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World Heritage Sites – City Spotlight

UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites shows 28 sites in the UK and three of those sites are whole cities.

If you haven’t been to all three of these UK cities, then perhaps it is time to plan a weekend or week long break to explore them. Naturally, Treasure Trails have Trails around all three and in the case of two of them have more than one route to follow!

City of Bath
Reason it is a WHS: founded by the Romans as a thermal spa, Bath became an important centre of the wool industry in the Middle Ages. In the 18th century, under George III, it developed into an elegant town with neoclassical Palladian buildings, which blend harmoniously with the Roman baths.

World Heritage Sites - City Spotlight - Bath

About the Bath Trails: there are three of them, one for each theme. If you decide to do all three you may not have time for much else! As you follow the route of the Bath Murder Mystery, you will pass the Abbey, Roman Baths, The Circus, Royal Crescent, Victoria Park, The Jane Austen Centre and numerous other sights. Make sure you have your camera ready. The Bath Spy Mission and the Bath Treasure Hunt are both lovely circular Trails which start and finish at the Tourist Information Centre near the Abbey and both have a range of eating places to tempt you along the way.

Parking in Bath is extremely limited so it is advisable to use one of the very regular park and rides from the outskirts of the city.

Another thing to do in Bath: Well of course it has to be the Roman Baths themselves. A trip around the baths can take as long or as short as you want it to and can easily be combined with a Treasure Trail. Do the Trail in the morning to get your bearings, have a really nice lunch at one of the many options and then take a tour of the baths in the afternoon – sound good? Count me in!

Old and New Towns of Edinburgh
Reason it is a WHS: Edinburgh has been the Scottish capital since the 15th century. It has two distinct areas: the Old Town, dominated by a medieval fortress; and the neoclassical New Town, whose development from the 18th century onwards had a far-reaching influence on European urban planning. The harmonious juxtaposition of these two contrasting historic areas, each with many important buildings, is what gives the city its unique character.

World Heritage Sites - City Spotlight - Edinburgh

About the Edinburgh Trails: There are four Trails around the city. One of them explores some contrasting areas of the Edinburgh New Town. Laid out in an organised grid pattern, you will have the opportunity to stroll through this fantastic architecture of the residential area as well as enjoy the smaller streets lined with bars and restaurants. Another of the four explores the Old Town, so you can compare and contrast and see the best of both worlds.

Constable John Gray was buried in Greyfriars kirkyard in 1858. His faithful Skye Terrier, Bobby, guarded his master’s grave for 14 years, leaving for his noon meal each day. The Edinburgh Greyfriars Trail will reveal the mystery to Bobby’s loyalty!

Or give the Edinburgh Royal Mile a try. The route of this Trail is through the western part of the Royal Mile, from the Old Kirk to Edinburgh castle. Every passageway and close along the way is steeped in history.

Another thing to do in Edinburgh: It is unlikely you will want to do all four Trails in a weekend, so perhaps it would be fun to do one of them in the morning and then spend the afternoon on the Royal Yacht Britannia and find out how the other half holiday! The Royal Deck Tea Room has stunning views, great afternoon tea and warm welcome! Cheers!

Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City
Reason it is a WHS: Six areas in the historic centre and docklands of the maritime mercantile City of Liverpool bear witness to the development of one of the world’s major trading centres in the 18th and 19th centuries. Liverpool played an important role in the growth of the British Empire and became the major port for the mass movement of people, e.g. slaves and emigrants from northern Europe to America. Liverpool was a pioneer in the development of modern dock technology, transport systems and port management. The listed sites feature a great number of significant commercial, civic and public buildings, including St George’s Plateau.

World Heritage Sites - City Spotlight - Liverpool

About the Liverpool Trail: For a different sort of Trail, the Liverpool St George’s Hall is a pictures only Trail. It is set entirely around the stunning St George’s Hall and St John’s Gardens right in the heart of Liverpool’s vibrant and exciting city centre. This compact area is full of history and architectural detail and provides a fascinating insight into the city.

