Canterbury, Leeds Castle, and London Summer 2015


Canterbury is a historic English cathedral city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, which lies at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a local government district of Kent in the United Kingdom. It lies on the River Stour.

Although Canterbury is a place steeped in tradition it is also a modern city. Canterbury has a large array of shops, restaurants, and hotels. The King's Mile has an atmosphere all of its own while the city's St Dunstan's, West Gate Towers and Northgate areas have a range of specialist and individual outlets.

St. George Street
The Old Weaver House on High Street

One of the most photographed historic buildings in Canterbury, the Old Weavers House is a gorgeous half-timbered building on the River Stour. The river quite literally laps at the side of the building, which currently houses a popular restaurant.

The Old Weavers House takes its name from the influx of Flemish and Hugenot weavers who settled in the area after fleeing from religious persecution during the 16th and 17th centuries. Elizabeth I granted the Flemish weavers the right to establish their businesses in Canterbury, and they are known to have used this and other similar buildings nearby.

Despite the date 1500 which can be seen prominently displayed above the door, this house probably dates back to at least the 14th century. The current building largely dates to a reconstruction in the second half of the 16th century, not the first, as you might assume by the sign!

The Square in front of Christ Church gate
Bridge on The Friars over the Great Stour River
Bridge on The Friars over the Great Stour River
High Street
High Street
The Square in front of Christ Church Gate
Mercery Lane
Looking from The Friars toward High Street
The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge

The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge is the central museum, library and art gallery of the city of Canterbury, Kent, England.

Canterbury Cathedral

Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, Kent, is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England and forms part of a World Heritage Site. It is the cathedral of the Archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the Church of England and symbolic leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Founded in 597, the cathedral was completely rebuilt from 1070 to 1077. The east end was greatly enlarged at the beginning of the twelfth century, and largely rebuilt in the Gothic style following a fire in 1174, with significant eastward extensions to accommodate the flow of pilgrims visiting the shrine of Thomas Becket, the archbishop who was murdered in the cathedral in 1170. The Norman nave and transepts survived until the late fourteenth century, when they were demolished to make way for the present structures.

The Christ Church Gate
Mercery Lane

Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle has been a Norman stronghold; the private property of six of England’s medieval queens; a palace used by Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon; a Jacobean country house; a Georgian mansion; an elegant early 20th century retreat for the influential and famous; and in the 21st century, it has become one of the most visited historic buildings in Britain.

The first stone castle was built by a Norman baron during the reign of William the Conqueror’s son Henry I, on an island in the River Len. In 1278, a century and a half later, it came into the possession of Queen Eleanor of Castile, first wife of Edward I.

For the next 300 years the castle remained a royal residence, before again becoming a private home. This in turn was handed down over four centuries, by both inheritance and purchase, through a network of interlinked families.

Hon. Olive, Lady Baillie, the last private owner of the castle; a wealthy Anglo-American heiress who acquired Leeds Castle in 1926 when it was sold to pay death duties.

Today, the influence of Lady Baillie continues to bring the state rooms to life while visitors can see the effect of Medieval and Tudor periods in many of the other Castle rooms.

Leeds Castle


Big Ben at Blue Hour

Blue Hour? I've been taking pictures for a long time, and I learned something new during our trip.

I decided that I had to get the requisite shots of Big Ben and Parliament and I thought I wanted some type of sunset shot because they are just more interesting.

While you’ve most likely heard of the golden hours – that time right after sunrise or before sunset where the outdoors turn into a golden paradise.

Close to sunset, I get my gear and head over to the bridge to scout out the composition I want. I finally find this location on the bridge. I see this other photographer there, turns out to be a guy from France, and I asked him how orange the sky gets at sunset. Maybe because I am color blind, but all my life, I associate sunsets with orange, and once I get a picture of the sunset and the sun goes below the horizon, I always pack up and walk away.

He gets this odd look on his face and says, "no it doesn't turn orange, it turns blue". That was a little hard for me to process, I figured what the hell. He further explained that for about 15 minutes after the sun goes down is when it gets blue. This conversation was at about 9:30pm and you can see on Big Ben that I got this shot at 10pm.

Later I looked up Blue Hour on the Internet and found this description on Wikipedia.

