ODO has been to visit two locations used in the Harry Potter films for the famous street of Diagon Alley. Or perhaps not. Both Leadenhall Market and Goodwin’s Court feature heavily in the plethora of Harry Potter walking tours around London. Yet only Leadenhall Market is actually in the film. Goodwin Court is included in the walks on an unsubstantiated theory that it was the original ‘inspiration’ behind Diagon Alley. What is Diagon Alley? For the few people who are still unaware of the Potter phenomenon, the central theme is that, unknown to most of us, there is a secret ‘otherworld’ where wizards use magic toRead More →
The Cass Sculpture Foundation is a little-known 26 acre, open-air sculpture park, tucked away behind Goodwood Racecourse.
Among gentle woodland you can marvel at a towering bust of Chairman Mao, see the spoils of an archaeological dig from the future, and picnic under a T-Rex.
The foundation is the creation of scientist and businessman William Cass and his wife Jeannette Cass, who live in the grounds. Read More →
In the mid-19th century, London had an unpleasant problem. An event known as “The Great Stink” brought a ghastly odor to all and even death to the most unfortunate.
The heart that pumped this engineering marvel became known as “the Cathedral of Sewage,” the Crossness Pumping Station.
But necessity is the mother of invention. From this foul situation, one of London’s greatest Victorian heroes came up with an engineering solution that saved lives and still serves us today – the magnificent feat of infrastructure that is the London sewerage system.
Thanks to its eponymous dessert, the Peakland town of Bakewell punches above its weight in terms of name recognition. However, it is the Bakewell Pudding that the town owes it success to – not the ‘tarted up’ variant made famous by Mr Kipling in the 1960s.
The pudding consists of a flaky pastry base covered with a layer of sieved jam and topped with a filling made of egg and almond paste. Culinary tourists still flock to Bakewell to try the local delicacy. Visitors on the hunt for this 19th century treat expect a certain archaism, which the small market town is more than happy to provide.
However, bubbling beneath its quaint exterior is a bitter dispute. Three shops, situated within 100 metres of each other, all claim that they alone have the original recipe for the Bakewell Pudding.Read More →
Discovered in 1835, the Margate Shell Grotto remains one of Britain’s biggest mysteries – a collection of subterranean mosaics, of unknown origin, made out of millions of sea shells. Secret pagan temple or the work of an eccentric gentleman? A trip to Kent isn’t complete without a stop at the enigmatic Margate Shell Grotto. Sandwich stop On a short weekend stay at the disarming tudor town of Sandwich (around the historic heart of the Cinque Ports), there wasn’t much that could be described as ‘odd’. So it was only right that I headed north for a day in the grittier Margate, the holiday destination ofRead More →
Ancient covens, the Devil’s homemade soup and an ethereal Julius Caesar – when it comes to Sussex folklore few places have as many associated legends as Chanctonbury Ring.
Since the Bronze Age this curious earthwork has held great significance to both Sussex natives and invaders from distant lands. Risking the wrath of ancient spirits, Odd Days Out has been to investigate why, to this day, legends and rumours persist around the area.Read More →
The two most important things to know about the new river are as follows: it is neither new, nor a river. It is, in fact, an aqueduct completed in 1613 built to deliver spring water from Hertfordshire to North London.
When it was originally designed, the aqueduct followed the natural features of the land, so its route twists and turns, creating a pathway through the London suburbs. Read More →
Just off the A30 is a spectacular series of ancient pillars, a snapshot of the Roman conquest of north Africa – the ruins of Leptis Magna, now known as the Temple of Augustus.
Odd Days Out has been to investigate how these ancient ruins found themselves intersected by an A road in otherwise leafy Surrey.Read More →
The Bata shoe factory looms incongruously out of the windswept marshlands of Essex.
Around the factory are hundreds of flat-roofed modernist houses. This is East Tilbury, once home to the Bata shoe works and company town.Read More →
An unassuming footpath, Framfield Number Nine had no pretensions to be anything other than a simple thoroughfare.
Then, in 1989 it was abruptly blocked by a barn. The footpath then found itself at the centre of a landmark legal battle that influenced two acts of Parliament and with the help of the Ramblers, helped strengthen walkers’ rights.Read More →