Thursday, 27 May 2010

Box Hill, Surrey

I've been busy with exams at university, which has been monotonous and boring to say the least..! So I took a big break and went for a long ride on Duke with my sister and my parents (them on dad's motorbike) through parts of Berkshire and Surrey (mainly) on Tuesday, so this is one of the places we went - Box Hill in Surrey. Most of Box Hill is owned by the National Trust, and it forms part of the Surrey Hills, which are part of the North Downs - a ridge of chalk hills which stretch from the Surrey area to the White Cliffs of Dover.

This is the other (northern) side as seen along the "Zig-Zag" road that winds up the hill.

It's named Box Hill for the box trees which grow on it and was donated by Leopold Salomons of Norbury Park to the National Trust in 1914, and there is a memorial (in the first picture) which remembers him for this - the story that we were told, was that he was buried upright looking down, presumably so that he can forever enjoy the fine view that this hill offers. This is the southern facing view that the hill is famous for:

Here's be climbing a tree =P (I'm not sure if it's a box tree or otherwise..)

Summer's here, and it's a great place to go laze and relax. Make a visit if you can!

More information: National Trust website

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

The River Thames at Richmond, London

Not only can you see deer in Richmond, but it's also a great place to spot the occasional heron, as in the picture below. Now, I have mixed views on feeding wildlife (pros: you get to see them closer, they don't get hungry. cons: they become used to human activity which may have further detrimental effects, but nonetheless you can always watch other people feed the geese, ducks, pigeons (I'm *not* a fan of pigeons) though.

Richmond Riverside is a great place to go for a stroll and there are a number of eateries/cafes in the area. Although there didn't seem to be much on the other side other than shops, Richmond Bridge is still quite a novelty to walk on. There are also boat trips (and boat hire too I think!) if you feel like something a little different.

In the picture below you can also see an island - which is the land with the willows on it that the boats are next to. There are quite a few islands dotted all along the Thames until a fair bit upstream (to name a few: Isleworth Ait, Chiswick Eyot, Eel Pie Island, Monkey Island etc). Quite a few of these and the banks have willows on them. These were grown for the basket trade for the London markets in the old days.

Get there: Richmond station, various buses from west/south-west London.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

The George Inn, Norton St Philip, nr. Bath

I while back, I was riding along and stumbled on this picturesque inn just south of Bath. 6 miles south of Bath lies the picturesque village of Norton St Philip in Somerset, but the gem in this village is the George Inn, which supposedly dates back to the 14th/15th century. I didn't go inside but it has a medieval courtyard inside, and period features in the rooms.

The inn was originally built to accommodate travelers and merchants for the wool trade fair which happened annually until 1902. The timber framed upper floors were added in the 15th century. It has been used as a location for a few films.

More information: The George Inn website and the Wikipedia article.

Get there: The village is just off the A36 south of Bath on the B3110/A366. Bus: 267 from Bath.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

A ride home from Kent

My sister is awesome. She takes pictures of me whilst I'm on my motorbike, which I often can't take myself for obvious reasons.

Here's a few shots (nothing particularly interesting) of a ride home from Kent, where we went to pick up a typewriter she won off eBay - which is what the big lump in the topbox at the back is.

Kent - the Garden of England!:

A102 in Greenwich. Canary Wharf/Isle of Dogs is in the distance whilst the O2/Millenium Dome is on the right.:

A102, coming up to the original Blackwall Tunnel - built by the London County Council between 1892 and 1897. This arch is one of the original gatehouses for the entrance of the tunnel. It's northern counterpart in Poplar was demolished in 1958 to make way for the newer tunnel. In a way, it's amazing how modern traffic still passes under this (I mention this, as Temple Bar was dismantled for traffic reasons). A second tunnel was built in the 1950's-60's for the increased traffic. The reason the original tunnel is so bendy was so that horses do not get shocked when they see sunlight after coming out at the other end. The second tunnel is a lot smoother as there was no need to cater for horses.:
And here we are, inside the tunnel (A102).:

We're now out of the Blackwall Tunnel, and on Aspen Way (A1261). This road cuts across the northern part of the peninsula that is the Isle of Dogs, and passing it just before the Limehouse Link. This road is one of the quicker ways to get into central from the East/South-East London (the other options being the A2 at certain hours, A11 and A13). On the left is Billingsgate market, which is where one can buy fish in wholesale I believe, and the towers that dominate the skyline of the Canary Wharf area. The tall tower on the left is 1 Churchill Place, which is the Barclays Headquarters and was designed by HOK International. The taller building on the right is 8 Canada Square, which is the headquarters of HSBC and was designed by Foster and Partners:

After the Limehouse Link and past the Tower of London, this next tunnel is the Upper Thames Street Tunnel. Once a dark and dingy tunnel, it has since been enhanced with stupidly bright lights between the lanes, making this a pretty cool tunnel. Unfortunately, this picture does the tunnel no justice:

That's it for today!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

See some deer in London!

London, as packed and crowded as some of you may think it is (I'm referring to those people who tell me they don't particularly like London because there's too many people) still has some nice spots to relax in. Aside from the obvious parks in central and the lesser known ones a little further from central, one of my favourites is definitely Richmond Park. Here you can find deer roaming freely, and just sitting there on the grass, not bothered by the traffic nearby.

By far, one of my favourite things to see in London - Deer!

Pictures courtesy of my sister.

Get there: Richmond (walk through the centre and up Richmond Hill), Mortlake (walk down Sheen Lane), Norbiton (Wolverton Avenue > Queens Road)