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Reigate Castle and Barons's Cave

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Last weekend, I went to Reigate to visit the caves. The caves are only open for a few days a year over the summer months, and last weekend was the first day of the year that they were open. You can read my post here: A Visit to Reigate Caves. Reigate is built on sandstone, and it has three caves to visit. Tunnel Caves is in two parts, and it is a former sand mine. Part of the tunnels can be accessed by guided tour only, and another section is kitted out as a museum and was used as air raid shelters. The other cave (Barons's Cave) is the oldest, and it was built at the same time as the castle.

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I went to Tunnel Caves before heading to Barons's Caves via the castle. Tunnels for both caves go underneath the castle. The castle was built in the late 1000s and was captured by the French in the early 1200s and was used in teh Civil War, where it was destroyed.

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Today, all that remains of the castle is the earth mound where it was built and Barons's Caves, which are under the mound where the castle stood. The former entrance to the caves was in the castle grounds, and this is marked by a stone pyramid structure (seen through the doorway in the image below). All of the castle's stones were taken and used for other building. 

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Today, a castle gatehouse was constructed in 1777 as a tribute to the castle that used to occupy the grounds and in memory of those who built it. 

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The castle grounds are now public gardens. In one place, the caves have collapsed and the ground is lowered.

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Footpaths can be used to walk up and around the castle and down to the modern day's entrance to the caves.

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Barons' Cave got its name from the barons who drew up the Magna Carta; it was rumoured to have been drawn up in the caves, but that probably is not true. Tours of this cave are guided only. Unfortunately, the queue was very long, and we were rushed through. Apparently it was the busiest day that the guides have ever seen, and a lot of people had apparently seen the open day on Facebook. This meant that we were rushed through and did not get long in the caves and had to share it with several other groups of about thirty people each.

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The below picture is the best I got to take of the original carved archway tunnels. The other areas have been damaged by people who stole the sand to sell on.

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One of the tunnels is larger and probably used as storage for the castle. At the end of the tunnel is the oldest grafitti, which dates to the 1600s. We were also shown the echo made if throwing a large stone at a sand-filled hole on the floor at the end of the passage.

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The other interesting feature in the caves are carved animals, such as horses and carved faces/heads.

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Have you ever visited Reigate Caves or the castle? The next tour is on June 10, and there are ones every month through to September. The cost to see all the caves is 4.50 per adult, and all caves can be visited easily in a day. Several town centre car parks can be used in order to access the caves. Arrive early in order to get the most of the caves. It is probably wise to do the Tunnel Cave tour first and then walk across to the tour of Barons' Caves before walking the museum tunnels at your own pace. (We wished we had more of an opportunity to see the older Barons' Caves.) For more information, see http://www.reigatecaves.com/index.php

The village of Imber is situated in the middle of the Salisbury Plains in Wiltshire, England. The village was evacuated and abandoned in 1943 so that it could be used as a military exercise area for American troops before invading Europe during the second World War. The residents of the village were not allowed to return home to Imber after the war, and the town and area around it is currently used by the military. The village has a church, and this church is open for a few days each year. Each year, visitors can visit the church (St. Giles Parish Church) and village as the military ceases to use it for a few days. One of the weekends that it is open to the public is on Easter weekend. Other than that, the village is abandoned and is used by the military.

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I visited Imber on the Saturday before Easter. The St. Giles Parish Church was open at this weekend and held a special Sunday Easter service. I was curious to see this abandoned village that the villagers could not return to after the war. There are a few times out of the year where you are permitted to drive to the village of Imber, which is seven miles down a dirt track. Before entering, you are given warnings not to enter the live firing range. I believe that (and hope) that people who try to are turned back on days when it is in use. Along the dirt road, we were warned constantly not to get out of the car or leave the carriageway. Following these instructions is very important, even though going off to get photographs can be tempting.

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Especially when you drive past several of these rusting tanks along the road....

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...and a whole graveyard of burnt-out and rusting tanks along the hillsides.

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We then passed by some of the old buildings of Imber and buildings that are now used and constructed by the military for urban warfare training. There are warnings not to go into many of these buildings.

