Blue Badge Guides show you their favourite places around the UK
…is Chichester Cathedral. Outside is a statue of St Richard who wrote the prayer asking God that he might “know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, follow thee more nearly” – words which became very well known in the theme song of the musical Godspell.
Inside the cathedral are artworks by Marc Chagall, Graham Sutherland and John Piper, as well as the Arundel tomb, immortalised in Philip Larkin’s much-loved poem with the lines “what will survive of us is love”. For me, no cathedral in Britain mixes the modern and the medieval as well as Chichester – and none gives a warmer welcome.
Edwin Lerner, London Blue Badge Guide
…is the 15th century Doom Painting in St Thomas’s church Salisbury. It has survived the Reformation and two coats of whitewash. This vibrant image includes some local characters who would have been known to the congregation 500 years ago, particularly an alewife who ran two pubs and probably the local brothel. The painting watches over the modern life of the church: services, music concerts and even an opera – including the premiere of a moving piece about a boy who escaped a train bound for Auschwitz. The Doom Painting’s message of good and evil is still resonant today.
Hazel Docherty, London Blue Badge Guide
…is the Coventry Music Museum. This unique collection tells the story of the local music scene, including Coventry’s Two-Tone, a mix of ska and punk rock that swept through British music during the 70s and 80s. Other favourites include the suit worn by singer Paul King in the video of the chart classic Love and Pride, a music wall of fame and a memorabilia shop. A great day out for nostalgic music fans.
Roger Bailey, Heart of England Blue Badge Guide
…is Borough Market. It’s such a gem, tucked away under railway bridges on London’s busy Southbank. There has been a market here for over a thousand years, but the 21st-century version combines the best of British – fish and chips, local beers, English apples – with Portuguese pastry and French cheese. You can imagine Shakespeare visiting the market as we know he was a parishioner at the local church, Southwalk Cathedral – maybe it’s where he came for a glass of excellent wine and fresh oysters.
Olga Romano, London Blue Badge Guide
…is Stirling Castle. It offers wonderful views to all points of the compass from the River Forth’s flood plain to the start of the Highlands. Scotland’s nationhood started nearby: at Bannockburn and Stirling Bridge of Braveheart fame. Inside the castle, there are living quarters and historic buildings. It’s always a pleasure to take people here and introduce them to the castle’s history – especially its superb Great Hall and Royal Chapel.
David Tucker, Scottish Blue Badge Guide
…is the Secret Army Exhibition at Beaulieu Motor Museum in the New Forest. During the Second World War, Beaulieu acted as a secret training ground for undercover agents parachuted into Nazi-occupied France. Its display cases are like Q’s workshop in an early Bond movie with maps hidden in shaving brushes and pistols in cigarette cases. I am fascinated by the people who worked here including Beaulieu graduate Nancy Wake, one of the Allies’ most highly decorated servicewomen and once the Gestapo’s most wanted person.
Richard Madden, South East Blue Badge Guide