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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.
I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps. See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Next stop Hexham for Hadrian's Wall

Nicola, Pete, Lola and Nell want to travel the world with a difference. We hope to get a taste of many countries without adding to climate change (with needless emissions from aeroplanes) or having to waste hours of holiday time in airport terminals. We hope our adventures inspire you to take a Grand Tour of your neighbourhood whatever the weather. This post is from Nicola

Hexham – voted best market town to live in by Country Life readers in 2005 and I’m sure they’d think the same again bar the staggering property prices and lack of homes with gardens – is a brilliant town. It’s very nearly the centre of Britain, though this honour is more truthfully held by its neighbour, Haltwhistle. You can even wine, dine and crash at the Centre of Britain Hotel there, see http://www.centre-of-britain.org.uk/. It has a station with links to Carlisle and Newcastle and loads of independent shops. I’ve already bought mohair socks and nettle cheese – both local specialities and eaten at the excellent Dipton Mill Inn which serves Hexhamshire beers and local cheeses, a genuine cheesey pub...

We arrived via the train station - the second oldest in England - but there's still the Abbey to look around, and Hadrian's Wall to walk (using the wittily named AD122 bus [clue: it's the same number as the year Hadrian visited Britain and commissioned the wall]) but we have had time to visit the Old Gaol http://www.tynedaleheritage.org/ which is the most disabled-access friendly museum I’ve ever been in despite being built in 1332. It had a lift taking you to the dungeons and then up two floors in a bid to explain why the Archbishop of York and later the March Wardens needed a purpose built jail – the first in England – in Hexham. Yet again it seems to hang on the activities of the Border Reivers doing reprisal raids and cattle thieving in the debatable lands.

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