Travel: Yorkshire

Just a few highlights from a recent trip to visit family:

Saltaire

I never really know whether people outside Yorkshire will have heard of Saltaire or not. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site built in 1851 by Sir Titus Salt to provide decent housing and other facilities (a church, a park, a school) to the workers in his mill – revolutionary at the time, given the conditions suffered by most people working in Bradford’s mills. Bradford was built on the wool trade and therefore Saltaire is a crucial part of the area’s history. Salt’s Mill is no longer a working mill, instead housing a variety of businesses, some of which are aimed at tourists. The David Hockney gallery, for example, is on one floor of the mill. The best bit for me, though, is the bookshop. It’s one of the best bookshops I know, always stocking an eclectic and inspiring range of books. The cookbook selection is excellent, as are the children’s books, general fiction and poetry. I always find exciting books there that I’ve never heard of. Right next to the bookshop is an excellent café that sells perfect chocolate milkshakes.

Nunnington Hall, North Yorkshire

This is a National Trust property that, strictly speaking, is nowhere near Bradford, but is about 2 hours away by car. It’s worth it though. It’s a really interesting manor house, but for me, a trip to Nunnington Hall is a treat for three reasons 1) the Carlisle Collection – an exhibition of antique miniature rooms, like beautiful dolls’ houses for grown ups 2) the walled gardens, complete with an ideal bridge for Pooh sticks and a couple of resident peacocks 3) the tearoom, which makes fantastic scones.

Harlow Carr, Harrogate

These gardens are owned by the Royal Horitcultural Society and remind me of a smaller version of Edinburgh’s Botanic Gardens. A good spot for a wander, we particularly liked the fairy circle, no doubt intended for small children. There’s a Betty’s kiosk in the middle of the gardens, which supplied us with tea in paper cups and a few Fat Rascals.

Malham Cove

This is one of the most spectacular sites of the Yorkshire Dales. Malham Cove is a limestone cliff with a naturally formed pavement at the top and it makes for a really lovely walk. Despite the fact that on this trip I trod in a cowpat, was stung by a nettle and scraped my knee, it was a really good day out. The walk from Malham itself to Malham Cove is fairly gentle and well-paved, but becomes more strenuous when you walk up to the top of the cliff. From there, we joined the Pennine Way and walked to Malham Tarn, which involved enjoyable scrambling over some rocks. We then made our way back to Malham Cove and returned to Malham via Janet’s Foss. I love Janet’s Foss – it’s a short woodland walk with an impressive waterfall and along the path you’re surrounded by the scent of wild garlic.

Skipton Castle

I’ve been to Skipton Castle several times, but none since I was a child. I’ve visited many castles since then and I think it’s only on returning to Skipton that I realised how impressive it is and how well kept. As a child, I remember being scared by the dungeon, fascinated by the ‘toilet’ (hole in the wall with a steep drop into the stream running below) and overawed by the age of the yew tree in the courtyard (planted in 1659).

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