Category Archives: England

List of articles with tips for things to do in England; top English attractions, sights and museums.

national gallery london wonder mosaic

The Mosaic Pavements at the National Gallery in London

I was intrigued by the mosaic pavements in the Portico of the National Gallery in London. They were created by the Russian born Boris Anrep, one of the Bloomsbury Group, a group of artists, writers and intellectuals most active in the first half of the 20th century.

The original mosaics, created in the late 1920s and early 1930s, portray the themes ‘The Pleasures of Life and The Labours of Life’. In the 1950s, a further set of mosaics, ‘The Modern Virtues’ was created. Some of the mosaics feature well-known figures from these periods.

Here is a selection of my favourite mosaics.

national gallery london art mosaic

Art

national gallery london exploring mosaic

Exploring

national gallery london defiance mosaic

Defiance, featuring Winston Churchill

national gallery london rest mosaic

Rest

national gallery london theatre mosaic

Theatre

national gallery london christmas pudding mosaic

Christmas Pudding

national gallery london science mosaic

Science

national gallery london engineering mosaic

Engineering

national gallery london humour mosaic

Humour

national gallery london mining mosaic

Mining

national gallery london lucidity mosaic

Lucidity, featuring philospher Bertrand Russell

national gallery london compromise mosaic

Compromise

national gallery london pursuit mosaic

Pursuit

national gallery london astronomy mosaic

Astronomy

national gallery london curiousity mosaic

Curiosity

national gallery london open mind mosaic

Open Mind

national gallery london folly mosaic

Folly

national gallery london delectation mosaic

Delectation, featuring ballet dancer Margot Fonteyn

national gallery sixth sense mosaic

Sixth Sense

If you’re visiting the National Gallery in London, make sure that you look down to admire the pavement mosaics when you walk through the Portico.

hepworth gallery in wakefield

5 Places to Visit in Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Here are my tips for five places to visit in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

Wakefield Council Chamber

As I walking from Wakefield Museum to the Cathedral, the beautiful County Hall caught my eye. I decided to go in to ask if I could look around. I was in luck, as there were no meetings that day, I was able to get into the Council Chamber.

The ante-room of the Council Chamber was adorned with friezes depicting historic scenes.

Frieze in ante-room at Wakefield Council Chamber2

Frieze in ante-room at Wakefield Council Chamber1

Frieze in ante-room at Wakefield Council Chamber

There was a colourful talian marble pietro dure (inlay) table.

Italian pietro dure table in Wakefield Council Chamber

The Council Chamber was impressive.

wakefield couneil chamber

I assume that chair with the intricate carvings is where the leader of the council sits.

Wakefield Council Chamber in West Yorkshire chair

I loved the chandeliers.

Wakefield Council Chamber in West Yorkshire chandelier

Wakefield Cathedral

It’s believed that there has been a church on this site since the 11th century. The spire is the highest in Yorkshire.

wakefield cathedral exterior

Inside, there are splendid stained glass windows.

wakefield cathedral stained glass windows

Wakefield Cathedral was undergoing renovation during my visit, so part of the nave was closed off.

wakefield cathedral interior

Chantry Chapel, was originally constructed in the 14th century, when the wood bridge was rebuilt with stone, is now looked after by Wakefield Cathedral.

chantry bridge wakefield

Wakefield Museum

Wakefield Museum is next to the Library.

For me, the most interesting exhibit was Edmund Waterton’s ring collection amassed during the 19th century.  Edmund was the son of Victorian explorer, conservationist and naturalist James Waterton.

wakefield museum ring collection

There’s a recreation of a Victorian kitchen

victorian kitchen wakefield museum

I thought that the lace sleeves of the 1932 satin wedding dress were pretty.

Satin wedding dress (1932) at Wakefield Museum

The dress pictured below was worn at a Victory Ball in 1919, at the end of the First World War.

