Curious places in or facts about Britain; the quirky, off-beat or unusual.

Anniversaries, 2019

Anniversaries, Abbey Road, 1969, Beatles

Which anniversaries were marked in Britain in 2019?  Here is a selection of noteworthy events and birthdays for you – each one was on someone’s calendar for 2019 – and each one offers a fascinating insight into Britain’s story.  A Bit About Britain has only highlighted significant anniversaries – centenaries, half centuries and quarter centuries.  …

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The A-Z of Christmas in Britain

A-Z of Christmas

A version of this feature is included in the book, ‘A Bit about Britain’s High Days and Holidays’. Of course, Christmas is Christmas and the basics are ubiquitous in any country with a Christian tradition.  That said, everybody celebrates it, if they celebrate it at all, in their own way.  Each family seems to have …

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Exploring Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square, treasure buried?

Trafalgar Square is one of those places that have always seemed to be there.  It is so famous, such a focal point, and featured in so many news clips and photographs – including those taken by most of London’s tourists – that it’s easy to take it for granted.  Its name commemorates, as most people …

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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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Uffington’s White Horse – etc

Uffington White Horse

I’d tell you a tale of a battle fought and won, a dragon slain near an old fortress, an ancient trackway and a magical metalworker that flies through the skies and will shoe your horse for a few coins.  True, at first glance, what some may dismiss as a few arty scrapings on chalk downs, …

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Is the Cerne Abbas Giant one of Britain’s most loved figures?

Cerne Abbas, Giant, Dorset

This is an appropriate question, since it is rumoured that couples creep up to the Cerne Abbas Giant at night in order to make babies.  As the Giant is cut into a hill with a reasonable degree of slope on it, the mechanics of their actions must be somewhat of a challenge; but each to …

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Dunstan in the East

Dunstan in the East, churches destroyed in the Blitz

Constantly keep your eyes open when wandering round the old City of London.  Behind the steel and glass and beneath your feet are about two thousand years of history.  Reminders of the past are everywhere – some obvious, others not; and some are real hidden gems.  One of the finest of those hidden gems is …

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A Queen’s View of the Highlands

Queen's View, places to visit in the Highlands

The Queen looked west over Loch Tummel and liked it very much.  She liked it so much that someone named the view for her. Or, maybe she commanded that it should be so.  Sadly, there’s a little uncertainty over which particular queen we’re talking about here, but whoever it was does not alter the fact …

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The tale of the Bramley apple

Bramley Apples come from Southwell, Nottinghamshire

Here’s a story with a healthy bite.  There are thousands of varieties of apple, but just one that is generally considered to be the cook’s favourite in the UK – the Bramley.  Bramley apples are large and green, with a sharp taste that makes them unappetising to eat raw, but flavoursome when cooked, with the …

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Anniversaries, 2018

Hadrian's Wall

Which anniversaries were marked in Britain in 2018?  The end of public hanging, votes for women, the first traffic light, the Roman invasion and Mick Jagger’s 75th birthday?  Have a quick scan through the eclectic list of selected events below: though some may have slipped your mind, each one was on someone’s British calendar for …

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Postman Pat’s post office

Postman Pat's post office, Kendal, Cumbria

Kendal, nestling conveniently on the edge of the English Lake District, is a famous town.  This, after all, is the place where mint cake was discovered, Katherine Parr had a castle and Alfred Wainwright was Borough Treasurer; but these nuggets of distinction pale into insignificance when you realise that Postman Pat was born there.  Indeed, …

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