Springingtiger's Blog


Spring Break in Yorkshire 2014

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Last week Neelam and I went to Yorkshire, to Burnsall, where I spent much of my childhood. Because of time constructions we took the quick route via the M6 and A65, it is still a beautiful journey and crossing the country on the A65 is less stressful than it used to be, the road is good and the bypasses around Settle and Skipton make it quicker. Burnsall is excellently placed to be a base for anyone wanting to explore the Dales; as well as the Dales Burnsall is within a comfortable driving distance of York and even the Lake District.

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We stayed in the Devonshire Fell Hotel; the Fell used to not be particularly well thought of, but that has changed. It is now one of the Devonshire group of hotels and marketed as a boutique hotel with a focus on style and good food. There is a limited menu choice forvegetarians; however I must say I thoroughly enjoyed my “Lancashire Leeks” , barbecued leeks and asparagus with a perfectly textured, slightly lemony, polenta and their chips were perfect. The homemade sorbets and ice creams were excellent, personally I would have preferred them served separately in a bowl rather than stacked in a glass, but I didn’t think to express a preference. The service was good and friendly with the sort of down to earth hospitality one expects of Yorkshire. The hotel rooms are individual in style and comfortable clean and well looked after with an attention to detail rarely seen. The thing I loved about our “Village View Room” was to be able to look out of the window down to where I used to live beside the bridge.

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The next day we drove to York via Appletreewick and Pately Bridge through the magnificent Yorkshire countryside. We left Burnsall later than intended so didn’t spend time visiting the various attractions en route like Bolton Priory, Stump Cross Caverns or Fountains Abbey. We had a choice of routes each with plenty of reasons to break the journey. There is so much to do in Yorkshire that we have decided to return later in the year with our daughter and granddaughters.

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In York we stayed in The Royal York which is as big as the Devonshire Fell is small. It is a magnificent Victorian railway hotel with staircases so beautiful if feels sacrilegious to use the lifts. We had made alternative arrangements for dinner, but breakfast was excellent with a range of juices, fresh and dried fruit, cereals and a hot buffet, we had perfectly poached eggs. The Royal York is a PH hotel and, as one would expect, the service was excellent.

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York is one of those places that require several visits because there is just so much to see and do. We visited the National Railway Museum which is huge and an absolute joy to someone with Asperger’s like myself. Highlights include: Stephenson’s Rocket, the Mallard, and the exhibition of royal trains; I liked the Dandy cart. It is quite possible to spend the whole day in the museum and it has at least three restaurants or cafes as well as two gift shops. We couldn’t spend the whole day in the museum as we wanted to visit the Minster, so we took the Road Train from the museum to the Minster.

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It is impossible to do justice to York Minster in the time I have available, it really is better experienced than described. There is an admission charge, but when one considers theuge cost of maintaining the magnificent building it does not seem excessive. There are regular informative guided tours at no extra charge and they are worth taking if you have the hour to spare. The Minster is a place of worship and while we were there we heard Evensong as we wandered around. It is now possible to see most of the Minster free of scaffold, apart from the eastern end whose magnificent window is currently being restored. The exhibition in the Undercroft is well worth a visit, there are also exhibitions illuminating the work of restoration. We did not scale the tower, too many steps, too little time, which is a shame because it does have magnificent views across the city.

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After the Minster we, again, took the Road Train back to the National Railway Museum from whence we walked around the corner to the Royal York to pick up our car. We returned, for ease on the A59 and A65 to the M6. The last event of our trip was a visit to the Westmoreland motorway services at
Tebay, whose farm shop has been described as” the nearest thing to Harrods’ Food Hall on the M6. Although, like all motorway services, the food in the restaurant is kept warm in hot plates at the counter, Tebay’s restaurant makes a point of sourcing it’s produce locally as far as possible and they provide at least three vegetarian options. Unlike many motorway services Tebay runs it’s own restaurant rather than contract out its catering to chains like MacDonalds and Costa, they care and it shows. We ate well then stocked up with cheese and Hommity Pies from the wide range of  products in the farm shop before the final drive, through Cumbria and the Borders, home to Glasgow, tired but happy.

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