This walk takes advantage of some of the transport routes used during our more industrial past.
Start from the Festival Park retail and leisure complex, site of the 1980s Garden Festival, and where Josiah Wedgwood's Etruria Hall is now part of the Moat House hotel. Join the towpath of the Trent and Mersey canal and walk north through the site of the former Shelton Bar steelworks and passing some fine examples of the traditional Bottle Kilns used by the pottery industry to Westport Lake.
From here it is a short walk to Burslem, the most attractive of the six towns which make up "The Potteries" and setting for the best of Arnold Bennett's novels. There are several good pubs here for a refreshment stop. From here you can join the greenway which follows the former "Loop Line" railway back towards your starting point.
The Moat House Hotel - a good starting point for the walk:
Moat House, Etruria Hall, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST1 5BQ
+44(0)8457 76 76 76
Google map: bit.ly/rpkp6L
Arnold Bennett's Burslem:
Wolseley Bridge, Stafford, ST17 0WT
Google map: bit.ly/qePOvu
Beautiful, rustic tavern, still running after all these years by a number of old Limenos, in the beautiful Pueblo Libre district, surrounded by the gorgeous colonial homes of the colonial Spanish elite, daubed in irridescent colour. Typical Peruvian dishes offered to a high standard, particularly recommend papa rellena: a jacket potato filled with mashed potato, egg, meat and olives. Superb.
it is worth visiting the British Library, King’s Cross’ original main attraction. The exterior may be unattractive but the interior is a temple of calm and the King’s Library (a tower of old rare books) is quite awe inspiring. Currently the library is holding a free exhibition called Out of this World which is an enjoyable exploration of the most influential works of science fiction.
On the other side of the Cathedral, down Carrer de Montjuïc del Bisbe, which is to the right of the small square by the cloisters, you’ll find the Plaça Sant Felip Neri, a most beautiful square with trees and a fountain. The pock marks you can see in the stonework of the church were caused by a bomb dropped by the Italian Air force during the Civil War. All the people, mostly children, sheltering in the church crypt were killed by the concussion. The square is mostly made from buildings moved stone by stone when the Vía Laietana was opened. Across the square you’ll see the terrace of the Beautiful Hotel Neri where you can get a bite to eat and a drink from 10.00 till 23.00 and until midnight at weekends. If the square is not too busy, it’s a fine place to sit. Pop inside the hotel and wonder at the proportions of the stonework.
Instead of passing straight through after landing here on the ferry, stick around for a while. It no longer has the grandeur it once had, when it was a stopping point for cruise ships about to cross the Atlantic but it still has a rough and ready charm.
Drive up to the museum on the top of the hill for a superb view and assorted curios in the museum itself.
Go to the Nez de Jobourg to feel like you're at the edge of the world.
Go to the beach at Équeurdreville. Look at locals' houses that back on to the beach and admire the graffiti.
Then come back in to town and get delicious pastries from le Petit Jean while taking coffee at the Café de l'Étoile before taking dinner at Ty Billic for galettes and crepes.
Le Petit Jean
10 Rue Ile de France, 50130 Cherbourg-Octeville, France
+33(0)2 33 78 03 03
Google map: bit.ly/n2gRFE
Cafe de l'etoile
2 Rue des Portes, 50100 Cherbourg-Octeville, France
+33(0)2 33 93 29 70
Google map: bit.ly/rgwJMB
73 Rue Blé, 50100 Cherbourg-Octeville, France
+33(0)2 33 01 11 90
Google map: bit.ly/pbosMF
This isn’t a tip for one place – but rather for a whole host of them! There are many National Trust properties which are close to motorways or major routes. We have used many of them as midday stop-offs on long journeys. There is usually a refreshment room with a choice of freshly prepared food, and often an opportunity to stretch your legs exploring grounds or parkland (sometimes without an admission charge).
The property we have used most (as it was en route to visit one of our daughters) is Clumber Park, just off the A1 in Nottinghamshire. It really offers a much more civilised break than that offered by Blyth services, a few miles north on the A1M: lovely landscaped parklands and lake, a restaurant which uses food grown in the walled garden – even an opportunity to hire bicycles (if you really want to blow away the cobwebs). There is also the chance of a surprise – we once arrived on a Saturday to find a Georgian re-enactment in full swing.
