Stokesley and Helmsley, North Yorkshire

I sometimes wonder how coach companies make up their trips. The other month I did a trip to Richmond and Durham. The Richmond stop was 90 minutes to take in the market. As the market comprised of about 5 stalls and the town was tiny I chose instead to spend it wandering around an old castle. Much more fun. Stokesley was similar but sadly without the castle. This time we were given 2 hours to spend there on market day. The thingI’m beginning to realise is that unless it’s a special kind of market (xmas, craft fair etc) they are all pretty much the same. Stokesley is a beautiful town but there’s nothing there to see. The centre comprises two streets of shops mostly tea shops and charity shops. It passed the time but not sure I’d want to go back.

We had three hours in Helmsley on the other hand and yet I could easily have stayed there two days! Again the idea was market day and shopping but the town also has a castle, abbey ruins, a bird of prey sanctuary, Duncombe Park house and the walled gardens all for visiting. I’d never heard of the town until I saw it on the brochure yet its only an hours drive. I wish I could drive so I could go back. It doesn’t have a train station and very limited buses from York. I may have to work out for myself a long weekend there.

I loved the shops – here there was a variety. Lovely gift shops, art shops, antiques and so many tea shops (this is not actually ย a bad thing). I ended up spending an hour and half wandering the castle ruins (quite a lot for something 1000 years old) and the shops and had a pleasant afternoon. Again though this was sold as a market trip. I wonder if it’s me that’s unusual and all people are interested in is markets and shopping? I’d personally rather have a mix of things. If you are able I’d highly recommend this town.


Travelling the UK the A-Z way

A couple of years ago I set myself a fun challenge to see if I could visit a city, town or village etc in the UK starting with each letter of the alphabet. I had a bit of a break in travel but have been making up for it lately. I’ve noticed when writing this list up I’ve pretty much stayed in England so maybe I need to re-name it and then try and do another using Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland and Eire???

There are a few letters where I’m struggling to find somewhere so any recommendations would be most grateful ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve made a few other lists that would take a bit longer- a place from each County in the UK and again in each of the Western Countries of Europe. There’s no real reason behind it except a bit of fun and a way of seeing a bit more of my own country and Europe.

This is where I’m at so far:

A – Ambleside, Cumbria

B – Bourton on the Wold, Gloucestershire

C – Chester, Cheshire

D – Durham, County Durham

E –

F – Flamborough, East Riding of Yorkshire

G – Grasmere, Cumbria

H – Haworth, West Yorkshire

I- Ilkley, West Yorkshire

J –

K – Keighley, West Yorkshire

L – Leicester, Leicestershire

M – Moreton on Marsh, Gloucestershire

N – Nottingham, Nottinghamshire

O – Otley, West Yorkshire

P –

Q –

R – Ripon, North Yorkshire

S – Stratford, Warwickshire

T –

U –

V –

W – Windemere, Cumbria

X –

Y – York, North Yorkshire

Z –


An afternoon in Leicester

My friend recently moved back to Leicester after being away for many years. I decided to have a coach trip down for the afternoon. But what do we do when we need to fit in a good catch up, entertain a 3 year old and it’s the day before payday??? Hmm maybe we didn’t choose the best day.

A quick look around Tripadviser showed there were actually lots of things to do when you’re at the right side of payday but we settled on looking at the Jewry Wall and going to see the new King Richard III exhibit (and bones)

Jewry wall museum is a lovely (and free!) little place on the outskirts of the city centre. Inside there are some original mosaic Roman flooring that has been found as well as original Roman wall murals. And outside the wall itself is part of a discovered Roman baths – the outlines of which can be seen in the photos below. It’s tiny and doesn’t take a huge amount of time to wander around but it is very informative and there’s a good little spot for children to play, build their own mosaics and colour. A good way to pass an hour.

With promises to see if we could find more castles and princesses for our young friend we wandered towards the Richard III visitor centre. While dithering over whether our funds would stretch that far our own little explorer decided she was going to visit the Cathedral instead. Her instincts proved great for us as it turns out that’s where the actual remains of Richard are buried (on his own sheepskin blanket according to the guide). The visitors centre is divided into one floor documenting the War of the Roses and the other floor the history of the dig as well as the original grave site. But as we only really wanted to see the bones we decided to leave it for another day.

