United Kingdom

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17 travelers at this place

  • Day4

    Portsmouth Historic Dockyard - part 1

    September 14, 2020 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    There is a lot to see here and it is all good. This post and the next post presents the ships at the Dockyard in historical order.

    First up is The Mary Rose, a Tudor navy warship that was financed by, and completed for, King Henry VIII in 1510. It was his favourite ship and he watched from Southsea Castle as it capsized in 1545 during the Battle of the Solent. It was recovered in 1982 and, after extenive renovation, can now be seen in a display that put its many artefacts and lives of the crew members into historical context. Highly recommended. The three images show the timbers of the port side of the ship, a typical cannon and the original Mary Rose bell.

    HMS Victory was completed in 1765 and best known as being Admiral Lord Nelson' s flagship during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Nelson was fatally shot, but victory over the French was already assured. An iconic site with an excellent interpretation. Once again, highly recommended.
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  • Day5

    Portsmouth - Emirates Spinnaker Tower

    September 15, 2020 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 24 °C

    Next to the ferry terminal is Gunwharf Quays, the UK's only waterfront shopping outlet and site of the iconic Emirates Spinnaker Tower. Originally a Millenium Project, a sequence of problems meant that construction did not begin until November 2001 and it did not open until October 2005!

    Helen had booked afternoon tea which we enjoyed 105m above sea level. There are superb views in all directions.
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  • Day4

    Portsmouth Historic Dockyard - part 2

    September 14, 2020 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    HMS Warrior was launched in 1860 and was a 40-gun, steam powered iron clad warship - the most powerful of its kind in the world at the time. She never fired a shot in anger and was returned to Portsmouth in 1987 for public display to provide visitors with an insight into life on board a ship of the Victorian era with guides "of that time".

    Moving forward to 1915, the HMS M.33 is one of only two Royal Navy warships to survive from the First World War and the only one from the Gallipoly Campaign. Once again, very interesting to visit.

    The harbour tour afforded many views, not least that of HMS D34 which was commissioned in 2011 and saw action in the Middle East.

    The HMS Queen Elizabeth was launched in 2014 and an aircraft carrier capable of carrying 60 aircraft (including helicopters). She has a Tudor rose-adorned crest - bringing us full circle from Henry VIII's Mary Rose!
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  • Day2

    Gosport; Waterfront Trail - part 1

    September 12, 2020 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    We walk to the southern end of the Waterfront Trail to start at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum. The centrepiece is HMS Alliiance, an A-class long-range submarine built for service in the Far East and then modified for Cold War duties. Passing one-way through it, we see the cramped accommodation (reminiscent of overnight on Indian trains!), eating spaces, toilets, densely packed control room with periscope and, finally, the torpedo compartment. A fantastic experience! Next was Holland 1, the Royal Navy's first submarine, and midget submarines, including Turtle, a replica of the first submersible ever used in combat (in 1755 against the Royal Navy during the American Civil War).

    We then walk over the Haslar Bridge and past the Haslar Marina, Gosport's moat and ramparts (1803), the colourful Harbour and Seaward Towers (blocks of flats) to the Haslar Millennium Pier, where there are views of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and Harbour with the incredible Spinacre Tower dominating the skyline.

    At the Falkland Gardens next to Gosport Ferry, we see the Tide Clock and the HMS Prince of Wales, the Royal Navy's newest aircraft carrier.
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  • Day3

    Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

    June 28, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 16 °C

    Had a great night's sleep, although we both woke around 5 am, but went promptly back to sleep. Full breakfast was included so we made our way down to the Horatio room, with a huge floor to ceiling portrait of Nelson on the wall. Plenty of food and drink to choose from including, for Rae, black pudding. We headed the couple of hundred metres down to the Historic Dockyard where we joined a queue. The gates had not yet opened. We entered without too much drama, purchasing an all inclusive ticket which gave us access to as many of the exhibits that we could fit in, and including a harbour cruise.

