Browsing the archives for the UK Travel category.


Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site in the UK.

UK, UK Travel, UK Travel Guide, UNESCO, World Heritage, world heritage sites
Derwent Valley Mills

Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site

As the headlines about factory tend to feature China’s rapid emergence as the new global industrial giant, we look to the Beautiful Derwent Valley in England to find the beginning of the modern “factory”.   The factory innovation was so dramatically productive it soon became the key global model for the creation of goods, ushering in the industrial revolution which was clearly among the most significant events in all of human history.

Derwent Valley Mills is considered by many to be the birthplace of the modern factory system we now take for granted.

Photos at Flickr

Here at Derwent Valley Mills, textile production was revolutionized and the Arkwright model of industrial production was used as tens of thousands were eventually employed in several mills in the valley.    Although pieces of the puzzle of factory production had been solved by others in other places and contexts, it was here in the Derwent Valley that  “A source of power, in this case water power, was applied to a series of complex mechanised processes for the first time on a relatively large scale”.

The Derwent Valley Mills’ historical and cultural significance led to the prestigious “World Heritage Site” designation in 2001. The “Statement of Significance” reads:

The Derwent Valley saw the birth of the factory system, when new types of building were erected to house the new technology for spinning cotton developed by Richard Arkwright.

In the Derwent Valley for the first time there was large-scale industrial production in a hitherto rural landscape. The need to provide housing and other facilities for workers and managers resulted in the creation of an exceptional industrial landscape that has retained its qualities over two centuries.

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britain, UK, UK Travel, UK Travel Guide

Big news and a big name from the small Wales town of … wait for it …

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which is the home of the newest and most celebrated royal marriage in decades – Prince William and Cate Middleton.    Although the exact location of the royal couples home is kept secret for security reasons, it’s reported that they live modestly with only a security detail and no servants in a fairly modest 3-4 bedroom house.  Of course the prince has keys, an open invitation, and inheritance rights to the extravagance of Buckingham Palace, Balmoral Castle, and Clarence House in London.

Although Wales has been under British rule for some 800 years, there’s still a sentiment about separation from England that could in some ways be resolved if the royal couple has a Welsh born child, a very distinct possibility given their intentions to live there for some time. Prince William is a rescue pilot with the Royal Air Force and will continue his training in Wales.

Britain by Train

britain, england, times online, trains, UK Travel

Over at the Times Online you can follow the UK Transportation Minister in his whirlwind tour of Britain by train. He’ll be travelling thousands of miles on about 40 different trains over a 70 hour period to survey the services and the landscapes, and I can’t think of a better way to introduce the public and tourists to the joys of train travel.

Trains offer a slower and more relaxed way to see a country and get a feel for the land and people, and I’m a big fan of this approach. Last year on the China Trip I took two major train routes across about 1800 miles of China. This gave me a chance to quietly reflect on the trip as I took in a ground level view from Hong Kong to Shanghai and Shanghai to Beijing.

I would have to say that train travel can become boring at times even on interesting routes. Our family trip from Portland Oregon to Minneapolis, MN was enjoyable but I probably wouldn’t be inclined to do that often as it’s a long haul with minimal services in route. Amtrak, as well as the China trains, fail to provide enough entertainment along the way. This is surprising as I think opening the dining car into a lounge-like atmosphere for 24 hours would probably result in a lot more food and beverage sales, as well as potential tips for servers.

Google Street Views for UK

google, google street view, uk maps, UK Travel

The BBC reports that Google is launching their amazing “street view” mapping service for the UK. Google’s maps and street view offer an amazing way to visualize cities and travel routes on your computer screen as if you were actually in a car in the distant location:

From the BBC:

Street scenes in 25 UK cities from Aberdeen to Southampton can be viewed using the service.

The Netherlands version of the service also launched on Thursday, bringing the number of countries covered to nine.

The imagery available comprises video taken along 22,369 miles of UK streets by customised camera cars.

Google Maps users can zoom in to a given location and then drag the “Pegman” icon above the zoom bar on to a given street.

Google UK Street View

Google Maps



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