London =/= England

Last week I got into conversation with a family from the US who were (understandably) flummoxed by the convoluted process of trying to buy train tickets so they could go and see Windsor Castle as […]


Whitby Abbey

Bran Stoker’s Dracula was published in 1897, but over 120 years later visitors still flock to the little seaside town of Whitby in North Yorkshire to see what inspired the writer to pen his iconic […]


Caernarfon Castle, Wales

I’ve previously written about Conwy Castle and Caernarfon is another of Edward I’s Iron Ring of colossal fortresses built in the 13th century to establish English dominance over Wales. Caernarfon is a brute of a […]

National Parks

Peak District well dressing

Well dressing is an ancient custom, probably dating back to Celtic times, that is still followed in the English Peak District. Every year, in summer or early autumn, teams of volunteers in villages and towns […]


Conwy Castle, Wales

I’d seen Conwy Castle a few times from the A55 before I first visited: it’s something you can’t really miss when you’re driving through North Wales, looming over the landscape in the 21st century just […]


Rievaulx Abbey

Abbey and monastery ruins are not uncommon in England, thanks to Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries, but Rievaulx is a particularly striking and relatively intact example of English history and social change. Rievaulx Abbey […]


Mont St Michel

Mont-Saint-Michel is one of those unforgettable places to visit. An island in Normandy, France, and the site of a monastery that dates back to the 8th century AD, this medieval fortress towers above the surrounding […]


Conisbrough Castle

Conisbrough Castle is one of my favourite places in South Yorkshire, a 12th century castle set on the hillside overlooking the historic town of Conisbrough that inspired Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe. The history of Conisbrough […]

Civic buildings

Vulcan, Sheffield Town Hall

Sheffield is one of those cities where it’s always worth looking up, away from the bog-standard high street shops and (currently) the many building sites, at the many architectural reminders of the city’s industrial heritage. […]