Saturday Snapshot: Views of the Holy Island of Lindisfarne

Lindisfarne is one of my favourite places, cut off from the mainland of Britain twice a day by the tides and accessed over a causeway. We went there last Tuesday and here are a few photos I took then together with one I took on an earlier visit.

Lindisfarne Priory was founded in 635 by Aidan, an Irish monk who came to the island from the monastery on Iona, founded by St Columba. It was the home of the Lindisfarne Gospels.

I took the photo below in February 2011, on a cold winter’s day. It shows the statue of St Aidan in the Priory grounds with Lindisfarne Castle, across the bay, in the background.

The monastery was originally wooden buildings  and the remains that we see today are those of the 12th century priory, probably standing on the site of the 7th century monastery. The Priory’s former grandeur is still there to see:Lindisfarne was also the home of Cuthbert, who became the prior in 685. Eleven years after his burial it became a shrine when his body was exhumed and was found to be undecayed. One hundred years later when the monks fled from the island during Viking raids they took his relics with them, eventually re-establishing his shrine in Durham Cathedral in 995.

This sculpture of St Cuthbert is cast in bronze, originally carved from an elm tree. It shows a contemplative Cuthbert:

Last Tuesday was one of the hottest days of the year. We had intended to visit the castle as well, but as so many other people had the same idea we just went for a walk round the foot of the castle, then along the coast and back inland. This is the route we took.

We stopped for a look at the walled garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll in 1911.

And then carried on to the coast line: On the way home we stopped at The Barn at Beal, on the mainland, just over the causeway, for a cup of coffee.

A Saturday Snapshot post – see more on Alyce’s blog At Home with Books.

Favourite Places – Rye & Winchelsea

Rye in Sussex is one of my favourite places. We’ve been there a few times and explored its streets and coastline.

It’s got lots of history and some literary connections too. By the end of the 12th century it was described as an ‘Antient Town, worthy of veneration’  and it became one of the Cinque Ports in the 14th century. This meant that it had to supply ships and seamen for the defence of the Realm. Parts of the town still have a medieval look, with cobbled streets and narrow passages.

Here are some of our photos (click on them for a bigger picture) from our last visit in 2006. First the Parish Church of St Mary’s which is almost 900 years old, damaged by fire in 1377 by French invaders. It has the oldest working church turret clock in the country dating from 1561-2.

St Mary’s Church, Rye

We climbed the tower – the view is spectacular (but I can’t find our photos!)

One of the highlights of our visit was Lamb House, a brick-fronted Georgian house in West Street once the home of Henry James, later E F Benson, and then Rumer Godden, now owned by the National Trust.

West Street – Lamb House at the far end

Lamb House as it is today dates from 1722 or 1723 with some minor alterations made by Henry James and the addition of bathrooms by the National Trust. James lived there from 1898 until the autumn of 1914. There is a beautiful walled garden – I’m particularly fond of walled gardens – where in the summer James used to dictate his novels in the little Georgian pavilion that was later bombed in 1940. There is not a lot to see in the house with just three rooms open to the public but some of his furniture and books are on display.

E F Benson lived there until his death in 1940 and wrote many of his Mapp and Lucia novels there. Rumer Godden also lived there from 1968 to 1973. But nothing of their time here remains, as far as I could see.

We also walked round the harbour

Rye Harbour

 and then along the shore line, which is a Nature Reserve with bird-watching hides.

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

The Nature Reserve extends as far as Winchelsea Beach, a huge shingle bank, 2 miles down the coast.


For more Favourite Places visit Margot’s blog Joyfully Retired where she  regularly features her favourite places.

Favourite Places – Bath

For today’s Favourite Places post I’m featuring Bath. For more Favourite Places see Margot’s blog Joyfully Retired.

The last time we have Bath was just over three years ago, when we had a weekend there. There is a lot to see in Bath and we only managed to go to a few places – the main one being the Roman Baths.

We stayed here:

and walked into the centre of Bath, down Great Pulteney Street, passing this Victorian pillar box:

We walked over Pulteny Bridge and looked down on the River Avon and the weir:

Here is Bath Abbey, where Edgar was crowned King of the English in 973:


*Added after first posting:

There have been three churches on the site of Bath Abbey – the first was an Anglo-Saxon church dating from 757, destroyed by the Normans after 1066. The present Abbey church was founded in 1499 and completed in 1611.*

Visting the Roman Baths was the highlight of our weekend. We could have stayed in there all day, with so much to look at. 


