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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Help save Bristol’s historic Ebenezer Chapel from destruction by signing petition

Ebenezer Chapel BristolA Victorian chapel in the Old Market area of Bristol is under imminent threat of demolition – and you can help save it by signing an online petition.

Ebenezer Chapel, the first Primitive Methodist chapel to be built in Bristol, has stood on Midland Road for more than 160 years. Despite its rare Romanesque revival windows, it is due to be demolished to make way for flats.

The Victorian Society is urging Bristol Council to work to save the chapel, and an online petition has been set up to gather public support. As the building has been declared unsafe, one option would be to retain and reuse the chapel’s distinctive front wall or facade in any future development.
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Putting Smell York to the test: can our volunteers identify the aromas in this olfactory guidebook?

Smell York guidebookRecently I wrote about Smell York, an ‘olfactory guidebook’ to the cathedral city of York. At the time, however, I was unable to experience the scents of the city for myself because all the copies from the initial pilot run had been snapped up.

Fortunately I didn’t have long to wait before the guide was reprinted. There was still a problem though – I had read all about the guidebook and knew precisely what aromas to expect within its pages. How, then, could I review it fairly and impartially?
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