Tag: Liverpool

English cities. Most of them not as old as I thought!


Last year, I was asked to work in Exeter. I very rarely go away with work so I booked a hotel and thought I might as well make the most of being away from home. So, I went into the city centre one evening and a trip into Dartmoor to take photos that would be later shared on TripAdvisor. Dartmoor is stunning with its winding streets, hedgerow and ponies. And it just made me realise how I don’t know much about England, beyond a couple of trips and what I know from the tv! To me, a holiday meant going abroad with the plane or ferry would be an important factor and I would turn up my nose at the thought of a trip in England. I can admit it….I was wrong. I’m pleased to say that since then, I’ve been getting out and about, and have now discovered Bath, Salisbury, Canterbury and Chichester as well as other parts of the country like the Cotswolds, Castle Combe which is regularly voted one of the prettiest villages in England, etc. And this all ties into 2 of the 50 things to do before I turn 50 1) to visit 10 UK cities and 2) to visit all of England’s 48 ceremonial counties.

Regarding the cities, I’ve discovered that England has 51 so I’ve got a wide choice to choose from but what make a city? A cathedral? Historically yes but not now, especially since the industrial revolution and urbanisation that saw some areas swell in population (and didn’t have a cathedral). As shown below, that will explain why most cities have only been recognised as such as in fairly recent times. The 1907 policy agreed by the Home Office and monarchy set out that a city must fulfil three criteria:

  • A minimum population of 300,000.
  • A “local metropolitan character”—this implied that the town had a distinct identity of its own and was the centre of a wider area
  • A good record of local government


Some cities have had their status since time immemorial meaning since before memory and, in the England, these are: Canterbury, Durham, Exeter, Hereford, Lichfield, City of London, Wells, Winchester, Worcester and York. Out of these, Wells has the smallest population and I plan to go there next month.


And the others?

11th century: Bath (1090), Chichester (1075), Lincoln (1072), Norwich (1094),  

12th century: Carlisle (1133), Coventry (1102), Ely (1109), 

13th century: Salisbury (1227)

14th century: none

15th century: none

16th century: Bristol (1542), Chester (1541), Gloucester (1541), Oxford (1542) Peterborough (1541), City of London (1540)

17th century: none

18th century: none

19th century: Birmingham (1889), Bradford (1897), Kingston Upon Hull (1897), Leeds (1893), Liverpool (1880), Manchester (1853), Newcastle Upon Tyne (1882), Nottingham (1897), Ripon (1836), St. Albans (1877), Sheffield (1893), Truro (1877), Wakefield (1888) 

20th century: Cambridge (1951), Derby (1977), Lancaster (1937), Leicester (1919), Plymouth (1928), Portsmouth (1926), Salford (1926), Southampton (1962), Stoke on Trent (1925), Sunderland (1992), 

21st century: Brighton and Hove (2000), Chelmsford (2012), Preston (2002), Wolverhampton (2000)


So, who would have thought that Cambridge has been recognised as a city for less than 70 years! It became a city only as it was the one remaining ancient seat of learning in the UK which wasn’t a city or royal borough.

So, the other 5 cities I plan to go to? Wells next month and then Plymouth, Truro, Newcastle and Leeds will probably complete my list….but it doesn’t stop me from visiting all of the others!

On the lookout for more ideas for my list


So, with February almost over, there are a few things that I’ve been able to tick off this month from my bucket list: go up to the viewing deck of The Shard, learn to play the ukulele, do a snow angel and visit another UK city, Chichester.

But this month has seen a couple of really exciting new things go in the diary for later this year like doing an adult-only sleepover at the Natural History Museum with hubby in July (which looks like an action-packed night and, if we do get any sleep, it’ll be in the Hintze Hall underneath a 25-metre suspended blue whale skeleton) and we’ve also booked a table at Dans le Noir, London for September where you literally eat in the dark!

And it won’t be long until a friend and I embark on a short cruise on P&O Ventura where we’ve booked ourselves in a suite to be spoilt rotten with butler service! We’re getting SO excited about this and need to get buying our clothes for the glamorous dinners. It’ll be a great precursor to a longer cruise to Scandinavia and Russia with hubby.


I have spent way too much time today looking online at other people’s bucket lists and haven’t even made a dent on the long list of reports I need to write! But seeing other people’s ideas is a source of inspiration and I think I might add a trip on the Orient Express……with someone special in mind. And, being a lifelong Liverpool FC fan, perhaps go and see them play?

So, in March, I plan to visit England’s smallest city of Wells, continue with my weekly volunteering for teenagers with complex general learning difficulties and, in typical Sarah-style,………start some church-bell ringing training,!!!!!