Wednesday 28 August 2013

Ashton Memorial - The Taj Mahal of the North

The Ashton Memorial building was built by Lord Ashton as a memorial to his second wife and presented to the inhabitants of Lancaster in AD 1907. John Belcher was the architect of this memorial.

The Ashton Memorial, Lancaster

Due to this reason it is also called as the 'Taj Mahal of the North' and also as 'England's grandest folly'. For the uninitiated a folly is a structure constructed mainly for decoration.

The Ashton Memorial

The building is located on the highest ground in the Lancaster area and is therefore visible from quite a distance from all sides.

Grandeur of Ashton Memorial

Likewise if you are in the Ashton Memorial building's halls higher up it will give you a 360 degree view of the entire area including the Lancaster town, the river Lune, the countryside and the Morecambe Bay.

View of the Lancaster town, river Lune & Morecambe Bay from Ashton Memorial

This 150 feet tall building is built in Edwardian Baroque style. Mainly Portland stone and Cornwall granite has been used in the construction of the building.

Hall inside the Ashton Memorial

The Ashton Memorial is situated in the huge Williamson Park. One can take walks for several hours inside the park and the various trails inside the park.

Another view of Ashton Memorial

The memorial is also a close mathematical centre point of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. The walk uphill from the Lancaster city centre to the memorial is also worth it. Though the building is beautiful indeed but it does not come anywhere close to Taj Mahal in comparison.

Saturday 24 August 2013

Town Walls of Conwy

The town walls of Conwy were built at the same time as the Conwy Castle between 1283 and 1289 AD. Together with the castle, the walls of the town are considered one of the best defenses in Europe.

The Conwy Wall & Tower

One can walk on the wall and can get on and off at various places. The walls and the castle gives us a feeling of how a medieval town used to look like in those days!

View of the Wall from the Conwy Castle

The English conquerors used to live inside the walls and the Welsh people outside these walls. The Walls were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.

View from one of the higher towers of the wall

The wall consist of 21 towers. The towers rise upto 15 meters and each section of the wall has independent detachable stairs so that the section can be isolated in case of attack.

View of the Conwy Town from the Wall

The highest point of the wall gives an amazing view of the whole of the Conwy town along with the castle, surrounding walls of the town, the clock tower, the Conwy river and the hills in the background.

The Wall, Conwy Town and the Conwy Castle

Though miniscule in length, width and size compared to the Great Wall of China it still is one of the important defensive features of the medieval Europe.

Also Read: Conwy Castle

Thursday 15 August 2013

Conwy Castle, Wales

Conwy Castle is considered among the greatest fortresses of medieval Europe. Situated in the north coast of Wales the castle was build by Edward I when he conquered Wales. The English built several such castles to humble the Welsh. The architect was James St. George, the master castle builder of Edward I.

Conwy Castle with Conwy town in the foreground

The castle was built between 1283 and 1289. UNESCO considers it as a one of the finest examples of 13th and 14th century military architecture in Europe and it is also a World Heritage Site. The Conwy castle is located next to the Conwy river. 

Entrance to the Conwy Castle

Murder holes protected the main gates of the castle where from the gaps the guards dropped missiles on attackers. The castle has dungeons where the prisoners were kept and executed. The Castle also has probably the best kept medieval royal rooms.

Chapel and the Stained Glass Windows

There is also a chapel inside the castle which has stained glasses and sometimes the king used to watch the services and who all were praying from a hidden room above and the view he used to get was something like in the photo below!

A king's view of the Chapel

View of the Outer Ward from the King's Tower

The castle has eight identical towers and two barbicans. There is an outer ward and an inner ward. The castle and the walls around the town were built at the same time which costed Edward I 15000 GBP to build which would be around 45 million British Pounds in today's terms.

The view of the three bridges on the Conwy river from the Castle

From the eastern towers and barbicans one can see all the three bridges crossing the river Conwy. (See the above photo). On the left is the 20th century road bridge built in 1958. In between is the Thomas Telford's suspension bridge and on the right is the Robert Stephenson's tubular railway bridge.

Spectacular view from the King's Tower

This breathtaking view is from the King's tower. The towers offer spectacular views of the Conwy river, seaside, nearby hills and countryside as well as the sailing boats. You feel as you are up in the sky talking to the clouds itself! 

The admission ticket is of 5.75 GBP. The railway station is next to the castle itself.