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Archive for the ‘Domesday Villages of England’ Category

I am totally in love with this house. When you think of ‘chocolate box pretty’ this is the kind of image that comes to mind. Lindfield in East Sussex has approximately 40 of these such houses, although I’ve only seen a few so far. But this one is perfect; quintessentially England.

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When the agency phoned me to take on an assignment in East Sussex I groaned. I’ve been to East Sussex numerous times and wanted to work farther afield, but since that was what was available, I accepted.

As usual I did a bit of research on the place where I’d be working and was delighted to discover that Lindfield was in fact a Domesday Book village. Hoorah!! Suddenly my perspective changed LOL

Lindfield is a charming village with apparently over 40 black and white houses, although I’ve only found 5 so far.

There’s a house on the main street that was built in the 1300s and restored in the 18th century.

Other than that, there’s the fabulous Toll House dating from 1630.

The high street is lined with some fantastic houses, covering architecture from the 14th century through to the 19th.

There’s a lovely pond as you reach the high street which makes for some marvellous images.

The parish council runs the show and as a result, small independent stores and shops are flourishing…no Tesco, no Boots, no Starbucks, no Costa and no charity shops that I’ve seen as yet. There is however a CoOp.

Within a short walk is a pretty little nature reserve, although I haven’t yet explored it too much since I don’t fancy sploshing through mud…. I’ll save that for my Winchester to Canterbury pilgrimage LOL

I’ve managed a few exploratory walks around the neighbourhood, and Lindfield is a tad more than just a village now….more like a smallish town, but it is very pretty with some beautiful gardens and houses.

Lindfield is the 117th Domesday Book village/place I’ve visited. Well exceeding my Project 101 target of 101 🙂

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I’ve often seen posts where people do a round up of the places they’ve been in any particular month or year, so I thought I’d do a first quarter round up of the places I’ve been since January 1st. I saw in the New Year in front of the telly at home with my daughter and future son-in-law LOL Although I used to love going into London to watch the New Year fireworks live, since they introduced the £10 admittance fee and having to queue for hours before getting in, I’ve decided….no more!

As part of the #walk1000 miles challenge for 2018, I’ve kept note of the km’s/miles covered on my various excursions, via mapmywalk. Some of the walks look like a drunken spider has been let loose! But what fun to look at the maps afterwards and see the places I walked through.

January 2018 – walked 41 miles

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London’s New Year fireworks on the telly. Key to the Kingdom; Montgomery, Wales and Chirbury, Shropshire

February 2018 – walked 48 miles

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Nottingham

March 2019 – walked 63 miles

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Chester

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a walk along the Chester Canal to Christleton, a Domesday Book Village

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Quex Park and a tour of the towers

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Fordham, Wicken, Soham

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Ely

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Exning; birthplace of St Etheldreda and home of Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni

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Ely Cathedral

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Oliver Cromwell’s House, Ely

And there it is; my first quarter round up of places I’ve been in January, February and March of 2018, and 152 miles from 01/01/18-31/03/2018 – I’m slacking and need to get out more if I want to reach my 1000 mile target. I had thought I’d stretch myself this year and aim for 2018 miles (LOL – yeah right) but most of the jobs I’ve had so far haven’t been conducive to much time for walking. I haven’t kept track of every step I’ve taken, and only count #bootson walks where I specifically set off to ‘have a walk’. My pilgrimage from Winchester to Canterbury in August/September will add at least 133 miles to the total, but even so…..

I wonder what April, May and June will bring. I know that most of May will be spent at home, what with my daughter’s impending wedding and everything involved with that, as well as which I’ll be flying in a Spitfire from Biggin Hill for my birthday later on this month….watch this space 🙂 I wonder if I can add ‘flying’ to my miles hahaha. I’m also planning a walk from Broadstairs to Folkestone later this month and a trip ‘up noooth’ for 3 days which will add a substantial mileage as I explore the city, however I shall have to motivate myself to get out more inbetween times.

 

 

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I spent a couple of days in Chester last week and finally got to see the Eastgate Clock.

I’ve often seen photos of the clock on the internet; on instagram and travel sites, but didn’t realise at the time that the clock resides on the actual Roman city walls.

