British dream cities
Great Britain has many favorite places. If I were asked some of the places I would like to go back to I wouldn't hesitate to blot them out.
My favourite would always be to start with London simply because of the variety on offer. The hiatus of the city is exciting, so many things to do and so many things to see, with the British Museum, Hyde Park and London Bridge being on top of the list. In London, you can smell history through its buildings, some of whom go back to hundreds and hundreds of years.
Here as well, a couple of books come to mind that draws an interesting view of London in bygone age: The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox and the Invisible Man by H.G.Wells.They are interesting because they draw out the old part of London.
My second favourite would be to Hastings that brings much memory of my childhood. Hastings is great to see from May onwards because of its long and extended beach as well as its pier. Lots of memories in walking along its promenade and just watching people sunbathing. Something surprising I saw its name mentioned together with Bexhill in Sebastian Barry's novel titled Secret Scripture.
In them days, and I expect now, tourists, including students come everywhere from other parts of Britain and abroad.
What makes Hastings exciting is it's a great locations to top-notch resorts like Eastbourne and Brighton which are seen as real treats for holiday-makers. I was always told these are great retirement places where people put their feet up and watch the day go by. Here as well, is a reminder of the way to Weymouth in Charles Dickens David Copperfield.
Besides the beach, Hasting's old town is a very nice place which gives you a whiff of the past, and just above, its rolling hills gives you a panoramic view of the sea and the rest of the city center. From the old town, there is a short ride upwards to get to the top.
Away from the sunshine, I would go next for a bit of culture and literature. I know you have it all around, but in Stratford-upon-Avon, its la creme de la creme, a favourite for everyone to go to for this is the home of Shakespeare, it is where he was born and wrote all these wonderful plays.
His house is just as he left it a long-time ago with the 17th century structure beautifully preserved, and with his rooms giving you an eerie feeling of a hand holding an ink feather and continually writing. The fact it has been turned into a public-like museum is an offering to world literature. It's also a reminder of William Golding who dwelled on Shakespeare in his book collection The Hot Gates.
York is the next favorite. While its cathedral makes it a popular place for tourists, what makes it so beautiful for me is its beautifully manicured lawns and parks, and in fact if I was a student again, I wouldn't mind going back to York University for this.
But this could have consequences, for imagine trying to study right in the middle of a park. This is not to mention its quaint narrow streets, old black-and-white striped buildings and its little cafes offering afternoon teas and cream-and-jam crumpets. Its like 'eat-your-heart-out I am going to stay here' sort of things.
The last place would be, dare I say it, would be Leeds, not right in the north of England, but in the center of it, a strategic place to Manchester and Liverpool one one side and Hull on the other. To the south of the city, one can get to Sheffield and back to London.
Leeds, a once textile conurbation, has today top-of-the-mark brand shops in its city center that roams around different squares and stretches and linked by its high street and department stores.
I always remember its Elland Road football stadium where I went to watch matches in freezing cold weather. But I also remember, the town hall, public library with its special place and its small museum with its different art sections.
Leeds is a good stop to end a five-city tour. Unlike London, the city is not too hectic, yet everything is there for last minute shopping, and it even has a small airport with international flights.
What's good also is one can have customized tours of these places if they want to and have it arranged they be put up in specially-converted accommodation far-away from the commercial star-hotels but chambers that speak of guarded traditions.