Main Attractions: The Promenade, Imperial Gardens, Montpellier Gardens, Montpellier Walk, Suffolk Parade, Montpellier, High Street, Bath Road, Sanford Park, Pittville Pump Rooms.
Start & End: Cheltenham Royal Well Bus Station, Royal Well Road. Duration: 1 day. Distance: 12 km. Weather: Any weather.
Introduction: Cheltenham isn’t the most obvious UK city break destination - but, I do, heartily, recommend you to target this splendid town for one of your weekends. Full with white-washed mansions and houses, with its gorgeous Georgian architecture and great places to eat, drink and shop. Cheltenham is, particularly, a big festival city – with annual jazz (May), science (June), music (July) and literature (October) festivals.
From Royal Well Bus Station, Royal Well Road head southwest toward Royal Well Pl, 80 m. Turn right onto Royal Well Pl, 5 m. Turn left onto and continue to follow St George's, 80 m. Continue onto the Promenade for further 160 m.
Carry on down the Promenade, Cheltenham’s main shopping street lined with elegant Georgian buildings. Cheltenham's famous Promenade dates back to 1818 when the avenue of elms and horse chestnut trees were first planted. If you’re in the mood for shopping, you can find the usual high-end, high-street shops on the Promenade. the Promenade offers a pleasant place for a stroll and ranks amongst England's most beautiful thoroughfares:
This impressive building of the Municipal Offices is on the western side of the Promenade in Cheltenham was built in the 1820s. In total it is sixty-three bays long:
On your left Cavendish House department store on the Promenade:
The Long Gardens are home to Cheltenham's war memorial: another statue (opposite the Cheltenham Borough Council) is the The Boer war memorial:
The nearby statue of 1906 commemorates Edward Wilson, born in Cheltenham and lost on Scott's ill-fated Antarctic expedition of 1910-12:
The Promenade is very much central to life in Cheltenham and this famous local landmark lies in the heart of the town centre, stretching from (north to south) Pittville Park past the Imperial Gardens and towards Montpellier Gardens. During the summer months, the Promenade is at its best, when it is adorned with colourful hanging baskets, overflowing with seasonal floral displays.
Further south along the promenade, on your LEFT is the Town Hall. Cheltenham Town Hall is unusual in that it operates solely as a venue for public events, and NOT as office space - be found in the town's neighbouring Municipal Offices:
The Imperial Gardens, which can be found at the front of the Town Hall (still on your left) (east), were originally planted out for the exclusive use of the customers of the Sherborne Spa. The spa was constructed in 1818 on the site now occupied by the Queens Hotel (see below). Along the years, the gardens have undergone many changes, with the formal style you now see being laid out just after the second world war. The Promenade's colourful Imperial Gardens are laid out with an ever-changing display of ornamental bedding plants. Each year, approximately 25,000 bedding plants are used to produce the magnificent floral displays enjoyed by thousands of visitors every year. During the summer months, the Imperial Gardens becomes host to many outdoor events and festivals including the Literature, Jazz, Science and Music Festivals:
Neptune fountain, at the end of the gardens was designed by Joseph Hall and was sculpted in 1893 by local firm RL Boulton and Sons. It is considered to have been styled on the Trevi Fountain in Rome. It was restored in 1989. The building behind the fountain used to be the ABC cinema:
The Queens Hotel behind the Imperial Gardens:
Continue further south-west along the Promenade and you see the Montpellier Gardens on your left. This parks is used as festival venues, with marquees, shops, cafés and lots of free events. But even if you’re not there for a festival, you can take a walk around the gardens. A full size bronze statue of Gustav Holst (1874-1934) is the centrepiece of the Imperial Gardens with a fountain and surrounded by octagonal plinth depicting the planets. The renowned composer of works such as 'The Planets' was a native of Cheltenham and the Holst Birthplace Museum can be visited in Clarence Road. This commemorative statue, by Anthony Stones, was unveiled in 2008 and shows Holst with conducting baton in hand:
Every summer you can see a free exhibition of local artists: "Art in the Park". On Montpellier Walk, on our right, you will find a line of Caryatids (modelled on The Acropolis in Athens) at the side of every shop alongside a feast of cafes with alfresco dining, a deliciously continental feel to the area. The earliest two were made from terracotta by the London sculptor Rossi and date back to 1840, while the remainder were created by a local man from Tivoli Street, with an additional pair added in the 1970s. Developed in the 1830s and 1840s, the Montpellier area of Cheltenham takes its name from the fashionable French town, which was renown at the time for being a pleasant place to live:
The Montpellier quarter is set at the end of the Promenade just after Montpellier Gardens. At the southern end of the Montpellier Gardens we turn LEFT (south-east) to Montpellier Terrace. Later, we turn RIGHT (south) to Suffolk Parade. Shopping here is in individually styled shops and boutiques with everything from clothes to homeware, and a dance shop sit side by side in Regency buildings with restaurants and a wine bar to give this quarter of the town a real village feeling to the Cheltenham shopping experience:
The Suffolks have become popular for antiques, homewares or individual specialist shops. Home to a restaurant in a church and one which used to be an art deco cinema (see immediately below), this quarter has an artistic appeal all of its own. Along the Suffolk Parade - do not miss (on your right) the Daffodil for dinner. The restaurant serves modern British food in a converted art deco cinema, full of gorgeous original 1920s design features. Head upstairs for a drink in the Circle Bar first, with a great cocktail list and half-price Champagne and sparkling wine on Friday nights from 18.00 to 20.00. Then walk down the sweeping stairs to the restaurant – where the cinema screen used to be you can now watch the chefs in action in the open kitchen.
In the intersection of Suffolk Parade and Upper Bath Street (the 7th to the left) we'll see interesting church:
Suffolk Parade continues as Great Norwood Street and ends at the the Norwood Triangle. Here we take the Gratton Road leg and we turn RIGHT (west) to the Grafton Road. In the corner of Gratton and Grafton roads stands the St Philip and St James, Leckhampton church (popularly called: Pip & Jim). The church is in the Victorian Gothic style, with a fine carved stone reredos in the chancel:
We continue westward along The Park:
We turn RIGHT (north) and walk 320 m. along the Tivoli Road until we turn left to the Andover Road. On our left is the Tivoli Stores Area. We cross the road (cautiously) and turn right to the Lansdown Parade. On our left is the Lansdown Pub:
The Lansdown Parade ends in a roundabout. We shall continue northward along Montpellier Street - BUT, before we take the Parabola Road leg from the rounabout. On the third turn to the right stands the majestic white building of Malmaison Cheltenham hotel, in the heart of Montpellier – Cheltenham’s most stylish district, with plenty of bars, restaurants and boutiques. Set in a white Regency villa, the hotel is classically grand from the outside but inside it’s modern and stylish, with lots of contemporary furniture and artworks, and Hi-Tech and smart technology features inside. There’s lots of space to relax, with a cosy lounge-come-library and a Victorian conservatory as well as a smart bar, restaurant and spa. After the sterling slump - you can book a double room starting from 105 GBP a night !:
Retrace your steps and walk back in Parabola Road - to start walking northward along the Montpellier Street leg. On our left is the Courtyard Specialty Shopping centre. We continue walking north-east along Montpellier Street, crossing the Fauconberg Road. On our left is the Cheltenham Ladies College: an independent boarding and day school for girls aged 11 to 18. The college gets high UK rankings during the last 10 years:
Continuing walking along Montpellier Street brings us onto Royal Well Rd. Continue to follow Royal Well for 320 m. and turn right onto Clarence St. Turn left to the High Street. In the intersection of Royal Well and Clarence Street - you hit the Well Walk Tea Room for afternoon tea. It’s one of Cheltenham’s oldest shops and inside is packed with quirky antiques and crafts. Don’t miss a slice of one of their cakes:
With our back to The Promenade (to the north-east) we turn RIGHT (south-east) to the High Street, and, immediately, RIGHT (south-west) to Regent Street to see, on our left the Everyman Theatre. The Everyman Gloucestershire's theatre - is running shows from year 1891. The interior auditorium is an architectural masterpiece designed by Frank Matcham (it was originally called "The Opera House") and has inspired generations of performers. You visit the Everyman to see ballet, opera, drama, dance, comedy, music events or traditional pantomime. There are two stages in the building - the 694 seat main stage and the 60 seat Studio Theatre, originally named The Richardson after Ralph Richardson.
Further, along Regent Street, still, on your left is the Kibou Sushi, 18 Regent St. A bit higher prices (compared with regular Sushis) - BUT, wonderful food in a small, beautiful restaurant. A few metres further south-west we see the Regent Arcade shopping centre. Clean, bright with lots of shops to pop into. Good WC facilities:
Again, retrace your steps and RETURN the whole Regent Street BACK and turn right onto High Street. Cheltenham’s High Street has been voted the most popular High Street in England. High Street is mainly pedestrianized. On our left (north) is the Beechwood Shopping Centre. Here and there you see buildings, still displaying evidence of the town's regency architecture.
On the 4th road to the right, we turn RIGHT (south-west) to Bath Road. Forming a quarter of the town, for the local community and visitor alike, shopping in Bath Road has something for everyone from ironmongery, shoes and health food to clothes and gift shops. Added to which are banks, a supermarket, pubs, cafes and restaurants for that all-round local shopping experience if you want to try a different experience to town centre shopping in Cheltenham. I recommend having lunch or dinner at the Wetherspoon / Moon under Water, 16-28 Bath Road. 8 oz. steak, rice plate, basket potatoe, peas, mushrooms and lemonade - £11. Cheap meal. Modern decor and very clean. Polite and efficient service.
On your LEFT (east) is the Sanford Park. The recreational side of the park, across College Road and adjacent to Sandford lido, is popular for picnics and games, and also has a large play area and toilets. The ornamental side of the park is divided into three sections: The main part houses a fountain with seating, landscaped beds, and stunning flower displays in the summer months. The Annecy Gardens, named after one of Cheltenham's twin towns, are to the north side of the park, and the Italian Gardens (see photo below), complete with sunken pool and fountains, lie to the west. A meandering path leads to the restful cascade pools and the River Chelt. The Cheltenham Lido is an heated pool (BIG one for adults and a small one for children), which means you can be confident of being able to enter the pool in any summer weather:
Then burn your meal off with a walk to the Pittville Park and Pittville Pump Room, about 30-40 minutes north of the town centre and 1 mile (1.6 km.) walk from Sanford Parks. Built in the 1820s, this was Cheltenham’s largest spa building, surrounded by manicured lawns and ornamental lakes. You can still taste the medicinal spa waters from the pump (open 10.00 – 16.00, unless closed for an event. From the Sandford Park Alehouse, 20 High St. - head BACK northwest on High St., 160 m. Slight right onto High St, 320 m. Turn right onto Pittville St, 110 m. Continue onto Portland St., 320 m. Continue onto Evesham Rd. , 650 m. and the entrance to Pittville Park will be on the left. Lovely place to go for a walk or a run or just to sit in the sunshine. Stunning park, nicely maintained with a huge brand new playground. Generous investment in new park equipment. A brilliant palce in a sunny day !!!
The two lakes straddle the main road, however, the lake with the new playground adjacent also has large menageries with various birds and small animals and two cafes, one by the playground and one nearer Cheltenham Town Centre. The lakes are exquisite and include an island nature refuge. There are many flower beds which look superb in early Spring and Summer:
The park is beautifully landscaped and on the rise is Pittville Pump Rooms, 800 m. walk along a special path. It is standing at the northern end of Pittville Park, and here you can take the spa waters that made Cheltenham's popularity more than a century ago. The Pump Room was built by the architect John Forbes between 1825 and 1830. The Pittville Pump Room was the last and largest of the spa buildings to be built in Cheltenham. The Pump Rooms building is overlooking the lawns and lakes of Pittville Park. The striking Main Hall with its ornate domed ceiling and crystal chandeliers, accommodating up to 400 seated guests. It is used for concerts, exhibitions, parties and dinners. The original marble spa water pump stands proudly in the apse, which can accommodate smaller meetings. Upstairs the bright and sunny Oval and West Rooms. The benefits of Cheltenham's mineral waters had been recognized since 1716, but not until after the arrival of Henry Skillicorne in 1738 did serious exploitation of their potential as an attraction begin. After the visit to Cheltenham in 1788 of King George III, the town became increasingly fashionable, and wells were opened up at several points round the town. Pittville, the vision of Joseph Pitt, was a planned 'new town' development of the 1820s, in which the centre-piece was (and remains) a pump-room where the waters of one of the more northerly wells could be taken. When not in use, you can wander into the Main Auditorium to see its fine interior and sample the fountain’s historically medicinal Spa Waters for free. Open: WED - SUN: 10.00 - 16.00:
From Pittville Park we head south on Evesham Rd, 75 m. Turn right, 45 m.
Turn left, 480 m. Sharp left onto Hudson St, 3110 m. Continue onto Hanover St. Head south on Hanover St toward Dunalley Parade. Turn left onto Dunalley Parade, 320 m. Turn right onto Marle Hill Parade, 70 m. Continue onto Dunalley St, 160 m. Continue onto Henrietta St., 160 m.
Turn left onto High St, 320 m. Turn right onto Clarence St., turn left onto Imperial Circus and turn right onto The Promenade.
Main attractions: Bournemouth Pavillion, Bournemouth Aviary,Bournemouth Lower, Central and Upper Gardens, Coy Pond, Talbot Heath Nature Reserve, The Square, Bournemouth Pier.
Start & End: Bournemouth mainline railway station. Duration: 1 day.
Weather: bright or cloudy day. Distance: 13-14 km.
Introduction: With 10 km. of golden sands and sea, the cosmopolitan town of Bournemouth has it all: wealth of festivals and events, variety of shops, restaurants and holiday accommodation, seafront hotels, quality B&Bs, vibrant nightlife and winning gardens and countryside.
Itinerary: From Bournemouth station turn LEFT (south-east) to turn RIGHT (South-west)) and join Holdenhurst Road. Follow the blue/white sign of "City Centre". On our left is the Unisys apartments' complex:
Keep walking south-west along Holdenhurst Road until you arrive to the Lansdowne Point, and, further, to the Lansdowne Roundabout. If you continue on the same road and direction you continue south-west along Bath Road and the Ramada Hotel on your right. With the Royal Bath Hotel on your left - turn RIGHT (North-west) to Westover Road. Immediately in the beginning of Westover - you see the Bournemouth Pavillion on your left. The Pavilion Theatre is Bournemouth's iconic venue for year round exhibition, stage shows, Opera, Ballet, fashion shows, Pantomime and Comedy as well as for corporate presentations and dinner dances, product launches and small conferences. . Built in the 1920s, opened in 1927 by The Duke of Gloucester. and refurbished in 2007 - it retains its nostalgic and elegant styling. Open: everyday: 10.00 - 17.30:
On our right are the Odeon Cinema. A bit further, on your left is the Bournemouth Aviary, 26-29 Westover Rd. The main purpose of the aviary is a rescue centre for captive-bred caged birds. The aviary is, actually, in the most upper part of the Lower Gardens (see below). Open all-year around and everyday. The Aviary was originally maintained by Bournemouth Council, but it is now run entirely by volunteers. Most of our birds are rescued, or have been born at Bournemouth Aviary. Free entrance:
Taking Westover Road to its end, turn RIGHT (north-east) to Gervis Place. On your right is the Arcade (also known as Gervis Arcade or the Royal Arcade) - Entertainment Centre which is located at the entrance to Bournemouth Pier. The Arcade is a whole shopping trip in itself:
Behind the Arcade complex - we see the top spire of Saint Peter Church. We leave the Gervis Square and turn left (south-west) to the Lower Gardens. Bournemouth Gardens run for 3.5 km. from south-east to north-west. The Gardens are divided into four named sections (from south to north): The lower part - the Lower Gardens, in the town centre, from the Pier Approach to The Square, is naturally the busier section and also the more formal. The farther upstream, the less formal and manicured, the more unspoilt and the less frequently visited; the Central Gardens, from the The Square to Wessex Way; the Upper Gardens, from Wessex Way to Branksome Wood Road; the Coy Pond Gardens, alongside the pond of that name (see below). We could approach the Lower Gardens from the Pavilion or from the Pier Approach, turn right (north) and embark on the most southern stretch of the gardens (Lower Gardens) before we reach Gervis Place. These gardens are a beautiful part of Bournemouth and are kept in a superb condition by the council staff. They are beautifully kept and are almost litter- free:
Sometimes you can see The Bournemouth Eye in the Lower Gardens, the tethered balloon gives rides up above the Bournemouth town:
We shall walk in the Lower Gardens along the Bourne Stream from
south-east to north-west. The distance from Bournemouth Pier to Coy Pond (see below) is approx. 3.5 km. The stream is running through ALL the THREE gardens. They get busy during the day, especially, in bright days. crowded in good weather. Great fun to watch the squirrels climbing the trees and looking for nuts and seeds in the grass.
When we see The Square and the Town Hall and Methodist Church on our right (north) - it is here where the Lower Gardens end and the Central Gardens start. We shall return to these places later:
View from the Cenotaph (in the border between the Lower Gardens and the Central gardens) to St. Peter Church:
The Central Gardens extend from the town centre to Prince of Wales Street. The Central Gardens are well signed. They have a play area with wooden equipment, attractive parkland, a cafe and tennis courts. Access is from Bourne Avenue and Avenue Road. Remember, from here until Coy Pond - no toilets or refreshments !
Crossing the Prince of Wales street - we start the Upper Gardens. There are TWO paths fro here. Both of them leading to Coy Pond. The two paths are bordered by posh mansions and villas of locals. The Upper Gardens have a more natural feel and planting. As you walk along you’ll see a number of little red bridges that cross the stream and a lovely old folly which is now home to bats. The gardens will eventually lead you to ornamental rockeries and Coy Pond, from here on the path is unpaved and can be boggy so it’s not suitable for wheelchair users. The Upper Gardens were originally laid out as a private garden for the Durrant family in the 1860s. The Upper gardens have a “three continent” theme with three separate sections. The first has a European theme, the second an Asian Theme and finally the third theme is based on plant species from North America. The Upper gardens hold many unusual tree species including a North American Giant Redwood (believed to be the largest in the country) and a group of mature Persian Ironwood trees. Many of the trees in this garden were planted during the later part of the 19th century and are well over 100 years old. Within the Upper Gardens there are a number of wooden walkways that allow the visitor to stroll through the lush but boggy foliage and at first hand inspect the rare and uncommon species growing there. Although more of a “nature trail” than the other two gardens, the Upper Gardens are still very accessible and require no special footwear. They are by far the quietest of the three gardens. The TREE TRAIL: There is an excellent computerized leaflet including the trees' guide along the Upper Gardens (and a bit from the Central Gardens): http://www.bournemouth.gov.uk/Parks/FindParksGardens/Documents/BournemouthTreeTrail-2011-final-lowres.pdf
Sowarra Cypress in the Upper Gardens:
As you walk into the first section you are greeted by a rather elegant Gothic style Victorian water tower, fashioned after a castle turret. In bygone days this used to provide water for a fountain and was fed, in turn by a pump driven by a water wheel from the nearby river Bourne:
Beyond the Tower we pass a bridge and a small waterfall:
We continue walking north-west along the Bourne stream until our path is met by the Branksome Wood Road. Here, start the Coy Pond Gardens and we face the Coy Pond itself (the borough of Poole). Coy Pond was created in 1888 at the time the railway embankment was constructed behind it; its name is a reminder of a previous life as a decoy pond. The tranquil pond and gardens are an idyllic picnic space adorned with weeping willows that dominate the banks of the Bourne stream and forming an almost continuous canopied corridor of trees (Cypresses and astonishing Redwoods) from Branksome Wood Road to the railway embankment. Overall, the collection of trees and plants is stunning. The pond and its gardens is a popular destination with local people and is an ideal venue to have a picnic. The pond is now fronted on three sides by residential properties and by Coy Pond Gardens to the south. It features a wooded island. The pond is fluent with number of waterfowl species including Coots, Moorhens, Mallards and Canada Geese:
Continue northward along Coy Pond Road, Thwalte Rd and slight right (north-east) to Wren Crescent. Now, we take a desolated section of walking. AVOID IT IN CASE OF RAIN ! The Wren Crescent turns 180 degrees to the LEFT (west). We climb along the Wren Crescent (passing under a red bridge with its red ballards).
We turn RIGHT (north) to Dalling Road. In the end of Dalling Rd. we turn RIGHT (east) to the Bourne Valley and the Talbot Heath Nature Reserve (no shelter, except of trees - in case of rain):
We take the main firm gravel path. In every intersection - we slight or turn RIGHT. After 15 minutes of walk we arrive to the East Avenue. In addition to the heath you will fine stream-side wooded vegetation, some attractive woodland (predominantly oak and silver birch), an area of grassland with chalk influences and some wild scrub along the valley bottom:
We end our crossing of the Bourne Valley (from west to east) in the East Avenue. Walk eastward along East Avenue and turn RIGHT (south) to Rothersay Rd. On our right is the Talbot School:
Turn RIGHT (south-west) (NOT LEFT) to Glenferness Ave. In the end of Glenferness Ave - we turn LEFT (east) to Barnksome Road walking a long way eastward. We can walk approx. 3.2 km along Branksome Road until we arrive to The Square OR we can turn right to Bournemouth Gardens (Brunstead Rd or further south in the Prince of wales- to the Upper Gardens, Queens Rd to the Central Gardens). Anyway, depending on the weather, all these options will bring us to The Square. The Square is a busy place both by day and by evening, being right in the heart of Bournemouth City. There are seven roads leading to and from all parts of the borough that converge in this square. The seven roads are: Avenue Rd, Bourne Ave, Commercial Rd, Gervis Place, Exeter Rd, Old Christchurch Rd and Richmond Hill.
A lovely place to sit and watch the world go by: restaurants, bars, cafe's, cinemas, top world famous hotels (The Royal Bath) including the just built Hilton, beggars, street-sellers etc'. The Square separates the Central Gardens from the Lower Gardens (all under the square). The Square has undergone a number of facelifts in the last 200 years since Bournemouth was officially founded in 1810 by Lewis Tregonwell. Since year 2000 the square has been almost totally pedestrianized. This year marks the the turn of this square: It is a vibrant and exciting place to be. You feel in with the crowds, thousands of shoppers (the square is FULL with market stalls but no shops). The surrounding gardens and the flowers beds give it a lovely feel.
Food market in The Square:
Since we entered the Lower Gardens from The Square (in the beginning of our itinerary) - we'll complete our last section of these wonderful gardens by walking along the first section, not yet explored - from Bournemouth Pier to The Square:
The Bournemouth Pier lies behind the southern edge of the Lower Gardens. Off season it's free to get on the pier, during the main season there is a small fee to get on (£1.00 admission for entry). Quite average. At the pier entrance you'll find a large arcade with the latest games, a number of units selling everything from ice-cream to sun hats, postcards and lots more. On a sunny day you will have blue skies in the background and the beautiful, award winning beaches. On the pier itself you'll find the Rock Reef activity centre, a new climbing wall, zip line (flying fox) (at the end of the promenade, where you can descend from a large tower to the beach below) and Key West Restaurant. Deckchairs along the pier for just £3 for the day. Lovely views all around and great pics can be taken. The beach is a bit dated out BUT full with activity and holidaymakers:
From the Bournemouth Pier to the mainline train station - we have to walk back for 1.8 km. From Bournemouth Pier head northeast on W Undercliff Promenade, 55 m. Slight left toward Exeter Rd, 65 m. Turn right toward Exeter Rd, 15 m. Continue to follow Exeter Rd, go through 3 roundabouts, 1.3 km. Slight left onto Holdenhurst Rd and continue to follow Holdenhurst Rd. Go through 1 roundabout, 160 m. Turn left
and Bournemouth mainline station will be on the right, 150 m.
