Vote for us in the UK Blog Awards and help raise the profile of the UK’s cathedral cities

UK Blog AwardsCathedral City Guide has entered the UK Blog Awards 2015 and reached the ‘public vote’ stage.

If you enjoy the site or find it useful, please take 30 seconds to vote for us. Somewhat optimistically, we have entered two categories (and there’s nothing to stop you voting for us in both):

Voting closes on 3 December with the finalists announced on 15 December. Should we make the final it would give us an opportunity, in our own small way, to raise the profile of the UK’s cathedral cities as remarkable places to live and visit.

Incidentally, you may be wondering about the lack of updates on Cathedral City Guide recently. There’s a good reason for this – Sarah and I became parents at the end of October. I’m looking forward to taking our daughter to her first cathedral city…

Update 7 December: Thank you to everyone who has voted for us, it’s much appreciated. The shortlist is being announced on 15 December – hopefully we’ll be on it.

We smell a bargain: scented travel guide to York goes on sale for just £5

Smell York guidebook

Smell York is the UK’s first olfactory guidebook

‘Smell York’, the innovative olfactory guidebook to the cathedral city of York, has now gone on sale for the reasonable price of just £5.

Back in July we put the guidebook to the test, with two volunteers competing to identify the 12 York-related aromas infused into its pages.

All copies from the initial pilot print run earlier in the year were snapped up fast, but it is now possible to buy ‘Smell York’ from the Visit York online shop for £5 (plus postage).

Whether you want to own a piece of history, or just spend an amusing evening getting your friends to identify strange aromas, then we would recommend Smell York.

Lincoln’s Dog & Bone in the running for ‘National Pub of the Year’

Dog & Bone, LincolnA neighbourhood pub in the cathedral city of Lincoln has been named one of the top 16 pubs in the UK and is now in contention for the prestigious ‘National Pub of the Year’ award.

The Dog & Bone on John Street, which describes itself as “a traditional proper pub”, progressed to the national final after being selected firstly as Lincolnshire Pub of the Year and then East Midlands Pub of the Year.

National Pub of the Year is organised by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), a voluntary consumer organisation that campaigns for real ale, pubs and drinkers’ rights.
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Water in the City: The Aqueducts & Underground Passages of Exeter, by Mark Stoyle – book review

Water in the City, by Mark StoyleAs any local and many a tourist will tell you, an extraordinary network of vaulted passages runs beneath the streets of Exeter.

These passages, classed as an ancient monument, were built in the middle ages onwards and many still survive today. A guided tour of the passages is one of the highlights of a visit to Exeter, and something I myself enjoyed greatly only last year. However:

“It is easy to forget… that in their heyday, these celebrated passages formed just one part of a far larger system – a complex network of gravity-flow aqueducts, or ‘conduits’, which channeled pure spring water into Exeter.”

So says Mark Stoyle in the introduction to his new book, Water in the City: The Aqueducts & Underground Passages of Exeter.
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Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2013 exhibition comes to Canterbury – don’t miss it

Should you find yourself in Canterbury at any time before 2 November, we recommend you visit the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2013 exhibition at the Beaney art museum.

This exhibition, which originally ran at the National Portrait Gallery in London, contains 60 striking and powerful portraits by contemporary photographers from around the world. These were selected from more than 5,000 submissions for the prize.
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TV chef Rick Stein to open seafood restaurant in Winchester this autumn

Rick Stein

Rick Stein, by Nikk Duncan

Renowned seafood chef Rick Stein and his business partner Jill Stein are set to open a seafood restaurant in Winchester this autumn.

The new restaurant, to be named simply ‘Rick Stein’, will have a high street position and seat 70 covers for lunch and dinner. The menu will include classic dishes such as turbot hollandaise and slip sole meunière.

Opening a restaurant in the Hampshire cathedral city of Winchester is particularly significant for Stein, as his other businesses – including five restaurants, four shops, a pub and a cookery school – are all in Cornwall.
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Chester Zoo is named the best zoo in the UK – and the second best in Europe

Giant otter at Chester Zoo

Otterly brilliant: this giant otter is one of 11,000 animals at award-winning Chester Zoo. Photo by Chester Zoo.

Chester Zoo is the best zoo in the UK, according to the ‘Travellers’ Choice Awards for Zoos and Aquariums’ announced this month. Not only that, but it has also been named the second best in Europe and the sixth best in the entire world.

The Travellers’ Choice Awards are based on millions of reviews from users of travel website TripAdvisor.

Chester Zoo welcomes more than 1.4 million people each year, making it England’s top tourist attraction outside of London. It is home to 11,000 animals from 400 species in 110 acres of zoological gardens.
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New Oxford Tube coaches promise a greener, serener journey between London and Oxford

New Oxford Tube coaches

The ribbon being cut on the
new Oxford Tube coaches

Earlier this year I wrote about my journey on the Oxford Tube coach service, and how it made a surprisingly convenient alternative to the train when travelling between Oxford and London.

The experience should be even better now, as a new fleet of Oxford Tube coaches have taken to the road.

Among the key features of the 26 new vehicles are increased leg-room, faster wi-fi (now 4G), and a panoramic glass roof creating a lighter interior. They also have cleaner engines and run on greener ‘B30′ fuel.
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Our favourite floats from Norwich Lord Mayor’s Procession 2014

Earlier this month we were lucky enough to be in Norwich when the Lord Mayor’s Procession took place – and even better, it passed right down the road where we were staying.

Norwich is one of only 25 UK cities to appoint a Lord Mayor, and its annual Lord Mayor’s Procession is the oldest outside of London. In modern times it forms the centrepiece of the Lord Mayor’s Celebration, a long weekend of events happening across the city.
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The Chapel of Trinity College Oxford, by Martin Kemp – book review

Chapel of Trinity College OxfordTrinity College’s Grade I-listed chapel is the first classical chapel in Oxford and is particularly renowned for its harmonious interior decoration.

This slim but handsome volume, The Chapel of Trinity College Oxford, is illustrated with specially commissioned colour photography and written by one of the college’s own Fellows – art historian Martin Kemp.

Rather wonderfully, it opens with an imaginary visit to the chapel in 1694, the year of its completion. At the end of this visit, Kemp then points out “the main ways in which our present experience differs” – which is an excellent way to understand the chapel as a unified whole.
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