Neil Cole's Adventures in Science Fiction: Museum of Sci-fi

Neil Cole's Adventures in Science Fiction: Museum of Sci-fi Welcome to my new page, detailing the creation of my new Museum/Art project: 'The Museum of Classic Science-Fiction'!
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Please note: the museum is not open yet! This page is to document the creation of a new permanent science-fiction museum in the north-east of England. I hope to open in about a year, (although I suspect it will be about a year and a half, as I’m the creative designer, builder and everything else in between!). The museum will be situated in Allendale Town- an extremely picturesque village in the North Pennines. Visitors to the museum will be able to find lovely coffee shops and amenities on hand, as well as stunning walks. The idea for the museum stemmed from my lifelong fascination with science-fiction. It tells the story of a young boy who dreamt of travelling to other planets- but didn’t quite make it. Instead, he had a lot of fun watching, reading, collecting, drawing, making and dreaming. From a handful of action figures and comics and staying up very late to catch old B&W movies with his Dad, this interest never waned. The museum sets out to tell a brief history of science-fiction from H.G.Wells to the current day through my experience of the genre. It will of course be biased to those movies, comics and ideas that have most affected me personally. The story will be told with many original, screen-used props and costumes, production items, animation cels and published artwork. This journey highlights the landmark worlds of Wells, ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Star Wars’, whilst also exploring key genre themes, such as robotics and dystopia. I will also be producing original, unique artwork for the museum. Keep checking back to the page to see the museum (and its inhabitants!) begin to develop over the next year or so…the countdown has begun… Neil Cole: Artist & Curator- 2015

Good morning everyone! Apologies for the silence...but I have been busily working on a short video for the first of my '...
30/03/2020

Good morning everyone! Apologies for the silence...but I have been busily working on a short video for the first of my 'Underrated Gems of Sci-Fi' talking points...so we can have an online natter about our SF guilty pleasures, but...suffered one software problem after another😨😨😨😨...sooooo frustrating!!!!! Anyway that will be with you soon- in the meantime, my talented Brother-in-law David Powell sent me his latest work on the Allendalek Mark 2😊😊😊😊...so this cheered me up considerably and I thought museum friends should see his progress! Looking forward to the time that we can have a double celebration...re-opening the museum and unveiling the Allendalek Mk 2!!!! Stay safe everyone...will speak again very soon!😊😊😊

23/03/2020

Exciting new exhibit for when we open! From 'Doctor Who' art- legend Colin Howard. This is the original, screen-used TARDIS console hand painted artwork from last year's animated recreation of the 2nd Doctor clsssic "The Macra Terror".

Greetings all. Well...we are apparently living in a John Wyndham novel for the forseeable future... As most regular foll...
21/03/2020

Greetings all. Well...we are apparently living in a John Wyndham novel for the forseeable future...

As most regular followers of this page and the museum probably know, beyond my curations and restorations in Allendale, I teach Art four days a week in a local school. I'm presently self isolating and looking after my two children...and now being their teacher...which is both strange and really nice at the same time.

In terms of the museum I generally treat what life throws at me these days as a challenge and (cliched I know) try and find the positives. Well...not having to open every few days is giving me the opportunity to take out all the large panes of glass on the display and plan and implement big changes to the exhibits....that was proving hard to do with the aforementioned opening times. I have new (and I think pretty exciting!) exhibits to go into the museum and I would appear now to have some time to strip out parts of the museum (as it has been for a good year now) and make some changes.

Whilst I mess about with strange creatures and mull SF in the museum quietly to myself... I just keep being reminded of the nine-year old me reading 'The Day of the Triffids'...and memories of the BBC's 'Survivors'...very surreal indeed. I'm pleased that I was able to add to the strange atmosphere descending on our little village by working on the museum's 'Skitter' ...from the american apocalyptic SF series 'Falling Skies'...he seemed to raise a few smiles from the occasional walker passing by.... Stay safe everyone and look after each other- all our love and positive thoughts from The Museum of Classic Sci-Fi💗

Neil Cole's Adventures in Science Fiction: Museum of Sci-fi's cover photo
20/03/2020

Neil Cole's Adventures in Science Fiction: Museum of Sci-fi's cover photo

Hello all! In light of the current climate and government advice, we feel it is only correct to close the museum for the...
16/03/2020

Hello all! In light of the current climate and government advice, we feel it is only correct to close the museum for the duration of the Corona crisis, to do our part to help stop any spread of the virus.What I suggest instead is that (especially if you have only really watched 'new Who') you dig into the wonderful world of classic Doctor Who from the comfort of your armchairs!!! This will prepare you fully to visit the museum and appreciate the classic era exhibits once we re-open! I will be working hard to update the displays and make the museum even better for then!

