Tom's Britain - Exploring places of interest and things to do in England, Wales & Scotland

24 July 2013

Drink at the Jolly Sailors, Brancaster Staithe

A decent little pub in the upmarket North Norfolk village of Brancaster Staithe, built in the 18th century and still popular with locals and visitors, especially due to its attached brewery which produces ales such as Brancaster Best, Malthouse Bitter - named after one of the country's largest malthouses which stood in the village from the 18th century onwards, built from Roman bricks - Oystercatcher and The Wreck from local ingredients.

When your author visited for a beautiful wedding last month at nearby St Mary's Church, Burnham Deepdale - known for its Saxon Round Tower, its Norman Font and its Medieval Glass - he managed to sneak in two trips to the Jolly Sailors in 24 hours, and was even lucky enough to stumble across the pub's 4th Norfolk Ale and Music Festival.

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^Picture © Howard used under a Creative Commons license^

19 July 2013

Attend the Latitude Festival

Your author is off to Latitude Festival this weekend with Ebury publishing to talk about books and that sort of thing. Indeed, if you're interested there will be a talk based around the new book at 1.30pm on Sunday in the Ebury Library and Bookshop.

The whole festival looks like a decent combination of bands, arts, theatre and people talking about funny and interesting things, and it will hopefully be good fun.

For more, see

^Picture ©  Ebury Piblishing used under a Creative Commons license^

15 July 2013

Spend at night at Woody's Top, Lincolnshire

Your author spent a very peaceful night yesterday at Woody's Top Hostel, a remote former barn in a beautiful area of the Lincolnshire Wolds near Louth which has been run by the Youth Hostels Association since 1948.

We are told that the hostel's name is derived from "Mr Wood's Top Barn", and it certainly has a remote barn feel about it, surrounded by fields of swaying barley and offering beautiful sunsets over the rolling hills. The Lincolnshire Wolds is an underrated area of the country, and as many make their way to seaside resorts such as Skegness and Cleethorpes, or RSPB reserves at the coast, they would do well to stop and explore this line of hills which is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

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8 July 2013

Drink at the Black Horse at Amberley

Your author was out in Gloucestershire this weekend, for a pub cycle around the South Cotswolds. The participating cyclists arrived just in time for dinner at a great little pub which has always been a favourite, and benefits from fine views across the green valley towards Woodchester Park, owned by the National Trust.

Originally built as two weavers cottages, we are told that the building has been a pub for more than 250 years, and maintains an exterior of beautiful Cotswold stone, with plenty of room inside and out for drinkers and diners. One of two licensed premises in the village, it was busy when your author popped in, with plenty of customers and even the local MP dining quietly with a group.

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3 July 2013

Ride the Two Tunnels Greenway, Bath

A brilliant shared-use bike and walking path that takes riders from near the beautiful centre of Bath right out into the Somerset countryside, following the route of an old railway line through tunnels beneath Combe Down, a hill on the south side of the city.

The route only opened this year, in April, and is a great ride, with eerie musical installations in the tunnels and plenty of people enjoying it when your author rode it earlier in the summer as part of a pub cycle. Plus it avoids all those big hills around Bath, which can be troublesome.

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2 July 2013

Take the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail

An experience from your author's childhood, when family would meet in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire for picnics and bike rides, and an occasional visit to the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail, a four mile walk around some interesting sculptures which when it opened in 1986 was one of the first of its kind.

The trail is maintained by the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust, which continues to add new works such as  Annie Cattrell's Echo, which was installed in 2008 and David Cotterrell's imposing eleven metre high Hill33, added in October 2010 and weighing 1,300 tonnes.

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^Picture © Stuart Richards used under a Creative Commons license^

1 July 2013

Drink at the Red Lion, Ampney St Peter

The Red Lion in Ampney St Peter in Gloucestershire is a beautiful 300-year-old Grade II listed pub constructed in beautiful Cotswold Stone.

The real highlight is the interior of the pub, which is listed in The Campaign for Real Ale's National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors, based around two small rooms and no bar, one of a tiny handful of pubs left in the  the country without a proper bar. It's timeless atmosphere is further enhanced, we are told, by the fact that the current landlord is fourth since 1851.

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