Victory Ball dress at Wakefield Museum

The Art House

The Art House, which lets out studios to artists, has exhibitions and Open Days, but you should check for the dates on their website.

the art house wakefield

Hepworth Gallery

Visiting the Hepworth Gallery was the main reason for my trip to Wakefield.

hepworth gallery in wakefield1

I learned a lot about how Barbara Hepworth created her large sculptures.

hepworth gallery wakefield hepworth's studio

There was a wonderful diversity of exhibits including a Snoppy Canvas, photos of the local Rhubarb Triangle and the  metal on wood ‘Maquette, Theme and Variations’ sculpture by Barbar Hepworth (pictured below).

hepworth gallery in wakefield2

All in all, I had a great day out in Wakefield.

margate harbour arm looking toward beach

Walking Along Margate Harbour Arm, Prom and Beach

After visiting the Turner Contemporary, I decided to walk along the rather blustery Margate Harbour Arm, before heading back along the prom and beach to the railway station.

Droit House, which is now home to the tourist information office, sits next to the Turner Contemporary.

droit house on margate harbour arm

Tracey Emin’s neon lights installation ‘I never stopped loving you’ sits above the entrance. Emin was brought up in Margate and commented, “It’s a declaration of love for Margate from me, but also what I want in the summer – why go to Brighton for a dirty weekend – come to Margate. I want people to come off the train, I want them to walk along the seafront, I want them to hold hands and to have a snog and say ‘I never stopped loving you’.”

margate harbour arm droit house tracey emin neon light installation

As you walk along the Harbour Arm, it’s interesting to see the Grade II listed Droit House, looking as through it’s painted on the exterior of the Turner Contemporary.

looking toward turner contemporary from margate harbour arm

The BeBeached Cafe was very pink and cheerful.

margate harbour arm bebeached cafe

The Lighthouse Bar lies at the end of the Harbour Arm. It was so windy that there was no-one sitting on the benches outside.

margate harbour arm lighthouse bar

You get some of the best views back to Margate from the furthest point of the Harbour Arm.

margate harbour arm view

Across from the bar, is the ‘Shell Lady’ sculpture, based on Mrs Booth who owned the guest house at which the painter Turner stayed on his regular visits to Margate.

margate harbour arm sculpture

I was glad to get back to the relative shelter of the prom, where I admired the Art Nouveau style lights along the wall.

lights by margate beach

The recently renovated Jubilee Clock Tower commemorates Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887.

jubilee clock by margate beach

The long stretch of sand in Margate is divided into several beaches. Palm Bay starts after the Turner Contemporary, heading west toward the railway station. There were lifeguards on duty, but no-one brave enough for a chilly dip.

on the shoreline at margate beach

Palm Bay then merges into Walpole Bay. I hoped that I’d find some respite from the wind, by sitting in a shelter at the western end of Walpole Bay, but there seemed to be no escape.

looking out of shelter on margate seafront

I’d intended to walk further west along Margate Main Sands to Walpole Bay. But I decided I’d had enough of the great outdoors and, after stopping to take a look at the sculpture of a man staring out to sea , I headed up to the station.

sculpture on margate seafront

Kirklees Light Railway

Kirklees Light Railway in Clayton West, near Huddersfield, Yorkshire

I visited the Kirklees Light Railway on a Sunday in mid April 2016, after I’d dropped Karen off at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (in West Bretton, near Wakefield), as it’s only about 5 miles from there. The railway station was easy to turn into from the main road and there was ample free parking.

The first thing that I saw upon entering was a miniature train ride.  It cost 50p per person for three rounds of the pond.

Kirklees Light Railway1

When I visited it was Kirklees Light Railway volunteer recruitment open day, so I had to fight for photography spots with the local paper reporter, who was much better equipped for those more professional snaps.

The narrow gauge steam train was puffing and ready to go.

As I was trying to mainly get out of the official photographers’ way, I ended up walking to the train shed, where a rather forlorn-looking train (named OWL) stood quietly on its tracks. It was missing the fancy day out, when the other two trains/engines were in full and working display. so, I thought I’d give it some sympathy in the form of taking its photo.

Kirklees Light Railway engine shed

However, the friendly mechanic, a permanent member of staff, informed me that it was only on the basis of rotation that little OWL had been left out, as its tank of water (the main thing that stops the engine from overheating and melting, by turning into steam which escapes) was full – you can probably see the glass/brass water gauge in the photo, inside the driver compartment, at an angle.

