Skenfrith, Monmouthshire – August 2014

In the Castle Grounds .Hello – is this a dream or is it reality? I don’t know, you choose!

Today we are travelling back in time again to my summer holiday in Wales, and visiting Skenfrith – a filming location for the Eleventh Doctor episode Amy’s Choice ( 2010).

Before we start I would like to tell you two facts I have learnt this week. Firstly I became Kids Blog Club‘s first ever Kid Blog Star of the Week which was quite good. What am I saying? It was AMAZING! Secondly, Project Indigo has now reached 10,000 views. Woooh – hooo! Thank you all so much for helping me do this, I hope you have enjoyed reading about my adventures so far and will keep reading about them in the future.

No old people coming from Sarn today!

Now, time to get on with the post. Skenfrith is a small village near Abergavenny in Monmouthshire, South East Wales and is  close to the English border. On the way there my TARDIS got stuck on a never ending muddy road and it took me a while to find it! When I landed my TARDIS I could recognise that I was in Upper Leadworth where Amy is pregnant and Rory has a pony-tail. Or is it? Are they just dreaming? Are they in Leadworth or are they in the TARDIS slowly freezing to death?  Luckily for me there was no sign of the Dream Lord when I visited – or was there? I don’t know! It was all so confusing, just like in the episode.

When I parked my TARDIS it was right opposite Sarn,the Residential Care Home where the Eknodines lived in disguise as VERY old people.

Still no one coming out...

Straight away I went across to Skenfrith Castle, or what is left of it. In Amy’s Choice this is where the children were playing on a school trip. The Doctor, Amy and Rory fell asleep and woke up to find the children have been turned to dust! I was pretty brave to go there, wasn’t I?

No piles of dust left . Or play things .

The play park was not there anymore which was a shame as I was looking forward to playing on the swings like the Doctor, and saying ‘bow-ties are cool!’. But there was a mysterious circle in the grass, maybe the ghost of a roundabout?

Mysterious circle ... what will it do ?

Skenfrith Castle is managed by CADW and the National Trust and it is free to explore. It is in the centre of Skenfrith on the banks of the River Monnow.

Welcome to Skenfrith Castle !

Along with White Castle and Grosmont Castle it is one of the ‘Three Castles’ in the Monnow Valley built during the Norman Conquest. It was probably built in the early 13th Century by Hubert de Burgh.

Here is the Great Tower , everyone !

It was fun exploring the ruins and it was amazing to be in an 800 year old ex-building!

My only escape is climbing !

Next I explored the village which the Doctor raced around in a camper van rescuing the young people. Much of the village is built with stone that was originally used to build the castle! It was so quiet and peaceful that I did not see anybody – perhaps the Eknodines had come back?

Look out for a mad man in a camper van!

In the middle of the village stands St Bridget’s Church which was consecrated in 1207. This medieval church is one of the oldest in Monmouthshire. The original altar stone was hidden in the church floor to protect it during the Reformation!

It was at this spot beside the church where the Doctor realised that ‘this one is going to be tricky!’  It was a little bit tricky, yeah!

This one is going to be tricky !

I spent a bit of time looking for the Doctor’s ‘nice benches’ where he, Amy and Rory  kept nodding off- there were lots of benches to choose from so I tried them all wondering which one was the one. I might not have found it but it was worth a try! For such a small village there were A LOT of benches!

Trying out a bench....

I had such a nice time in the beautiful village of Skenfrith, it was great and I really felt as if I was in Upper Leadworth. I kept imagining that I was in a dream and the Doctor would walk round the corner at any moment!

Thank you for reading about my Skenfrith adventure, I hope to see you back again soon.

Night night, sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite! Sweet dreams!

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Coventry, West Midlands and Warwick, Warwickshire – January 2015

 

All Hallows Street

Happy New Year everyone!