In the meantime....as many people following this page will know, I have been busily restoring the giant slug 'Mestor' from the 1984 Doctor Who story 'The Twin Dilemma'. One repair I was able to do was replace one of Mestor's arms (that had been on display for decades....and deteriorated) with another screen used arm in much better condition. A real piece of good fortune! I had some pieces of the removed arm leftover - and thought fans might like a chance to own a small piece of the giant slug for themselves. As I had done with a piece of the red Terileptil for the museum Kickstarter, I thought I would frame the small pieces of Mestor skin and offer them via the museum. However! Matt Doe of 'The Reliquary' already has a range of surviving original prop fragments (including many from classic era Doctor Who) and does a really tremendous job in presenting them to the highest quality.

So....it seemed an absolute no-brainer to work with Matt to create an new Reliquary/Museum of Classic Sci-Fi mini-prop display. Half the money comes to the museum- which really does help me keep the lights on and dehumidifiers running!!! I can assure you that the segment you receive has come direct from myself- and that it simply could not have been reinstated back into the Mestor costume. When I restore one of these wonderful old props it is paramount that the original material is respected and not lost. Occasionally, the rubber becomes hardened and cannot be put back- and in this case an entire new arm was able to replace the perished one. The skin segment you receive will be from the severely perished version that was unable to be kept as one. Also rest assured- the piece was 100% from the screen-used suit and was also on public display for several decades from 1984 to 2009. If you'd like to purchase one of the very limited Mestor skin segments - the link is below! https://www.movie-reliquary.com/product-page/doctor-who-mestor-gastropod-skin-segment?fbclid=IwAR1DFdM3sMUEGH4YbpIWsD_VS2in0_Cjq66IDDc_gMGIo-P0V5CXAd-rb5w

Hello everyone. Well...despite each day feeling increasingly like a new episode from Terry Nation's classic pandemic ser...
15/03/2020

Hello everyone. Well...despite each day feeling increasingly like a new episode from Terry Nation's classic pandemic series 'Surviviors'... Its been a great weekend at the musem. I always love it when I can add a new exhibit (no matter how big or small), as for me it increases the content for the visitor and adds to the museum narrative. Really chuffed this morning to add 'Valguard's chest armour from 'Terminus' beside 'The Garm' (both exhibits having appeared together in Doctor Who in 1983). It's exciting (and rare) to be able to reunite items props that have actually appeared in the samel scenes on screen together at the same time. I knocked up a display stand for the armour (originally worn by actor Andrew Burt) over the weekend and finally put it all on place this morning. So a little more of the classic show on permanent display for fans to visit😊. Right....hope everyone is staying safe and well...off to prepare some food for the little people!

14/03/2020

Hey, Lisa here:
With all the gloom of the past few days, here's a twinkle of positivity! ⭐
Training of the new Star Fleet Cadet is in progress... that finger thing and pasta statement is a bit tricky to learn!....

The latest Allendalek Mk 2 news....
10/03/2020

The latest Allendalek Mk 2 news....

Just completed two hours sculpting around Mestor's right eye! A little more damage to the foam rubber than I first thoug...
09/03/2020

Just completed two hours sculpting around Mestor's right eye! A little more damage to the foam rubber than I first thought....had to consolidate the right side of 'the nose'😂
... And then very repairs to the top 'under' eyelid!!! Just one part of a complex retoration job! Last week involved creating a new stable base for both the torso and feet...so woodwork!!! Right off for a brew!!!😁😁😁😁😁

All is extremely hectic at museum HQ!!!! Whilst I work on repairing Mestor's face...my Brother in law David Powell has j...
09/03/2020

All is extremely hectic at museum HQ!!!! Whilst I work on repairing Mestor's face...my Brother in law David Powell has just sent me the latest progress pics of The Allendalek Mk 2!!!! The steel Dalek....slowly takes shape!!!!😁😁😁😁😁😁

