Rick Steves' Europe: Episode # 108C
Rick and his family head to Ironbridge Gorge — the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution — and Blackpool, a beach town with neon night life. A scenic drive takes us to the calm Cumbrian Lake District — home to Wordsworth's cottage, hearty walks and sheep shearing. We end in the Norman cathedral at Durham, enjoying its Evensong service.
- Read the script from the show.
Blists Hill Victorian Town (Open Air Museum)
Wander through 50 acres of Victorian industry, factories, and a re-created community from the 1890s. Don't miss the explanation of the winding machine at the Blists Hill Mine (demos throughout the day, call for times). Located by the canal, a scale model made for a 2001 television program shows how the Iron Bridge was erected (from train station in Telford take bus 5 miles to Ironbridge Gorge, tel. 01952/601-048).
Blackpool's hot bar is in a dazzling location a couple blocks from the train station. Most nights, Funny Girls puts on a "glam bam thank you ma'am" burlesque-in-drag show that delights footballers and grannies alike (5 Dickson Street, Blackpool, tel. 01253/624-901).
Newlands Valley, Keswick, Cumbria
Castlerigg Stone Circle
For some reason, 70 percent of England's stone circles are here in Cumbria. This one's the best. The circle - 90 feet across and 5,000 years old — has 38 stones mysteriously laid out on a line between the two tallest peaks on the horizon. They serve as a celestial calendar for ritual celebrations. For maximum goose pimples (as they say here), show up at sunset (3 miles east of Keswick — follow brown signs, 3 min off A66, easy parking).