This is my first post of 2015 and I hope it is a good one! On New Years Day I went on a short holiday to Warwick and while I was there I wanted to visit some Doctor Who locations around those parts. I went on to the fact-filled Doctor Who – The Locations Guide and discovered that filming for The Shakespeare Code (2007) had taken place in the area!

I had already been to The Globe Theatre and now was my chance to explore more locations from The Shakespeare Code. I had only just finished learning about the Tudor times at school so this was a surprise for me and I was excited about seeing some real Tudor buildings.  The Shakespeare Code was Martha’s first time-travel adventure with the Doctor and he took her to Elizabethan London in 1599.

Welcome to Cheylesmore Manor House

My first stop was Cheylesmore Manor in Coventry which was very easy to find as it was very close to where I parked my TARDIS! Cheylesmore Manor is now part of Coventry Register Office and while I was there people were arriving for appointments. What a cool place to have your wedding photos taken, it is the oldest Register Office building in the whole country and opened as a Register Office in 1968.

The current building is only part of the original manor house. It was first built in 1237 for the Earl of Arundel  and was then owned by Queen Isabella, Edward II’s wife before passing to her son Edward the Black Prince.

The Carrionite's house and famous window!

I could immediately recognise the building as All Hallows Street, home to the Carrionites.  I was most excited to see the window which Lilith leaned out of to watch Wiggins sing to her. Later in the episode she escapes out of the window with her doll of the Doctor leaving him for dead, and levitates outside . Luckily there weren’t any psychokinetic Carrionites around while I was there!

Welcome to Ford's Hospital, a place which is obviously Tudor !

Next I found my way to Ford’s Hospital, a few streets away. The exterior was used for The Elephant Inn where Shake-a- spear stayed. Ford’s Hospital was built in 1509 by local merchant William Ford. It was constructed as almshouses for men and women. An almshouse is a house which is funded by charity for poor people to live in, usually elderly people who can no longer work.

After 1800 it became a home for women only. Unfortunately the building was hit by a bomb during World War 2 and sadly eight people died. The building was restored in 1953 using original materials.

You can see through to the courtyard which was used in the episode as an Elizabethan street although I didn’t go in because it is private and still used as sheltered accommodation. If you would like to see some photos taken during filming please see the Historic Coventry website.

It must be so cool to live in an original Tudor building! I wonder what William Ford would say if he knew his almshouse would still be there in 500 years?

After Ford’s Hospital I spent a few hours exploring Coventry.

TARDIS at Coventry Transport Museum

In the afternoon I went to the Coventry Transport Museum and I found a tiny Time And Relative Dimension in Space! The TARDIS was part of a big collection of models collected by a collector called Tibor Reich and has been shown on Blue Peter. If you ever get a chance to go this great museum see if you can spot the TARDIS too!

Welcome to Lord Leycester Hospital!

Late that afternoon I returned to Warwick and went to The Lord Leycester Hospital.  Like Ford’s Hospital it is not a hospital for sick people as we would know it, the word ‘hospital’ meant “a charitable institution for the housing and maintenance of the needy, infirm or aged” in Tudor times.  The buildings date back to the 14th Century but became a retirement home for old warriors during Elizabethan times. Even today the building still provides homes for ex-servicemen and their wives.

I recognised that this was the location where the TARDIS and the Doctor and Martha arrived in Elizabethan London and Martha asked “when are we?” – a useful time-traveller phrase which she used for the first time.  They narrowly avoided being covered in pee when someone emptied their chamber pot out of the upstairs window!

The outside of the building was used for the street scenes and the area outside the Elephant Inn. The Doctor and Martha were chased back there by Queen Elizabeth I’s guards and the TARDIS was hit by arrows ( like in Robot of Sherwood (2014)!) but luckily the TARDIS de-materialised in time!

I had a great day in Coventry and Warwick and hope you enjoyed reading about it. I hope I can go back that way another time and check out more Doctor Who filming locations. Thanks for reading and I hope you come back soon to check out more of my adventures through time and space!

Parting is such sweet sorrow! Goodbye!