Kirklees Light Railway mechanic

This train was also the reserve, having a full load of coal, in case one of the other two became somewhat indisposed.

I left the depot for a walk on the nearby bridal path, as also advised by the friendly mechanic, where, after a couple of miles I came upon a truly magnificent modern day construction. The Emley Moor Transmission Station’s 1,084-foot (330.4m) tall concrete tower. The transmission station covers Yorkshire as well as some of Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.

Kirklees Light Railway 96

On my walk back, I even managed to spot one of the little steam trains making its way over a hill.

Kirklees Light Railway 100

harbour in bristol

Summer Events In Bristol And Transportation Facilities

Bristol, a beautiful city located in the midst of hills besides River Avon in South West England, has never disappointed its visitors. Year-round festivals, beautiful cityscapes and a blend of modern and medieval architecture are some of the major tourist attractions of Bristol. So, if you are a fun loving person and make the most of out your summer holidays, Bristol is the right choice for you.

As Bristol is famous for its year round festivals, there is a lot waiting for you during the summer as well. Here are some of the festivals you should look forward to during the summer of 2016:

clifton suspension bridge bristol

1. Bristol Old Vic 250– The oldest working theatre of UK will celebrate its 250th anniversary with different programs and activities, including five famous productions from five centuries of theatre, a tribute to Shakespeare, a tribute to people who built the theatre and many other activities, from 28th to 30th May 2016.

2. Bristol Summer Series– Shout out to all Music fans, book your tickets for Bristol Summer Series as soon as possible because tickets are only available for 24th June’s show of ‘The last Shadow Puppets supported by Gaz Coombes’. So grab your tickets before you miss the last available chance of attending this amazing fun packed night.

3. Festival of Nature– If you are a nature loving person and want to have some adventurous time close to wildlife then this ‘Festival of Nature’, along the River Avon, will be the perfect choice for you. Organized by the Bristol Natural History Consortium from 11-25 June, it gives you a chance to explore the nature and wildlife with your friends, family or with your school/university fellows.

waterfall

4. Bristol Harbour Festival- Organized by Richmond Event Management on behalf of the Bristol City Council, Bristol Harbour Festival will take place form 15th July to 17th July 2016. It will not only give you a chance to enjoy music, art, dance, circus, along with some great food but will also give you an opportunity to exhibit or promote your own work. So, you can also put up your own stall and make some money.

bristol harbour

Don’t want to miss these amazing events? But concerned about the transport because you do not feel like driving yourself and taking the trouble of finding parking space at these events where a large crowd is expected. No worries! There are lots of taxi, minicab and car services in Bristol and you can definitely take their services for wonderful transportation facilities in your budget.

Some of the cab service providers in Bristol, with their web links, are mentioned here for your ease:

Bristol Taxis

The service provides Taxis, Minibuses, Executive Cars, and Airport Transfers.

V-Cars

A fast growing private hire company with over 25 years of experience. They also provide the priority pick-up service to make you reach your destination in time just in case you forgot to make advance booking and want to be picked up very quickly.

Call Cars Bristol

If you are travelling to Bristol from any other city or country and want to have a professional car service to pick you up from the airport or you are looking for minicabs in Bristol, Call Cars Bristol would be the ideal choice for you.

Minicabit

And if you are looking for the cheapest taxi, cabs and minicabs services in Bristol following taxi fares comparison websites as www.minicabit.com will help you in finding the right taxi for you.

In addition to cabs, you can also get around Bristol in buses (available from all major locations), trains (available from Bristol Temple Railway Station and Bristol Parkway Railway Station) and even use any of Bristol’s ferry services.

Salts Mill Saltaire David Hockey's Arrival of Spring9

The Arrival of Spring by David Hockney at Salts Mill

The Arrival of Spring is an exhibition of prints of paintings created by David Hockney on his iPad. The paintings of the countryside close to Hockney’s studio in Woldgate, near Bridlington, East Yorkshire, were drawn between January 1 and May 31 2011.

