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Little Britain: 10 of the UK’s finest tiny sights | Travel

Tiny pier

Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset
Nothing says British seaside like a pier, and for example of British understatement, Burnham-on-Sea’s, at simply 37 metres lengthy, has no equal. The minuscule construction appears even smaller towards the huge expanse of sand and mudflats on which it sits. This coast experiences the second-highest tidal vary within the world (after the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia) and at low tide the ocean is a mile and a half away.

Britain’s shortest pier has a number of little shops promoting refreshments, and a bigger cafe than could be anticipated in such a small area (it seats simply greater than 100). But the pier’s true glory is its amusement arcade and bingo corridor. The pavilion that homes them takes up about three-quarters of the pier, leaving just a bit room on one aspect for these who choose to promenade exterior. In brief, it has all of the necessities of a pier with the bonus that it appears like a mannequin of a correct one, which by some means provides an additional layer to the leisure on supply.
• Open each day, free, burnham-on-sea.com

Tiny theatre

Tom Thumb Theatre, Margate, Kent
Despite Margate’s fame for up to date arts (that is the home of the Turner Contemporary), its significance within the historical past of the dramatic arts stays missed. The coastal resort is home to not solely the second-oldest working theatre within the UK (take a bow, Theatre Royal), but additionally Britain’s smallest Victorian theatre, or at the least Britain’s smallest theatre in a Victorian constructing. Sitting somewhat again from the ocean in Cliftonville, the Tom Thumb is so eclectic and glamorous that it will be value visiting even when it by no means placed on one other present (although fortunately there’s little signal of that taking place).

The Tom Thumb was not meant to be a theatre. It was inbuilt 1896 as a coach home. Red panels on the bottom ground give it extra the look of a fireplace station. Inside it is a slice of 19th-century Britain, from the flock wallpaper and the luxurious stage curtain to the 51 velvet seats in seven rows. Upstairs there’s a shabby-chic cocktail bar.

The stage is seemingly the smallest in a UK theatre, at three metres by two: it’s unlikely they’ll ever placed on a manufacturing of Les Misérables right here. However, there’s a stunning selection within the acts that do tread these boards. A packed season will typically embody experimental drama, efficiency artwork, spoken-word nights, storytelling, DJs, solo musicians, dwell bands and burlesque, and its pantomime is a sell-out yearly.

Despite its measurement, the venue has attracted well-known actors comparable to Rita Tushingham and Pauline McLynn, in addition to London theatre firms. Some day, maybe Margate can be often called the place with the sensible tiny theatre. Until then, the Tom Thumb is a cracking venue for an evening out.
• tomthumbtheatre.co.uk

Tiny pub

Interior view of The Nutshell Pub

Photograph: Alamy

The Nutshell, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Curiously, for an area so small – the inside measures simply 4½ metres by two – the Nutshell is stuffed with an terrible lot of odds and ends, not least a mummified cat. The blackened feline husk is actually not in need of company. Hanging off the ceiling, the partitions or anyplace else there’s room, are the severed heads of animals, hats, keys, outdated framed images, militaria, awards, a wood aeroplane propeller and far else moreover. Meanwhile, the ceiling and higher components of the partitions are plastered with a whole lot of overseas banknotes.

The paraphernalia is consistent with the pub’s early incarnation as a “Museum of Art and Curiosities”. The present house owners’ potted historical past of the pub says: “They [the then owners] offered visitors a wide variety of attractions including ancient musical instruments, relics from past wars and works of art in ivory and cardboard.” There have been additionally cork fashions of outstanding buildings within the city and of London landmarks comparable to Nelson’s Column.

The late John Peel, who made his home in Suffolk, turned up on the pub in 1984 for a Radio 1 roadshow. Broadcast to a spellbound nation was a profitable try to get the best variety of clients into the bar. The closing complete of 102 (and a canine) beat the earlier file by one. It’s not clear whether or not the good man was one of many 102 concerned within the feat however he was photographed standing exterior in a bomber jacket, clasping a pint and searching cheery, so one assumes not.
• Open each day 11am–11pm, thenutshellpub.co.uk

