Curious

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

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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St Patrick’s Chapel, Heysham

Ruins, Chapel, Heysham, stone graves

This is one of our friend Jeni’s favourite places and she said we should go; so of course we did. Heysham (pronounced ‘hee-shum’, not ‘hay-sham’) sits on Lancashire’s coast at the southern end of Morecambe Bay.  I knew of Heysham as a ferry port, offering services to the Isle of Man and Ireland, as well

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Christopher Wren did not live here

Christopher Wren, St Pauls, view, Millennium Bridge

And neither did Catherine (or Katherine) of Aragon.  What?!  Let me explain…my London reader may have seen a plaque – not one of the official, blue, ones, but an altogether more elaborate, individual, affair – on the wall of 49 Bankside, London SE1.  And it proudly declares, in fancy script: “Here lived Sir Christopher Wren

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The spine-tingling tale of Greyfriars Bobby

Greyfriars Bobby, Edinburgh

Every now and again you come across a story so terrible, so utterly bone-chilling, that you need a mug of cocoa and a lie-down to calm yourself.  This particular narrative concerns (the clue is in the picture)… a small dog. Our tale begins in the year 1814, in Forfar (that’s a town, not a stutter),

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Chiddingstone’s Chiding Stone

Chiddingstone, Kent, visit Britain

You’ll find a curious thing at the end of a little path beside the school in the Kent village of Chiddingstone.  It’s a great lump of sandstone, formed about 135 million years ago when this part of the world was a swampy mess.  And this large rock is called the Chiding Stone, because (so they

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Blooms and a mystery at Exbury Gardens

Rhododendrons, azaleas, south-east, England, Gardens

The wealthy banker Lionel de Rothschild bought the Exbury Estate, in Hampshire, in 1919.  In 1922, work began on creating what is now a 200 acre garden, internationally famous for its rhododendrons, azaleas, rare trees and shrubs.  Exbury Gardens are open to the public, nestle on the eastern edge of the Beaulieu River in the

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Anniversaries, 2017

Sgt Pepper, Beatles, 1967

Which anniversaries were marked in Britain in 2017?  Have a quick scan through the eclectic list of events below, some of which may have slipped your mind; they were bound to have been on someone’s British calendar for 2017. 1650th anniversary of multiple assaults and near anarchy In 367AD, near simultaneous raids on Roman Britain

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The London Stone

London Stone, Cannon Street

Every now and again, you come across a reference to ‘The London Stone’.  Not ‘a London stone’; The London Stone.  Use of the definite article tells you right away that this is Something Quite Important.  Never heard of it?  Tut-tut.  To be honest, I worked in and around London for years and was completely unaware

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Anniversaries, 2016

James Herriot, Yorkshire Dales, Anniversaries, 2016

What have William the Conqueror, Shakespeare, Peter Rabbit, the Big Friendly Giant, Bobby Moore and David Cameron all got in common?  Answer: they were all associated with anniversaries in 2016.  Of course, some anniversaries were very kindly highlighted by publicists, who ultimately decide which momentous dates will be remembered in Britain. 950th anniversary of the

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