Newport, Wales is the jewel of the River Usk and has been a port for Britain since the Norman invasion. Newport’s town charter dates back to 1314 and it gained city status in 2002. At one point it was a larger coal exporter than Cardiff and though the docks eventually decreased in their importance to the city’s economy, Newport remained heavy into manufacturing. It has a … [Read more...] about Top 10 Britain: Top Ten Things to See and Do in Newport, Wales
As we reach the end of summer, it seems like a good time to give you an update on the church-into-home project we are following in west Wales. You can see the introduction and background to the church in the first blog post, and there was an April 2019 update too. I feel so fortunate to be friends with the family who have taken on this project and to be able to visit them to … [Read more...] about A Church in Wales – Summer 2019 Update – Caring for the Graveyard, Pigeon Poo, Bats, Pew Removal and More Plans Revealed!
Swansea is a city with a rich history. Long a settlement for a number of groups, the City received its charter from King John in 1215. Later on, it was one of Britain’s communities that were greatly affected by the Industrial Revolution, becoming a center for copper-smelting that earned Swansea the nickname of “Copperopolis.” Like many cities made rich by the Industrial … [Read more...] about Top Ten Britain: Top 10 Things to See and do in Swansea, Wales
Editor's Note: This is the first article in a new ongoing semi-regular series about the conversion of a deconsecrated church in Wales into a family home. This is something a bit new for us, but since shows like Grand Designs and Restoration Home are our favorites, we thought it would be cool to bring something similar to Anglotopia. If you like this article, please consider … [Read more...] about A Church in Wales: You’re Buying a Church? And You’re Going to Live In It? Tell Me More!
Richard James Edwards remains one of the most notorious figures in the 1990s British rock scene, not only for his masterful lyrics (which make up much of the band's early work up to their magnum opus The Holy Bible): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_7_H1vXnAU And also making up for a lack of skill with guitar with a rather colorful life, from his responding to an NME … [Read more...] about New book about Richey Edwards reveals yet more twists to the saga
Wales has been inhabited by humans for the last 29,000 years and has had an interesting and colorful history. Today it is a country with much to offer from gorgeous sites to fantastic adventures. Wales has some of the United Kingdom’s most historical and beautiful places and cities that embrace the future whether it's in the architecture or certain time-traveling tv show. … [Read more...] about Top Ten Britain: Top 10 Things to See and Do in Wales
Built to celebrate the new millennium and rivaling London’s Barbican Centre, the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff is an arts centre home to theatrical performances, concerts, ballet shows, operas, and more. The original plan in the 1990s was to create a home for the Welsh National Opera. Despite a design drawn up by the late architect Zaha Hadid, the project was unable to … [Read more...] about Great British Buildings – Wales Millennium Centre
In commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of Hot Fuzz, (honestly, it's as good a reason as any at this point), here are some more true stories of British crime gone horribly weird. The Case of the Fraudulent Fiddler Bethan Doci was a woman who had it all, holidays in five-star Cancun resorts, a villa in Spain, and a career as a concert violinist. And she decided the perfect … [Read more...] about Britain’s Least Wanted XVII
The end is nigh... at least for 2016. And even Christmas hasn't been immune to the melancholy that's pervaded this year. Among British celebrities who have died this Christmas period alone, we've got Rick Parfitt of Status Quo, Watership Down author Richard Adams, Royle Family star Liz Smith, and George Michael kicking it on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day of this year. … [Read more...] about Weird British Christmas 2016: Christmas every day, helping the homeless, and a German Christmas Card
For reasons not entirely clear to me, I wound up taking a long break from researching Weird Britain. I don't know why, except that I wound up forgetting to do it for a couple weeks and, as the weeks piled up, I decided it would take too long for me to go through it all, but, on Sunday, I managed to pull it off. What inspired this turn of events? Well, I found this … [Read more...] about Britain’s Least Wanted XVI: The Grand Return!