The Eastgate Clock in Chester

The Eastgate Clock in Chester

When I arrived in Chester on Wednesday, the first thing I did was walk into the city to see the clock. It was quite late and already dark, so all I managed to do was take a couple of very dark images.

The following day, at the Tourist information office is when I discovered to my delight that it was situated right above the city walls, and a walk around the city walls was on my list of things to do.

How amazing it was to not only see the clock up close, but to be able to walk along the beautifully preserved walls, along which Roman soldiers had once tramped in their leather sandals.

Roman city walls in Chester

Roman city walls in Chester

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I’m totally in love with Chester. I may just move here 😊😊😊 It’s been a real mixed bag of weather starting with rain just after I arrived, sleet at about 9am yesterday, then rain which soaked me to the skin (I eventually dried out). Besides the weather it’s been an awesome stay with a fantastic walk around the city and perambulation along the Roman city walls when the skies cleared. What an extraordinary city.

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Dewa – Roman Chester

I can’t tell you how thrilling it has been to walk along ancient streets, the galleried balconies of The Rows, and strolling along walls along which Roman soldiers and King Charles I amongst many other historical figures have walked. So exciting.  😉

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Ancient streets, The Rows, city gates

So today I took a walk along the canal and ended up in a village called Christleton. To my delight it turned out to be a Domesday Book Village. I started early (08.05) and since it was such a gorgeous day and my last full day, I decided to make the most of it and walk a short way….well a short way turned into a few miles and by 9am I was in Christleton.

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Chester Canal

The canal was stunning with a number of locks, a few small humped bridges, lots of colourful canal boats and a number of fabulous canal-side properties.

christleton, chester canal

canalside properties

Although I had not been my intention to walk that far, I’m absolutely thrilled that I did. I explored the village and the little church that literally opened as I got there, then stopped for tea and toast at the Ring O’Bells pub; so cosy I could have stayed all day…

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Christleton – Domesday Book Village

but I had a city to explore, so jumping on the next bus to Chester, I arrived shortly after 11.20.

Since I had alighted near to the fantastic Church of St John the Baptist, I stopped off there first and was just in time to hear the 12noon chimes. This church is extraordinary with a history that stretches back to the 7th century. Stepping through the doors is like stepping back in time. Founded in 689 AD by Aethelred King of Mercia, it was enlarged by Aethelfleda the daughter of King Alfred the Great and her husband in AD 907. This is one of those churches where if you don’t go in and do research afterwards, you regret not stopping. It is stunning.

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Church of St John the Baptist, Chester

With Norman architecture and pillars adorned with not only Mason marks but ancient frescoes amongst which is a 13th C image of St John the Baptist, memorials from the 17th century, a wooden Jacobean screen, an organ built for the Coronation of Queen Victoria in Westminster Abbey, rebuilt and installed here, Saxon and Viking stones dating from 900-1100 and examples of medieval tombstones including the grave slab for Agnes de Ridley wife of a sheriff of Chester, and so much more, you could stay for hours.

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Mason marks, medieval paintings

In the grounds surround the church are some amazing ruins of the older church, one of which contains a very bizarre object; a coffin shaped hole in the top of the wall. Very bizarre. This church too suffered at the hands of Henry VIII and Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarian troops.

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Chapel of St John the Baptist, Chester

From there I revisited the Roman Amphitheatre “When he saw the blood, it was as though he had drunk a deep draught of savage passion. He fixed his eyes upon the scene and took in all its frenzy ….He watched and cheered and grew hot with excitement” St Augustine Confessions 6.8 Having followed The Way of St Augustine from Ramsgate to Canterbury last year, finding this link was quite exciting.  Chester’s amphitheatre is the biggest in Britain and could seat 7,000 spectators; a powerful symbol of Roman supremacy on the edge of the empire. I walked right around the amphitheatre, imagining I could hear the cheers, jeers, shouts and screams and the roar of the crowds ringing in my ears. I wonder what it must have been like in Roman times…brutal I should guess. The spectacle that the crowds could see in the arena wild beast fights, public executions and gladiatorial combats, were not just bloodthirsty entertainment, they were rituals that expressed Roman values. While I was there a Roman soldier followed by a gaggle of noisy schoolchildren entered the arena and soon there were full-blooded cries echoing off the walls. What a terrific way to learn history!!! I think I must go back to school…in Chester!

