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  1. #1

    Default A to Z of the British Isles

    Following on from RoadDog's A to Z United States Challenge, I thought I'd have a go at a similar list for my favourite places back here. These are not necessarily the biggest tourist destinations, though I have not specifically excluded them if I enjoyed them, but they ARE places you should visit if ever the exchange rate turns and encourages Americans to venture back here!

    Apologies for using the term ‘British Isles’, I know it’s controversial, but I couldn’t think of a better description for the area encompassing England, Ireland, the Isle Of Man, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales!

    Abbey Road Studios
    Channel Tunnel
    Dingle Peninsular
    Falkirk Wheel
    Giants Causeway
    Hadrians Wall
    Isle Of Man TT Races
    Jurassic Coast

    More to follow soon!

    Note: I have edited this thread to allow a list of links to the individual posts within the thread, therefore some of the early replies may appear to be in an odd order!
    Last edited by UKCraig; 09-23-2007 at 01:11 PM. Reason: added links to individual posts within the thread

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Very cool addition


    I like this new thread -- lots of information to come, I bet.


  3. #3

    Default Abbey Road Studios

    Abbey Road Studios, St Johns Wood, London.

    Whilst Memphis may have Sun Studios, London has Abbey Road Studios - a mecca for music fans from around the world. Whilst it is most famous for it's Beatles connections, it is no museum. Still one of the top recording studios, the opportunities to tour it should be grasped firmly with both hands.

    Situated in a desirable area of London (actually it is in the City Of Westminster) you’ll be able to frustrate motorists by striking poses on the famous pedestrian crossing (careful with the black cabs, they don’t take kindly to this!) or the security guards on the front door of the studio itself (get a sense of humour, guys!) There’s always a good number of people milling around, snapping photos of the aforementioned crossing or the famously graphitised wall outside which, unlike the similar one to be found outside Graceland, the stuffy local council continually paint over. Be sure to keep this piece of living history alive by taking a marker pen and writing your message! And keep that pen handy, you may just need it when you meet your favourite artist walking out the front door!

    Image Copyright 2007 Mark Douglas.

    Glad you like the idea, Mark, I'm just doing it for a bit of fun really, but if someone finds it useful sometime, then fantastic! Trying to squeeze all my favourite places down into 26 - one per letter of the alphabet - has made me realise how cool living in this area can be. I should really retire and get out and explore it a little more!! hehe
    Last edited by UKCraig; 08-08-2007 at 09:34 AM. Reason: added photo

  4. #4

    Default Brooklands

    Brooklands, Weybridge, Surrey.

    Okay, I admit it, I'm a motorsport fan. Have been for as long as I can remember. In fact there's only one thing that I find cooler... aviation. I guess then that it's fitting I should be born and raised within a mile of Brooklands - birthplace of the British motorsport and aeronautical industries. Whether we're talking motorsport or aviation, this place screams history and offers a true step back to a bygone age when the UK led the world in technical innovation.

    Today it is crumbling, disused and abandoned but way back in 1906 Hugh Locke-King realised the sport needed a proper facility if it were to expand from the events hosted on the public roads of mainland Europe. Locke-King had two things in his favour - a large wallet and an even larger back garden - and, in just nine months, he financed the construction of the world's first permanent race circuit. It opened on June 18, 1907, a full two years before Indianapolis opened in the US but, unlike Indy, it was paved from the day it opened.

    Soon afterwards he would add an airfield on the same site as he realised the importance of Britain being at the forefront of aviation. Brooklands was the site of many aeronautical and motoring milestones during the first half of the 20th century; it hosted the world's first 24-hour race just eleven days after it's opening ceremony, it would host the inaugural British Grand Prix and would be home to the British motorsport industry - including Sir Malcolm Campbell's workshops where he tested his Bluebird Land Speed Record cars - right up until the Second World War.

    As Europe lurched towards war, the airfield became the prime focus of attention. The aircraft industry, like the motorsport industry before it, had found itself focused around Brooklands and now, as well as being home to numerous flight schools and design offices, three massive aircraft factories had been built on the site by Sopwith, Hawker and Vickers. This meant, once war was declared, that attempts had to be made to camouflage the area and large sections of the circuit straights were dug up and trees planted through the remaining (primarily banked) sections of track.

    As the war progressed, Brooklands churned out huge numbers of Wellington Bombers and was a popular target for the German Luftwaffe. It was here that Barnes Wallis devised the bouncing bomb used in Operation Chastise.

    Once the war ended the circuit was inspected and deemed irrepairable. The land was sold to Vickers-Armstrongs in 1946 for continued use as an aircraft factory. New aircraft types including the Viking, Varsity, Viscount, Vanguard and VC10 were next manufactured and delivered from there.

    It wasn't until recently that people came to appreciate the history of the site. In 1987 the Brooklands Museum was opened with exhibits from both it's motosport and aviation history. Exhibits include the recently unveiled Concorde which was initially designed at Brooklands. In 2001 a preservation order was finally served on the site to prevent any further destruction of the site but it was sadly too late to prevent the loss of a lot of the site. Nonetheless it is a fascinating day out.