Your favourite British host, Laurence Brown, reveals 11 American states that are bigger than England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland combined. But which ones made the list? … [Read more...] about Lost in the Pond: 11 American States that Are Larger than the UK
The ruin that inspired many a Romantic poet spent most of its history as a holy place until the reign of King Henry VIII. Walter fitzRichard de Clare, the Norman Lord of Chepstow, donated the land to the Cistercian order in the year 1131. Monks from the order moved to the area from L’Aumone in north-central France shortly thereafter. The first buildings at Tintern Abbey were … [Read more...] about Know a Ruin: A Brief History of Tintern Abbey in Wales
Since Doctor Who's production team relocated to Cardiff with the current programme in 2005, the city has certainly been used as both itself and other locations throughout nine series and the specials. Whether it's a Victorian Cardiff haunted by the Gelth or a modern English village, Doctor Who can go anywhere while staying right in the middle of Wales' largest city. In the … [Read more...] about The Who Fiver – Five Doctor Who Filming Locations in Cardiff
With its rolling hills and greenery, the Welsh countryside is one of the most beautiful places in the whole of Britain. Dotting these hills are long-abandoned castles and churches, some slowly succumbing to the will of nature, while others stand as perfect shells of their former selves. Since the days of Wordsworth, people have been visiting these ruins to bask in their beauty … [Read more...] about The Fiver: Top Five Most Romantic Ruins in Wales To Visit On Your Next Trip
In honour of my discovery that the complete Sherlock is on Netflix Instant, here are a few stories of weird British Crimes. The Case of the Troublesome Troubador If you're in any way curious about the title I gave to this column. It's a reference to one-hit wonder Brian and Michael and their one hit "Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs," a tribute to painter L.S. … [Read more...] about Britain’s Least Wanted Unlucky XIII: Matchstalk Batmen and Matchstalk Bins and Signs
The capital of Wales, archaeological evidence suggests that people lived in the area as early as 6,000 years ago. Things began to solidify with the founding of a Roman Fort and later with William the Conqueror’s invasion and the construction of Cardiff Castle. The city built itself around the castle and became its political center. The construction of the Cardiff Docks in the … [Read more...] about Ten Interesting Facts and Figures about Cardiff, Wales You Might Not Know
Bodnant Garden is in the north of Wales, near Snowdonia National Park. It was begun around 1875 and has been in the same family for four generations. It is famous for its formal flower gardens but more so for its Rhododendrons and Azaleas and its extensive botanical collections of rare and unusual plants from around the world collected by botanists on expeditions sponsored by … [Read more...] about Great British Gardens: Bodnant Garden – 4 Generations of Welsh Gardening
I just got back from a two week vacation in Door County, Wisconsin, a little part of the Midwest that's largely surrounded by water. For most of the two weeks, I was much less than a mile away from the water, whether it was Lake Michigan or Green Bay. I saw quite a few seagulls near the shore, but didn't get hassled by any of them. Honestly, I wouldn't think that this would … [Read more...] about Weird Britain: When Gulls Attack!
Last weekend, for the first May bank holiday weekend, we spent three days exploring the beautiful Snowdonia region of Wales. This was our first time visiting another country in the UK other than England while we've been living here, and I was excited to experience what made Wales different (but more importantly, what made Wales wonderful!) I am by no means an expert on … [Read more...] about Dispatches from England: Observations from a Trip to Wales
Sometimes, people do things that can only be called bizarre just to raise awareness for a cause that may only be tangentially related to their actions. Case in point: The Ice Bucket Challenge. What exactly does throwing ice water over your head have to do with Lou Gehrig's Disease? Well, nothing, really. But, for whatever reason, it looks like there's been a rise in stunts like … [Read more...] about All For a Weird Cause: Brits doing weird things for charity
This week I thought we would take a look at an aspect of the weather which we all look forward to seeing - rainbows. Unfortunately we always have to endure at least some part of a storm before we have the opportunity to see these beautiful multicoloured arcs of light in the sky. Rainbows occur when it's both raining and the sun is shining simultaneously. To see a rainbow, you … [Read more...] about British Landscapes Photography: Radiant Rainbows
"Delilah" is one of Tom Jones' most famous hits, having hit #2 on the UK singles charts and becoming the more-or-less official song of two sports teams: Stoke City FC and the Welsh rugby team. Less than 3 years after its release, it was such a fixture at Welsh rugby matches that when Max Boyce sang 'Hymns and Arias', he included the line: "We sang 'Cwm Rhondda' and 'Deliliah', … [Read more...] about Brit Music: Tom Jones speaks out against attempts to ban “Delilah.”
In honour of Benedict Cumberbatch claiming he'll probably never get tired of playing Sherlock Holmes, let's cover a few true British Crime stories. The Case of the Honestly-mistaken Heist Gareth James of Merthyr Tydfil was convinced he had found the right house. He went to the house of someone he thought owed him some money, and stole a laptop. Unfortunately, it turned out … [Read more...] about Britain’s Least Wanted VIII: Santa’s bust, the absent-minded burglar, and more!
In August, a team of 12 officers and a dog from the West Midlands police raided a pub in Lea, Herefordshire. The police force got word that something of value had been stolen and stashed there. The booty in question was a cup believed by many to be the Holy Grail. After an hour's worth of searches, the only thing they found that even looked close was a wooden salad bowl. Quoth … [Read more...] about Weird Britain: The West Mercia Police and the Quest For the Holy Grail
Unfortunately, for whatever reason, there aren't that many spooky Halloween-themed strange news items this year, so forgive me if I include a few old news pieces. A Tale of Two Aliens Is there life on other planets? That question has a lot of varied answers depending on just what you mean by that. If you mean "is there some living thing that lives somewhere other than Earth … [Read more...] about Paranormal Britain 2014: More spooky goings-on in the UK