There’s a brouhaha brewing in Great Britain, and I don’t mean the debate about the plummeting pound or the monarchy’s future following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Rather, I refer to the tempest in a teacup that’s been simmering since two British broadcasters threw Bath, one of the country’s best-loved cities, under the (hop-on, hop-off) bus.
Dan Snow, historian and host of the History Hit podcast, has suggested that a tour of the north leaves the classic quartet of UK must-sees–London, Windsor, Stonehenge, and Bath–in the dust. Compounding the controversy, Tom Holland—also an historian and co-host of The Rest is History podcast—agreed that he “wouldn’t bother” with Bath. Shock! Horror! Sacrilege!
While I am not an historian and may be the last 21st century biped bereft of a podcast, I am a long-term resident of the UK and a travel writer with plenty of mileage under my belt. Having recently revisited Bath, a ludicrously picturesque Georgian city where sinuous terraces of sunbaked stone gleam like drizzled honey on the hillsides, I’m more than willing to slip on my wellies and wade into a debate which has grown murkier than an over-steeped cuppa. To wit: I absolutely advise visitors to adventure beyond the “usual suspects,” but for heaven’s sake, don’t toss out Bath with the bathwater.
Click here for the full story in Go World Travel Magazine. I’ve detailed my favourite ways to soak up the best of Bath, whether you want to live it up like the lords and ladies in Bridgerton, subject yourself to spine-tingling chills at the Frankenstein museum, or hit some of the city’s buzziest bars and shops.
Many folks have traditionally aspired to retire in their 60s, an accomplishment which, back in the day, may have been rewarded with a gold watch and a multi-martini steak dinner. So how does one fete a woman who has held the same position for seven decades and is still going strong at nigh on 96? With fireworks, parades, and perhaps the odd joust; in short, with all the pomp and pageantry of a Platinum Jubilee, if the lady in question happens to be Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.
Click here for my story in AARP magazine, with top tips for visitors who want to join the party as the UK rolls out the red carpet for well-wishers from around the world.
For thrills and chills this autumn, pack up your pumpkin and Ghostbusters’ proton pack and check out this spirited trio of historic escapes.
There is a death match brewing between the English cities of Chester, Durham and York, the likes of which the (nether)world has never seen before. While most places try to tempt tourists by touting themselves as “lively” destinations, these three cities take pride in vying for the title of the most (un)dead.
The Ghost Research Foundation International once named York “Europe’s most haunted city,” while others insist that Chester deserves the dubious honour, thanks to a series of turbulent and tragic events. While “Chester: Famine, plague, war—and more!” is hardly the sort of tagline you’ll find on promotional t-shirts and bumper stickers, the city does seem to serve as a veritable primordial soup for spooks.
But if you think Chester and York are swamped with specters, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. According to ParanormalDatabase.com, Durham has been besieged by dozens of phantoms, including a panting Pekinese, flying pitchforks, an impregnating chair, and the, um, “limbless worm.” (Is there any other kind?)
Aside from being “limbless,” this critter is described as “a long, hostile worm which inhabited an oak wood, attacking man and beast,” rather like the killer rabbit from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”
I only hope that my tour of Chester, Durham and York will finally allow the whole matter to, er, rest in peace. Read on, and decide for yourself. (more…)