Tip 1: St. John the Evangelist Church, Parade Gardens, Bath Abbey, the Roman Baths, The Pump Room Restaurant, Sally Lunn’s house, the Guildhall, the Corridor Passage.
Tip 2: Pulteney Bridge, Henrietta Park, Holburne Museum, Sydney Gardens, N Parade Bridge, Queen Square, Jane Austen Centre, The Circus, the Royal Crescent, Bath Assembly Rooms, Fashion Museum, Theatre Royal Bath.
Duration: 1 Day. Weather: The best way to discover Bath is to walk on a nice sunny day.
Start & End: Bath Spa Railway Station.
Introduction: The city of Bath is a perfect getaway for a long weekend. Just 90 minutes from London by train and you are in the heart of Bath. 2 nights is usually enough, leaving enough time to see the city, without a rush. Bath is one of England’s most beautiful and historic cities. Bath is Georgian town known for its famous hot springs, Roman Baths and its connection with Jane Austen. With its famous Georgian terraces, thermal spa waters, impressive abbeys, gorgeous gardens and Jane Austen Heritage – Bath is one of UK magnets. It has aristocratic English charm which attracts visitors from all over the world. Bath hosts many historic buildings and the entire city has been made a UNESCO World Heritage Site. All buildings in Bath are built from the creamy gold Bath stone (a type of limestone) and it is so beautiful.
Bath Itinerary: From the Bath Spa Railway station we head northward along Manvers Street. Do not turn right or left (through Dorchester Street). Manvers Street runs from Bath Spa Railway Station past the Police Station towards Parade Gardens and North Parade (see later). On our right is a parking lot, and, behind it, the St. John the Evangelist Church. In the past - there were gardens belonging to this impressive church - but they had been transformed into a parking ugly space. The church exterior is very impressive with exquisite, stunning architecture and tall tower. Free access. But, frequently closed. No indication of opening times:
Try to catch the splendid sights of river Avon behind the the church:
If you are lucky to find the church open - do not miss its spectacular, colorful interiors and its outstanding stained-glass windows:
We continue northward. Manvers Street changes to Pierrepont Road - and we walk along this road until its end. We cross the North parade from our left and right. On our right are the Parade Gardens. If we continue a bit further northward - the Terrace Walk is on our left
and, on our right, is the main entrance to the Parade Gardens. Price (for non-locals only): £1.50 entry fee for adults, 80p for children. Keep your ticket and they will let you in again during the same day. Theses are, actually, are private gardens. But, they are open to the public for a little admission fee. A very quiet and tranquil place to escape the hustle and bustle of the busy town around you. A beautiful garden in the centre of Bath with stunning, breathtaking views of the Pultney bridge (see later, below),l endless flower beds and sculptures, sculptures, fountains and bridges. The deckchairs are free to use and there is a cafe. This park is not to be missed. Pay this small amount and enjoy a well kept and fascinating spot in Bath. There are different views to see from various spots in the gardens:
Statue of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in the Parade Gardens in Bath:
Bath Abbey is opposite (WEST) to the Parade Gardens. With your back to the gardens, cross Pierrepont Road and you face the abbey. Its formal name is Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. But, it is so famous as the Bath Abbey. The word abbey comes from the Aramaic word Abba, which means father – and abbeys and monasteries are Catholic institutions. Founded in the 7th century, The Abbey saw the usual ups and downs of English history, from the Norman invasion a thousand years ago through the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII and the Puritan Reformation under Cromwell in the 17thC. In 1539 the church was sold to Humphry Colles of Taunton and stripped bare of its glass and lead was left to decay. Thirty five years later, Queen Elizabeth I decreed that it should be restored via public funding and become the parish church for Bath. In the early 1800s, the old buildings that clustered so tightly around the Abbey that they touched the walls were demolished and the building had space to breathe. Restoration work began under George Phillips Manners, who added the flying buttresses and pinnacles. The Abbey as we know it is the work of Sir George Gilbert Scott, who from 1864 to 1874, completely transformed the inside of the Abbey to conform with his vision of Victorian Gothic architecture. His most significant contribution must surely be the replacement of the ancient wooden ceiling over the nave with the spectacular stone fan vaulting we see today. During the Second World War, Bath Abbey was incredibly fortunate never to take a direct hit. It did however suffer damage from a bomb exploding on the nearby environs which blew out the East window and all the windows in the North side. A small price to pay compared to other parts of the city. Besides being a working church with hundreds of members in attendance, the Abbey also sees close to half a million visitors come through its doors every year.
Have a look around the Abbey. From practically any spot around Bath Abbey, you’ve got a great view of some pretty stunning medieval architecture. If you arrive in the morning, the back (east) side of the church (it is NOT a cathedral) is lighted:
The south facade is watched from York Street:
The west front, originally constructed in 1520, is the best. You’ll see the heavy, decorated doors to the abbey with a large stone statue of Jesus Christ looking down from above them. These particular doors are hardly ever opened, normally only for big events. The real entrance is to the right (south side). There are 12 figures carved into the church under canopies – six on every side of the mighty door. These figures represent the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. The west exterior wall is shaded most of the day. Above the window it has unusual carvings decorating it: the Old Testament story of Jacob's dream of two ladders with angels climbing them toward Heaven- commonly called Jacob's Ladder. The story behind this is that Bishop Oliver King is said to have had a dream, seeing the “Heavenly Host on high with angels ascending and descending by ladder”, which inspired the design of the facade thousands of people gaze up at and admire today:
In front of the western facade stands the famous Rebecca's Fountain statue. 'Water is Best' is inscribed on its base (to promote morality and total abstinence from alcohol), which makes perfect sense considering the statue is located in a spa town known for its curative water. The statue was erected by the Bath Temperance Association in year 1862:
Bath Abbey during dusk hours:
The Gothic architecture building is stunning both on the inside and outside. Splendid chapels and lovely stained glass windows. There is an amazing ceiling, famed for its fine fan vaulting designed by Robert and William Vertue, who contributed a similar vault to the Henry VII Chapel at Westminster Abbey. The current vaulting is a reconstruction (c.1860) by George Gilbert Scott based on the original design. Fan vaulting is an engineering solution to the problem of how to span the distance between the two opposite walls of a building. It is a development of the arch, and a specifically English architectural solution to the problem. It soars to great heights with such delicacy and feeling of light that it is difficult to remember it is of stone. The interior fan vaulting ceiling, originally installed by Robert and William Vertue, was restored by Sir George Gilbert Scott between 1864 and 1874:
There are paired panels of artistic calligraphy. You can see embroidery artwork depicting events in the Bible. The church has two organs and a peal of ten bells. Between the East window and the fan vault is an arch supported hammer beam style by shield carrying angels:
Bath Abbey - the Nave:
The main altar is currently displaying the Trinity Altar Frontal which depicts the springs of living water from the Book of Revelation. its modern feel doesn’t mesh with the rest of the building...
The stained glass and altar at the eastern end of the nave - Jesus Tree: the window depicts 56 scenes from the life of Jesus:
The moving Gethsemane Chapel, the High Altar, and the Chapel of St Alphege. include a book of remembrance and the frontal altar is dedicated to the use of Amnesty International. It is designed to suggest peace beyond suffering, life beyond death, with barbed wire representing the restrictions and barriers of this world and thorns as are our personal problems. If we can break through these obstacles we find our own Garden of Gethsemane where we can leave the past behind and find peace and God:
Choir stalls and their wood carvings in the Abbey:
The thing that strikes you in the Abbey are the memorial plaques. Thousands of people have worshipped and been buried at Bath Abbey, here are a few significant figures who are either buried or have memorials here:
William Bingham (1754-1804): American Senator
Richard “Beau” Nash (1674-1761) – Master of Ceremonies in Bath
Admiral Philip Arthur (1738-1814) – Governor of first European Colony in Australia and Founder of Sydney, Australia
Tablet to Isaac Pitman (1813-1897) printer, spelling reformer and inventor of Pitman shorthand. Apparently his motto was “Time saved is life gained”. Shorthand courses are still available:
Arnold Ridley OBE (1896-1984) – Actor and Playwright
James Quin (1693-1766) – Actor.
Venenzio Rauzzini (1746-1810) was an Italian musician. He was a boy in the Sistine Chapel Choir, then sung in Venice and Milan. He had to leave Milan after many affairs with married women, and went to the Court in Vienna where he worked with Mozart (who wrote for him). He moved to London in 1774, then Bath 1780 (he spent many years directing and financing concerts in the city). He worked with Haydn (who wrote for him):
Tomb of Jane, wife of Sir William Waller, who commanded the parliamentary forces against the Royalists, Battle of Lansdown, 1643. Sir William intended to be buried with her. He was however buried in London:
The stained glass windows really steal the show. Fifty two windows, tier after tier of both plain glass and stained, make up eighty percent of the walls. Of all the churches I’ve seen, Bath Abbey has the most windows.
This stained glass window, depicting angels, is in the south transept of the abbey:
This stained glass is the coronation of King Edgar - the first king of whole England. The first King of all England, King Edgar (Edgar the Peaceful) was crowned on this site in 973. The service set the precedent for the coronation of all future Kings and Queens of England including Elizabeth II. Tt was also the first time that a King’s wife was crowned alongside her husband, as queen:
This is the West Window, situated above the main doors to the Abbey. It shows Old Testament scenes and characters:
The main organ was reconstructed in 1997 by Klais Orgelball of Bonn, Germany. The Continuo organ was installed in 1999. In the summer months visitors from all over the world are able to enjoy the many concerts which include lunchtime promenade concerts played on the superb Klais organ:
The tower or roof excursion is recommended: £6 adults, £3 children. There are 212 steps to the top of the Tower arranged in two spiral staircases with an opportunity to rest in between. Climb the stairs, through a narrow stone spiral staircase, to the bell ringing room, From the bell chamber you are able to get a wonderful view of Bath city from various points (three informative stops) on your way to the top. It is amazing to look down onto the city and see the places you'll see later along this itinerary.
The Roman Baths, from the roof of the Abbey:
City houses from the Abbey roof:
The main entrance to the Roman Baths is SOUTH-WEST to Bath Abbey. With your back to the southern front of the church - walk straight ahead (1 minute walk) and turn left to the main entrance of the baths. The entrance is in Abbey Church Yard:
Open: basically the Roman Baths are open every day, except 25 and 26 December. The opening hours include special late evening entry during mid- June, July and August. January - February: 09.30 - 17.00, 16 March - June: 09.00 - 17.00, 17 June - 31 August: 09.00 - 21.00, September - October: 09.00 - 17.00, November - December: 09.30 - 17.00. Summer prices (other seasons: deduct 1.50 - 2.00 pounds...): Adult(9.00-17.00) £17.00, Adult(17.00-21.00) £15.50, Student(Full-time with valid I.D) £13.75,
Senior(65+) £13.75, Child(Age 6-16) £9.80. Free audio-guides are available in English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Public guided tours starting from the Great Bath on the hour, every hour are included at no extra charge, subject to availability. There are toilets near the main reception before you buy your ticket(s). The Roman Baths Kitchen, opposite the main entrance in Abbey Church Yard, is a no-frills restaurant inside this expensive site. Delicious food. Good quality. Medium prices. Limited selection. Expect heavy loads of visitors in the midday hours. The Roman Baths Kitchen is an original Georgian townhouse, lovingly transformed into a contemporary restaurant. There is another famous restaurant in the Roman Baths - the Pump Room (see below).
Two expensive gift shops. Bath's premier attraction can get very busy. EXPECT WAITING AND QUEUING UP FOR, AT LEAST, HALF AN HOUR. Huge queues of visitors to the Roman Baths !!! Avoid weekends, July and August. Photography is allowed but without tripod.
The baths were originally built around 44 A.D. but only later discovered by English archaeologists in the later 19th century. Like Stonehenge, Bath is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Romans Baths were used daily and weekly for ancient people to get clean, socialize, and relax. The source was the local hot springs, which they would use to fuel the different sections of the bath house. The Celts revered the goddess Sulis (and you will see statues of her near the baths) and they equated her to the Roman goddess, Minerva (goddess of wisdom). So often you can see her being called Sulis Minerva.
Model of the The Roman Baths and the temple of Sulis Minerva:
The bronze head of the goddess Sulis Minerva:
The historical and cultural aspects preserved here are amazing ! Fluent and informative signage to aid in the understanding of the Roman Bathing habits. The audio-guides contribute a lot. Plenty of interactive exhibits for all ages. Plan on at least a 2 hours visit. Bear in mind you would queue up for several artifacts or exhibited highlights. The Roman Baths are highly famed for being over crowded. Frequently, long queues to get in. Better, come as early as possible near 09.00 or during the second half of the day (after 15.00-16.00). But the major pro of this site is its atmosphere: you are easily and quickly feeling like a Roman citizen living in the Roman times... Even if the whole site is, surprisingly, quite small - it is perfectly well preserved (really a standout for how intact it is !!!) and equipped with MANY interesting, original items. The Roman Baths were not discovered and explored until the late nineteenth century.
There is a stunning museum, under the Pump Room, displaying fantastic artefacts discovered on the site. The most famous highlights are gilded bronze head of Minerva and a striking carved Gorgon's Head, as well as some of thousands Roman coins thrown into the spring as offerings to the healing goddess. The underground museum is very busy and there is very little space to walk and very little opportunity to stop and read the signs without being disturbed by the overcrowding and flow of people. With the lion's share of the baths, and, especially, in the museum - there is limited space to move around. This is one of the most visited museums in the United Kingdom with over a million visitors a year.
Face of the Gorgon which dominated the Temple inner courtyard:
Sulis Minerva Temple - theatrical mask:
Gravestone of Tancinus - "Lucius Vitellius Tancinus, son of Mantai, a citizen of Spain, from Caurium,¹ a trooper of the Vettonian Wing, Citizens of Rome, forty-six years old with twenty-six years service. Here he lies.":
Man from Aqua Sulis:
Luna and Sol from the temple courtyard:
Mercury and Rosmerta (Celtic Godess):
A mosaic artwork well preserved:
The Romans constructed a complex of bathhouses above Bath's three natural hot springs. In the baths' centre was standing a temple dedicated to the healing goddess Sulis-Minerva. They were/are encircled by 18th- and 19th-century buildings. The baths now form one of the best-preserved ancient Roman spas in the world,
The baths in the entrance floor:
The heart of the complex is the Great Bath: a pool filled with steaming, heated water from the 'Sacred Spring' residing in a depth of 1.6 metres. In the past the central bath has been covered by a barrel-vaulted roof. The entire structure above the level of the pillar bases is a later construction.
The Great Bath from the entrance floor:
The statue of King Bladud overlooking the King's Bath at the Roman Baths carries the date of 1699, but its real age is felt to be much older than this:
Walk around the terrace which overlooks the Great Bath and is lined with Victorian statues of Roman Emperors and Governors of Roman Britain. The statues on the terrace date to 1894, as they were carved in advance of the grand opening of the Roman Baths in 1897. The view from the Terrace is stunning, but what you can see from here is less than a quarter of the site as a whole:
The water flows at a rate of 250,000 gallons per day at temperature of 46 degrees centigrade (115 F.) and contains 43 minerals. The construction demonstrates advanced hydraulic engineering skills of the Romans in the art of taming natural springs. At the centre of Aqua Sulis complex was a temple that was designed so the hot springs arose from the ground within the temple courtyard with the water channeled into an elaborate bathing facility:
The Sacred pool lies at the very heart of the ancient site. It rose within a courtyard of the past Temple of Sulis Minerva. Its water fed the ancient Roman Baths. it was a focal point for worship before the Roman temple and baths were built but also during the Roman period. Many of the offerings that were thrown into the Spring throughout the Roman period can be seen in the museum collection today:
More bathing pools were/are situated to the east and west, with excavated sections revealing the genius system that heated the bathing rooms.
Underfloor heating system in West Baths:
The East Baths:
The last (and not least) attraction in the Roman Baths is The Pump Room Restaurant. One of the city’s most elegant places to enjoy stylish, modern-British cuisine. It is open daily for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. You can indulge yourself with a Champagne afternoon tea for £30, with scones and thick clotted cream, sandwiches and dainty cakes, all served in opulent splendour under the chandeliers. Opening Times: Morning menu Morning coffee and breakfast: 10.00 - noon, Lunch menu Noon - 14.30, Set Lunch menu Noon - 14.15, Afternoon tea menu 14.30 - close. It is a wonderful experience with the fabulous surroundings, great food, attentive service, posh atmosphere, lovely pianist and friendly staff around. Although this is a majestic room, expect it to be heavily crowded (expect queuing up as well...) , still maintainig its refined and peaceful background. Inside, it is a calm retreat, and you can easily feel like in the Victorian era. FIRST CLASS EXPERIENCE:
A picture near the Pump Room: Heile Selassie visiting Bath:
And while you’re there, don’t forget to taste the spa waters from the King’s Fountain. With 43 different minerals it’s apparently the cure for all sorts of ills, though with its metallic tang it’s a bit of an acquired taste.
We exit the Roman Baths. With our back to the western front of Bath Abbey, we turn left to Stall Street,
a pedestrians-only road with loads of shops. We walk with our face southward and turn left to St. Lawrence road - full with umbrellas:
We return BACK along Stall Street, turn BACK right to York Street. We walk again whole of York Street (our face to the east) until its end. The Huntsman Pub is on our right:
We turn right (south-east) to N Parade Street to see one of the oldest houses in Bath, home of the original Bath bun - the Sally Lunn’s house at 4 North Parade Passage, where it has been since 1680. Open: MON – SAT 10.00 – 18.00, SUN 10.00 – 18.00. Sally Lunns serves up a menu of delicious savory and sweet buns. Quite often, you have to queue- up for the delicious buns. Although this place is VERY small, it serves fantastically charming food.
Head east on N Parade toward Pierrepont St. Turn left onto Pierrepont and you'll see the Guildhall (High Street) on the right after 160 m. A gorgeous Georgian building built by Thomas Baldwin in 1775. The Guildhall has been at the heart of Bath's administrative life for over 350 years. It continues to house the Register Office, Mayor's parlour and city archives. The Guildhall has a number of rooms for private hire including the Banqueting Room, Brunswick Room and Council Chamber. The interior includes a banqueting hall with engaged Corinthian columns. It contains 18th century chandeliers and original royal portraits. The room is used on royal visits to the city:
Opposite, on your left, along the High Street is the Corridor Passage. The arcade was opened on 12 October 1825. Following in the steps of the fashionable shopping arcades of Paris and London’s Burlington Arcade (built in 1819), The Corridor became one of Britain’s first examples of indoor, covered arcades. Over 10,000 people and local dignitaries attended the opening of the arcade which was designed and built by local architect Henry Edmund Goodridge:
A bit further, on our right - is the entrance to the Markets. Here, I found a modest restaurant called ... "Cafe". Cheap and fair portions for a quick lunch or dinner with 3-4 tables. No More. Here, we turn to Tip 2 (below) - starting our second half of the day in wonderful Bath with Pulteney Bridge.
Tip 1: Stonehenge.
Tip 2: Salisbury.
---------------------------- Tip 1-----------------------------------------------
Main Attractions: Stonehenge Vistors' Centre, Stonehenge Cursus, Stonehenge stones, Old sarum,
Start and End: Salisbury Main Station. Duration: 1 day. Weather: Bright, sunny day is a must. Most of the route (in Stonehenge) is in the open nature.
Older than The Parthenon, the Easter Island Statues and the Great Wall of China it's definitely worth a look. Stonehenge is regarded as a British cultural icon. One of the most famous landmarks in the UK. The site and its surroundings were added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1986. Both, Stonehenge and salisbury are in Wiltshire, England. Salisbury is the third-largest settlement in the county, after Swindon and Chippenham. Stonehenge is 3 km west of Amesbury and 13 km north of Salisbury. Salisbury greatly aids the local economy. The city itself, Old Sarum, the present cathedral and the ruins of the former one also attract visitors. Salisbury was named as one of the world's Top 10 Cities to visit in 2015 by Lonely Planet. It is not the size of the stones and the effort to erect them, but, mainly, the timescale that impresses.
Stonehenge's ring of standing stones are set within earthworks in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds. Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC. Stonehenge is assumed to be a burial ground from its earliest beginnings. Deposits containing human bone date from as early as 3000 BC, when the ditch and bank were first dug, and continued for at least another five hundred years.
How to arrive to Stonehenge:
By train: the nearest train station to Stonehenge is Salisbury about 18 km. away from salisbury. Trains (every half hour on week-days) take about an hour and twenty minutes to Salisbury from London Waterloo. The 08:50am gets you there in time, with a brisk walk to Salisbury bus station,
By bus: the buses depart from Heathrow Airport and from Victoria Coach Station in London. The journey takes about 2 hours. Get off at Amesbury.
From there you can either walk (about 2 miles) or get a taxi. You can buy tickets on the coach. It is the cheapest way to travel to Stonehenge.From Salisbury - there is a direct bus, with an oral tour, known as The Stonehenge Tour. The Stonehenge Tour is operated by Salisbury Reds. The hop-on hop-off tour picks up in Salisbury city centre and runs to Old Sarum as well, through the beautiful Wiltshire countryside.
With on board commentary in 10 different languages we guide you through the glorious landscape telling you all about historical tales and facts that took place in the area.
In the winter the Stonehenge red Tour Bus depart from Salisbury to Stonehenge 5 times a day, every round hour (10.00, 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 14.00). In the summer the bus departs every half-an-hour, starting at 09.30 and ending at 17.00.
There are 3 options with the Stonehenge Tour bus:
Bus, Old Sarum, Stonehenge, & Cathedral: Adult £34.00, Child (5 - 15 years) £22.00, Family (2 adults & up to 3 children) £99.00.
Bus, Old Sarum, & Stonehenge: Adult £28.00, Child (5 - 15 years) £18.00, Family (2 adults & up to 3 children) £82.00.
Bus only: Adult £15.00, Child (5 - 15 years) £10.00, Family (2 adults & up to 3 children) £41.00.
Online booking: https://gosouthcoast.digitickets.co.uk/tickets
On foot: You walk the way from Amesbury to Stonehenge. 3.3 km. walk. An hour and a half there, and another hour back. It inevitably involves crossing the main road A303, both going to Stonehenge and when coming back. Crossing the A303 - not a place for walking - there is no pathway. You can use an underpass to get under the A303 roundabout, then use the pavements along the A345 / Countess Road. You see the stones from the same distance the formal passengers see them. But, you save the hefty amount of money paid to the Stonehenge Tour bus. Detailed instructions and map on this beautiful walk are in: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stonehenge-landscape/features/walking-in-the-stonehenge-landscape or https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2009/jun/10/walk-guides-stonehenge
Practical Tips on Stonehenge:
1. The Stonehenge Tour Bus is the public bus departing from Salisbury rail and bus stations. Exiting the stations - turn left and you'll see the bus. You show your pre-booked online ticket and get a ticket to the tour bus. ANOTHER BUS waits for the incoming passengers and takes them to the ancients monumental stones' site.
2. Allow, at least, 2 hours for the walk around the whole site while listening to the audio guide explanations. Every grounsdkeeper, you'll meet around - is a treasure of knowledge and passion for this magnificent historic site.
