As they say, pride comes before a fall … we headed north last weekend and smugly smiled at the coast bound traffic getting caught up in Operation Stack. Our within-the-speed-limit drive to Yorkshire was a near personal best at just under five hours – including a quick stop at Newark. The journey home was another story. It took an excruciating seven hours. The fastest bit of the journey was the Dartford Crossing, now that the toll booths have been replaced by online payment.
We go up to Yorkshire to visit family regularly throughout the year and rather than whizz up and back in a weekend, this time we indulged ourselves by renting a fabulous house a stone’s throw from Valley Gardens in Harrogate, just around the corner from the neighbourhood shops on Cold Bath Road*. For the first time in 20 years of visits we toured the Turkish Baths and learnt so much about not only the baths, but the social history of the Victorian period and why Harrogate developed in the way it did – a geographer’s dream. We honeymooned at The Crown Hotel and it only dawned on me last week why there were so many hotels within walking distance of the Royal Pump Room. Purging.
We drove to Grassington for lunch. I love the planters around the village – I’m guessing that there’s a Mad Hatters Tea Party theme for this year’s Grassington in Bloom. Even without the massive tea cups the village looked bloomin’ lovely.
Next it was Brimham Rocks. We got caught in the rain, but it didn’t dampen our enjoyment of scrabbling around on the rocks.
A visit to Yorkshire is never complete without going to Leeds. We took a water taxi to Leeds Docks – the home of the Armouries and immersed ourselves in metropolitan culture (and warfare). Not only was our taxi free, but also entry into the museum.
We topped off our visit with a trip to the Tetley, which I’d highly recommend. Video installations go down really well in our family and have left me with plenty to mull over #MeAndMine and #LucyBeech.
Sadly our week quickly came to an end. We had a celebratory breakfast of waffles at Baltzersens – possibly the best decision of the week, bearing in mind the length of our epic journey home. I wish we could have stayed for three weeks – as the well-heeled were prescribed back in the day …
*We adopted a lobelia plant during our stay in Harrogate. Thank you to the lady at 4 Seasons florist.
As a thank you to my newsletter subscribers I’m entering you into a competition to win a flower arranging workshop (worth £350) – if you’d like to be in with a chance you’ll need to sign up to my mailing list by midnight Sunday 13 December 2015. The winner will be picked at random and notified by email by Sunday 20 December 2015.
Dates for your diary
Make your own flower crown – Wednesday 12 August 2015
Flowers at Belmont House – Wednesday 9 September
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