Thursday, 13th April, 2023

We knew we had a long way to drive today so we attempted to leave Bristol early, aiming for an 8:00am departure. We managed 8:45am!

It was difficult to see Bristol Cathedral so close and not visit it! (Luckily we had seen it during the 2016 trip.)

First stop was at a “Service” along the motorway for breakfast. ( These are similar to the Australian version but generally much bigger and with more shops). Not much was open there but Subway offered what amounted to an egg and bacon roll so we opted for that.

Two hours later, we arrived at “Bear Grylls Adventure” where Satoshi had booked a ropes course and a rock-climbing experience.

I chose a more sedate experience - Aston Hall. This is a large Jacobean house with over 30 rooms open to the public. As nobody has actually lived there since 1858, there is little in the way of furniture etc in the house. At that time, it was bought by what is now the Birmingham City Council. The ceilings in some of the rooms are highlights because they are richly decorated. Almost every floorboard and stair squeaked! I thoroughly enjoyed my visit.

The imressive facade of Aston Hall

The Dining Room

The damage to this staircase was caused by a cannon ball coming through the window during the Civil War!

The Great Hall

Part of the frieze just below the ceiling in the Great Hall.

This is known as the King's Bedroom because King Charles I slept here for one night in 1642!

The Long Gallery

The Library - all the books are fake!

After I had finished exploring Aston Hall, I still had some time before I needed to collect Satoshi so I headed towards a large church nearby. As I neared the entrance, I was surprised to see literally a pile of shoes! On entering, I was even more surprised! Inside, the church was packed with what I assume were Indian people wearing white sari-like attire chanting away for all they were worth! I think the people just inside the door were equally surprised to see me so I retreated back to the café at Aston Hall where I had a piece of Victoria Sponge and a cup of tea before heading back to collect Satoshi.

From there we headed to Birmingham Cathedral. This is a relatively recent building having been built from 1710 to 1725 in the Baroque style. Unfortunately, there was some building work going on in the sanctuary so visitor access was limited to the Nave. The claim to fame of this Cathedral is the stained-glass windows by William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, members of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Because of the building work, it was not possible to get a good photo of two of the windows but the others are below.

This is a photo of the cathedral in 1940 after it had been hit by incendiary bombs. Fortunately, someone had the good sense to remove the windows previously and hide them down a tin mine somewhere! What a lot of work it must have been to restore it all.

We then drove to our accommodation, "The Royal George Hotel". Unfortunately, there is nothing at all "royal" about it and we are glad to be here only one night! The actual room is fine but the bar below is, as Satoshi says, "a bit rough".

After settling in, we took an Uber to the Birmingham Symphony Hall in order to get some dinner and attend a concert. The music was the "Academic Overture" by Brahms, "Piano Concerto No. 2" by Rachmaninoff and "SerenadeNo.1" by Brahms. The piano soloist was Behzod Abduraimov, the conductor was François Leleux, and the orchestra was the Birmingham Symphony. It was an excellent concert in every way.

< Back   Forward >

Back to Calendar