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Many of the old village homes and buildings have been demolished, but the church is still in very good condition. Below is a photograph of the St. Giles Parish Church from near where the High Street used to be. The road leading up to the church is now named "American Road".

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Inside the church, people were selling refreshments and information about the village and its history.

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I also had a walk around the church, which is on the top of a hill overlooking the village of Imber.

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A war memorial is located at the base of the hill where the church is.

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Also at the bottom of the hill is the old farmhouse (Seagram's Farm), and this building was constructed in 1870. Most people in the remote village were in the agriculture business and would have primarily raised sheep. I checked out a couple of the old buildings here, and you can step inside and look through the windows of the old homes and buildings. There are a couple of old farm buildings next to the one pictured below.

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This borders "Church Street", which leads to the church but has been renamed "American Road".

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All along the road here, the signs warn about unexploded bombs and warn visitors to keep to the main road and not walk around.

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One of the abandoned buildings was the village pub, known as The Bell Inn. The landlord kept renewing the license into the 1960s in the hope that the villagers would be allowed back. 

On the exit, I looked at the tanks again and wished that we could have stopped for some better photographs, but too many others were driving slow and deciding to do the same.

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I do feel sorry for all of the villagers that were given only a few weeks to leave the village and then were never allowed to return after the war. The village of Imber is an interesting place to visit.

A couple of years ago at Easter, the bloke and I had a long weekend away in Yorkshire. One of the attractions that we went to visit was Ripley Castle, located near the town of Ripley near Harrogate. The town and castle were constructed by the Ingleby family, and the castle is privately-owned by the family who live in part of the castle. The castle was built as a stately home and is currently used as one today. The castle is open to the public for private tours at selected times/dates, and the grounds can also be explored. 

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When we arrived at the castle, we parked in the village area, which is quite small. The gatehouse was the first part of the castle, and I am pretty sure that there was a shop located here where items and tickets could be purchased.

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Inside the gate, we saw the grand house (or castle) in front of us. The courtyard is only small.

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We had a little bit of time before our tour began, so we had a wander around the grounds. We walked down to the lake and across a bridge above a small dam. The daffodils were in full bloom, and we had such a lovely warm day for our visit.

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I would love to have this view and these walks every day. I saw some of the family who lived in the castle out walking their dogs.

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When our tour was about ready to begin, we headed to the castle and waited. The tour groups are quite packed, and I believe that there were thirty of us on the tour. We learned about the history of the castle and the family, including the more colourful ancestors and how the village came to be built. We were also shown a stained-glass window of importance with the family crests of marriages added to it; this was damaged in a storm but pieced together. 

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After our guided tour, we wandered out to the gardens to see the spring flowers in bloom, and we also had a wander into the Victorian greenhouse (palm house) where we saw plants that like tropical weather and cacti.

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One of the floral displays in the garden area has the Ripley symbol and the year 2000.

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The village of Ripley is also known for its ice cream. This is across the road from the castle, and we walked over to get an ice cream. It proves to be very popular in this area, and we also noticed a couple of other outlets (one in Harrogate) that sell this ice cream. 

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Have you ever visited Ripley Castle?

Exploring Down Street Abandoned Tube Station

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A couple of weeks ago, I went to explore the disused Down Street tube station in Mayfair. Down Street is on a side road between Green Park and Hyde Park Corner, and the Piccadilly Line served this station. The station was not open for very long. It was opened in 1907 and shut its doors in 1932 due to lack of use. Its placement here was controversial because many people that lived in the area did not use public transport. Although it was closed in 1932, it had a new lease of life in 1939 as a secret headquarters for the railway board executivies during World War II. It is often referred to as "Churchill's Secret Bunker". The staff at TFL (Transport for London) are continuously researching and discovering how the station was used during the war times, but most of the government secrets are off limits currently and won't be accessibly by the public until 2040.

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The tube station is easy to notice because of its glossy tiles that identify it; in Down Street's case, the tiles are dark red. The large arched windows and wide doorways also identify it as a tube station, although one of the doorways has been bricked over while the other is home to a small shop.

