Devon (Ilfracombe)

Type : Provincial, Countryside, Coastal
Best Date : May – Sep
Expense : Cheap
Things to do: Fishing, Relaxing, Dining, Golf, Walking, ect
Points of Interest: Verity Statue, Hele Bay, Ilfracombe Aquarium, Ilfracombe Harbour, Hillsborough Hill, Ilfracombe Museum, Chapel of St Nicholas, Rapparee Cove ect

Brief

Ilfracombe is a small  coastal,cliff and harbour town north of Devon, south west of England, where the famous Hillsborough hill is situated and Hele bay.

The Place

Ilfracombe is a beautiful relaxing coastal town that I have visited various times. It only has few points of interests but its outstanding scenery and friendly atmosphere is a major reason to visit.

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Firstly one of Ilfracombe’s main asset is “Capstone Hill” which features centre point of Ilfracombe’s Seaview. Above the huge rock about a three to five minute walk stands a nicely placed British flag and looking back will give you a one of a kind panoramic view of the village. Anyone can walk up this hill but be aware of heights and the steep and sometimes slippery walkways.

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One for the kids is “Ilfracombe Aquarium” which is a small award winning exhibit which is located in an “Old Lifeboat House” along Ilfracombe’s harbour. The exhibit showcases around 75 different species of sea life found around the area. After the exhibit the aquarium’s café is also a popular place for tourists and locals to relax and chill through the day.

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“Ilfracombe Museum” and the “Landmark Theatre” are also popular for tourists and locals a like. Landmark theatre which hosts various events and meetings can fit around 500 seats. Its architecture is unusual consisting of what looks like two overturned buckets which is quiet popular with tourists. “Landmark theatre” replaced the “Pavilion Theatre” a Victorian building destroyed by fire in the 1980. The “Ilfracombe museum” which is located just five minutes left of the theatre is another attraction in Ilfracombe. Housing many collections from Ilfracombe’s rich history from archaeology, art and photography this place is definitely a must for every visitor.

Ilfracombe’s newest statue “Verity” is proving to be a highlight attraction for Devon, attracting plenty of customers since its completion. The 20m tall statue built using  bronze and stainless steel is a master piece by world renowned sculptor “Damien Hirst”. The statue which is a pregnant lady holding a sword proudly whilst standing on a pile of books. Half of the lady is normal whilst the other half is of her inside organs including the unborn baby. I am not too sure of the story of this statue or what is its meaning but the statue is a sight to see.

Minutes away from the statue is the “Chapel of St Nicholas” which dates back to the early 1300s. Through the years the chapel has been used as a lighthouse, laundry, reading room and a place of worship. The chapel is free but donations are also welcomed.

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Other than these points of interests the town is just a marvellous place to be in.

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Reference:

http://ilfracombeaquarium.co.uk/
https://www.parkwoodtheatres.co.uk/Landmark/Venue-Hire

Photos:

http://ilfracombeaquarium.co.uk/
https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/5121443

Cardiff

Type : City
Best Date : 
Apr-Sep
Expense :
Fair
Things to do : Nightlife, shopping, dining, sightseeing ect
Points of Interest: Cardiff Castle, Cardiff Bay, Principality stadium, Caerphilly stadium, Cardiff Millennium Centre and more
The Good: Plenty bars, restaurants and shops
The Bad: I cant think of any

Brief

Cardiff is the capital city of Wales and is known to be one of Britain’s flattest cities. It is located South of the country at the mouth of ‘River Severn’. The city is best known to be the smallest and newest capital cities only becoming a Capital on 1955.

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The Place

Cardiff is an interesting place to go whilst in the United Kingdom. Although relatively small there are various places to visit and whether you want to relax, dine, shop or learn the city has plenty to offer.

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Firstly Cardiff is famous for its shopping, the city has gone through heavy investment to establish itself a haven for shops. The capital itself is known as the city of ‘shopping arcades’, there are plenty of indoor Victorian arcades all which are lit by daylight. The shops within these arcades vary from traditional products, jewellery, textiles and also many cafes and restaurants. ‘Cardiff Market’ is also a credible place to visit. A traditional Victorian indoor market which sells fresh fruits, vegetables from local farms and fish which have just been caught.

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Secondly the bay which has gone a huge redevelopment, host many luxurious cafes and restaurants for a chilled relaxing day or a lively night atmosphere. Across the road from the bay is Cardiff’s ‘Millennium Centre’ which is the city’s stage for performing arts, many shows are played here every month. Next to the Millenium centre is the ‘Pierhead’ which has had significance in shaping the city. Once the centre of commerce for the country, now used for various exhibitions about the city and can host conference for locals. ‘Roald Dahl Plass’ named after the famous Cardiff born author is the plaza in the heart of the bay, this is a popular place for open air concerts. A walk along the bay when the sun is out is an amazing experience, it is not that big but the scenery and atmosphere is special.

