.All Trips / England / Europe

Experiencing the London Eye

00 London Eye

If you haven’t visited London in a few decades you might have missed seeing a new landmark on the South Bank of the River Thames, near Westminister Bridge. The London Eye is a massive Ferris wheel — the tallest in Europe –and it certainly catches ones eye as you approach it from the Houses of Parliament.   It is popular, usually with long lines and waiting times.  The Eye is the most visited paid attraction in the United Kingdom, with almost 4 million visitors annually.

Here are a few facts about the London Eye:
– It is 135 m (443 ft) tall and 120 m (394 ft) wide.  When it opened in 2000, it was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, but …

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.All Trips / Car Culture / England / Europe

Toys for Boys! The Cotswold Motoring Museum and Toy Collection

12 Cotswold Motoring Museum and Toy Collection Jaguar XK 140 1956

As with all good museums of its type, a visit to the Cotswold Motoring Museum is like stepping back in time.  Located in one of the most beautiful parts of England, in the town of Bourton-on-the-Water, the museum is housed in a building that once functioned as a mill. 

A modest admission fee lets you explore the many features inside (see link above for details).  There is an assortment of interesting vintage cars, caravans and motorcycles dating from the early 20th century through the 1970s.  You can see the museum at your leisure as you walk from one gallery to the next.  Most of the vehicles are of English vintage, but not all are.  Lining the walls …

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.All Trips / England / Europe

The Albert Memorial, Kensington Gardens, London

00 Albert Memorial, Hyde Park (14)

The Albert Memorial is located in Kensington Gardens across the street from the Royal Albert Hall.  Once seen, you’ll never forget this Memorial.  Extremely ornate, built in the high-Gothic Victorian revival style, it commemorates Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, who died of typhoid fever at the young age of 42 in 1861. 

The monument was commissioned by Queen Victoria and unveiled in 1872.  The happy marriage between Victoria and Albert is well known, so the creation of a beautiful tribute to the prince should not surprise anyone.  The memorial is 176 feet (54 m) tall, took over ten years to complete, and cost £120,000 (today the equivalent of about more than £10,000,000). 

Albert Memorial, London

Albert Memorial, London

It is officially titled the “Prince Consort National Memorial” and …

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“Pic of the Week”, February 13, 2015: Changing of the Guard, Buckingham Palace

UK 26 – London – Buckingham Palace – Changing of Guard 2

There’s so many fascinating and historic things to see and do in London, it’s hard to prioritize them.  But I’d put watching this event towards the top of the list, as the changing of the Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace is worth seeing if you’re in the city a few days.

Many countries have a “Changing the Guard” ceremony, but England’s is the most elaborate I’ve ever seen.  It is a ritual involving a new guard guard exchanging duty with the old guard.  There are several regiments involved in the ritual, and the interested reader is refered to the British Monarchy website for more detailed information.

The ceremony occurs most days between around 11 am and noon.  Check the…

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“Pic of the Week”, January 2, 2015: Chester, England

UK 176 – Chester – Half-timbered houses

The city of Chester in England has a history going back thousands of years.  It was an important garrison outpost of the Roman Empire and many Roman ruins are found in and around the city.  One of the reasons the Romans found the city appealing was because of its salt deposits.  Salt was important because it was rare and used to preserve and flavor food.  The world “salary” is derived from “salt” because Roman soldiers were paid, at least in part, with this valuable mineral.

What I remember most about the town, though, are its half-timbered homes.  Dozens and dozens of them, beautiful and elegant, usually white-washed with dark timbers like those seen in this photo.  Hundreds of years old, but …

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