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Upon arriving on the train/platform level, we were told about the station's use during World War II. The first bit of tunnel was sectioned off and became the area for typists. The walls were painted a mustard yellow colour, and we could see where the floor was levelled and the partition wall was added on one side. The side with the partition wall formed a room with an aisle down one side. The aisle was just large enough for a tea trolley (or a person to walk single-file). On this wall, there are directions to the Enquries and Committee Room, and there's "Way Out" signs in the same style on other walls. Before the room was a gas seal-off door, and there were several of these throughout the station. The rooms were all purpose-made, and the public was not aware of the secret bunker here.

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We were also shown the glow-in-the-dark strips along the lower part of the tunnel walls, which enable visitors to find their way in case the electricity is off.

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The next tunnel was also divided into rooms: offices and the committee room. One of the rooms here was where Churchill stayed during bombing raids. Throughout our tour, we were shown photographs on the wall of people inside these rooms, and we could identify where walls, lights, and clocks had been attached. In the photograph above, the placement of the table in the photograph is outlined on the floor. The aisleway would have been to the left, and the flooring also demonstrates how the rooms were broken up.

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Off of the meeting room, we were shown the toilets and bath facilities, which were located through a door that went up a staircase. These separate rooms were divided up with the facilities. Apparently the women had to kick up a fuss to have separate facilities. The furnishings were also top of the range. The next few photographs shows some of these rooms and what remains.

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Further down the hallway, we came to the section where we could see the tube train passing between Green Park and Hyde Park Corner on the Piccadilly Line. There were sections throughout the remainder of the tour where we could see the trains, separated by just a thin wall. We continued until we branched off into a separate tunnel where the exchange and switch board are located. These were located in two separate rooms. 

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The switch board has fine wooden panel, which we could see by shining a light to it.

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Opposite the switchboard is old-style tiling forming a very Art-Deco "Way Out" sign.

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We arrived at further rooms that were used by the executives. Some of these included the original lighting. Many of these rooms were painted grey over the mustard yellow. Someone suggested they may have been painted for preparations on tube evacuation teams or filming a submarine movie.

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A map of the layout of the rooms is also present.

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We were shown the executive rooms and the bedrooms, and we could see which rooms were fancier because they had wallpaper. After this, we were shown the kitchen and dining area.

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The new development and research suggests that the last part of the tour is exciting because it's the area at the back (by the air flow) that Churchill had asked to be purposed into his area. Rooms were created here with a toilet near the top of the step and a room on the left. The room had a phone line that went direct to the USA. They're not exactly sure who used these rooms, but it is clear that they are used by VIPs. A picture of the room is below, but there's actually another similar bricked-up wall a few steps down the tunnel. It's completely bricked up, but it probably has some significance. 

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On the other side of this area, we saw more yellow paint, and this is covering the original signage. "To The Trains" can be seen beneath the layer of paint.

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Also, the original signage showing the platform directions can also be seen here. Finsbury Park points to the left, and Hammersmith points to the right. Unfortunately, someone ruined the wall and lettering when they installed some ladders and pipework over the top of it.

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Next, we saw the lift shaft. My photographs did not come out because there was not enough room to see, and the lighting was not bright enough. On the other side of the lift shaft was the tile manufacturer name Simpson & Sons, who created the tiles. This is a rare find.

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Out of the lifts, the commuters would have been directed to the trains via this "To the Trains" sign.

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On street level, we received a booklet with more information about Down Street station.

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I would love to know more about this station and the history of it as it seems that there's still so much more to know that cannot become the public domain until 100 years are up. Unfortunately, by that time, the people who did work in the tunnels would no longer be able to talk about them.

For readers who have enjoyed this post, I have also visited additional disused and abandoned underground stations in London. I also have a couple of more trips to visit other ones coming up, so be sure to keep following me. Below are previous posts:

Paddock World War 2 Bunker
Aldwych Station
Euston Station Tunnels

Visiting Caerphilly Castle

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After touring The Royal Mint Exhibition, I decided to head over to one of the castles that I've not visited in order to tick it off my list: Caerphilly Castle. Caerphilly Castle, located in the village of Caerphilly just north of Cardiff, is a Norman castle that was built in the mid/late-1200s. It was Wales's largest castle and survived a siege and was the place where a king took refuge. The castle fell into disrepair in the 15th century with the lake being drained and stone robbed, but was taken over by a rich coal mining family in the late 1700s and repaired in more modern times. 

