Five memorable London jaunts in 2018 1) 51½°N: A 31 mile journey along the 51½th line of latitude featuring Thamesmead, North Greenwich, the Palace of Westminster, Harrods and Bull's Bridge. How better to see a cross section of London? [photos] 2) Palace of Westminster: With the right invite, an after-hours tour can take you behind the Speaker's chair, round the government's back passageways and onto the river terrace for a beer. Thanks. 3) Open House: It's always a cracking weekend. After the obligatory tour of Bloomberg HQ I whipped round the delights of Wandsworth, Hammersmith & Fulham, Hillingdon and Harrow. [photos] 4) National Physical Laboratory: I have seen the National Standard Kilogram, and a childhood dream is complete. 5) My local cashpoint: It wasn't the plan to start my birthday by having my card stolen, and then reused several times round the corner (but all was paid back happily in the end).
One holiday and 16 day trips Jan) Coventry/Nuneaton: I started the year by visiting the birthplace of 2-Tone Records and the last resting place of Larry Grayson. Jan) Calderdale: I was amazed by Halifax's Piece Hall, enjoyed toddling round Todmorden and loved the gritty independence of Hebden Bridge. [photos] Feb) Bristol: Using Bristol as a base, I explored Weston's pier, Avonmouth's docks, the new Severn Crossing and the very lightly used Pilning station. Feb) Warwickshire: On this day trip I crammed in Kenilworth Castle, genteel Leamington Spa and historic Warwick. Mar) West Yorkshire: I picked a snowy day to visit the National Coal Mining Museum, Castleford Bridge and the Hepworth in Wakefield. Mar) CORNWALL: I finally took it upon myself to go on a proper holiday, to the farthest tip of the country, which enabled me to harangue you with endlessholidaysnaps from Penzance, St Ives, St Michael's Mount, Mousehole, Porthcurno and Lands End. It was fabulous, despite the unexpected snow (and if you're very unlucky I may go somewhere else for longer next year and write even more). Apr) Chester: As well as discovering that Chester FC play in Wales, I walked the historic city walls and toured the National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port. Apr) Wigan/Bolton/Bury: In a single day I crammed in Wigan Pier, Hall i' th' Wood, Fred Dibnah's workshop and the East Lancashire Railway. Proper value. May) Birmingham: After a spin round The Coffin Works I tracked JRR Tolkien through the suburbs and followed the smell of chocolate to Bournville. May) Leicester: I came for Richard III, but found time to explore the rest of the city centre (and diverted to Melton Mowbray for a pork pie). May) Isle of Wight: Possibly the perfect day trip, involving a hovercraft, Carisbrooke Castle, Osborne House and the Cowes ferry. [photos] Jun) Milton Keynes: At midsummer I walked Midsummer Boulevard, then tracked down the original village at the heart of the new city. [photos] Jul) Paris: Just one day to tick off Maison La Roche, la Petite Ceinture, la Promenade Plantée and le Musée Rodin. [photos] Sep) EastSussex: Specifically Bishopstone, Seaford Head and Newhaven Marine, or thereabouts. Sep) Hereford & Worcester: Both cathedral towns, both cathedrals, two museums, two rivers and a medieval map. Oct) Sheffield: I touched down around the time Doctor Who landed, exploring Park Hill, Sky Edge and three museums. [photos] Nov) West Sussex: A glorious walk round Chichester Harbour on the Manhood Peninsula, destination West Wittering.