Neil Cole's Adventures in Science Fiction: Museum of Sci-fi's cover photo
06/03/2020

Neil Cole's Adventures in Science Fiction: Museum of Sci-fi's cover photo

Every so often something wonderful happens (as Dave Bowman was oft heard saying) that has tremendous personal significan...
01/03/2020

Every so often something wonderful happens (as Dave Bowman was oft heard saying) that has tremendous personal significance. Growing up I always wanted to be an artist (in some media or other...sculptor, a comic artist...or bass player...or whatever!!!) and drawing and painting have always been so important to me. As a die-hard classic Doctor Who fan, the DW Target books and then VHS cover artworks became part of my artistic foundations, such was their visual impact upon my young mind.

A handful of artists in this field I came to adore and never (in a million years!) did I think I would open a museum featuring some of their original work- let alone meet or talk to them in person. I have had the great pleasure in getting to know (in one way or another!) Andrew Skilleter, Jeff Cummins (over a pint of Guinness- hooray!!!) and Pete Wallbank. I am so proud to be able to exhibit original, published artwork from two of the aforementioned artists in the museum.

The name missing from the above list is Colin Howard - an artist whom I have admired forever- whose work I first noticed gracing the covers of DWM, followed by a series of some of the most beautiful and rich covers for the BBC VHS releases in the 90's. Colin's work is fastidious and features meticulous texturing and colouring. Recently I was finally able to get an original 'Howard' to exhibit in the museum (news to follow shortly) coming from Colin's recent work as background painter on the BBC's animated classic Doctor Who reconstructions. This work is currently being framed and will go on display shortly....

Finally(!) to the real point of this post- Colin has just completed a new painting of 'The Brain of Morbius'- a wonderful composition illustrating this much loved true gem of the Fourth Doctor's era. But for me- I was absolutely blown away when Colin had announced he had placed my name into the painting (on Philip Madoc's shoulder!!!). Another of those surreal moments.... THANK YOU Colin- that means such a lot!!! Check out Colin's range of prints spanning his Doctor Who career at ColinHowardArtwork.com. His VHS covers can be found there and are some of the best Who hand painted artwork in the field!

Rarely am I lost for words...but from the sublime hands of 'DoctorDave Customs' I am now an action figure as part of the...
24/02/2020

Rarely am I lost for words...but from the sublime hands of 'DoctorDave Customs' I am now an action figure as part of the extremely limited 'Allendalek' figure set!!!!😮😮😮😮😮😮😮😮😮

Hello everyone! Despite the horrendous weather, a huge thank you to the intrepid souls who made it to the museum over th...
23/02/2020

Hello everyone! Despite the horrendous weather, a huge thank you to the intrepid souls who made it to the museum over the last week- it was lovely to meet you all!😊 My laptop has died and so (as I am so useless typing on my phone)- keeping up to date online has been frustratingly difficult- applogies if I have missed anything! Anyway...here's a Mestor restoration update- I can feel the clock counting down as I write!!!! Well as for the giant slug lord...I have now rotated and refixed his left hand (still need to sculpt in a join between hand and wrist and blend in with some Hessian)...next- after nearly a day(!) I managed to remove the withered right arm...(see pics) and repair it's (also original) replacement..I feel very lucky to have been able to find another screen used arm!!!! I've foam filled the replacement to ensure it's longevity. I've also tested the new wooden base to place the entire lash up...and even sourced his original feet!!!! Work starts on some repainting on the head next....some of the rubber has gone from the face leaving the orange foam exposed. But overall...going well!!!😊😊😊😊😊

16/02/2020

Mestor...restoration week 2. Been a heavy week teaching, so great to get back to rhe interstellar kebab-slug lord!!!! If I sound out of breath it's because Mestor currently resides on the fourth floor!!!!😂😂😂😂😁

10/02/2020

And the Doctor Who Monster restoration madness begins again this morning....

Back to drawing Daleks today! Coloured pencils on A4! Getting ready for the Capitol! This will be a limited edition art ...
09/02/2020

Back to drawing Daleks today! Coloured pencils on A4! Getting ready for the Capitol! This will be a limited edition art card sold on the day at our display!😊

You heard it here first folks....!
07/02/2020

You heard it here first folks....!

