Legend

Places in Britain associated with legends, or legendary people; or a story – a British legend – often a traditional one, that may or may not be true!

Cilgerran Castle and the Princess Nest

Cilgerran Castle and Princess Nest

Once upon a whenever, Wales is said to have had more than 640 castles.  We may have mentioned that before.  Of those 640, at least 100 have survived.  Some, such as Caernarfon or Conwy, are recognisably mighty fortresses; others are little more than remote ruined forts; and then there are the ones in between, like […]

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The Stone Circle at Mitchell’s Fold

Mitchells Fold Stone Circle, image

Mitchell’s Fold Stone Circle is one of those places you think you should have arrived at much sooner than you do. “We must have passed it.  Maybe I should turn round”.  Surely, supernatural forces were at work, discombobulating me as I (unsuccessfully) navigated the car along narrow border lanes between England and Wales.  In fact,

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Tales of Lincoln Cathedral

Eleanor of Castile, Lincoln Cathedral

I will never weary of wandering round medieval cathedrals.  The motivation and faith behind these places, as well as the financial and temporal power, is astonishing. I gaze in awe up at soaring arches, bathed in coloured sunlight, filtered through exquisite stained glass and dappling across old stones, absorb myself in the memorials and lap

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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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Dunkirk – the miracle in context

Dunkirk, beach

Say “Dunkirk”* to anyone with a modest knowledge of Britain’s recent history and probably the least they will do is to nod sagely; Dunkirk, ‘the miracle of Dunkirk’ or the ‘Dunkirk spirit’, is part of modern British mythology.  If you know of anyone who served at Dunkirk, you are likely to regard them, understandably, with

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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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Touching the lost past of Ninekirks

Ninekirks, St Ninian's, near Penrith

It’s hard to beat soaking up the atmosphere of an elegant historic house, or imagining life being restored to the grim ruins of a once-mighty castle. But there’s also a special kind of magic getting off the well-beaten tourist track to explore some less obvious aspect of our past, an attraction that isn’t widely advertised,

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St Cyriac and the tour party

Lacock church, St Cyriac, Wiltshire

Had I led a better life, perhaps spending more time with saints than sinners, maybe I would have heard of St Cyriac before stumbling ignorantly into his church in Lacock.  For the benefit of anyone else who has somehow managed to cope thus far without this knowledge – and I’m sure there’s at least one

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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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Kirkby Lonsdale’s Devil’s Bridge – and the bikers who live there

Bikers, Devil's Bridge, Kirkby Lonsdale

There are several reasons why you may want to visit Kirkby Lonsdale. Not least, because it’s a fine old Cumbrian market town, with a lovely church, St Mary’s, and, beyond that, Ruskin’s View – a panorama allegedly described by the Victorian polymath, without a trace of hyperbole, as “One of the loveliest views in England,

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