It’s Back To The Past at Stonehenge

Ferne Arfin

NewStonehengeIf you haven’t been to Stonehenge in a while, you’re in for a big surprise.

After years of arguing with such vested special interests as the Ministry of Defence (which uses parts of Salisbury Plain for training), a massive, multi-million pound restoration is returning Stonehenge to the past.

Gone are the desolate, windswept, concrete parking lot, the green painted Portacabin restrooms, ticket booth and shop cum visitor center where you’d be lucky to learn anything at all. All plowed under and buried. Along with the road that passed so close to the World Heritage stones that they probably shook them every day.

Restored Landscape and New Visitor Center

The new visitor center, beautifully positioned so that it’s almost invisible in the landscape is a mile and a half away. But don’t worry, you don’t have to walk if you don’t want to (mind you, it’s a lovely walk). Quiet, eco-friendly…

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It’s Back To The Past at Stonehenge

NewStonehengeIf you haven’t been to Stonehenge in a while, you’re in for a big surprise.

After years of arguing with such vested special interests as the Ministry of Defence (which uses parts of Salisbury Plain for training), a massive, multi-million pound restoration is returning Stonehenge to the past.

Gone are the desolate, windswept, concrete parking lot, the green painted Portacabin restrooms, ticket booth and shop cum visitor center where you’d be lucky to learn anything at all. All plowed under and buried. Along with the road that passed so close to the World Heritage stones that they probably shook them every day.

Restored Landscape and New Visitor Center

The new visitor center, beautifully positioned so that it’s almost invisible in the landscape is a mile and a half away. But don’t worry, you don’t have to walk if you don’t want to (mind you, it’s a lovely walk). Quiet, eco-friendly electric trains take visitors to within a few hundred feet of the site (the drop-off point still hidden by the roll of the land). And admission is by timed, pre-booked ticket, so you don’t have to fight for a view with a crowd.

The visitor center includes a very nice, sensible, family friendly cafe, a huge and tempting shop and – best of all – a very good small exhibition that puts it all in context. Did you know, for example, that Stonehenge was one of many such stone circles built all over Britain at the same time? Some of the new discoveries in the exhibits will blow your mind.

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The whole project is set to be completed in April this year. When it’s finished, there will be a village of neolithic houses near the new visitor center. It’s based on a recent discovery a few miles away that is believed to be the village where the builders of Stonehenge lived. They apparently came from all over Britain – sometimes as many as 4,000 at a time.

Find out more about what’s going on at Stonehenge and learn some of the latest theories about the people who built it, why the built it and how they used it.

Do you have a “must see” UK attraction?

Not sure? Well check out these popular choices and let us all know what you think in the poll that follows.

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The Brits Can’t Cook – And Other Silly Myths

Whenever I host a visitor to Britain, I take the greatest pleasure in torpedoing their misconceptions about this country. I’ll introduce them to a real, full-on afternoon tea, or seafood right off the boats, or the best dim sum they’ve ever tasted. Maybe I’ll take them for a walk in a London park in brilliant sunshine, or teach them about real ale and beer with complex flavors. Then perhaps we’ll hop on a cheap train, or the ultra cheap Megabus and travel out into the country without mortgaging our homes.

Inevitably, I can almost hear the old chestnuts about Britain clattering to the ground – the things they think they know because they’ve seen the film, read the book, learned the primary school history lesson.

Everybody thinks they know all about the UK. It’s the price the British pay from spreading their language and their culture around the globe. But actually, most of the things that lots of visitors think they know, or believe about Britain are just plain mistaken. Find out about the myths you’ve swallowed hook line and sinker.

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Find an Olympics Live Giant Screen to Watch the Games for Free

One of the giant screens will be located beside Tower Bridge in Potters Field

As the Olympics get closer, excitement is building. The list of places to watch the London 2012 Olympics free on giant public screens keeps growing and getting more exciting too. Potters Field, right beside Tower Bridge…Find out where to watch the Olympics Live giant screens around the UK.

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The English Riviera – Torquay, Paignton and Brixham

Via Scoop.itAfter London, Where Next?