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The castle is surrounded by a moat with a bridge leading up to the gatehouse. The earth has been built up so the castle is on a hillside, and the perimeter of the earthworks can be walked around. The castle is located in the town centre, which is the other side of the earthworks.

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We walked walked across the bridge over the moat to get to the first gatehouse. Inside this inner area was the gift shop where we purchased our tickets and a statue of a red dragon. Some of the castle grounds could be accessed here, but in order to get to the main castle area, we had to walk across another bridge.

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On the left as we approached the gatehouse, we saw the leaning tower. The tower has been leaning since the 17th century. 

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After we entered the gatehouse, we decided to see what was inside. We passed through a few white-washed rooms, a garderobe, and some larger floors with large chimneys and an area with seating. We could also walk onto the old walls from the gatehouse. Below shows the interior of the castle yard, a view from one of the walls.

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After we explored that gatehouse, we walked to the end gatehouse. On the left is the Great Hall, but sadly this was closed for us because they were setting up for Macbeth. In fact, a lot of areas were off limits to us due to this play. It's a pity we could not see it because the Great Hall is the finest building in a castle.

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At the back side of the gatehouse, the defenses were stunning. This was a dead end with huge, thick walls.

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After walking through the gatehouse, I looked back to the opposite gatehouse that we explored earlier. The Great Hall is the building on the right.

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At the back gatehouse, we could climb for a view, and it had impressive interiors.

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We then walked the last of the walls. On one side of the walls, they re-constructed the wooden hoarding. This hoarding offered a little more protection. This is where the archers would be, and they could shoot through the small windows here. On the other side is the wall.

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After that, we had seen everything, so we headed out. In the main entrance, I said goodbye to the red dragon here. The ground was muddy, and goose poo was everywhere in the grass, so I didn't get a better photograph.

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The town of Caerphilly greeted us on the other side of the walls.

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The geese and ducks also greeted us on entry and exit of the castle grounds. 

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As the weather was so chilly, a hot chocolate bought from the shop opposite the castle grounds was in order.

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Have you ever visited Caerphilly Castle? Leave your comments.

The bloke and I visited The Royal Mint Experience yesterday and got to see and press our own one pound coin with the new design that will be circulated later in the year. The Royal Mint Experience only opened in May last year, so it's not even been open for tours for a year. I've previously done a tour of the US Mint in Colorado; there's also one in Philadelphia, PA. The experience is located at the site of the factory where all coins are made for UK circulation and for other countries. This post is about my experience.

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We arrived for the first tour of the day and had a wander around the factory, which is located near Cardiff in Wales. The building looks new and has coin-coloured panels (gold/silver/copper) along the front. At the front is one of the Shaun the Sheep charity statues that The Royal Mint made; the Gromit that they made is inside the building.

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Also inside the building is a classic MINI car covered with coins. 

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We had a few minutes to wander around the shop before the tour began. We were then ushered into a room with a short introduction video before being taken to the factory building to be shown some equipment and demonstrated how coins are made using the various bits of machinery. We were not allowed to take photographs here or anywhere inside the factory; we were allowed to take photographs at the museum in the original building later. 

The coins are made of mixed metals, and we were shown how they were given their 'edge' to prevent them from sticking together. We were then shown how the coins were struck with the designs using the moulds. The machines pressing them work very quickly and press using two tonnes of weight. After the discussion, we could watch some of the workers making/inspecting the coins. We could see coins fall out of the machinery into large boxes. We had to look at this from a distance. 

After looking through a couple of these windows, we went into another room where a pressing machine was waiting for us. The workers were controlling this, and we paid to press our own new pound coin. The new pound coins are going to be circulated later in the year, and they have several sides and two-tone colour. The problem was that the old pound coin was easy to copy, and many of them are fake. Workers had the blanks (unpressed coins) and put them into the machine one-by-one while we pressed a button for the machine to press two tonnes of weight onto the coin. The new pound coins have to be pressed twice. 

