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England From Two Perspectives

“Touring England” (Questar Video Communications, 65 minutes, 1989).

This is a well-photographed, well-narrated, traditional travelogue that visits many of the myriad tourist attractions of England, plus a few in Wales. What makes this video different is the inclusion of film clips of 20th-Century news events that are associated with some of the historic sights.

The video explores Dover and then Canterbury, indelibly imprinted with the tales of Chaucer and the murder of Thomas a Becket; the resort town of Brighton, and the naval port of Portsmouth, where Henry VIII’s salvaged ship, Mary Rose, and Lord Nelson’s flagship, Victory, are on view.

Elsewhere in southern England, the video moves to mysterious Stonehenge, several manor houses, Salisbury Cathedral, Plymouth and the ancient Roman spa of Bath.

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A visit to Shrewsbury includes the historic Iron Bridge, built in 1797, and a ride on an old steam train through the scenic countryside.

China and porcelain fanciers will be interested in the factories of Wegwood, Spode and Royal Dalton near Stoke-on-Trent and the Gladstone Pottery Museum at Longton.

Cardiff and Caernarfon are major stops on the side trip to Wales, where news film clips show the investiture of the Prince of Wales, and the voice of actor Richard Burton can be heard reminiscing about his homeland.

Tours are also of Liverpool, the home of the Beatles and a center for pop art; the Lake District, where William Wordsworth lived; York, with a visit to the National Railway Museum, and Haworth, the home of the Bronte sisters and the setting for Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights.”

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In Sherwood Forest, the Jerusalem Pub, “oldest in England,” is shown, as is Cambridge for the colleges and punting on the River Cam. At Windsor Castle, film clips show King Edward VIII making his abdication speech and a side trip takes in Runnymede and the John F. Kennedy Memorial.

In London, the film offers the usual tourist sights. Changing of the Guard, the homes of many of the famous persons who at one time or another made London their home, and film clips of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey. Also, the wedding of Prince Charles at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Other places cover Jack the Ripper’s London, St. James and Hyde parks, the theater districts of Picadilly Circus and Covent Garden.

Short trips out of London include Oxford University, Blenheim Palace, Stratford-on-Avon and medieval Warwick Castle.

At Coventry, viewers get to see the famous cathedral in ruins after World War II and scenes of its restoration.

No tips or travel recommendations are included in the video.

Tapes are available from Questar Video Communications, P.O. Box 11345, Chicago 60600, (800) 544-8422. Price is$29.95.

“Great Britain by Train, Legendary Journeys” (Taylored Video Services, 30 minutes, 1989).

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This is a promotional video describing the British rail system and despite, or perhaps because of, its commercial aspects, will be especially helpful to the traveler considering a tour by rail.

Highlighted with scenes of various destinations, including Wales and Scotland, the video and narration provide a wealth of information on such things as the economic advantages of rail travel and the different types of rail passes available--first-class, economy, youth, senior, etc.

It offers a reminder that passes must be purchased in the United States, not in Britain, how and where to obtain them, how to best use the system, when reservations are needed, the length of time for some trips, plus the availability of rail/drive packages.

There are interior scenes of rail cars, some of the rail stations and their facilities, plus views of the scenery from trains. The video is pleasant viewing even if you’re not planning to tour by rail.

Tapes are available from Taylored Video Services, 4401 Colwick Drive, Box 68, Charlotte, N.C. 28211, (704) 366-0404. Price: $19.95.


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