3. Choose a bright, lovely, sunny day. Much of the experience is the nature around !! Try to lock on a non-busy day. Usually, Stonehenge site is flooded with visitors. The nature around is astonishing without the herds of people who encircle the ancient stones. For those who are really interested in going beyond the rope fence and walk among the Stonehenge stones - there are called Special Access or Inner Circle visits that take place outside public opening hours (i.e. dawn or dusk). The times of these visits can make for some excellent atmospheric photo opportunities. There are two ways of conducting a Special Access Tour; by booking straight with English Heritage on their website, or by booking a private tour with two companies from London: Andersons http://www.andersontours.co.uk/stonehenge-special-access/ and Evan Evans https://evanevanstours.com/sightseeing-tours/day-tours-from-london/stonehenge-at-sunrise-oxford-windsor-castle/ and https://evanevanstours.com/sightseeing-tours/day-tours-from-london/stonehenge-at-sunset-oxford-windsor-castle/ .
4. The audio guides are heartily recommended. Therer is VERY limited signed information and there is so much to learn. The audio guide is available in several languages and if you listened to all available material would take an estimated 30-60 minutes.
5. Remember - you cannot approach the stones very close. You are not allowed to touch the stones/rocks (English Heritage and some tour operators from Salisbury can arrange early morning or evening visits allowing you to do this). The solstice festivals in summer and winter are the only days you can actually touch the stones and walk among them. Solstice is an astronomical event that occurs twice each year (around June 21 and December 21) as the sun reaches its most northerly or southerly excursion. Visitors are guided around the monument by roped pathways and on-site attendants.
6. It would have been nice to see the site at sunset or sunrise as the views look amazing.
7. The café in the visitor centre has long wooden tables and decent food: soups, sandwiches and salads and uses lots of produce from local suppliers.
8. At Stonehenge's visitor centre there are also toilets (clean), a gift shop (stuffed toys), a restaurant and a really informative exhibition centre.
Stonehenge Opening Times: EVERYDAY. 16 OCT - MAR: 9.30 - 17.00, APR - MAY: 9.30 - 19.00, JUN - AUG: 9.00 - 20.00, SEP - 15 OCT: 9.30 - 19.00. Last admission time is 2 hours before the advertised closing time. Advance Booking is recommended !!! In advance, online Prices: The biggest gripe really is the entry price: Heritage and National Trust members - free., Adult £15.50, Child (5-15) £9.30, Concession (student, senior) £13.90, Family (2 adults, up to 3 children) £40.30. On the spot, walk up prices (without Gift Aid): Adult £16.50, Concession £14.90, Child £9.90, Family £42.90. The HIGH admission price includes entry to the information centre, bus journey to the site and obviously a quite distant view of the not-so-big (...) stones themselves. During the winter and summer solstices - entrance is free, but, expect mighty crowds and "carnival" atmosphere... Free admission: Members of English Heritage and National Trust (the national organizations that help manage the site) get in free with their annual membership.
As we said - the nature around is the main feature. The Stonehenge landscape is one of the best preserved areas of readily accessible chalk downland in the UK. Rolling hills and dry river valleys allow for pleasant walks without too much trouble. The Stones can be viewed quite clearly from the roadside. Unlike the other monuments in the area however, it is necessary to pay to get closer.
Stonehenge main entrance:
From the Stonehenge main entrance, visitors centre and museum - there are buses available to take you to the stones and back (free, included in your admission ticket). It is an efficient shuttle bus from car park to the monument. You drop off the bus at the 4th stop. You may decide to walk there. It can be a good choice as it is a stunning view as you walk nearer (if the weather allows) (VERY long walk of 35-40 minutes to the stones). Walk around the Stones s slow as you like, no need to rush. It has a beautiful surrounding countryside. Interpretation and signage at the visitors' centre are excellent. Audio guides for adults and for families are available on site (pick them up before you get the shuttle to the stones !). You can download them free onto your device from the App Store or Play Store.
Do not miss seeing the recreated face of a 5,000-year old Neolithic man in the visitor centre and then having glance at the old Neolithic houses or the Neolithic village outside (opposite the main entrance) - based on remains found at Durrington Walls. The five Neolithic houses were built based on archaeological evidence of houses found at Durrington Walls. Each one had a chalk floor, a hearth and stake-built walls. Some had evidence of furniture and of chalk cob walls. Archaeologists think the Neolithic settlement may have been connected with nearby Stonehenge as part of a large religious complex. The houses being excavated may have even been occupied by some of the builders of Stonehenge:
The Heel Stone (or "Friar’s Heel" or the "Sunday Stone") is a single large block of sarsen stone standing within the Avenue outside the entrance of the Stonehenge earthwork, close to the main road (Highways Agency A344). In section it is sub-rectangular, with a minimum thickness of 2.4 metres, rising to a tapered top about 4.7 metres high:
We recommend getting off the shuttle (visitors' centre -> stones) halfway, at Fargo Plantation, and wandering through the trees to see the much older - oblong ditch known as The Cursus, before approaching the stones. The Stonehenge Cursus (sometimes known as the Greater Cursus) is a large Neolithic cursus monument on Salisbury plain. A huge and mysterious monument, the cursus is a 3km long earthwork just north of Stonehenge. Consisting of a ditch and bank running east-west, it is still visible on the landscape, although its purpose remains unknown. It is roughly 3 kilometres long and between 100 metres and 150 metres wide. Excavations in 2007 dated the construction of the earthwork to between 3630 and 3375 BCE - several hundred years before the earliest phase of Stonehenge in 3000 BC. They were first identified in the 18th century by William Stukeley who though they were Roman racecourses - hence the name which is Latin for "course". These Cursus discoveries hint that the site was already being used as an ancient centre of ritual prior to the stones being erected more than 5,000 years ago:
The road that approaches Stonehenge from the NW, for the shuttle bus only:
It seems that men through the ages have simply been unable to comprehend such a massive feat of engineering and construction and so it was inevitable that various myths would spring up to fill the void from sun worship to dancing giants frozen in stone, to portals to another dimension. The fact that there appear to be, among other things a face and human foot-like stone engravings in the stone would seem to perpetuate some of these ancient myths. The size of the stones used to build the ancient monument are max. 9 meters long and their maximal weigh is 50 tons. During the reconstruction works at the site, during the 1950s, It was required to use massive cranes to lift the original Stonehenge's rocks. Considering the distances they were moved have led to wild theories of supernatural (aliens) involvement in the building of the structure. It has long been known that some of the rocks that make up Stonehenge must have travelled a long distance before becoming part of the monument. Whilst the larger sandstone blocks (‘sarsen’ stones) that make up its outer circle are thought to have a local origin from the Marlborough Downs area, the smaller ‘bluestones’ are exotic to the region. Presently, the most comm assumption is that the bluestones travelled 240km to Wiltshire from South Wales. They were brought from the Preseli Hills in south-west Wales, probably largely by boat:
View from due north:
There are always many people here, but as the area is quite vast it doesn't feel crowded or touristy. It might be crowded near the rope benches. The rope around Stonehenge is well thought out, and is more oval than circle, so at certain points you're really far away. At other points you're really close up.
View from due west:
View from due south:
At the exhibition centre wall projection they explain how the stones are perfectly positioned for the shortest (and longest) days of the year. On the shortest day (Dec 21st, also known as winter solstice) the sun sets between the biggest stones. This midwinter sun sets exactly opposite to where the midsummer sun rises, so on the longest day of the year (June 21st, summer solstice) the sun rises above the heel stone and into the centre:
The prehistoric site holds spiritual significance for many Pagans and Druids. For years modern day people have flocked to Stonehenge on the summer solstice, to stay up all night and watch the sun rise. However, archeologists now believe that back in the day, the winter solstice was a lot more important, olden day people would honour their ancestors and pray for the sun to return:
After completing your walk around the stones' circle - return to the visitors' centre. With your face to the visitors' centre - (still inside Stonehenge site) turn right and climb 100 m. looking for the YELLOW bus which will take you to Old Sarum (and continues back to Salisbury). The return bus departs every half-an-hour (hh.13 and hh.43) in the summer and every hour in the winter (hh.43). The ride from Stonehenge to Old Sarum is included in your admission ticket and takes approx. 20 minutes through idyllic and romantic countryside fields. The YELLOW bus to Old Sarum departs from Stonehenge - every half an hour. The driver will drop you on the main road to Salisbury. Continue climbing the road and after 70-80 m. you see a brown sigh pointing LEFT (you have to cross the road) to the archeological site of Old Sarum. A path (5 minutes walk) is leading to the hill fort. You arrive to the car-park, turn right and you face the entrance to Old Sarum. Keep in mind that in a windy or rainy day - there is very little shelter in Old sarum (well, the same holds in Stonehenge as well...). Not much is left. Outer walls (quite mighty in the past), and another castle with a hidden (huge) ditch in the centre, Old Sarum is a good introduction to Salisbury - since, it is the original Salisbury and is a must for all those wanting to find out about the origins of the city and the Cathedral. The site is fascinating if you have any interest in history and archeology and the views over Salisbury and Wiltshire are lovely. It is actually located 3 km north of modern Salisbury near the A345 road. The Old Sarum settlement appears in some of the earliest records in the country. An Iron Age hill fort was built around 400 BC, controlling the intersection of two native trade paths and the Hampshire branch of the Avon river. The site continued to be occupied during the Roman period, when the paths became roads. The Saxons took the British fort in the 6th century and later used it as a stronghold against the Vikings. The Normans constructed a bailey castle, a stone curtain wall, and a great cathedral. A royal palace was built within the castle for King Henry I. This settlement lasted for around 300 years until new Salisbury grew up around the construction site for the new cathedral in the early 13th century. The buildings of Old Sarum were dismantled for stone and the old town dwindled. Its long-neglected castle was abandoned by Edward II in 1322 and sold by Henry VIII in 1514. Its importance is thus derived from three periods: its use during the Iron Age between about 400 BC and AD 43; the period of Roman occupation, between AD 43 and about AD 410; and the period between the establishment of the royal castle after 1066 and the transition of the cathedral to a new site about AD 1220:
First, you see the impressive ramparts consing of two earth banks separated by a ditch.
Then, after crossing the Old Sarum's wooden bridge - you step into the heart of a once bustling medieval castle. Built around 1070 by William the Conqueror, it was here in 1086, that William gathered all the powerful men of England for a ceremony to assert his royal authority. Building the castle in the middle of the old earthworks - created an inner set of fortifications which became home to a complex of towers, halls and apartments, and a huge bailey. Nothing is left from the Salisbury’s First Cathedral. The first cathedral was a modest building damaged by a violent thunderstorm just five days after its consecration in 1092. In 1220 foundations were laid for a new cathedral in Salisbury (New Sarum) and the old cathedral was demolished. Many of its stones were re-used in the construction of the new cathedral in Salisbury new city.
In a nice day - Old Sarum is good for nature walks. There are many footpaths which criss-cross the site. If you climb over the outer ramparts of the - you get views of the Wiltshire countryside. The English Heritage states that "rabbits enjoy digging holes in the banks and there are a wide selection of wild birds and butterflies on site including a kestrel". I've seen none of them...
The only option around for food and drink is the Harvester pub - opposite the Old Sarum site. There are two vending machines for snacks inside the site.
If Old Sarum is not included in your Stonehenge admission ticket - the entrance prices are: adult - £5.00, Child (5-15 years) £2.70, Concession £4.00, Family (2 adults, 3 children) £11.70. Open: everyday. APR-OCT: 10.00 - 18.00, NOV-MAR: 10.00-16.00.
Many buses pass from Old Sarum (along the A345 road) to salisbury: Salisbury Reds service X5 (Stagecoach 5 on Sundays), No. 8; Stagecoach Hampshire No. 8; Wiltshire Buses No. 501 service and, finally, our known the Stonehenge Tour service. There are toilets near the car-park. There is a gift shop. NO ACCESS for wheelchairs. Remember - waiting for the bus to Salisbury along the A345 - is without a shelter.
Main Attractions: Chichester Cathedral, Chichester Cross, Ox Market Centre of Arts, The Butter Market, Chichester Canal Basin, Chichester Canal, Chichester Walls, Priory Park, Bishop's Palace Gardens.
Start & End: Chichester Station.
Weather: I did this short route in a rainy day. Duration: 3/4 day. Distance: 10-11 km.
Introduction: One of the great well-preserved Georgian cities in the UK, Chichester has played a key role of the affairs of Sussex since at least Roman times. Today, Chichester is the prosperous administrative capital of West Sussex and a great place for shopping, but it's hard to avoid Chichester's links to its illustrious past. Chichester city centre's broad streets are packed with listed buildings, headed by the Chichester Cathedral, now home to a family of peregrine falcons who can be heard as they swoop over the city at dusk. The pedestrianised city centre is neatly enclosed within the ancient city walls and this helps to make Chichester compact and pleasant to explore on foot. There are plenty of good shops in Chichester and the city serves as the main shopping centre for an extensive hinterland which stretches right up towards the north of West Sussex. Chichester lies between two areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty - the South Downs and Chichester Harbour - as well as other nature reserves, stunning beaches and dramatic coastline to the south.
Our Chichester Itinerary:
It is about half a mile from the station to the Cathedral and will take an average of 10 minutes to walk the route. From the station we head east on Station Approach toward Stockbridge Rd, which, quickly, changes to Southgate Rd. Turn left and slight left along Stockbridge Rd/ Southgate for 150 m. Continue onto South St for 160 m. From the distance we see the ancient Cross. Turn left onto Canon Ln and (under two arches and a brown sign "Cathedral Entrance"). walk along this narrow lane for 125 m. You see the Cathedral on your right:
For 900 years Chichester Cathedral has stood at the heart of Chichester. Its architecture has spanning the centuries; ranging from original Norman features to the magnificent Victorian Spire. The Cathedral is especially famous for its art, both ancient and modern, with medieval carvings alongside world famous 20th Century artworks !
Opposite the cathedral entrance stands a larger than life-size statue of a cloaked St. Richard (by Philip Jackson) standing on a cubular plinth. The left hand is holding a scourge, a symbol of self-discipline and the outstretched right arm is extending through the opening of the cloak. The right hand depicts the sign of a blessing. St. Richard was the first Bishop of Chichester. On his death, his heart was buried in Dover and his body taken back to Chichester. Three years later he was canonized on 22 January 1262. On 16 June 1276, in the presence of King Edward I, Queen Eleanor, the Archbishop of Canterbury and other bishops, and a great crowd of people, his body was moved to the shrine behind the high altar (see below) where it became a place of pilgrimage and prayer for the people of Sussex:
The Cathedral is open every day and all year with free entry. The glorious architecture, art, memorials and other treasures here deserve, at least, two hours of one's time. Free guided tours take place Monday to Saturday at 11.15 and 14.30. Many events like exhibitions, talks, lunchtime and evening concerts, and a superb Cloisters Café and Shop. The Cathedral is in great condition and its grounds and interiors are well maintained. This is a beautifully restored building which is a pleasure to visit. Very splendid and enjoyable place to visit. Lovely, quiet atmosphere with plenty of history. The cathedral volunteers who are greeting you on entering the Cathedral are friendly, welcoming and helpful. They are so knowledgeable and make your visit a wonderful experience. The Chichester Cathedral is a bit different than other churches around Europe and the UK: The exhibits inside are a bit odd for a church a mix of haunting sculptures, even the alter piece is very modern. It is also unusual that such an attraction is free of charge. Being a bit more modern the church offers, as well, concerts, talks and educational events. If you are lucky - you can sample the Cathedral when the choir is practicing. An heavenly music which sends shivers down your spine... It isn't one of the largest, best known or most visited of medieval cathedrals. It is smaller than the Canterbury or York cathedrals. Chichester is also small for a Norman cathedral when compared to Winchester, Ely and Peterborough cathedrals. Open: every day from 7.15 - 18.30 (MON- SAT) and from 7.15 - 17.00 (SUN). Photography and filming can take place in the Cathedral. Chichester Cathedral was founded as a cathedral in 1075, when the seat of the bishop was moved from Selsey. The Cathedral has architecture in both the Norman and the Gothic styles. It has two architectural features that are unique among England's medieval cathedrals - a free-standing medieval bell tower (or campanile) and double aisles:
20. Entrance & Donations to Cathedral. 1. The Baptistry. 2. The Chapel of
St George. 3. The Chapel of St Clement. 4. The Arundel Screen. 5. The South Transept. 6. Romanesque Sculptures. 7. Piper Tapestry. 9. Site of the Shrine of St Richard. 11. Christ in Judgement. 8. Graham Sutherland Painting. 10. Lady Chapel. 12. Chapel of St John the Baptist. 13. The Marc Chagall Window. 14. The Treasury. 15. The North Transept. 16. Gustav Holst Memorial. 17. Arundel Tomb. 18. Visitors’ Exhibition. 19. The Chapel of St Michael. 21. Cloisters, Café and Shop.
The Cathedral is 123m in length and 48m in width, its spire is 84.5m in height:
The Cathedral History: Chichester cathedral's roots lie way back in 681, when Saint Wilfred came charging into Sussex to spread the word about Christianity, establishing a Cathedral in the small community of Selsey, south of Chichester. After the Norman invasion of 1066, it was decreed that cathedrals should be shunted from small communities into the big centres of population, resulting in construction of the current cathedral, starting in 1076. Built in the heart of the former Roman town, the cathedral was completed in 1108, only to suffer a major fire in 1114. Despite being restored and extended westwards by Bishop Luffa, another hefty fire in 1187 completely destroyed the timber roof and caused major damage to the arcade stonework. New naves added during the thirteenth century made Chichester one of the widest English cathedrals, with a fourteenth century extension of the Lady Chapel showing off windows in the 'decorated' style. Bishop John Langton rocked up 1315 and rebuilt the south wall of the south transept, while fifteenth century additions saw the building of cloisters enclosing the south transept, the detached bell-tower - the only one of its kind left in England - and a much-admired spire. The cathedral suffered a right trashing during the Reformation, with brasses removed from memorials, stone figures and carvings defaced and the shrine of St Richard totally destroyed. After years of neglect, Dean George Chandler set about restoring the Cathedral in the 1840s, with his successor, Dean Walter Farquar Hook commissioning a replacement spire (by Sir George Gilbert Scott) after the original collapsed in 1861.
First, we head to the cloisters. The café is situated within the centre of the cathedral cloister (on your left, as you enter) and boasts a beautiful private garden, allowing customers to enjoy a magnificent view of the cathedral. There is also a stunning view of the Cathedral spire from inside through the glass roof. Open: MON - SAT: 09.00 - 17.00, SUN: 10.00 -- 16.00. Accessible toilets are available in the Cloisters Café:
View of the Cathedral from the Cloister and its Cafe':
The Baptistry sits under the south-west tower of the Cathedral and is home to the wonderful copper font which is used for baptism. Commissioned by the Dean and Chapter the font is the work of John Skelton:
St. George Chapel: Saint George is the patron saint of England and on the panel behind the chapel’s altar he is depicted as a knight in armour slaying a dragon. This is a myth. George was a soldier in the Roman army. He converted to christianity and was executed in Nicomedia in modern day Turkey on 23 April 303 AD. The chapel was restored in 1921 as a memorial chapel for the Royal Sussex Regiment. The names of about 8000 soldiers who fell in World War I are inscribed in the encased panels. A further 1,024 names from the Second World War are recorded in the Book of Remembrance by the altar:
St. George Chapel - stained Glass:
St. Clement Chapel: Pope Clement I, also known as St. Clement of Rome, was the third pope. He was martyred in about 98. The precise date of the chapel’s construction is unknown:
The nave was later divided from the choir by an elegant perpendicular screen with three arched openings, called the Arundel Screen, which was removed in the mid 19th century but reinstated in 1961:
Do not miss the huge Lambert Barnard paintings in the South Transept. Lambert Barnard (1485 - 1567) was an early Tudor painter who created Chichester Cathedral's extraordinary and unique Tudor paintings. Believed to be the largest surviving paintings of their kind, these two huge painted panels are on display in the south transept of the Cathedral. The paintings are a sophisticated piece of political theatre and propaganda, giving us a rare opportunity to imagine how Henry VIII was seen by his ordinary subjects. The paintings, of national importance, are now badly in need of stabilisation and restoration and an appeal has been launched to raise funds - £250,00 - for this important work. They are under restoration from year 2016:
South Transept's stained glasses:
In the south transept stands the Antiphoner into a window room. This liturgical service book, one of the largest in the world, was given to the Cathedral by R.J. Campbell (Chancellor 1930-46). Its origin is not known. It is probably from the 15th century. A similar manuscript is in the British Library and a fine illuminated example is in Mexico City. The five-line plainsong stave and the style of decoration suggest a Spanish or South American origin. The book begins with the Te Deum, followed by the antiphons, psalms and hymns for the office of Lauds throughout the year. Its size would enable it to be read by a number of singers at a distance. The initial illuminated page portrays St Francis and St Dominic. The book evidently belonged to an order of Dominican friars, the dedication of whose church (like that of Chichester Cathedral) seems to have been the Holy Trinity. The antiphoner was restored and rebound in
The dating of the two Romanesque reliefs at Chichester representing the Raising of Lazarus -
and Christ in the House of Martha and Mary -
depends on whether they considered post-Norman-conquest works, or typically Saxon. The approximate date of 1080, suggested by some English historians, has the merit of taking into account the Saxon as well as the French elements in this Norman work. On the other hand, several authorities believe the panels to have been executed as late as the 12th century, while yet others place them as early as the middle Saxon period.
The organ at Chichester Cathedral contains pipework by many famous English builders, including Renatus Harris, George Pike England and the Hill family:
The Shrine of St Richard, Chichester's local own Saint and a Bishop in the 13th century, was one of the most important for pilgrims to visit in the two following centuries at the height of the medieval period. It was said to be the most popular after the Shrine of St Thomas a Becket in Canterbury and Our Lady in Walsingham. In modern times people still come to the shrine area to pray and light candles. It was decided in 2011 to give more appropriate form to the area, using the backcloth of the Anglo-German Tapestry, which illustrates some of the miracles associated with Richard the saint. The tapestry is complemented by new candle stands and other items made in cast aluminium and designed by Jonathan Clarke. The beautiful Anglo-German tapestry, designed by Ursula Benker-Schirmer took three and a half years from conception to completion and is made using pure linen, silk and cotton. It was designed to harmonise with the architecture and colours of nearby windows in the Cathedral. The centre panel was woven in Germany and the two side panels at West Dean College, near Chichester. Benker-Schirmer assembled the forms as if they were rock crystal fragments. The tapestry was dedicated on 15th June 1985.
Basck side of the tapestry:
Front side of the tapestry:
The statue of Christ in Judgement (1968), by sculptor Philip Jackson, is positioned in the Retrochoir above the entrance to the Lady Chapel. The subject of the statue is the final judgement of the world by Jesus. The figure of Christ, clad in his windblown burial shrouds, leans forward from a simple throne. With his right hand he blesses and draws the gentle and good to himself and with his left hand he holds aloft a sword. Christ's hands and feet are marked with the wounds of the cross, and suspended above his head is a crown of thorns:
At the far eastern side of the cathedral there is a Graham Sutherland (1903 – 1980) painting of Jesus’ plea of ‘Noli Me Tangere’ (literally translated as ‘don’t touch me’). Jesus’ figure hangs upon this construction, his body creating a strong diagonal line pointing upwards but his gaze and gentle, yet firm, gesture downward emphasises the tension between the two figures. The form of Jesus’ raised arm is reminiscent of Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam: through the most delicate part of the human body, Christ is shown to reconnect us to God:
The Lady chapel, constructed to the east of the retro-choir, is a long narrow space, with large windows in the Decorated Gothic style of the late 13th century. In the 13th century, the central tower of the cathedral was completed, the Norman apsidal eastern end rebuilt with a Lady chapel and a row of chapels added on each side of the nave, forming double aisles such as are found on many French cathedrals. So, the eastern end of the building is long by comparison with the nave, is square ended and has a projecting Lady chapel:
The chapel of St. John the Baptist projects eastward from the north aisle and flanks the westernmost bay of the Lady Chapel. Note the decoration (painting of the baptism of Christ) placed above the altar (reredos) in the St. John the Baptist Chapel, which includes religious images. The reredos was made by Patrick Procktor.