We're off to 'The Capitol'!!!! Please do stop and say hello!!! Thank you DWAS!!! And yes....will be unveiling a restored...
28/01/2020

We're off to 'The Capitol'!!!! Please do stop and say hello!!! Thank you DWAS!!! And yes....will be unveiling a restored Mestor...his first public appearance since 2009!!!! Will be carefully transporting his Giant Slugness and a few other interesting pieces that I can fit in the car!

As part of our 'Space Museum' Exhibition we’re delighted to welcome the Museum of Classic Sci-Fi, Allendale to The Capitol.

Among the exhibits they will be displaying are the restored original costume of Mestor from “The Twin Dilemma”.

#thecapitolevent

A sort of bloggy/post this week! I'm tremendously excited and grateful to the Doctor Who Appreciation Society (DWAS) for...
27/01/2020

A sort of bloggy/post this week! I'm tremendously excited and grateful to the Doctor Who Appreciation Society (DWAS) for supporting the museum by both inviting me to their CAPITOL convention in London in April and by publishing an article in their long running magazine 'Celestial Toyroom'....a lovely article by Whonatics founder and great friend Simon Horton is appearing in the soon to be published issue 502! Details of the issue can be found at the link to the DWAS site at the end of this ramble!

My gratitude is heartfelt- backing and encouragement from DWAS is precisely the type of support and exposure the museum needs to ensure it flourishes. I keep saying this....but the museum truly is a labour of love- not a massive profit-making operation. It is my attempt to rekindle the experiences of the classic exhibitions at Blackpool and Longleat and protect as many of the (now extremely fragile) exhibits and ensure fellow fans can have access to them all year round.

I truly miss my monthly drive to Blackpool to visit the old friends I would find there. Obviously I have found much personal joy in having the (unexpected) honour of being able to stabilise and restore some of the actual exhibits that I used to drive and see. Sadly as a another collection of classic BBC Doctor Who exhibits found there way back on the market recently, it became very clear precisely how much care these pieces need: many of the returned collection were damaged beyond repair. It is my promise to fandom that so long as I draw breath, I will endeavor to ensure pieces that are in the museum collection are preserved and given the proper attention they need and in addition put back onto public display as soon as possible.

I couldn't afford to pay anyone to do the restoration work for me...but the hours, days and often years(!) I have been able to spend utilising my own life-acquired skills in the arts, I am again grateful to be able to put to some meaningful use developing this Doctor Who museum. And this leads me back to the DWAS. This is a museum created by a lifelong fan for fans- plain and simple. I only charge as I have overheads and desperately want the museum to be here for a very long time- not subject to the waxing and waning interest and viewing figures subject of the BBC.

Without the encouragement of large bodies like the DWAS (and publications like the wonderful 'Infinity Magazine') it is difficult to reach fellow fans easily. I work like hell on the FB page (but I still teach in the week and am a parent...so time is always a challenge!) but when organisations help- it makes such a difference. I have struggled to gain any interest from DWM- a shame because as fundamentally a fan- I would want to know of a similar exhibition or museum that I could visit! If anyone reading this has any contacts with the magazine who could point them my way...that would be fantastic. The museum is a very serious history of classic Who - not 'a collection room' (although that is how it all started!!!) and features without doubt one of the largest collections of original classic surviving items now in the UK! Please like and share the page to help! Apologies for the length of this....again if you read it all: THANK YOU!!!! http://www.dwasonline.co.uk/node/1412?fbclid=IwAR2bwtd91Csu72tVPVYd--F4GUk0c5R97cFwhDA59GU8oRmJe5Iz-paJlA4

Hello everyone!  I do apologise…..this is a long one….but for those interested (and to those who have supported us for s...
20/01/2020

Hello everyone! I do apologise…..this is a long one….but for those interested (and to those who have supported us for so long)…the big Allendalek update is here….alongside what I feel is a necessary update since last summer…..

It has been a full year since a local parish councillor ignited the bewildering machinations of the Northumberland County Council planning team - whom began their concerted actions to stop our fledgling new enterprise from even getting off the ground. Thanks to support from so many local residents, various press and many, many supporters from far beyond the Allen-valleys we managed to achieve a reprieve from the NCC. Bust sadly, it was not for the two years we asked for, one County Councillor felt that a year was sufficient (he must never have started up a small tourist related business before I’m guessing….).

