Welcome to the Discovering Places Blog

Uncovering the hidden heritage gems across the UK!

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Elephants from Sri LankaElephants from Sri Lanka

I’ve always tried not to get carried away purchasing trinkets when I’m abroad in some exotic location. Its like a romance, I’ve fallen in love with the culture, marvelled at the Buddhas, the Moroccan slippers, the bejewelled ickle wooden boxes only to find that once back home their appeal wanes as fast as their sheen rubs off. (Yep says a lot for my relationships)

However, it is only when I get round to dusting this motley collection of mine, that I find I’m transported back to their origin (save the oversized panda from Disneyland, California). Which is probably what I’ve been doing when I’ve made that purchase – in essence I’ve been trying to bottle the experience to make it a last a little longer than the plane journey. So, in order of preference my smorgasboard of hoardings include:

Read more about Objects I've brought back from my travels»

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St James Spilsby (3)

Who are Lincolnshire’s most notable sons and daughters? Isaac Newton? Margaret Thatcher? Matthew Flinders? Alfred Tennyson, Queen Victoria’s poet laureate? What about Tennyson’s uncle by marriage, Rear Admiral Sir John Franklin, does he deserve a place on this esteemed list? Arguably, Franklin is most famous for perishing in 1847 whilst attempting to chart the Canadian Arctic’s Northwest Passage. Franklin and his crew set off on this quest in 1845, but in 1846 the two ships under the Rear Admiral’s command became frozen in the icy waters around Canada’s Beechey Island. Their crews never sailed again. When news of his demise eventually reached Britain the Victorian public hailed Franklin a hero.

Read more about Sir John Franklin - a Rear Admiral's adventure»

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The Gift of New ZealandThe Gift of New Zealand

Read more about Inside the House of Commons Chamber»

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Feng shui charms hopefully bringing luck and prosperity to my home.Feng shui charms hopefully bringing luck and prosperity to my home.

Objects tell important stories about who we are and where we’ve been. I sometimes wonder what would happen if you traced an object’s journey over its lifetime – the places it had been, the owners it had acquired along the way, and how it had come to be where it is now. Even the most ordinary-looking knick-knack would have made an impressive journey!

Continuing The World in the UK theme this week, we’re looking at the objects and souvenirs that you, or your ancestors, have brought back from your travels.

Read more about Call to Action: Objects from your Travels»

24 September 2011

All the world is in Britain

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Christchurch © Geograph. One of many places to visit on the World tour in Great BritainChristchurch © Geograph. One of many places to visit on the World tour in Great Britain

I like to travel – but I’ve found that I can do a world tour without having to leave Great Britain. Without the need for a passport or any nasty inoculations you can visit some exotic sounding places right here.

Let’s take in the sites of Europe first – we could go to Barcelona (Cornwall – OS grid reference SX219535), Holland (Surrey – OS grid reference TQ400504), Moscow (North Ayrshire – OS grid reference NS487402), Florence (Stoke on Trent – OS grid reference SJ918422) or Dresden (Stoke on Trent – OS grid reference SJ910423).

Read more about All the world is in Britain»

23 September 2011

Sergeant Horfield’s button

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Sgt Horfield's buttonSgt Horfield's button

The cupboard we keep drinks in would once have held treasured crockery, and something to serve on special occasions. In its higgledy-piggledy way, it still does. Our collection of things found out the back is also in it somewhere.

Our street is a terrace in north Bristol. It was built for married non-commissioned officers stationed in what was Horfield Barracks and which is now a housing development. So, when we hacked up our turn-of-the-century concrete path to make a turn-of-the-next-century garden, we came across a Royal Engineers uniform button. It’s just in front of the sloe gin.

Read more about Sergeant Horfield’s button»

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The Drumadoon Bell ShrineThe Drumadoon Bell Shrine

During the summer of 2002 the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) funded an archaeological excavation at a mound in the townland of Drumadoon, near the village of Ballyvoy in north County Antrim. The mound was believed to be a Norman motte and was gradually collapsing down slope into the valley of the River Carey.

Read more about The Drumadoon Bell shrine, County Antrim»

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Medicine BottlesMedicine Bottles

As we continue our discovery of how the world manifests itself within the UK our call to action this week draws on Historical Finds and the not so historical finds….

I was thinking about what I’d discovered or found in my time and drew a complete blank but then I remembered growing up in the Somerset countryside and going on long walks my mum and dog Sandy up to the ‘tump’ – a very large mound for those of you unfamiliar with the country bumpkin language.

Read more about Call to Action: Discovering historical finds and not so historical finds...»

16 September 2011

Get Involved: Become a farmer!

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Are you passionate about food, do you love growing your own or harbour dreams of owning a small holding one day? Then the National Trust’s new experiment, MyFarm, could be right up your street.

The National Trust are looking for up to 10,000 people to take part in a mass on-line public farming experiment where they will make key decisions at one of the Trust’s working farms at Wimpole in Cambridgeshire.

Read more about Get Involved: Become a farmer!»

16 September 2011

India on your doorstep

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Selection of Curry favouritesSelection of Curry favourites

Apart from India, where else in the world would you want to try out Indian food? You may perhaps think a neighbouring Asian country. However, in Europe there’s only one nation that’s embraced Indian food like no other and it’s Britain. After traditional English food, Indian cuisine in the UK still remains the most popular.

Apparently spicy food was introduced to Britain around 7 hundred years ago, long before Europe realised that India existed. The English used to make spice mixtures similar to the modern day curry powders. Nowadays, lots of homes have at least one spice in their store cupboards and many households make a curry of some sort or another. A ‘curry’ means a spicy savoury Asian dish of meat, fish or vegetables. To most people in Britain, it conveniently covers all Indian cuisine. So ‘going for a curry’ means going to a restaurant which serves Indian food.

Read more about India on your doorstep »

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