Another thing to do in Liverpool: You know the drill now, do the Trail in the morning and then spend the afternoon doing something else! For a fabulous free and fun experience, head to the north of Liverpool to Crosby Beach to enjoy Anthony Gormley’s Another Place. This amazing display of 100 iron figures looking out to sea is just so different to the normal sights seeing ideas. Make sure though that you time your visit during low tide otherwise you’ll miss out!

Look out for more posts on World Heritage sites, but in the meantime, we’d love to hear your thoughts on these three places – what did you like best about them or would recommend people did when they visited? Find the photo of Bath on our Facebook page and add your comments to join the conversation.

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20th November 2013

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Six Great British Explorers

With the current vogue for things Great British, we thought it would be fun to write about six Great British Explorers from the last six centuries!  We are not saying these are the greatest explorers ever, but each of them was or is great in their own way!

So, starting with the 16th century we have Sir Francis Drake – he was born in Tavistock in Devon and with the sea in his blood he is probably best known for his piracy and illicit slave trading.

Six Great British Explorers - Sir Francis Drake
Sir Francis Drake

The Spanish thought of him as a pirate but we Brits hailed him as a hero, particularly as he was knighted by Elizabeth 1st after his exploration of the coast of South America. He was involved in the Spanish Armada, but died from dysentery and fever. He was apparently buried in a lead coffin at sea near Portobello, Panama and even today divers continue to search for his coffin.

Moving to the 17th century our hero is William Dampier who was born in East Coker, Somerset. Like Drake, Dampier was a sailor but his real claim to fame was as an author.  It would appear that he wasn’t the best leader as he had little ability in managing the crews placed under him, and in 1702 a court martial declared him unfit to command any of His Majesty’s ships!  He was however a very popular writer and his works set an entire fashion in travel literature and influenced men like Swift and Defoe. His account of the winds and currents of the Pacific in a 1699 volume has earned the respect of navigators and meteorologists to the present day.

Six Great British Explorers - Cook
Captain Cook

Everyone will have heard of our 18th century explorer – Captain James Cook.  Cook was born in Middlesborough in Yorkshire on the banks of the river Tees. When he was 17 he joined the navy. In 1769, the planet Venus was due to pass in front of the Sun, a rare event visible only in the southern hemisphere. The British government decided to send an expedition to observe it with the secret motive to search for the fabled southern continent. Cook was chosen as commander of HMS Endeavour. His achievements in mapping the Pacific, New Zealand and Australia radically changed western perceptions of world geography.

Six Great British Explorers - Livingstone
Stanley Livingstone

Famous for being found by Stanley, Dr David Livingstone is the entry for the 19th century.  Born in Blantyre, just south of Glasgow. Livingstone studied medicine and theology and became a missionary. He was posted to the Kalahari and became convinced his mission was to bring Christianity to the people in the interior of Africa. He discovered the Victoria Falls and was the first European to cross the width of Southern Africa.  He spent years trying to find the source of the Nile despite very poor health and after nothing was heard of him for many months Henry Stanley, an explorer and journalist (born in Denbigh) set out to find him. After meeting him at Lake Tanganyika he uttered his immortal line “Dr Livingstone I presume”.

Most of the world had been discovered and explored by the 20th century but the Antarctica and Arctic were still largely unexplored and Robert Falcon Scott, born in Plymouth became known as Scott of the Antarctic. He was a naval officer and explorer, who sadly died attempting to be the first to reach the South Pole.

Described by The Guinness Book of Records as “the world’s greatest living explorer” Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, 3rd Baronet, OBE was born in Windsor.  His other claim to fame is as the UK’s top celebrity fund raiser who has raised over £14m for UK charities.

Who do you think is a Great British Explorer? Best idea (as chosen by Aaron, our General Manager) will receive a free Trail. Submit your ideas on our facebook page or through twitter – we need to hear from you by 30th June to be in with a chance.

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19th June 2013

Posted In: Did You Know

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