Belfast is a lively and exciting city known for its music, nightlife and university.
But it was once famous for something which made headlines around the world. Years of conflict known as the Troubles left thousands dead.
One community, who are mostly Protestant Christians, wanted Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom. The other community, who are mostly Catholic Christians, wanted it to join up with the Irish Republic. People on the extremes of both sides used violence.
Fortunately, those days are over. But these murals are a reminder of the past. They can be found all over Belfast, painted on walls and houses.
The art showed support for one side or the other and symbolised a divided community. But now many murals are being preserved as an important part of the city’s history. I’ve come to meet Tim McCarthy.
Amandeep: Hi there, Tim. Hello, thanks so much for meeting me.
He has studied the murals and what they can tell us about the history of conflict here.
Amandeep: Tim, can you tell me about images like this?
Tim: Images like this are very common in working-class areas in Northern Ireland.
Amandeep: And what does it tell us about the history of the area?
Tim: Well, this particular community will have felt as if they were under pressure from the other community and therefore it contains a lot of defensive, militaristic kind of imagery.
Amandeep: And what about images from the other community?
Tim: You will find similar imagery, but the symbolism is very slightly different - a different use of colour but the content will be very similar.
Amandeep: And what is Belfast city like now?
Tim: Belfast is very different in the last few years. We’ve had a lot of investment, everyone feels better, feels more relaxed and a lot of the murals that are going up actually reflect this.
New murals are appearing in the city. Many people feel these new images are more appropriate for a community which wants to leave the violent past behind.
People have been working hard to achieve a lasting peace in Northern Ireland. Many projects try to bring both sides closer together. Here at the Conway Community Centre, Tim is helping young people develop their skills and produce new artworks.
Young Woman: In Northern Ireland it’s very important for there to be an arts scene. Because instead of violence, instead of expressing yourself through alcohol or drugs, you can turn to the arts scene. It’s safe and it’s a good form of expression.
Young Man 1: I think street art is important for any city because it gives the city a kind of character.
Young Man 2: Without art in a country it would be very dull.
Tim gave me a lesson in his style of street art.
Amandeep: Tim, how significant is the street art scene in Belfast today?
Tim: Well, it is quite small, but it’s growing all the time with the help of the internet obviously. People can see what’s happening globally and they want a little piece of that on their doorstep.
There is a saying that art reflects society. People here are glad that the new art murals reflect a more prosperous and peaceful Northern Ireland.
Before you watch
Think about the following questions:
- Why do people draw graffiti?
- Does it ever have a place in the city?
Watch Amandeep as she goes to Belfast to see its famous murals.
Ashlie and Stephen are off to Northern Ireland, the smallest part of the United Kingdom. They visit the famous Giant's Causeway, learn to surf and chase ghosts in some of Northern Ireland's romantic ruined castles.
Meanwhile, Amandeep finds out a little more about the recent history of this area - and meets the young artists who are changing Belfast's look.
Next we’re heading north.
I’ve come to Cairngorm National Park in Scotland, home to 5 out of 6 of the tallest mountains in Britain, and what’s more, I'm going to get to the top of that mountain without losing my breath!
If you don’t fancy the hour and a half walk to the top, like me, you can ride the Cairngorm Mountain Railway.
Richard: Hiya. One ticket for the funicular, please.
The journey is 2km long, which makes this the highest railway journey in Great Britain. The train takes us to the top of the mountain – nearly 2000 metres above sea level. Now this is what I call mountain climbing…
It only takes about 7 minutes to get to the top and it’s the best way to experience the peaks in all weather conditions.
And here we are right at the top. It might be very windy, but just look at the views – absolutely incredible.
The views across Cairngorm National Park are stunning and you can see why this is Britain’s largest nature reserve.
Colin Kirkwood knows the Cairngorms better than most and works at the Mountain Railway.
Richard: What can we see at the top of Cairngorm mountain?