The Marc Chagall Window, 1978 is tucked away in the north-east corner of the cathedral and cannot be seen during regular worship. WOW. Marc Chagall drew his inspiration from Jewish religious life, and especially the mystical' legendary Hassidic tradition that flourished in his home town of Vitebsk. His most famous stained glasses are in the synagogue of the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem. The hospital windows and the Cathedral window are the only glass by Chagall which are predominantly red; his preferred colour was blue. To see this window lit by the incoming sun is an unforgettable experience. The window is inspired by Psalm 150, which urges its readers to 'let everything that hath breath praise the Lord':
Praise the LORD.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
The "new" Treasury of Chichester Cathedral is, actually the formerly Chapel of the Four Virgins (Saints Catherine, Agatha, Margaret and Winifred). In 1976 the vault of the Early English style Chapel of the Four Virgins was secured and the space converted by Stefan Buzas and Alan Irvine into the Treasury in order to display the Cathedral and diocesan church plate:
The Arundel Tomb in the north aisle of Chichester Cathedral was brought from Lewes Priory after its dissolution in 1537. It is a tomb chest and on top lays the recumbent figures of Richard Fitzalan, earl of Arundel, and his second wife, Eleanor of Lancaster. We now see a double tomb, Richard dressed in the armour of a knight of the period and Eleanor in a gown, veil and wimple. The tomb is best known today through Philip Larkin’s 1955 poem,’ An Arundel Tomb’. The final line is much quoted: ‘What will survive of us is love’:
Side by side, their faces blurred,
The earl and countess lie in stone,
Their proper habits vaguely shown
As jointed armour, stiffened pleat,
And that faint hint of the absurd–
The little dogs under their feet.
Such plainess of the pre-baroque
Hardly involves the eye, until
It meets his left hand gauntlet, still
Clasped empty in the other; and
One sees, with sharp tender shock,
His hand withdrawn, holding her hand.
They would not think to lie so long.
Such faithfulness in effigy
Was just a detail friends could see:
A sculptor’s sweet comissioned grace
Thrown off in helping to prolong
The Latin names around the base.
They would not guess how early in
Their supine stationary voyage
Their air would change to soundless damage,
Turn the old tenantry away;
How soon succeeding eyes begin
To look, not read. Rigidly they
Persisted, linked, through lengths and breadths
Of time. Snow fell, undated. Light
Each summer thronged the grass. A bright
Litter of birdcalls strewed the same
Bone-riddled ground. And up the paths
The endless altered people came,
Washing at their identity.
Now, helpless in the hollow of
An unarmorial age, a trough
Of smoke in slow suspended skeins
Above their scrap of history,
Only an attitude remains:
Time has transfigured them into
Untruth. The stone finality
They hardly meant has come to be
Their final blazon, and to prove
Our almost-instinct almost true:
What will survive of us is love.
Gustav Holst Memorial in the North Transept: Gustav Holst (21 September 1874 – 25 May 1934) was an English composer, arranger and teacher:
We exit the catedral with our face to the bells tower and turn right to West St.
On our left is the Duke & Rye pub. After walking 150 m. eastward along West Street - we arrive to the Chichester Cross. Roman Chichester was built on a grid pattern. The main streets formed a cross, which remains today as North, South, East and West Streets. In the center of the town was the forum, a marketplace lined with shops and public buildings. People in Roman Chichester used cesspits and obtained their water from wells but in the streets there were drains for rainwater. Chichester Cross is an perpendicular market cross in the centre of the city of Chichester, standing at the intersection of the four principal streets (North, West, South and East streets). According to the inscription upon it, this cross was built by Edward Story, Bishop of Chichester from 1477 to 1503; but little is known for certain and the style and ornaments of the building suggest that it may date from the reign of Edward IV. In 1501 Bishop Storey erected Chichester market cross. It was built to provide a covered marketplace from which Chichester's traders could sell their wares, and as a meeting point - mainly for the poor people. An earlier wooden cross had been erected on the same site by Bishop Rede (1369-1385). The stone cross was repaired during the reign of Charles II, and at the expense of the Duke of Richmond, in 1746 and stands to this day. Until 1746 the clock on the cross was square. It was then replaced by four new clocks. Until the pedestrianisation of Chichester city centre the streets around the Cross used to be a busy highway with the main coastal road edging around the narrow gap between the Market Cross and the city centre shops. Nowadays, apart from a few buses, the centre of Chichester is more or less traffic free:
I've been in Chichester during the last day before the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016:
From the market cross head east along East Street toward Little London, 160 m. Turn left onto Little London, turn left to stay on Little London and, again, turn left to arrive to the Ox Market Centre of Arts. A calm, pleasant, sophisticated gallery, located in an old medieval church, with display areas of exhibits ranging from local groups to specified professional artists. Worth a visit of 20-30 minutes:
From the Ox Market Gallery head east toward Little London. Turn right onto Little London, turn right to stay on Little London. Turn left onto East St. Turn right onto Baffin's Ln. Turn right onto E Pallant, 160 m. Turn right onto N Pallant. You pass, on your right, the Pallant House Gallery & Bookshop, 9 North Pallant: an eclectic, independent art bookshop housed in a handsome Queen Anne house and a modern extension, working alongside Pallant House Gallery and offering new, remaindered and out of print books on Modern British Art. Inside, you find a wonderful small gallery. You will find a treasure trove of paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and a constantly changing programme of art exhibitions. BUT, the admission price is quite hefty. A visit is strongly recommended. Open: TUE-SAT: 10.00 – 17.00, THU: 10.00 – 20.00, SUN/Bank Holidays: 11.00 – 17.00. Mondays: Closed. Prices: Adults: £10, Children (Up to 16 yrs) Free, Students (with NUS card) Free, Students (with University ID card) £5:
Head south on North Pallant, 160 m. Turn right onto Theatre Ln, turn left onto South St. In this intersection - you find the The Fat Fig Restaurant, 42 South Street (see Tip below).
Head back north on South St toward Theatre Ln, 320 m. Turn right, turn left and 320 m. further - you see, on your ledt, at 22-23 North Street, The Butter Market. The Market House (Butter Market) in North Street was built in 1808 by John Nash to provide accommodation for small traders who had previously traded at the Market Cross. From that year it was illegal to sell any fresh food except in the Butter Market. A second storey was added in 1900 to provide a technical institute and art school, and at one time housed Chichester Art School. It is now an arcade of shops:
We trace our steps back and change direction - heading to Chichester Canal. Head south along North Street, 320 m. Pass the Cross. Turn right toward South St, turn left onto South St for 320 m. Continue onto Southgate Street for another 320 m. A brown sign pointing "Chichester canal". Turn left onto Canal Wharf, turn right and you see the Richmond Pub, 9 Stockbridge Road on your right. We are in Chichester Canal Basin. A beautiful, accessible retreat close to the city, sometimes described as the “green lung” of Chichester. The Chichester Canal is a navigable canal in England. It runs 4.5 miles (7.2 km) from the sea at Birdham on Chichester Harbour to Chichester through two locks. Chichester Canal is a Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI). What is known today as the Chichester Canal is in fact part of the former Portsmouth & Arundel Canal. This was opened in 1823 and consisted of a 12-mile canal from Ford on the River Arun to Salterns and a shorter cut from Langstone Harbour to Portsmouth Harbour, connected together by a 13-mile ‘bargeway’ through the natural harbours and channels between them. A 1.5 mile branch led from Hunston on the main line of the canal to a basin in Chichester. This and the short connecting length of the main line from Salterns to Hunston were built to a larger gauge and equipped with iron swingbridges to enable coastal ships of over 100 tons to reach Chichester. This was the only part of the canal that enjoyed even a modest success, bringing in building materials and coal, and taking away manure. It carried trade until 1906, while the rest of the canal had been unused since the 1840s and fallen derelict soon after. Transferred to the City Council in 1892 (who in turn sold it to West Sussex County Council in 1957), the surviving four miles were abandoned in 1928. The entrance lock and a short length at Salterns were retained as yacht moorings prior to the building of Chichester Marina alongside; the lock is still capable of operation and a number of houseboats are moored on this length. The remainder of the route to Chichester was leased to the local angling club and gradually silted up over the following half-century. Two main road bridges were replaced by unnavigable culverts. In the late 1970s the Portsmouth & Arundel Canal Society was formed with the aim of restoring the canal. They changed their name to Chichester Canal Society (and more recently to Chichester Ship Canal Trust) to reflect this. Along the years of volunteering work - it was, at last, in year 2002, getting beyond the capabilities of the volunteers (mainly, due to the presence of water voles). The canal centre is closed until the 1st of February 2017. You can still book boat trips (1 and a half hours trip) online: email@example.com. There are, presently, two boats which ply the two mile section of the canal between the Basin and Donnington; a beautiful stretch with excellent views and prolific wildlife. Both boats can accommodate disabled passengers. We'll make part of this section on foot. The whole Chichester Ship Canal passes through 4 miles of open farmland from the Basin to Chichester Harbour at Birdham. Since its abandonment in 1906 it has been relatively undisturbed and has acquired a rich wildlife associated with its mosaic of open water, marginal vegetation, banks and bordering hedgerows. The towpath is part of the Lipchis Way. Cycling is permitted. The path connects with the Bill Way at Hunston and Salterns Way at Birdham, which are long-distance cycle routes to the sea. There are (non-manned) information boards along the canal and also historical remains of the original navigation, including Poyntz Bridge (see below) near the basin and the Selsey tramway abutment at Hunston. There are also several benches along the towpath to sit and appreciate the peace and quiet of the canal and to watch the wildlife. The canal forms an important aquatic and terrestrial wildlife corridor. It links areas of semi-natural habitat between Chichester Harbour and local gravel pits. One of the most beautiful views on the canal is from Hunston Bridge towards Chichester. This view of the canal against a backdrop of the Cathedral and the Downs was painted by JMW Turner in 1828 as 'Chichester Canal' painting. You can get refreshments at each end of towpath from the Canal Centre at the Basin or the Boathouse at the Marina. Or take a break half way at the Blacksmiths Arms at Donnington or the Spotted Cow at Hunston. The whole route towpath is well signed and there are maps available. We'll make only short off-road section on foot. Even if it is raining - you can walk along the towpath. It does not become muddy. The views along the way are stunning. It's all on the flat so suitable for all ages.
Southgate basin at the Chichester end is a BEAUTIFUL spot. It is dotted with butterflies sculptures. You'll see more sculptures along the canal:
Now we walk along the Chichester Canal. Spectacular views of Chichester and the surrounding areas:
180 m. further south of the Canal Basin - we meet the Poyntz Bridge: a single span 1820 cast iron swing bridge, It was named after WS Poyntz of Cowdray who was a prominent shareholder in the canal company:
If you look backward - you see the mighty Chichester Cathedral spire:
More pictures of the canal towpath:
After approx. 800 m. from the canal basin - yo see wooden stairs on your right -
leading to Chichester Bypass, and, later (westward) to the Stockbridge Roundabout. From the roundabout continue along Stockbridge road to the NORTH (with your back to the canal - to the RIGHT). 500 m. north from the roundabout - you see, on your left the Stockbridge Students Village, the Nando's restaurant and the whole Chichester Gate Leisure Park (Cineworld Multiplex cinema - ten screens, Lakeside Superbowl Ten pin bowling leisure complex, The Live Lounge - Chichester's largest live music and entertainment venue, KFC Drive, Domino's Pizza, Frankie & Benny's New York - Italian Restaurant and Bar, The Gatehouse Lloyds No.1 Bar - Wetherspoon, McDonald's Eat in and drive thru' burger restaurant, Fortune Inn - All you can eat for a fixed price, Premier Travel Inn Hotel, Nuffield Health - Chichester's premier health and fitness club,
Nando's Restaurant, Mucho Burrito. The Stockbridge Street continues northward as Southgate, and, later, as South Street.In case, you want to give up the walls - turn left (west) onto Cannon Ln and walk along this lane until its end in the Bishop's Palace Gardens).
Continue walking northward along South street. Pass, again, the Chichester Cross, continue along the North Street. Walk 500 m. along North Street (Chichester Library is on your left) until you meet the North Walls Road on your left. Turn left onto the N Walls road. On your left you see the Chichester Cathedral spires. On your right are the Chichester Walls. The historic City of Chichester dates from Roman times. The Roman walls and streets define the shape of the town. They date back to the third century AD. Today the Walls we see are medieval but built on the Roman foundations. They still can be walked after nearly two thousand years. It is 1800 years since the walls and gates were first built around the Roman town of Noviomagus Reginorum. There were 3 reasons for building the walls around Chichester: they were to defend the town and control trade but their principle purpose was to demonstrate status. Today they are the most intact circuit of Roman town defences in Southern England. More than 80% of the original structure has withstood the test of time. The wall of Chichester is one of those places that make us travel back in time, the old structure contrasts with the everyday life of the city. The walk around sections of the wall is very nice and interesting, in the late afternoon the view is even more beautiful, yielding beautiful pictures. Different views of Chichester may be attained with some great sunsets:
On your left is the extensive Priory Park. Inside you can explore sections of the Roman walls. Great playing area for kids plus a great cafe. In the summer there is cricket being played here.
The N Walls road slights left, but, before it slights - turn left onto Tower St, 160 m., turn left toward St Richard's Walk, take the stairs, turn right onto St Richard's Walk (the Cathedral is on our left), turn right onto Canon Ln (we've been here in the start of our daily route). Continuing westward along Cannon Ln - we see opposite us the walled Bishop's Palace Gardens. This is the best place to end your day of walk. A wonderful surprise and well worth a visit. Beautifully tended, lots of flower types, many benches available and some pretty water features. Free to visit. A place of peace and tranquility with wonderful views of the Cathedral:
From the Bishop's Palace Garden, 4 Canon Lane - we head back east on Canon Ln toward St Richard's Walk, 160 m. Turn right onto South St, 160 m. Continue onto Southgate for 160 m. Turn right onto Station Approach
and Chichester Station will be on the left.
Main Attractions: Gunwarf Quays Shopping Centre,Spinnaker Tower, Square Tower, Victoria Pier, Nelson Statue, Old Garrison Church, Spur Redoubt, Clarence Pier, Southsea Common, Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Blue Reef Aquarium, Southsea Castle, Pyramids Centre, Southsea Rock Gardens, Old Portsmouth, Queens Hotel, Portsmouth Museum, Portsmouth Cathedral, Bath Square, Historic Dockyards (allow a special day !), HMS Warrior, HMS Mary Rose, Action Stations, HMS Victory.
Start & End: Portsmouth Harbour railway station.
Centrally located on the South coast of England. It is the United Kingdom's only island city. Located mainly on Portsea Island, 103 km south-west of London and 31 km south-east of Southampton. Portsmouth benefits from excellent local and regional transport connections. The M275 provides an onward northerly connection to London in around 1.5 hours. Southampton can be reached in around half an hour, via the M27, while Chichester is just a 25 minute drive away via the A27. For travel by train, Portsmouth Harbour Station is with regular services to London Victoria, London Waterloo, Bristol Parkway and Brighton. Portsmouth is a vibrant waterfront city with kilometers of beautiful waterfront, which boasts an un-rivalled array of leisure attractions, with everything from award-winning museums to impressive live music venues. Hosting the famous historic Dockyards. Portsmouth residents delight the shopping opportunities, with the extensive Gunwharf Quays outlet offering over 90 designer stores, alongside a wide selection of bars, restaurants and coffee shops.
Itinerary: The Portsmouth Harbour station is located between the Gunwharf Quays shopping centre and the Historic Dockyard. It is located 1.6 km. west to the Portsmouth and Southeast station. From the Portsmouth Harbour railway station - we turn right (North-east) and walk along the the Station approach (busy with construction works, dust and noise) until we hit the Hard avenue. The steel screens may hinder sights of the beautiful pier on your left. While walking along the Station Approach - on your left are the Gunwharf Quays (you see a big sign of Gosport Ferries) with ferry services to Gosport and the Isle of Wight.
On leaving station we turn right and followed road round to Gunwharf Quays. When you hit the Hard - you see a big sign with detailed instructions for non-locals and tourists. Turn right and enter an underway (on your right public services) leading to the Gunwarf Quays Shopping Centre. Gunwharf Quays is home to over 90 premium retail outlet stores. If you want even more from your visit to Gunwharf Quays then there’s Vue Cinema, Bowlplex, a 24-hour health and fitness club, a contemporary art gallery and a nightclub and casino. There are many good eateries and coffee spots in this complex. It's worth a visit ONLY for the views around the mall.
After walking 150 m. along the manicured avenue of shops -
turn right to the Spinnaker Tower. Here, along the quays, it is wonderful to sit by the quay-side and admire the numerous boats not to forget the busy ferries sailing to and from Portsmouth. Really something for everyone and beautiful if you catch a nice day ! A must visit at Portsmouth.
The 170-metre Spinnaker Tower is the centrepiece of the redevelopment of Portsmouth Harbour. it is one of the tallest accessible structures in the United Kingdom outside London. It was designed by local firm HGP Architects and engineering consultants Scott Wilson and built by Mowlem. The tower reflects Portsmouth's maritime history and was opened on 18 October 2005. The tower is owned by Portsmouth City Council, but operationally it is managed by a private company - Continuum Leading Attractions, a cultural attractions group based in York. Continuum also runs five other visitor attractions across the UK. Following a commercial sponsorship deal with Dubai-based Emirates airline, the tower was renamed the Emirates Spinnaker Tower in July 2015. Its unique design was accomplished by using two large, white, sweeping metal arcs, which give the tower its spinnaker sail design. At the top is a triple observation deck, providing a 360° view of the city of Portsmouth. The highest of the three observation platforms, the Sky Deck, has only a wire mesh roof. A glass floor is located on the first viewing deck at 100 metres above sea level. The tower was to be repainted in a red and white colour scheme—similar to that of local football rivals Southampton F.C. But following a petition with over 10,000 signatures, Portsmouth City Council decided to consider a change: the new design, unveiled on 19 June 2015, featured a blue, gold and white colour scheme. Opening hours: Summer: 10.00 - 18.00, Winter: 10.00 - 17.30. Prices: Adult - £9.95, Senior, Student - £8.95, Child (+3 yrs old) - £7.95, Children (-3 yrs old) - free, Family - £33. Online booking (https://www.spinnakertower.co.uk/booking/): -15% discount (15% saving does not apply to Family Ticket). You can save £5 by buying joint ticket for the Emirates Spinnaker Tower and Portsmouth Historic Dockyards. If you can’t see the three Solent Forts on the day of your visit, you may return for free within three months. Since, you can return and visit again and again with the same ticket - you are advised to return before sunset. Sundown is the best time to visit the tower. The sunset over the Isle of Wight is spectacular! There are three decks in the tower: deck on. It only takes about 20 seconds to get up to the top in the lift. If you suffer with heights - keep away from the glass floor in the first view deck:
The view through the glass floor of the tower:
Express lift takes you to the first of the three view decks. You are 100 metres above sea level. From there you get stunning panoramic views. A glass floor to walk across. The first Deck:
Go down from the tower and start walking eastward. You can catch a wonderful sight of the Gunwarf Quays front from the tower entrance:
A bit west to the tower - stands this small sculpture, and, here starts a GREY walking trail. You just follow the GREY TILES with the WAVE SIGN. Three kilometres of promenade now link all of Portsmouth’s historic waterfront. The route starts on The Hard and ends at the Spur Redoubt near Clarence Pier, Southsea, taking in Old Portsmouth, the Camber and Gunwharf Quays. The route is indicated by a chain motif set into the surface, symbolising partnership between the communities of Portsmouth and Gosport and between past and present. Historically it also refers to the chain, which used to be tightened across the harbour entrance at times of potential attack. The walk from the trendy Gunwharf Quays is a very pleasant one with lovely sea views, and it leads to the less trendy traditional seaside attractions of Clarence Pier, and a range of interesting historical monuments, museums and Aquarium. Interpretive panels along the way give insight into Portsmouth's fascinating evolution, from its stone towers and fortifications to Clarence Pier. There are some pretty ornamental gardens along Clarence Esplanade further on and the green open spaces of the Southsea Common create a very attractive and relaxing aspect:
With your back to the tower - you cross the bridge. This is the view on your left:
On your right:
After walking along the bridge - look backward for another wonderful sights of the Spinnaker Tower:
Beyond the bridge, on our left (west) - a private property land:
The grey path changes to white. On our right is the WightLink Ticket Office. When you arrive to an asphalted road (Gunwharf Rd.) - turn RIGHT. After 100 m. walking (road name changes to White Hart) you see a demolished small dockyard full with junkies. Here you find another public toilet services. On your right, beyond the water - the The Bridge tavern:
Take the first road to the RIGHT (no name. sign to: Round Tower and Bath Square).
Take the first turn to the LEFT. We are, now, in Broad Street. On our left is the Square Tower. Continue, passing the sculpture with our face to the south. Climb the stairs and walk along the promenade (Saluting Platform). With your face to the NORTH - you see, again, the Square Tower. DO NOT WALK NORTHWARD - the promenade is blocked to the north !!!:
The Square Tower was built in 1494 during the reign of Henry VII. It was designed as part of the fortifications to protect the rapidly expanding Naval Port. Together with the Round Tower, the adjacent sea-wall and the Saluting Platform are the only parts of the Tudor works to survive. The tower was also used as the home of the Governor of Portsmouth, a semaphore signalling tower, a provisions store for the Royal Navy and as a gunpowder store. Towards the end of the 16th or early 17th century the tower was adopted for use as a magazine and it was during this time that the tower was involved in a civil war incident. During the English Civil War 1642-1649 the Square Tower was used as an arsenal and contained large amounts of gunpowder and munitions. The Town of Portsmouth was under siege with the Royalist forces trapped inside the town by the Roundhead forces. This historic setting is used, nowadays, for wedding venues, business meetings, product launches, fairs, art exhibitions and workshops. In fact the Square Tower is one of the most popular Hampshire Wedding venues...
We concentrate, now, around the Old part of Portsmouth. Amazing area, full of history, and brilliant architecture, and cobbled streets, takes you back in time. Highly recommended. It is very pretty and as you walk around the cobbled streets you can feel the history and imagine the sailors being pressed ganged onto the ships. Walk along the Sea Wall and see the old battlements and towers. The council have put interesting plaques around to explain what you are looking at.
So, we head southward along the naval walls and the promenade. On our right - fishermen sitting on the old Victoria Pier:
Victoria Pier is a small shingle beach sheltered by the historic fortifications of Portsmouth. Stay walking on the raised platform. This beach can sometimes be affected by heavy wash from passing ships and the current here at times is fierce:
On your left (east) is Nelson statue (Royal Garrison Church is looming behind). In year 1805, Admiral Nelson left Portsmouth to command the fleet that defeated the Franco-Spanish at the Battle of Trafalgar. Before departing, Nelson told the crew of the HMS Victory (see below) and workers in the dockyard that "England expects every man will do his duty". The Royal Navy's reliance on Portsmouth led to it becoming the most fortified city in the world. Prime Minister Lord Palmerston led a programme to defend British military bases from an inland attack. The forts were nicknamed "Palmerston's Follies" due to the fact that their armaments were pointed inland and not out to sea. From 1808 the Royal Navy's West Africa Squadron, tasked with stopping the slave trade, operated out of Portsmouth.