    Image Copyright 2006 Never Mind The Darkness.
    Last edited by UKCraig; 08-12-2007 at 06:42 AM. Reason: added photo

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Chunnel?

    I assume the Eurotunnel is what we call the Chunnel? My cousin works for an engineering firm that worked on that. He worked over there for about a year or so. I'm not sure what part they did. I would be amazed if they ever let it close. I'm surprised it's not doing well financially. I was under the impression it had heavy use. I would love to travel it someday. It would be weird but cool. The closest I've ever done to it is the tunnel under one of the rivers (I don't recall the name) in Vancouver BC. But that really pales in comparison. I think it's only about 1-mile long. Just a pebble compared to Mt. Everest.

    Falkirk? Isn't that the area where William Wallace had one of his battles? Or some other historic event?

    I look forward to further installments. I would love to re-visit England. It's been a lot of years since my last one. But, yeah, I think I have to wait until the dollar/pound flip-flop in value. :-)

  6. #6

    Default Chunnel

    Yes, I believe the Eurotunnel was known as the Chunnel in one of its previous incarnations. I'm not sure whether this was some sort of nickname or if it was changed due to bankrupcy or whatever. To give you an idea of it's size, it's seven miles longer than the Lake Ponchartrain Causeway, so a fair size, even if it has been relegated to the second longest in the world now.

    Yes, Falkirk has Wallace connections as does nearby Stirling which is now home to the fantastic Wallace Monument which I have visited a couple of times now. You'll have to wait and see whether it's my favourite W!! :)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default You tease!

    Gosh, what is the longest one? I didn't know there was a longer one somewhere.

  8. #8

    Default Japan

    It's the Seikan Tunnel in Japan. Although it's the longest railway tunnel in the world the Eurotunnel/Chunnel/Channel Tunnel/whatever it's called this week has the longest under sea section of tunnel (24 miles) Incidently the Seikan Tunnel is also a commercial flop.

  9. #9

    Default Canary Wharf

    Canary Wharf, West India Docks, London.

    London’s docks were once the largest docks in the world with ships arriving almost non-stop delivering wares from all four corners of the globe. With the arrival of containerised shipping, finding itself unable to accommodate the larger vessels, these famous old docks went into sharp decline and, in less than 40 years, they found themselves abandoned and an embarrassment to the city.

    Whilst the revolution in the shipping industry would reduce the area to a wasteland, it is ironic that another revolution would be responsible for their rebirth. The electronic revolution brought saw huge changes throughout the corporate world but the financial institutions led the charge of exodus from the traditional ‘Square Mile’ to new developments such as Canary Wharf. Docklands, as it would become known, would eventually become home to numerous multinational companies and financial institutions.

    Docklands isn't just about Canary Wharf and office space however, the old warehouses along the river have been converted into some fine living and are well sought after. The arrival of a new breed of resident, initially resented by those living locally, has seen huge investment in the area and, along with some excellent new transport links, numerous venues have sprouted up in search of a slice of the large disposable income of the new residents. You can find some great bars, restaurants, clubs and shops in the area, but you may need to ask locally, as some are well hidden in the back streets. Or, in the case of the excellent shopping area in Canary Wharf itself, it is to be found underground - those financing the construction basing it’s design on the PATH system found in Toronto.

    Hop on the DLR, the shiny new Jubilee Line extension, or a river bus, from Central London and stop at Canary Wharf before exploring the area including the Thames Barrier, the (soon to reopen) Millenium Dome and the site of the 2012 Olympics

    Image Copyright 2006 Mark Wakefield.
    Last edited by UKCraig; 08-12-2007 at 06:43 AM. Reason: added photo

  10. #10

    Default Dingle Peninsular

    Dingle Peninsular, County Kerry, Ireland.

    Everything about this area is perfect. The drive from the nearest airport (Shannon) via Limerick is beautiful and the challenging drive over the Conor Pass is nothing short of spectacular. I went in the middle of winter and all I could see from the moment I left Conor was fog but, as I started to decend towards the village of Dingle, the view was somehow spiritual. Awesome is a vastly overused word but this view truly was. I can't wait to go back on a clear day but I suspect I will be terrified as I recall doing 60mph in the fog with a sheer rock face to my left (and overhead!) and a huge drop to my right.

    Once you've stopped and enjoyed a pint of Guinness in Dingle (even if you don't like the stuff, just do it, you'll end up loving it afterwards) head out of town to explore the rugged Atlantic coastline. There is a very well signed circular driving tour which takes you out past Slea Head, the westerly-most point in the whole of Europe, before returning you, several hours later and in a totally awe-inspired state of mind, to Dingle Harbour.

    Image Copyright 2005 kivw.
    Last edited by UKCraig; 09-12-2007 at 07:54 AM. Reason: added photo

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