Colin: Well, you get a wonderful view from here. Looking down you can see over Loch Morlich, which is a famous beauty spot in this area, but you also get wonderful views of the surrounding mountains. You can see Ben Nevis, Scotland's highest mountain, to the west, and to the north, some eighty miles away, you can see Ben Hope.
Richard: Great Britain has a lot of mountains. What makes this one stand out?
Colin: Well, this is the sixth highest mountain in Britain. It's also a wonderful place for people to come to walk, to climb and, of course, to enjoy snow sports.
Richard: What kind of wildlife can we see?
Colin: Well, if you're lucky, you may see ptarmigan on the mountain, it's kind of like an iconic bird for this area, and also a dotterel, which is a rare and protected species, and you might well see some mountain hare as well.
Richard: What do you love most about it?
Colin: Well, I think it's a very special place to work. To me, it's a real privilege to be able to work in this kind of mountain environment and to enthuse about it to other people and attract them to coming here.
Another one of Scotland’s famous landmarks is Loch Ness. It’s 37km long and 239m deep at the deepest point, and some say it has its own monster!
The Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland is just a short trip across the water. This world heritage site is the most popular tourist attraction in the area.
Around 40 thousand rock columns were formed by the eruption of a volcano here, thousands of years ago. The tallest of the columns are around 12 metres high.
The British coastline offers both beauty and variety.
This is the Jurassic coast in Dorset. It could be as old as a quarter of a billion years and that amazing arch is called Durdle Door, and it’s one of the most photographed landmarks along this coast.
Durdle Door is a huge natural limestone arch near to Lulworth Cove on the south coast of England and is owned by the Lulworth Estate.
This area is part of 153km of natural World Heritage coastline. It’s a geological or rock formation walk through time.
Looking after this countryside is an important job.
Sarah Spurling is a countryside ranger.
Richard: Wow! A beautiful sunset, Sarah. Is this the best time to see Durdle Door?
Sarah: It's a lovely time to see it. It's lovely every time of day, but it's pretty beautiful, isn't it?
Richard: Yeah, absolutely. Tell me about the actual rock itself.
Sarah: Well, Durdle Door is a beautiful limestone arch, carved out with the power of the sea. It could be at least a thousand years old and it's one of the most magnificent features in Britain.
Richard: How exactly did it form?
Sarah: Well, Durdle Door used to be part of a big wall of rock that joins up with rocks you see in the water. That would have been the old coastline many thousands of years ago. The sea's worn it down over many years, leaving behind the rocks that you see now. The softer rocks behind it were eroded much more quickly, leaving Durdle Door sticking out into the water.
Richard: This whole coastline is really special, isn't it?
Sarah: Yeah, it is. I mean, it's special because of wonderful natural features like Durdle Door, also the sheer variety of landscapes and environments you can enjoy.
Richard: And it's quite environmentally sensitive.
Sarah: The nature of the landscape round here means that the area has escaped much of the development and modern farming that you see in other areas, and so the features and the wildlife that remain are good examples of what once may have been common.
Richard: Thanks, Sarah. Shall we enjoy the view?
Sarah: Let's enjoy the view.
Do you know what? I’ve truly discovered the most amazing countryside, and it’s all here in Great Britain.
Ashlie: You are late!
Stephen: I’m sorry, Ashlie. I’ve got great news. I’ve been offered a real acting job.
Ashlie: Well, that’s fantastic. What’s the job?
Stephen: I’m going to be playing Shakespeare. His plays are amazing.
Ashlie: Oh Stephen, I’m so pleased, that is great news.
Stephen: I know. I’ve got to go and collect my costume from the Globe Theatre now. It’s just round the corner.
Ashlie: The Globe! That is where Shakespeare’s plays were performed in London. I have always wanted to go to the Globe. I’ll come with you.
Stephen: This is my big chance. Every actor wants to be in a Shakespeare play.