Leave the raised platform (the Saluting Platform), head to the east and walk down the stairs. The Nelson Statue is a gem, there are cafe's and pubs to stop and have a break, and if you are lucky you will see a Navy Ship either going out or coming in. The inscription in front of the statue says: "21 OCTOBER 1805". On the steps: "HERE SERVED HORATIO NELSON
YOU WHO TREAD HIS FOOTSTEPS REMEMBER HIS GLORY". The statue of Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson - wearing the uniform he wore when leaving Portsmouth for Trafalgar stands on the spot where the Vice-Admiral took his last steps on dry land on his way to board the battleship, HMS Victory. Horatio Nelson took an unusual route to the beach that day to avoid the huge crowds that had gathered in the High Street to see their hero off to battle. Leaving via the back door from The George Hotel in the High Street, where he'd spent the night, Nelson headed along Pembroke Road, and cut across the green past the Garrison Church through to the ramparts. The crowds soon realized the route he'd taken and came down to the Spur Redoubt (see below) to wish him farewell. It's believed that he commented to one of his aids that he wished he had two arms to shake them all by the hand (of course he only had the one!). The location of the statue of Lord Nelson had been the subject of some controversy for many years. He was originally placed in Pembroke Gardens so that he looked towards that part of Southsea Beach where it is believed that he embarked for his flagship HMS Victory in September 1805. Whilst discussing the new location for the statue, it is said that regard was had for the route that Nelson took from the George Hotel, where he had breakfasted that September morning in 1805, to the beach from where he was ferried to the Victory. The route itself had been the subject of much debate over the years. The new location for the statue is several hundred yards from any point on Nelson's last walk. A month later, on 21st October 1805, at the height of the Battle of Trafalgar where the British fleet defeated the French and the Spanish he was struck by a French sniper's bullet on the frigate Redoubtable and later died. Portsmouth was the last dry land Lord Nelson stepped on and the last English city he ever saw:
Pass the monument of Nelson, walk along the road and visit the Old Garrison Church If time allows. Free Entry. Open: 11.00 - 16.00, Tuesday to Saturday, from April until October. Old or Royal Garrison Church was built in about 1212 by the Bishop of Winchester as part of a hospital and hostel for pilgrims. In 1540, after the Reformation, the building was used as an ammunition store, and it started to decay. In 1559 the great Elizabethan project to build up the defences at Portsmouth began. The medieval hospital became part of the governor’s house, where two significant events in the history of the site took place. These were the marriage of Charles II to Catherine of Braganza in 1662 and the grand receptions held in June 1814 to celebrate the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig and his subsequent abdication. The receptions were attended by the Prince Regent, the Emperor of Russia, the King of Prussia and his general, Field-Marshal Blücher, the great ally of Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington. The church was restored in the 19th century, and although the nave was badly damaged in a 1941 firebomb raid on Portsmouth, the chancel is still roofed and furnished. Fine 20th-century stained-glass windows depict scenes from the Second World War and from the church’s own history:
The church consists, originally, of a nave with north and south aisles, and the south porch. The chancel consists of the choir and sanctuary. The choir has two south doors, one of which leads to the stairs up to the bell turret, and the other to the exterior:
To the north is the vestry. The thick lower section of the south wall is part of the original construction. Above this there are three restored lancet windows and a series of corbels serving as beam supports. The south porch and the west wall were both built in the 1860s, as the church had been shortened by one bay in the 1580s. The chancel features an elaborate vaulted roof with decorative bosses. The east window of three lancets with a the foiled head is an original feature and inspired Street’s restoration of the other windows. The oak stalls of the 1870s are dedicated as memorials to the nation’s most famous sailors and soldiers, beginning with Horatio Nelson and the Duke of Wellington:
Antique Ford car opposite the Royal garrison Church:
From the the Royal (Old) Garrison Church head south, turn right, turn left and arrive to the Spur Redoubt. Spur Redoubt is the remains of a small triangular fort, built in 1680 by Bernard de Gomme, Military engineer to Charles II to defend the mouth of Portsmouth harbour. Originally constructed as part of Portsmouth's fortifications, this work was rebuilt in stone and transformed into a powerful battery. The guns mounted along the southern face of the Spur Redoubt supported the King's counter-guard but also guarded against enemy ships.
We continue walking south-east along the coast until we arrive to Clarence Pier and its adjacent amusement park ( a bit run-down, Wimpy Express fast food restaurant inside):
Nearby, the point where Lord Nelson left the land and entered the sea on his way to the Trafalgar battle:
Opposite Clarence Pier, on the coast, departure point of the Hovercraft to the Isle of wight:
Beyond the amusement park and further south-east resides the huge Southsea Common. Southsea Common is parallel to the shore from Clarence Pier to Southsea Castle. The Common owes its existence to the demands of the military in the early nineteenth century for a clear range of fire from the harbour defences at any enemy ships which dared to approach Portsmouth and its dockyard. The Common is a popular recreation ground, and also serves as the venue for a number of annual events, including the Southsea Show, Para Spectacular, Military Vehicle Show, Kite Festival and a variety of circuses including the Moscow State Circus and Chinese State Circus. It was also the place where fans of Portsmouth F.C. gathered to celebrate their victory in the 2008 FA Cup Final. In August 2010, a life-size model of an ultrasaurus dinosaur was erected on the common in conjunction with the Portsmouth's Aspex Gallery. The sculpture was destroyed by a fire, probably caused by an electrical fault, on 1 October 2010. Southsea Common was awarded Warburton's Best Picnic Spot in the South East in 2008, 2009 and 2010. 800 m. further walking along the Millennium Promenade (or Clarenace Esplanade) - you can't miss the most famous landmark in Southsea Common - the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, sometimes known as Southsea Naval Memorial, is a war memorial in Portsmouth beside Clarence Esplanade, between Clarence Pier and Southsea Castle. It is overlooking the Millennium Promenade (which, actually starts at the Portsmouth Dockyards and ends at the Southsea Castle), and is accessible at all times. After the First and Second World Wars, an appropriate way had to be found of commemorating those members of the Royal Navy who had no known grave, the majority of deaths having occurred at sea where no permanent memorial could be provided. Panels were recently being erected to help raise awareness of First and Second World War casualties in the UK. Portsmouth Naval Memorial commemorates around 10,000 sailors of the First World War and almost 15,000 of the Second World War:
Continue walking south-east along the promenade. 320 m. from the Naval Memorial you arrive to the Blue Reef Aquarium. Here, the asphalted path changes to gravel one. Open: everyday except Christmas Day from 10.00 - 17.00. Last Admission: 16.00. Prices: adult - £10.50 (online - £9.00), Junior (age 3 - 12 years, must be accompanied by an adult) £8.25 (£6.75), Seniors & Students £9.50 (£8.50),
Family of 4 (2 standard and 2 junior) £35.50 (£31.50), Under 3's Free. Online tickets: http://www.bluereefaquarium.co.uk/portsmouth/plan-your-visit/admission-prices/ It might be an enjoyabe place for children. For adults - don't expect so much. I found this place boring and overpriced. Reasonable fish & chips restaurant inside:
Beyond the Aquarium building, still on the Millennium Promenadae, we see, on our left, the Bandstand Fields, which forms a natural amphiteatre looking out to sea. Our signposts are the Millennium Motif Columns:
500 m. further to the south - we arrive to the Southsea Castle. Admission to Southsea Castle is FREE. Southsea Castle is open APR - OCT: TUE - SUN, and Bank Holiday Mondays, 10.00 - 17.00. Closed on Mondays (except for Bank Holidays). Built in 1544, the Castle is part of a series of fortifications constructed by Henry VIII around England's coasts to protect the country from naval invaders (from France and the Holy Roman Empire). Henry VIII's flagship, the Mary Rose, tragically sank in front of the Castle. During the English Civil War, nearly a century later, the Castle was captured for the only time in its history, by Parliamentarian forces. Over the centuries, Southsea Castle's defenses were strengthened so that it could continue to protect Portsmouth. In the 19th Century a tunnel was built to defend the Castle moat. Visitors can still enter the tunnel and see how the Castle would have been defended against invaders. The Castle has had many other uses besides defense. For a while it was a military prison. A lighthouse was built in the 1820s, and is still in use by shipping today. Southsea Castle was obsolete in the post-war years and in 1960 it was acquired by Portsmouth City Council, which restored the Castle to its 19th Century appearance. We surround the Castle from the south and follow the path leading north-east. Climb to one of the adjacent hills, overlooking the Castle for having an impressive sight of the Henry VIII's moated castle and its inner "The Courtyard" cafe' and its square central keep, its two rectangular gun platforms to the east and west, and two angled bastions to the front and rear. The castle houses a collection of cannons:
The path (Clarence Esplanade, Southsea Seafront) continues to the EAST and changes to be asphalted again. 320 m. further, along the path, to the east is the Pyramids Centre. Pyramids is Portsmouth’s largest leisure centre. It includes a gym, fitness studio and spa, plus great water play for families and a three-level soft play adventure world filled with mazes, climbing nets and ball pits. Open: MON - THU 6.30 - 22.00, FRI 6.30 - 21.00, SAT - SUN 8.00 - 18.00.
Next to the Pyramids Centre are Southsea Rock Gardens, a popular sun-trap (It's sheltered from the sea breeze) with many places to sit and relax. It's a great place to visit with children or to sit quietly alone. It is a marvelous garden and there is, always, a blooming attraction. There are many Lilies with beautiful burst of color:
Here, I dined in Rocksbys Fish and Chips restaurant, in the middle of the rock garden (see below).
From the Southsea Rock Garden - head north for 60 m., turn right toward S Parade for 75 m. and continue to follow S. Parade for 320 m. - going through 1 roundabout. We cross the Southsea Common from east to west. WE ENTER, NOW, the OLD PORTSMOUTH area. Try to catch the Serpentine Road in its most northern end. On your right is the Queens Hotel. This classy hotel looks impressive and aristocratic from the outside and you can't miss it while walking along the Southsea Common. The original Queen's hotel was known as Southsea House and was built by the architect Augustus Livesay, in 1861. It was then a large private house owned by Sir John and Lady Morris and was later transformed into one of the first hotels in Southsea by William Kemp Junior, this is when it became known as the Queen's Hotel. In the late 18th century the Queen's Hotel had a yacht club that stood behind it called the Royal Albert and was also surrounded by woods, which were then called Stone Woods. It was destroyed by fire in 1891. It was rebuilt in 1903 by the architect T.W.Cutler into the splendid building that stands today, complete with its Edwardian baroque style in brown terracotta:
We continue north-west along Duisburg way until it ends in an extensive roundabout. We turn right (north-East) to Pier Road, Continue along Bellvue Terrace, Jubilee Terrace and Kings Terrace. Arriving to a square - we take the left wing, the Museum Road (north-west), A big sign in the square signifies the border between Portsmouth and Southsea. On our right is the Ravelin Park. 150 m. from the square, along the Museum Road - you see, on your left the Portsmouth Museum, 1 Museum Road. Free. Open: APR - SEP: 10.00 - 17.30, OCT - MAR: 10.00 - 17.00. Open: TUE-SUN and Bank Holiday Mondays. Closed on Mondays (except Bank Holidays). A lovely building. Recommended tea shop inside with delicious food, reasonably priced. Lots to see in the various galleries and well worth a visit.
The main exhibition is Edward King paintings. It is interesting to see his paintings of the bomb damage of Portsmouth city in the aftermath of the WW2 Blitz:
Organ year 1842:
Portsmouth Harbour Breeze, 1852, John Callow (1822-1878):
Stork Fountain, 1872:
There is a permanent exhibit describing Sherlock Holmes time in Portsmouth where Sir Conan Doyle wrote his first Sherlock Holmes novel, lived and worked as a physician. But it also covers his time after he left Portsmouth and the movies and the various actors who played Holmes on screen and stage:
Postcard of Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty falling into the Reichenbach Falls, with a small phial attached containing earth from the Reichenbach Falls:
With our back to the museum - we continue left (north-west) along the Museum Road until the next square. Here, we turn LEFT (south-west) to the High Street. Before we turn left. from the square, on your right, is the stunning Portsmouth Grammer School - a leading co-educational day school renowned for excellent teaching, superb pastoral care and co-curricular opportunities. Founded in 1732 as a boys' school, it has become one of the top independent schools in the UK - consistently ranking highly in national reviews of teaching quality and examination results. It is widely regarded as the best school in the area. Do not miss the school premises and its wonderful, small gardens !
In the High Street - note, on your right (your face to the west) the house of John Pounds. John Pounds a Portsmouth cobbler began teaching poor children without charging fees in 1818, unknowingly leading to a revolution in the British education system. Thomas Guthrie built upon Pounds' idea of free schooling for working class children and started a ragged school in Edinburgh. Ragged schools were charitable organizations dedicated to the free education of destitute children in 19th-century Britain. The schools were developed in working-class districts of the rapidly expanding industrial towns. John Pounds (June 17, 1766 – January 1, 1839) was a teacher and altruist born in Portsmouth, and the man most responsible for the creation of the concept of Ragged schools. After Pounds' death, Thomas Guthrie (often credited with the creation of Ragged Schools) wrote his Plea for Ragged Schools and proclaimed John Pounds as the originator of this idea. Many years after his death, John Pounds has become a local hero in his birthplace of Portsmouth, winning a "Man of the Millennium" award in 1999 from a local newspaper, ahead of nationally more famous local heroes including Admiral Lord Nelson and Charles Dickens. Again, a wonderful small garden is unmissable in this house:
At High Street #119, sample the Duke of Buckingham Pub (see Tip below):
We cross Pembroke Road on our left and Lombard Street on our right. Immediately, on our right (north) is the impressive Portsmouth Cathedral with very modern and impressive interior space:
In the (western) end of High Street - we turn RIGHT (north) to the Broad Street and connect with the waterfront promenade. Turn left onto West St, turn right to stay on West St and continue onto Bath Square. One of the main attraction of Old Portsmouth. A fantastic square to look around and buy something different or sip a coffee. Here, you get a wonderful sight of the old harbour. There is a quirky and secret beach behind the walls.There are splendid bars and pubs around. Portsmouth International Port is your gateway to France, Spain, the Channel Isles and the Isle of Wight. It's perfectly positioned just off the M275, providing quick and easy access for ferries, cruise and cargo. The Port is the best-connected in Britain with the most routes to France, Spain and the Channel Islands. If you're considering a hop across the English Channel from Portsmouth to France, you can choose to visit Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre or St Malo. Head a little further on to Spain and you have the choice of Bilbao or Santander. You can also take a much shorter trip on the car ferry from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight. Clocking in at around an hour, this journey is the most frequently run from the port, carrying around three million passengers every year. Portsmouth International Port is also on some of the main cruise routes across Europe, linking the city with numerous others across Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland and Scotland. With the port being slightly smaller in size than that of Southampton, the cruise liners that call in here are small to medium-sized. This provides a more personal and bespoke offering that many passengers appreciate. Of course, the cruise liners are as breath-taking as the cities they visit - with size no indicator of luxury. The port benefits from a new terminal building which has a light and airy feel. This space and comfort adds to the thrill of the holiday and the overall passenger experience. As you'd expect, the main concourse offers everything you'd need whilst you await departure. Alongside the check in area is a Travel Exchange and shop, while up on the mezzanine floor there is a Costa coffee shop and bar. On warm summer days you can enjoy the relaxing outdoor terrace, where you can look out over the Port before setting sail. Portsmouth International Port does more than just holiday excursions - it's also a dynamic commercial port which imports most of the bananas eaten in the UK. Alongside the International Port, regular ferries also run from the south of the city to the Isle of Wight (car ferry, passenger catamaran and hovercraft) and Gosport (passenger only).
The old harbour near the Bridge Tavern:
We retrace our steps. Head south on Bath Square toward Bathing Ln, continue onto West St, turn left to stay on West St, turn right onto Broad St for 160 m. Turn left onto White Hart. Continue along Gunwharf Road (do not turn left to the Spinnaker Tower). In the end of Gunwharf Road - turn LEFT (north) to St. George Road. A brown sigh point left to the Historic Dockyards. Before crossing the Park Street - you see, on your left the Tesco Express supermarket and the Holiday Inn Express hotel. We continue north-west along St George Rd - crossing Victory Rd and College St on our right. Continue along the Hard and the Main street, passing Portsmout Harbour Railway Station on our left.In case you have, at least, free 2 hours to spend in the historic dockyards - better buy all attraction ticket. This gives you access to HMS Warrior, HMS Victory and the Mary Rose and much more besides, including several other notable boats and museums. You can buy an online 'voucher' which you have to exchange for a ticket before gaining entry (https://tickets.historicdockyard.co.uk/WebStore/shop/ViewItems.aspx?CG=PHD&C=AAT). Prices: Adult - £26.40, Child (5 -15 years) - £18.40, Senior (60+) - £23.00, Student - £23.00. As the the prices are quite expensive - allow a lot of time to spend in the dockyards. YOUR TICKET IS GOOD FOR ONE CALENDAR YEAR. It is a wonderful and exceptional experience ! It is a GREAT PLACE and there is so much to see around (and do). Many visitors spend there one or two full days. This is almost a set of different museums which is almost impossible to fully appreciate in one day.
Further, we see, on our left the HMS Warrior and the HMS Mary Rose ships. In a sunny day - you'll see only the silhouettes of these ships. This is only the first part of the Historic Dockyards. The Historic Dockyard is a great place to experience 800 years of naval history surrounded by working docks and historic buildings. HMS Warrior is open: APR - OCT: 10.00 - 17.30, last entry is 17.00. NOV- MAR: 10.00 - 17.00, last entry is 16.30. Prices: Pay once, visit all year. Book online and save 20% (http://www.historicdockyard.co.uk/tickets-and-offers). Adults: £18.00, Concessions and Family Tickets Available. There may be occasions when access to some areas on board Warrior may be restricted or closed to the public for all or part of the day. You can walk around on your own and really explore almost the whole ship. The ship has many different areas of interest and volunteers are always on hand to provide information. A wonderful experience in a sunny day. The fastest, largest and most powerful warship in the world when she was launched. Such was her reputation that enemy fleets were intimidated by her obvious supremacy and deterred from attacking Britain at sea - yet she never fired a shot in anger. ALLOW, AT LEAST 45 minutes, for visiting every ship. Expensive admission prices:
The Mary Rose is a Tudor ship, built in 1510. In service for 34 years. he Mary Rose is the only 16th century warship on display anywhere in the world. The ship was raised from the Solent in 1982. Its dramatic story is now revealed in full inside the purpose-built, award-winning museum, which opened its doors to visitors in May 2013. Sank in 1545. Discovered in 1971. Raised in 1982. Now in the final stages of conservation, it takes her place in a stunning and unique museum. You can now get stunning views of King Henry VIII's one true love from all nine galleries and explore thousands of Tudor treasures. Open: NOV - MAR: 10.00 - 17.00 (last entry 16.15), APR-OCT: 10.00 - 17.30, (last entry 16.45). Closed 24th-26th December. The ship is in its final stage of conservation. Price: Adults £18.00, Concessions and Family Tickets Available. In the adjacent museum you get a unique insight into the life of crew members on a busy warship in 1545, with thousands of atrtifacts, including personal belongings such as wooden bowls, leather shoes, musical instruments and nit combs, and many of the ship’s weapons. AN ABSOLUTELY AMAZING EXPERIENCE !
Entering the main site of the Historic Dockyards - you see, on your right the Action Stations. Action Stations is a high-tech, interactive collection of activities for young and old. housed in Boathouse 6. The boathouse itself was built between 1845 and 1848, and like the technology it now features inside, it was once at the forefront of design and innovation in the Victorian era: it was constructed in the 1840s and was one of the first examples of a brick building erected around an internal metal frame. Enclosed complex with with lots of activities (laser quest, climbing wall, shooting simulators, shooting games, Ninja Force, driving boats, aircraft and tanks) to keep children and adults occupied and challenges. There is an indoor picnic area at the rear of the venue. It is necessary to purchase a Portsmouth Historic Dockyard Site Ticket to use any facility in Action Stations. Open: every day (except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day), APR-OCT: 10.00 - 17.30, NOV-MAR – 10.00 - 17.00:
The most famous attraction in the historic dockyards is the HMS Victory. A wonderful example of a warship, and a great experience. HMS Victory was the flagship of Admiral Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar, in 1805, and was the ship on which he met his death after being shot by a French sniper. Stunningly restored. The ship's colour scheme has been put back to the colours it wore at Trafalgar. It offers a fascinating insight into life at sea for the sailors of the time.Guided tour takes about an hour. Try to avoid hours with school parties. The interiors are quite rough and are difficult to manage. Keep your eyes on every step inside ! It's not a good tour for children , they can fall over and the dark places seem to be upsetting.DO NOT MISS THIS SHIP !
It is 500 m. back to Portsmouth Harbour Railway Station. Head southeast toward Main Rd, slight right onto Main Rd. Main Rd turns slightly right and becomes The Hard. You can turn to the left to the Queen Street, climb for 150-200 m. to have a glance at this complex:
At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Station Approach, turn right, turn left and Portsmouth Harbour will be on the left.
Main Attractions: High Street, Winchester Cathedral, Kingsgate, Winchester College, Wolvesey Palace, St. Cross Hospital, The Great Hall (Winchester Castle), The Gurkha Museum, Peninsula Square, The Westgate, The Guildhall, Abbey Gardens, Statue of Alfred the Great.
Distance: 15 km. Duration: One BUSY day. Weather: Avoid rainy days. There is a section of 2 km. along the Itchen river water meadows.
Introduction: I chose to base at Southampton. Winchester is approximately 100km (62 miles) south west of London, 30.6km (19 miles) south-west of Basingstoke and 22.5km (14 miles) north of Southampton, its closest city. It is an easy, convenient 20-30 minutes ride with the train from Southampton Central station. The city’s location makes it a popular commuter destination, close to the M3 motorway and just one hour from London by train. At the heart of central Hampshire sits the medieval city of Winchester, England’s Ancient Capital. The city has a rich royal heritage and was once home to King Alfred the Great. His heritage is covered in this blog. Winchester is also famous for the legendary Arthurian Round Table. A striking sight, the table has been housed for over 700 years in The Great Hall - the only remaining part of Winchester Castle, once the centre of court and government life. At the centre of the city sits the impressive Winchester Cathedral, which has the longest nave of any Cathedral in Europe. It is here that author Jane Austen was laid to rest and next to her grave is a permanent exhibition dedicated to her memory. Winchester has a popular café culture which is evident around every corner. Food is a popular theme in the city and it hosts the country’s largest farmers’ market. Winchester is a pleasant, easy town to live in. even at night. In the evening visitors can discover the city’s nightlife. The streets come alive once the sun goes down.
1 day in Wincester itinerary:
We exit the Winchester Railway Station through the tunnel with our face eastward to the City Road. After 75 m. we turn RIGHT (south) to the Jewry Street. Walk 320 m. and turn LEFT (east) to the pedestrianized High Street. The city’s medieval roots can be seen along the High Street and the pretty narrow, cobbled streets and historic buildings which adorn the busy High Street. Winchester’s pedestrian High Street is the hub of the city. It stretches from King Alfred’s statue (east end of High Street) up towards the Westgate. Almost immediately, as you enter the H/S, you see the famous clock (the junction with St. Thomas Street, a few steps further on your right) :
The next road to the right (south) is Little Minster St. Here stands the Winchester Buttercross. This is also known as the City Cross. It is a type of market cross associated with English market towns and dating from medieval times. Its name originates from the fact that the Buttercrosses were located at the middle of the past market sites. The fresh produce was laid out and displayed on the circular stepped bases of the cross. The people from neighboring villages would gather to buy locally produced butter, milk and eggs around these monuments. You can find Buttercrosses in all the Cathedral cities in South England. Their design varies from place to place, but they are often covered by some type of roof to offer shelter, although the roofs were mostly added at a much later date than the original cross they cover. The City Cross (Butter Cross) dates back to the 15th century and is now a scheduled ancient monument. The four figures on the Cross are believed to be William of Wykeham, King Alfred, St John the Evangelist, and former mayor, Lawrence de Annehester:
Once the Romans' east to west route through the city, the pedestrianized Winchester High Street is home to a wealth of buildings and shops, many of them with delightful Regency and Elizabethan bow-fronted facades and windows. You can find here many well-known coffee shops and market stalls selling local produce and accompanied with live music. The High Street provides a lively thoroughfare - always been the commercial heart of the town.
