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Discover BritainDiscover Britain

Discover Britain August/September 2019

Celebrating the best of our nation, every issue of Discover Britain is packed with features from history to travel. Read about the events that changed history, as well as British traditions and their origins, or be inspired for your next trip with great ideas for where to go and what to see. Whether you’re planning a weekend city break or an escape to the countryside, Discover Britain is your essential guide to getting the most out of your stay.

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Chelsea Magazine
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6 Issues

IN THIS ISSUE

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hello!

When we think of Britain’s rich history, we tend to think of buildings, traditions and people, rather than the landscape itself. This issue of Discover Britain is something of an attempt to marry the two, however. For our “outdoor” special, we have focused upon places of great natural beauty that also have fascinating stories to tell and centuries-old institutions to explore. Guidebook writer Mark Rowe shares his wealth of local knowledge on a bracing tour of the Isle of Harris in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides (p44), while I found there was far more than beaches along the newly-designated Coastal Way in Wales (p12). Keen to prove there is beauty in the city too, Martha Alexander shows us London’s best “secret” gardens (p67). And if you’re visiting Britain this summer, be sure to send…

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letters

Trip down memory bridge How excited I was to receive issue 210 with Conwy Castle and bridge [above] on the cover. When living in the Conwy Valley in the 1940s and 1950s, I travelled across this bridge every day on my way to and from work. Traffic would be backed up for miles until a new bridge was built in 1958. The old bridge is now in care of the National Trust. Nancy Young, Hope, Canada Crumbling statues Regarding the Monument article [Issue 210], “officially” only six people died in the Great Fire of London, but I’ve read that, as the poor and middle-class deaths were never counted, it was more likely thousands. With such a devastating fire, this sounds plausible. Have experts weighed in on this? Jan Coleman, via email Many historians have debated this,…

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wish you were here...

Stonehenge, Wiltshire Summer solstice saw the launch of a ‘live’ web camera Due to modern safety restrictions, summer solstice is now one of the rare occasions when people are allowed to walk among the ancient megaliths of Stonehenge. Thousands gather each year to watch the sunrise on 21 June and dance around the stone circle. The day also marked the launch of the Stonehenge Skyscape, a new English Heritage website that allows viewers to experience the mystical atmosphere. A solar-powered camera with fish-eye lens will broadcast images that rotate 360 degrees to see the stones and sky. The site promises accurate weather conditions during the daytime, including occasional raindrops on the camera lens (this is England, after all). At night, the site switches to a computer-generated model that will map out the locations of…

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way out west

Ramsey Island sits just half a mile off the “big toe” of Wales, the most westerly tip of the country that is closer to Wexford in Ireland than it is the Welsh capital of Cardiff. It is separated from the mainland by a reef of rocks and tidal rapids known as The Bitches which stretch out into Ramsey Sound and have been responsible for a number of fatal shipwrecks over the years. The island boasts an official population of two, yet the huge quantity of Atlantic grey seals and harbour porpoises living in the surrounding waters, not to mention the vast RSPB Nature Reserve contained within, makes this far from a lonely isle. Photographers, nature lovers and awestruck families regularly make the round-island boat trip, keen to spot guillemots, razorbills and other…

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the real downton

Bampton, nestled on the brink of the Cotswolds and just 18 miles from Oxford, is thought to be one of the oldest towns in England. Set in Oxfordshire’s agricultural heartland, Bampton is a golden treasure of Jurassic limestone. Throughout the centuries, this modest town has undergone many a rebrand, from Bampton Castle to Bampton-in-the-Bush, but no title put Bampton quite on the map like Downton Abbey. Chosen as a key filming location of the world-famous ITV period drama series, Bampton graced our screens through six seasons, hosting weddings, funerals and fetes. Despite the series being set in a fictional country estate in Yorkshire, some 140 miles north, Bampton doubled as the village of Downton, set apart from the main estate (actually Highclere Castle in nearby Berkshire). So, as fans across…

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beyond bampton

Witney Cogges Manor Farm in Witney, used as the set for Downton’s Yew Tree Farm, offers historical tours; workshops in scything, spinning and weaving; and a range of history, craft and story sessions for children. www.cogges.org.uk Rotherfield Greys This village outside Henley-on-Thames is home to Greys Court, a National Trust property that doubled as Eryholme, visited by the Crawley family in season 3. Explore the 12th-century tower and delightful Rose Garden. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/greys-court Shilton In season 2, when Mr Bates left Downton Abbey, he went to work in The Red Lion pub, which was actually the Old Forge cottage in Shilton. Swinbrook Nestled on the banks of the River Windrush, The Swan Inn at Swinbrook provided an idyllic setting for Lady Sybil and Branson to plan their elopement in season 2. This award-winning pub and restaurant with rooms was…

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