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 Britain's history as seen by young tourists

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Caro
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PostSubject: Britain's history as seen by young tourists   Thu 11 Oct 2012, 01:00

My son and daughter-in-law have been touring the south-west of Britain and have enjoyed it hugely. (Though I don’t see how they have managed to get through so much in 17 days.) My son seems specially impressed with the early British history, pre-Roman. He said, “I think I bored [my wife] at times taking her to a seemingly endless number of bronze-age, iron-age, roman, and medieval historical sites, that seem to be littered everywhere you look. I had no idea of the scale and extent of these monuments and ruins. Suggests a much more comprehensive and significant British civilisation pre-roman times than I think I had previously considered.”

And they said, “We then headed just out of Salisbury to Old Sarum, which is a large hill fortification with various layers of history from Bronze Age and Roman to Saxon. The ruins of Salisbury Cathedral’s predecessor and a royal residence sit on top. We also became members of English Heritage and will be keeping a tally of our savings. Next stop, Old Wardour Castle was a little off the beaten track (we’re still adjusting to the narrow country lanes) but it’s always nice to visit somewhere a little less common; a castle that was built as a private residence and destroyed in the Civil War (this has become a theme with the castles we have seen lately).

The next day we headed to Avebury World Heritage Site for a Bronze Age fix. Silbury Hill is the world’s largest ancient man-made earth mound, which may not sound like much, but its scale (pyramid sized) and seeming pointlessness impressed us. Very close by was West Kennet Long Barrow where you can enter the burial chambers. We picnicked at the Processional Avenue (a “road” of standing stones linking Avebury and The Sanctuary) on our way to Avebury, which is the “main attraction”. Avebury is fascinating and kind of odd. A manor, farm and village right in the middle of an enormous series of stone circles. Even the road runs right through the middle. We went through the manor first, which was particularly entertaining as you could interact with anything inside.

Some [other] highlights were the gardens (Eden Project - Astonishing, Lost Gardens of Heligan - Beautifully recreated, Tapeley Park - my edible forest garden, Trelissick, and Abbotsbury - sub-tropical paradise - not to mention all those attached to stately homes like Greenway, Trerice, and Longleat). Amazing scale and range of planting.

Castles don't capture us in the same way as [my brother] I think, but visited some pretty spectacular ones (and quite a few overall) with Tintagel probably being my favourite (so brilliantly sited on a cliff). Also went to Pendennis in Cornwall, Berry Pommeroy and Plympton near Plymouth, Old Wardour and Old Sherborne castles (actually houses but look like castles) in Wiltshire, and Portland castle near where we stayed in Weymouth.

Visited some lovely small places like Zennor, St Ives, and Boscastle on the west coast, and Marazion, Abbotsbury, and Lulworth. All really picture-perfect villages.”


They were camping at times and I have learnt a new word: “Our campground was technically in Dorset rather than Wiltshire, just south of Shaftesbury. It was really nice, with brand new facilities and an area for glamping (glamour camping) including yurts, teepee and a retro caravan.”
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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Re: Britain's history as seen by young tourists   Thu 11 Oct 2012, 09:45

Surely worth it to you to be the 'home baggage minder' whilst your young family do such a tour, Caro. I wonder just how many Brit young tourists they encountered in this fascinating journey? No many, I venture.
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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: Britain's history as seen by young tourists   Thu 11 Oct 2012, 22:54

They haven't talked about meeting up with other people (apart from relatives, seen twice 15 years ago and putting them up for five days and showing them around, very much appreciated), Priscilla, so I don't know if they have been with other overseas tourists or locals or just by themselves. We went to Avebury, but I am not sure we saw quite as many parts of it as they did. We saw the stone circles and went into the village but some of their descriptions don't quite ring a bell.

My other son said they went to Stonehenge for a 6am tour or opening, and were virtually the only people there at dawn, which they were so pleased about. But I am amazed that, at a place as popular as Stonehenge (which I have never visited), there wouldn't be people there even at that time of day. I think it was summer.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Britain's history as seen by young tourists   Thu 11 Oct 2012, 23:28

We used to have a sort of semi-fixed round for taking our colonial cousins on when they came to visit - Boscobel of course, Lichfield for the Three Ladies & Johnson's birthplace, Bridgnorth (featuring the Severn Valley Railway), Ludlow (including the castle & St Lawrence's church) etc. It's the stuff you live close to that you never actually bother to go and see, in my experience.
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ferval
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PostSubject: Re: Britain's history as seen by young tourists   Fri 12 Oct 2012, 13:57

This is so embarrassingly true Gil. Just last weekend I decided that I should at least try to visit some of scheduled sites from the 18th and 19th c. between Glasgow and Edinburgh. Once you start looking to see what's there you realise the depths of your ignorance and also what great chunks of heritage just don't get the attention or publicity they deserve even although they're integral to the past of so many of us today. Not to mention the world we live in.
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