Immediately to the right of the Buttercross is an archway and narrow passage leading to Great Minster Street and the famous Winchester Cathedral precincts. Winchester's major landmark is Winchester Cathedral, one of the largest cathedrals in Europe, with the distinction of having the longest nave and overall length of all Gothic cathedrals in Europe. Once the most prominent royal church in Anglo-Saxon England, the Normans asserted themselves in their newly conquered Kingdom to rebuild it in their own style (the vaults of the Crypt are all that remains) before it underwent several changes to become the cathedral you see today. There are 300,000 visitors annually, including pilgrims, tourists, families and school groups.
The cathedral was founded in 642 and the building became known as the Old Minster. It became part of a monastic settlement in 971. Saint Swithun was buried nearby, and, later, in it, before being moved to the new Norman cathedral. THe mortuary chests, inside, said to contain the remains of Saxon kings such as King Eadwig of England, first buried in the Old Minster, and his wife Elfgifu, are in the present cathedral. The Old Minster was demolished in 1093, immediately after the consecration of its successor. The legend of St Swithun (a rather obscure Bishop of Winchester / Saint who performed but one recorded miracle in his lifetime during the 800's) originates in Winchester - according to the legend, the saint's remains were moved against his dying wishes from their final resting place in the grounds of the cathedral to the inner sanctum, whereupon it proceeded to rain for 40 days as a sign of his displeasure. Now, if it rains on the saint's day (15th July), it is said to herald another 39 days of rain !
Important events which took place at Winchester Cathedral include: Funeral of King Harthacanute (1042),
Funeral of King William II of England (1100),
Coronation of Henry the Young King and his queen, Marguerite (1172),
Second coronation of Richard I of England (1194),
Marriage of King Henry IV of England and Joanna of Navarre (1403),
Marriage of Queen Mary I of England and King Philip II of Spain (1554).
Visiting the vast Winchester Cathedral is like stepping back through fifteen centuries of ecclesiastical English history. A place of worship for over 900 years, Winchester's world-famous cathedral is as remarkable for its hidden treasures as it is for its spectacular architecture. Here, in the longest medieval nave in Europe, you will find outstanding works of art alongside the tombs of Jane Austen, Izaak Walton and the early English kings. The Winchester Bible is widely recognized as the finest of all the great 12th century bibles due to its size and illumination, while the equally impressive Sound II statue by Antony Gormley stands in the crypt.
Cathedral Guides offer tours of the Cathedral each hour from 10.00 – 15.00 and tours of the crypt at 10.30, 12.30 and 14.30 from Monday to Saturday. Evensong held at 17.30 Monday – Saturday and 15.30 Sunday. Occasionally the Cathedral may need to close for special services and events. All temporary closures are listed in the Cathedral website. Prices: Adult £7.95, Concession £5.95, Student £4.45, Free entry for children visiting with family. An admission fee has been charged for visitors to enter the cathedral since March 2006. Visitors may request an annual pass for the same price as a single admission. The Cathedral restaurant is an elegant place, beyond the Cathedral Shop and behind an ancient flint wall opposite the Cathedral. It has large terrace with partial Cathedral views and pretty walled garden. Open: APR – DEC: everyday 9.30 – 17.00, JAN – MAR: everyday 9.3 – 16.30. Not cheap.
Exterior: This cathedral is impressively large, the longest not only in England but in Europe as a whole. The exterior, apart from the modified windows, gives the impression of a massive Norman building and indeed, it is the longest medieval church in the world. However, the west front is now Perpendicular, with its huge window filled with fragments of medieval glass.
Northern facade. The brick paths trace the foundations of Old Minster built-in 634 and demolished in 1093:
Western facade. The Gothic window which was destroyed during the English Civil War was rebuilt in 1660 using the shattered glass from around the Cathedral:
The flying buttresses of the Cathedral are a Gothic characteristic of the building. Flying buttresses keep the walls of the nave from bowing outwards:
Interior: Immediately, as you step in towards the main nave - you see the Jane Austen tomb. The novelist Jane Austen died in Winchester on 18 July 1817 and is buried in the cathedral. Her gravestone can be seen on the flooring of the north side of the nave:
Also buried in Winchester Cathedral are the bones of many Saxon kings: King Eadwig of England, first buried in the Old Minster, and his wife Elfgifu, the remains of the Viking conqueror Canute and his wife, Emma, and the remains of William Rufus (William II), son of William the Conqueror. The Kings originally had their own tombs, but in the 1650s Cromwell's men, world class destroyers of churches, smashed them up and threw away the bony contents. Much later, in the late 1520s, bone fragments and other stuff collected by loyal citizens, were distributed amongst six mortuary chests, of which four originals remain (the other two are later replacements):
Mortuary chest on wall, labelled with Canute's name:
Tomb of Cardinal Beaufort:
Mortuary Chests in Lady Chapel:
The soaring Perpendicular Gothic nave of Winchester Cathedral, the longest in England, is the highlight of the building:
The font – the "most famous" of the Tournai fonts (type of baptismal font made from blue black limestone during the 12th and early 13th centuries in and around the town of Tournai in Belgium by local masons) in England is the only font in the cathedral, and you can find it on the north side of the nave. It illustrates scenes from the life of St Nicholas of Myra on two faces, with three roundels of birds on the third and a roundel of a quadreped with birds on either side on the fourth:
Winchester Cathedral is famous for its chantry chapels. A total of seven, all in different styles, were added between the 14th and 16th centuries. This is more than any other English cathedral, reflecting Winchester Cathedral's great power, wealth and royal connections. The two earliest are in the nave. That of William of Edington, Bishop of Winchester 1346-66. Edington served as both Treasurer and Chancellor of England, and was Bishop during the period when the Black Death ravaged England. Edington initiated the remodeling of the nave into its current Perpendicular form, and the triple porch that still fronts the building. His alabaster effigy is one of our finest medieval sculptures:
William of Wykeham's soaring monument was built at the same time as his reconstructed nave:
The remaining four chantry chapels stand in the retrochoir. Cardinal Henry Beaufort (1404-47) chose a site next to the final shrine of St Swithun:
A statue of Joan of Arc was erected when she was canonized as a saint by the Pope in 1923. The statue stands outside the Lady Chapel and faces the Chancery Chapel of Cardinal Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, who condemned her to death by burning at the stake in Rouen in 1431:
On a corresponding position on the north side is the chantry chapel of William Waynflete (1447-86), who was founder of Magdalen College, Oxford:
The chapel of Richard Fox (1501-28) was built during his lifetime, on the south side of the platform behind the high altar. The aged, blind bishop is said to have spent much time here in prayer and meditation. His chapel is a marvelous example of the stone-carver's art. The small statues are modern; the original figures of saints were destroyed at the Reformation. The Bishop's 'cadaver' effigy facing the south aisle reminds the passer-by of the transient nature of life:
On the north side of the platform, Bishop Gardiner's Chantry Chapel is an amazing hybrid of English late Gothic and Continental Renaissance style deriving ultimately from Fontanebleau. Stephen Gardiner (1531-55) was the last important Roman Catholic bishop of Winchester, during the reign of Mary Tudor (Queen Mary I). He officiated at her marriage to Philip of Spain, which took place in Winchester Cathedral. Other, smaller memorials tell their own fascinating story.
Beneath the tower-arch of the north transept of Winchester Cathedral, sits the Chapel of the Holy Sepulcher. It dates from the 12th century:
The recently refurbished 'Fishermen's Chapel' in the south transept is the burial place of Izaak Walton, who died in 1683, and was the author of The "Compleat Angler":
Sir George Gilbert Scott's imposing 19th-century monument to Bishop Wilberforce (son of the social reformer) stands in the south transept:
the choir still has its fourteenth-century wooden choir stalls, with some delightful medieval carving in the paneling. Many of the choir stall seats are misericords - mercy seats - designed to offer support to monks who had to stand through long services. The Winchester collection of misericords is one of the largest in England. The open-work choir screen dates from 1875 and is by Sir George Gilbert Scott. Although Scott based his designs on earlier ones, his work here was criticized at the end of the period:
In the retrochoir, at the far end of the Cathedral, is a beautifully carved female figure known as Ecclesia. This large statue was unearthed in the cathedral grounds and despite the fact that it's head has been lost, it is considered one of the best 13th century carvings in the UK:
The main Victorian work in the cathedral was the restoration of the Great Screen, an ornately carved stone screen behind the high altar. It is a collaborative effort involving such big names as G. F. Bodley, who designed the crucifix; Thomas Nicholls (William Burges's trusted sculptor), who sculpted eight of the central statues, including the Virgin Mary; and the London firm of Farmer & Brindley, which executed the crucifix. Amongst the grand total of fifty-six statues is one of Queen Victoria herself. The Great Screen was finally dedicated in March 1899. Don't miss the choir stalls featuring flowers and plants, owls and monkeys, dragons, knights and green men:
The pious Swithun, Bishop of Winchester in the mid 9th century was originally buried (862) in a humble grave in the open between the tower of St. Martin and the Cathedral Church of the Old Minster in Winchester. This original grave, along with the minster itself, was excavated by Martin Biddle in the 1960s. Today, a modern shrine stands in the usual spot reserved for a saint's relics behind the High Altar: sandwiched between the chantry chapels of Bishops Waynflete and (Cardinal) Beaufort. This was certainly the site of St. Swithun's Shrine at the time of its demolition in 1538:
Tower tour is possible only in very specific times: JAN - MAY, OCT - NOV: WED 14.15, SAT 11.30 and 14.15, JUN - SEP: MON, WED, FRI 14.15, SAT 11.30, 14.15. Duration: 1.5 hours Price: £6. Tickets available from the Entrance Desk. You climb 215 steps to the top of the tower to experience magnificent views across Winchester and the county around. You may access the nave roof with its huge wood beams and see the bell ringing room and the great Cathedral bells. The tour ending on the roof, with magnificent views of the town and surrounding countryside:
The Cathedral's crypt, was and, still is, frequently flooded., It houses a statue by Antony Gormley, called "Sound II", installed in 1986, and a modern shrine to Saint Swithun. The mysterious statue contemplates the water held in cupped hands. Guided tours: MON – SAT at 10.30, 12.30 and 14.30. Duration: 20 minutes Price: Included in admission. Tickets available from the Entrance Desk. During the wet winter months the crypt can flood and, frequently, guided tours are canceled:
The crypt of Winchester Cathedral:
In 1905 a team of about 150 workmen set out to deal with the problematic Cathedral foundations once and for all. The current wooden foundations were rotting away beneath the Cathedral and part of the building was beginning to subside. William Walker, a deep-sea diver, toiled in darkness below the walls of the Cathedral for nearly six years in order to replace the foundations. Near the entrance to the crypt - there is also a bust of William Walker, the deep-sea diver who worked underwater in the crypt between 1906 and 1911 (King George V era), and was, actually saving the whole cathedral, underpinning the nave and shoring up the walls:
The Winchester Cathedral Bible is on show as part of a temporary exhibition in the north transept. It is not possible to see all four volumes of The Winchester Bible. Just one volume is presented to the public. The Winchester Bible is the largest and finest of all surviving 12th-century English bibles. A single scribe wrote out its text in Latin, while In contrast, the illuminations reflect the work of at least six different hands. Although many of the illuminations remain unfinished, the text itself is complete.
As we exit the Cathedral - we head to our next destination: the Pilgrims' School, 3 The Close, Winchester. From the western edge of the Cathedral complex there is an asphalted path - the Dome Alley which leads, for 180 m. south-west to the school, or, ask locals about the best path to. The school hall contains England's oldest surviving wood double hammer-beamed roof, which used to accommodate the pilgrims traveling to the cathedral. Its official date of establishment is unknown but historical records indicate that choristers of Winchester Cathedral's renowned choir have been educated in the Winchester Cathedral's Close as early the 7th century. The school moved to its present site in 1931. The main building, redesigned by Sir Christopher Wren in the 17th Century, is on the site of a former Roman villa, and includes a medieval hall and barn. The Pilgrims' School also educates young choristers of the Winchester College Chapel Choir:
The Pilgrim's School is surrounded by pretty wooden houses. DO NOT MISS them:
From the formal (and closed) entrance to the Pilgrims' School - head west toward Dome Alley, 35 m. Turn left, still along, Dome Alley, 65 m. Continue onto St Swithun St and the Kingsgate is on the left. Kingsgate is one of two surviving medieval gates to the city of Winchester, England (the other is the Westgate - see below). The name was first recorded in 1148. The gate is on, or near, the site of one of the Roman gates to the city, and was the entrance to the royal palace before the Cathedral Close was enclosed in the 10th century. The present gate is probably 14th century, with 18th-century pedestrian walkways. This delightful area of Kingsgate is rich in heritage and charm and is one of the city's best kept secrets. Part of the fabric of the old city walls, the historic streets of this quiet corner of Winchester are best wandered lazily, giving time to browse the old book and print shops and much loved gift shop. We recommend to stop at the Wykeham Arms, an 18th Century coaching inn offering excellent food, log fires and local ales. It is immediately behind the gate, on your left (south):
St Swithun-upon-Kingsgate is a very small church atop the arch of Kingsgate. The interior is very plain, with whitewashed walls and an unadorned wooden ceiling:
Walking around the Cathedral, in the small alleys - residing south-west to south-east from the mighty building is a pure delight:
Opposite Wykeham Arms starts the College Street (from west to east). We take this road and walk along it with our face to the east. In College Street # 8 - Jane Austen died:
College Street, with its views of the medieval wall encircling the cathedral precincts, leads to Wolvesey Palace (see below). From there, tourists can see the remains of a bishop's palace (rebuilt by Wren), pass the ruins of the castle and enjoy the attractive Abbey Gardens, relics of a 9th century abbey founded by King Alfred's wife. It also leads to the King Alfred memorial in Broadway, and to the bridge over the River Itchen:
Continuing walking along this pleasant road and you see, on your right, the complex of Winchester College buildings. Regularly, the college is closed to the public. But, guided tours can be arranged in very specific times, depending on the period of your visit through the year. Please look at their web site: http://www.winchestercollege.org/guided-tours or Tel : +44(0) 1962 621209 or Email : Enterprises@wincoll.ac.uk. The guided tours are quite limited in their scope but include brilliant explanations on a magnificent buildings and grounds. The College is the oldest in the country still on it's original site. Winchester College was founded in 1382 and has a close association with New College in Oxford. Opened in 1394, two of the college's original houses, Flint Court and Chamber Court, have been perfectly preserved, as has Seventh Chamber, the oldest schoolroom in the country. The guided tour includes the chapel (!), dining room & a common room used by the boarders. A new museum was opened in Sept 2016. Do your best to reserve a guided tour and do not miss the college's chapel:
In the end of College street there is a wide pitch with Pilgrim's School children playing there:
In the end of the street we turn left (north), on the further entrance. A tarmac path is leading to the ruins of Wolvesey Palace - the home of Bishop Henry. Wolvesey Castle (Old Bishops' Palace) is an English Heritage property that includes the ruins of what was once a fortified palace and the chief residence of the Bishops of Winchester. In 1554 Queen Mary and Philip II of Spain held their wedding breakfast in the East Hall:
With our BACK to the ruined palace we cross the College Street, continue walk along College Walk, turn right and immediately left and continue walking SOUTHWARD (direct) along the east side of water meadows and river Itchen. It is a 2 km. pleasant walk to St. Cross Hospital. There are signs pointing to the hospital. On our way we cross a road and follow a path leading to Clarendon Way. From this point of St. Cross and St. Faith Meadows (there is a sign) - we have still 800 m. more to the ancient hospital. On your left is the Catharine Hill with its 3rd century fortress overlooking the Winchester town:
Quite probably that you'll feel unsafe in this solitary path. But it is definitely safe. The path along the river is recommended by locals and is the best way to connect the northern parts of Winchester, for pedestrians, with the southern ones. Good chance that you'll meet cyclists or young walkers on your way along the water meadows. At the end of the path there are kissing gates. Turn left to the the ancient St. Cross Hospital.
St. Cross Church (Chapel) (its back side) from the water meadows path:
Formally, called: Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty and situated 2 km. south of Winchester's city center, England's oldest almshouse was founded in 1132 by Henry of Blois, grandson of William the Conqueror, for 13 "poor and pious men". It is the oldest charitable institution in the UK. It is described as "England's oldest and most perfect almshouse. It is also the largest medieval almshouse in Britain. Now, it is a living community of 25 brothers. Brothers must be single, widowed or divorced, and over 60 years of age. Preference is given to those in most need. They belong to either of two charitable foundations: those belonging to the Foundation of the Hospital of St Cross (founded in about 1132) wear black robes with a silver cross and square academic caps; those belonging to the Order of Noble Poverty (founded in 1445) wear red/magenta robes and trencher hats. They are sometimes called the "Black Brothers" and the "Red Brothers". Their homes are grouped around an inner courtyard, entered through a gatehouse. The 15th century Hall of the Brothers and the kitchen, dating from a later period, should be visited, as should the chapel. Upon exiting, visitors can request the traditional Wayfarers' Dole (knocking at the door of the Porters Lodge, and requesting the Dole): this is a horn of beer and a morsel of bread given to any visitor who requests it. You could consider this site a retirement home, perhaps, more than a hospital in the modern sense. In the outer quad there is a Tea Room in the Hundred Men’s Hall. In medieval times up to a hundred poor men from the surrounding area were given food here each day. In fine weather visitors can also take tea and coffee at tables on the lawn. In the spirit of the charity, the tea room is staffed by volunteers, continuing a long tradition of local good will towards the Hospital. Prices: adult - £4.50, concessions - £4:
The site of St Cross Hospital consists of multiple buildings centered around a smaller, outer quadrangle and a larger, inner quadrangle. You enter through the outer gate (which is from the 16th century) and enter the smaller quadrangle. On the south side you’ll see the 100 Man Brewhouse (14th century); to the north is the kitchen and guest wing (15th century). Directly ahead you’ll see the Beaufort Tower, which stands 3-storeys and dates from 1450; the Beaufort Tower used to the quarters for the master of the almshouse. Once you pass under the Beaufort Tower, you have to pay your entrance fee at the Porter’s Lodge. This is also where the Wayfarer’s Dole is given out. Entering the inner quadrangle, you’ll first see the door to the beautiful gardens on your immediate left:
St. Cross Chapel/Church:
Along the north side of the square are the private residences of the brothers in residence. That area is closed off for privacy. The flats for the brethren are quite orderly, and are recognizable by their tall chimneys:
Looking back at the Beaufort Tower and entrance. The door to the kitchens is just to the left of the main portal:
Opposite the private area, and running between the courtyard and gardens, is a timber-frame long gallery. It was only for use by the almhouse master, and is raised on a cloister that was, in the past, open to the courtyard:
The Brethren’s Hall is a decent sized hall with a high ceiling and a wooden beamed roof. It looks like it had for centuries:
The Norman Chapel was started in the 1160´s. It is an amazing example of Norman architecture as it dates from the 12th and 13th centuries. It retains much of its late Norman purity, despite being somewhat altered in the 14th and early 15th centuries:
The cloister, built in the 16th century lead through to some lovely gardens:
St. Cross Almhouse Gardens:
Exiting the St.Cross premises - we head back to Winchester centre. We turn right (north) to St Cross Rd. Immediately, on our left, stands the Bell Inn Pub. A very good solution for our lunch. BUT, it closes at 14.00. No hot meals behind this hour ! Continue to follow St Cross Rd for 2.2 km. and turn right onto High St. This long section of our daily route can be easily replaced with a bus ride. It is boring, noisy and may be walkable only by addicted walkers. Most of the 2.2. km walk is shady. Otherwise - take bus #69 or Bluestar #1 or #1from the Bell Inn to the High Street.Most of the buses stop at the St. Thomas Church (St. Cross Road) and from there it is a 10 minutes walk to the Great Hall.
At the High Street turn LEFT (north) and at the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Romsey Rd. Turn left onto Queens Ct and, again, left (opposite Westgate Pub) onto Peninsula Square. The Great Hall (actually, at Castle Avenue) will be on your left. Winchester Castle is a medieval building which was founded in 1067. Henry III (who was born at Winchester Castle) added the Great Hall between 1222–1235. In 1873 the roof of the Great Hall was completely replaced. Since 1889 Winchester Castle has been the seat of Hampshire County Council whose offices neighbor the Great Hall. Nearby, the excavated remains of the round tower in the medieval city wall can also be seen:
Only the Great Hall had been remained from this castle. It houses a museum of the history of Winchester. The Arthurian Round Table hangs in the Great Hall. The table was originally constructed in the 13th century, and repainted in its present form for Henry VIII. King Henry is depicted as King Arthur and the Tudor rose in the center. Around the edge of the table are the names of King Arthur's knights. According to legend, this is the table around which King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table met, and it has been famous for centuries as a legend. The Great Hall is one of the largest in England, and is certainly the finest of that period to have survived today. Its many features include stained-glass windows, a judges’ gallery and wrought steel gates that were installed in 1983 to commemorate the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer.
Normal opening hours are 10.00 to 17.00. FREE. The Great hall is frequently closed due to municipal or other formal events.
Bronze statue of Queen Victoria sculpted by Alfred Gilbert to commemorate queen's jubilee in 1887:
Winchester Castle Museum - King Arthur picture:
Winchester Castle Museum - King William I picture:
Do not miss the Queen Eleanor Gardens - a recreation of 13th century garden:
Rear of the Great Hall and Queen Eleanor's Garden:
At the edge of the garden there are stairs leading to the exit of the castle. You Head west on Peninsula Square toward Queens Ct and you face the Military Museums area. THe most interesting museum is the Gurkha Museum. Astonishing museum. The Gurkha Museum at Winchester tells the unique story of Gurkha service to the British Crown for 200 years. Gurkha soldiers died in nearly every country in which Britain has fought – silent testament to Gurkha loyalty and courage. This museum is a wonderful tribute to the bravest, the toughest, the most generous, fascinating and kind people on earth. I admire the Nepalese people. It is once-in-life experience. Open: MON - SAT: 10:00 - 17.00. Prices: Adults - £4.00, Concessions - £2.50. Allow, at least - one hour:
The Gurkha Museum and the other military museums are spread around the Peninsula Square. A breathtaking square. The fine buildings surrounding Peninsula Square are now mainly used as residential accommodation, but were military barracks until 1994. The present day gardens were then the parade ground:
You can visit another (FREE) museum like the Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum. Open: 10.00 - 17.00. June, July, August & first two weeks in September: 7 days a week. April, May & first two weeks in June:
MON-SAT. January, February & March: TUE -SAT:
Walking along Romsey Road from west to east - we arrive, again, to the High Street and face another section of Winchester walls. The Westgate is one of two surviving fortified gateways in Winchester (the other is Kingsgate - see above). The gate was rebuilt in the 12th century and modified in the 13th and late 14th centuries. The gate was in use until 1959 when the High Street was routed around it. It was a debtors' prison for 150 years. You can still see the prisoners' graffiti on the walls. There is also a Tudor painted ceiling. There are great views of the city from the Westgate roof. Open: APR - OCT: SAT 10.00 - 17.00, SUN 12.00 - 17.00.
