Ruins

Places of interest or attractions that are completely, or partially, destroyed, in a state of decay, collapse or otherwise no longer complete.

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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What really happened at Orford Ness?

Orford Ness, a ten-mile long shingle spit on the Suffolk coast, is one of the most extraordinary places in Britain. Its environment, part natural, part man-made, provides a perfect, and in places rare, habitat for an enormous variety of flora and fauna. But, more than that, for the greater part of the 20th century it

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The ghosts of Christ Church Greyfriars

Haunted London churches, Christchurch Greyfriars

Christ Church Greyfriars is one of those places you stumble across in London without meaning to.  That’s exactly what I did a few years ago, anyway, drifting in search of somewhere to eat a sandwich after a tedious business meeting.  Close to the Stock Exchange, I found myself in a peaceful garden planted inside the

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The road to Mediobogdum

Mediobogdum or Hardknott Roman Fort

The men of the 4th Cohort of Dalmatians were a long way from home.  They were undoubtedly cold and Hardknott Fort, which the Romans probably knew as Mediobogdum, must have seemed like the end of the world.  Certainly, situated in the mountainous northern region of the most northerly province of Imperial Rome, it was one

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The curiosity of Racton Folly

Racton Folly, most haunted places

There was always an air of mystery about this place.  When everything was new, and a car was a novelty, Dad occasionally took us out for Sunday afternoon drives.  Passing along the lanes of the South Downs north of Chichester, he’d invariably comment, “Oh, there’s Racton Folly.”  And there it was, a grim looking tower

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The vanished world of Witley Court

Witley Court from the south

The wind and rain blow arrogantly through the empty shell of Witley Court. There are puddles in the earth-floored entrance hall, where the Prince of Wales had been among many rich and powerful Victorian house guests. The hand-woven Persian silk carpet and exquisite statuary have long gone; there is no trace of the brass-railed balcony

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Who haunts Scarborough Castle?

Scarborough Castle, North Bay

Scarborough Castle dominates the Victorian Yorkshire seaside resort from a massive precipitous headland bulging up from the North Sea.  The fortress has a fascinating three and a half thousand year, often bloody, story to tell, but one of its more dubious charms seems to be that the ghost of Piers Gaveston, Earl of Cornwall, and

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Wharram Percy DMV

Wharram Percy, DMV, Yorkshire

We tend to see modern towns and villages as permanent things. They may change, but it’s hard to imagine the landscape without them and easy to take it for granted that they will last forever.  Yet the world is littered with places that have been lost along the way – abandoned communities, traces of old

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Two thousand years at Brougham Castle

Brougham Castle, River Eamont, Cumbria

I’m gazing up through the empty keep, where long-dead feet once paced across floors that have themselves long-since vanished, rotted away.  Here’s Brougham Castle, scenically sitting on the south bank of the River Eamont a couple of miles outside Penrith, just off the A66.  Someone should write a song about that road… get your kicks,

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Helmsley Castle and a canter through British history

Helmsley and Helmsley Castle, North Yokshire

The guy behind me, approaching the rather unwelcoming gatehouse, grumbled, somewhat disparagingly, “Well, it’s just a ruin.” He was evidently a reluctant visitor to Helmsley Castle, poor soul.  He was half-right – Helmsley Castle is a ruin – and Britain does have more than a few wrecked castles.  Maybe our fellow-traveller was just out-ruined, couldn’t

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The castle at Newark-on-Trent

Newark Castle, Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire

So far, England has only had one King John, and he was a bad ‘un.  However many times some historian suggests that this much-maligned monarch has been misrepresented, misunderstood, or was at least no worse than any other medieval king, another historian shouts out that John was as bad as they got. In fact, by

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Art and the amphitheatre

London, Roman, Amphitheatre, Guildhall Art Gallery

It’s sometimes easy to forget that London is a Roman creation.  A site occupying a good position on the north bank of the tidal Thames, which offered deep enough anchorage for ocean-going vessels and which was narrow enough to bridge.  Within 20 years of the invasion of 43AD, London was sufficiently large and important to

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Beautiful Bodiam Castle

Bodiam, East Sussex, romantic, photogenic, castle

Bodiam Castle was ostensibly built to help defend England from the French.  Now it just sits there, looking beautiful, a teeny bit brooding, and very medieval.  From a distance, you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s still a functioning fortress, that a verray parfit gentil knyght is going to come galloping across the drawbridge

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