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The Roman Amphitheatre, Chester

Leaving the amphitheatre I walked through the Roman Gardens located right next to the city walls where you can see various artefacts as well the ruins of Roman baths, one of the most impressive buildings of the Chester fortress. Here again was a Roman soldier putting a gaggle of children through their soldier paces….with fierce screams and stamping feet. Too much fun!!

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The Roman Gardens, Chester

Chester was known as the Roman Fort of Deva and there is a charming little exhibition that you can visit – the Dewa Roman Experience; experience the sights, sounds and smells of Roman Chester.  Just off  Bridge Street, I popped in for a thoroughly enjoyable ‘quick’ visit. Absolutely worth the time, the cost of the ticket minimal and less than 2 cups of coffee.  The kids will love it.

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Dewa Roman Experience, Chester

http://www.dewaromanexperience.co.uk/experience.html

After whizzing through this delightful exhibition, a brisk walk took me through the centre of the city and onto the cathedral where I joined the FREE ground floor tour at 1.30pm. Wow, I wish I had a photographic memory or at least a tape recorder. The guides ply you with so many fascinating and interesting snippets of information, it’s quite overwhelming. Suffice to say, it is well worth the hour and it’s free. Times: 11:00 13:30 15:00

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Chester Cathedral

After this fascinating hour tour I joined the 60 minute Tower Tour at 3pm (£8) a very well spent £8 and 60 minutes; fascinating history and stunning views -we walked up along the narrow passageways around the church looking down onto the floor and up close and personal with the stained glass windows, stopped off in the ringing chamber, had a look at the fantastic bells, and then onto the roof for stupendous 360 degree views of Chester and as far as the Welsh mountains. I stood on the spot where Charles I stood during the Civil War and nearly had his head blown off….after which he ‘forsook the city and made haste elsewhere’. The views outdoors were just as fabulous as the views indoors and being up close to the ceiling was amazing, they are so beautiful. All too soon the tour was over and we returned to the floor of the cathedral. Absolutely fantastic.

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Tower Tour of Chester Cathedral

After a quick cup of tea and cake (included in the Tower Tour price) I made a dash through the streets to the Chester Museum and entered with like 10 minutes to spare, so all I got to see were the Roman exhibitions, which were amazing. It’s so exciting to see items that were made nearly 2,000 years ago and I guess I shall just have to return to Chester for a 2nd visit 🙂

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Chester Museum

Talking of which, I was scrolling through my photos and was reminded of a walk that was of interest; The Two Saints Way – a 92 mile walk from Chester to Lichfield…I’ve ordered the book and started planning hahahaha.

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Two Saints Way – Chester to Lichfield

After my quick visit I headed over to Spud You Like to see the remains of a Roman Hypocaust…wowwww. Now that was seriously impressive. I had to plead and beg and ask very nicely to go in as they had actually just closed for the day, but the young lass on the door heeded my entreaties and let me walk across her nice clean floor and run downstairs to have a look; so just a couple of very quick photos and a touch of the stones and my visit was over. I was disappointed as I had planned on having supper there LOL. Oh well. Sadly I was also told that they were closing as of end March as the lease had run out. What a shame.

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Roman Hypocaust, Chester

And that brought my visit to Chester to a close. I walked back towards the Town Hall looking for something different to eat and ended up at Blackstock’s Fish and Chips. I ordered the battered fish and a portion of chips and mushy peas. Very very disappointing. For a higher price, I got perhaps a 1/4 of the amount of chips I had at Adam’s Fish and Chips and although the chips tasted nice they were not a patch on the ones I had at Adam’s. The fish was tasty but small and to my utter dismay the mushy peas were not only tasteless and vinegary, but they were served in a polystyrene cup and plastic cutlery. Not good enough. When you visit Chester and fancy a cone of chips and fish…try Adam’s Fish & Chips on Bridge Street. 😉

After my meal I strolled through the city, sad to be leaving so soon I felt I could have stayed another day. I will seriously have to go back…perhaps when I do the Two Saints Walk.

Join me on instagram where I share photos of places I visited

 

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Since I only had a few days in Chester, I set off really early the next morning to explore the city, wanting to see and do as much as possible in my allotted time (although setting off at 9.30am is not really that early LOL). Greeted by a mildly overcast day that promised to brighten up, I hastened into the city stopping first to photograph the clock again…of course. Just look at that date!! 1897. wow. I wonder if Queen Victoria even saw this magnificent clock?! Probably not.