The different colour of material 'locks' in together due to the rim created along the edging of the coins, so they are two separate pieces. This is how the two-pound coin is made as well.

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After we struck the coin, we were ushered back into the original building where the tour resumed. This was the museum area, and it is self-guided. Photographs can be taken here. I have highlighted some of these bits below.

The first coint to be pressed at The Royal Mint (in the Tower of London) was the "Alfred the Great Silver Penny" (1). It was pressed at the time during Viking invasions. Isaac Newton was a warden at The Royal Mint for a few years, and he used science to make coins harder to be counterfeited. His name popped up in The Royal Mint Experience a few times, and we saw a medal produced with his likeness (2). The last coin to be pressed at The Royal Mint at Tower Hill before the factory moved to Wales was an image of the Tower Hill location (3), and it is on display. In 1934, Queen Mary had a tour of The Royal Mint when it was at Tower Hill, and she brought Elizabeth (now Queen) and her sister along. Their signatures are on display in the museum (4).

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1) Alred the Great silver penny; 2) Isaac Newton medal; 3) the last coin to be struck at The Royal Mint at Tower Hill; 4) The Royal Mint visitor book signed by Queen Mary and daughters Elizabeth and Margaret Rose

In 1968, The Royal Mint moved to Llantrisant in Wales. The production of coins had outgrown London, so it was moved to Wales due to support by a Welsh Member of Parliament. The new factory was created because of the introduction of the currency system that is now in use (instead of the old decimal system). On its opening day, Queen Elizabeth pressed the first coin (5). A lot of marketing went into getting people familiar with the new currency system (6 and 8). This year, we have a new design for the pound coin, and the design was inspired by 12-year old student David Pearce. A model of it is on display (7). 

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5) Queen Elizabeth pressed the first coin at Llantrisant; 6 and 8) Marketing to help with the new currency system; 7) The new one pound coin design

The Royal Mint also creates coins for other countries in the world, and we saw several of these on display. We also saw a coin that has been at the ocean for many years, sunk with a hoard of gold coins and recovered eventually. We also saw the moulds for the presses and learned about the oldest quality assurance in the history of the world: the gold and coin quality. This is conducted every year by the Goldsmith livery company. Samples of coins from all of the batches are kept for this process each year.

In addition to the coins, The Royal Mint Experience museum had a display dedicated to different medals, such as war and sporting medals. They made the medals for the Olympic Games in 2012.

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2012 Olympic Medal

After the experience, we went across the road where there is a pub/hotel that were having a carvery. We were really impressed with the food, and the carvery was very popular with local people too.

Have you been to The Royal Mint Experience yet or seen the new one pound coin? You can still visit and press your own coin. (Note that I booked the experience myself, so this is not endorsed by The Royal Mint.)

While I was in Nuremberg at the end of 2014, I visited the Albrecht Dürer house, located in the old part of town near the castle. Dürer was a painter, engraver, and printer who lived from the late 1400s until the mid 1500s. He spent time in Italy and knew famous Renaissance painters da Vinci and Raphael. His work was praised. 

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The Albrecht Dürer House in Nuremberg, Germany contains a gallery with a large selection of artwork from the artist, including some of his famous paintings. It is arranged in a gallery inside the house. The house also contains engravings, illustrations, and sketches that he made during his life. In addition, it includes personal possessions. The house itself has been left to what it would have been like during Dürer's life and time, and this also includes furniture. 

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One of the rooms at the top also has information about the style of work and how it was achieved. Although the audio guide can be listened to in English, none of the information boards had English text on them, including the interesting techniques room. There was also a section with different colours of jars that were mixed with the paint to achieve certain colours. (This was interesting, but it was in German only and I could not read it.)

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Nuremberg Castle

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A couple of years ago, I visited Nuremberg Castle. The castle is built on top of the large sandstone rock hill in Nuremberg, Germany. It is a medieval Imperial castle with castle walls; the walls have mostly been destroyed. The land that the castle occupies was occupied in 1000, but it was not until 1105 that the castle was mentioned in documents. During World War II, the castle was sadly damaged, and only the Sinwell Tower and double chapel prevented damage; the rest was rebuilt and reconstructed. 