Things we didn’t get chance to see – lots of other museums, botanical gardens and the one I want to see when I have actual cash – the Space Centre

Richmond, North Yorkshire

This week I had my first trip with Blue Sky coaches, a lovely small family run tour operator. They were an absolute dream to travel with and will definitely be using them again. The trip was a day out to visit Richmond markets and Durham. I took so many photo’s though that I’ve split my day into two blogs.

We only had an hour an half in Richmond so it’s really difficult to say if i liked it or not. Plus the weather was overcast. The outdoor market didn’t look that great to me so I opted to use the most of my time visiting the 11th century castle instead. The views from the castle ruins are staggering and I don;t think I really do them justice with my photos.ย The castle was originally built to subdue the unruly North of England it is one of the greatest Norman fortresses in Britain.ย After a few weeks visiting North Yorkshire (being a West Yorkshire girl) I’m sorely tempted to add it to my potential future places to live when I finally ever sell my house. I’m lucky that my work sports & social club gets me into any English Heritage site for free but if you don’t have access to anything like that I would heartily recommend getting an annual pass to them or to National Trust. We have so many beautiful places here to see ๐Ÿ™‚

I don’t think I had enough time to truly decide what I thought of the town & be able to see what else it has to offer so I think it’s a place to add to my list of places to re-visit one day for a longer look

EuroDisney (Nov) 2016

I wrote a blog on this page a year ago saying I’d been stuck in too long and needed to start getting out and about again. Then barely did anything. I’ve written on one of my other sites about having money problems and learning to budget and so with those lessons learnt I am going to try again and get out more ๐Ÿ™‚

To start with by the end of the month I should have booked a short trip away to EuroDisney for November. My son is grown up and my friend doesn’t have kids so it’s a grown up having fun event and a pre-cursor to hopefully going to Orlando in 2020.

I’ve actually been a few times. One of the things on my bucket list is to see all the Disney parks in the world (I’m just a big kid at heart). So far I’ve been to Paris, California and Orlando. At the time of writing that leaves Hong Kong & Tokyo still to do. I’d have to do a lot more budgeting and saving up to reach those so they are on my ‘Someday’ list.

I’m still to this not sure how I managed to go to some kind of Disney park yearly but while my son was growing up for nine years in a row I did it. Despite being a single parent I saved up and we got to go to one of them every year. At the minute I can’t seem to get from one month to the next without running out of money. If I could go back in time I’d pay attention to how I actually managed to budget so well ๐Ÿ™‚

I don’t care if you’re 4 or 44 there is something for everyone at these parks. I happily buy into all the shmaltz and cheese. I love the rides. I love the kids faces when they meet characters. I’m not so keen on how every other food stall is a McDonalds but you can’t have everything!

If I can be really well behaved I am thinking of either a mini-trip to Amsterdam or Edinburgh mid-way through the year but I really will have to get in control and save properly to manage both. But we’ll see. I’ve been doing my de-cluttering. I’ve sold some old books and DVDs on a cashback website. I’ve put some other bits on local Facebook selling pages. Every little helps when you’re holidaying on a budget.

Fingers crossed now I can keep this page more updated and get to see some wonderful sights in the coming future ๐Ÿ™‚

Leeds Light Night 2014

Quiet retreat to Glastonbury

Has had a lovely few days in Glastonbury. It was a lot smaller than I expected. I think I saw it as being quite a big town however on arrival the main part of town was no nigger than a high street similar in size to one of the suburbs near me in Leeds. This just added to the charm for me though. It’s a charming little place and there is a lovely calm atmosphere.

I’ve also never met such a bunch of friendly people but had to laugh at the lack of taxis. We are so lucky in Leeds and big cities to have such a huge service with lots of cars while they have maybe 3 in total taxis all operated by seperate self employed people. And despite advertising themselves as 24 hour services they stop working once the pubs have shut and won’t do a pick up at 6.15 because “its far too early” lol.

