A Travellerspoint blog

April 8-9 - London and the British Museum


overcast 11 °C

We left early for a 2-hour drive to Bloomsbury in London. We booked the Grange Blooms Hotel a couple of days ago for GBP90 (including continental breakfast which they optimistically advertise for GBP17.50 per person) - we have stayed here before as the location is next to the British Museum and you can easily park in the Bloomsbury Square car park just a 2-minute walk away

First stop was the Museum for coffee and the Egyptian Room. We then spent a few hours walking around The Strand and Fleet Street - on all our visits to London, we had never seen Dr Johnson's House and just a short stroll along Wine Office Court down the side of Ye Cheshire Cheese pub brought us to 17 Gough Square - built circa 1700, it was a home and workplace for Samuel Johnson from 1748 to 1759 and the place where he compiled the first comprehensive English Dictionary


From there, a short walk brought us to St Paul's Cathedral. You can get about 50 metres into the cathedral before you reach the barrier and need to hand over GBP15 to see all of its glory (much over-rated if you ask me and, of course, we did not pay up). On the way back to the British Museum, we passed the Lyceum Theatre, formerly the Lyceum Ballroom where Led Zeppelin played on more than one occasion in the late sixties, early seventies. And what is playing there now? The Lion King!


We also visited Somerset House on the Strand - it is now a centre for culture and the arts and in the large courtyard was "Out of Sync", a large installation by London-based Chilean artist Fernando Casasempere


So finally, it was back into the British Museum before a return to the hotel to watch the vital Arsenal vs Manchester City game

In the evening we had a good meal at the Thai Garden Cafe just down the road from the hotel and then crossed the road to have a drink or two at the very hospitable 260-year old Museum Tavern

The following day it was raining - what to do? Back to the British Museum of course, for several hours in the "Enlightenment Room" which used to be the Manuscript Room (they are now in the British Library)

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April 3 - Aldeburgh, Suffolk


semi-overcast 13 °C

We drove the 50 miles (2 hours!) to Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast and strolled around in the sun and cold wind. It's a pleasant enough town/village that would be a good place for a long weekend with friends.

Aldeburgh - 16C Moot Hall

Aldeburgh - 16C Moot Hall


Aldeburgh has a famous music festival:

"The composer Benjamin Britten was inspired by the vast skies and moody seas of the Suffolk coast, and in 1948, along with singer Peter Pears and writer Eric Crozier, he founded the Aldeburgh Festival"

On the way back we stopped for an hour or so at the Snape Maltings (just 5 miles from Aldeburgh) which has a wonderful concert hall now used as the centrepiece of the festival. The Maltings are situated on the Alde River and have paths through the marshland as well as outdoor sculpture including pieces by Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth



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April 2 - Angmering to Marlow to Cockfield


sunny 14 °C

We packed up and left Coastguard Cottages about 10:45 and drove 2 hours to Marlow in Buckinghamshire (where we used to live). We walked alongside the Thames for a while then crossed over the Marlow Suspension Bridge designed by John Tierney Clark who also designed the Chain Bridge in Budapest (the only two of his suspension bridges still in use). We were hoping to have coffee in the Thames-side gardens of the Compleat Angler Hotel but they couldn't be arsed to use the gardens on a sunny Monday lunchtime. So we had a sandwich back along the Thames before driving onto Cockfield (2 hours). Marlow is still a lovely town (and still very, very affluent)


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April 1 - Brighton


sunny 18 °C

We decided to have a walk along the greensward before breakfast. Unfortunately, I had to turn back as my toes were freezing up

For some reason, there were no trains from Worthing on this Sunday (maybe every Sunday), so we drove Rob and Jo to Brighton . We started with coffee and jazz guitar in Gardener Street (in the north "Lanes") and then walked along the pier and seafront where I threatened to buy a candy-floss for Jo. I'm sure it happens most weekends, but there were lots of mods and rockers along Madeira Drive, one club even had Vespas AND Lambrettas. We also had a look at the Volks Railway which was the first public electric railway in the world. It was opened on 4 August 1883 by Magnus Volk and is still running (the London Underground opened in 1863 but did not have electric trains until 1890)

Just look at the blue sky in the pictures below


We then walked back to Gardener Street for pretty good felafel rolls and dropped Rob and Jo at Brighton Station for their 4 1/2 hour trip back to Shrewsbury

By the way, we parked in NCP North Road for GBP18 for 4 hours, a normal price for parking in Brighton

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March 31 - on the Downs


sunny 18 °C

After a very long breakfast, we drove up the Downs to the charming village of Steyning (the Norman church was closed, again) and had much-needed coffee and cake at the Sussex Produce Company, a wonderful shop "dedicated to sourcing the best local fruit and vegetables from small scale Sussex farmers"


From there, it was drive a short drive to Amberley for a village tour and then tea in the Amberley Village Tea Room - a grade II-listed former slaughterhouse. We needed the tea as it was getting quite cold so high up on the Downs


In the evening we had Thai food delivered from Lemongrass in Rustington - I wouldn't bother again as it was only very average in quality

Posted by kforge 01:03 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

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