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The chapel (which escaped the bomb damage) was in the first building that I visited, and it is constructed over two levels with impressive stonework.

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The signs at the castle were all in German, and there are guided tours but I cannot remember if these were in German only. The well room guide only spoke German, so information about the castle was scarace. Also, the staff here were miserable and rude, and I saw on Tripadvisor that others had the same problem. 

Besides protecting Nuremberg, the castle was also the place to visit for leisure and educational events. The moat was used as a training ground for crossbows, and it was also used as an observation point for viewing the stars as well as fireworks. 

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The interior of the castle has some information about the different eras in English, and it also displays many objects, but most of these did not include an English description. The mid-1800s was a time of uncertainty in Germany with many revolutions. Some of Germany wanted the great empire returned as in the medieval days.

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There were rooms dedicated to weaponry and armour, and other items were dedicated to living or religion, such as the two pieces above.

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The Deep Well was probably built at the same time as the castle, although it was only mentioned in the 14th century. The well is 47 meters deep into the castle's rock. There are guided "tours" in the well room throughout the day, but as I mentioned, these were in German only. The guide speaks, and then he cranks down the bucket with candles. A recorded video is shown on the wall behind with the walls of the well and the depth that it is at when it is traveling, as shown as a chart on the wall. We could gather around and look into the well, but wells are something I am not keen on, so I was happy enough to watch the video on the wall! Also located on this wall was a cabinet filled with items, and I assume that these items had fallen into the well at some point and were recovered.

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The Sinwell Tower is a large tower on the grounds of the castle. "Sinwell" is a German word that means "round". It was built in the late 13th century as a castle keep of the Imperial Castle. The viewing platform at the top looks over Nuremberg, and I took a lot of photographs.

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On the walk down from the top of the castle's rock, I also saw some excellent views. 

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Earlier this week, my parents and the bloke and I took a day trip to Oglebay Park Resort, which is located in Wheeling, West Virginia. When I was younger, I had heard so much about this light display from others. We never went to it because it was always rumoured to be very busy. We visited earlier in the week, and although it was busy, it was not too busy. The light display starts at 6:00pm, but we found that many of the lights were on earlier. There are about six miles of lights with some along the loop road and others down the road in another part of the resort. Some of the lights were also along the main highway that borders the park.

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We arrived earlier to avoid the crowds, and we wanted to take a look in the shops. Our first stop was to the glass shop, gift shop, and garden shop. There is also a glass museum and Oglebay Mansion museum here too. This area was decorated with lights in the shape of flowers. There was also a large nativity scene here, and this was decorated nicely. The shop in the garden house (Palm House) had a good view of the resort, and this can also be enjoyed outside.

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After getting more information about the Festival of Lights and shops, we went to a Christmas shop, which was a short drive down the road. We saw many deer in Oglebay Park. 

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Before it got really dark, we saw the most beautiful sunset.

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We spent about an hour driving around to see the beauitful lights. These were all created in different shapes and moved. We saw running deer, children having a snowball fight, a moving ferris wheel and carousel, a skiier, a train, and so much more. There are tours as well; a trolley located at the main lodge runs tours. There are also coaches that come in. Both of these options have a tour, and I believe that there is a tour on the radio that you can tune in to as well for more information about some of the lights. We didn't do this. 

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The Festival of Lights started in 1985, and it runs annually from early November until January 1st. To complete the tour, guests are asked to arrive for 6:00, but we found that the lights were being switched on earlier in most places, and they were being switched on just before dusk. I can imagine that weekends do get extremely busy.

One of the items on my list was to visit Clifton Mill, located near Springfield and Dayton, Ohio. I'd always seen photographs of Clifton Mill as it is very picturesque and used in a lot of photographs and calendars. I never knew where it was, but I happened to see it in a post about good Christmas lights to visit in various locations in Ohio. I convinced my parents and the bloke to have a day road trip with me in order to visit the mill for a meal and then to see the Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill.