February half term - MAR: SAT 10.00 - 16.00, SUN 12.00 - 16.00. Closed November to February half term:
Our last section of the Winchester day is walking 800 m. along High Street from west to east till The Broadway. The Most eastern end of High Street is the Brooks Shopping Centre:
The High Street continues east as The Broadway. On our right (south) are the Guildhall and the Tourist Information office (closed on Sundays !). The magnificent Victorian building of Winchester Guildhall is one of the largest in Hampshire. Note the imposing double flight of stairs at the front. The building houses the Tourist Information Office, a cafe and meeting/conference rooms for the council and other organizations. There's an up-market pub on its corner.
DO NOT miss the charming Abbey Gardens behind the Guildhall (its back side, more to the south). The Abbey Gardens and Mill are part of the site of St Mary’s Abbey, once one of the largest religious houses in England. In November 1539 the Abbey was surrendered to Henry VIII as part of the Dissolution of the Monasteries and most of the monastic buildings were demolished. The site was subsequently gifted to the City by Queen Mary Tudor to celebrate her marriage to Philip of Spain in the Cathedral in July 1554. The land was later divided into two, the eastern part was occupied by a fine town house and formal gardens that survive today as the Mayor of Winchester official residence and public gardens. The western part of the site was cleared for the City's Guildhall in 1873. Remains of St Mary’s Abbey can be seen at the back of the Guildhall. Now, you can find here Now has formal flower beds, a rose garden, a scented garden and an enclosed children's play area:
Look out from the Abbey Gardens for the bronze statue of Alfred the Great, the most famous King of Wessex, standing proudly in the centre of Winchester, which he had made his capital during his reign:
Return to High St. Walk back 480 m. to the west and turn right onto Jewry St., 320 m. Turn left onto City Rd, 160 m. Slight left and continue onto Station Hill to face the Winchester Railway Station.
Main Attractions: The Cenothaph, Monument to the Engineers of the Titanic, Guildhall, SeaCity Museum, The Bargate, Arundel Tower, Juniper Berry Pub, Western Esplanade, West Hythe Quay and Biddle’s Gate, The Arcades, Blue Anchor Lane, Tudor House, St. Michael's Church, Town Quay, God's House Tower, Holyrood Church.
Duartion: 1/2 - 3/4 day. Weather: Any weather. I did this route during a windy and rainy day. I must admit that the Southampton harbor and bay look totally different (far more gorgeous and attractive) on sunny days ! Distance: 7 km.
Start: The Cenotaph. End: The Bargate (Above Bar Road).
Introduction: I chose Southampton as my base for 8 nights. It is the optimal site for exploring Hampshire, the Cathedral cities, Stonehenge. Southampton, is fairly good base, even, for visiting Bath - due, to the horrible accommodation prices in Bath. The train lines from/to Southampton - are really punctual, convenient, reasonably-priced and efficient. Keep in mind just one rule: find accommodation near the train station. My lodging, for 8 nights, was Rivendell Guest House - 19, Languard Road, Southampton - 10 minutes walk from the Southampton Central station. A wonderful and brilliant choice (see Tip below).
Medieval Southampton was completely enclosed by fortified town walls, large parts of which survive today. For a brief period Jane Austen was at school in Southampton, then a small port at the head of Southampton Water, and although she nearly died of typhus there, this did not deter her from returning more than two decades later. From late 1806 to early 1809 the Austens lived in a house in Castle Square,
We start our route in the Cenothaph. It is the junction of the Commercial Road (west) and the Above Bar Road. We start walking down along the Above Bar Road, with our back to the north, our face to the south, the West Park on our right and the East Park on our left. On our right, in the green space (West Park or Watts Park) is the bulky stone masonry Cenotaph, by Edward Lutyens. The monument was planned to be abstract and graceful, with a perception of a soldier having fallen in a "peaceful" death. This Cenotaph precedes Lutyens', far more famous, monument in Whitehall, London. It was originally dedicated to the casualties of the WW1. But, weather damages to the memorial stone monument led to a glass wall being built alongside it in year 2011, incorporating the names of Southampton citizens who died in subsequent wars and conflicts. The glass panels list 3,298 names of people killed serving in the two world wars and subsequent conflicts:
Nearby, across Above Bar Road, the park continues on your left (it is called East Park), with at the corner the excellent Monument to the Engineers of the Titanic (15 April 1912): a granite construction with bronze panels to left and right of a ship's prow, showing two engineer crew members on deck. Central and above, a large bronze angel with wings, wreaths and exceptional drapery and figure. Joseph Bell was the Chief Engineer Officer on the RMS Titanic. His staff consisted of 24 engineers, 6 electrical engineers, two boilermakers, a plumber and a clerk. None survived the sinking. In total 1,523 people died on the Titanic in this ill-fated voyage. The memorial was designed by Whitehead and Son. The granite memorial monument was originally unveiled on 22 April 1914. The event was attended by an estimated 100,000 Southampton residents. The impact of the disaster was felt all around the world, but nowhere more so than in Southampton:
150 m. down the Above Bar Road, on our right starts the Cultural Quarter. An area alive with arts, heritage, entertainment, events, music, colour and dramatic architecture. Notable sites include the Guildhall Square,Southampton City Art Gallery, The Guildhall, Mayflower Theatre, City Library and Archives, BBC South Broadcasting House, and the historic city centre parks.
First, we see the Southampton Solent University Conference Centre, 157-187 Above Bar Street - Southampton main site setting for conferences and exhibitions:
Next, a bit further southward, is the Cultural Quarter or Civic Centre. It hosts the SeaCity Museum, council offices, the Guildhall venue, the well-endowed city art gallery, and the city library.
The Central Library:
Southampton City Art Gallery: FREE to enter and conveniently located right next to SeaCity Museum, the venue caters for families. You can enjoy gallery trails through the exhibitions, monthly art clubs and a fantastic range of activities for all ages. Open: MON - FRI: 10.00 - 15.00, SAT: 10.00 - 17.00.
Lady Darling, circa 1882 by John Collier (1850–1934):
The Captain's Daughter (The Last Evening) by James Tissot (1836–1902):
The Second Visit by Howard Hodgkin (b.1932):
From the Above Bar Road we see the east wing of the Guildhall. Work on the Guildhall (the east wing) began in March 1934. The Guildhall was intended as a social location for municipal functions. The Guildhall was opened on 13 February 1937.
The Guildhall (east wing), with colonnaded façade:
The west wing, originally courts, now hosting SeaCity Museum, and the monumental clock tower also holding many council offices:
The south wing of the civic centre, containing mostly council offices:
The city’s new maritime attraction, SeaCity Museum, tells the story of the people of the city, their fascinating lives and historic connections with Titanic and the sea.It continues to attract hoards of visitors to the city. Featuring a number of exhibitions including a major Titanic exhibition, the museum will be a lasting legacy to the fateful Titanic ship. As the port from which the 1912 White Star liner Titanic set sail, Southampton is at the very heart of the Titanic story. Many lives and families were affected by the tragedy. You can see the 1:25 scale interactive model of the ship, experience the ‘Disaster Room’, and immerse yourself in the 1930s court room which depicts the Inquiry held in London after the disaster. It is the Titanic story which makes a visit particularly worthwhile. The museum was opened on the centenary of the Titanic in April 2012. Open: daily, 10.00 – 17.00. Prices: Adults: £8.50, Concessions: £6.00. You can enjoy the museum café without needing to pay for admission to the rest of the building. The café is located on the ground floor:
The impressive Guildhall Place, a pedestrianized walkway that links Guildhall Square to East Park and Above Bar Road has been just reopened in 2016:
On our way down (south) along Above Bar Road - we can dine in various restaurants, cafe's or eateries. The Art House, 178 Above Bar Street, Southampton - an Art Cafe' is a very good option: tasty, very special place, atmospheric, organic veggie food, fantastic cakes, excellent coffee, cultural clientele. For the Sunday dinner - you must order a place well in advance. Jacket potato with small salad: £4. No gluten menu (Falafel Salad: £8). Open: TUE - SAT: 10.00 - 22.00, SUN: 12.00 - 17.00. Closed: Mondays. Another reasonably-priced and filling option, a bit further south, on your left, is Nando's, at WestQuay Shopping Centre, Food Terrace (2nd floor), West Quay Shopping Centre.
Our way from north to south along Above Bar Road is dotted with many parks on our right and left. We start with the East Park (Andrews Park) and West Park which are particularly attractive.
We continue with the Houndwell Park and Palmerston Park. So plenty of green spaces here ! The parks date back to the Middle Ages and beyond when they were outside the walls of the city and were used for strip farming. Palmerston park, on your left (east) is absolutely beautiful with all its flowers and plants and at night it has gorgeous rope lights illuminating it. It is full with camellias, rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias. Hydrangeas and various summer flowering bulbs extend the flowering season into the summer. You can find, here, the statue of former Prime Minster the 3rd Viscount Palmerston. It was unveiled on 2 June 1869, four years after Palmerston’s death in 1865:
Houndwell Theme Park lies to the south of Palmerston Park and is separated by Pound Tree Road:
We continue southward when the Marlands Shopping Centre is on our right (and, later, the West Quay Shopping Centre) and the Palmerston Park is , still, on our left. At last, in the end of Above Bar Road, in the centre of the street, is one of Southampton's medieval constructions, the Bargate, associated with the city's defensive walls, much of which survive. Although Southampton was ruthlessly bombed during the last war, some ancient relics survived, including the famous Bargate, which once served as the main gateway to the city at the northern end. The gate was once the site of town council meetings, the local court, and road toll collectors. Constructed in Norman times as part of the Southampton town walls, the Bargate was the main gateway to the city. Two lions rampant in lead, with inscription on base dated 1892 noting replacement of 1743 pedestals. The two lead lions are said to protect the city and the original Norman arch dates back to about 1175, with the tower being added a century later. The far side of the gate has carved heads in poor condition adorning the sides of the windows, and centrally placed, a statue of George III in Roman costume of Hadrian (modelled after the British Museum statue and emplaced after 1809). To the left (looking back at the statue) a city wall walk begins, but we shall see it later. Looking over the parapet is a nicely posed modern bronze statue John le Fleming (1991) by Anthony Griffiths. The northern side of the gate is under massive constructions:
Here, starts the old town, surrounded by walls, which has over 90 listed buildings and more than 30 ancient monuments,Georgian houses and hotels. Southampton still retains England's second-longest stretch of surviving Medieval wall (the longest is in York). These huge stone walls were first built to defend the town from attack by land, and then extended to protect it from sea-borne enemies, following the devastating
French raid of 1338. Although earlier Roman and Anglo-Saxon settlements around Southampton had been fortified with walls or ditches, the later walls originate with the move of the town to the current site in the 10th century. GuIded Walks: Southampton Tourist Guides Association offer guided walks on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year, starting from the Bargate at 11.00, £3, under 16s free.
With our face southward, we turn right (west) to Bargate Street. On our left the old town walls and Arundel Tower. On our right the West Quay mall. It was originally known as Corner Tower. In the 14th century it was renamed after Sir John Arundel, governor of Southampton Castle 1377-39. Arundel tower may be also named after hirondelle, the magical horse of sir Bevois, one of the mythical founders of Southampton. legend has it that hirondelle (‘swallow’ in French) was so named because he could out-fly swallows. When Sir Bevois died the horse flung himself from the tower in sorrow. Unfortunately access to the bridge is closed at the moment so you miss the interesting larger-than-life statue of early mayor Le Fleming peering over the wall:
Arriving to the end of Bargate Street - we turn LEFT (south) to Castle Way. On our right signpost indicating the location of the past Castle Gate. Rising high above the town walls stood Southampton castle. Built after the Norman conquest of 1066, the king and his court would stay here on their way to France. After gradually falling into disrepair the castle
was rebuilt in 1805, but demolished 10 years later. Walk 160 m. south along Castle Way and turn right in the 2nd turn, Castle Lane. Turn left onto Castle Square and you see a gorgeous Tudor wooden house, the Juniper Berry Pub (and lodging) on your right. Following her father George's death in January 1805, Jane Austen, her mother and sister Cassandra eventually settled in Southampton, where they stayed until mid-1809. In March 1807 they took a house in Castle Square, on the site of the present Juniper Berry Pub. This pub is stunning on the outside but a typical English pub on the inside:
We walk along Castle Lane until its western end. With the Juniper Berry on our left, We descend the stairs in the end of the path and we turn LEFT (south) to the Western Esplanade. Walking southward along the Western Esplanade, we cross, on our left, the splendid Simnel Street with many, charming red-bricked houses. In the mid 1700s, doctors prescribed salt water bathing as a cure for many illnesses, and Southampton became a fashionable place to visit. This area was home to
Mr Martin’s Baths and the assembly rooms:
Immediately, behind the Simnel Street - we see, on our left the most beautiful section of Southampton walls: West Hythe Quay and Biddle’s Gate and, Later, the Arcades. in medieval times, this was a bustling waterfront lined with the houses of wealthy merchants. After the French raid in 1338, the merchants were forced to move and the walls of their houses were blocked up to create the town walls. You can still see the outlines of the medieval doorways and windows.
The Arcades form part of the surviving west walls and are a unique feature in England; their closest architectural equivalent are in Rouen, France. The West Gate still stands three storeys high and was originally defended by two portcullises; the windows on the west side of the gate are the original medieval designs. Along the south side of the walls one of the twin towers protecting the South Gate still stands, largely intact. The Arcades form part of the surviving west walls and are a unique feature in England; their closest architectural equivalent are in Rouen, France. The West Gate still stands three storeys high and was originally defended by two portcullises; the windows on the west side of the gate are the original medieval designs:
Several steps further south and we cross, on our left, the Blue Anchor Lane. Blue Anchor Lane led from the medieval quayside into the town and the market in St. Michael’s Square. the stone arch forms part of the town walls. The portcullis slot is still visible. The Blue Anchor Lane slides it’s way down a steep incline alongside the Tudor House towards the quayside, that in Medieval times, would have been just outside the city walls. The Blue Anchor Lane ran from the market square outside St. Michael’s church to the waterfront via the Postern Gate, one of Southampton’s original seven gates. It was used to carry goods from the quayside up to the market square. The carters would have piled onto their carts all manner of imported goods and worked hard against the gradient to deliver them to the market place in front of St Michael's church. In the late medieval period the lane was called Lord’s Lane.
It was renamed in the 18th C after the Blue Anchor Inn which was located in the lane:
We shall climb up east along the Blue Anchor Lane and end up with the Tudor House and St. Michael's Square on our right and St. Michael's Church in front of us.
St. Michael’s Square is dominated by the iconic Tudor House. This square was once the location of Westgate Hall. Wool was stored upstairs, and a fish market was held beneath. In 1634 the hall was dismantled and
rebuilt next to Westgate. Paving slabs show where it once stood. The Tudor House, a timber-framed building facing St Michael’s Square was built in the late 15th Century, with King John’s Palace, an adjacent Norman house accessible from Tudor House Garden, dating back a further 300 years. Tudor House gives a unique and atmospheric insight into the lives and times of both its residents through the years, and of Southampton itself. the existing Tudor House and Garden that is seen today traces its roots back to around 1495 AD, when Sir John Dawtry, an important local official, had the building constructed from those houses which previously stood here. Open: TUE - FRI 10.00 - 15.00, SAT - SUN 10.00 - 17.00. Closed Mondays. Prices: Adult: £5.00, Child 5 and over: £4.00, Child under 5: free, Concessions: over 60s and students: £4.00. Tudor House and Garden & SeaCity Museum: Adult: £12.00, Concession: £9.00:
The St. Michael's Church occupies the east side of St. Michael's Square off Bugle Street. St. Michael's Church is the oldest building still in use in the city of Southampton, England, having been founded in 1070, and is the only church still active of the five originally in the medieval walled town. Worth a visit, a lovely and welcome place: fine stained glass and a good modern wood carving. It is frequently closed and opening times clarification on line is hard to find:
We end our visit in the Blue Anchor lane and return west (left) to the Western Esplanade, continuing walking southward. After 75 m. of walk we see on our left, the Westgate - another medieval gate to the city (nowadays - Westgate Hall). On our right are the Grand Harbour and Holiday Inn hotels. The Westgate includes the relocated timber framed Medieval Cloth Hall which was relocated to this site:
Near the Pig in the Wall Pub (and small hotel), we pop into the walls and return walking southward along the Western Esplanade:
After 200 m. in the Western Esplanade we arrive towards the Town Quay and the docks. Here, we turn northward to the High Street. Here, stands the Town Quay. During the 1400s, wool was the single largest export from the town. The wool house was built to store wool right on the quayside. The town mayor, Thomas Middleton, built a large crane next to it for moving heavy cargo. Houses along the esplanade and the quay are very special looking (note the Ennio's restaurant/hotel building). This section of our route offers lovely views to the sea, and cruise liners, passing ferries and container ships with tugs:
In the intersection of Town Quay and High Street - we enter, with our face to the east, onto Winkle Street to see, on our left the wall and the God's House. God's House Tower is a late 13th century gatehouse into the old town of Southampton. It stands at the south-east corner of the town walls and. The complex was named after nearby God's House Hospital, although it has many alternative names including the South Castle. In the past, it permitted access to the town from the Platform and Town Quay. An original simple gatehouse was built in the late 13th century and in the early 14th century it was extended to its current dimensions. At the same time a large room, possibly a guard room, was built above the gateway. The great tower at the eastern end of the building and the adjoining gun platform were built in the 15th century to strengthen the gate's flank defences. The tower was also called Mill Tower (or Mill House) from the tidal mill installed at its east extremity and worked by the waters of the town moat. It housed the city Museum of Archaeology (opened to the public in 1961 and then closed in September 2011). Tower House, which adjoins the gateway to the west, was built in the 19th century, replacing an earlier building. In 2012, it was occupied by "a space arts", providing studio space for "emerging" artists. Opposite the gateway, in Winkle Street, is the only other remaining substantial part of the original hospital, the Church of St. Julien. Just outside the gate is the Old Bowling Green, the oldest bowling green in the world which dates back to at least 1299.
Try to walk as east as possible in Winkle Street and find the way to turn LEFT (north) in the Lower Canal Walk (the extensive, a bit hidden, Queen's Park is on your right). In the end of this road, slightly turn left, again to Briton Rd. to see another section of the walls - opposite Friary House (former Franciscan priory). We continue walking west (left) aling Briton Street until it meets the High Street. Here, we turn right (north) and walk along High Street. After 160 m. - we see on our right (east) the northerern wall of the destroyed Holyrood Church. Several churches were within walking distance of Castle Square, including the Holyrood Church in the High Street, right at the centre of the medieval town. Built in 1320, the church was destroyed by the Nazi bombing during the blitz in November 1940. In 1957 the shell of the church was dedicated as a memorial to the sailors of the Merchant Navy. Southampton lost seven churches during the blitz, as well as the nearby Audit House, the Ordnance Survey offices and many shops, factories and homes. During the night of 30 November 1940, when the church was destroyed, 214 people were killed in Southampton and nearly 500 properties were totally destroyed. The only parts of the church still standing are the tower at the south-western corner and the chancel at the eastern end, together with large parts of the north walls. The wooden spire was lost as was the great west window, whilst the central area of the church was completely destroyed. Among the memorials inside the ruin is one to the crew of the Titanic, most of whom came from Southampton. Inside the church, under the tower is a memorial fountain, erected in 1912–13 for those who lost their lives in the sinking of the Titanic ship. The fountain is supported on four stone columns, with a curved pediment on each side with carvings depicting the "Titanic", surmounted by a four-columned cupola. The artist metal worker, Charles Normandale created a series of wrought iron metal screens, gates and railings for the Chancel and Titanic Memorial Fountain. The chancel, now with a glass roof, and nave are used for temporary exhibitions and musical events. The whole edifice is dedicated to the men of the Merchant Navy and hosts the annual Merchant Navy Day memorial service. In the corner of the former nave is an anchor (bearing the name of Cunard shipping company, behind which is a plaque bearing the legend:
"The church of Holyrood erected on this site in 1320 was damaged by enemy action on 30 Nov 1940. Known for centuries as the church of the sailors the ruins have been preserved by the people of Southampton as a memorial and garden of rest, dedicated to those who served in the Merchant Navy and lost their lives at sea".
Walking further northward along High Street - brings you to the Above Bar Road and to the Bargate. It is 1 mile (1.6 km.) walking to our start point - the Cenotaph.
Main Attractions: Lamb & Flag Pub, Museum of Natural History & Pitt-Rivers Museum, Oxford University Parks, Wadham College, New College, Covered Market, Exeter College.
Start and End: Ashmolean Museum - City Centre. Circular Route discovering several green areas ans sites connected with nature. Distance: 3-4 km. Duration: 1 day. Weather: ideal route for days with rain in the 1st half of the day. Distance: 4 km.
Leave the museum by the main entrance. Head east on Beaumont St. toward St Giles. At the traffic lights you need to go straight
across to the opposite side of St Giles. Use the pedestrian crossings and take care. Once on the opposite side, turn left up (north) St. Giles. Outside the main entrance to St John’s College there is a raised area under several plane trees. The St John's college – is named after St. John the Baptist. The plane trees line this wide road (claimed to be the widest in the UK). The plane tree is very tolerant of urban pollution which is why it is found throughout central London and other cities in temperate regions.
Walk 160 m. north and turn right to the Lamb & Flag Passage. On your right is the Lamb & Flag Pub. The lamb (in the pub's name) represents the lambs which were highly-valued possessions in ancient, Biblical Judaism and were sacrificed to God in order to request forgiveness
of sins. The lamb and flag had therefore become the symbol of St John the Baptist. The Lamb and Flag was also the symbol of one of the orders of knights or crusaders - the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. This order of knights was formed after the capture of Jerusalem in 1099. The order
provided hospitals and shelter for pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land, took care of knights who had been injured or were suffering from diseases and had military units who fought in almost every battle of the Crusades. St John's College took over the management of this pub in 1997, and now uses all pub profits to fund scholarships for graduate students. It is believed that Thomas Hardy wrote much of his novel Jude the Obscure in this pub. The pub also featured in the British TV detective drama series 'Inspector Morse'. Note the chestnut tree - immediately behind the pub, along Lamb & Flag Passage. The pub is recommended for its Beers:
Lamb & Flag Passage continues as the Museum Road. Cross the Parks Road (at the crosswalk), turn left - and on your right is the entrance to the Museum of Natural History & Pitt-Rivers Museum. These are two different museums in one visit. The entrance to the Pitt Rivers Museum is through the Oxford University Museum Natural History (OUMNH) on Parks Road. Visitors need to walk across the ground floor of the OUMNH to reach Pitt Rivers displays. Open: OUMNH - daily, 10.00 - 17.00, FREE. Pitt Rivers Museum: MON 12.00 (!!!) - 16.3, TUE-SUN 10.00 - 16.30 (annoyingly closings 30 minutes before the Natural History Museum), FREE. The two museums are located in an elongated Victorian Gothic building. The building itself is a gem. The Museum of Natural History houses the Oxford University's zoology, entomology, palaeontology, and mineral collections. It is a great learning experience for children and adults alike! The OUMNH is recommend especially if you have children with lots of activities provided to keep them interested. The exhibitions are well laid out and provide great opportunity to see and touch sciences.
The Pitt Rivers Museum, its counterpart next door, holds one of the world’s finest collections of anthropology and archaeology from all the continents and from throughout human history. Both of the museums are fully wheelchair accessible and child friendly. Make sure that you have plenty of time (at least 3 hours) to see the contents of both of the museums. Loads to see for both adults and children - but, I am afraid, children might be bored with the Pitt Rivers Museum. Both museums are ideal for wet days.
