Brit-Adviser - Free Tailor Made Guides to Britain
Coming to Britain? So where you gonna go?
Locals in London, Edinburgh, York and Stratford see streams of tourists snaking through the streets, following the pink umbrella, gushing from coaches and milling round Trinket Emporia. There is a great deal to see in these places, but a trip to the UK cannot be reduced to a Tick Box Tour Itinerary. Besides, with London in particular being the number one city tourist destination, there are crowds from January to December.
And wonderful as the Tower is, the Royal Mile, and Yorkminster, these are not all Britain has to offer…
Some people visit these shores with a clear idea of where they need to go – for instance to see where Richard III died and the car park he was buried in, to walk in the footsteps of Roman Legionaries, to see where Shakespeare travelled to dark haunts peopled by oppressed Catholics – was he one himself? Some might want to feast their eyes on the highest perpendicular spire in Britain or wander the glories of the fine cathedrals of Landaff, Exeter, Glasgow and Gilbert Scott’s Cathedral in Liverpool....or stand at the spot where the first steam locomotives chuffed and grunted. And there are literally thousands of fascinating parish churches; St Oswald’s in Grasmere, St John’s in West Byfleet, the chapel at Heavenfield…
And of course, many come to Britain to chase up family connections
Those with specific ideas or precise itineraries can produce their own plans and routes, but if you are baffled by the choices before you or do not know where to begin I might be able to help make a start. Have a look at the subjects of your trip that I might be able to help you with here:
Follow these stories on your trip to Britain:
- King Arthur. OK, the Round Table, that’s at Winchester isn’t it? And Camelot, that’s at Tintagel, or is it Cadbury Hill, or Badbury Rings...Arthur was buried at Glastonbury yes, or was it Wormelow Tump – no that was his son, surely. Oh, but wait a minute Camelot is in Caerleon, or is it Wroxeter, or Richmond? And why is that lumpy hill in Edinburgh called Arthur’s Seat?
- The US Army Bases of the Second World War. US forces were based everywhere from Antrim in Northern Ireland to the Firth of Clyde to the Norfolk Coast to Cornwall. These were Army and USAAF personnel mostly, but the USN used UK ports, as did ships of the Merchant Marine. The actor James Stewart (a USAAF bomber pilot) was based in the UK for a while (Norfolk) and writer Jack Kerouac (a merchant sailor at the time) had at least one turnround stopover in Liverpool. Where was your grandfather based? This of course relates to Indian, West Indian, New Zealand, Australian, Canadian forces and many more. And German, Austrian and Italian soldiers, sailors and airman experienced British hospitality too during the war, with hundreds of thousands of Prisoners of War here by 1944, processed through racecourses in Southern England and then held in camps which included the Orkney Isles, an old mill in Oldham and traditional looking POW camps, from which, of course, they escaped!
- Charles Dickens. Born in Portsmouth and associated with the Magwitchian marshlands of the Thames Estuary of Northern Kent as much as with the grim courts of Seven Dials and forbidding walls of the Marshelsea, Dickens’ characters roamed the rest of the land as well. Where was Dotheboys Hall for instance? And where was Hard Times set?
- The Women’s Suffrage Movement. The key places associated with the militant wing of the Suffragist movement, the Pankhursts’ ‘Suffragettes’, are well known – the Houses of Parliament, Holloway Prison and Epsom where poor Emily Davidson succeeded in stopping the King’s horse, but only at the cost of her own life. But the controversy that surrounded the Women’s Social and Political Union began in the Free Trade Hall in Manchester in 1905 (home of the famous ‘Judas’ accusation made against Bob Dylan), or was it Egerton Road, where the Pankhursts lived, or Chorlton Poor Law Union? And it ended, or reached it violent culmination with the burning down of Lord Leverhulme’s cottage on the side of Winter Hill.
And What about all these stories?
- King Oswald’s Journeys,
- Jewish Immigration and Expulsions,
- Mediaeval Pilgrimage Routes,
- Anglo Saxon Conquests...
- ...and Viking Raids and Settlements,
- The industrial revolution –
- Steam engines and railways
- The first mills and factories
- Luddites and oppressions
- Quantum Physics: Maxwell Clark, Rutherford, Dirac...
- Second World War Airfields,
- Roman forts and roadways,
- Robin Hood,
- Gilbert Scott, Parry, Lutyens, Charles Rennie Mackintosh...
- George Eliot, Jane Austen, Doris Lessing, Christina Rosetti...
- The origins of Medicine, Nursing and Social Work
- Wren, Ruskin, Lutyens, Mulciber...
- The emergence and spread of Methodists, Quakers and Presbytarianism
- Ship Building,
- Murderers...and hangmen,
- Antarctic Explorers,
- Elgar, Delius, Britten...
- Emigration Ports,
- Places where particular family names clustered,
- The Wars of the Roses,
- English Civil War battle sites,
- Rock and Roll Bands,
- Golf, Horse Racing, Cricket, Football, Archery, Speedway
- the wars between the Scots and English from 602 to 1746,
- Inventions and scientific breakthroughs e.g. Faraday, Priestley, Davey, Darwin
So why not contact me...
But why me?
Why ask me for advice?
I’m an independent historian, whose primary interest are early middle age Britain and the social history of the twentieth century.
I have travelled widely in the UK and have a real familiarity with many parts of it.
OK, I have not been everywhere. I have never been to Aberdeen for instance, or Merthyr Tidphyll, never been to Lundy Island or Bardsey, or Shetland or Dewsbury...but I have been most everywhere else from the Stones of Stenness on Orkney to the Cornwall’s crashing Lizard Point, from the drab dungeness of Dungeness in Kent to the wild outerness of Ness on the Isle of Lewis, from Tom Crean’s Pub in Anascaul to Petty Officer Evans’ grave on the Gower, from Holy Island off Mull, to Holy Island off Bamburgh, to all four Tate Galleries, to nine current Premiership Football Grounds, four current Test Cricket grounds, three of the Queen’s Palaces and more museums than you can shake a stick at - including the grand and the bizarre; the Pencil Museum in Keswick, John Soane’s House off Lincoln’s Inn Fields, the Land of Lost Content in Craven Arms and Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum.
Sorry, bit of showing off there. Obviously I have my interests and many blind spots in history, but I know where to go to look for information, or leads, so I may be able to help with even a subject I know nothing about at all.
So if you want to talk or discuss the route of your trip or itinerary please use the contact page to send me a message, call me, even write me a letter.