Old Sarum – English Heritage

Pop by 'n say hi!Old Sarum Old Sarum is located on a hilltop, two miles north of ‘new’ Sarum, today known as Salisbury. Over 4,000 years ago, the hilltop site served as site for neolithic burial henges (much smaller in magnitude than the Durrington Walls ‘superhenge‘, Stonehenge or Avebury). Later, an Iron Age hilltop fort was built at Old Sarum. The fort was subsequently occupied by the Romans (called Sorbiodunum or Sorviodunum in Roman times). The Saxons used Old Sarum as a stronghold against marauding Vikings. Even later, the Normans built a castle onthe site, three years after the Norman Conquest. The city appears as Sarisburia in the Domesday Book and it is probable that the Domesday book itself was written at Old Sarum. In the early 12th century, Old Sarum was the most important town in South West England, often used a residence of Kings: King Henry I built a royal palace at the ancient city, which was late used by Plantagenet monarchs. The historic castle stood at Old Sarum until 1514 Henry VII ordered the castle to be demolished and the materials reused. Old Sarum Castle had fallen out of favour by Tudor monarch’s reign. Today, there is […]

Stonehenge – English Heritage

Pop by 'n say hi!Stonehenge Stonehenge, one of the wonders of the world, is the best known pre-historic monument in Europe. Today on the autumnal equinox, it is an important site for druids, who gather to see the sun rise over the stones. Stonehenge might not even be in here today, on the Salisbury Plain site it has occupied since neolithic times, if it wasn’t for an act of love on the part of a single man one hundred years ago. Cecil Chubb bought Stonehenge on a whim in an auction for £6,000 (around £680,000 or one million dollars in today’s money). Chubb had gone to the auction to buy a set of curtains for his dear wife. Instead she was gifted the 5,000 year old monument, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stonehenge’s inner ring is made of volcanic blue stone originated in Carn Goedog in modern day South Wales, some 160 miles (257 kilometres) away from the Amesbury site where the monument were erected. The outer ring, the Sarsen stones, were likely sourced a little closer, within England. Much mystery surrounds the reason why the monument was erected. Theories include a Druid Temple, an ancient calculator, and elite […]

Silbury Hill – Largest Prehistoric Monument

Pop by 'n say hi!Silbury Hill – Largest Prehistoric Monument Silbury Hill, just a short walk from the Avebury Stone Circles is the largest prehistoric monument in Europe. The mound was the tallest structure in Europe until the Middle Ages and is 130 feet (40 metres) high. Even today, it is still the largest man-made mound in Europe. Silbury Hill would have been created over several generations around 2660 BC, before even the first stones at Stonehenge would have been raised. The construction was no walk in the park: it likely took some 700 men ten years’ work to build, modern archaeologists have been puzzled for some time as to why Silbury Hill was created. The post picture, at Silbury Hill was captured last summer on the same day as the Avebury Stone Circles image on a previous post. There is free access to the sites so you can arrive and have a quiet moment of reflection at the site before it starts to get busier. A great neolithic day out might include getting to the Avebury Stone Circles for sunrise, before embarking on the National Trust’s Averbury Archaeology Walk. The route takes you from neolithic Avebury, into West Kennet, […]

Avebury Stone Circles – World’s Largest

Pop by 'n say hi!Avebury Stone Circles Avebury Stone Circles are a UNESCO-designated World Heritage site. Like Stonehenge, they date back to the neolithic period – erected some 4,500 years ago. The Avebury Stone Circles stand on the Marlborough Downs, just 40 minute’s drive from Stonehenge. The stone circle at Avebury is the world’s largest prehistoric stone circle (427 metre diameter), the circles are dotted around the village, which means there is no admission charge. Also you can get even closer to the stones than at Stonehenge. Seeing the stones from so close, you get a real appreciation of the monumental feat of erecting the henge. Avebury Stone Circles provide a genuinely inspiring experience which you will never forget. Though the Avebury Stone Circles were built from around 2850 BC onwards, some stones were deliberately and systematically destroyed, broken or buried in Medieval times. In the 14th century, a hapless barber was likely buried alive while attempting to demolish one of the stones. If the stones were broken and buried, who restored the Avebury Stone Circles to their present form? That task fell to Alexander Keiller. During the 1930s, he uncovered and re-erected the buried stones. The site is currently […]

Tall Ships Festival – Royal Greenwich

Pop by 'n say hi!Tall Ships Festival Tall Ships Festival at Royal Greenwich in London sees 15 Tall Ships return to London. As well as cruises along the River Thames on the tall ships, there are catered events on board the tall ships and fireworks displays throughout the Tall Ships Festival. There is also an opportunity to visit two of the tall ships in moorings: Dar Młodzieży and Santa Maria Manuela. The tall ships are accessible by Thames Clippers from London Bridge City Pier and Royal Greenwich pier. Dar Młodzieży (meaning ‘The Gift of Youth’) in the post picture is a Polish training ship launched in 1981. She was the prototype for a new class of ship – the first of six. She has a height of 62 metres and a length of 109 m. The fully rigged sail area is 3,015 square metres, allowing her to reach a speed of 16 knots (18 mph or 30 kph). Just behind Dar Młodzieży in the post capture, is the Portuguese tall ship Santa Maria Manuela. Santa Maria Manuela was commissioned by Empresa de Pesca de Viana (the Viana do Castelo Fishing Company) and launched in 1938 after being built in just […]