In front of the OUMNH stands a memorial stone column commemorating the 'Great Debate', in Oxford, on 30 June 1860, seven months after the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, between the Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce, and the biologist, Thomas Huxley. They debated Darwin’s idea of evolution and natural selection in front of a vocal crowd of 500 people. Darwin’s idea of evolution went against the commonly-held view that God was in control of creation. Even today, 156 years later the debate between evolution and creation continues. You can also find a statue of Darwin inside the museum:
The main atrium of OUMNH is spectacular. Its main attraction are several dinosaur skeletons in the centre and is surrounded by cabinets full of curious artifacts (fossils, minerals, insects and animals) and packed with information. There is a balcony all around the central atrium that has more items of interest and also a small cafe. Note: It can get a bit hot inside during sunny days, due to the glass roof.
Edmontosaurus annectens, Dinosaur, S. Dakota:
Granite - 2,700,00,000 years old:
Humpback Whale Skull:
OUMNH 2nd floor. The Museum's striking glass and iron roof, soaring above the specimens, is a source of fascination to visitors:
Wandering Albatross - a legendary bird:
The remains of the Dodo at Oxford are one of the greatest treasures of the Museum:
Life cycle of Nezara Viridula:
Temporary exhibition: Upper East Gallery, from 18 March to 29 September 2016. Kurt Jackson: Bees (and the odd wasp) in my Bonnet. This exhibition brings together paintings, sculpture and Museum collections to explore the diverse and beautiful world of bees. Kurt Jackson's art is a celebration of the natural world. Recently he has been inspired by the bees he encounters at home in Cornwall and across the UK. Apis, Kurt Jackson, 2015:
Through the back of the hall is the Pitt Rivers Museum which is full of glass cabinets bursting and packed with curiosities from around the world that were, first, collected by the Lt. Pitt Rivers and extended after his donation of his private collection. OUMNH is nature, Pitt Rivers is Anthropological.
'Human Form in Art' Gallery. PRM dedicates an extensive gallery to Figurative Art. For thousands of years, the form and meaning of body decoration has been an expression of a particular culture – for aesthetic reasons, to identify kinship groups, for performance or for ceremony. Note: the lighting is a bit dim, even dark sometimes, but once you become used to it, it does rather add to the mysterious atmosphere. A bit tough to walk through and around the huge glass cabinets and observe in the darkness. The fact that the Pitt Rivers Museum is still laid out in its original Victorian pattern makes the museum an exhibit in itself and adds to its charm. The various collections are arranged by function or theme (food, clothes, toys, weaponry, medicine, religion) rather than geographically.
Hindu deity: Janrath (right), his Sister, Sibhadra (centre), his brother Balabhadra (left), Orissa, India:
Dance Mask - Papua New Guinea:
Plaited raffia mat with Lizard design, Cameroon:
11 metres Haida Gwii Totem Pole, Canada, Queen Charlotte Islands:
The shrunken heads:
A bottle with a witch:
Exiting the couple of the museums - we turn right (north) and walk 200 m. along Parks Rd. On our left (west) is Keble College (under massive constructions). Keble is one of the larger colleges of the University of Oxford. Keble College was established in 1870, having been built as a monument to John Keble - an English churchman and poet, one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement (a movement, which argued for the reinstatement of some older Christian traditions of faith and their inclusion into Anglican theology). The main building of Keble College is the distinctive brick complex in Parks Rd. - designed by Butterfield:
After 200 m. we turn right and enter the Oxford University Parks. The University Parks are bordered in the east by River Cherwell, in the nort side by Norham Gardens, by the north-east with a small plot of land (Mesopotamia) sitting between the upper and lower levels of the river. Parks Road to the west and with the Science Area on South Parks Road to the south. The quite extensive space was originally owned by Merton College, was purchased by the University in the 1850s and was first laid out as a Park for sports and recreational purposes in 1864 - first, for university members and, later, for the public. The park is open to the public almost every day of the year from 07.45 until dusk (the only exception being Christmas Eve) and boasts a choice of walks, a large collection of trees and plants and space for sports and picnics:
Clifford Circus was stationed in the western entrance during June 2016:
Since, we entered the parks from the Parks Rd. - we start with the West Walk section of the parks. The west, north and Lucas sections contain, mainly, flowering perennial shrubs and distinctive, impressive trees. Diverse specimens of trees display gorgeous golden, purple, grey and green colours of foliage. There are also many many brightly coloured flowers. A must visit place for nature lovers. An absolute pastoral heaven. Note: you are not allowed to enter with a bike !! No cycling !! ALLOW, at least, TWO HOURS FOR WALKING AROUND THE PARKS: West Walk, North Walk, Riverside Walk, Lucas Walk and South Walk. Note: after completing the riverside (eastern side) walk - you arrive to a T junction. Take the RIGHT leg - leading to Lucas Walk and the southern section of the walk.
West and North Walks:
Cedars in the West Walk :
You find the Giant Sequoias (Wellingtonias) (which were very fashionable in the Victorian period) in the meeting point of the West and North Walks:
The North Walk is characterized with numerous types of local and overseas trees: Aleppo Pine, American Smoke Tree, HimaItalian Maple, Oriental Plane, Serbian Spruce, Turkish hazel, Valonia Oak,
North Lodge of the University Parks:
The North Walk is characterized with numerous types of local and
Pond with Ducks:
Most of the Parks area is along (east to) the Cherwell river. South to the cement bridge - there is a grassland area which lies between two branches of the Cherwell river. It is known as 'Mesopotamia' after the area between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers - the cradle of human civilization.
Riverside Walk (along river Cherwell:
Leave the Parks at South Lodge and turn right and walk WEST along South Park Rd crossing: St. Cross Rd., Sherard Rd.,(on your left the Plants Science buildings with green windows and, later, on your left the Chemistry buildings), Mansfield Rd. On your left also the Rhodes Building - a green-domed building. Built in memory of Cecil Rhodes, an alumnus of the university and founder of De Beers diamond Company in South Africa. In 1931, Albert Einstein delivered a series of three lectures at Rhodes House:
Arriving to the cross-lights - turn LEFT (south) to Parks Rd. After 70 m. walk in Parks Rd. yous see, on your left, the Wadham College. In term time the Wadham College is open to visitors from 13.00 to 16.15. Out of term the college is open from 10.30 to 11.45 and 13.00 to 16.15. FREE. Only the Front Quad, Fellows' Garden and the Chapel are open to the public. Wadham College was founded in 1610 by Dorothy Wadham, according to the will of her late husband Nicholas Wadham, a member of an ancient Somerset family.
Statues of the founders (Dorothy and Nicholas Wadham) above the main entrance to the College:
The Main Hall:
The gorgeous Wadham College Chapel:
Back Quad with its cute buildings around:
Continuing south along parks Road - you arrive to the junction of: Parks Rd., Holywell Street, Broad Street and Catte Street. Here you face the peculiar Indian Institute with the animals carvings on the walls. Some animals (elephants, monkeys, tigers) are important in the Hindu religion. The Indian Institute was established in year 1875 in purpose to promote Indian studies at the Oxford University - when India was the crown jewel in the British empire:
Continue south along Catte Street and passing through the Bridge of Sighs (See: "Oxford - Day 2 - Part 1" blog). Immediately, turn LEFT (east) to New College Lane. On your left take the St. Helen's Passgge (with 40 cm. width...). St. Helen's Passage continues as Bath Pl. Here I met graduates of one of the local colleges, celebrating completion of their exams and year of study, half-drunk and full with confetti:
Turn right onto and continue along Holywell St. and after 150 m. the entrance to the New College will be on your right. Open: From mid- March to mid-October 2016: from 11.00 to 17.00, price: £4 adult; £3 concessions. Admission includes free map and guide. Other dates: !4.00 -16.00, daily, FREE.
It is called New College from the time of its completion in 1379. This gives an indication of how old and how much history there is in Oxford.
Inner Quadrangle. This cloistered quad has remained unchanged for six hundred years:
The Cloisters are also very interesting with statues of a variety of Saints and plaques dedicated to former patrons and alumni of the New College:
St. Edward the Confessor:
Opposite the entrance gate, in the other side of the Main Quad - there stairs leading to the Main Hall. The dining hall is full of history and with many pictures of Bishophs and Alumni:
picture of Bishoph of Winchester:
The college has beautiful gardens and chapel. The Chapel is just superb. Such wonderful craftsmanship, all done by hand. A few windows, in the chapel, were designed by Joshua Reynolds. The gardens, dominated by the old city walls, are beautiful and would be a peaceful place to sit and read or walk around:
New College Canopies:
New College Chapel:
Several scenes of Harry Potter films took place here: inside the cloisters and around the giant oak tree.
It is time to eat. So, we head to the Covered Market, 650 m. from the New College. Head west on Holywell St toward Mansfield Rd, 160 m., turn left onto Catte Street, 10 m., turn right onto Broad Street, 70 m., slight left to stay on Broad Street, 105 m. Turn left onto Turl Street, 110m. Turn right onto Market St, 80 m. the The Covered Market of Oxford is on your left.
The building dates back to the 1770’s. Most of the shops or the businesses are, here, for generations. Open: MON-SAT: 8.00 – 17.30, SUN: 10.00 – 16.00. Part of the stalls are closed on Sundays. Sassi Thai offers a range of delicious Thai dishes and Thai ingredients. Its a small, simple eatery, with limited, but enough choices. Dishes are available to eat in or takeaway. It costs just £5-6 for rice and a choice of one Thai dish, or for £1 more you get the choice of an additional dish. Very few seats and it's almost always busy. Very popular with locals:
Another well-famed option is Ben's Cookies. This is THE place to get a sweet snack in oxford. Always delightful, delicious, fresh and... sweet. You are attracted by and cannot stand the smell of baking.
We continue walking north-east in the Market Street. Walk 80 m. and turn left onto Turl Street. Turn right onto Brasenose Ln and after 50 m. the Exeter College will be on your left. The Exeter College is one of three in Turl Street running between Broad Street and the High Street. The College is typical of the smaller Oxford Colleges. It has beautiful architecture. The first courtyard you enter has the Hall to the right and the chapel to the left:
The Exeter College Quad was where the fictional Detective Morse character suffered a heart attack and collapsed in the final episode of the series, while Requiem being sung in the chapel:
It has a charming Fellow's Garden to the back with a Mound, situated at the end of the Garden, which offers unobstructed views over Radcliffe Square, including All Souls College and the Radcliffe Camera:
The chapel has a dramatic spire and the interior hall is very atmospheric and retains wonderful medieval feel:
Just inside it on the left is the bust of J.R. Tolkien. It is a little high up and easily missed:
This is one of the most famous tapestries produced by the influential William Morris workshop, depicting the Adoration of the Magi. The tapestry was commissioned in 1886 for the chapel of Exeter College, Oxford, and created to a design by Edward Burne-Jones. Morris and Burne-Jones were former students at Exeter College. The original tapestry was commissioned in 1886 by John Prideaux Lightfoot, rector of Exeter College, Oxford, for the Gothic revival chapel built for the college in the 1850s by George Gilbert Scott. The tapestry proved so popular that another nine versions were made, each with a different border design. The original tapestry still hangs in the college chapel:
Exeter College was originally founded in 1314 by Devon-born Walter de Stapledon, Bishop of Exeter, as a school to educate clergymen. associated with a number of notable Alumni people, including the writer J. R. R. Tolkien. The Fellows' Garden (see above) is reputed to be where Tolkien first saw the Hobbit.
From Exeter College and Turl Street we turn left onto Broad St, 130 m. We turn right onto Magdalen St., 125 m. We are already in Oxford very centre. Turn left onto Beaumont St., 75 m. and we face the main entrance of the Ashmolean Museum.
Continuation of "Oxford - Day 2 - Part 1" blog.
Part 2 - High Street: from St. Mary Church to Magdalen Bridge.
Main Attractions: High street, Queen's College, St. Edmund Hall, Magdalen College, Magdalen Bridge and Boathouse, University of Oxford Botanic Garden.
Start: High Street, St. Edmund Hall End: High Street, the Botanic garden. Duration: 4-5 hours.
With our back to the Radcliffe Camera and our face to the St. Mary Church we walk southward from Radcliffe Square - heading to the High Street. There, we turn LEFT (EAST) and the rest of our second day in Oxford is devoted to the High Street section between St. Mary Church and Magdalen Bridge. Our direction of walk is from west to east. A small section of 700 m. of High Street - but full with colleges, green areas, water and... history. The real retreat for hungry stomachs lie in the eastern end of High Street - where it diverges into St. Clement Street and Cowley Road: full with budget and quality restaurants and cafe's. In part 1 we recommended on 2 restaurants: Greyhound and Nando's - located, respectively, in these two roads. Geographically, this area of eateries lies in THE END of our route. Another good option: dine at the Queen's Lane Coffe House. They have Grills Menu, traditional British hot portions.
Leaving Radcliffe Square and walking EASTWARD along High Street. The first road to our left is the Queen's Lane and the first college on our left (north side of High Street) is the Queen's College. Its entrance is from Queen's Lane:
Usually, closed to the public. You can appoint a visit through the local tourist information office. FREE. The College Chapel holds a number of public services, and during term there are frequent public concerts and recitals - these are your opportunities to sample this wonderful classic-style college. They have regular recitals on Wednesdays during term time. There's an excellent college choir as well. Choral Evensong at 18.15 on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. This college is unique: unlike its Gothic-style neighbours, Queen's is a stunning example of classical architecture. The Chapel is magnificent and has one of the finest organs in Oxford.
The Upper Library at Queens College:
Dining Hall - Queen's College:
Opposite, at the east side of Queen's Lane is the entrance to St.Edmund Hall:
St Edmund Hall (commonly referred to as of "Teddy Hall"). Its estimated date of founding is year 1236. The college claims to be "the oldest academical society for the education of undergraduates in any university". The college has a reputation for being a informal, young, vibrant, friendly college with a wide range of extra-curricular strengths in areas such as creative writing, drama, sport and music. The main building of "Teddy Hall" is the only medieval academic Hall to still be called such (instead of 'college'). Teddy Hall got college status in 1957.
Open: Daily, 10.00 - 16.00. FREE. Wheelchair friendly:
We return back south to High Street. In the corner of Queen's Lane and High Street - stands the Queen's Lane Coffee House. It changed its name to QL several years ago. Try their Custard Tarts, waffles and their teas. Good portion sizes for good value for money. Claims to be the oldest coffee house in world. Established at 1654. 362 years of history.... Avoid during the busy hours:
300 m. further east, still on the north side of High Street stands the Magdalen College (pronounced "Maudlin"). The college is absolutely stunning. Opposite the college entrance, on the south side, is the Botanical Garden - our last destination of this route (see below).Please allow 2-3 hours for visiting the Magdalen College. A very big place. You cannot imagine the size from outside. The principal areas of the College that are normally open are the Hall, Chapel and Old Kitchen Bar. In addition the gardens, grounds and parkland, including the water walks beside the River Cherwell are open. The Deer Park can be viewed from the path. Open: January to late June: 13.00 to dusk or 18.00, Late June to the end of September: 12.00 - 19.00, October to December: 13.00 to dusk or 18.00. Prices: Adults £5.00; Over 60s, children, students £4.00; Family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children aged 7 or over) £14.00. Children under 7 years of age are free of charge.
Entrance to the college is through an inconspicuous porter's lodge on the High Street, which leads into the irregularly-shaped St. John's Quadrangle.
High Street, entrance to Magdalen College:
Founded in 1448, Magdalen College has some of the most beautiful buildings in Oxford, many of which are adorned with an array of interesting stone-carved characters. Beautifully located just off the river, the college is set in extensive grounds (most of which can be accessed by the public) and has a variety of buildings in different architectural styles. The college is situated amid superbly maintained woodlands, riverside walks, gardens and amazing Deer Park. BE PREPARED TO STAY, HERE, AT LEAST TWO HOURS. History meets natural beauty and it really just has to be seen to be believed! After enjoying the amazing architecture take a walk along the Cherwell river and its surroundings. Be ready to walk through long paths and around huge meadows. So close to city centre and you feel like being in the countryside in the middle of nowhere! So, better, dine beforehand !
Magdalen College was founded in 1458 by William Waynflete, a high-ranking churchman who went on to become Bishop of Winchester and Chancellor of England. Construction began only in 1467, when the charter was confirmed by King Edward IV. Magdalen was at the forefront of the revival of Classical learning from its early days and in the early 17th century it was strongly Puritan for a time. Nevertheless, it supported Charles I and the Royalists.
Most of the College's quadrangles are full of quirky statues. On the right/east is the great west window of the chapel (1480); on the left/west is a gate leading to St. Swithun's Quadrangle (by Bodley and Garner 1881-85) and the early 17th-century Grammar Hall.
The High Street side of St. Swithun's Quad:
Old Grammar Hall:
View of the Great Quad (1474-80), looking west to the Founder's Tower:
Straight ahead (north) is the attractive, neo-Tudor President's Lodgings (1881-85). In the southeast corner of St. John's Quad is an outdoor pulpit, from which a university sermon is preached on the Sunday nearest St. John the Baptist's Day (June 24). The small Chaplain's Quad runs from here past the chapel and hall to the Great Tower:
sculpture of St Mary Magdalene on the gate leading into St John's Quad:
A passage in the north side of the Great Quad leads across a wide lawn to the New Building (1733), which resembles a country house. The New Building (1733), intended to be part of a vast Classical quadrangle that was never completed. It was originally intended to be part of a vast Classical quadrangle. Three windows near the center mark the rooms where C.S. Lewis lived and taught for many years. Unfortunately they are now occupied by others and not open to viewing. :
Magdalen's Perpendicular Gothic Great Tower (1492) is perhaps the most beautiful in Oxford. Magdalen's bell tower, the tallest medieval tower in Oxford, was constructed in 1492, six years after Waynflete's death. The resulting ensemble was as impressive then as it is today; King James I (r.1603-25) pronounced Magdalen College "the most absolute building in Oxford.". Bring binoculars or a zoom lens to see the amusing stone characters that decorate the top of the tower. All are modern and many are clearly caricatures of real persons:
Amusing modern sculptures on the medieval bell tower (1492-1505):
The beautiful chapel (1474-80) has the traditional Oxford T-plan, with just a chancel (or choir) and an ante-chapel. It has been much changed since it was first built; the present interior mainly reflects the restoration by L.N. Cottingham in 1830-35:
Hanging over the entrance, DO NOT MISS the near contemporary copy of Leonardo de Vinci's 'The Last Supper' (c.1510-14), on loan from the Royal Academy. Its rich coloring provides a good sense of what the faded masterpiece in Milan originally looked like:
The chapel's chancel has five bays with projecting buttresses surmounted by pinnacles and a finely carved parapet string. The stained glass is Victorian, placed here at the expense of the Earl of Selborne, once a Fellow and later Lord Chancellor. As throughout much of England, the original glass was destroyed during the Reformation and the Civil War. The grisaille glass in the ante-chapel is by Richard Greenbury (1632) and the west window is filled with a lovely 18th-century painted glass version of Michelangelo's Last Judgment, in gentle sepia tones.
18th Century painted window that shows the "LAST JUDGEMENT":
The College Choir gives worship performance every day of the week in Full Term (except Mondays) at 18.00, and every Sunday morning in Term at 11.00. On Saturdays, the men of the Choir are joined by female undergraduates from a number of Oxford colleges. Magdalen College Choir Hall. DO NOT MISS Evensong at Magdalen College: beautiful choral music in a beautiful setting, perfect acoustics.
In 1982 N P Mander Ltd were commissioned by the College to design and install a new organ, better suited to the high musical standards of the College's Chapel Choir and the architectural character of the historic building. The organ screen and choir stalls are by Cottingham (1830-35); the organ itself is by Noel Mander and the case by Julian Bicknell (1986). The sculptures on the altar screen (reredos) are all from 1864 by Earp. The altar painting of Christ Carrying the Cross is by the 17th-century Spanish artist Valdes Leal. The organ was completed in 1986 and is frequently used for BBC broadcasts:
A broad flight of stairs in the southeast corner of the Great Quad leads to the amazing Great Hall (not usually accessible to visitors), where a portrait of William Waynflete stares down upon the tables at which famous students - such as Cardinal Wolsey, Chancellor of England under King Henry VIII, the notorious Irish play writer and aesthete Oscar Wilde, and the Physicist Erwin Schrodinger - all tucked into their bacon and eggs. The Hall has early 16th-century linen fold paneling and a set of ornate early Renaissance carvings, five of which depict the life of Mary Magdalene:
The Old Library (no admittance to visitors), in the west range of the Great Quad is NOT open to visitors.
in 1474 work began on the Cloisters, with their Chapel, Hall and Library. These were largely finished by 1480. The lovely cloister of the Great Quad (1474-80) with its stone creatures is one of the best in the UK:
Now, another wonderful bonus is waiting for us: go for a nice walk around the meadow behind the college. Magdalen's famous Deer Park, also known as Magdalen Grove. Magdalen's extensive grounds include one of the best walks in Oxford, Addison's Walk. It is named after the great essayist Joseph Addison, who was a Fellow of Magdalen for 22 years, and takes about 30 minutes to walk its mile-long circuit. Very enjoyable wander around these beautiful surroundings. The path passes along the River Cherwell, meets huge old trees, and follows the edge of a great meadow. The meadows are wonderful, during the spring, when the Fritillarias are in bloom. You will see, along the path, rowers taking their first go on the Cherwell river from the adjoining hire point. This walk was a favorite of C.S. Lewis when he was a professor here. About halfway around the meadow is a plaque inscribed with a poem written by Lewis. In the end of the circular path waits, for you, the College bar, open to the public, serving decent food at a very good price, if you want to grab a drink or something to eat. It is a lovely spot to sit outside by the river on a sunny day.
Exiting Magdalen College entrance - we turn LEFT (again, east) along High Street. Several steps and we cross the Magdalen Bridge and Boathouse. Open: daily, from the 1st of February to the 30th of November, between 9.30 – 21.00 (or 1 hour before sunset). Prices: punts ( up to 5 people) £22.00 per hour. You do not have to book in advance, but on a busy weekend day it is advisable. You can hire a traditional Oxford punt, rowing boat or pedalo and enjoy cruising along Oxford's stunning River Cherwell. You can hire also a Chauffeured boat. You can hire a boat at the Magdalen Bridge Boathouse for just an hour or if you want to make a day of it, take a picnic and stay out on the river as long as you like, simply returning the punt to the boathouse at least half an hour before sunset. From my and others' experience: it is far more difficult than it looks. Not easy in keeping the boat straight rowing... tricky to get the hang...better: take a pro shipmate with you for 30 min. ride, £30 (you must put a deposit down too, which is refunded). You do not have to book in advance, but on a busy weekend day it is advisable.... Lovely scenery of Magdalen and Christ Church Colleges and river Cherwell with very peaceful meadows around. In the high season, especially in the weekends' afternoons - you may queue up for more than half an hour:
Our last stop in this route - is the botanic garden which lies opposite to the Magdalen College and Bridge on the southern side of High Street. Surprisingly, the University of Oxford Botanic Garden is quite small. The oldest botanic garden in Britain started in 1621. The garden is far of being one of the best in the UK. Parts of the garden are a bit neglected and the glasshouses are a bit shabby. An important pro: every plant has a name tag. Open: Daily. November - February: 9.00 - 16.00, March - April: 9.00 - 17.00, May - August: 9.00 - 18.00, September - October: 9.00 - 17.00. Prices (per day): Adult £5.00, Concessionary £3.50 with ID, Children 16 and under accompanied by an adult family member Free.
The Magdalen College Tower from the Botanic Garden: