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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Aldeburgh and Orford (and kayaking)

Arriving in Suffolk we were told by a reliable source that we had chosen to stay in the ‘arse-end’ of a very pretty area!  I think she was referring to the fact that we are just a few miles from Sizewell and the town that serves it, Leiston.

However, we have to beg to differ as within very easy reach we have found some little gems, including:- Aldeburgh, Thorpeness, Orford, Dunwich, Southwold and, today, Framlingham.  All this in addition to Theberton’s own, extremely special, St Peters Church.

Let’s start with the church – it was the first visit we made after all, being at the end of the road we’re staying on (Fishers Field in Church Lane :), see my review of the site here ); so about a 5 minute walk from the van.

The church has an unusual round tower and thatched roof, and you can see where it was extended in the 15th century.  In the vestry there is a beautiful arch leading into the church.  It would appear that this was an entrance from a monastery that occupied the site behind the church in medieval times (there’s no longer any trace of this unfortunately).  The painted decoration is also still clearly visible, as are the slight bowing of the roof.

Tonight, Sunday 4th June, Bill Turnbull is hosting a local election debate in the church!

The day after arriving we headed to Aldeburgh, via Thorpeness.  We drove through Thorpeness (we’re returning on our bikes tomorrow), and I was shocked – I was expecting something dingy and soulless, so it was a bit of a shock to drive through such a quaint and quirky space.  You can also see ‘the House in the Clouds’ from here (I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this on a number of travel programmes before).  We can’t wait to visit properly now!  We’re going to cycle from Aldeburgh which is where we were heading when driving through.

Aldeburgh is also quite charming.  A long stretch of shingle leads up to the town where you find numerous historic and interesting buildings. Continue reading “Aldeburgh and Orford (and kayaking)”