Saturday, September 10, 2011


Today we took a train out to Tynemouth, a small town on the North Sea coast. When we got off the train, we were happy to see that the weekend market was on. There are dozens of stalls where people sell a huge range of goods.

The market is in the Victorian train station, which is now solely used for the Metro system.

Whenever I go to the market, my favourite thing to do is look through the collection of old postcards. There is a huge collection for sale and most of them are from the early 1900s. My favourite part is reading the messages on the back which people sent to their loved ones. Today we bought a few from around 1905. Ricki is going to take these home with her as a souvenier.

After we left the market, we walked down to the pier.

Going down the pier, you could turn around and see Tynemouth priory on the cliffs.

We walked all the way to the end to check out the lighthouse but it was all closed off to the public. I had to hold on to Ricki with all my might because the wind was so strong. I was very worried she might get carried off into the sea from a strong gust!

We walked back from the pier and up to the headland known as Pen Bal Crag.

Upon which, sits Tynemouth Priory. The entrance is through the gatehouse which was added to the site, along with the barbican, in 1390.

The priory dates back to 1110, however only ruins remain now.

And poor Ricki got attacked by the wind once again!

During World War II, the sight was a key defense outpost and there are still reminders of this today.

From the south edge of the headland you can get a beautiful view of the mouth of the River Tyne as it ends its journey at the North Sea.

To the north, you get a view of the town of Tynemouth and one of the beaches.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Durham Cathedral

Today we visited the city of Durham to see the cathedral. The cathedral was built in 1093. The cathedral is a world heritage site and UNESCO states "Durham Cathedral is the largest and most perfect monument of 'Norman' style architecture in England". High praise indeed so we took a trip to see it in person.

This is the view as soon as you exit the train station...

We walked across the river and through the city to get to the cathedral.

The exterior was having some work done on it. Unfortunately the castle was also having major refurbishment so we didn't get to tour it.

The war memorial outside the cathedral...

Looking up at the tower from the cloisters inside the cathedral...

Ricki getting a closer look at the architectural details...

Durham Cathedral is also one of the sets for Harry Potter films, with some of the Hogwarts scenes being shot here. Specifically, the cloisters form the school's quad.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Prudhoe Castle

Today we took the train out to Prudhoe to see the ruins of a medieval castle.

This was the view as we approached the castle. It has a pond and moat which surround the castle.

Before going into the castle, we had a walk around it first. The backc is surrounded by forests and a very steep hill, which would have helped in the fortification of the site.

The inside of the castle isn't very accessible because so much of it has crumbled but we had a quick wander around.

There is also an old mill on the site of the castle which dates from the 16th century and used to power the village of Prudhoe.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Angel of the North

On our way home from Beamish, we stopped off at The Angel of the North. It is a sculpture designed by Antony Gormley and is one of the most famous pieces of public art in Britain. It is made of steel and stands 66 feet tall with a wingspan of 177 feet which curve slightly inward so as to make it seem as if it is embracing the surrounding area.