Birmingham: England’s second largest city

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Hi all, welcome and thank you for coming back to the blog. It’s a new travel location! Over the next few blogs I will be sharing posts from my visit to this pleasantly surprising city. I hope you will enjoy what’s to come.

About Birmingham

Birmingham is situated in the West Midlands in England. It is one of the UK’S major cities and has the nickname of ‘City of a thousand trades’ due to its past central involvement of being one of the most manufacturing places in the world. You can still see some of the old warehouses and factories in and around the city, some which have been renovated into shopping centre’s, apartments and pubs etc.

Birmingham is the second largest city in the United Kingdom after London and is often one of the most overlooked and underrated cities in the UK. In fact, I have on several occasions heard people mistake other cities as being the second city.

It may well be overlooked, but this is a thriving metropolitan city and has a lot to offer such as its spectacular canal networks, parentage of food and cuisine, Art, famous rock music, night-life, cultural intent and more.

Here are some incredible facts about this city

More canals than Venice

Yes that’s right! Myth- Kind of! Birmingham does not have more canals than Venice, but it does have more miles of canals. Birmingham has 35miles of canals while Venice only has 26 miles of canals.

Largest public library in Europe

The library of Birmingham is the largest public library in Europe to date. Not only this, but it has the largest Shakespeare book collection in the world and also has a Victorian Shakespeare room.

Largest Christmas market in the UK

Not only does it have the largest Christmas market in the UK it’s one of the biggest in Europe. The only other two which are larger are Germany and Austria.

The second youngest city in Europe

It is the second youngest city in Europe after Bradford. It has the largest fraction of under 25 year olds whereas Bradford has the largest fraction of under 16 year olds.

Curry capital of the UK

Curry houses started to appear here in the1960s and became considerably popular by the 1970s, it was at this point when the Balti dishes started to appear. It has been considered as the birthplace of the Balti however, it has been hugely debated that the Balti was invented in Pakistan. Either way it is considered as the curry capital of the UK with many curry and Balti houses, and not forgetting their famous Balti Triangle wich consists of over 50 Balti houses.

Inspiration for the popular tv show (Peaky Blinders)

The show tells the stories of the real peaky blinders gang who originated from Birmingham and operated on the streets here. Now there are many inspired peaky blinders themed experiences to enjoy in the city.

Thank you for reading

Until next time

stay blessed πŸ™πŸΎ

Natalie x

Chester England: Along the city walls

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Hi all! Hope everyone is keeping well and staying safe.

I’m proud to finally announce this will be my final blog on Chester, unless I visit again that is. I hope it has been helpful to anyone who has plans to visit here. It really is an incredible city to explore and I’ve enjoyed creating a little space on my blog for it. And to everyone that has stopped by to have a read…Thank you so much for your continued support πŸ™πŸΎ

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A bit about the history

Chester boasts the oldest, longest and complete city walls in Britain, some parts date back to to over 2000 years old.

The walls were built to protect the city and started to be built by the Romans between 70 and 80 (CE) when the fortress of Deva Victrix was established.

I really enjoyed walking along the walls because it gave me incredible views over the city whilst also giving me a great insight into the long history of the city. The walls are 2 miles long and took me approximately two hours to walk around, but I’d say they could be walked in less than an hour if you didn’t want to exit at the sights.

Attractions

on route you will get to see many of the cities attractions such as: Chester castle, Eastgate Clock , Chester Roman Gardens , Bonewaldesthorne’s Tower, Water Tower, Pemberton’s Parlour, Phoenix Tower. Bridgegate, Watergate and the famous Chester rows , just to name a few of the incredible attractions.

The medieval shopping rows are two tired black and white half timbered unique buildings used as a shopping arcade.

A view that can be seen standing at Eastgate clock

This tower is allegedly the tower where King Charles watched his troops being defeated in the Battle of Rowton in 1645. However, historians suggest this couldn’t have been possible because the battlefield can not be viewed at this point. They also suggest it is more likely he was stood on a tower of Chester Cathedral and not this oneπŸ€·πŸΏβ€β™€οΈ. Who Knows! Either way, it’s a cool place to stand for a great view over Chester.

I’ve completely forgotten the name of this tower and I can’t seem to find it in any of my research attempts to find it, but how cool is It?

There are many incredible views from Chester walls, but i won’t give them all a way hereπŸ˜‰

Thank you for stopping by

stay blessed

Natalie x

Chester England: This place gave me the shivers

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St John the Baptist Church sits in a beautiful location on top of a cliff overlooking the River dee. It was founded in around the late 7th century by the Anglo Saxons, and used to be the former cathedral of chester in the early middle ages.