"The blue hour is the period of twilight each morning and evening when the sun is a significant distance below the horizon and the residual, indirect sunlight takes on a predominantly blue hue. It lasts about 35-40 minutes."

Thank you anonymous French photographer for teaching me something new and letting me know to stick around long enough to get this shot.

Tower Bridge and The Tower of London

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge (built 1886–1894) is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London. The bridge crosses the River Thames close to the Tower of London and has become an iconic symbol of London.

The bridge consists of two bridge towers tied together at the upper level by two horizontal walkways, designed to withstand the horizontal tension forces exerted by the suspended sections of the bridge on the landward sides of the towers. The vertical components of the forces in the suspended sections and the vertical reactions of the two walkways are carried by the two robust towers. The bascule pivots and operating machinery are housed in the base of each tower. The bridge's present colour scheme dates from 1977, when it was painted red, white and blue for Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee. Originally it was painted a mid greenish-blue colour.

The bridge is 800 feet (244 m) in length with two towers each 213 feet (65 m) high, built on piers. The central span of 200 feet (61 m) between the towers is split into two equal bascules or leaves, which can be raised to an angle of 86 degrees to allow river traffic to pass. The bascules, weighing over 1,000 tons each, are counterbalanced to minimise the force required and allow raising in five minutes.

The two side-spans are suspension bridges, each 270 feet (82 m) long, with the suspension rods anchored both at the abutments and through rods contained within the bridge's upper walkways. The pedestrian walkways are 143 feet (44 m) above the river at high tide.

The main bridge deck carries two lanes of road traffic between two low-level pedestrian walkways across both suspension spans and the opening bascule section of the bridge, with the walkways separated from the roadway by fences. The roadway passes through each of the two towers, whilst the low-level walkways pass around the outside of the towers.

The Tower of London

The Tower of London

Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the square mile of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078, and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite. The castle was used as a prison from 1100 (Ranulf Flambard) until 1952 (Kray twins), although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under Kings Richard the Lionheart, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site.

The Tower of London

After our visit to the Tower of London, we went to the SOHO district in London

Carnaby Street is a pedestrianised shopping street in the City of Westminster, London, located in the Soho district, near Oxford Street and Regent Street. It is home to numerous fashion and lifestyle retailers, including a large number of independent fashion boutiques. Of course we had to visit Brandy Melville.

The London Taxi Company model TX4
Carnaby Street
Carnaby Street Eat Festival

We happened to be there during the 2015 Street Eat Festival

Brandy Melville

On our way back to the hotel we went to Foyles Bookstore. The new Foyles flagship at 107 Charing Cross Road houses a range of over 200,000 different titles on four miles (6.5km) of shelves - the equivalent of lining one bank of the Thames with books from Battersea Power Station to the Tower of London. With 37,000 square feet of retail space, spread across eight alternating foot-plates over four floors, it is the largest bookshop to have opened in the UK so far this century.

Foyles Bookstore
The Theater District
Theater District
The National Gallery by Trafalgar Square
Northumberland Ave and Craven Street
The Golden Jubilee Bridge

There has been a walkway crossing the river Thames at this point since 1845 when Isambard Kingdom Brunel opened his suspension footbridge.

The footbridge connected the South Bank, now the Queen’s Walk, with the 180 year old Hungerford Market which closed in 1860 to make way for Charing Cross Railway Station.

Using the original brick pile buttresses of Brunel's footbridge the original Hungerford Railway Bridge combine pedestrian and rail use, which the new 2002 Queens Jubilee footbridges continue to do.

The Golden Jubilee Bridge

The London Eye

The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames in London.

The entire structure is 135 metres (443 ft) tall and the wheel has a diameter of 120 metres (394 ft). When erected in 1999 it was the world's tallest Ferris wheel. Supported by an A-frame on one side only, the Eye is described by its operators as "the world's tallest cantilevered observation wheel".

Parliament in the background
Big Ben and Parliament in the background
View from The London Eye

Our Last Evening in London

We spent our last evening in London having dinner at Giraffe and hanging out in the hotel where the kids played cards

The sign reads "Cool Asia Fund"
The Marriott a County Hall and dinner at Giraffe
The London Eye After Dark
Created By
Stu Chang
(C) Stuart Chang

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