For the summer bank holiday, my fiancée and I decided to do a road trip up to Yorkshire, basing ourselves in York and travelling around. After 2.5 years in the country I finally got behind the wheel in the UK for the first time. Driving in London was as scary as everyone says, with the narrow roads, intense traffic, and constant activity everywhere. It’s no wonder people who have lived in London their whole lives all say that they hate driving in London! Outside of London though, it was basically the same as driving in Perth back in Australia, except that the motorways in the UK are much better than those back home. Drivers over here are much more considerate, and there are very good services spaced very well all the way along the motorways.
Although I didn’t take any photos as it was literally a stop for lunch, I did see Nottingham. I’d love to go back and check out the city properly sometime as it seemed like a great place to spend a weekend with lots of interesting museums and galleries.
As for York itself, I honestly didn’t have too much in the way of expectations and was happy to just go with the flow and plan the trip as the weekend went on. I was very impressed by the city, and was amazed at its history. It was founded by the Romans in 71AD as “Eboracum”, and was the capital of this part of the world when it was part of the Roman Empire. As such, there is a roman wall around the old city, and lots of ruins scattered about. Emperor Constantine The Great was actually proclaimed Emperor in the city.
So many people from overseas come to the UK and only ever visit London and maybe something close to London, but these road trips that I have done reinforce time and time again that England is such an amazing and diverse place, and truly deserves more time in the traveller’s schedule than many allow. I hope you enjoy looking through my photographic Yorkshire Travel Guide.
The York Minster is a Gothic cathedral which was completed in 1472, but construction of the current cathedral actually began 200 years earlier, and there has actually always been a church on this site since 627!
In the 1920s, a Swiss immigrant, Frederick Belmont, opened Betty’s Tearooms which aimed to combine the best of Swiss chocolates and delicacies with the best of the English tea room and high tea culture. Betty’s has been a Yorkshire institution ever since and it is evident when you go there that they are proud of both the quality of their products and of their Swiss/English heritage. I got the “Fat Rascal” which is their signature scone. This thing was a beast, and I was not hungry until much later that day after eating it!
The Yorkshire Museum Gardens are beautiful, and contain the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey, which date back to 1271.
Just north of York is the North York Moors National Park. This area is stunning and it was great to have a car to be able to drive through and see it. The hills and rolling fields are covered in purple wildflowers and my pictures do not at all do it justice. It’s truly one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life.
In the Moors is a town called Goathland. Those of you who have heard of the show Heartbeat probably know the town by its TV name, Aidensfield. My mum and dad are big fans of Heartbeat so I stopped by to take some photos and have a pint. The whole town is just a handful of buildings on one street. You have to go through some steep hills and winding roads to get there, and there are sheep just wandering around. It’s a bit tacky with 1960s and Heartbeat memorabilia but I suppose nobody would come here otherwise.
Finally, we arrived in Whitby. To Australians, the town is most relevant as the port where Captain James Cook sailed from, at the start of his journey to Australia. It’s also famous as being the town where Dracula spent some time in after fleeing Transylvania in Bram Stoker’s novel. Whitby is a really nice town and I could easily have spent more time there. Everyone buys these crab buckets/nets/bait, which only cost a few quid and go crabbing for these little crabs which are in the water. My fiancée and I had far too much fun crabbing and spent a few hours doing it – we even caught some big ones which impressed some of the locals!
The Magpie Cafe is an institution in these parts and is widely recognised as having some of the best fish and chips in the region, if not the whole of the UK. I usually don’t go for fried fish as I find it too sickly and greasy but I must say the Magpie Cafe deserves its accolades. First, you can choose from a huge range of fish (as well as lots of other non-fried, fresh seafood), and when the fish and chips comes out, it’s not greasy at all, just crisp and tasty. I’ve never seen fish and chips where after eating them, the dish barely has any grease or oil on it. I also tried a really nice local ale from the Captain Cook brewery.
The next day, we drove to Harrogate. This was a bit of a disaster as one wrong turn ended up taking us to Leeds, which is a nice city but I’ve already been! Anyway, back on track on the way to Harrogate, we saw a sign that read “Harewood House”. Why not? We thought and down the side road we went. Turns out there was some family fun fair in the grounds of the estate which to be honest didn’t really interest us. The estate however, did. It is owned by the Earl and Countess of Harewood, and the showpiece is Harewood House which dates back to the 18th century. There was an interesting exhibit in the house about the slaves and servants that used to work there and you walk through the quarters and see lots of things from those times. All over the UK countryside you see these estates which are open to the public, as it is the only way that the families can afford to keep them maintained and running. Most of them are now home to exhibits, events and even available to hire for weddings, parties and the like.
Finally we got to Harrogate but unfortunately it was much later than we had anticipated and we had to get all the way back to London and drop the car back so literally only a few streets and quick snaps is what I had time for. It’s a shame as Harrogate is famous for its ancient Roman spas, being home to natural sources of spring water. It is a very beautiful town, and outside of the city centre, all of the “suburbs” look quite grand and well maintained.