Category Archives: England

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

camley street natural park bench by canal

Photo Tour of Camley Street Natural Park London

The Camley Street Natural Park is located close to King’s Cross Station. I happened to spot a sign for it when I was in the area, and decided to take a look.

The park was created in an old railway coal yard which was saved from redevelopment in the 1980s.

camley street natural park map

The park has a visitor centre with toilets. In Summer, there’s an outdoor cafe

camley street natural park visitor centre

I liked the art on the exterior of the visitor centre. There was a ladybird.

camley street natural park ladybird art

It looked as though the bee’s wings were made from honeycombs.

camley street natural park bee art

One side of the Camley Street Natural Park is bordered by Regent’s Canal.

camley street natural park barge in canal

There’s a ‘Floating Forest’ garden on an old barge moored in the park.

camley street natural park floating forest

There are a couple of ponds in the park.

camley street natural park pond

There was a pretty blue and purple feathered moorhen with a red beak wandering around.

camley street natural park bird.

It was early Spring during my visit, so everything was a bit barren, and it was too cold to sit on the benches.

camley street natural park

The park is close to the rail tracks, which is reflected in the train mural.

camley street natural park mural

There’s an ‘Outdoor Living’ area which looked as though it could cater for a large party.

camley street natural park outdoor living area

The Camley Street Nature Park is open daily from 10am to dusk, or 5pm, whichever is earlier.

Visiting Alexandra Palace in London

I finally got around to visiting Alexandra Palace in north London this year.

alexandra palace

It first opened as an entertainment venue, known as the People’s Palace, in 1873. It was named after the Princess of Wales, Alexandra, But it burnt down in a fire only 16 days after opening. The rebuilt Palace opened in 1875.

I first heard of Alexandra Palace when I was a child. That’s because part of the building was leased to BBC, who made the first TV broadcast through the BBC Tower mast in 1936.

alexandra palace information board on first TV broadcast in 1936

The BBC Tower is a real landmark. I could see it from my bedroom at the Ramanda Hotel Finchley.

bbc tower alexandra palace

There are plans to turn the derelict former BBC studios into a visitor centre, and to reopen the historic theatre.

bbc tower at alexandra palace

Around the corner from the BBC Tower, there is an indoor ice rink. I tried to get in to take some photos, but there were entry barriers.

alexandra palace ice rink

At the opposite end of Alexandra Palace is Palm Court.

alexandra palace palm court entrance

There are public toilets and a bar/restaurant (open every day) which has seating in Palm Court, as well as in a large outdoor courtyard.

alexandra palace palm court

There are some good views over London down towards Canary Wharf from outside Alexandra Palace.

There’s an enormous circular stained glass window along the side of Alexandra Palace.

alexandra palace stained glass window

It was too cold for me to linger in the Alexandra Park, I only stopped briefly to look back at Alexandra Palace and the BBC Tower.

alexandra palace and the bbc tower

The Shibden Valley from Halifax: A Circular Walk

This walk is about 5 miles long, with some uphill sections.

From the centre of Halifax, you can choose to start either near the railway station (pay parking, free toilets) and walk through the shopping centre to Kirkgate (5-10min), or look for parking near Kirkgate.

The walk starts at Kirkgate. Right on to Bank Bottom; cross Hebbie Brook at the bridge and head uphill for about 200 yards, cross the road and enter a cobbled lane (Southowram Bank), from which you get a great view back to Halifax,

Shibden Valley 105

Walk uphill, until the path forks onto another cobbled footpath, go right and emerge on a proper, metalled road.

Cross at the right of an industrial building (Aquaspersion) onto another cobbled path (Magna Via which is pictured below).

Shibden Valley 107
Cross the gate and bear left, looking at Shibden Valley (in photo below) to your left and keep left at the next fork.

Shibden Valley 109

113. Downhill path through Shibden valley
After about 100yards, a narrow walled track through hedgerows to the left leads downhill and eventually through a new housing estate.

Shibden Valley 113

Cross the road and enter another downhill path, just by the entrance to a farm, on your right – this entry point is pretty easy to miss.