Church ruins

it operates today as a fully functioning parish church, but also features a number of ruins which used to be part of the Church which were left in ruin after the dissolution of the monasteries.

The spooky coffin

Engraved in the walls is the most bizarre phenomena your most likely to see here. This coffin bearing the words Dust to Dust!

I tried to find out the story behind this, but kept coming across myth stories such as ‘it’s the coffin of a murdered monk’

As much as we all love a good dramatic story the most believable was: It’s a rare survival of a medieval coffin that was discovered during renovation or grave digging in or around the 1840s.

What is unclear is that no-one seems to know why it has been positioned here. Maybe it’s was to attract tourists or to create some made up mythological stories. Who knows! But what I can say is, this is a bit of a spooky place and the coffin only adds to it. I came here alone and can honestly say it sent shivers down my spine besides this, I thought it was a great place to experience. Unfortunately I didn’t get to go inside the church as it was closed at the time of visiting.

Location

if you would like to visit here you can find it at: Vicars Ln, Chester, CH1 1SN

Thanks for stopping by

Stay blessed

Natalie x

York England: Oh, What a Shambles!

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My favourite part of our day trip tour of York was walking through the shambles.

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The shambles is known as the most popular medieval street in England. It was everything I had imagined and more! With its stuck out buildings and narrow cobbled streets, this truly felt like we were on the set of a Harry Potter film or inside the pages of a story book. In fact, It was the inspiration for the film version of Diagon Alley.

A bit about the history

There is only one surviving butchers here now but, the shambles was the street of the butchers. Cattle, pigs and sheep would be brought here from the markets to be slaughtered. The carcass of the animals would be dragged into the street and put on the benches to be cut, then the meats would be displayed on the hooks and shelves to sell, a number of the shops still have the meat hooks and shelves. Can you imagine how bloody and gutsy this area must have looked? I don’t really think I would like to! However, this is where the name come from as people would say ‘Oh what a shambles’ It has had a number of names in the past but by 1426 it was known as The Great Flesh Shambles, but was shortened over time.

Meat was sold here in this way until around 1939 when the outbreak of war led to it being stopped.

Many of the buildings here date back to 1350-1475

York Minster: The largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe

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One of our tour stops was York Minster, after all you can’t visit York without seeing its most popular landmark.

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The history in brief

York Cathedral is the cathedral’s commonly known name, but it is officially the Cathedral and Metropolitcal Church of St Peter. The first original Church on this site was a temporary wooden church built by King Edwin of Northumbria. The church was built after King Edwin, who was in control of York, married Princess Ethelburga of Kent who persuaded him to convert to Christianity as part of the marriage deal. The church was built for the purpose of King Edwin’s baptism in 627.

After his baptism, Edwin ordered for the church to be rebuilt in stone structure, although he never actually got to see it complete because he was killed in battle in 633. The church was supposedly completed in 640 under King Oswald some time after Saint Paulinus helped King Edwin’s widow and her children back to Kent. The church was then dedicated to St Peter.

In 732 the first Archbishop of York was recognised by the pope.

In 741 the church was burnt to the ground and Ecgbert the first Archbishop of York re-built and designed the new lofty structure.

The stone saxon church was ransacked by William the conqueror’s forces in 1069, he then ordered his appointed archbishop to rebuild a Norman Cathedral on the site. It took Archbishop Thomas 20 years to complete the Cathedral. This cathedral was badly damaged in a fire in 1137, this time Archbishop Thomas’s successor Archbishop Roger Pont L’Eveque started to remodel the seating area and chamber in 1154. All the work was completed by 1175 with an addition of two western towers.

The Gothic style church of today took 250 years to build, and was built between 1220 and 1472.

Interesting facts about York Minster

The Cathedral has its own policing The police force was established after a religious fanatic set the church on fire on the 2nd of February 1829, and has had a police force ever since.

Some of its roof was designed by children A children’s programme called Blue Peter hosted a competition to design a roof in 1984 during restoration of the cathedral. The winning designs were art inspired by Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon, the raising of Mary Rose and a whale and diver.

The first black Archbishop of the Church Of England led services here Dr. John Sentamu became the first black Archbishop in the church of England in 2005. He became the Archbishop of York and led the services here up until June 2020.

It costs Β£15,000 a day to keep it open We already mentioned the police force but, imagine the cost of heating, lightning and all the other staff.