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The famous Chester clock located on the East Gate of the city

Next stop the Chester High Cross located next to the Guild Church of St Peter

I then took a stroll along the galleried walkways of The Rows; Britain’s oldest shopping arcade. The history of these buildings is phenomenal and it felt quite weird and exhilarating to be walking along these corridors where thousands of people have walked for centuries.

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galleried walkways of Britain’s oldest shopping arcade

Next up a visit to the Guild Church of St Peter’s. As with all these wonderful ancient churches, the history is phenomenal and architecture beautiful with stunning stained glass windows telling the stories of the Bible, as well as a phenomenal edition of the Chester Breeches Bible.

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The Guild Church of St Peter, Chester where you can see the Chester Breeches Bible

From here I strolled around the streets photographing just about every building I passed and then some LOL they are all so gorgeous. I just wish that the councils of this historic towns & cities would ban shop signs. A discreet sign above the door should be sufficient.

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The Black & White style was part of a wider Tudor Revival in 19th-century architecture.

I spied the cathedral looming large at the end of one cobbled street so made my way over for a visit.

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Chester Cathedral at the end of the street

Founded in 1092 as a Benedictine abbey dedicated to Saint Werburgh, the original church was built in the Romanesque or Norman style, some of which you can still see today. What an extraordinary building. I have visited over 30 cathedrals in various cities and countries and they are all so very different and so very beautiful.

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Chester Cathedral

Although the site itself may have been used for Christian worship since Roman times, the current Grade I listed building, rebuilt from about 1250 in the Gothic style, which took 275 years to complete, the church as we see it today is a stunning structure with oodles of history; part of a heritage site that also includes the most complete set of monastic buildings in England with remains of Roman barracks on the Dean’s field. The original windows of the abbey were destroyed by Parliamentary troops and the current stained glass windows, dating mostly from the 19th and 20th centuries, are a sight to behold with some fabulous windows in the cloisters that contain the images of 130 saints.

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the cloister windows contain the images of 130 saints

After spending an hour or so exploring the church I booked myself on one of the free ground floor tours for the following day, after which the 60 minute Tower tour for £8.

After exploring the church I went walkabout in the city centre… what a cute little elephant sculpture, I would have loved to have a ride on that bus and I saw the ghost of a Roman soldier!!! Hmmmm, maybe not!

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Chester – so much to see!!!

From there I then set off for the North Gate to walk the City Walls. Oh my gosh, what a fantastic experience.

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Chester City Walls starting from the North Gate I passed the King Charles Tower (awesome!)

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along Chester’s City Walls and passed beneath the East Gate clock (more awesome)

Enroute I diverted slightly to visit the Roman Amphitheatre

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Chester’s Roman Amphitheatre

At the Bridge Gate I made another diversion to visit the river and stroll along in the sunshine, stopping off at the cafe tucked behind the bridge for tea & scones (pre-vegan).

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The River Dee flowing through Chester

Then headed back along the pathway past Chester Castle, founded by William the Conqueror in 1070. Someone told me its was a private residence and not open for tours so I didn’t bother to go in, but on further research I see it’s an English Heritage property ….I guess I’ll just HAVE to go back for another visit then LOL no hardship 😉 Also that will teach me to do proper research before visiting a place.

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Chester Castle and Water Tower Street

Then back onto the walls till I got back to the North Gate. There are so many things to see from the walls that I can seriously recommend you make the time to visit. Approximately an hours walk will take you around, unless like me, you stop for 100s of photos!

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along Chester’s City Walls

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The North Gate – currently sections of the wall near this gate are under reconstruction

Welcome to Chester. I used mapmywalk app to record my route around the city

There are so many wondrous things to see in Chester, so after my city wall excursion I went walkabout once again. This just fascinated me – 3 Old Arches 1297!! I mean seriously!

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Three Old Arches – 1274 AD – Three Old Arches, at 48 Bridge Street, incorporate part of the famous Chester Rows and is a Grade I listed building. The stone frontage at the street and row levels is considered to be the oldest surviving shop frontage in England.

After my marathon walkabout I strolled back through the city and along the canal back to the BB for a snooze and a meal.

