diamond geezer

 Saturday, November 05, 2016

Forgive me, this is a terribly self-indulgent post.

Where I've been in BritainSCOTLAND
Highlands: Stornoway
Central: Dunoon, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leith, Queensferry, Rothesay
Lowlands: -
Castletown, Douglas, Ramsey, Peel
Northumberland: Alnwick, Rothbury
Tyne and Wear: Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead, Jarrow, North Shields, South Shields, Tynemouth, Wallsend
Durham: Chester-le-Street, Durham, Stanley, Darlington, Shildon
Tees Valley: Middlesbrough
Cumbria: Ambleside, Bowness-on-Windermere, Windermere
Lancashire: Blackpool, Cleveleys, Ormskirk, Preston
Greater Manchester: Manchester, Salford, Bolton, Bury, Rochdale, Wigan
Merseyside: Birkenhead, Crosby, Heswall, Liverpool, Maghull, Southport, West Kirby
Cheshire: Chester, Winsford, Ellesmere Port
North Yorkshire: York, Harrogate, Knaresborough
West Yorkshire: Bradford, Leeds, Pudsey, Wakefield, Halifax, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden, Castleford
East Riding of Yorkshire: Beverley, Kingston upon Hull
South Yorkshire: Doncaster, Rotherham, Sheffield
North Wales: Bala, Bangor, Beaumaris, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Caernarfon, Conwy, Llanberis
Mid Wales: Aberystwyth, Brecon, Knighton, Lampeter, Welshpool
South Wales: Caerphilly, Chepstow, Llantwit Major, Swansea, Cardiff, Penarth
Derbyshire: Alfreton, Bakewell, Buxton, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Darley Dale, Derby, Matlock
Nottinghamshire: Beeston, Nottingham, Retford, Worksop
Lincolnshire: Alford, Lincoln, Skegness
Leicestershire: Leicester, Melton Mowbray
Rutland: Oakham
Northamptonshire: Kettering, Northampton, Rushden, Wellingborough
Shropshire: Ludlow, Much Wenlock, Shrewsbury, Telford, Bridgnorth
Staffordshire: Burslem, Hanley, Lichfield, Stoke
West Midlands: Bilston, Birmingham, Coventry, West Bromwich, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Stourbridge, Tipton, Solihull
Warwickshire: Stratford-upon-Avon, Nuneaton, Kenilworth, Royal Leamington Spa, Warwick
Worcestershire: Bewdley, Evesham, Worcester, Malvern, Kidderminster
Herefordshire: Ledbury, Leominster, Hereford
Cambridgeshire: Cambridge, Ely, Huntingdon, Peterborough, St Ives, St Neots
Bedfordshire: Ampthill, Bedford, Dunstable, Flitwick, Houghton Regis, Kempston, Leighton Buzzard, Luton, Shefford, Stotfold
Hertfordshire: Bishop's Stortford, Borehamwood, Broxbourne, Bushey, Cheshunt, Harpenden, Hatfield, Hemel Hempstead, Hertford, Hoddesdon, Kings Langley, Letchworth, Potters Bar, Rickmansworth, St Albans, Stevenage, Tring, Waltham Cross, Ware, Watford, Welwyn Garden City, Hitchin
Norfolk: Attleborough, Aylsham, Cromer, Dereham, Diss, Downham Market, Fakenham, Great Yarmouth, Holt, King's Lynn, North Walsham, Norwich, Sheringham, Sprowston, Swaffham, Thetford, Thorpe St Andrew, Wells-next-the-Sea, Wymondham
Suffolk: Aldeburgh, Beccles, Bungay, Bury St Edmunds, Carlton Colville, Clare, Felixstowe, Framlingham, Hadleigh, Halesworth, Haverhill, Leiston, Lowestoft, Mildenhall, Orford, Saxmundham, Southwold, Stowmarket, Sudbury, Woodbridge
Essex: Aveley, Basildon, Braintree, Brentwood, Buckhurst Hill, Burnham-on-Crouch, Canvey Island, Chelmsford, Chigwell, Chipping Ongar, Clacton-on-Sea, Colchester, Epping, Frinton-on-Sea, Grays, Great Dunmow, Hadleigh, Halstead, Harlow, Harwich, Leigh-on-Sea, Loughton, Maldon, Manningtree, Pitsea, Purfleet, Saffron Walden, Shoeburyness, South Benfleet, Southend-on-Sea, South Woodham Ferrers, Southminster, Stanford-le-Hope, Thaxted, Tilbury, Waltham Abbey, Walton-on-the-Naze, Wickford, Witham
Gloucestershire: Cheltenham, Gloucester, Quedgeley, Stow-on-the-Wold
Bristol: Bristol, Avonmouth
Wiltshire: Salisbury, Warminster
Dorset: Bournemouth, Bridport, Christchurch, Dorchester, Lyme Regis, Poole, Portland, Sherborne, Swanage, Weymouth
Somerset: Bath, Crewkerne, Dulverton, Minehead, Watchet, Wells, Weston-Super-Mare
Devon: Buckfastleigh, Crediton, Dawlish, Moretonhampstead, Okehampton, Paignton, Plymouth, South Molton, Tavistock, Torquay, Exeter
Cornwall: Fowey, Liskeard, Looe, Marazion, Newquay, Padstow, Penzance, Truro, Newlyn, St Ives
Oxfordshire: Abingdon, Bicester, Didcot, Henley-on-Thames, Oxford, Thame
Buckinghamshire: Amersham, Aylesbury, Beaconsfield, Bletchley, Chesham, Gerrards Cross, High Wycombe, Marlow, Milton Keynes, Olney, Princes Risborough, Wendover, Wolverton
Berkshire: Bracknell, Eton, Newbury, Reading, Slough, Windsor, Maidenhead
Surrey: Ashford, Banstead, Caterham, Chertsey, Cobham, Dorking, Egham, Epsom, Esher, Guildford, Leatherhead, Oxted, Redhill, Reigate, Shepperton, Staines-upon-Thames, Sunbury-on-Thames, Virginia Water, Walton-on-Thames, Weybridge, Woking, Farnham, Haslemere
Hampshire: Gosport, Portsmouth, Winchester, Aldershot, Alton, Farnborough, Fleet, New Alresford
Isle of Wight: Newport, Ryde, Sandown, Shanklin, Ventnor, Yarmouth, Cowes
Kent: Ashford, Broadstairs, Canterbury, Chatham, Cranbrook, Dartford, Deal, Dover, Edenbridge, Faversham, Folkestone, Gillingham, Gravesend, Greenhithe, Herne Bay, Hythe, Margate, New Romney, Queenborough, Ramsgate, Rochester, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks, Sheerness, Strood, Swanley, Swanscombe, Tenterden, Walmer, Westerham, Whitstable, Sandwich, Westgate-on-Sea
East Sussex: Battle, Bexhill-on-Sea, Brighton, Eastbourne, Hastings, Hove, Newhaven, Peacehaven, Rye, Seaford
West Sussex: Bognor Regis, Chichester, East Grinstead, Littlehampton, Shoreham-by-Sea, Worthing, Crawley
St Anne, St Peter Port
Additions from 2017 onwards appear in grey