The exhibition is on the third floor of Salts Mill in Saltaire village in West Yorkshire. It’s free to enter.

Salts Mill Saltaire David Hockey's Arrival of Spring8

Salts Mill Saltaire David Hockey's Arrival of Spring1

Salts Mill Saltaire David Hockey's Arrival of Spring7

Salts Mill Saltaire David Hockey's Arrival of Spring6

Salts Mill Saltaire David Hockey's Arrival of Spring

Salts Mill Saltaire David Hockey's Arrival of Spring3

Salts Mill Saltaire David Hockey's Arrival of Spring2

There’s also a digital display of iPad paintings by Hockney.


I visited The Arrival of Spring by David Hockney in mid April 2106, but I couldn’t see anything about the end date of The Arrival of Spring exhibition, so I phoned Salts Mill to ask. I was told there was no official end date. If you particularly want to see this Hockney exhibition. I recommend that you contact Salt Mills prior to visiting to check if it’s still running.

Thomas Newbolt Drama Painting A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London8

Thomas Newbolt: Drama Painting – A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London

The Thomas Newbolt: Drama Painting – A Modern Baroque exhibition runs until 13 May 2016 at Kings Place London.

Most of the subjects are women with rather puzzled, serious expressions.

Thomas Newbolt Drama Painting A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London4

Many are sitting on sofas.

Thomas Newbolt Drama Painting A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London3

Thomas Newbolt Drama Painting A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London5

Thomas Newbolt Drama Painting A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London6

Thomas Newbolt Drama Painting A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London11

Thomas Newbolt Drama Painting A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London10

Thomas Newbolt Drama Painting A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London

I loved the rich, dark colours used in the paintings.

Thomas Newbolt Drama Painting A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London13

Thomas Newbolt Drama Painting A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London9

There are a few paintings which focus on faces.

Thomas Newbolt Drama Painting A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London1

Thomas Newbolt Drama Painting A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London12

Thomas Newbolt Drama Painting A Modern Baroque at Kings Place London7

If you’re in the King’s Cross area of London, I recommend that you visit the Thomas Newbolt: Drama Painting – A Modern Baroque exhibition at Kings Place London. It takes around ten minutes to walk there from King’s Cross Station.

woburn square garden hut london

Relaxing in Bloomsbury’s Garden Squares in London

When I was last in London, I’d planned to visit the British Museum on the Sunday morning. However being greeted by warm sunshine when exiting Holborn Tube Station, (after three consecutive chilly and dull days), I decided to stay outdoors and enjoy the sunshine in some of Bloomsburys’ garden squares.

My first port of call was at Russell Square Garden, which has a pretty fountain. But it was rather busy there and I couldn’t find a bench in the sun.

russell square garden london fountain

Fountain in Russell Square Garden

I moved onto Tavistock Square. After a stop at the Gandhi sculpture, I found a well located bench.

tavistock square garden london gandhi sculpture

Gandhi sculpture in Tavistock Square

I checked for other nearby garden squares on my phone, and decided to stroll across to Gordon Square. I read that the writer Virginia Woolfe and her sister, the painter Vanessa Bell, two of the main characters portrayed in the recent BBC drama ‘Living in Squares’, had lived at 46 Gordon Square.

gordon square garden

Gordon Square Garden in Bloomsbury

I loved the sculpture of the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913.

Rabindranath Tagore sculpture in Gordon Square Garden London

Sculpture of Rabindranath Tagore in Gordon Square

The imposing Grade 1 listed Christ the King church lies at the south-western end of the garden.

gordon square garden london

Christ the King Church from Gordon Square Garden

My final Bloomsbury garden stop was in Woburn Square, just across the road from Gordon Square.

woburn square garden

Woburn Square Garden

It’s home to an attractive Victorian style summerhouse.

woburn garden square london shelter

Summerhouse in Woburn Square Garden

When you are in Bloomsbury, I recommend that you spend some time in its garden squares.

dreamland margate helter skelter

A Fun Day Out at Dreamland Margate

Dreamland in Margate is one the oldest surviving amusement parks in the UK. It dates back to the 1860s, when it was called Hall by the Sea. It was renamed Dreamland in the 1920s. In 2003, when the park was threatened by closure, the Dreamland Trust was formed, which managed to raise £18 million in funding to renovate the park.

