Tag: Portsmouth

A new addition to my list! Lunch on a private island


Guess what just came up on my Facebook feed?! Just off the coast of Portsmouth in southern England is a private island called No Man’s Fort and you can eat there! You get taken over by a boat from the mainland and have a 3 course meal……so this is DEFINITELY something I’d like to do. Already added to my bucket list!

I don’t know whether anyone gets this but creating a bucket list can feel as if you have to achieve everything NOW! As if we have to make sure that every weekend results in a tick off the list or at least I’m working towards ones. So, whilst I’d love to go to the fort this year, we may wait until next year. What’s on for this year? The list below may not seem like a lot but these fixed dates are on top of all the other things that I’m steadily working my way through like the voluntary work (aiming for 50 hours), visiting day trips to UK cities, etc…….oh, and also be mum, a wife and run my business!


  • going on a 3 day cruise to Belgium
  • half day experience with owls
  • my road trip to do things like sample whiskey in Scotland, explore Newcastle, tour the Peak District, walk through Alnwick Poison Gardens, visit Fountain Abbey ruins and go to Saltaire.



  • going to the Lordington lavender fields in West Sussex
  • afternoon tea at ‘Downtown Abbey’
  • go to the ‘Dino Snore’ adult sleepover at the Natural History Museum, London



  • eating at Dans le Noir, London where you eat in the dark http://london.danslenoir.com/en/home/
  • start a beginner’s course in a new language



  • going to see the Russian State Ballet


So, let’s see what the year ahead is going to bring!

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!