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Next is Cardiff Castle situated in the centre of the city. It is just above £10 for a ticket to enter which includes various different exhibitions. Significant for 3 different ages in the Romans, Normans and Victorians this castle stood tall and defended the city in many different accounts, even through the world war the castle was used as a bomb shelter. Inside the castle you will gain an insight to the castles history through many different artwork and exhibitions, you will see the remains of Roman ruins and Nomadic architecture and Victorian artefacts. In the castle you will gain a feel for the city through the different ages. Although the castle is excellent to visit I have been and seen better, however the fact that the castle was occupied by multiple generations of the city is somewhat unique.

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Another place to visit in the city is the ‘Millennium Stadium’ or as  of 2016 the ‘Principality Stadium’ as its now known due to sponsorship. It is  the national stadium of Wales and is the 2nd largest stadium in the world with a convertible rooftop. the stadium is famous for hosting rugby matches but also hosts football, concerts and other events. The stadium has a capacity of 74,500 seats but can be added or reduced for different events.

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The city also has a booming nightlife with plenty different clubs and pubs within the city. Furthermore with a university just down the road from the city centre, plenty lively parties are frequent.

Other places to visit are Cardiff’s National Museum, University, Bute park and the Doctor Who Experience. I walked through Bute park but didn’t have the chance to visit the others.

Conclusion

All in all Cardiff is an excellent city to visit for a short stay. A day or 2 is enough and anything more may prove to be too long unless you want to take it nice and slow. The city was calm and pretty chilled in the mornings but very busy in the evenings. There is a fair amount of tourism in the city but not as much as London, Paris, Barcelona and other cities alike.

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Reference:

http://www.visitcardiff.com/
https://www.citybaseapartments.com/blog/facts-about-cardiff/
http://www.pierhead.org/en/
https://www.cardiffcastle.com/about-the-castle/

Bath

Type : Countryside
Best Date : (summer) July- August, (winter) December
Expense :  Medium
Things to do : Sightseeing, Christmas Markets
Points of Interest: Roman Bath, Bath Abbey, Royal Crescent, Pulteney Bridge, Jane Austen Centre, ect

Brief

Bath is a small provincial town in the countryside southwest of England. Known for being a settlement for the Romans, largely occupied by 18th century Georgians whos infrastructure still stand today, the town is currently being modernised with new buildings (keeping a traditional architecture) and now extensively being visited for shopping and dining. Other recognized aspects of Bath are its Rugby, various schools, literature and its natural hot springs.

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The Place

Bath is a growing modern English town that has its historic attractions, its main appeal is the ‘Roman Baths’ which is a well preserved public bathing area. Attractions such as the Royal Crescent, Pulteney Bridge, Jane Austen Centre and Bath Abbey are the other popular interests in the town. Although the Roman Era are mainly introduced as the prime pioneers, it is the stone Georgian buildings which surround the town, however newer modern buildings have been completed for new shop complexes and many other establishments. Bath also sit upon a wave of various beautiful parks and is parallel to the river Avon which in itself has dazzling views.

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The ‘Roman Baths’ is a sight to see, and I believe is a golden attraction for the country. The entrance fee is affordable, about £15-£25 for adults, about £10-£20 for seniors and students whilst children’s tickets costing £8-£18 depending on the season of visit, however there are also family and seasonal tickets as well. Tickets include entrance to the Baths, aDSC_7091n extensive museum exhibit, an audio phone and a free taste of the spring water which I can describe as an earthy weak sparkling water. Best time to visit are said to be in the morning as the lines are not too long and the building not too busy. Firstly upon entering the building you appear in some sort of ticket room where you either collect or buy your ticket, this takes a short 5 minutes and afterwards you collect an audio form and some leaflets. After that you proceed straight to the terrace view of the bath itself and with your portable audio roam at your own pace. The whole museum is on a structured one way route type system, which is good for crowd control and so you don’t miss a thing. Throughout the exhibition there are many different videos, artefacts and even actors re-enacting along the way. Apart from the hot spring bath the best thing for me was the head (mask) of the patron goddess ‘Sulis Minerva’ who was worshiped by the British-Romans at the location. The life sized bronze head which was only seen by high priests at the time, is probably the most valuable and highly preserved item they have. Around the route there ardsc_71121.jpge plenty to see and even many places to take photos and in the end you will be able to visit the Gift shop which quite surprisingly has many soaps and shampoos instead of gifts.

Another attraction in Bath is Pulteney Bridge and the views of the Avon river, there are many different views locations within this area to rest and enjoy the scenes, one area which was really good was ‘Bath Garden’ along the Grande parade road, there were many different art work and floral display, but the downside was that the garden itself had an entrance fee of £1.50 which although not much turned many tourists away.

Bath is also a great place for a city getaway with an exceptional shopping avenue which include modern chains and prestige market stalls. Bath is also one of not so many places which host Christmas markets in the which is not yet popular in the United Kingdom but increasingly popular around Europe around the festive season.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion Bath is a days visit and not an overnight trip. The village is very small and can be explored again and again in just a few hours. A definite place for tourists to visit even if it is just for a few hours. There are many tours which include this town as an itinerary and I believe people visiting the UK should plan a day excursion here.