What are your favourite landmarks and why have you chosen them?
My favourite landmarks include:-
1. Salisbury Cathedral (especially as seen from the A36 on the way to Salisbury and beyond).
2. Pepperbox Hill.
3. The old Oxo building in London.
4. Big Ben.
5. The White Horse in Westbury
6. Chandler’s Ford Railway Station.
7. Winchester Cathedral.
8. Hiltingbury Lakes
9. The New Forest – yes, all of it
10. The Cobb at Lyme Regis
11. The Scottish lochs. They are just stunning.
12. The Tower of London.
I think that’s enough to be going on with for this post.
Reasons For Picking the Above Landmarks
Many of the landmarks chosen above have special memories associated with them. For example, Salisbury Cathedral when seen from the A36 has memories as my sister and I, as children, competed to be the first to spot it when we were travelling to see relatives further up in Wiltshire. We also both called it Strawberry Cathedral when we were much younger, partly I think because of the red light on the top of the spire. I must say the Cathedral looks wonderful when it is lit up and I still look out for it now when going to see family in that part of the world.
If you have a head for heights and you get the chance to take the Tower tour, do so, as on a clear day, you can see into three counties. You only get to go halfway up the spire. To go further you’d need to be a steeplejack but the views are amazing. Sadly no pictures. Why? I went years ago when I had a good old-fashioned camera which needed batteries and you can guess the rest. Yes! I got to the viewing platform and found I couldn’t take any pictures at all because the camera batteries had gone flat and I had no spares on me. I must try and get there again and just use my mobile phone instead. That I always keep charged up!
Oh and if you don’t fancy taking the car, hop on our local shuttle train service to Salisbury when the lines are reopen properly. (I was sorry to hear about the landslip at Dean). It is a 10 minutes walk from the station through the city to get to the Cathedral though I’ve used one of the lovely walks in the Station Walks Guide I reviewed for CFT some time ago to enjoy a longer ramble round to the historic place of worship. That longer walk took me through the Water Meadows beloved of John Constable too. A trip for the better weather (it will come eventually, honestly!) but a good one. And the run through on the train from here to Salisbury is a nice one.
Just beyond Pepperbox Hill is the point where my sister and I usually got to see the famous Salisbury spire first. My better half and I walked on the hill itself during our courting days – and yes using that word shows my age, does it not? Lovely place to walk. And I must try and get Lady there. She’d love it. Also I see it as being nearly home on the way back from visiting family (comparatively speaking, it is!) and isn’t it the way that landmarks which mean you are nearly home always have a special meaning? Well, they do for me.
The Oxo Tower
Again The Oxo Tower has resonance for my sister and I. We used to look for it on the way home from visiting family in London. The link tells you that the tower had fallen into disrepair in the 1970s when we saw it the most and that was true. The area around it looked sad and dilapidated. It’s good to see the area has been brought back into good usage. (Oh and I use Oxo a lot in cooking. They make a great stock!).
You have a nice view of this as the train pulls into Waterloo Station and I always look out for it. When I get to walk along Westminster Bridge, aside from dodging the tourists, and the stalls selling burgers and the usual touristy stuff, you do have wonderful views of the clock tower. Big Ben properly is the name of the bell and not the tower itself but I’m sure I’m not the only one where the two are so closely associated they almost merge into one. What I do know is you don’t realise how beautiful the tower is until you see it up close. That really does not come across well on the pictures you see on TV. And, be fair, it is a pretty impressive clock when all is said and done with a suitable bell to give an equally impressive chime.
Again, many happy family memories of looking out for this on our journeys. The horse is an impressive sight and can be seen for miles. It became even more impressive after its clean up a few years ago! I’ve not been up the hill itself but Wiltshire has a fair number of chalk carvings and all are worth looking out for, including the badges of insignia at Fovant. See the link for some fascinating history about these.
Now I’ll grant you this one is not as scenic as some of the others I’ve mentioned but I’m either here picking up tickets for writing events in London etc or using the trains here to get out and about. (I often leave from Parkway but I buy my tickets here and just say I want the journey to be from Parkway. It is really useful being able to get tickets in advance like this). As you know I love trains, I have fond memories of my book signing here, and the shuttle service here is a very useful one. When I’m driving, going past the station tells me I’m almost home again so I like that too. There is a theme emerging here!
I’m a Jane Austen fan so of course had to come here to visit the exhibition about her when this was on. I love visiting cathedrals anyway and Winchester is beautiful. The Winchester Bible is quite a sight to behold too. One problem with landmarks on your doorstep is that it is easy to overlook them. My late parents didn’t get to visit Kew Gardens until they’d left London! I was determined not to do that with Winchester Cathedral and I’ve visited often. I also have fond memories of walking around the Cathedral grounds when I used to work in Winchester as a secretary.
Did you know it is thought our local lakes were known as a fishpond in the Domesday Book? I didn’t either, until I found the link to go with this article. I would like that to be true!
What I do know is Lady and I thoroughly enjoy walking through the woodlands around the lakes and we are lucky to have such a lovely spot right on our doorsteps? It’ll be even nicer to walk through there when we have lost some of the mud though! I think if Chandler’s Ford has to name a natural landmark, it must be the lakes.
The New Forest – yes, all of it
While obviously not so near by as the Hiltingbury Lakes, the New Forest is relatively easy to get to from here. One of the newest National Parks, it has so much to offer. I have many happy memories of trips out here when I was a child. My better half, Lady and I all enjoy walks here during the year. (Though like my last dog, Mabel, Lady doesn’t know what to make of the ponies. We think she thinks they’re some kind of massive dog. And yes we do keep Lady on the lead always when we come here. We have one of the big extendable leads so she can have some freedom while still being under control).
My late father always used to like driving through the Rhododendron Drive and to see the Deer Sanctuary. That was a regular Sunday afternoon outing and again many happy memories come from that.
The Cobb, Lyme Regis
My better half and I always visit The Cobb when in delightful Dorset. Fans of Jane Austen will recognise its use in her novel Persuasion. Though it has to be said it is no place to be when there’s a storm! There have been some pretty frightening pictures of the sea breaking over the top of The Cobb in the recent storms. On a calmer day, though, it is a pleasant walk and Lady loves it down there for the very good reason you always get to see plenty of other dog owners and their pets. Oh and who leaves waste behind here on the rare occasions we find any? Hmm… big clue: it’s not the dogs.
The Scottish Lochs
The link gives a good flavour of just how stunning the Scottish lochs now. Near where I stay in Scotland on holiday is a fabulous lake and the sun shining on it makes it look as if the water is liquid gold. It’s not of course (there’d be no water left in the loch if it were, knowing what we’re like as a species) but the scenery around the lochs is stunning. Many happy memories of Scottish holidays is what I associate with these landmarks of course. There is something peaceful about looking out at expanses of water like these.
The Tower of London
I’ve always loved history and, for me, The Tower is the symbol of that. (Only Westminster Abbey can rival it in my view for that). Again many happy memories of trips here. The Crown Jewels do take your breath away though my favourite is the huge gold tureen. Can you imagine the weight of that?!
But The Tower also symbolises the bleaker and more violent periods of history and that should not be forgotten. I do believe in the truth of the phrase the nation that forgets its history is destined to re-live it. I can think of many historical episodes I would never want to see repeated anywhere. Far better to have things like the Tower to visit for fun days out and to have a deeper appreciation of where we are now. For all the faults of today’s society, there is no way I’d have wanted to live in Tudor times.
So over to you then. What are your favourite landmarks and why do they mean so much to you?
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.
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