Tiny museum

Warley Museum, West Yorkshire

Warley Museum, West Yorkshire

The smallest museum in Britain can also be one in all its latest. In 2016, below British Telecom’s Adopt-a-Kiosk scheme, the Warley Community Association (WCA) took on a slightly forlorn and seldom-used phone field exterior the Maypole Inn within the centre of the small city. The committee finally voted to rework theirs right into a museum in regards to the city. To a lot fanfare, Warley Museum was opened in October 2016, with a brass band and morris dancers. The first displays included vintage jewelry, a fragrance atomiser, whistles and different home objects from Warley’s previous. The objects on show change each few months, with new displays in clear packing containers that will also be seen from exterior.
• Open each day 8am–4pm, free, warleyca.co.uk

Tiny distillery

Tourists pay a visit to Edradour distillery

Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Edradour, close to Pitlochry, Perthshire

Not solely is Edradour (Gaelic for “land between two rivers”) Scotland’s smallest whisky distillery, it additionally makes use of the smallest stills. Whisky professional Michael Jackson says: “Edradour is the last original ‘farm’ distillery … its stills are the smallest in Scotland and that must contribute to the distinctive richness of the malt.”

It was fashioned by a bunch of farmers in 1825 and made such a reputation for itself that it drew the eye of the American mafia. In 1938, Irving Haim, agent of New York capo Frank Costello, purchased shares in it. Three years later, in an unrelated incident, the cargo ship SS Politician ran aground off the island of Eriskay, disgorging her load of 28,000 instances of whisky, many from the Edradour distillery. The story was captured in Compton Mackenzie’s novel Whisky Galore, and a preferred Ealing comedy of the identical identify.

And all this time the distillery had been powered by a water mill. Only in 1947 was electrical energy put in. The company modified palms extra occasions (shedding its Mafia connection) and continued to introduce new whiskies comparable to 2003’s Ballechin (heavy on the peat) and 2013’s 18-year-old Edradour single malt.

Today there are excursions, a customer centre and a tasting bar. The whisky is matured and bottled on website, so guests can observe the entire operation. Unlike in most distilleries, not a single laptop is used within the course of, which has modified little for the reason that days of these Edradour farmers.
• Open Mon–Sat 10am–5pm (four.30pm winter), final tour 4pm (3pm winter). Adult £10, 12-17 years £5, no under-12s, edradour.com

Tiny church

The chapel bridge over the River Great Ouse at St Ives

Photograph: Alamy

St Ives Bridge Chapel, Cambridgeshire
Wander all the way down to the southern finish of this market city and also you’d be forgiven for considering you had been whisked away to France. Spanning the River Great Ouse is a 15th-century stone bridge that wouldn’t look misplaced over the Loire or the Lot.

About midway throughout is a curious box-like construction that seems to be dangling off a parapet. The church-like gothic home windows give a clue to its previous as a chapel, within the 16th century. A bridge could sound like a curious place to place a chapel however from the late medieval period as much as the Reformation it was all the fad –the thought being that travellers may obtain a blessing from a monk, and pay a small toll, earlier than persevering with with their harmful and unsure business journey.

The Reformation did for many of Britain’s bridge chapels, and whereas the St Ives chapel escaped demolition it by no means regained its standing as a holy place. Initially, it was transformed right into a residence for the native prior, then grew to become a physician’s surgical procedure, a toll-keeper’s home and, a pub known as Little Hell.

There’s a simplicity to the inside of the chapel. Aside from its gothic home windows, there’s not an important deal to counsel that it was as soon as a home of God. However, a steep flight of winding stairs leads all the way down to the crypt, with whitewashed partitions, stone ground and oak-beamed ceiling. A door from the crypt opens on to a Juliet balcony. Step out and you end up on prime of the river, in mid-stream.
• Free, normally open summer time weekends, however occasions and days fluctuate. To acquire entry, both e-book prematurely through the Norris Museum on the Broadway on the town, or name there to choose up the important thing (£20 deposit), donation to the museum appreciated

Tiny home

Thimble Hall, Youlgreave

Photograph: Jim Bell

Thimble Hall, Derbyshire
This residence is the smallest indifferent home within the UK just because its 18th-century builder couldn’t afford a bigger plot. The unknown villager clearly didn’t have a lot cash for the home both, as a result of it measures simply three.6 by three.1 metres and is a mere three.7 metres tall. It’s a one-up, one-down affair, with a ladder becoming a member of the 2 rooms. Bathroom and kitchen are luxuries by no means seen right here.