Dreamland is located on Margate’s seafront, a few minutes walk from the railway station.

dreamland margate

I requested complimentary day passes for myself and our son Gary. When we arrived, the High Dive Show had just started, so we walked over to watch it. There were diving boards at various levels, the higher ones were reached by a narrow ladder tower, from which the four divers performed various stunts.

dreamlamd margate high dive show - Copy

The burning dive was the most dramatic part of the show.

Burning diver at Dreamland Margate

We visited on a chilly Saturday in early September, which meant that Dreamland wasn’t that busy. The benefit of this was that there were no long queues for the rides, and that there was always space to sit at the picnic tables.

Unfortunately, the restoration of the wooden Scenic Railway, the oldest rollercoaster in the UK,  hadn’t been completed. But I did seem some staff testing the equipment.

dreamladn margate scenic railway - Copy

There was a live song and dance show.

dreamland live show

Gary had a shot on the Dodgems.

dreamland margate our son gary on dodgems

Dream Cars was ideal for young kids who could pedal the model cars around a track.

dreamland margate dream cars

The Hurricane Jets were popular in the 1950s.

dreamland margate gary on hurricane jets

Gary said that he didn’t feel much effect from being swung upside down in Top Spin.

dreamland margate top spin

However, when he came out of the Rotor, which looked like being spun in a top loader washing machine, he wanted to sit down for a few minutes. I felt dizzy watching from the observation platform.

dreamland spinning around

We had a laugh in the Mirror Maze, but it didn’t take too long to find our way out.

dreamland margate maze

Gary looked as though he’d shrunk when he sat on the enormous deck chair.

dreamland margate our son gary on huge deckchair

Some kids had numerous trips down the Born Slippy giant slide.

dreamland margate our son gary on the slide

Gary had a couple of revolutions in the Big Wheel.

dreamland margate the big wheel

When we visited Dreamland, walk-up tickets cost £17.95 per adult and £14.95 per child. However, if you booked in advance online, the price was reduced to £14.95 per adult and £12.95 per child. Considering that it costs around £8 per adult to ride the Big Wheels in most city centres, I think that the price is value for money if you go on a few rides and watch the show.

Make sure that you check opening days and times at Dreamland before you visit.

st marys gardens lambeth london 2 fish mosaic in fountain

The Beautiful Mosaics in St Mary’s Gardens in Lambeth London

I loved the mosaics in the base of the fountain and on paving stones around the fountain in St Mary’s Garden in Lambeth. This art is part of the Southbank Mosaics Community Enterprise programme.

The gardens are located just to your right after crossing Lambeth Bridge, beside the Garden Museum, which is housed in the former St Mary’s Church.

st marys gardens lambeth london

The mosaics in the fountain depict koi carp, river reeds and two beaches.

st marys gardens lambeth london single fish mosaic in fountain

The water in the base of the fountain appears to intensity the colours of the koi carp.

st marys gardens lambeth london single silver fish mosaic

The pavement mosaics surrounding the fountain, by Helen Lees, are based on a flora and fauna theme.

st marys gardens lambeth london plum mosaic

Plum mosaic in St Mary’s Gardens

st marys gardens lambeth london hedgehog mosaic

Hedgehog mosaic in St Marys’ Gardens

st marys gardens lambeth london purple emperor butterfly mosaic

Purple Emperor butterfly mosaic in St Mary’s Gardens

st marys gardens lambeth london peach mosaic

Peach mosaic in St Mary’s Gardens

st marys gardens lambeth london cherry mosaic

Cherry Mosaic in St Mary’s Gardens

st marys garden lambeth london fox mosaic

Fox mosaic in St Mary’s Gardens

I recommend that you combine seeing the mosaics at St Mary’s Gardens in Lambeth with a visit to the Tate Britain, which is a ten minute walk away in Millbank, on the other side of River Thames.