After a couple of busy breaks, it was nice to come on a restful holiday. Our hotel was just out of town with a reasonable downhill walk to the centre.
After settling, we decided to explore this beautiful city and over two weeks wandered around finding new places to explore on every trip.
At the bottom of the hill, we stopped in a small park for a rest before continuing. Next we came to the new town lined with the more expensive restaurants, where people sat out to eat. As we turned the corner, a pink building stood out at the end of the road; this was the first of many interesting buildings we saw.
Every time we walked down, we were spoiled by the variety of excellent cafes and in one instance sat on the balcony overlooking a square, watching the world go by, whilst enjoying one of the fantastic selections of cakes. Our favourite being the Maderian Custard Tarts- Pasteis de Nata.
If the cakes weren't temptation enough there were several ice cream parlours, including an interesting one on the sea front, to tempt you to enjoy the variety of flavours.
After looking for the fish market, on several occasions, we finally stumbled across it on the last couple of days. This proved to be interesting; seeing the huge variety of fish on sale as well as seeing some of the ones we had been eating in the hotel. Also there were several souvenir stalls to browse.
Finally, I must mention the CR7 Museum. Being a Manchester United fan it was impressive to see the number of trophies Christian Ronaldo had won as well as to reminisce on the time he spent in Manchester.
I mentioned earlier the downhill walk into town; this proved to be a lot harder going up and became quite tiring after a walk around town and not something we looked forward to.
We had seen pictures of the Kite Festival in Lytham and decided this would be a colourful display. The weather was fine so off we set. Unfortunately, so did hundreds of others. After being stuck in traffic for an hour we got off the motorway and headed back.
However, the day wasn't completely spoiled because we came across a sign for Astley Hall. This proved to be an impressive building and had several interesting rooms to look at. The ceiling was outstanding with elaborate plaster work and cherubs hanging down,
There was also a display by the local art group at the Farmhouse Gallery, which was situated near the cafe. There was some impressive work on show and at quite reasonable prices. We often like to buy at these shows and soon found a piece that impressed us. It was by a local artist Sandra Sugden.
It was a really interesting style that she used and we particularly liked those done as landscapes.
Her painting was created using alcohol ink and manipulating it to get the required image. They were mainly on ceramic tiles but some were on acetate and some on YUPO paper. One was a trial on Perspex.
Tiles were all sealed with a light gloss many times over so that they could be used indoors or out.
This style was quite unique and the final painting was very impressive and a nice addition to our collection.
It was interesting to visit the gallery and made our trip worthwhile. On the plus side if we had made it to Lytham, there was no wind so the kite festival did not take place. We must try again next year!
We often receive invites to Facebook events and if local try to attend some of them. Recently an Art-walk in Clitheroe was advertised and having a free day we decided to have a look around the galleries.
Having downloaded a map, we set off but this was not as simple as it seemed. The map and our SAT-NAV weren't in agreement. Anyway, we eventually arrived after a detour and refreshed from a hot drink, we set off.
The first gallery we visited was the Knowle Top Studios; here photographs printed on brushed aluminium were on show. This was an impressive gallery based on two floors.
Just around the corner, a lively duo of singers lightened the event and The Keep Gallery had a smaller display of art and crafts. Crossing the road, we visited The Longitude Gallery. Here a range of artwork including some excellent landscapes were on show. It was nice to see that the artists had found a range of subject matter in the surrounding countryside and not a lot of the same view.
Next, we went into an art shop, which also sold framing services before a longer walk to the Ribble Valley Art Studios. Here, a group of artists shared a floor, each working and showing their work in their own studio space. Again, there was a wide variety of styles and topics covered. Even one who focused on competitive cyclists in some of her art.
Then, it was round to the Platform Gallery based (you guessed it) on a railway station. this contained an exhibition of a range of fascinating sculptures made from everyday items such as binders, hot water bottles, cheese graters and even household sponges! This was entertaining as well as inventive.
