1st April, 2016
We were very saddened to learn of Zaha Hadid's death yesterday - an iconic architect and inspirational female figure of her time. Her legacy is surely one that will remain relevant for a very long time to come.
To celebrate her architecture, we thought we'd share our favourite architectural gems along our walking and cycling routes. They're not all as bold or groundbreaking as Hadid's work, but they are all unique and full of intrigue!
1. Sandwich in Kent
With a feast of medieval architecture, Sandwich boasts some of the best-preserved, half-timbered houses in the country. Within the old town walls, the many period houses, with their characteristic "Kent peg" roofs, are laid out in a street plan which has changed little since the creation of the Domesday book in 1086. For those who are green-fingered, a visit to ‘The Secret Gardens of Sandwich’ may be of interest. Encircled by the old stone city walls, these serene gardens surround the Grade I-listed manor house ‘The Saluation’, designed by English architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. Visit on many of our Kent cycling holidays.
2. Mont St Michel, France
With its slender spires, stout ramparts and rocky slopes rising dramatically from the sea and towering over sands laid bare by the receding tide, the stupendous abbey of Mont St-Michel is deservedly the most famous French landmark outside Paris. The abbey was first erected on an island at the very frontier of Normandy and Brittany more than a millennium ago and despite huge numbers of visitors, both the abbey and the narrow alleys below still manage to transport visitors back to the Middle Ages.
The island is almost entirely covered by medieval stone structures, encircled by defensive walls. Amazingly enough, less than a third of all visitors manage to climb high enough to reach the abbey itself at the summit! Visit on our gentle 'Brittany's Emerald Coast' cycling holiday.
3. Glenfinnan Viaduct, Scotland
The 21-arch Glenfinnan Viaduct was made famous as the location in Harry Potter films, with perhaps the most striking sequence filmed on the route of the steam-powered Jacobite Express, which follows the West Highland Line from Fort William to Mallaig in Scotland, as it crosses the Glenfinnan Viaduct.
The single track viaduct was one of the largest engineering undertakings using concrete without reinforcement, when it was built by Sir Robert McAlpine between 1897 and 1901. A trip on the Jacobite steam train along this stunning line is a fantastic experience but must be booked in advance, or you can watch out for the train crossing the viaduct at 11.20 am or 3.00pm - a magical moment for Harry Potter fans! Visit on our guided 'Highland & Hebrides' cycling holiday.