    We headed straight for the Victory, Nelson's flagship, and the one on which he died in the Battle of Trafalgar. We had an interesting audio tour of the ship, doing our best to dodge the school students. It included an unfolding story of the battle with a dramatization of Nelson's last moments. A lamp marks the spot where he died. After the tour we were ready for drink and a sandwich in the cafe next to the Mary Rose museum, so we headed in there next and spent some time chatting to a couple with two young kids. It was drizzling rain still so we headed straight into the Mary Rose Museum, again another really interesting place. The Mary Rose, built for Henry VIII in 1510, was used as a battleship for 30 years before sinking off the coast of Portsmouth in 1545. Many attempts were made to raise her over the years, a successful attempt being made in 1982. Since then she has been painstakingly preserved, and is today the only 16th century warship on display in the world. She is housed inside the museum, separated from the public by glazing. Around the walls of the museum are many retrieved artefacts from the ship together with stories about the people on the ship and the scientific methods used to investigate the people and objects. Many of the people were archers, identified by the way their shoulder joints had been worn down with use. Fascinating!

    Next we had a look over the HMS M33, which survived Gallipoli. The M stands for Monitor gunship. It was interesting to compare life on board the different ships over the centuries. Starting to flag, we had a quick look around the National Navy museum before queueing up for the harbour tour, glad to sit down and be off our feet for a while. It showed us just how extensive the area is, and as it is a working area, there was a lot of movement going on. Lastly, we climbed aboard the HMS Warrior, from 1860, at that time the fastest, largest and most powerful warship in the world. She was powered by both steam and sail, and was such a deterrent that she never fired a shot in anger. By now, very weary we made our way back to RMC, although I made a detour to purchase a UK sim card. We headed down to the pool and spa to relax our weary bones before walking the short distance to the pub nearby for dinner. The lamb shank was very welcome!
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  • Day1

    The long haul to Portsmouth

    June 26, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    We left home at 11 am, John dropping us at Edmondson Park station. Without drama we made our way to the airport and checked our bags. Found out we couldn't use the AMEX lounge (not the right sort of platinum card apparently), so picked up a sandwich and coffee before making our way to the gate. It was a 14 hour flight to Abu Dhabi. The seats of the Boeing 777 were pretty cramped, and I found myself nursing my neckrest, pillow, blanket, handbag, book and paper on my lap for most of the way. A very polite frenchman on his way to Paris sat beside me. The plane diverted a couple of times to avoid turbulence, but there was still plenty of it, and it reminded me that I really don't like flying.

    With only a 1 1/2 hour stop before the next plane left we more or less just made our way to the gate, not really knowing how far it would be. In the end there would have been plenty of time for a decent coffee which we were craving, but gave it a miss.

    We were pleasantly surprised with the space on the A380 for the leg to London, and we both tried to get some sleep before arriving in London at 7.35 am on Tuesday morning. Our welcome to the mother country included a 1 1/2 hour wait in a queue just to enter the country. The officer told us that since Rae also had a British passport that we could have both gone to the EU passport holders queue. Next time!

    After finally getting a decent coffee we had a very short walk to the National Express stop to get the coach to Portsmouth. We had made the de ision that picking up a car and navigating our way out of London after such a long flight would not be a good idea! The coach trip was OK, going via Southampton, and taking 3 1/2 hours in total. We were dropped at The Hard bus interchange and it was quite a short walk with our cases to the Royal Maritime Club where we were staying for two nights.

    We had a couple of floors to negotiate, but the room was adequate and we were looking forward to having a good night's sleep in a proper bed! We unpacked, had a delicious shower and set out to go exploring after searching for some lunch. By this time it was about 3 pm! A long time since our coffee! We made our way to the Gunwharf Quays area, a major leisure, retail and sailing development where we found a modern style pub with extensive indoor and outdoor seating. The rain made the choice easy. Both had a nice chicken type melt.

    Leaving the museum stuff for tomorrow, we followed the Millenium Promenade which took us roughly west along the waterfront, starting at the Hard and walking past the Old Customs building, past the Camber (original fishing settlement, Normans, 12th century) and along to some fortifications and tower (15th century), Square tower, King James Gate and a host of other points of interest. From the top of the rampart we could see a half demolished church (Royal Garrison Church), apparently bombed in tne war and left as a memorial. Apparrently Charles the II was married there. By this time I had started to develop a blister so we decided not to go all the way to Southsea which we would have liked.