Eventually you walk under a railway line and into Shibden Park.

Shibden Valley 125

This is a lovely space, complete with rowing lake, mini-railway and children playgrounds.

Shibden Valley 128

A circular walk through the park, possibly stopping for a coffee, prior to walking up to the Elizabethan Shibden Hall, is highly recommended.

Shibden Hall

You walk uphill past the Hall, exit the park and meet a road. Turn right, walk on pavement to Lister Road Bridge.

Shibden Valley 154

At the left of the bridge, take the steep steps downhill, then follow the pavement downhill. When you meet another road, you will be able to retrace your steps through cobbled Southowram Bank back to Halifax.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park15

Visiting Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, in West Yorkshire, is located south of Wakefield, one mile from Junction 38 on the M1.

There’s no entry charge, but you do have to pay to park, which costs £2.50 for up to one hour, £5 for up to two hours, and £8 for all day. There are number plate recognition cameras at the park entrances. I’d recommend that you pay for all day parking, as you could easily spend 3-4 hours at the Park.

My husband dropped me off and picked me up. I checked with Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and there is a 15 minute grace period for enable drop-off and pick-up.

Below is a selection of my favourite pieces as the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park5

Yorkshire Sculpture Park4

Yorkshire Sculpture Park1

Yorkshire Sculpture Park13

Yorkshire Sculpture Park16

Yorkshire Sculpture Park14

Yorkshire Sculpture Park10

Yorkshire Sculpture Park8

Yorkshire Sculpture Park7

Yorkshire Sculpture Park2

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Do try to pick a dry, not too cold day to visit Yorkshire Sculpture Park, as you need to walk around quite a bit to see all the sculptures. I didn’t have time to walk up to Longside Gallery.

There are designated picnic areas. I was glad that I had take my own food and drink, as the cafes were very busy.

It can get very muddy close to the sculptures, so unless it’s been dry for a few weeks, I’d advise you to wear wellies or boots/hiking shoes with a good grip.

iew from 10th floor balcony of Switch House at Tate Modern London5

Visiting the Switch House at the Tate Modern

Even if you are not a fan of modern art, I recommend that you visit the viewing balcony on the 10th floor of the Tate Modern’s Switch Tower for some great views of the London skyline.

shard from from the 10th floor balcony at the Switch House Tate Modern London

The Shard to the right of the photo

View from the 10th floor balcony at the Switch House Tate Modern London

The City of London skyline including the Walkie Talkie to the right

On the way down from the 10th floor of the Switch House, I stopped at the Artist Rooms to see the Louise Bourgeois exhibition, which runs until June 2017.

Louise Bourgeois exhibition at Tate Modern London4

Cell XIV (Portrait), reminds of Munch’s The Scream

Louise Bourgeois exhibition at Tate Modern London3

Cell (Eyes and Mirrors)

Louise Bourgeois exhibition at Tate Modern London2

Single 11 (the suspended figure), A l’infini (16 paintings on wall)

Louise Bourgeois exhibition at Tate Modern London1

Spider (1994), spiders were one of Bourgeois’ favourite topics

Louise Bourgeois exhibition at Tate Modern London

Untitled (1996). Bourgeosi created several work using items of clothing

Tate Modern is open until from 10.00 to 22.00 Thursdays to Saturdays and 10.00 to 18.00 Sundays to Wednesdays.

bingley walk 18

Bingley Circular Walk via St Ives Estate

This Bingley circular walk, via the St Ives estate is around 8kn in length and takes 2-3 hours, depending on pace. There are some ascents and mud proof footwear is advisable.

bingley walk 32

I started this in the town of Bingley, about 15km NW of Bradford where we stayed in April 2016. Parking in the town centre permitted me to cross the River Aire at the Old Horse pub, immediately turning right again to walk by the riverside.

bingley walk

Keeping straight and slightly uphill for about a mile, mainly past a few equestrian farms, the path acquires a more uphill character after a metal gate. Once through a short stretch of pasture, follow the path past Blakey Cottage uphill, until a stile permits entry onto a narrow path trough bracken.