Ashlie: I can’t believe you got a proper job as an actor.
Stephen: Can’t believe it? Really?
Ashlie: No, honestly. It’s great. I’m really impressed.
Stephen: Well, I think theatre people can recognise real talent when they see it.
Ashlie: Real talent, eh?
Stephen: It’s all about characters. Shakespeare created great characters. Kings, princes, heroes like Hamlet. I’d make a great Hamlet. To be or not to be. That is the question.
Ashlie: To be or not to be – late. Come on Stephen, get a move on!
Stephen: Wow – this is amazing!
Ashlie: I know. Can you imagine life here in Shakespeare’s time?
Stephen: Yes – no mobile phones, no computers, no Facebook. How would we survive?
Tour Guide: Hello. Welcome to the Globe Theatre. This is where the tour begins.
Tour Guide: So the original Globe was built not far from here in the late 1500s. Shakespeare was one of the owners of the theatre and his plays were performed there for many years.
Ashlie: So what happened to the first Globe?
Tour Guide: The first Globe Theatre actually burnt down in 1613. It was during a performance of Henry VIII and a stage cannon accidentally set fire to the roof.
Tour Guide: OK, it’s this way to the costume exhibition.
Stephen: You can really get a sense of what history was like in a place like this. The whole world’s a stage and all men and women are mere players.
Ashlie: Come on, Stephen, you’re not on stage now. We’re going.
Stephen: Is this really what the actors would have worn?
Tour Guide: Yes, these are copies of traditional costumes as they would have been in Shakespeare’s day.
Ashlie: Can I ask a question? Did they have women in the acting troupe or was it just men?
Tour Guide: No, men and boys acted out all of the female roles so these costumes would all have been worn by men. OK, so moving on...
Ashlie: What’s wrong?
Stephen: I’m not really into history. I’m going to pick up my costume and I’ll see you later.
Ashlie: OK. See you in a bit.
Stephen: So, Ash, what do you think of this?
Ashlie: It’s fantastic. I love the hat.
Stephen: I know, it’s a pretty amazing costume. I must be playing a prince or a king or someone really important.
Ashlie: That’s great, Stephen. Maybe you have the lead role?
Stephen: That’s it – you’re right. The director must have seen my star qualities.
Ashlie: Star qualities, eh?
Stephen: Yeah. I was born to be a star. I’ve got so much talent!
Do the Preparation task first. Then watch the video. Next go to Task and do the activity. If you need help, you can read the Transcript at any time.
Before you watch
Think about the following questions:
- Do you ever go to the theatre?
- Have you ever been in a play?
- Do you ever wear costumes? When and why?
Now, watch Stephen and Ashlie as they go to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.
Ashlie: Wow, Stephen. Here we are, the RSC, the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Stephen: It’s such a famous theatre. All the greatest actors have played Shakespeare here. I’m getting a bit nervous now.
Ashlie: You’ll be fine, you’re so lucky - it is an amazing place to perform. I am getting a bit jealous now! Can I have your autograph?
Stephen: Stop it. I’d better go in and find the director. Are you going to be okay on your own?
Ashlie: Don’t be silly, I’ll be fine. I’ll just go and do the tourist thing around Stratford. I think I’ll visit the house where Shakespeare was born.
Stephen: Okay, I’ll call you later and tell you when the play starts.
Ashlie: Ah, I can’t wait to see you on stage. Good luck!
Stephen: Thanks, bye.
Romeo: But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the East and Juliet is the sun. Arise fair sun and kill the envious moon.
Romeo: See how she leans her cheek upon her hand: O that I were a glove upon that hand, that I might touch that cheek!
Ashlie: Oh, alright then. Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name. Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love. And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.
Romeo: Shall I hear more? Shall I speak at this?
Ashlie: Thanks, that was really good fun.
Romeo: You were really good. You’re a great actress.
Ashlie: Thank you, I really enjoyed it. So do you always play Romeo and Juliet here?