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The Canal in Chester’s Industrial Heart and Chester’s Industrial Outskirts

After a short rest I once again headed back into the city centre; I simply couldn’t get my fill of the city walls so had another short stroll along from King Charles Tower, past the Eastgate Clock

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Chester at night

and onto the Bridge Gate where I disembarked and walked along the riverfront to the Queen’s Park Suspension Bridge

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Ye Olde Kings Head – built 1622 and the Queen’s Park Suspension Bridge built 1852 and my shadow alongside the city walls

after which I stopped for a second meal at Adam’s Fish and Chips. They were sensational and for the 2nd night they created a very clever cone for me to take away my fish cake and chips.

Adam's Fish and Chips Chester

Adam’s Fish and Chips Chester – best ever fish cake and chips

Meandering about the city, trailing a heavenly aroma, eating my chips and fish I eventually found myself back at the cathedral. I saw that the lights were on and could hear music from inside. So thinking it was some night-time service, I strolled around to the side door and walked in. There was a crowd of people milling about and no-one seemed to mind that I was there, so I just meandered about and took some more photos (it’s not like I didn’t already have enough) and then I left.

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Chester Cathedral at night

It seems I actually gate-crashed a private event, but not a soul said anything and the young man at the door even held it open and wished me a good evening when I departed. LOL marvellous. I was thrilled to see one of the 2014 Tower of London WW1 poppies on display…I wonder if it’s the one I planted!! Probably not LOL

I took some more photos of the buildings, looking ghostly in the dark

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The Rows at night

and then with one final photo (again) of the Eastgate Clock

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Chester’s Eastgate Clock – 20:30 and all is well

I took a slow stroll through the streets of Chester, along the canal and back to my B&B. What a marvellous day. I can say for sure that I am totally charmed with Chester.

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Nottingham has been on my list of places to go ever since I arrived in the UK 17 years ago. It’s taken a while LOL. Getting around the UK is relatively easy with the extensive railway network, but it is prohibitively expensive, so my visit to Nottingham had to wait till an assignment became available…which it did in February. Exciting!! I was thrilled.

When I did the journey planner the station code came up as NOT and as it turned out, NOT pretty much described my overall visit…..NOT Nottingham. It just wasn’t at all what I expected. First impressions were thrilling….the castle built on top of the sandstone caves; gaping wounds in the cliff-face gave an indication of what lay behind the facade.

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Sandstone cliffs and a myriad of cave

A quick walk around the city after checking in at my AirBnB led to the discovery of the fantastic 12th century inn; Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem – apparently the oldest inn in England (disputed by some) and saw the statue of Robin Hood in the plaza out front of the castle walls. I found a superb old Tudor style building nearby and delighted in the stories behind the myriad caves that lay beneath the castle.

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Nottingham Castle gates and statue of Robin Hood

Walking further into the city I found that I could have been in any major city anywhere in the UK. Nottingham didn’t hold the quirky charm I had been expecting….high street stores, chain restaurants and charity shops. I felt robbed LOL sorry Robin.

But never one to leave any stone unturned or city unexplored, I delved deeper, determined to find the hidden gems…and I found plenty.

First up a walk through the city’s oldest area: the Lace Market. This historic quarter-mile area was once the centre of the world’s lace industry during the British Empire. Meandering the streets I was enchanted by the quirky old buildings, now dotted with street art and turned over to various other industries and businesses, the area still holds a charming olde worlde atmosphere.

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The Creative Quarter; the Nottingham Lace Market

From there I made my way to The City of Caves, the entrance located on the upper level of the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre. For someone who loves caves, this was a real treat. They are fantastic and tell the story of the people who have inhabited the area for aeons, right up until when the caves were used as air-raid shelters during the 2nd WW. There is even the sound effect of an air-raid with bombers going overhead and the wail of a siren. Thrilling. I can recommend this if you enjoy history & caves and don’t suffer from claustrophobia http://www.nationaljusticemuseum.org.uk/venue/city-of-caves/

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Walking above ground, you would never know there were 800 caves beneath your feet…a city of caves indeed.