Here is the underfloor heating.

Although we were footsore after walking round the Baths we managed to go to the Fashion Museum, which is housed in the Assembly Rooms

and after looking at the displays of fashion dating back to the eighteenth century

we wandered round the Ball Room, imagining what it was like on ball nights during Jane Austen’s time and then had a cup of coffee in the Assembly Rooms cafe.

Favourite Places – A Quick Tour of Edinburgh

I’ve chosen a few photos taken last July of Edinburgh for today’s Favourite Places post. For more Favourite Places see Margot’s blog Joyfully Retired.

I took some of these photos from a tour bus. Our grandchildren insisted we went on the Horrible Histories tour, which was very entertaining – of course the ordinary commentary was available as well. From Waverley Bridge we went past the Scott Monument, along Princes Street, and circled round the streets until we were looking up at Edinburgh Castle towering above. 

Edinburgh Castle

I just managed to take a photo from the bus looking down at Greyfriars Bobby as we went past.

Greyfriars Bobby

We got off the bus at Lawnmarket.


Just off Lawnmarket is Lady Stairs Close, where the Writers’ Museum is to be found. This Museum is in Lady Stair’s 17th century house. It’s a fascinating place full of things that belonged to Sir Walter Scott, Robbie Burns and Robert Lewis Stevenson. There are pictures, room displays containing Burns’s writing desk, Scott’s dining table and lots of memorabilia – including bibles, pipes and walking sticks. You can’t take photos inside but here is the outside.

Writers’ Museum

And the plaque in close up shows that the house was first built in 1622 and was restored in 1897.

Lady Stairs House

From there we walked down the Royal Mile.

Edinburgh’s Royal Mile

We stopped at a number of places including the Museum of Childhood, which took me right back to my own childhood. It’s full of toys and games of all sorts. I thought the display of dolls was scary – all standing to attention in glass display cases staring out at me. It reminded me of the terrifying dolls in the film, Barbarella. Much more comforting were the teddy bears and children’s books.

Museum of Childhood

Finally here is a view of Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano.

Arthur’s Seat

Favourite Places – Stratford-upon-Avon

On Sundays Margot at Joyfully Retired writes about one of her favourite places. Here’s one of mine – it’s Stratford-upon-Avon.  

We went there last August to see Julius Caesar at the Courtyard Theatre. I wrote about that here. We stayed at this hotel  

Alveston Manor

 in the room on the first floor next to the entrance (in shadow in the photo). This is the view through the window  

Bedroom window

The hotel is not far from the River Avon

River Avon

Whilst there we visited various houses connected with Shakespeare. We’ve been to Stratford many times but had never been in Shakespeare’s birthplace, so that is where we started.  

Shakespeare’s Birthplace

There is a display at the entrance which I found to be claustrophobic because the doors were locked behind us as we went in, but I enjoyed the tour of the house.  

Shakespeare’s Birthplace

We then went to Nash’s House and New Place. New Place was Shakespeare’s home for the last 18 years of his life. It was pulled down in the 18th century. Nash’s House, next to New Place belonged to Thomas Nash who married Elizabeth, Shakespeare’s granddaughter. 

Shakespeare Nash’s House & New Place
The Site of New Place

New Place Trellis-work Tunnel
New Place Knot Garden seen through the Tunnel

On after that to visit Hall’s Croft. John Hall, a physician, married Susanna, Shakespeare’s oldest daughter. The house has a small room furnished as John Hall’s consulting-room would have been and the garden contains many of the herbs mentioned in Hall’s medical notebook.   

Hall’s Croft

There is so much to see in Stratford – these are just a few of my photos! There are more on Flickr

Favourite Places: Linlithgow

Joy at Joyfully Retired does a weekly feature called Favorite Places and I thought today I’d post some photographs of one of my favourite places: Linlithgow about 20 miles from Edinburgh.

Lilithgow Palace
The approach to Linlithgow Palace
Linlithgow Palace entrance
Linlithgow Palace entrance
Linlithgow Palace North Range
Linlithgow Palace North Range
Linlithgow Palace Great Hall
Linlithgow Palace Great Hall
Linlithgow Palace view from a window
Linlithgow Palace view from a window
Linlithgow palace a staircase
Linlithgow Palace – a staircase
Linlithgow Palace
Linlithgow Palace
Linlithgow Loch
Linlithgow Loch
Linlithgow Palace and Loch
Linlithgow Palace and Loch