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Chocolate and Christmas go Together Like a Biscuit and Scrumptious

With seven days to go to Christmas, we’ve stocked up on our favourite chocolates and are enjoying the little squares of chocolates we find each day behind the windows of our advent calendar.  And we are just a little obsessed with chocolate!

Chocolate and Christmas go Together Like a Biscuit and Scrumptious - chocolatesPart of the fun of doing a Treasure Trail is what you learn along the way and we’ve found that chocolate can help with all sorts of important educational lessons as well as being just great stuff to have in your pocket!

Simple economics lessons start when you are very young and need to work out whether to spend your pocket money on chocolate and sweets or toys and games! And those lessons continue as you balance the books at Christmas.

The history of chocolate in the UK is fascinating and as well as the industrial side of factory production; the topic covers the birth of paternalistic companies such as Rowntree’s and Cadbury!

Use chocolate as a basis for learning about world geography – the Ivory Coast produces more cocoa than any other country at 37% of the world’s total with Ghana second at just under 21% and Indonesia almost 14%. That only leaves 28% split between the other cocoa producing countries. (Source)

Science lessons can be based around chocolate as it changes its state from solid to liquid and back again. Apparently, tempering chocolate is a very scientific process!

I recently learnt that chocolate contains over 300 chemicals including vitamins and minerals (calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium) which every chemistry teacher must surely include in a lesson plan. (Source)

Natural science may not be an obvious subject taught separately, but nevertheless is relevant to our quest for educational topics! Chocolate is made from cocoa beans and there are around 40 cocoa beans in each cocoa pod.

Nutrition and chocolate are not easy bedfellows, but there is evidence that dark chocolate reduces the risk of heart disease, and the flavonoids in cocoa products have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting effects – so any lesson topic about healthy eating could include the dark stuff. (Source)

Latin language lessons may be few and far between these days, but did you know the Latin name for the cocoa tree is Theobroma Cacao which means Food of the Gods.  And on the subject of languages, in most European ones the word chocolate is very recognisable.  In France, Germany and Spain they call it le chocolat, Schokolade, and chocolate respectively. Similarly chocolade,  choklad and shokolad  are the Dutch, Swedish  and Russian words for it.

Did you know the UK chocolate industry is worth £3.96 billon (Source Mintel 2012) and must surely figure highly in any careers advisory talks.

English teachers could suggest a reading list that included Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, (Roald Dahl, 1964); amongst many others.

And guess what, those of you who live in or near York will already know this, but others may not. Treasure Trails has its very own Chocolate and Sweet Trail around York which finishes at the Chocolate Museum – YUM!

Happy Chocolaty Christmas everyone and keeeeeeep Trailing!Chocolate and Christmas go Together Like a Biscuit and Scrumptious - Happy Christmas

18th December 2013

Posted In: Christmas


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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

Posted In: Did you know


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