I have remained quiet on our progress to find a long-term solution to the museum’s problem. I have sat in the museum since last summer and continued to watch walkers and visitors pose and take photos with the Dalek…despite the conclusion at the NCC committee meeting suggesting that I no longer needed it (the Dalek ‘had done its job now’) - inferring that all the visitors who may travel to Allendale have now done so! Well…the good news: people have continued to journey to the museum and we have hit over 3,000 visitors (since opening)! This month the museum is receiving a feature article in the national/worldwide DWAS (Doctor Who Appreciation Society) magazine- a big deal: the magazine is read by a larger audience of Doctor Who and genre fans than we have managed to reach so far. Furthermore we are guests of this year’s DWAS convention in London and will be promoting the museum and Allendale as a visitor destination. The question remains- does NCC really want to continue to support discouraging those fans who may soon want to visit our region for the only Doctor Who/SF dedicated museum in the country????

So, what has happened since last summer…

On the 24th September 2019, I tried one last time to appeal for some ‘support’ from the NCC planning team, asking them for some basic advice over what they would consider in place of the shed. I was not trying to shirk any payment to them, merely trying to ascertain what TYPE of construction I should pursue in planning (i.e. a glass terrarium? Stone extended structure? Etc…). We don’t possess the finances to employ professional planners to create a submission, only for it to be turned down to start yet again from scratch. So- all I was asking for was the merest hint of a ‘starting point’: glass structure (so you could see the stone wall behind) – ‘Yes’ worth pursuing or ‘No’ –absolute non-starter. Sadly, my attempts at working with the team proved pointless as they replied that they could not offer any advice in this matter. This resulted in me questioning (since they clearly knew what they DID NOT want) if they actually knew what they did? I began to question the professionalism of the department itself. They could offer no advice (as a team of professional planners) as to a possible, mutually agreeable solution (I have added excerpts from the emails for those who like detail!!!!).
They then began make planning decisions that illustrated extremely clearly that (in contradiction to everything they had told me) there could be areas of grey in their planning decisions. The planning decisions regarding conservation areas and Grade 2 listed buildings were NOT in fact black and white after all (a point that I already knew and had stated at the committee meeting in the summer). To my incredulity the following planning decisions were ALLOWED by the same NCC team who refused presence of the shed: a concrete helipad on moorland within a conservation area (passed), broadband cable trunking to the front of a Grade 2 Listed bridge (passed…metres from the museum) and even- substantially sized plastic window frames replacing wooden ones in a local Grade 2 listed school (passed because the school was- quote- ‘not Hogwarts’). Well ‘The Peth’ in Allendale is also not a ‘Harry Potter’ fictional location.

The solution:

Realising that trying to work with this team seemed extremely difficult, if not impossible, we needed to approach the problem from a different angle. Both the local parish councillor (so I have been reliably informed) and the planning team (at the committee meeting) all stated that ‘it was not the Dalek’ that was the problem- but the offending shed. So…we decided to take them on their word. A Dalek in itself is not a ‘structure’- but an object. Some people have bird feeders outside their houses (listed or otherwise), some have gnomes or even large sculpted toadstools and others may even park a Japanese motorbike in front of their domain. We are going to have an ornamental Dalek sculpture. A life-size, movable, steel, 1:1 accurate Shawcraft (1960 era) classic Dalek.

Unlike the Allendalek Mark 1, the ‘Allendalek Mark 2’ will be able to stand outside in all-weather owing to its construction from steel (like many large garden ornaments found in garden centres). For those un-familiar with Daleks, the ‘Allendalek Mark 1’ is an NSD (or new series dalek)- these are larger than the classic. The ‘Allendalek Mark 2’ will be a slightly neater classic version and should look extremely smart stood outside for passers-by (and will hopefully help to continue to attract visitors to our wonderful village and area). And do not fear! The original Allendalek is going to be professionally mounted on a road worthy trailer (behind glass) and parked legally in place of the Volvadis (which was only ever a temporary siting owing to it’s fragility….mother nature is beginning to take its toll on the old thing!). What’s more, the trailered Allendalek mark 1 will be towable and available for appearances at local events (like the summer fayre etc) on request to help the community.

