A Travellerspoint blog

Welcome to the Severn Valley Steamtrain Railway !

Welcome to the Severn Valley Steam Train Railway !

If you were asking me what my favorite attraction in the UK was, I would certainly list in my top three attractions the Severn Valley Steam Railway which runs from the town of Kidderminster to the town of Bridgnorth.

I discovered it back a couple of years ago while organizing a week-end around Stratford upon Avon and the Cotswolds with my Friend Christine and our Sunday spent in the Severn Valley Steam enchanted us then and still enchant me now.

So it is with great anticipation that I revisited this almost confidential attraction which is well worth a visit by all steam train enthusiasts and amateurs of unspoiled natural sceneries alike.

As soon as one enters the old fashioned train station of Kidderminster, one steps back in the time when magnificent steam trains were ruling the scenery of England and beyond and the feeling really last throughout the day as one boards the comfortable wagons listening to the whistle of the steam engine.

The Severn Valley Steam Railway runs between Kidderminster and the medieval town of Bridgnorth through 16 miles of unspoiled beautiful English countryside including the stunning Victoria Bridge and is punctuated with the prettiest little train stations one can possibly see most of them straight out of a picture book with hanging baskets overflowing with colorful flowers.

The medieval town of Bridgnorth accessible through a funicular host a busy market and offers the Visitor a great variety of restaurants, pubs and tearooms in beautiful balck and white buildings.

The fact that the Severn Valley Steam Railway is mostly run by 200 unpaid volunteers who pride themselves on maintaining the tracks, buildings and rolling material brings authenticity to an experience which is everything but a fake recreation.

The Smiles, simplicity and knowledge of real People will greet you everywhere whether you are looking for a facility or wish to discuss the Golden Age of Steam Trains.

Those who remember my visit to York’s National Railway Museum earlier this year know how much of a train enthusiast I am and the Severn Valley Steam Train keeps enchanting my senses.

The following pictures will take you on my journey as I was stepping back in time in the Golden Age of Steam Trains…

Welcome onboard !

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Karim

Posted by victorian67 03:22 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Welcome to Warwick Castle !

Welcome to Warwick Castle

Britain's Ultimate Castle ! Quite a statement indeed !

I first visited Warwick Castle on a cold January afternoon and although I could appreciate the sheer size and medieval magnificence of the Castle, I saw virtually nothing of its grounds still under the spell of winter.

So when I revisited the place this year in late June, it was with a totally opened mind and I decided to walk to the Castle fron the town that bears its name.

Warwick is a pretty town filled with manicured gardens and picturesque black and white buildings which offers a nice selection of restaurants and tearooms.

I accessed the Castle from the Gate located just a stone thrown away from the High St through delightful back gardens in bloom and discovered the delightful Thomas Oken Tearoom, an old black & white building which serves a delicious blend of teas and homemade cakes in a tea set which would not be out of place in a novel of Lewis Caroll. A must when visiting Warwick Smile

From the moment I was greeted by the flying standards of the Bear Tower Gate, entered the Central Courtyard where knights were fighting in armour, climbed to the top of the ramparts to have almost an aerial view of the Castle and its grounds, met the Victorians of the Royal Week-End recreation throughout the magnificent appartments, discovered the Art of Falconary with live eagles, entered the delightful Orangerie Gardens with their flying peacocks - I did not know until now that they could fly at all - not to forget the enormous Trebuchet Machine in action by the river, the water mill with its ingenious Victorian machinery and finally spent an hour in the exquisite Victorian Rose Garden discussing the cultivation of old roses, I can say with confidence that my visit to Warwick Castle was a pure enchantment.

I have tried to capture the different atmospheres and "colors" of my day in the following pictures..

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Karim

Posted by victorian67 10:49 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Welcome to Stratford upon Avon !

Welcome to Stratford upon Avon

I fell in love with this quintessential English town long before I first visited it and each new visit is a delight in itself !

