Saturday, 28 April 2012

About England Travel Top 10 Blog

St. Johns College, Cambridge University - Travel England

About the England Travel Top 10 Blog

The England Travel Top 10 Blog is a photo travel guide as well as a tribute to one of the most fascinating and charming destinations to which a traveler may ever wander. Steeped in tradition and history, England is a shining example of the finest achievements of mankind. From its grandest castle to its most modest cottage, England defines elegance and good taste.

England is also at peace with nature. Its green rolling countryside has been lovingly manicured, neatly divided by hedgerows ensuring that for century after century not a single sheep would stray from his appointed pasture.

England's rugged coastline is a constant reminder that this is a people wedded to the sea. They are the masters of sailing, be it from their great wooden boats of old or their modern cruise liners. It is from the sea, they have conquered and been conquered.

England's museums are absolutely the finest in the world. Indeed, much of the world's antiquities can be seen at the British Museum. But you will also want to visit the Victoria and Albert (also known as the V&A), the National Museum, the several Tate Galleries of Art, and the Science Museum - all of which have free admission.

No matter where you travel on the island, you will always find the friendly English pub with its variety of ales, Sunday roasts (called carvery) and often European and American cuisine as well.

And the English are as urbane as any society that ever was. Their scientists have unlocked the mysteries of the universe. Their authors, poets and musicians have mesmerised the world with their wit and visions. They have entertained us with voyages into magical realms and fortified our courage with stories of men and women who waged tireless battles of good over evil, teaching us right from wrong, whist raising God onto his throne and casting the Devil unto his dungeon.

All too perfect to be true? Well, of course. England is also a place that suffers from the same modern social problems that you will find anywhere else. Mixed in with the world's most beautiful architecture, you will also find kitsch and decay.

But worry not - that is what the England Travel Blog is here for. Our goal is to guide you to the best of the best, with sharp detours around that which fails the highest standards of this proud and noble land - The Kingdom of kingdoms, the fairy land of your dreams, the world's favourite destination.

Welcome to the England Travel Top 10 Blog and be sure to visit our accompanying website

Waddeston Mansion -Travel England

The Iconic English Bed & Breakfast

England invented the Bed & Breakfast and not surprisingly they do it very well. There are of course a wide range of accomodations from thirty pounds per night to much much more. We generally look for something in the seventy to eighty pounds per night per room. (Make sure you are clear it is per night, not per person.)

On our swing through Devon in September we stayed at the Villa Marina which is located literally on the beach in Paignton. I wasn't all that impressed with the city of Paignton, but the beach is good and our balcony view  was incredible. Anyway we had gone to Devon to spend some time staring at sea view - not to shop - and we were not disappointed. Also Paignton is centrally located between Torquay and Dartmouth and there are great beaches and countryside in every direction.

The Villa Marina has something like 8 rooms on two levels. I have trouble with stairs, so our ground floor room was just steps to the splendid dining room and the view from the room was wonderful and even better from the balcony.

You can't beat the balconies at Paignton's Villa Marina
You will have a hard time getting a better table than this anywhere.

Rowan Barn - set in the Cornish countryside just minutes from St. Ives

While in Cornwall we stayed at the Rowan Barn in the countryside outside of Hayle, just a few miles from St. Ives. Rowan Barn is a wonderful experience. We had planned on staying in St. Ives but it is very difficult to find reservations unless you start months in advance - and it is expensive. Rowan Barns has a lovely country setting, reasonable prices and very friendly owners, who put on a terrific breakfast. Huw Jones had been a butcher before their B&B expanded into a full time endeavor. He and his wife Sally prepare delicious homemade bacon and sausage and omlettes with your choice of fillings, fruit, yogurt, juices and fresh ground, French pressed coffee. The rooms are elegant and comfy and the new additions blend in nicely with the original Cornish stone architecture. Definitely a class act.

Owners Huw and Sally Jones

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Dartmouth, Devon - Travel England

Dartmouth is perhaps not to surprisingly located at the mouth of the River Dart. The river cuts through steep hillsides creating a natural deep water port and on that account has been an important part of British naval history. Today it is home to the Royal Naval College and the river is graced by hundreds of sailing boats. Kingswear is the town directly opposite Dartmouth and the twin cities are connected by three different ferries. Dartmouth has just 5,000 residents but it a favourite destination for the British holiday makers.

Dartmouth Harbour

Looking across the River Dart to Kingswear

Either the woman is a giant of the inn is for the wee people.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

King's Cross Reborn

The new Kings Cross Station addition is London's latest attempt at integrating modern and traditional. Personally I generally agree with Prince Charles - the traditional is what is sublime about London and the modern usually just detracts. Nonetheless, some efforts seem to have worked. The British Museum retained its flavour under its simple geometric dome. The new Kings Cross addition is a bit more intrusive, but arguably there was less there to intrude upon. Bottom line - will tourists flock to London to experience the charm and elegance of King's Cross - not likely.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

London Weekend Warrior

I lived in London for a year once. I loved it, but it was very intense. As I have gotten older I prefer to slow things down to a more controlled pace. So now I live outside of London and take the train in on Saturday or Sunday to get my fix of the city.

Everyone is of course different in their likes and limitations. The Weekend Warrior suites me. The trains are cheaper on the weekend off peak rates. The tubes and buses are nearly empty on Sunday morning and it is a great time to get around town, grab some breakfast, stroll in the park and blissfully wander around taking photos and absorbing the essence of one the world's truly great cities.

Harrod's - The world's best shopping experience.

House of Parliament - Go inside - Don't miss it and its free.

Knightsbridge - English Elegance


Thursday, 12 April 2012

Portobello Belle

You really shouldn't go to Portobello Road without Dire Straits' Portobello Belle playing in your headsets....

Belladonna's on the high street
Her breasts upon the offbeat
And the stalls are just the side shows
Victoriana's old clothes
Yeah she got the skirt so tight now
She wanna travel light now
She wanna tear up all her roots now
She got the turn-up on the boots now
She thinks she's tough
She ain't no English rose

But the blind singer
He's seen enough and he knows
He do a song about a long gone Irish girl
But I got one for you my Portobello Belle
She sees a man upon his back there
Escaping from a sack there
And Belladonna lingers
Her gloves they got no fingers
Blind man he's singing the Irish
He gets his money in a tin dish
Just a corner serenader
Once upon a time he could have made her

She thinks she's tough
She ain't no English rose
But the blind singer
He's seen enough and he knows
He do a song about a long gone Irish girl
But I got one for you my Portobello Belle
Yes and these barrow boys are hawking
And a parakeet is squawking
Upon a truck a paper rhino
She get the crying of a wino

And then she get the reggae rumble
Belladonna's in the jungle
But she ain't no garden flower
There ain't no distress in the tower
Belladonna walks
Belladonna taking control
She don't care about your window box
Or your button hole
She sing a song about a long gone Irish girl
But I got one for you my Portobello Belle

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