This is a list of all the places I've been to in Britain during my lifetime, divided up by region and by county. I've used ceremonial counties, so that things don't get too fragmented.

And obviously it's not every single place, because that would be ridiculous, it's all the towns and cities. More specifically, it's 'major settlements' as listed at the foot of each county's Wikipedia page, because this should be an objective way of doing things. I worked through every single list and checked off all the major settlements I could remember visiting.

By visiting, I mean actually setting foot in the place and looking around. I haven't counted anywhere I've only driven through in a car or ridden through on a train, or stopped off at a service station, or anywhere I didn't leave the station. I have counted places I went to as a child, or as a student or as an adult, not just places I've been to since I started blogging. And blimey, I think it's a lot.

Not surprisingly the counties around London are those I've visited the most. Hertfordshire does well because I was born there, Suffolk does well because I've lived and worked in it, and Kent and Surrey are just easy to get to. Essex looks like it comes out on top, but this may be a Wikipedia issue because Wikipedia thinks Essex has 52 major settlements, whereas Berkshire only has 13.

Away from London, things cool down somewhat. I'm quite impressed by my South West England tally, a lot of which is thanks to touring the area by car rather than travelling by train. But there are many provincial counties I've barely touched over the years, and once you cross the M62 my visits are considerably more sparse.

It's not quite as bad as it looks, for example I once spent a week holidaying around Northumberland, but most of the places I visited (eg Lindisfarne) aren't on Wikipedia's list. I've whizzed up and down the Outer Hebrides, except there's only one significant town, and climbed several Cumbrian mountains but they don't count. Yet in some parts of Britain my scorecard really is as unimpressive as it looks.

I need to try harder to explore Wiltshire and Hampshire, and Warwickshire and Leicestershire, and how can I never have been to Derby? My Yorkshire is poor, and my Lancashire cripplingly so, given all the treasures these counties hold. And yes, there are still three parts of Britain I've never been to, namely the Tees Valley, the Lowlands of Scotland and Northern Ireland. I can see me using this list to help plan several trips away over the coming years.

But what I really wondered is how good my overall tally of places visited is. I suspect it's better than average, potentially a lot better, even considerably so. Every one of the places in my table represents an hour, a day or even a week of my life invested, and my hunch is that most Britons aren't anywhere near as well travelled. You might be, of course, not that you've got time to compile a similar list. But how am I doing? And could you be doing better?

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