Before planning a long journey we always take a look at the map on the Trust website to see if there’s a property close to our route. The disadvantage – well Trust properties aren’t open 24 hours, 7 days per week – though the restaurant at Clumber is open every day except December 25th from at least 10am to 4pm.
If travelling via Cherbourg, take a side step into the Val de Saire and the charming Barfleur, site of the Norman departure in 1066. Protected from the Atlantic winds, the coastline and beaches are great for walking and swimming. Five miles further south is St Vaast la Hougue, a fishing port with lots of activity and delightful sea-food. Don't miss the local oysters, thought by some to be the best in France. Try them at the Chasse-Maree at the end of the port, an unmissable stop for us,each time we're in the Cotentin.
The French village we all love but is hide to find. Ideally situated for trips to the Normandy hot spots of Mont St. Michel, the Deauville area and Suisse Normandy. Several bars and restaurants plus a hotel serving regional food with the three course menus starting at 12€. An excellent place to relax where the pace of life is very easy going.
Stay at "Le Bosquet" an excellent value B&B, many walks and bike rides inthe area.
The Freedom Monument is something you can’t miss. It’s the border between The Old Town and the new part of the city, it’s the beginning of the main street in Riga – Brīvības street (Freedom street), it’s a meeting place and more. The
42 meter high monument helps people orient themselves.
On the left side of the monument stands The National Opera House with it’s garden, on the right side is Bastion Hill and in front of it lies the Old Town. All roads in Riga eventually lead to it – the highest freedom monument in Europe.
It is dedicated to 'Fatherland and Freedom' and is topped by a Liberty Statue - a woman with three stars symbolizing regional parts of Latvia:
Kurzeme, Vidzeme and Latgale. At the base of the monument are several sculptural groups symbolizing different values - Labor, Strength of the Nation, Spiritual Strength, Freedom, Family. On the lowest block you can read historical events showed by the help of sculptures. The Monument was created by Kārlis Zāle (1888-
1942), a well-known Latvian sculptor and erected in 1935 during the first period of Latvian independence between 1918 and 1940.
Nowadays everyone is free to place flowers there and people really do it, but during the Soviet era, a running joke, not completely untrue, was that the monument was a travel agency, because anyone who dared to place flowers at its base got a free one- way ticket to Siberia ... The occupation authorities did not remove the monument fearing protests, but there was an unwritten law not to film and take pictures of the
monument. This is the monument Latvians really respect and take care of and now it is as important as it was during the time Latvians didn’t know the freedom.
Nowadays you will find there different cultural events, national holidays, song and dance
festivals celebrated near the monument. Sometimes you will see here a brass orchestra
playing, you will hear the National Anthem or folk songs, you will hear the heads of
the country with their speeches during national celebrations talking to people at this place. On a daytime there are also guards standing at the monument. If you want to see the changing of the guard come at 10am or 5pm. Every morning there are people watching them coming and taking pictures of this small performance.
Google map: bit.ly/nNAdqb
From the village of Lehon, with its fantastic open air swimming pool, you can walk 2km along the River Rance, to the Medieval town of Dinan. The walk is shaded by trees full of mistletoe, and along the way is a cottage, where you may find a lady carving intricate Pre-Raphaelite figures into sicks of chalk. The river flows through a gorge as you reach Dinan, and you pass under the majestic viaduct. From here, you can walk up the steep cobbled streets into the walled town, or stop at the waterfront restaurants, and hire a boat from the little port.
Google map: bit.ly/riW1w0
Mont St Michel is much visited and for very good reason, but visiting with three small children we had to find a new twist to add to its appeal. So we used the Disney-line: the excitement of catching glimpses of the mount as we approached as this was the very location of Mickey Mouse's dungeon from The Three Musketeers; the crowded streets the place to buy beignets like Tiana made in The Princess and the Frog. But the best find of all were the mussel and oyster bars which stretch along the coastal road along the edge of the Bay of Mont St Michel. Cheap, child-friendly and with fantastic views of Mont St Michel - our three devoured bowlfuls of mussels and oysters dug fresh from the sandy bay - without even a mention of what Sebastian from The Little Mermaid might make of it all!
Take the D155 from St Malo, then onto the D797 at Le Vivier-sur-Mer heading towards Mont St Michel.
