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Extraordinary & Slightly Mad Tourist Destinations in Britain

Avebury Henge

Britain has an interesting history. From Grendel to One Direction, strange phenomena spring forth from the Isles. There’s a great song by the English band Queen titled “I’m going Slightly Mad.” That somewhat sums up life in Britain. There is a lot that you can find to be quite batty about if you know where to look. Here are five slightly off-center points of interest that alternately bring pride and embarrassment to Her Majesty’s subjects. You judge which does which.

Tower of London

Located in mid-London on the Thames, the Tower has seen its share of oddities. Sir Walter Raleigh wrote the History of the World while imprisoned there. Queen Elizabeth I was held there by her crazy sister, Bloody Mary. Anne Boleyn was beheaded there and still haunts the place, as does Lady Jane Grey and King Henry VI. There is also a yet-to-be identified spirit haunting the jewel room, either keeping watch over the crown jewels or plotting their disappearance!

Cromwell’s Head

Oliver Cromwell’s head had a life of its own. Tied to Westminster Hall’s roof for over 100 years, it was sold from person to person until the early 20th Century, when it fell subject to forensic testing to verify its authenticity. It has the distinction of being the last publicly-traded head in Europe before finally being laid to rest in 1960. You can visit the final resting place of Oliver’s prodigal melon at Sidney Sussex College in Cambridge.

Bathtubbing Championships

It’s a tub race. Yes, they’re mounted like kayaks and raced across a lake in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales. It’s an annual event, and while it’s not certain how many spectators are drawn every year, those that do attend are treated to both a men’s and women’s open. A special prize is given each year for creative dress, won in 2011 by Jacquie Wilce who commanded her vessel as Capt. Jack Sparrow.

Bog Snorkeling

While in town for the Bathtubbing Championships, you may want to catch the World Bog Snorkeling Championships, which are held around the same time. Imagine a ditch filled with water, peat, and mud. All shapes of people wallow and crawl through the “bog” like seals bouncing across the beach to get back in the water. Held every year since 1985, participants from four continents converge on the event to race for charity and a spot in the Guiness Book of World Records, which has officially recognized it as a sport.

The Henges

There’s Stonehenge, which you’ve heard of, and then there’s Avebury Henge, which may have missed your radar. They are very similar attractions; Stonehenge is more imposing while Avebury, about 25 miles north, is more spread out. It contains several sites in the vicinity, including West Kennet Long Barrow. Both Stonehenge and Avebury were erected around 2500 BC, yet it is unknown if they were constructed by the same people. Ascertaining the purpose of these structures is a quest that has been driving Britons nuts for millennia, but conventional wisdom holds that they are either tombs, calendar systems, or landing sites for our alien ancestors.

Chris Turberville-Tully works with ESA, which offers serviced apartments Southampton visitors can enjoy their stay in.  They are a great alternative to hotels.

About joytourandtravel

JOY TOUR and TRAVEL has been in operation since 1985. We are fully bonded and insured. We are specialists in many areas of travel. Our staff has traveled extensively to bring you first-hand knowledge of the world. It is our goal to provide quality travel experiences that are of exceptional value to our clients. We are an active member and Co-Owner of Travel Alliance Partners (TAP). This is your assurance that this agency meets the highest standards of financial stability. We have to meet certain criteria to be a member of TAP. TAP is 29 of North America's premier tour operators. We are also a member of Vacation.com (which allows us to get special discounts); the Greater Cincinnati BBB, Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) and International Airlines Travel Agent Network (IATAN), which allows us to book international, as well as domestic airline itineraries

5 comments on “Extraordinary & Slightly Mad Tourist Destinations in Britain

  1. transplantedtatar
    January 24, 2013

    I knew that Oliver Cromwell’s head had a colorful history, but didn’t realize it was SO colorful! Definitely a site worth a visit.

    • joytourandtravel
      January 24, 2013

      What I love is that it was the “last publicly traded head” in Europe… :/

      • transplantedtatar
        January 24, 2013

        I know!!!! My favorite part of the story too, after the Westminster roof bit (I didn’t think that was–literal). Good for Europe, though–even if it was so disturbingly recent.

  2. Danial Ahade
    February 1, 2013

    Very interesting story “Oliver’s head was a traded”. I have recently been looking for some tourist destinations across G. Britain. I am going to visit GB very soon with a couple of my company mates (tracquisitions.com) I would love to explore the rich history of England.

  3. uktravel1
    October 8, 2014

    This is fantastic! Bathtubbing Championships, only in Wales! Wonderful little country. Have you seen the poppies decorating the tower of London in remembrance of WW1? They’re amazing.

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