An introduction to the English Riviera, from the genteel hotels of Torquay to the raffish seafaring charm of Brixham…
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More on On Memorable Meals

Memorable Meal Number Two – On the Edge of the Camargue

My brother and I were traveling in the South of France for a guidebook I was writing. We’d spent almost three weeks moving from one town to another, eating in cafes, bistros and stylish restaurants, trying something new every night.

 

market in avignon

© Ferne Arfin

* We’d dined beside the Rhone in an elegant room, all swags and furbellows.  Can’t remember the food but I do remember it was drafty and filled with silver haired, nattily dressed diners. * We ate taureaux and wheat pilaf on a cobbled street, hard by the walls of a castle. * We sampled a salad of innards with hundreds of others under a festival tent. * We were surprised, after an exhausting day nursing an overheating car into Aix, by a perfectly dressed and arranged salade composée presented by an Algerian short order cook from a corner shop that was virtually a street stall. * I’m sure the meal was nice at le Petit Bru in Eygalières,  but what I remember is the way a canvas sail was instantly unrolled, with a great thwup, at the first drop of rain and the way we watched a massive Provençale thunderstorm from under its shelter.

Everywhere we went we sampled rich foods, gorgeous wines, delicate patisseries. We even, once, had barbecued ribs and red wine for breakfast.  Every meal confronted us with more choices, more wines, more regional specialties (I know, it’s a hard life, but…).

Finally, we arrived in Saliers, a name on a map that was nothing more than a crossroads with a simple motel, a few miles west of Arles.  Tired and road sore, we were thankful that, on that particular night, we had no special appointment, no PR to meet, no destination restaurant to visit.  But hunger is human and the motel had no food, not even a vending machine.  So after clearing our heads in the motel’s  swimming pool, surrounded by rice fields, we headed for the nearest village, Saint-Gilles, on the Canal du Rhòne a Sète, in search of a simple meal.

The restaurant we found was probably the first one we saw when we crossed the canal into the town.  It had a sign that said pizza, which seemed like a good idea.  It was a huge, half empty, yellow-tiled room, garishly lit with flickering fluorescent lights. The red, checked table cloths were plastic.  The menus, already on the tables, tucked between the salt shakers and the glass dispensers of grated parmesan and hot pepper flakes, were vast. Once again, we were confronted with a myriad of choices – dozens of kinds of pizza, all kinds of salads, preparations of fish, chicken, meat, vegetables, the Italian dishes made mysterious by their French aliases.

That night, neither of us had the energy to be French about our food, to consider and discuss with each other and the waiter, to match the perfect wine with our choices, to make special requests. We both had plates of spaghetti bolognaise – probably because it was first on a massive list of pastas – with glasses of the house red.  I think the pasta was a little overcooked but I still remember it as one of the most comforting, satisfying plates of spaghetti I’ve ever eaten.



 

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Amazon.com: You Can Keep the Dog and Other Stories eBook: Ferne Arfin: Kindle Store

Via Scoop.itAfter London, Where Next?

Amazon.com: You Can Keep the Dog and Other Stories eBook: Ferne Arfin: Kindle Store… Three American women with three different and distinctive voices find their own ways to cope and triumph. “Sheila, who is never satisfied learns a lesson from an unlikely source. Her dreams of Nashville fame shattered with her smashed guitar, Charlene redefines salvage.And for Roberta inspiration for escape comes from an empty jar of peanut butter..”
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Eurostar Plus Gourmet

Via Scoop.itAfter London, Where Next?

I’m lovin’ it. Buzz over to Paris for lunch or a quick break and get 50% off to dine out at loads of places. And we’re not talking Big Macs.
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Cycling through France on Green Route National Days

Via Scoop.itAfter London, Where Next?

Cycling through France…
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Win Eurostar tickets with energyrethinking competition | energyrethinking

Via Scoop.itAfter London, Where Next?

Find out how to win Eurostar tickets to Paris, Brussels or Lille. Try energyrethinking’s easy competition for a chance at this great prize.
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