it was hosted by Cliff Michelmore).

That said today was the day (Monday 26th June 2017) that I finally fulfilled my long held dream 😊

Ely didn’t disappoint. From parking in the cathedral car park and looking for the pay machine to find that there isn’t one. Because the parking is free!!

This isn’t a big city and we were soon within sight of the cathedral itself. And what an impressive sight it is. Before heading towards it though we saw a sign for Oliver Cromwell’s house (he lived here for 10 years and his 2 youngest children were born here – of 9 children in total).

 

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Our 1st sight of Ely Cathedral

It cost £4.90 each to visit the house and, whilst very interesting (I learned much that I wasn’t aware of about Cromwell), we only got to see a small number of the rooms. I’m also not entirely sure that the ‘coverage’ wasn’t a little biased towards Cromwell! I still can’t decided whether he was a hero or a villain – as they ask you to do at the end of the tour! I still veer towards villain but feel I need a little more study before I can make my mind up for sure!

 

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Oliver Cromwell’s House, Ely

It was now lunchtime so we set off in search of somewhere to eat. We eventually settled on Julia’s Tearoom, which was very nice (and the cakes looked scrummy) but we nearly didn’t go in as the frontage wasn’t overly welcoming (a quick clean of the windows might help a little!)

Finally we were ready to head for the cathedral itself. It really is magnificent, but we were disappointed to find that there was a charge of £8 plus £7 each to go on the Octagonal Tower tour – £30 between us to visit seemed excessive. There’s also a Stained Class Window museum. At £4.50 each…

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I really wanted to go in but Calv wasn’t bothered so I went in while he wandered around the town. The cathedral is beautiful, particularly the lantern at the top of the octagonal tower. The tour takes you to the top of this tower and gives many insights into the history of the cathedral.

This is not the original tower. That collapsed in the 14th century! (As we’re visiting many churches and cathedrals I’m finding out that this isn’t actually that rare an occurrence!)
The tour was excellent. Apart from the fact that the guide could be a little rude and impatient. I can live with that though. Also the higher you ascended the narrower the spiral stairways became, and you have some tiny doorways to squeeze through – the smallest being just 18 inches wide 😊

 


This cathedral has the largest Lady Chapel I have ever seen – very impressive.  I also really loved the mix of ancient and modern inside the church, with some new sculptures being present.  I went to find Calv when I left the cathedral (luckily he had his phone with him for once! Although he didn’t have any cash….)

If you turn left on leaving the cathedral you will soon come across a large stone gateway. Walking through here you find yourself taking a path through a park. Crossing a road you can see the river ahead of you, packed with barges and riverboats. This small section of park has a sculpture of an eel.

The riverside is rather lovely with a couple of pubs and cafes along the banks. We had a drink in The Cutter Inn sat watching the world go by.


Wandering back up through town we were charmed by the little town centre.


This is a lovely little city – a visit is a must if you’re in the area 😊