Google map: bit.ly/ojp0gQ
A French friend recommended this village when I needed somewhere to overnight before sailing from Dieppe. I arrived in time for the night market and bought delicious local foods and bread to die for. In the morning I wandered the miles of beach; there was a yoga class beneath the Dover-style white cliffs, and in the sea oyster beds and people shrimp fishing, apparently oblivious to being fully dressed as they pushed their nets through chest deep water. Colonised by Russian artists in the late nineteenth century, there's a fantastic range of galleries wherever you turn. Much of the ancient architecture has survived fires, storms and WWII bombardment. La Veule is France's shortest river, with cress beds and flowers galore. I wish I'd given myself longer in this little gem.
Right in the centre of the city, easily accessible by public transport (the Duchesse Anne stop on the tram/busway will put you right in front of the chateau), the newly refurbished Chateau is now a great space to visit, especially with kids. Lovely courtyard, lots of exhibitions and very accessible for disabled visitors - a must see! Take a wander into the fabulous Bouffay restaurant district - our family's favourite restaurant there is La Mangeoire with perfect prix fixee deals for all budgets and a good, classic French menu. Enjoy!
4, place Marc Elder, 44 000 Nantes
+33 (0)2 51 17 49 48
Google map: bit.ly/pxj8ss
16 Rue Petites Ecuries, 44000 Nantes, France
+44(0)2 40 48 70 83
Google map: bit.ly/q5Fr41
During summer afternoons, four circuits of churches and chapels in central Brittany in which contemporary artists have installed their work. Visit by car. Free. Triple pleasure of lovely countryside, quaint chapels and astonishing art. The red circuit is particularly charming. Look out for acephalic Breton saints such as the cleavered St Bieuzy and the spring located near each chapel. The signposting of the circuits is a bit minimal, so keep a sharp eye open.
West of Rouen to the coast, follow the meanders of the Seine, crossing on the free ferries, and see the varying scenery from orchards to craggy rocks. We visited the Manoir of Agnes Sorel, mistress of St. Joan's Dauphin, which is being restored.
In Bayeux, as we started our walking holiday we were taken quite by surprise by this memorial to journalists of all nations killed in combat zones since 1946. Along each side of a pathway through a wooded park are engraved memorials, one for each year since it was opened. To date there are an astonishing 2000 names recorded. Opposite the huge British Cemetery it was a quiet reminder to us of the true cost of knowing about conflicts and that there have been and are ongoing wars.
We did the Mulberry March with Belle France and stayed at the Hotel Lion d'Or.
It's a 45 acre historic cemetery close to the centre of Bristol, "where the history of the city is told in a leafy and tranquil setting." Don't be put off by the idea of visiting a cemetery - this place is beautiful and so peaceful. Among beautiful monuments, there is an abundance of plants and flowers. And bird song to lift the heart! The guide book says there are about two dozen species there. Also, exhibitions about the history of the place, and a lovely gift shop. A real, and unusual, treat.
A hunting lodge built by Sultan AbdulMecid in the middle of the 19th century on the Asian shore of the Bosphorus close to the second bridge (Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge) and to the village of Anadolu Hisarı. It is Dolmabahce Palace in miniature. The guided tour is only in Turkish but there is often someone around who will translate for you. Open daily except Monday and Thursday, entrance is only 4TL. After your visit, turn left and walk the five mintues to see the ruined castle at Anadolu Hisari. There you can find several cafes on Kucuksu stream where you can have a meal and enjoy watching the fishermen and pleasure boaters pottering around.
Take a ferry to Uskudar and then hop on a number 15 (to BEYKOZ) bus from in front of the mosque opposite the ferry terminal for the 30 minute (or so!) journey up the Asian shore of the Bosphorus, passing the summer palace of Baylerbeyi on the way.
It's not posh, not pretentious, but it has enthusiastic, knowledgeable owners who really care about this wonderful area. It's both clean and comfortable and very affordable. The nearby beach is world renowned, yet not overcrowded. There are amazing archaeological sites to be explored and great excursions available too. Where else would you holiday in a place mentioned in the Bible? (Acts21:1)
Hotel Patara Viewpoint, Patara, Kas, Antalya
+90 242 8435184
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