Category: News

An interview with Brian Jones, guide at Llechwedd, North Wales

 

Nothing makes a story come alive like putting a human face to it.

I found another example of this recently on a visit to Llechwedd, the North Wales tourist attraction that forms part of the UK’s current bid for Unesco World Heritage status.

This is to recognise the heritage of the North Wales slate industry.

Llechwedd is home to a host of attractions, including Zip World Titan and Bounce Below.

It also opens a new boutique hotel, Plus Weunydd, in June this year.

But, meanwhile, let’s sit back to listen to Llechwdd guide Brian Jones bringing the site to life.

A visit behind the scenes at Witley Court, Worcestershire

Witley Court: the great fountain via Flickr

A winter trip behind the scenes at one of England’s great stately homes brought a touch of Downton to January.

I was on assignment for Discover Britain magazine and here’s a preview of the feature in a forthcoming issue:

It was one of the great British country estates.

Set in extensive private grounds in rural Worcestershire, the house would have been alive with music and laughter in its Victorian heyday.

But the glamour of those society soirées, once frequented by the Prince of Wales, the later King Edward VII, has long since faded.

Today Witley Court is one of Britain’s most spectacular ruins, the fire-damaged structure an eerie reminder of its former glory.

Only the gardens, restored by English Heritage some 20 years ago, still display the vital signs of a quintessential English stately home.

Louise Bartlett, Senior Properties Curator for English Heritage, says:

You can still get a sense of the grandeur of the place, although you will have to use your imagination to conjure up the atmosphere of the house in its prime from the mid to late 1800s.”

More here.

A quick guide to the Wales’ Penderyn Distillery in the Brecon Beacons

I’m now into my training for Wales Best Guides and here’s a taster of an idea for a tour based around the renaissance of Welsh whisky.

More news of themed tour of Chester and North Wales to come in the new year.

 

Why you should visit Lyon’s new foodie hub

My final travel assignment of the year was a return trip to Lyon.

France’s foodie hub is one of my favourite French cities for food and culture.

While my main commission was based around the Lyon Light Festival, I also had a look behind the scenes at the newly opened Cité de la Gastronomie.

The site is located next to the InterContinental hotel in the redeveloped Grand Hôtel-Dieu [pictured above].

The historic city-centre building served as its former hospital from the 15th century onwards.

The Lyon opening is the first of four similar projects — coming soon to Dijon, Tours and later Paris-Rungis in time for the 2024 Olympic Games.

The network celebrates the 2010 designation by Unesco of the French gastronomic meal to its Intangible Heritage list.

Each site will examine a different aspect of French gastronomy with Lyon’s foodie hub focused on the relationship between food and health.

The exhibition explores the history of gastronomy with a section devoted to Lyon’s most famous chef, Paul Bocuse, who died in 2018.

The upstairs kitchen, meanwhile, hosts guest chefs from across the world to create new tasting menus.

“The French gastronomic meal was given Unesco status because of the way it brings people together,” says Director Florent Bonnetin.

“It’s the community aspect of eating together that is the single most defining aspect of French life.”

Read more about my Lyon trip, both the Light Festival and the Cite de la Gastronomie, in articles to be published in the new year.

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