Loved the peace & quite so much that on an afternoon trip to Wells city we found it too busy and it wasn’t a particularly busy place. Re-inforces my feelings that I need to move out of Leeds even if just to a nearby town. The peace & quiet also allowed me to have a proper think about future ideas and come up with some kind of plan for my own life and how I want it to go.ย 

We were there for three days and went to see the Abbey which includes the Holy Thorn tree said to have been planted by Jospeph of Arimathea on arrival from Jerusalem in Jesus’ time. Cuttings from this tree have been re-planted in several other towns. We also had some quiet meditation time at the Chalice Gardens complete with paddle in some healing waters and went to Wells city to see their cathedral. Here are a few pictures.

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Relax in the Lake District

I’ve never been very good with birthday parties and more and more recently I’ve preferred to spend my birthday away from home on some kind of trip. This year we went to the Lake District. Despite not being very far from my home town of Yorkshire I had never been there before. As I don’t drive ย a spot of research I picked Windemere as a good place to stay, it has a train station and is a central point for many buses to other villages around the Lake. Photo’s below show Windemere, Bowness and the view from the boat cruises there and Grasmere; home of William Wordsworth and site of some of his greatest inspiration.

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Haworth 1940’s festival





Howarth 1940s festival May 2014 013 Howarth 1940s festival May 2014 014 Howarth 1940s festival May 2014 015 Howarth 1940s festival May 2014 016 Howarth 1940s festival May 2014 017 Howarth 1940s festival May 2014 018 Howarth 1940s festival May 2014 019 Howarth 1940s festival May 2014 020 Howarth 1940s festival May 2014 024We picked a glorious sunny day to go to Haworth for their annual 1940’s festival. This is the 2nd time we’ve been there with the first time taking in all the tourist places of the village such as the Bronte museum, the graveyard and lunch at the Black Bull pub where Branwell Bronte used to drink. Today though we were there to go back in time.

We got there fairly early at 10.30 and having never been we had no idea whether the huge crowds already there were for the festival or the weather. The most obvious thing when we got there and something I really liked were the amount of people in traditional dress be that tea dresses and lined tights or war time uniform. There were still enough people in casual dress that we didn’t look out of place but if I go again I’ll be sure to make more of an effort. There were so many stalls mostly vintage clothes and Forces charities raising money and some cake/chocolate stalls that were melting in the heat. Lunch was at the Old White Lion this time simply because they were the only ones that had seemed to make an effort to sell some 1940’s food. Other places had given themselves old fashioned names but were still selling hot dogs and burgers. But at the Old White Lion we went back in time and I had spam fritters for the first time since school 26 years ago!

Then more walking. We must’ve walked miles today. Down the famous cobbled streets to our favourite chocolate shop ‘…and chocolate’. We can’t go to Haworth now without getting some of their chocolate. Most of the shops that reside on that street had amended their shop fronts and some of their stock to keep the 40’s feel going and yet more people had set up food stands. You were never short of a hot dog today! Too early to stop at the wonderful ’10 The Coffee House’ for possibly the best afternoon tea I’ve ever tasted we kept on walking to see the stalls set up in the central park. For those interested in that sort of thing there was the chance to shoot from army weapons along with more food and drink and a musical turn in the tent. Just round the back of the park there was a traditional tea dance with a swing dance lesson included in the entry fee.

We had been there most of the day by this point and our feet were suffering from the heat and walking so we made our way back to Keighley by steam train taking in the beautiful scenery and ending the day keeping with the 40’s theme at the Forteas tea rooms finally getting our cake! A beautiful day, fun for all the family and I will definitely be back next year.

Chasing bluebells in Middleton Park – Leeds

The other weekend before it decided to rain for 40 days and 40 nights (or so it feels) I went up to Middleton Park in Leeds to see the bluebells and enjoy a walk through the woods. As well as the woods, play area, clearings for picnics and bowling green the Park is home to 4 trails. These cover the heritage of the old mine’s that run under the park, one for the ecologists, one for ownership and one for transport that includes Middleton Railway and museum housing some 18th century trains. Kids and adults alike can take a short ride on a steam train that connects the park to the museum. Something for everyone and a little bit of beauty in the middle of the city


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