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the city of caves…..800 caves beneath your feet

I managed to visit 2 churches, one of which; The Church of St Mary the Virgin is located in the Lace Market area

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The Church of St Mary the Virgin is the oldest religious foundation in the City of Nottingham, England, the largest church after the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Nottingham and the largest mediaval building in the city

St Mary the Virgin, aka St Mary’s in the Lace Market was by far and away my favourite building. A Grade 1 listed building, one of only 5 in Nottingham, this fantastic 16th century church has a history is that is just astounding. Mentioned in the Domesday Book it is believed it’s roots go back deep into Saxon times. The main body of the present building (possibly the 3rd on the site) dates from the end of the reign of Edward III (1377) to that of Henry VII (1485–1509), the tower wasn’t completed till the reign of Henry VIII. There are some fascinating memorials in the church with an array of stunning stained glass windows; art works in themselves. The chantry door, dating from the 1370s or 1380s is considered to be the oldest surviving door in Nottingham and contains an example of iron work from the medieval period in the locking mechanism.

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the Chantry door, St Mary the Virgin in the Lace Market area of Nottingham

In the grounds are a number of marvellous headstones that tell a story all their own as well the grave and a memorial plaque to Nottingham’s first black entrepreneur: George Africanus (1763-1834). This magnificent church is well worth a visit in my opinion. They depend on donations for the upkeep of this magnificent building; please give generously https://www.stmarysnottingham.org/

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The Church of St Peter with St James

The 2nd church; Church of St Peter with St James is a delightful church right in the centre of Nottingham. I had noticed it previously when I first arrived and was delighted to discover the link with the pilgrim St James. One of the three medieval parish churches in Nottingham, the original church was destroyed by fire in the early 1100s and rebuilt between 1180 and 1220. United with the church of St James which was demolished in the 1930’s, the church is now a Grade I listed building. The stained glass windows are a glorious rainbow of bright bold colours and above the west porch entrance is a fantastic painting of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane after the Last Supper. Painted in 1816 by Thomas Barber (1771-1843). This beautiful building offers an oasis of peace and tranquillity in a busy city.

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Nottingham Cathedral.

And the cathedral; Nottingham Cathedral is located not too far from the castle along and just off Maid Marion Way. I loved the fabulous feeling of space in this church and the ceiling seems to soar above you. An unearthly blue light fills the space, the stained glass windows adding to the ethereal atmosphere. Built between 1841 and 1844 by the architect was Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, I was delighted to discover the link to the church in Ramsgate; St Augustine’s, from whence I started my walk along The Way of St Augustine in 2017. The Blessed Sacrament Chapel is absolutely exquisite and well worth the visit.

I visited the Castle that isn’t really a castle, but more of an enormous palatial Manor house built after the original castle was destroyed by fire, and explored the fantastic displays and exhibitions quite thoroughly before embarking on a tour of the caves which were just awesome. There is a charge to visit the castle and an extra £5 to visit the caves.

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Exhibitions in Nottingham Castle

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Sandstone Caves at Nottingham Castle,

Before I left I managed to squeeze in a visit to Green’s Mill. I’d seen the windmill on the horizon earlier on in my stay, and determined to visit before I left the area. Absolutely charming. It’s a working mill and you can buy freshly milled flour on the premises and a recipe book for various yummy goodies …I bought one bag of flour and a recipe book for my son-in-law who is a keen baker. You can clamber about the inside the mill which offers a look at the many mechanisms required for milling the grain into flour.

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Green’s Mill and Science Centre, Nottingham

The views from the top floor are well worth the climb; just mind your head going up!! Green’s Mill also depends on donations to maintain the building, so please give generously. If you’re a UK tax payer remember to tick the Gift Aid box. It all helps. https://www.greensmill.org.uk/

I managed to get in a couple of lovely walks along the canal and river as well as a visit to Victoria Park and the amazing memorial to both World Wars, on the embankment near the fantastic suspension bridge

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In all I spent 2.5 weeks in Nottingham, 2 weeks of which was working, and so, during my breaks I managed to get in quite a few walks around the area, many of which were along the river. On a warm clear day before the snow, I chanced upon and watched a boat race.

Nottingham. Although I was at first quite disappointed, after digging around and finding all these amazing places to visit, I can say that, despite not meeting Robin, in all I enjoyed visiting these amazing places and discovering more about the history of the city and I especially enjoyed visiting the caves.

And so my visit went from NOT Nottingham, to why NOT Nottingham.

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