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Clifton Mill was purchased by its current owners in 1988, and they put Christmas lights on the mill in 1989. Each year, the Christmas lights expanded to what it is today. It starts out at 6:00pm each night; the lights are turned on, and a light show begins the display with the covered bridge next to the mill becoming illuminated while being set to music. The rest of the grounds and the mill itself is illuminated with twinkling lights, some of them appearing to be moving water, and they light up the rocks along the creek below and the mill wheel. The photographs really do not do any justice as to how awesome and beautiful it looked.

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However, it's not all about the Christmas lights. We arrived at Clifton Mill near mid-day after a two-hour car journey. In the winter, the Clifton Mill restaurant is not open for dinner unless it is a Friday or Saturday night. Instead, we stopped in to have lunch. Their breakfast menu is available all day, and my mother and I opted for breakfast while the bloke and my father had the hamburger. My mother had French toast (which was tempting and delicious), but I had the buttermilk pancakes with blueberries. Both were served with Maple Syrup. The portion size of the pancakes was huge. Apparently, those who can finish the two massive and thick pancakes get a third for free. I could not even finish one of the pancakes; they were the largest pancakes I have ever seen! The pancakes are the signature dish and are delicious; they sell them in three flavours (buttermilk, buckwheat and cornflower), and the mixes are sold at their gift shop. The pancakes and French toast could be served with pecan-syrup bacon. This tasted so good that I ordered another two rashers.

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Raspberry lemonade

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Pancakes

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Blueberry pancakes

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French toast

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Hamburger

Also located next to the mill is an old gas station with a working pump, and this doubles as a museum. I believe that gas-related items can be seen at other times of the year, but in the winter, part of it is a toy museum. The other part of it is a Santa's room, but we did not visit that area. Santa climbs the chimney once every twenty minutes when the light show is on, and he waves to the crowd before descending back into his room. The building was only open during the light show.

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Gas station

The covered bridge was also closed and only open during the light show, so we could not enter it. We could see the replica model village, though, but a few buildings and items were covered and not running; they only came to life during the light show hours. Model diners, a drive-in theatre showing movie clips, a train, and other replica buildings were on display.

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After we ate our meals, we headed out to check out the village of Yellow Springs, which had the air of a university village. We went into a couple of shops before driving to Jersey Dairy, which is another attraction up the road from Clifton Mill. They have a nice gift shop, restaurant, and crazy golf course here. The main attraction is the ice cream. For the "flavour of the week", two scoops of ice cream are given for the price of one. The flavour was "Peppermint Stick", so I had this, and the ice cream was amongst the best that I've ever had. It tasted so good, and it was so creamy and smooth (with bits of peppermint here and there). 

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Peppermint stick ice cream from Young's Jersey Dairy

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Yellow Springs

After this, we drove back to the Interstate to have a wander for a couple of hours at the Central Ohio Antiques Centre. There are a few different antique malls here, and the one we visited was so huge that we did not even come close to seeing everything before we had to leave to go to Clifton Mill to see the Legendary Lights.

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We arrived at Clifton Mill when the doors opened at 5:00pm for the Legendary Lights. The first light show takes place at 6:00pm, which we did not realise at the time. Refreshments were being sold with pulled pork, hot dogs, pretzels, popcorn, sugar cookies, hot chocolate, coffee, and mulled cider on offer. I ordered a hot chocolate, mulled cider, cookie and popcorn to share while we sat by the window in the mill and waited before grabbing some good spots for the light show. The temperatures were freezing again, so we watched the light show and did not hang around too long. I wish that the snow had still been on the ground in order to justify the freezing temperatures, at least.

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I found the light show to be beautiful and recommend it. Do note that it is popular, and we visited on a Monday and it was still very busy. To see the lights, it costs $10.00 per person to enter the grounds. We found this a little steep when considering that the refreshments were also costly; it was $3.00 for one of those small styrafoam cups filled with hot chocolate or mulled wine. However, I do think that the maintenance and cost of installing the lights is very expensive. Also, make sure to get there early and grab a good spot to see the light show projected onto the covered bridge as there is not a lot of room. Unfortunately, they have boarded up the windows on the covered bridge and on the opposite side of the bridge so that you are unable to take any photographs in the prime locations and have to settle with an angle of the mill. I wish that we could have taken photographs from better angles, and this is my main criticism.

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