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Posts Tagged "England"

Golfing in Europe

Golfing in Europe

Golf is a truly international pastime and with few exceptions, you can play in almost any country in the world. There are so many courses to choose from across the globe it is hard to choose. Below I have highlighted five of the best destinations to consider for a golfing break in Europe with suggestions of some of the top courses to play. Portugal The Algarve is considered as the home of Portuguese golf and is, in golfing terms a relative newcomer. The first golf course was built in Portugal in 1966. Designed by Henry Cotton at what is now the Penina Hotel and Golf Resort it still sees plenty of golfing action. Over 50 years on and the Algarve is awash with golf courses and resorts. Many of them have two or three separate courses to play. Some of…

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Thames River Walk – Westminster to Tate Modern

Thames River Walk – Westminster to Tate Modern

I had arrived in London’s Waterloo Station several hours early, fully intending to head underground and resurface at one of the many museums London has to offer. Then I noticed the rare sight of a warm, clear and sun-filled vista beyond the station. The River Thames was a silver streak glinting in the afternoon sunshine. “Why,” I thought, “spend time in a museum when I could be enjoying a stroll along the River Thames.” Putting thoughts into action I left Waterloo Station and headed for Westminster Bridge. I would follow a section of the Queen’s Walk; a promenade along the south bank of the River Thames. It was created for the Silver Jubilee Queen Elizabeth II and runs from Lambeth Bridge to Tower Bridge. Westminster Bridge to the Hungerford Bridge I have always liked Westminster Bridge because of its iconic…

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Hampshire Unpacked: Bluebell Woods

Hampshire Unpacked: Bluebell Woods

Every spring something happens in the woodlands across Britain and the woodlands of Hampshire are no exception. Carpets of blue are beginning to spread out beneath the nascent canopy of green. The bluebells have arrived. In my home county of Hampshire the best place to see them is Micheldever Woods close to Winchester. This ancient beech woodland is awash with bluebells around April and May. Bluebells thrive in ancient woodlands because there is less undergrowth and therefore less competition. The plants do most of their growing before the leaves of the trees develop with flowers appear as the trees don their mantle of green. The damp, shady conditions of the forest floor are the ideal conditions for the bluebells to thrive. Micheldever Woods are managed by the Forestry Commission who have made the woods easy to access. From the car…

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Autumn visit to Exbury Gardens

Autumn visit to Exbury Gardens

Regular readers will know that I occasionally write about gardens and travel on this blog. Whenever I travel I try to visit at least one garden. Sometimes, as in the post on the Gardens of North Devon, I will visit several on one trip. It is often the case that the places near to us get forgotten or we don’t realise the hidden gems almost under our feet. I am guilty of always looking for new horizons and neglecting what is on my doorstep. In an effort to remedy this woeful state of affairs I arranged a visit to Exbury Gardens in the New Forest. Just a few miles from home they are noted for their woodland gardens and the reason I wanted to visit was to see the stunning autumn colours. As a photographer I really wanted a day of…

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Devon Unpacked: Gardens to visit

Devon Unpacked: Gardens to visit

It wasn’t planned that way but we ended up visiting a lot more of Devon’s gardens than we had on our itinerary. Two of the gardens we visited were on our quest for the perfect Devon cream tea and being plant lovers we could not pass up the opportunity to wander among the blooms. One of the gardens was a serendipitous discovery while travelling to somewhere else. Only once did we make a trip solely to visit a garden. The more you look the more gardens you find to visit in Devon. Obviously I am limited in this post but there are several books devoted to gardens to visit. Also there is the National Garden Scheme (NGS) that produces its own “yellow book” of private gardens that are open on specific days of the year to raise money for charity. There are…

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Devon Unpacked: Cream Teas

Devon Unpacked: Cream Teas

The search for a perfect cream tea I have to admit I have a strong weakness for clotted cream and an even stronger weakness for cream tea. Yes, I know the previous sentence is loaded with oxymorons but I use them deliberately because I am unlikely to pass up the opportunity to sample a really good cream tea especially in Devon or Cornwall. These two counties claim to be the home of the scone, jam and clotted cream though neither can agree on the correct way to eat it. Is it jam first? Or is it cream first? A sign outside a tearoom in Closely, North Devon says a cream tea should be…, …two warm scones fresh from the oven – a dish of strawberry jam – a dish of clotted cream and… I agree with that. Definitely the scones…

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Kayaking close to home

Kayaking close to home

I have paddled in a kayak among the islands of a Baltic archipelago off the coast of Sweden; along the Ardeche Gorge in France; in the Nitmiluk Gorge in Northern Territory, Australia; with killer whales in Johnstone Strait off the BC coast of Canada; and with humpbacks off Newfoundland. There are more places I have paddled and still more to come but my own backyard, Southampton Water, is where I hone my skills and learn new ones. All too often the places closest to home are the ones we visit the least, or in the my case write about the least. I am hoping to remedy that and this post is the start. If Southampton Water is in my backyard, the New Forest is on my doorstep. Keep a watch for posts on either of these in the future. Southampton…

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Dartmoor: Top 10 things to do

Dartmoor: Top 10 things to do

Dartmoor National Park occupies a large portion of Devon just to the north of Plymouth. It has recently earned fame as the setting for War Horse and was the setting for Conan Doyle’s Hound of the Baskervilles. The granite massif that rises up from the Devon lowlands is, for the most part, a bleak and desolate moorland; a unique landscape in Britain. It was for this reason that, during Napoleonic times Dartmoor prison was built there. There are plenty of things to do on Dartmoor and, what I like to call Greater Dartmoor. Here then are my Top Ten in no particular order. How many are in your top ten? 1. Cycle Drake’s Trail Drakes Trail is a hiking and cycling route from Plymouth to Tavistock passing by Sir Francis Drake’s birth place and Buckland Abbey which he owned in later…

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7 Christmas Markets to visit

7 Christmas Markets to visit

It is the time of year when we begin thinking about a short break to one of the many Christmas markets across Britain and Europe. I have chosen seven Christmas market experiences to consider from the many that are available. Choose one of these and you will not be disappointed Winchester When we think of Christmas markets we usually think of other parts of Europe but we have some very atmospheric ones in the UK. One of my favourites is the one in the shadow of the magnificent Winchester Cathedral. Once the capital of England and home to Alfred the Great it is a very atmospheric city at Christmas time. The Market surrounds an ice rink in the Cathedral’s Inner Close. There are a great many arts and crafts mostly from the UK in the wooden chalets huddled in the…

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Kayaking the Hamble

Kayaking the Hamble

To catch the tides it meant an early start; well early for an autumnal Sunday morning. The Hamble is a tidal river and paddling with the tide makes it easier and also makes the upper reaches a little more accessible. Our destination for the day was a riverside pub some distance along the upper Hamble where at low tide it is little more than a large stream. The River Hamble is close to Southampton and flows into The Solent. A short distance from the mouth of the river is a large marina filled with boats. Here is the Jolly Sailor pub. It is here that the TV series Howard’s Way was filmed. Across from the Jolly Sailor is a public “hard” or launching ramp used by many kayakers. Being tidal the river is accessible to anyone. I have been kayaking in…

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