Modern art tends to divide people. There are those that hate it, those that see deep meanings behind the canvases and those that aren’t bothered either way. The beauty of taking anyone to the Tate Modern, is that all camps are totally looked after. Confused? Follow me.
The building face only an architect could love…
The Tate Modern is quite some edifice, rising up from the Thames riverbank. A former power station designed by Giles Gilbert Scott, it consisted of a stunning turbine hall, 35 metres high and 152 metres long, with the boiler house alongside it and a single central chimney. It was an imposing building along the London Southbank but apart from a remaining operational London Electricity sub-station, the site had been redundant since 1981. Herzog & De Meuron (Basel architects) were commissioned in 1994 to convert the building into the gallery that we know and love today.
Cozying up with France and Germany, the corner of Switzerland that Basel nestles into is unique even within the valleys of Europe. Running along the Rhine river bed, the three countries meet in the middle of river eddies – only the fish swim the exact point – but the effect that the 3 nations have on this city is remarkable.
Disclaimer: My trip to Basel was kindly supported by the Basel Tourism board but my (very many) thoughts, nautical cliches and enthusiasm are only ever genuinely mine and mine alone.
Many people (including a lot of friends) use Basel as a starting point for the glorious train journeys, but they miss discovering a city well worth wandering and spending a leisurely long weekend in.
For the second night of our Stratford-upon-Avon staycation, we went deep into the countryside. (Well, as deep as 20 minutes in a cab could get away from the train station.) We booked at night at the Billesley Manor Hotel for some much-needed relaxation time.
Set in 11 acres of parkland, Billesley Manor is a stunning 16th-century Elizabethan manor house. Located just 3 miles from Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon, this historic property is steeped in history and charm. Once referenced in the Domesday Book, the grounds feature an 11th-century church and an ornate topiary garden, which was planted 100 years ago to replicate a chess board.
This isn’t the Anne Hathway of modern Hollywood fame, but the alleged wife (‘alleged wife’ because as I understand historians can’t conclusively tell us who Shakespeare actually was) of infamous Elizabethan playwright Shakespeare. Anne and her family grew up in this cottage, in the small village of Shottery about a mile out of Stratford-upon-Avon.
On a gorgeous day full of sunshine and blue skies, we walked from Alveston Manor Hotel and Spa in the centre of town, to the gloriously dinky lanes of Shottery. A few years ago I’d read Amanda @ Rhyme and Ribbons’ post about the cottage, and it had been on my bucket list ever since!
Stratford-upon-Avon is somewhere that everyone should visit at least once in their lives. It’s a tourist mecca, but for a reason with a history that holds proud and literary links to Shakespeare, making it a great place to spend a little time. We picked Alveston Manor Hotel and Spa for several reasons, and loved every sun-soaked minute that we stayed there.
We’ve visited before, years ago as a day trip from London, but this time it was to rest, relax and explore quietly after a very busy few months.