Its apparently haunted. With York having the reputation of one of Europe’s most haunted cities, it’s probably hardly surprising to hear this. One of the many story’s that pops up is, a man is often seen sitting in the pews.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about York Minster if your thinking of visiting click here for more information and tickets.

Thanks for stopping by

Natalie x

York England Part 2: The Longest Medeival Town Walls In England

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Our next stop on our walking tour was York’s City walls.

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York city centre is surrounded by the longest medieval town walls in England at just over two miles long. A complete walk around the entire length of the walls would approximately take around two hours and is completely free.

The walls are mainly dated from the 12th and 13th century and were built to keep the city from being invaded by the Scots. Although, by the 18th century the walls were no longer needed for defence.

By 1800 the walls were in poor condition for that time, which led to corporation applying for an act of parliament to pull them down. At the time, York had a strong influential opposition that objected to this and by the 19th century corporation backed down and the walls were ordered to stay.

in the 19th century work was carried out for restoration of the walls for public access, although it was too late for some parts, but thankfully substantial portions remain.

Check Points

I would highly recommend walking the full length of the walls as they lead you to many sights.

There are check points for guidance around the walls which will lead to:

Barker Tower

Micklegate Bar

Baile Hill

Clifford Tower

Fishergate Tower

Fishergate Bar

Walmgate Bar

The Red Tower

Layerthorpe Bridge

Monk Bar

Bootham Bar

Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

Stay safe

Natalie x

York, England Part 1: Off with their heads!

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York is a historical medieval city in the North of England located between London and Edinburgh. It is often described as one of the UK’s most treasured and loved cities. In fact, some would even regard this as England’s number one city. The city is often voted number one in surveys as the most beautiful cities in the UK.

Not only is it beautiful, it has incredible history dating right back to 8000 and 7000 BC, and this can clearly be seen right throughout the city.

First stop: Micklegate Bar

The first stop we made was to one of the gateway’s to the city. There are four main gateways, Bootham Bar, Monk Bar, Micklegate Bar and Walmgate Bar. The gateway we entered through was Micklegate Bar, the most important of the four. For centuries monarchs had stopped here to ask for permission from York’s Lord Mayor to enter into the city.

Dating back to the 12th century Micklegate Bar has seen a gruesome and bloody history. Decapitated heads of traitors and rebels were once displayed on spikes at the top as a warning for anyone entering the city. Some of the victims heads included Sir Henry Purcey and Richard, Duke of York. Richard The Duke Of York was one of the most, if not powerful man in the UK until he literally lost his head.

Ghost Stories

There has been many ghostly encounters reported, mainly from Sarah Brocklebank. Sarah was the young daughter of a man who had been an 18th century gate keeper. Apparently she had lost her father’s keys to Micklegate which resulted in him loosing his job. There have since been several reports of people seeing her inside Micklegate Bar and around the surrounding area.

People have also reported seeing glowing eyes at the top of the Bar 🀀

Until next time.

Natalie x

Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

I finally visited York, UK

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I finally to visit York! Well, I say this because I’ve actually been to York on several occasions, but it has always been to visit family members. My family live in the beautiful countryside of York, tho this is quite some distance from the centre of York, so I had never actually seen this incredible city.

I travelled here with my sister (My partner in crime) which was refreshing since I’m usually travelling alone.

The tour company we travelled with

We travelled by a coach with a company called Smile Adventures. The company specializes in day and weekend tours around the uk from Manchester. The coach picked us up at 8am in the city centre. On arrival, we had a small tour of the city for around 2hours then we were left to explore by ourselves. The full day trip cost around Β£32 at the time of booking.

I would highly recommend this company.

I look forward to sharing the adventures of this trip in the next few posts.

Natalie x

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct: The river in the sky

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Hi! πŸ™‹πŸ½ Hope your all keeping well.

This will be the last post on North Wales, until I get to revisit again. Just wanted to share this incredible attraction.

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Some of you may have heard of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, for those who haven’t. Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is located in Llangollen and one of North Wales biggest attractions. It is built over the River Dee and is the highest Canal Aqueduct in the world.

It was built and designed by Thomas Telford, with the help and advice of William Jessop. It took 19 years to plan and build between the years of 1795 and 1805.

Would you dare walk along here? I did!

The views are absolutely incredible! It feels like your actually flying from up there, it’s mesmerising!

It actually doesn’t look that high on the pictures, it is! If your scared of heights, this could be quite a challenge.

Additional Information

It’s free to walk along the tow path and aqueduct or you can take a 45mins to a 2 hour boat trip, which will take you over the structure. I didn’t do this, but here’s a site with more information Llangollen Wharf

Parking is available nearby

Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

Stay safe x