Abbeys

Notable abbeys or monasteries in Britain, mostly those that can be visited.  Some may be in ruins. Some may be remote.

Why hadn’t I heard of Holme Cultram?

Holme Cultram Abbey feature on A Bit About Britain

“Do you want to go into the church?”  The neatly dressed middle-aged lady beamed at us. It was a little late in the day and it seemed she was just about to lock up. “Well, if it’s not too much trouble…”. Visiting Holme Cultram was one of those happy accidents.  I had never heard of […]

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Royal Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey Lady Chapel

Westminster Abbey is part of a World Heritage Site. It has been at the centre of English, and British, state occasions – coronations, weddings, funerals, services of commemoration – since William the Conqueror was crowned there on Christmas Day 1066.  In fact, its roots are pre-Conquest.  The powerful bishop, archbishop and later saint, Dunstan, established

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The Palace of Holyroodhouse

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Unlike Balmoral, which is a private home, the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh is the Monarch’s official residence in Scotland.  And parts of it are open to the public.  So, assuming you don’t get to visit palaces too often, you should pop in when you’re next in town.  It is situated at the eastern end

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World Heritage Sites in Britain

World Heritage Sites in Britain

Britain has 29 World Heritage Sites.  The United Kingdom has 30, including the Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland but excluding overseas territories.  It would have been 31, but Liverpool’s maritime mercantile city was, sadly, stripped of its status in 2021.  Don’t let that put you off; Liverpool is more than worth spending

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A visit to Whitby

Yorkshire coast

Whitby, one of Yorkshire’s go-to seaside towns, conjures up so many images: the ruined abbey, dominating the skyline and old harbour, tales of Captain Cook, Dracula, the semi-precious Whitby Jet, days by the seaside – and, of course, fish ‘n’ chips.  On the other hand, maybe you are familiar with the place from the evocative

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Crowland or Croyland

Crowland, Lincolnshire

Crowland, Lincolnshire, is one of those little towns that Britain does so well. It is appealing, has a couple of fascinating historic attractions (a splendid half-ruined abbey church and a unique three-way medieval bridge), at least one decent tea and bun shop and was once home to a famous hermit, Guthlac.  Well, really, what more

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Ten of the best in the west

Polperro, Cornwall

South West England has two main draw-backs: it is popular and, as it’s on the west, it can suffer from wetness – particularly at its extremities.  Other than that, it has pretty much everything, including mystery, prehistory, history, cuteness, grand vistas, impressive buildings and plenty of things to do.  For an introduction, see A Bit

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The time capsule of Culross

Culross and the Forth

It’s become something of a cliché, to describe a place as ‘being frozen in time’, or similar.  But in the case of Culross, a small village on the north bank of Firth of Forth in Fife (try saying that after too many sherbets), there’s an element of truth in the statement. Most of Culross manages

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A pilgrimage to Lindisfarne, the Holy Island

Lindisfarne

To visit Lindisfarne, a tidal island at the tip of north-east England, is to enter a different world.  It is a world of saltwater, seabirds and saints, a world of mudflats, mead and mystery that is still revealing its secrets. Our story begins in the shadow times before places like England, Scotland and Wales had

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Dracula and Whitby

Whitby Abbey, Dracula

The great tempest broke rapidly and without warning in the darkness.  The sea around Whitby convulsed, waves rising in growing fury, over-topping one another, beating white-topped on the sands, rushing up the cliffs and breaking with great spumes over the piers of the harbour.  Adding to the difficulties and dangers of the night, a huge

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The remains of London’s white friars

White Friars, crypt, London

It beggars modern belief just how much London – well, pretty much everywhere in Europe, I guess – was once dominated by the Church. Did you know there were more than one hundred parish churches within or just outside the boundaries of medieval London? No, neither did I; staggering, isn’t it?  Plus the great religious

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