The Grade II-listed limestone constructing is within the Peak District village of Youlgreave and wouldn’t stand out from its good-looking fellows have been it not for its measurement. It has simply two small home windows on the entrance and a country lintel over a petite door. A flag-tiled roof helps a suspiciously modern-looking chimney stack. The constructing was final used for home functions again within the 1930s. A household of eight are stated to have lived in it shortly earlier than then.

It was purchased by Bruno Frederick, the Chesterfield ice-cream magnate, in 1999, and the household has now determined to show it into “a display case for a collection of thimbles” (one can see their considering there). Bruno’s son Jonathan introduced final yr that the household was additionally looking for planning permission to show the premises right into a boutique lodge – unsurprisingly the smallest within the land – for which they’d fee appropriately scaled-down furnishings. So guests could not solely be capable to feast their eyes upon what’s presupposed to be the world’s largest assortment of thimbles, however sleep amongst them too.
• Opening late 2018, thimblehall.co.uk

Tiny fortress

Wiston Castle, nr Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire

Photograph: Alamy

Wiston Castle, nr Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire
With greater than 600 of them, Wales holds the world file for the best variety of castles per sq. mile. Wiston Castle, on a hill within the far south-west, with a hoop of gorse protecting its decrease flanks is a traditional motte-and-bailey fortress. What makes it particular is that it was neither altered nor enlarged all through the Middle Ages. As one of many nation’s best-preserved motte- and-bailey castles, it offers guests some perception into the lives of these who inhabited it.

The fortress was nonetheless occupied within the 14th century – by a household named Wogan. A manor home was constructed close by and this considerably overshadowed the fortress, whose worth as a stronghold waned because the centuries progressed. By the 1700s, the motte had been relegated to quaint attraction on the manor property. Today, although very small compared with most Welsh castles, it stays an immaculate little piece of historical Welsh historical past.
• Free, cadw.gov.wales, open each day 10am–4pm

Tiny harbour

Seacliff Harbour and Tantallon Castle

Photograph: Alamy

Seacliff Harbour, East Lothian
Stand on the sandy seashore at Seacliff and a bunch of issues appeal to your gaze. Out to sea stands the spectacular Bass Rock, the stays of a volcano that blew its stack 320 million years in the past. Closer at hand is the define of Tantallon Castle on a neighbouring clifftop and the bay itself, a small cove dominated by lush sandstone rock formations.

For the cove’s most exceptional function, you both have to scramble up on to a tidal islet known as the Ghegan or climb to the upper land behind the bay. Then you’ll discover Seacliff’s minuscule hidden harbour, a meticulously crafted affair whose partitions have extra in widespread with the dressed stone of a cathedral.

A slim pure channel drives into the rock and a pointy flip to port is critical to manoeuvre one’s vessel into the extraordinarily slim entrance to the harbour, lower than three metres throughout. Back within the day there would have been loads of motion down within the tiny harbour. Little boats belonging to fishermen have been moored right here together with even smaller vessels whose house owners fished for salmon with stake nets. Today you would possibly catch the odd sea-kayaker, and divers doing coaching workout routines within the water.

Somehow, the calm that has descended on Seacliff harbour slightly fits the place – with a becoming soundtrack of water lapping towards its partitions.
• Free, £three cost for close by automobile park, undiscoveredscotland.co.uk

Tiny cinema

Bournemouth Colosseum Cinema seats

Bournemouth Colosseum, Dorset
With simply 19 seats, that is the UK’s smallest cinema. Opened in September 2013 contained in the Lavish Life store and artwork gallery within the suburb of Westbourne, it makes watching a movie a peculiarly intimate expertise; there’s even a two-seat “royal box”.

The cinema screens principally classics from the 1950s to the 1970s, with movies of concert or music documentaries each second Wednesday, and a supper membership twice per week, with a two-course meal tailor-made to the movie.

Fired by the success of the cinema, store proprietor Paul Whitehouse not too long ago opened a second, even smaller area on the identical premises: display 2 has simply eight seats. Official recognition because the smallest everlasting cinema within the UK is being sought from Guinness World Records.
• Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat 7.30pm £7.50pp, bournemouthcolosseum.co.uk

Dixe Wills’s Tiny Britain (AA, £16.99) is out now, to purchase a replica for £14.44 with UK p&p, go to guardianbookshop.com


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