Saturday, 14 April 2018

Birmingham VII: Key Hill Cemetery

Our last stop was the Key Hill Cemetery, right next to Warstone Lane Cemetery.

If you walk through Vyse Street you will see a train/tram station and a whole street full of shops, then you have to go downhill and turn left twice to reach the entrance behind the buildings. If you go down through Icknield Street, you just have to walk under the rail tracks and there it is, the main gate, nice, quick and easy. I bet you will never guess which way I went.

(there's some more stories in the end, if you want to skip the pictures!)

Birmingham VI: The Warstone Lane Cemetery

There are two cemeteries in the Jewellery Quarter, one right next to the other, and both are in the area's attraction leaflets, which made me happy. Both were empty except for us, though (I can't complain about that).

Chamberlain Clock, also knows as "Little Big Ben" by my children. It was erected in 1903 to commemorate
Joseph Chamberlain's visit to South Africa as Colonial Secretary (he's been Mayor of Birmingham and MP
between 1873 and 1914).

Birmingham V: The Pen Museum

The Pen Museum was close to our last stop, and I was wondering if we should go there. I had recently read The Perfection of the Paper Clip and had a lot of information regarding the story of pens quite fresh in my mind (and, to be honest, it didn't even interest me that much), but we had time and I thought it could be interesting for Mia, who would probably like to see all the vintage pens.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Birmingham IV: Newman Brothers Coffin Works

As mentioned in my last post, we were now exploring the Jewellery Quarter, a famous part of Birmingham. According to the Quarter's official website,
This unique area dates back more than 250 years and is still home to more than 500 jewellery businesses. A designated conservation area with over 200 listed buildings, it has been described by English Heritage as 'unique historic environment in England - a national treasure'.
... which doesn't really appeal to me, as I couldn't care less about all things jewellery, but it's worth mentioning because, well, it's a well known place and I was there. I don't know how this jewellery business work, but I don't think I saw a single person going in or out of the shops and a lot of them were closed (it was a Thursday afternoon).

There is a local museum, which I didn't visit, because I had other things in mind, one of them being the Newman Brothers Coffin Works. It is a "coffin museum", which was the first thing in the city that I knew I would be visiting :-)

Birmingham III: St. Paul's Church

After St. Chad's Cathedral we went to one more church, this time the more modest St. Paul's Church. I could honestly have left this one for later, there's just so many churches one can see before getting a bit tired of it, but it was on our way and I wouldn't go back there afterwards. So in the church we go.

Birmingham II: St. Chad's Cathedral

After visiting the Birmingham Cathedral, we headed to our next stop just a few minutes walk away: St. Chad's Cathedral.


Birmingham I: Birmingham Cathedral

Virgin Trains had a big sale a few weeks ago and I managed to get some really cheap tickets that helped to fill our half-term free time. So last week me and the children had a very nice day out in Birmingham and I'll be publishing a series of posts here showing the places we visited.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Tate Britain (Westminster)

It's been a real challenge to keep ourselves entertained without going bankrupt in this damp and cold half term. To preserve our sanity, I even dared to take the children to an art museum in a rainy day - and that's how we ended up at Tate Britain, which I had never visited before and which was kindly rated "the most boring museum ever" by Alex, 6. From that you can imagine how pleasant our afternoon was.

Is this a bench or a roller coaster?

Tornado, the Steam Train

Last Saturday morning I got a text from a friend saying that "a fancy steam train is coming by in 10-15 min". I had just got home from a bike ride with the children and noticed quite a few people on the bridges along the way holding cameras and looking at the tracks - now I knew the reason.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Strawberry Hill House (Twickenham)

On Easter Sunday we headed to Strawberry Hill House to do their Easter Hunt and visit one of the few local villas we had never been to.