Meeting Ben

Back in May 2015 went on a tour of the Elizabeth Tower.

We were on a London Walk (not just for tourists – even though I lived in London for 15 years I found the walks fascinating) and the guide mentioned that if you contacted your MP they could arrange for you to tour the tower. I wrote to our MP, Andrew Smith (who has now stood down from his position as MP for Oxford East) and he arranged places on the tour for us. I believe the tours are only available to UK residents (don’t hold me to that, things may have changed since we went) and they are free to go on but at the moment the tours of Big Ben and the Elizabeth tower have been suspended until 2021 while refurbishment work is being carried out. When the tours are running again it can be a long wait from your request to being offered a date but it was worth it.

We climbed the 334 steps in stages, stopping on each floor for a chance to see more of the mechanics of the bell tower and clocks, including a chance to stand inside of the huge clock faces which was surreal. We got to the Belfry and stood, with earplugs and fingers in ears, next to Big Ben as 3pm struck.

As you would expect security on the tours is tight and you’re security checked before your place on the tour is confirmed, sadly no cameras are allowed in the tower. There were so many photographs I wish I could have taken, especially the amazing view over London from the Belfry but it was nice to enjoy the day without viewing things through a lens for a change.

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The Brystal Maze

The-Brystal-Maze

‘The Brystal Maze’ Gromit is showing his love for The Crystal Maze, the popular British gameshow, filmed right here in Bristol! Designed by The Crystal Maze and Richard Ayoade and painted by Susan Taylor, this incredible design is inspired by each of the four ‘zones’ of The Crystal Maze: Medieval, Industrial, Aztec and Future. The ears of Gromit represent the iconic Crystal Dome found at the centre of the maze, with the nose as the coveted crystals that so many contestants try – and fail – to win! Sponsored by Bottleyard Studios, you can find him now at the Hengrove Promenade!

(Text reproduced from The Grand Appeal website)

Plooming Marvellous

Head over to Hartcliffe Community Farm Park and you’ll spy Feathers McGraw feeling (and looking!) as proud as a peacock following his latest heist. The diabolical penguin, designed by artist Amy Timms, is hardly recognizable as ‘Plooming Marvellous’ in his iridescent blue and green plumage. This vibrant peafowl is sponsored by Bristol Post.

(Text reproduced from The Grand Appeal website)

Dias de los Perros

This vibrantly painted ‘Dias de los Perros’ is inspired by the ‘Day of the Dead‘, celebrated in cultures throughout the world. Despite the skeleton appearance, this theme, painted by artist Gavin Strange, is far from spooky! The multi-day holiday focuses on family, community, heritage and traditions. Visit Arnos Vale to see this colorful sculpture in person!

(Text reproduced from The Grand Appeal website)

Penmaenmawr

The north coast settlement of Penmaenmawr shares many characteristics with neighbouring Llanfairfechan.

It’s like the seaside used to be, genteel and low key, with a long promenade, paddling pool and children’s playground, rounded off by a row of traditional beach huts (with a nod to the 21st-century there’s also a skate park).

The big, sandy beach is well suited to sandcastle-making and watersports (there’s a thriving local sailing club), with the bonus of splendid views across Conwy Bay to Anglesey and Puffin Island.

Also in common with Llanfairechan, Penmaenmawr doubles up as a well-located walking and touring centre.

Trails lead upwards into hills crossed by Roman roads and dotted with historic sites that include an Iron Age fort, Druid’s Circle and fascinating Stone Age ‘axe factory’, implements from which have been found all over Britain.

If you’re driving, don’t miss the thrilling trip up and over the narrow Sychnant Pass, the historic route to Conwy.

There’s more history back in town at Penmaenmawr Museum, which recalls the town’s quarrying past.

(and it has some of the steepest cambers I have ever seen on a road – anywhere!)

(Text reproduced from visitllandudno.org.uk)