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  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.


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. The castle was originally built to subdue the unruly North of England it is one of the greatest Norman fortresses in Britain. 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 🙂

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

Whitby 2016

This weekend I took myself off for a day out in Whitby. I’ve lost track of how long its been since I last went so it was almost like seeing it new again. I chose to go up by coach and the first leg Leeds to York was quite ordinary however once you get past York and out into the North Yorkshire moors the views are really quite breathtaking. The villages are beautiful. I’d actually quite like to get a day hopper ticket and stop off at these villages for some more exploring.

I spent most of my time exploring the abbey ruins, inspiration and setting for Bram Stokers Dracula. It’s now an English Heritage site and they’ve looked after it really well. I was surprised by the amount of land protected as well as the actual abbey. There were some priests on the day discussing ancient labyrinths and how they were used as thinking tools with the monks often walking around them as they pondered life’s mysteries. Of course I had to have a go 🙂  You had the option of being given something to think about as you walked but as I like to practise mindfulness and the Now I preferred to just enjoy my surroundings.

I had a little wander around Old Town peering in the shops (not enough cash for what I really wanted so an excuse to go back!) and had the most wonderful cake at Marie Antoinette’s cake shop before exploring the marina and the rest of the town. It’s a beautiful place and getting there involves yet more amazing scenery so somewhere I want to go back again sooner rather than later.

Middleton Park #Leeds 2016

I love to go walking in our local park. To me it’s South Leeds hidden treasure. There are a lot of deprived spots in our part of town and then in the middle of it all a beautiful park. Originally the park was home to the mines but these have since been filled in. However you can still see in some areas where these mines were especially if you follow one of four trails in the park. There’s also a lake, tennis courts and the most beautiful bluebells and woodlands. The volunteers at the park are always finding events to put on and I’m looking forward to the annual free Shakespeare show by Oddsocks in July.

Here are some photos for you to enjoy:

Haworth 1940’s festival 2016

I love going to Haworth and their festivals. This is my third time for the 1940’s one. Bit different this time as I’d gone with a group of friends rather than just one so I didn’t cover as many things as before. As usual there’s stalls with vintage clothing, the bandstand for some tea dances and a fly over by spitfires.

We had a bit of an adventure this time getting there. Opting to arrive by steam train our train was cancelled after the steam backfired and injured the boilerman. Then an accident on the way back when I tripped on the stairs of the train station hurting my shoulder. Oh and squashing my cupcakes and damaging my ego 🙂

The bits in between were fun. It’s always nice to hang out with friends and I can’t wait for the next one. Maybe next time I’ll finally get myself sorted out early and be able to go in period clothes.

Flamborough Head – Yorkshire Coast

Last week me and mum decided to have a day out to the seaside. We settled on Bridlington as mum has arthritis and we wanted somewhere with a fairly flat terrain. I haven’t been there for about 10 years and it seems to have changed so much and not for the better. Seaside towns just don’t seem to be what they used to be 10 or 20 years ago. There just wasn’t anything there to see or do. So after the obligatory fish and chips we decided to have a drive down to nearby Flamborough. I haven’t been here in maybe 30 years or more. There’s not a lot there either – just a cafe, lighthouse and the benches that overlook a truly beautiful sea. Yet I enjoyed this so much more than Bridlington. Never sure why biut I could sit and watch the ocean (and the lighthouse light) for hours. We’d picked an unseasonly warm day to go too. More tea and mother/daughter chatting. If you ever want a relaxing few hours you couldn’t pick a better place
 2014-10-02 14.34.52 2014-10-02 14.36.56 2014-10-02 14.37.05

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.

Howarth – Home of the Bronte family

Howarth is a place I have wanted to visit for a long time but despite being on my doorstep until yesterday I’d never had the chance. Now I wish I’d tried harder to get there. The place is absolutely beautiful. Placed in the Yorkshire’s, home of the Bronte sisters and a short walk to Penistone Crag where Wuthering Heights is based.

As neither of us drive, we got there by public transport and were surprised by the ease of it all. Train from Leeds to Keighley and then a 20 minute bus ride right to the door of the old Parsonage where the Bronte’s were raised. We found out afterwards you can get a steam train rather than the bus. We’re going to try that next time.

First stop then was a walk around the Bronte Parsonage museum, the former home of the Bronte sisters (and brother Branwell). The house looks quite big on the outside and is certainly huge compared to my own so I was surprised by the smallness inside. The museum is broken up into theme rooms for the sisters, their father, aunt and housekeepers plus another showcasing some of brother Branwell’s portrait paintings. There’s a history of the house and the residents who lived there after them. For a small museum it is packed with information and rich history and we were there nearly 2 hours in the end.

I’d been recommended to visit 2 places so we then went to try the first of these. I’d been told to visit the pub in which Branwell Bronte (who sadly seemed to never be able to live up to his sisters and turned to alcoholism) drank at and is said to be haunted. So we went to the Black Bull for lunch. The food was cheap and the portions huge! Sadly though we didn’t see Branwell’s lonely ghost wandering around 🙂 On leaving though we saw another pub with the same claims. Branwell got around!

The rest of Bronte village is a steep high street packed with cute shops; tea shops, sweet shops, books, trinkets and curios and it’s easy to get lost in these for a few hours which we did. The final bit of our day involved the other recommendation – 10 The Coffee House. Given a certificate of excellence by Trip Advisor, it’s very easy to see why. You are invited when you go in to let your cares drift away and enjoy your drink and cake. The portions again are huge but beautifully presented. Then there is a choice of blended coffee and tea to choose from. The owner Claire has set up a place where you are encouraged to just sit and savour your choices rather than the get them in, get them out again principles of other places.

We didn’t get to see the steam train or take part in the nightly ghost tours or the themed weekends (one in May was 1940’s theme which I would have loved the opportunity to dress up for) but that’s OK because Howarth is definitely somewhere you would want to go back to several times. 

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