Our final visit was to the Old Bakehouse Gallery featuring the landscapes of a local artist Peter Taylor.
A really pleasant few hours spent wandering around the town and well worth attending. This year they had two Artwalks one in May and this one in September. As well as the galleries there are some lovely coffee shops to stop at for refreshment. We will certainly look out for them next year.
On a recent trip to Chester we decided to check out the present art scene there.
Our first stop was at the old Chester library. This, at the moment, has been converted into a super gallery space featuring Pop Art Prints from The Victoria and Albert Museum. It featured work from Andy Warhol, Patrick Caulfield and Roy Lichtenstein and many more. A wide range of styles and subject matters and a good start to our expedition. Chatting to the staff it seemed a shame that this space would soon be used for another cafe or such like.
A hundred yards further down the road is the The Story-House, a new Library and Arts centre. It is a fantastic building, with a superb section for children, which encourages reading but I was disappointed as it does not offer an exhibition space, which seems very short sighted for a city like Chester.
Our next visit was to a private art gallery, known as the Chester Art Centre which is a small shop offering a wide range of services for artists. It is good to see a shop where you can frame paintings and have them photographed and prints done, all in one place. You can even hire their gallery rooms for an exhibition. On the plus side I also have one of my prints in their Summer exhibition at Commonhall St Social, where you can call in, view the display and have a drink or something to eat.
Our last visit was to Chester Cathedral to see the ARK exhibition of contemporary sculptures. As you enter, the stunning architectures meets you and you are met by Damien Hirst's Sheep in a glass case then as you wander around you are met with surprises around every corner. The setting is superb and compliments the many excellent sculptures. On show are many of the famous sculptures; you find a Barbara Hepworth or a modern sculpture with the backdrop of a biblical scene. Stained glass lighting enhances some of the work and you can't help but be impressed by the work and setting. Even the Cathedral's own sculptures in the gardens don't seem out of place.
Well worth a visit and you can even contribute to the Lego sculpture of the Cathedral. My brick is the one on the bottom right corner!
After a day exploring yesterday, we decided to revisit the dock area and look at some of the smaller galleries as well.
The first area we came to was near the Scale lane swing bridge. This had a really interesting building on it that was itself a work of art but unfortunately empty now. Here there were a couple of ships stuck in the mud as the tide was out. They were quite an interesting subject matter.
Next we visited the Museum area taking time to view the Wilberforce house and read about his famous campaign against slavery.
After a walk along the riverfront, viewing The Deep in the distance, another impressive building, we made our way to the old Fruit Market area. This is a vibrant area known for art galleries and music and performance venues and is an emerging digital hub, which also forms part of the Old Town Conservation Area.
Hull has done a fantastic job of regenerating this area as well as the wide paved areas surrounding it.
After visits to some other large towns it was a joy to have the space these areas provided.
After visiting a number of small galleries we had a look around the Humber Street Gallery. This proved to be quite a playful exhibition based on games. Visitors had a chance to interact with several exhibitions and even add to some of the sculptures. An interesting observation was that in the toilets they had posted the pictures of some of these sculptures and the reactions of some visitors.
Wandering down Humber street there was an excellent atmosphere with street performers and places to sit and relax. The area is fast developing into a must visit area with small art and craft galleries, designer shops and food outlets.
There were also little gems that we came across, like the odd mural in an alley. Also some of the shops had window displays of art work, some linked to the sea theme others to the shopping experience.
Before coming to Hull, we had been given a variety of opinions on what the town was like. Some good and some not as good. From our experience it is a city that is certainly on the up in many areas and has spent the City of Culture money widely enhancing areas that needed developing. It will be interesting to go back in a few years to see how this development has continued.
The only downside to our visit was the timing. We knew that it was the City of Culture but failed to check the activities whilst we were there and our weekend fell at a quiet time. Not their fault though!