There are views of Airedale on the right as you climb the hill.
Once a wall has been reached at the top, turn left just before it and walk along for about a mile – now this is much more level!

bingley walk 8

You soon come upon the rocks known as Druids’ Altar at the top, a good place for a break with great views.

bingley walk 18

Follow track right, enter St Ives Estate, go through stile on right and follow the wooded path round the golf course. The path eventually leads downhill, with the course, then woods, on your left.

Look out for modern art in the woods.

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The path eventually reaches a fork, the right side leading to the picnic bench complete with sculpture.

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Next you’ll see Lady Blantyre’s Rock plus Inscription (if you can read it!).

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Further downhill, you arrive at Coppice Pond with its wildfowl and hop onto the road on the right you enter the grounds of the House. Further down is the Main House (now a nursing home).

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A bit further down is a car park (so, really, you can also do this walk in reverse).
There’s Pennine Bridleway sign and entry point, as this walk joins on to the very extensive, recently joined up Bridleway.

bingley walk 38

Now it’s simply a matter of following your way through woodland paths on your left for about 1 mile to arrive back at the Brown Cow.

That completes the circle, as it’s across the River Aire from the Old White Horse pub where you started. Feel like a refreshment?

bingley walk brown cow


Frances Borden in the Next Generation Collection at Kings Place London

The Ruth Borchard Collection: The Next Generation at Kings Place London

004’The Ruth Borchard Collection: The Next Generation – Self Portraiture in the 21st Century’ runs until 24 September 2016 at Kings Place London.

Upon entering, one painting looked familiar to me. That’s because it was by Lucy Jones, and I’d seen the piece in her  ‘Looking In, Looking Out exhibition at Kings Place in 2014.

Lucy Jones in the Next Generation Collection at Kings Place London

Below is a selection of my favourites at the Next Generation exhibition.

Josie McCoy in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Josie McCoy

Red Studio Portrait in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Mary Mabbutt

Tabitha Steiner Self Portrait in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Tabitha Steiner

Crowd By Jiro Osuga in The Next Generation Collection is King's Pl London

Jiro Osuga

Mum of Four in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Brita Granstrom

Self Portrait with Exploding Chest in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Marcelle Hanselaar

Self Portrait by Adam Birtwistle in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Adam Birtwistle

Peter Glossick in the Next Generation Collection at Kings Place London

Peter Glossick

Elizabeth Shields in the Next Generation Collection at Kings Place Londo

Elizabeth Shields

Anita Klein in the Next Generation Collection at Kings Place Londo

Anita Klein

Self Portrait as Ornament by Charlotte Hodes in the Next Generation Collection at Kings Place Londo

Charlotte Hodes

Dale Atkinson in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Deal Atkinson

The Mystic Peasant by Greg Trickery in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Greg Trickery

Night Studio Study by Eugenic Vronskaya in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Eugenia Vronskaya

Self Portrait by Andrew Kuhn in The Next Generation at King's Pl London

Andrew Kuhn

Self Portrait by Lisa Stokes at The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Lisa Stokes

Self Portrait Neck by Tony Beanie The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Tony Bevan

Frances Borden in the Next Generation Collection at Kings Place London

Frances Borden

Dora Holzhandler in the Next Generation Collection at Kings Place London

Dora Holzhandler

Isobel Peachey in the Next Generation Collection at Kings Place London

Isobel Peachey

The Ruth Borchard Collection: The Next Generation exhibition made me think about doing a self portrait. I used some of my own hair to create sheep in one of my artworks. If I save the hair from my next few haircuts and the the self portrait isn’t to large. I should have enough hair to do the job.

Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA)10

Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art (mima)

After attending an exhibition by the Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art (mima) at the Granary Gallery in Berwick upon Tweed, I was keen to visit mima.

As I was heading south for a few days in West Yorkshire, I decided to take a short detour into Middlesborough.

Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art

It’s free to enter mima. There’s free parking for up to two hours at mima, but it’s free after 4pm on Thursdays ( which is mima’s late night opening). When we arrived there were no spaces in the car park. Fortunately a space was vacated after a couple of minutes.

The 2007 buildings’ glass walls make the foyer and the stairwells very light. The front of mima overlooks Centre Square.

Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art view onto square

There was an exhibition by Teeside born Basil Beattie entitled ‘When Now Becomes Then’. My favourites were the paintings of staircases/

Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA)8

Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA)9

The ‘Iron Lady’ photos of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher reminded me of the long and bitter Miner’s Strike in the mid 1980s.

Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA) iron lady

The ‘Centre for Social Making’ exhibition combined art, craft, technology and design. My favourite was  the model of a red and white home interior.

Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA)5

I fancy having a large, bold mural on a wall in our home.

Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA)4

The ‘Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise’ was an exhibition of sculptures by plantation workers in Congo.

Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA)1

The sculptures are initially moulded in clay, and then reproduced in Belgian chocolate.

Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA)2

I wondered if any visitors had attempted to lick the sculptures.

Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art chocolate sculpture

As I was leaving there was a live performance of poetry and dance in the foyer.

Mima is closed on Mondays. Opening hours are 10am – 4.30 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10am – 7pm on Thursday and noon – 4pm on Sunday.

tate britain london gallery

A Photo Tour of Tate Britain London

Although I’ve been to most of the well known museums and galleries in London, I only recently paid my first visit to Tate Britain. It’s located in Millbank, on the northern bank of the River Thames.

tate britain london exterior

I was prompted to visit Tate Britain as, when I looked at a map to work out how to get to the Garden Museum in Lambeth on the south bank the Thames, I saw that it’d only take me a few minutes to walk from the Garden Museum to Tate Britain.

Before going inside Tate Britain, I ate my packed lunch in the Summer Garden.

tate britain london summer garden

Upon entering Tate Britain, I admired the Rotunda with its terrazzo floor.

tate britain london interior

A sweeping staircase leads to the lower floor from the Rotunda.

tate britain london staircase

My eye was caught by the Christina Mackie installation featuring ten 12 metre high silk nets.

tate britain london net installation

It was interesting to see Tracey Emin’s ‘My Bed’, which I better understood after reading about Emin’s bout of suicidal depression after a relationship breakdown.

tate britain london my bed my tracey emin

I’d previously seen Jacob Epstein’s ‘Jacob and the Angel’ alabaster sculpture at Tate Liverpool, but it’s still a powerful piece.

tate britain london jacob and the angel by epstein

I liked the vivid colours used in ‘How the West was Won’ by Donald Rodney.

tate britain london how the west was won

I was rather intrigued by a Typhoo Tea packet. An online search revealed that it was an early work entitled ‘Tea Painting in an Illusionist Style’ by David Hockney.

tate britain london typhoo tea

I wasn’t sure why Peter Black was clutching a Elvis magazine in his ‘Self Portrait with Badges’.

tate britain london elvis fan

I didn’t spot the title of this painting. To me, it resembled a foetus in its amniotic sac.

tate britain london red painting

The blade wielding character in the ‘The Nanny, Small Bears and the Bogeyman’ by Paula Rego, looked like a Red Indian about to perform some initiation rite on the youngster.

tate britain london bogeyman

I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to replicate some of the positions portrayed below.

tate britain contortions

The lighting created shadows behind the ‘King and Queen’ sculpture by Henry Moore.

tate britain london henry moore couple sculpture

The wire sculptures looked a bit like squint pylons or TV masts.

tate britain london sculpturees

I highly recommend visiting the Tate Britain with its diverse collection of historical and contemporary British art. It’s open every day from 10am to 6pm.

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


national gallery london exploring mosaic


national gallery london defiance mosaic

Defiance, featuring Winston Churchill

national gallery london rest mosaic


national gallery london theatre mosaic


national gallery london christmas pudding mosaic

Christmas Pudding

national gallery london science mosaic


national gallery london engineering mosaic


national gallery london humour mosaic


national gallery london mining mosaic


national gallery london lucidity mosaic

Lucidity, featuring philospher Bertrand Russell

national gallery london compromise mosaic


national gallery london pursuit mosaic


national gallery london astronomy mosaic


national gallery london curiousity mosaic


national gallery london open mind mosaic

Open Mind

national gallery london folly mosaic


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.