Colchester in February! Chosen as our weekend away destination for being fairly close to London and with a bit of history- it is the oldest recorded town in England!
After an initial rain shower on arrival, the weather perked up and we embarked on the Colchester heritage trail (purchased from info centre) and nosed our way around Colchester. Highlights include Colchester castle- largest Norman castle in Europe built from 1076, the Jumbo water tower (monstrosity) and the oldest surviving roman gateway in Britain.
The Jumbo Water Tower in Colchester
We dined and slept at the Marks Tey hotel- recommended for comfy bed and good food- just out of the city centre. On the Sunday after an early morning swim and a hearty breakfast, we drove off for our next culture fix (and in fact one of the few local attractions that braved opening in February!). This time to Hedingham Castle, apparently this is the best preserved Norman keep in Britain http://www.hedinghamcastle.co.uk , which was open out of season to show of its amazing snowdrop display in the surrounding gardens.
Snowdrops at Hedingham Castle
Roman ruins in a lovely green park
An intriguing Norman tower in the centre of town.
Infinity on a Twist
Visited a few places this weekend as a part of London Open House Weekend. Fantastic weather for it on Saturday, so it was great to take advantage of the view from the top of City Hall. This was also my first attempt at using iOS 6’s new Panorama feature on my phone. Very impressive – works and produces a very very good result with no faffing about. Intuitive also.
City Hall is an impressive structure – from the outside I’ve always considered it fairly squat and uninspiring, however as far as office buildings go, it’s very impressive inside. You have to be in there to appreciate it, however the ever-changing spiralling staircase which allows you to walk from the very top of the building to the basement, is easily a highlight worth capturing. No ring in the staircase is identical to another, each is wider, narrower, more elongated etc than the last.
A complicated set of stairs
We also visited the guildhall, and beneath it, the remains of the old Roman Amphitheatre of London. Apparently this was only discovered in 1989 or so, though people had thought London must have had an Amphitheatre for some time.
We also considered visiting the Bank of England, which is open to the public on this day alone. Unfortunately the queue stretched around two corners of the imposing building, so we promptly gave up after ascertaining that it would be at least 3 hours of standing in line before we could enter the building! I’ve set a reminder to get up early for next year.
The Bank of England
At this point we decided we’d seen enough of London buildings, and wend our way home, though we did stop by St Paul’s Cathedral on the way. Finally we stopped by a small deli near Bermondsey Street to have a cheese plate and a drink.
St Paul’s in the Sun