Winter adventures and Festive Fun; York

Ruby the VW Campervan is parked up on her lonesome at Granchester Caravan Park on the outskirts of York.

We’ve had a busy week of concerts and Christmas gigs, but come 3pm on Thursday it was instruments down and time to declare the Christmas holiday OPEN. Our final gig of the season was handily located on the A11 in Thetford, and so van packed with presents, camping accessories and gig stuff we set off in the direction of Kelham for a Christmas evening with Dad and Jenny. We had a lovely meal at the Fox and it was a great if not slightly boozy evening.

Friday arrived with thankfully no sore heads, that was a close one, and by 09.30 we had hit the A1 for an hour and a half’s drive to York. We’d been told by the owner that the campsite was quiet so to pitch wherever we liked. On arrival it was clear we were the only ones there! At just £17.50 per night, with lovely hot and clean showers and bus stop to York directly outside the gate, we couldn’t have picked a better base for the weekend.

We wasted no time and hailed the next bus, the 31x and was thankful for the contactless payment as we realised we had no cash! Be warned, the 29 bus which also stops here doesn’t take card and is cash only.

The bus stops at exhibition square which is really convenient for the minster and city centre.

We spent some time wandering the beautiful lanes, having a drink in the oldest pub in York, the Star Inn, and also the Christmas market on Parliament Street before grabbing a late lunch at Zizzis. We had a lovely drink in the really atmospheric Viking tipi bar in the centre of the market and even (possibly) made a tv appearance on BBC Look North!

There was a cracking beer and gin shop near the cathedral.

We met up with the Customer Service manager of Great Rail Journeys later on – Gary personally looks after us so well when we book our worldwide tours we wanted to meet him and buy him a beer to say thanks for his great service over the years. We had a lovely hour chatting in the really cool Pivni’s, a stones throw off The Shambles-which is just one of the most wonderful streets we’ve visited in England. It’s got tons of character, and you feel like you’ve walked straight in onto a panto set.

Before heading back to Ruby we tried one more drink in The Golden Fleece, rumoured to be York’s most haunted pub. As it was the last Friday before Christmas, it was beginning to get rowdy and we were starting to get tired, so we headed back to Ruby in an Uber (£10) as we’d missed the last bus home. A great day.

Saturday dawned a nice crisp winters day – my favourite, and a welcome relief as yesterday had been a bit wet. We had a fairly lazy morning, taking advantage of the fact that the first bus of the day didn’t arrive until 11.30. As the weather was lovely we decided to do the City Wall walk. We’ve been to York before but are fairly sure we didn’t get to do the whole circuit. York has the best preserved town walls in England, and there are over 2 miles of masonry with a walkway on top. There are several gatehouses to admire and some fabulous original portcullises to see too.

The walk was lovely, and just what we needed; we were feeling rather overindulged!

Towards the end of the walk there was a lovely looking beer garden with a great view of the minster so as it was almost 2pm we decided to have a swift one. I tried the Yuletide gin which was gorgeous.

We’d spotted a nice looking lunch option yesterday- a Yorkshire pud wrap, so we popped into The York Roast co and had an amazing roast turkey and all the trimmings Yorkshire pudding wrap. Honestly it was amaaaaazing!

We had another wander around the city taking in all the decorations and the Christmas market again before having a beer at the Shambles Tavern, which was literally like being in A Christmas Carol.

We’d had such a lovely couple of days, and had re fallen in love with York, especially at this time of year. We were however aware that the last bus back to Ruby was at 18:10, so we made the decision to head back for a relax before travelling back to Norfolk Sunday morning. Our journey home ended up taking place ridiculously early as we woke up at 3am! By 04.45 Keefy was packing as much of the van up as possible, whilst I was trying to sleep, so we gave in and left at 6am, aiming to beat the inevitable traffic. The journey home was in terrible weather so we ended up travelling at 40 most of the way, getting home just before 11am. What a lovely weekend though.

Have a fabulous Christmas everyone. Who’s away in their vans?

Until next time

Lx

Yorkshire Dales- The final Chapter

Bluebell the motorhome is currently hurtling down the A1 Southbound, somewhere between Doncaster and Newark! We’ve decided to head homewards today as we both fancy going to the village fireworks event tonight, but my gosh, we are heading home fully relaxed, well fed, watered and a little stiff round the knees from the walks we’ve enjoyed!

We had a fantastic 2 nights at Brit Stop no 713 (near the viaduct 😉 ). We asked them if we could do 2 nights, as there were two walks that we fancied trying out and they were more than happy for us to stay. It was win win- we must have spent £70+ on their legendary a Station ale the first day alone, and day 2 we drank them out of the Ale (whoops!) and enjoyed a hearty 3 course meal off their huge menu! For us, it was really nice to not have to drive, and we found that even after a rather immense walk we totally chilled down and felt tons better for it (if not slightly hungover!!)

We did two walks near Ribblehead, one at took us under the viaduct and another that took on some of the Ribble Way. The latter was really adventurous! We found ourselves having to try out some survival skills fresh off the tele- on finding ourselves at a river that needed to be crossed, with no sign of a bridge, we remembered a tip from one tv prog, take off your boots and socks before wading through- it keeps them dry. So off came our boots and socks, Keefy lobbed them across the river (thankfully he’s got a good aim!) and off we went! It. Was. Freezing! Luckily we got through despite a near miss with Jazz where the current dragged him off and he almost slipped out of his harness! And we were very pleased to have dry socks and boots to put on the other side!

