Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I reviewed Ultra-Processed People, a book by a British professor about the damage caused by our modern diet. Tina shared some of her recent reading, including a few books set in the British Isles.
PBS aired Kate Humble’s Coastal Britain in the spring. The show is currently available using the PBS Passport (a benefit of membership in your local PBS station).
Kate Humble’s Coastal Britain follows a similar format to Walking Through History, a show that I watched earlier this year. Each episode covers one walk, with brief stops for interviews with people who understand the local landscape and its history.
For the book lovers, Kate Humble brings an old (often Victorian) guidebook along for each of her journeys, so we learn what places looked like in the eyes of earlier travelers.
The show demonstrates the great variety in the British coastline, from high rocky cliffs to low-lying areas that are disappearing in coastal erosion. There are beaches of exposed rock, fine sand, and something in between that they called ‘shingle.’ I would call it ‘pebble.’
Human activity in coastal areas is as varied as the landscape. There’s fishing, of course. The show visits some places with a history of shipbuilding. We learn about everything from oyster-farming to Cold War nuclear-testing.
My favorite seaside occupation is tourism. Many villages are designed to accommodate visitors. I know Scarborough only as the site of a fair in a song, but it turns out to be a lovely Victorian seaside resort. Scarborough still has a beautiful beach, an iconic hotel, and a picturesque castle ruin as a landmark.
The Jurassic Coast of Dorset is the destination for Episode 3. I’m slightly more familiar with that location from books, movies, and my fantasy trip to Lyme Regis. I enjoyed the segment of exploring a rocky beach with a paleontologist and his hammer.
The six episodes that PBS broadcast were originally broadcast by Channel 5 in 2021. There have been two seasons since then, so we can hope for more lovely walks along the British coast.
One of my regrets about our 2014 visit to England was that we never experienced Britain as an island. The closest we got to the sea was Bristol Harbour, which feels more like a wide river. I would love to visit the coast as evidenced by some of my fantasy travel destinations like Margate, Berwick-upon-Tweed, and the aforementioned Lyme Regis. Where would you like to visit on the British coast?