Chatsworth House

I had one of my days out this weekend where the coach company takes you to several places in one trip. We started with Dobbies garden centre. I have no idea why and mostly spent the time in the cafe. I don’t think I’ve ever been the target audience for these things however the little bit I did see I know I’ll end up back here as it’s the type of place my mother will love.

Our end stop was Bakewell. Hard to comment really as it was pitch dark and the end of the day. We did accidentally stumble upon the Bakewell Pudding parlour where the original Bakewell tart was made. The cake was lovely and we sat eating that while others went to see the Xmas lights switched on. I think we got the better deal as the lights advertised turned out to just be the tree in the centre of the market.

In between we had a stop at Chatwsorth House, known to me only as Mr Darcy’s home in Pride and Prejudice. Like many of these trips I would have happily lost the garden centre and Bakewell and just concentrated on this. We didn’t have time to look around the gardens. As we were here in the run up to Xmas they had the Xmas market stalls – nothing different than at any other fair. I was really disappointed by the food however. Absolutely nothing for the vegetarian and everything triple in price.

The house itself is gorgeous and I really wish I’d had more time to explore it. Every Christmas they have a themed display throughout the house and this year it was The Nutcracker. So many Xmas trees! I’m glad I wasn’t the one that had to put those up. All around the house were scenes from the ballet as well at the end a film display. I really enjoyed that part of the day. Note to self – go back when it’s not Xmas and not as part of a crammed in day trip

Cologne and Dusseldorf Germany

I haven’t been able to get out and about much recently but at the end of last month I managed to finally get away with a National Holidays Xmas markets trip to Germany.

The trip involves a days travel each way and two days of sightseeing and Xmas shopping. In light of recent terrorist events security was at a maximum crossing the Channel but the coach operators handled it well and in the end depsite an extra wait that part of the jorney was smooth. Coming back not so fun as we got caught up in the storms that had been raveging England and moved onto the Continent. Our return ferry crossed on some of the worst choppy seas I’ve encountered. We had actually missed our designated ferry due to border control. A blessing as it turned out as the original one got blown of course and eventually landed two hours after our later one!

Dusseldorf we found to be nice and pleasant but quite small. We probably didn’t need to spend as long as was planned there. Cologne has much more to see and do as it’s quite a big city. We were told that many of the buildings were bombed during the war which was probably why everything looked like it had been built in the 1970’s.

Our end conclusion was that as nice as the towns were once you’ve been to one Xmas market you’ve probably seen them all. Each one sold pretty much the same things as you could get back home in Leeds (although possibly a bit cheaper). Overall though we had a fab time and would highly recommend it

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