The wheels keep on turning and this weekend we have headed over to the other side of the country to Telford in Shropshire and to Ironbridge.
This is where the industrial revolution began and what happened in this beautiful corner of the country impacted the world that we live in today in ways that you can only start to imagine. There is a good reason why Ironbridge is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Whilst the main attraction of Ironbridge is the Iron Bridge itself, there are 10 main museums up and down the valley covering Iron making and all that it brought as well as the areas other claim to fame, pottery. The museum that you must visit if you do no others is the Blists Hill Village where a victorian town has been recreated with fully functional banks, butchers, bakers and even candlestick makers. This museum alone can take you a full day and is brought to life by an army of volunteers all in authentic costume. If can feel quite strange walking in through somebodies front door and finding them sitting in front of the fireplace knitting and telling stories about what has been going on in the village that day.
Many of the shops actually sell stuff and you can even change your cash into pounds, shillings and pence at the bank first to spend in the shops. There is a pub where songs are sung around the piano and real ale is served behind the bar. The fish and chip shop is certainly worth a visit and serves up some of the best chips (fried in beef dripping) I have had in a long time.
The other museums vary in scale with some taking literally 20 minutes to cover whilst others taking much longer. We purchased a family annual passport at £68 which covers 2 adults and up to 4 children which works out best value if you intend to visit at least 2 museums during the year. Indeed we may well return within the 12 months as we really did enjoy our weekend here. Full details can be found on the main Ironbridge Gorge website www.ironbridge.org.uk
Whilst best explored on foot there is both a Park & Ride scheme in place as well as a shuttle bus that connects the different museums.
We all found something that we enjoyed is Ironbridge and look forward to returning in the future.
As mentioned the other day, my company policy states that I must have a company car to drive on company business. Whilst I am still convinced that my previous Audi A7 was more than suitable for the task, the company policy disagrees so it is with a heavy heart I had to say goodbye to the Audi.
In it’s place, my new company car. A BMW 520D SE in Space Grey
Now normally at this stage, a new BMW owner will go on to list all the various optional extras that they have but in this case, because it is a company vehicle, it has none. I wasn’t even allowed to specify an automatic gearbox.
But looking to find the positive in every negative, the standard spec is actually quite impressive especially for a brand with a reputation for everything being an option.
So we have Heated Electric Leather Seats, Satellite Navigation, Bluetooth, Keyless Start, Xenon Headlamps, Alloy Wheels, DAB Radio, BMW Connected Drive with iDrive all as standard.
This is all pushed along by the rear wheels through a 6 speed manual gearbox linked to a 2 litre diesel engine kicking out 181bhp. To be fair, whilst this falls well short of most cars I have been driving for the last 7 years, it isn’t sluggish.
So as I said the other day, as there are no limits on personal use, this car is going to take us all around the UK and beyond over the next few years so we are going to be spending quite a bit of time in it. Don’t be surprised if you see it in the background of various photos as we travel.
So here are some pictures and I will report back in a few weeks as to what it is like.
The planets have aligned and a new chapter seems to be opening up with new opportunities
The arrival of a company car (a first for me) has opened up an opportunity to explore new places both in the UK and into Europe without the worry of putting loads of miles on my own car and the cost that this entails. This alone has seen us make a commitment as a family to get out more. To visit new places and explore the country that we live in. So expect to see more day trips getting blogged about. Our approach is simple. If we see somewhere that looks interesting, we will add it to the list and make a point of going there.
In addition, trips onto the EuroTunnel and beyond are likely to become more common so watch this space.
So if you have read through this blog, you will know my love of photography however on recent trips, I have really struggled to get the shots I wanted which has forced me to rethink my approach to photography and resulted in me upgrading my camera equipment. More on that in a future post.
And finally, I am going to use this blog to tell the world about my travels. Both business and personal. Expect to see a bigger emphasis on travel. Whilst I am not claiming that this will be a full on travel blog, travel and photography will be a big theme but as well as trip reports, I will also post more reviews on the restaurants I eat in and hotels I sleep in. After all I already take the time to post reviews on TripAdvisor so why not include those reviews here.
So notable changes, a slightly different approach and more emphasis on travel and traveling. Enjoy the ride
I don’t know what it is about Hilton hotels. They seem reluctant to spend any money on keeping the rooms up to date but are quite happy to lavish large sums on money on the public areas.
So here we are in Basingstoke on a one night business stop over and this one is no exception.
The hotel is on the edge of town and from the outside is drab and uninspiring although there is plenty of free parking and it is just off the motorway.
The welcome was nothing special however the walk to the room seemed to take forever, negotiation corridor after corridor.
The room itself was just drab. Tired, dimly lit and drab. There is no air conditioning and the window opens just 6 inches probably because the hotel room overlooks a very neglected woodland beyond that is very dark at night. Indeed I did not feel safe leaving my windows open when I went out of my rom or when I was sleeping.
The bathroom was poorly maintained and there appeared to be a hole of some kind next to the bath that had just had new lino placed over it. When you stood on it, the whole thing sagged under your feet.
I chose not to eat in the hotel in the evening
Breakfast was OK with polite and friendly staff and checkout again was friendly and efficient.
So just like the last 2 Hilton Hotels I have stayed in recently, this was a disappointment especially when the Hilton brand still carries a cost premium at £108 per night. I certainly would not stay here again by choice. Indeed even a Premier Inn puts this sort of hotel to shame
A quick get away and the weather was’t great but it did stay dry and we did mange to cram in all of the sights.
As usual, more photos can be found in my online album, just click here or on the photos tab at the top of the page