Romeo: No, it varies, we might do Macbeth next.
Ashlie: I think I’d better go then before you ask me to be one of the witches. I have to go and meet my brother soon anyway. He’s performing with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Romeo: Lucky him. But you’re welcome here any time.
Ashlie: Sorry. Hi, Stephen, you’ll never guess. I actually got to do some Shakespeare too... I was Juliet. It was fantastic... So how’s it going? Well, do you want me to come over? Well, okay…
Romeo: What’s up?
Ashlie: It’s Stephen, I don’t think he wants me to go over and watch him, but - it must just be first night nerves. I think I’m going to go anyway and surprise him.
Romeo: OK. Bye!
Ashlie: Thanks again, then. Bye.
Ashlie: Excuse me. Do you know when the show starts?
Stephen: Hi, Ash.
Ashlie: Stephen, you really are playing Shakespeare, then! Come on.
Before you watch
Think about the following questions:
- Have you ever seen one of Shakespeare's plays?
- Would you like to visit Stratford?
- Have you ever had a job you didn't like? What did you do about it?
Now, watch Stephen and Ashlie as they explore Stratford...
London is the shopping capital of the world. Every year millions of overseas visitors shop here. But what makes shopping here so great? There’s only one way to find out. I’m off to do some shopping – follow me!
Knightsbridge is famous for upmarket shopping. This is where the rich and famous come to buy… their socks. And this is the one and only Harrods… the ultimate in luxury. Even royalty shop here. If I’m lucky, I might see someone famous.
If only they had it in my size. Lovely! Thank you!
Done quite well there – what’s next? Taxi! Harvey Nichols, please.
At Harvey Nichols
Harvey Nichols – or ‘Harvey Nicks’ for short – is a great place for designer fashion.
Well, I had to buy couple of things… What?
The biggest toy shop in the world – now you’re talking!
So cute… err… it’s not for me.
London’s Oxford Street is retail heaven. It’s got over 2 kilometres of shops to choose from… and, of course, Selfridges for shopping with style. Taxi!
Could you drop all this off home for me, please? I’m off to explore a different sort of shopping in Britain.
If you like shopping all under one roof, then there are big shopping centres all over Britain. The Olympic-sized shopping centre at Westfield, Stratford, is huge. With over 300 shops, it’s one of the largest shopping centres in Europe.
Great shopping isn’t just about big shops. Smaller shops can offer something special too. Tucked away in the heart of Piccadilly is a great shopping gem. Lock’s sell that must-have in gentlemen’s fashion: the hat! Lock’s opened in London in 1679. Their hats can be seen across the world. They pride themselves on their personal service.
Richard: Sue Simpson is a hat specialist. Hi Sue.
Sue: Oh, hi Richard.
Richard: Wow, a bowler hat, you don’t see many of those these days, do you?
Sue: Well, we don’t call it a ‘bowler’ here at Lock’s, we call it a ‘coke hat’ because it was invented in 1850 for Thomas Coke…
Richard: …by this very shop.
Sue: …by this very shop and we still call it a ‘coke’ to this day.
Richard: Ah, the classic top hat. When would I wear that?
Sue: That’s a beautiful silk top hat. You would wear that for a society wedding, or the time you see most of them is at Ascot, which is the famous race meeting in June.
Richard: So what’s your best-seller here at Lock’s?
Sue: Our best-seller would be a classic tweed cap or this trilby here, which is called a ‘Voyager’, and the novelty of this one…
Richard: …is it folds up so you can pop it into your luggage.
Sue: …pop it into your luggage.
Richard: Excellent. Is that a deerstalker?
Sue: Similar to a deerstalker, but this is a country cap with a fastening that goes over the top. And this was invented originally for wearing in open-top cars, but now it’s more commonly worn on the hills out shooting and this keeps the ears warm and stops it blowing away.
Richard: I like it; I’ll take this one.