After our two nights at 713 we travelled south to Malham and parked up at the tarn. We had a walk that took in all the main sites, the Tarn, the Cove- a huge natural limestone pavement on the top of a big gorge, the pretty village, Janet’s floss waterfall, and Gordale Scar crag. At 6.5 miles (and a lot of challenging paths) it was a great walk but very tiring, although we were really lucky with the weather! After the walk we headed for our final BritStop of the week, a farm shop about 2.5 miles away from Malham. We enjoyed looking round the shop, and stocking up on the essentials; bacon, beef steaks for tea, local cheese and some veg! All the ingredients for a hearty local tea, beef in reed wine stew from my new campervan recipe book- thanks Sam! 🙂

We had a lovely evening chilling and enjoyed listening to the tawny owl that was on the tree above us. Sadly we couldn’t see it, but it was a lovely sound to hear.

So now we are on the home run, having had a brilliant week of eating drinking sleeping and chilling! We are so glad we chose to do the Dales, we’ve seen so many awesome things here and it’s been nice doing a smaller scale tour with less driving.

BritStops once again has been beyond Marvellous. We’ve managed to centre our tour around a small area taking in local pubs and farm shops and we cannot recommend it enough to anyone.

Holiday highlights are Ribblehead, Fountains Abby and Malham 🙂

Until next time

Lx

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This post is fuelled by the Station inn ale!! ;-)

Bluebell the motorhome is parked in the car park of our 4th Brit Stop of the week! We are high up in the Dales, where it is clear but blustery, that sort of weather where after a long walk, it only seems right to take advantage of the log fire in the pub!

We’ve had a brill couple of days, departing Harrogate yesterday morning and visiting Fountains Abby, which was stunning with the autumn colours in the trees. We spent a great couple of hours there (I actually think the £9.50 each entrance was more than reasonable with the Abby, the hall, the mill plus miles of beautifully landscaped gardens to explore- plus Jazz was welcomed in too!)

After our visit to NT Fountains Abby we stopped at Ripon to visit the cathedral to see the 6th Century crypt, very cool! And the prison museum, very creepy! We then carried on to Masham, home to Theakstons brewery and the MAsham sausage- both of which we sampled extensively 😉

We then headed to our stop for the night, an old Brit Stop hotel/bar in the heart of Wensleydale. It had a fantastic roaring fire and we were able to continue our Theakstons and Masham sausage tasting into the evening as I cooked us a sausage stew from some local Marsham sausages, which we washed down with a couple of bottles of Old Peculiar… Hic 🙂

Today, we got up bright and early, and tackled Buttertubs- a high pass that links Hawes to Thwaite. On the summit you can see these marvellous limestone stones that have been caused by years of acidic rain falling onto the limescale rocks to cause these 100 ft deep gorges. It got its name Buttertubs as legend says that in the olden days men used to store their butter there between market days, to prevent having to carry it down the hill then back up the next day.

We then made our way to Ribblehead, which is where we are now. There is this fantastic viaduct here which with the backdrop of the rolling dales, it’s very atmospheric. We’ve had a lovely walk this afternoon, and then a good session in the pub where we are staying tonight and tomorrow. It’s got some brill ales on, wine, whiskeys and food. What more could we want!!!

Until next time

Lx

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This post is fuelled by Theakstons ;-)

Bluebell the motorhome is out and about for half term, despite the weather warnings! We were supposed to go to Kent this week, but yesterday when we were due to leave we (luckily) caught sky news and learnt about this storm that was supposedly heading Kent way. Needless to say, after a few hours of umming and ahhing, we departed East Harling and rather than heading south, we decided to had north. To be fair, it doesn’t take much for me to consider visiting Yorkshire, it’s a well known fact I love it here, and any opportunity for me to carry on showing Keith that it’s not all grim up here, il gladly take.

3 hours later and a very very good journey traffic wise ( perhaps everyone else was taking the advice plastered on the tv- only make necessary journeys….) we rocked up into a rather large car park of the BritStop we had set the sat nav for- a 14th century village pub, promising log fires, real ale, and good grub. Perfect, just what we were after (who isn’t?!) We had a lovely night sampling their local ales, chatting to the very friendly staff and of course, being a Sunday night, catching up on Strictly! That’s right- the pub had strictly on their bar tv- can’t remember watching it in such a brill location- beer on tap, fire… yes I was in heaven.

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After a very good, long sleep we had a fry up, and set the motorhome towards Knaresborough. We’d read about its famous viaduct and knew that Mother Shipton, the prophet was born here. Nothing had prepared us for how beautiful it was. The viaduct and river was so pretty, and the old houses stuck out of the rock reminding me of Dinan and to some extent the Dordogne. It was lovely. The weather certainly helped- we kept hearing on the radio about the chaos in the south of England, but here we were in our sunglasses enjoying the autumn leaves and breeze. Lovely

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We visited Mother Shipton’s cave and the petrifying well. It was a great place to visit- we liked the fact that our pampered pooch Jazz could also enjoy it with us. The petrifying well was particularly amazing- basically anything that was hung there turned into stone by the minerals in the water after 3 months, and there were examples of teddy bears hanging, turned into stone, hats, gloves and even a lobster shell.

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We also enjoyed the Halloween figures dotted around the site…. Creepy or what?!

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After a really enjoyable day we headed towards Harrogate, where we found our next Brit Stop pitch within walking distance of Harrogate centre. It’s a not a pub, it’s a shop, but the owner was very friendly and also a motorhome owner. We enjoyed an evening stroll into Harrogate, which is where the Old Peculiar came in… Great night, great day! It’s good to back touring 🙂

Until next time x