So when does building of the ‘Allendalek mark 2’ begin? It already has…..! My extremely talented Brother-in-law David Powell is well underway and has built an accurate 1960’s steel Dalek skirt. Those (like myself!) who have built Daleks from timber and fibreglass will know how challenging making one from steel actually is. The pictures attached illustrate the passion and commitment David has for the museum and ‘The Allendalek’ and I will be posting more updates as work progresses! Looking forward to unveiling the new Dalek in the summer. If you got to the end of this post- a HUGE THANK YOU!!!! To Victory!!!!!

Address

Osborne House
Allendale Town
NE47 9BJ

Opening Hours

Monday 10:00 - 16:00
Friday 10:00 - 16:00
Saturday 10:00 - 16:00
Sunday 10:00 - 16:00

Telephone

01434618655

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Please note: the museum is NOW OPEN!!! This page is to document the creation of a new permanent science-fiction museum in the north-east of England. I hope to open in about a year, (although I suspect it will be about a year and a half, as I’m the creative designer, builder and everything else in between!). The museum will be situated in Allendale Town- an extremely picturesque village in the North Pennines. Visitors to the museum will be able to find lovely coffee shops and amenities on hand, as well as stunning walks. The idea for the museum stemmed from my lifelong fascination with science-fiction. It tells the story of a young boy who dreamt of travelling to other planets- but didn’t quite make it. Instead, he had a lot of fun watching, reading, collecting, drawing, making and dreaming. From a handful of action figures and comics and staying up very late to catch old B&W movies with his Dad, this interest never waned. The museum sets out to tell a brief history of science-fiction from H.G.Wells to the current day through my experience of the genre. It will of course be biased to those movies, comics and ideas that have most affected me personally. The story will be told with many original, screen-used props and costumes, production items, animation cels and published artwork. This journey highlights the landmark worlds of Wells, ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Star Wars’, whilst also exploring key genre themes, such as robotics and dystopia. I will also be producing original, unique artwork for the museum. Keep checking back to the page to see the museum (and its inhabitants!) begin to develop over the next year or so…the countdown has begun… Neil Cole: Artist & Curator- 2015

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Comments

you are spot on with your comment on the retconing of Doctor Who. Well said sir, very well said. We can only hope that the last two seasons are retconed...out of existence.
A great visit today to Neil's wonderful museum. A true labour of love. Drove from near Chester with my mate Pete from Liverpool specifically to visit it. Thoroughly enjoyed both the infectious enthusiasm of the curator and the many exhibits.
Did you get the Dalek bits?
Come and share your sci-fi stories. Thank for sharing!
Neil Cole : We have a couple of new additions to the Emporium to celebrate The Rise of Skywalker! 😁
You're welcome :D
Remind us never to move our museum into a listed building. Keep battling Neil...😉
happy 1st birthday to the museum from the dr who collectors club
happy 1st birthday from the Dr who collectors club
Daleks, Cylons and Apes… Oh My! ………..and we weren’t in Kansas anymore, but Allendale. Myself, Karyn and our friend Gary were recently lucky enough to be able to pay the Sci-Fi Museum a visit in person recently. So glad we did, it is a perfectly formed microcosm of all things Science Fiction. Thank you Neil for such a warm welcome, it was great to finally meet you in person. The ‘sneak peek’ of what is yet to come was very much appreciated, thanks to you and Lisa for allowing us to see that. The Museum is expertly laid out and utilising the available space perfectly, with many interesting exhibits from Literature, Art, TV and the Big Screen, all accompanied by equally interesting information, lighting and soundscapes. So much more to see and experience than we had anticipated, there is such a wide range of screen used artefacts, costumes, props, artwork to see and appreciate, we all came away both enriched and satisfied. I love the timeline theme of Science Fiction through the ages, so many of my favourites being represented and a few I was previously unaware of and will now endeavour to track down and watch. All the hard work that has gone into the museum is abundantly evident and you and the family should be very proud of what you have achieved. Your museum had the same vibe and reminded us of the many Sci-Fi / Doctor Who exhibitions we have been to over the years, Blackpool, Longleat, Llangollen to name a few. We look forward to a return visit, however as it's an 8 hour drive from where we live the sooner they invent the teleport the better! 😀