The Barchester Murders, by GM Best – book review

19 April 2015 |

The Barchester MurdersMany people know Barchester from the novels of acclaimed Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope. Indeed, I recently chose it as one of fiction’s greatest cathedral cities. But fewer people know that Trollope himself visited Barchester while working as a surveyor for the Post Office and became embroiled in the hunt for a brutal killer.

At least that is the premise of The Barchester Murders, a new novel by GM Best. Set shortly before Trollope’s The Warden, the first book in the ‘Chronicles of Barsetshire’ series, it takes many of the key characters from that classic text and throws them into a murder mystery setting. Best has form in this sort of thing: his previous works include Oliver Twist Investigates and Wuthering Heights Revisited.

I often feel ambivalent about modern-day prequels or sequels to classic novels, but the change in genre and the introduction of Trollope as a character give The Barchester Murders two points of difference and prevent direct comparison to Trollope’s work.
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Day trips from Bristol to Oxford are now easy with National Express’s direct coaches

5 April 2015 |

National Express coachCoach company National Express has changed its timetable to enable passengers travelling from Bristol to enjoy a full day out in another historic cathedral city, Oxford.

Three coaches run from Bristol to Oxford every day, with the earliest departing at 8am for an 11am arrival. Catching the last coach back, at 6.30pm, would give a traveller plenty of time to visit an Oxford college or two, take in the covered market, and perhaps catch an exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum.
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Exeter farm-based charity uses crowdfunding to raise money for new minibus

29 March 2015 |

An educational charity based at a farm a few miles outside Exeter is raising money for a new minibus through a very modern approach – crowdfunding.

organicARTS, which runs an arts and education centre at West Town Farm, has already raised £22,500 of the £30,000 needed for the minibus. It is now using Crowdfunder.co.uk to raise the remaining £7,500.
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Now Exeter is set to get its own Monopoly board – but which local streets and landmarks should it feature?

22 March 2015 |

Monopoly Exeter EditionThis time last year, Rochester and Canterbury were vying to be the next official Monopoly board, with Canterbury crowned the eventual winner following a highly charged public vote.

Now another cathedral city – Exeter, in Devon – is set to get its own Monopoly board after seeing off rival West Country county towns Truro, Dorchester, Taunton and Trowbridge.

The board will be launched in time for Christmas by games company Winning Moves UK, endorsed by Hasbro – and the timing is excellent as this year is the 80th anniversary of Monopoly. In fact, the announcement of the new board was made exactly 80 years to the day since the board game first hit the shelves.
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York is voted safest city in the world

12 March 2015 |

Good news if you are planning to visit York: the historic cathedral city has just been voted the safest city in the world for short breaks.

The survey of 2,075 adults by Post Office Travel Insurance found that only 1% considered York risky, compared to 72% who thought it was safe. The remaining 27% had no view.
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Vote for York as Interrail Destination of the Year 2015

28 February 2015 |
Interrail Destination of the Year 2015

Photo: Interrail.eu

The cathedral city of York has been shortlisted for Interrail Destination of the Year, along with 14 other European cities. It now needs your help to win the public vote and take the title.

Voting is taking place on the Interrail Facebook page and York has only 36 votes. This puts it far behind many of the other shortlisted destinations including Heidelberg in Germany (441 votes) and Antwerp in Belgium (285 votes). In fact, York is languishing at the bottom of the table with only 2% of the votes in total.
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Walking on sunshine: Cathedral City Guide takes part in Yahoo’s Project Weather

22 February 2015 |

Recently we had an email from Yahoo inviting us to submit some of the photos from our travels to the ‘Project Weather’ photo group on Flickr.

We’re always happy to share our snaps, of course, but ‘Project Weather’ isn’t an ordinary Flickr group: photos accepted into the group get displayed as background images on the Yahoo Weather app and on Yahoo Weather for desktop.
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Win a two-night break in a Georgian country house hotel with Visit York

10 February 2015 |
York Minster from Clifford's Tower

York Minster from Clifford’s Tower
by Allan Harris

Here at Cathedral City Guide we keep our eyes peeled for any good cathedral city-related competitions, and we’ve just come across a belter. Visit York, the official visitor information service for York, is giving away a two-night break for two in this historic city.

The lucky winners get to stay at the Best Western York Pavilion Hotel, a Georgian Grade II listed country house situated just a mile from the centre of York.

But that’s not all – also included in the prize are a pair of two day ‘York Passes’ (which grant entry to 30 top local attractions including York Minster) and train tickets from any East Coast mainline station too.
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Fiction’s greatest cathedral cities: Barchester, from Anthony Trollope’s The Warden

1 February 2015 |

Anthony Trollope's The WardenThe United Kingdom’s real-life cathedral cities have inspired many famous fictional ones, and perhaps chief among these is Anthony Trollope’s Barchester.

The Victorian novelist introduced the city in his 1855 novel The Warden, the first in the six-book ‘Chronicles of Barsetshire’ series (also known as the ‘Barset Novels’). It is located in East Barsetshire and is the cathedral city of this fictional county.

While Barchester itself is also fictional, is clearly modelled on one or more of England’s western cathedral cities, as these two quotations from The Warden suggest:

“Let us presume that Barchester is a quiet town in the West of England, more remarkable for the beauty of its cathedral and the antiquity of its monuments than for any commercial prosperity.”

“The cathedral town of ___; let us call it Barchester. Were we to name Wells or Salisbury, Exeter, Hereford or Gloucester, it might be presumed that something personal was intended.”

And of these cities, it is perhaps Salisbury that has the greatest claim; according to Trollope’s autobiography (1883), it was during a visit to Salisbury Cathedral that he conceived the idea for The Warden. But Trollope did also once live in a cathedral city – Winchester, for three years, as a schoolboy at Winchester College.
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Lincoln chippy wins ‘Independent Fish and Chip Restaurant of the Year’ award

31 January 2015 |
Burton Road Chippy

Lesley Graves and Des Anastasiou, co-owners of Burton Road Chippy

Burton Road Chippy in the cathedral city of Lincoln has been voted independent fish and chip restaurant of the year.

It took the accolade in the National Fish & Chip Awards 2015, prestigious awards which recognise the quality, value and choice offered by fish and chip businesses across the UK. They are organised by industry authority Seafish.

As well as scooping Independent Restaurant, Burton Road won the Staff Training and Development category and was a finalist in the NFFF Fish and Chip Quality Award ‘Champion’ Award category. It was also voted the best fish and chip takeaway in the Eastern England region.
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