    It was also a bit drizzly so we stopped at Brewers Faryre for a drink before turning back to RMC. At 7pm I couldnt keep my eyes open so fell blissfully asleep for the night, glad to finally be in a bed after leaving home 40 hours ago.
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  • Day33

    Portsmouth - UK

    June 16, 2016 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 15 °C

    Can see now why the Brits go to Spain for their beach holidays. Plenty to see in the Historic Dockyard of Portsmouth.

    Bags packed for next leg back to London.

  • Day145

    YOLO...our big adventure!

    August 23, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 0 °C

    As we arrive back in the UK, we are reminded of the brief conversation with another family one year ago in France, , who had been travelling Europe in a Moho with young family for 6 months. It took us about 3 minutes to decide we wanted to do it - a little longer to work out the logistics, and we are forever grateful that we took the opportunity.

    As grown ups, we have seen so many amazing things that have made our jaws drop, as children they have grown in confidece with each new experience they’ve had, as a family we have grown ‘together’ and had time to learn and ‘see’ each other in a way that we just wouldn’t have had back home. Living in this tiny space has sometimes felt crazy and it took some getting used to. At first everything seemed a bit stressful as we were navigating our own ways in the small and delicate space, but we’ve come through the other side and the time has been very special indeed. Life is for living.

    Learnings from 5 months on the road with children...

    However long you travel for, there will always be more to see; value the time you have.

    You can travel to all the glorious natural wonders in the world, but THE most important thing to a 4 year old is that there’s a park.

    Amelia was given an Enid Blyton short stories book with 30 stories in - amazing to have so many different stories without having to take loads of books. Short stories are a win.

    The only thing to put on sun-sensitive faces in the middle of a heatwave is Zinc sunblock.

    No matter how many times you tell yourself that your children won’t watch the DVD player for the whole journey - after 8000 miles we all know you’re kidding yourself!

    Heated swimming pools are essential but rare if travelling in Europe in April.

    It takes 3-4 weeks for adults to learn dimensions of new, smaller living quarters and avoid head bumps with every move, 2 yr olds never figure this out.

    Don’t plan too much, you’ll miss out on some diamonds.

    Talk to as many at people as possible (very handy to have a husband who literally can’t not talk to people) - it’s good for the soul, but you’ll also get the best travel tips on places to visit.

    After months on the road (through rain, snow, mud, forests, lakes, waterfalls and beaches) no matter how many times you hand wash children’s clothes (and soak in a litre of vanish) they will never be clean again.

    The only clue as to how many creepy crawlies we were travelling with at any time was that every now and then when we put Coen to bed a giant spider or ear wig would crawl up his wall (from the garage below his bed).

    If you need to escape the monotony of politics and current affairs, travelling in a motorhome (without satellite) is a 100% guaranteed way to do it.

    When you’re travelling, you always wish you’d started sooner and could go on longer.

    Children’s bedtimes are late and long, luckily so are their lie ins.

    Wine is ridiculously cheap to buy in every single country we’ve visited (bar England).

    You can buy a bottle of beer for 8cents in Germany (though Nic doesn’t recommend it), and a bottle of Prosecco in Italy for under 2 euros (and Sarah does recommend it!).

    Children can eat an infinite amount of ice cream, and apparently not feel sick.

    Pizza is good for any meal (including brunch) as long as it’s from Italy.

    We love beaches and lakes more than cities and towns. We followed the path of water for almost our whole trip. There were only a handful of nights where we weren’t parked up next to water.

    Amelia melts in anything above 18 degrees if there isn’t a pool or sea to splash in.

    Biscuits solve most child problems, especially if we’ve been driving for too long!

    The children’s favourite sentence is ‘I’m hungry’. They are more hungry than ever before. Except when it’s meal times and then it is impossible to get them to sit down to eat - far too much distraction eating in the wild!

    What adults see and what children see is always completely different when visiting new places - we loved hearing how they described things and what they noticed.

    Germans love a skatepark and they make brilliant parks all over the place.

    Driving through Austria surrounded by mountains and following the longest rivers, ending up at the biggest and most beautiful lakes is breathtaking - guaranteed beautiful scenes at every turn.

    Some people thought we were crazy for travelling with children, and some people wished they’d done it, some people's trips made ours seem tiny- we all have different dreams, we’re glad we took a chance on this one.
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