Balestrand in Sogn, Fjord Norway

Pop by 'n say hi!Balestrand, Norway Balestrand is a small, idyllic village on the Sognefjord in the Sogn og Fjordane county of West Norway. Though on the north shore of the main Sognefjord, Balestand also sits at the mouth of the smaller Esefjorden: two fjords for the price of one! The high mountains and deep fjords make for some incredible vistas, worth exploring by hiking around Balestrand. Balestrand is known for it’s ‘Swiss-style’ wooden villas and cultural offerings (in Balestrand Art Village), so even if you don’t fancy a hike, you will still find the Fjord Norway Village enchanting. In fact if it’s a laid-back short break you are after, you should consider a cruise package from Oslo. Norway Travel offer a six night Sognefjord and Balestrand Village package on which you also have time to explore Bergen. There are several well known hikes in and around Balestrand, taking in waterfalls, climbing the mountain paths and even an easy nature trail designed for all of the family to be able to enjoy. The Balestrand Hotel have details of ferries to get you to Balestrand in English. For general information, contact Balestrand Tourist Information. The post picture shows a capture of […]

What is a Fjord and how are they formed?

Pop by 'n say hi!What is a Fjord? What is a fjord? We’ve posted a bit on fjords recently: Stavanger: Gateway to Fjord Norway, Sognefjord, King of the fjords and Fjord Norway Kayaking are just a few of the posts. But in all of those posts we forgot to mention what a fjord actually is. Hopefully, if you don’t know this post will answer the questions ‘What is a Fjord?’, ‘How are fjords formed?’, ‘Are there any fjords outside Norway?’ and a couple of others. Where does the word fjord come from? Before we get on to ‘What is a fjord?’ let’s look at where the name come from. ‘Fjord’ actually comes from old Norse. Old Norse was a language spoken in Scandinavia until the 13th century. Modern Scandinavian languages, such as Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Icelandic and Faroese, developed from Old Norse. Fjord, then, is derived from the Old Norse word ‘fjörðr’ meaning ‘where you travel across’. The English word ‘ferry’ has the same origin. What is a Fjord? ‘A fjord is a long, deep, narrow body of water’ says National Geographic’s Fjord Learning site. But if that’s it, how is a fjord different to sea? Well, it’s not quite […]

Fjord Norway Road Trips

Pop by 'n say hi!Fjord Norway Road Trips Fjord Norway, known for its breathtaking vistas, is a top destination for many nature lovers. Norwegian landscape is replete with mountains, pretty coastal towns, rocky islands. Fjords present no challenge to motorist – there are regular ferry crossings, bridges and some very long tunnels which all bring even remote parts of Norway within reach of road trippers. Read on for some trip suggestions for planning Fjord Norway road trips and tips for once you’re in Norway. Bergen is a good starting point for Fjord Norway road trips. Hardangerfjord is to the south and Sognefjord to the north. In fact you can continue north up to the city of Ålesund, taking in Geirangerfjord. The limiting factor really is how much time you have to spend. If it’s just a day or two, consider one of the shorter Fjord Norway road trips. The Hardangerfjord is a short drive from Bergen and one of the best short Fjord Norway road trips to drive right the way around the Hardangerfjord. Don’t think because it’s a shorter trip, that you won’t get some variety – this is Norway! You will take in pretty villages (stop at Ulvik […]

Fjord Norway Kayaking and Canoeing

Pop by 'n say hi!Fjord Norway Kayaking Fjord Norway kayaking is a great way to appreciate the natural wonder that is the Norwegian from a different perspective – from low, looking up to take in the majesty of the fjords. In a recent post we talked about planning a trip on the Sognefjord. The Sognefjord is the King of the Norwegian Fjords, and one of the longest in the world. The Sognefjord is easily accesible from Bergen – Norway’s second city – and is home to three of the top ten Fjord Norway Kayaking experiences. Sognefjorden is a fun, safe and unique location for a Fjord Norway kayaking adventure in which you can paddle and hike, visiting Viking age and UNESCO historical sites as well as stop off at the beach. For pure kayaking, the Gulen Vest (West Gulen) area is a great choice for experiencing Fjord Norway kayaking. The area has distinctive, narrow straits – often too narrow for boats. Many straits can only be paddled at high tide and can be a challenge at times. Getting there is no challenge though. If you do not have access to car, not to worry! There are two daily express boats […]

Sognefjord Norway: King of Fjords

Pop by 'n say hi!Sognefjord Sognefjord in Fjord Norway is known as the King of the Fjords. At 205 km (127 miles), it is the longest fjord in Norway and passes through some of the most idyllic scenery in Fjord Norway, said to be one of the most beautiful destinations in the world. It’s not just about the exceptional scenery though, there is guided hiking along the Jostedal glacier and kayaking adventures through the most hidden corners of the epic Sognefjord. For history and architecture lovers, there are the Stave churches (Urnes Stave Church is on the UNESCO World Heritage List). There really is something for everyone. Fjord Norway is very accessible making it possible to visit several fjords in a single trip. You might remember a recent post on Stavanger and Lysefjord in Fjord Norway. The images on those posts were captured on the same trip as the Sognefjord image on this post. There is so much to see in Fjord Norway that you might find the only limit is the time free for exploring. For tours, look no further than the Sognefjord in a Nutshell Tour advertised on the visit fjord Norway. Prefer to take in the fjordscape […]