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Visit England - Liverpool, Bath, Bristol, Oxford and York
Liverpool

With its famous waterfront on the Mersey River is a great shipping port and industrial center. King John launched it on the road to glory when he granted it a charter in 1207. But the musical group "The Beatles" really brought Liverpool international acclaim.

Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King: Contains more stained glass than any other... 25,000 square feet in 300 shades. Consecrated in 1967, this church took only 4 years to build.

Cathdral Church of Christ: It is the main attraction most visitors head for. Begun in 1903, it was completed 74 years later. Located on a rocky bluff overlooking the Mersey River, this church might possibly be the last Gothic-style to be built on earth, and is the largest in England. It's vaulting, under the tower, is 175 feet high, the highest in the world. Its length is second to St. Peter's in Rome.

Cavern Mecca: Located on Mathew Street, this is the Beatles old stomping grounds. The "Mecca" is now the Beatles Museum, information center, and souvenir shop.

St. George Hall: It is among Liverpool's most historic buildings. It was completed in 1854 and has been called "England's finest public Building''. It contains law courts and a pleasant garden in the rear.


Bath

In 1702 Queen Anne made the 115-mile trip from London to the Mineral springs of Bath. This launched a fad that was to make the city the most celebrated spas in England. Actually, Bath had two lives. It was built by the early Romans and known as Aquae Sulis. These early Romans visited the baths to ease their rheumatism. In addition to the major sights here, do notice the buildings, the squares and especially the Royal Crescent, which is an elegant half-moon row of town houses.

Roman baths and pump room: Founded in 75 AD by the Romans, the baths were dedicated to the goddess Sol Minerva. In their day they were an engineering feat, and still today, are considered among the finest Roman remains in England. They are still fed by the only hot springs in Britain. Visit the excavations, the museum have coffee in the pump room.

Bath Abbey: Built on the site of a much larger Norman Cathedral, the abbey is a fine example of the late style. The west front is the dream of a 15th century bishop. The abbey is called "Lantern of the West" because of its many windows.

Assembly rooms at Bath: These rooms were originally designed by John Wood in 1769. Today they house a costume museum featuring 300 years of fashion.


Bristol

Bristol is the largest city in the West Country, and is only 10 miles from Bath. This historic port is linked to the sea by seven miles of the Avon River. It's seafaring traditions go back to the colonization of America.

Floating Harbor: The harbor was formed by damming up the Avon River in 1809. Tour boats depart from here.

S.S. Great Britain: This 3000 ton vessel is the world's first iron steamship and luxury liner. The restored "floating palace" is open 10 - 5 PM.

Bristol Cathedral: The Cathedral was begun in the 14th century on the site of a previous Norman Abbey. The main tower was added in 1466. The Chapter House and Gatehouse are good examples of late Norman architecture.

Cobbled King Street: The street is known for its Theatre Royal, the smallest English playhouse and the oldest in continuous operation. In addition, there are many old taverns along the docks, including Llandoger Trow, which is reputed to have been the model used in "Treasure Island" by Stevenson.

Brunel Bridge: This landmark is a suspension bridge over the 250 foot deep Avon Gorge at Clifton, was begun in 1831. There are many fine Georgian buildings in the area.

St. Mary Redcliffe: This has been called the "fairest, goodliest and most famous parish church in England". It was built in the 14th century and has been carefully restored.


Oxford

A walk down the tong sweep of the High, one of the most interesting streets in England, a mug of cider in a pub, the sound of choristers singing in Latin from Magdalen Tower, the Great Tom bell from Tom Tower, whose 101 rings traditionally signal the closing of the college gates, towers and spires rising majestically, the barges on the Thames, nude swimming at Parson's Pleasure, the roar of a cannon launching the bumping races, a tiny, dusty bookstall where you can pick up a rare first edition. All this is Oxford, only 57 miles from London and home of one of the greatest Universities in the world. There are many well-known buildings here - Radcliffe Camera, whose dome competes in a city of spires, Cheldonian Theatre, an early work by Wren, and Bodleian Library, one of the most important in the world. But most people come to see the University, which is, in fact, made up of 28 colleges.

Christ Church, known as "The House" was founded by Henry VIII in 1546 and has the largest quad of any college here. Tom Tower houses Great Tom, the 18,000 pound bell which rings nightly at 9:05... 101 times. The 16th century Great Hall has paintings by Gainsborough and Reynolds.

Magdalen College was founded in 1458...with bell tower where choir sings in Latin. Merton College, founded in 1264, is noted for its library, oldest in England. University College, founded in 1249, is the oldest at Oxford.

New College was founded in 1379. In the chapel is a fine El Greco. In the garden, you can see the remains of the old city wall and the mound.

There are areas where visitors are not allowed. Please abide by rules.


York

Few cities in England are as rich in history as York. It is still enclosed by its 13th/14th century city walls, with four gates. One of these gates (Micklegate) once grimly greeted visitors coming up from the south with the heads of traitors. In earlier times, there was a Roman York, a Saxon York, a Danish York, a Norman York, a Medieval York, a Georgian York, and a Victorian York. A surprising amount of 18th century York remains.

York Minster It is one of the great cathedrals of the world... tracing its origins back to the early 7th century. The present building dates mainly from the 13th century. The distinguishing characteristic of this cathedral is its stained glass from the Middle Ages.

A walking tour: The Tourist Information Centre offers a 1 1/2 hour guided walking tour of the city, revealing its history and lore through numerous intriguing stories... no charge.

The Shambles: This was once the meat-butchering center of York, dating back to the Norman Conquest. Today, it is an ancient street filled with jewelry stores, cafes, and buildings that huddle so closely together that one can practically stand in the middle and reach out and touch the houses on both sides.

York Castle Museum on Tower Street, is one of the finest folk museums in the country. Its unique feature is the shop-flanked Kirkgate, the recreation of a cobbled street, with authentic facades moved to the site.
About the Author
Author of this article is Gene Gill. For more information visit his website: Gene Gill Miniatures.
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