Shakespeare's birth town is attractive in all seasons and I love walking though the historic streets with their beautiful buildings and delightful shops, cafes and restaurants.

Over the years, Startford upon Avon has really succeeded in its gracious transformation and I love the visual presentation now available at the Shakespeare's Bitrthplace which really takes you back in times with a very effective introductory "3D" presentation.

After years of building works, the canal area is finally complete and I just loved the way the Garden Designers laid English mixed borders rather than simple flower beds in the areas surrounding the magnificent bronze statue of William Shakespeare by the canal and its boats as the effect is simply stunning and yet so refreshing.

I love Nature and outdoors so I could not resist re-visiting Anna Hattaway's Cottage in bloom and Mary Arden's Tudor Farm and spent a delightful afternoon there as the weather was just perfect.

I highly recommend the Tudor Festival which takes place in May at Mary Arden's Farm for its joyous mix of country scenes and period costumes !

Stratford upon Avon truly is a delight of a town, whatever the season...

Karim

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Posted by victorian67 00:45 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged avon stratford upon Comments (0)

Welcome to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens !

Welcome to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens !

I discovered these gems of Botanical Gardens two years ago after attending a fair at the Birmingham NEC and was I in for a pleasant surprize Smile

They are of course much smaller in scale and variety than places such as Kew Gardens, though 15 acres in size, but they are definitely well worth a visit especially at Springtime.

They are located in Edgbaston, a few miles away from Birmingham in a very leafy residential area.

They were created by leading Gardener J. C. Loudon and opened to the public in 1832.

At the time of my visit, the Botanical Gardens were holding a very interesting exhibition on the life and work of Charles Darwin.

Here are a few pictures of my visit to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens in bloom, to say the least...

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Karim

Posted by victorian67 19:36 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Welcome to London Town !

Welcome to London Town !

Having lived in Windsor for many years, I have been to London hundreds of times but guess what, just like a Villager, I had my boundaries and only went to certain places over and over again and often neglecting others.

On this very windy and rather chilly day of mid-April, I was meeting my Friend Christine whom I had not seen in a while and we decided to spend the day gallivanting around London. Unlike myself who like a certain level of comfort when I travel, Christine is a true Explorer with a keen interest in countries which are yet to be discovered and her trips around the world took her from Siberia to Ethiopia, Yemen to Afghanistan. Needless to say that she loves walking and so do I so we made a quite energetic pair in London that day.

We met at the Opera House and walked to Covent Gardenswhich is a place I love to visit and revisit and which was celebrating their 200 anniversary that year ! This a vibrant place where there is always something happening and that day was no exception.

We then walk all the way to Westminster where we intended to take our first boat ride in years ! Isn't this a shame going to London at least 3 times a week and never have taken a boat ride

As we were approaching the Thames, the wind got very intense and rather chilly so we opted for a spot of lunch before embarking on a mini cruise that would be by all means "refreshing" to say the least !

We found an old pub near Whitehall where we enjoyed a heartwarming hot meal with a pint of Guinness for me and Cider for Christine.

Revived by this collation, we embarked on the sight seeing boat and courageously went onto the top deck. The cruise took us from Westminster Pier to Tower Bridge passing by the Tower of London and with a good view of the London Eye, the Tate Gallery, and so on.

I was especially attracted to the London Bridge which truly is a sight when approached by the river.

We then walked by Westminster and Big Ben until we reached the delightful St James Park which took us to Buckingham Palace Road and Green Park, Jermyn St and then Picadilly St which was our destination for afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason.

Fortnum & Mason has been my favorite place for afternoon tea for years for its unique old world charm, charming etiquette and delightful cakes and ice creams.

Needless to say that after braving all day winds which would not have been out of place in Mary Poppins and walking miles upon miles, sitting down in front of pot of Orange Pekoe was pure heaven

Here are a few pictures of our day in windy London, a great moment to remember for me and Christine !

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Karim

Posted by victorian67 12:47 Archived in England Tagged london Comments (0)

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