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Day out at The Tetley

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As we had half a day off work to go and see Chicago at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford, since Cameron bought me tickets for Christmas, we decided to take Cameron’s mum and Auntie Julie out for a nice lunch at The Tetley in Leeds. And delicious it was too, just as good as last time we went there!

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Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal

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It’s very very late, but today my sister and I took my mum out for a belated birthday/mother’s day out. The weather has been really sunny and warm all week, so it’s bloomin’ typical that today it would decide to be cloudy and miserable. When we walked down to the Abbey and sat down to start our picnic and it started raining, I wanted to scream!

Thankfully the rain didn’t last too long, but the clouds did stay around all day, until we got in the car to go home that is! But we did have patches of sunshine and we did manage to sit and eat a windy but dry picnic, so it wasn’t too bad!

In the end, I walked just over 10,000 steps as we walked the loop from the Abbey to the tearooms at Studley Royal and back again, stopping on the way for a cuppa and a nice (huge) slice of flapjack of course, a visit to a NT property wouldn’t be complete without tea and cake!

Packwood House

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After visiting Croome and driving a bit further up the motorway, the plan was to visit Hardwick Hall, south of Sheffield. But we spent so long looking around the lovely Croome that we realised we’d get there about 15 minutes before it closed so we had to change our minds!

After a quick search on the National Trust app on my iPad (which works wonderfully offline), we settled on Packwood House instead. Very closed to Baddesley Clinton which we visited on our last holiday, it was quite lovely. Smaller than the other houses we’ve visited this week, but still large! When I was walking around, I was imagining it as somewhere Elizabeth Bennet would have lived in P&P, whereas the houses we’ve been visiting were more like Darcy’s Pemberley.

The house had a lovely lake in the garden which gave us a nice walk and some fresh air before the final leg of our journey home. A wonderful end to a wonderful holiday!

Croome

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Today was our drive back to Leeds from Bristol, and rather than break up the journey with service stations, we decided to break up the journey with a couple of National Trust properties instead. The first was Croome.

We didn’t realise until we turned up that the property was undergoing major restoration so was completely enclosed in scaffolding. But they’d put some interesting artwork on the scaffolding unlike when we visited Castle Drogo, and they still had a lot of interest inside the house, including an exhibition about shoes!

It was an absolutely beautiful sunny day, perfect for a walk along the new trail through the woods from the visitor centre and church at the top of the hill to the house at the bottom. Much better than stopping at Tamworth Services as we usually do!

Chedworth Roman Villa

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This was a slightly longer drive away from Bristol than I had anticipated, and a lot of small narrow country roads, my idea of driving hell. But it was interesting to be walking around a place that was built about 1,700 years ago, it’s baffling to even consider how old that is. Especially when you consider that they had underfloor heating! If only! And the tiled mosaics that they’ve preserved are fantastic.

I have to admit that I didn’t enjoy this as much as walking around a lovely period house, but it was a good day out all the same. There were coach-loads of primary school children while we were there, I imagine they would love it if their history lessons are anything like ours were in Primary school.

Tyntesfield

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For the next trip of our holiday we decided to go to Tyntesfield. Alan had been there a few times before and loved it, but we’d never been. It was a beautiful house inside and out, and the gardens were lovely. But by far my favourite part about the entire day was the chapel. Never consecrated due to arguments with the local church, but absolutely stunning. So so beautiful and unbelievable that it was built as a family chapel, so ornate!

Once we’d walked around the house and down to the cafe and gardens at the bottom (along with a lovely cuppa and slice of cake in the cafe), Alan and Vicky took the minibus back to the car park at the top of the hill, while Cameron and I spent the next half hour with a leisurely walk back up, soaking up the sunshine, which was bright and beautiful, just like Tyntesfield.

I’d highly recommend a visit to this stunning property!

Tredegar House and Dyffryn Gardens

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As we’re on holiday at my Uncle’s house in Bristol at the moment, we’ve renewed our National Trust membership and spent yesterday on a day trip across to Wales to see some places that Alan has never seen before.

A random flip through the National Trust handbook got us Tredegar House, a lovely restoration house which was only brought into Trust ownership in 2013. They’ve got a 50 year lease on it so they are at the start of their journey to restore the house to its former glory, but it was really lovely. The woman who gave us our tour was very knowledgeable and she was happy to talk to us after the tour to answer our questions.

The house itself has had an interesting history, even being used as a Catholic girls school. There was one room with a magnificent mural on the ceiling, which was apparently almost destroyed when an air display by the Vulcan flew a little low and shook the house so much it almost cracked the plaster.

After we’d been to the house, we asked at the information centre if they had any other properties in the area, and they recommended Dyffryn Gardens, about half an hour away. They warned us that the house wasn’t as grand as Tredegar, but the gardens were lovely. And while they may have been correct about the lovely gardens, the house was still as spectacular, just in a very different style.

The only downer on the day was the fact that the weather was quite grey and miserable, but we mostly managed to avoid getting wet. We did over 7000 steps during the day though, so we all slept well last night after all the fresh air!

 

Tour de France Grand Depart Stage 2 – Huddersfield

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Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last few weeks, you’re probably more than aware that it was the Grand Depart of the Tour De France this weekend, and where else but my home county of Yorkshire! We don’t usually watch the Tour, but we knew that it was a spectacle not to be missed, and that we had to go and try and see it just to see what it was all about.

And boy, the atmosphere was incredible! We were one of the first people to arrive at the top end of Huddersfield in the morning to watch the cyclists fly along the ring road, and we had a long wait in store, arriving 3 hours before the preceding caravan and almost 5 hours before the cyclists! I’m glad we got there early though because by 11am, the crowds were starting to swell dramatically, and we still had our front row seats. We ended up sat next to a couple of families with small children, and the atmosphere there was lovely. Everyone was friendly and talking to each other and just generally excited about the whole thing!

The pictures that I took obviously don’t do justice to the beauty of the weekend’s course, being in the city centre of Huddersfield and not somewhere more picturesque like Howarth or Holme Moss, but hopefully they show a bit of what it was like! There’s also a video that Cameron took which shows the noise and excitement as the cyclists came through!

Holiday Day Five – Midland Air Museum & Baddesley Clinton

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For the final day of our holiday, we didn’t really know what we wanted to do, so I googled things to do in Coventry and the top result was the Midland Air Museum, based at Coventry Airport. At only £6.50 per adult, it was an absolute bargain!

The main exhibit is all about Sir Frank Whittle, the inventor of the Jet Engine. His story was fascinating, and I’m really glad I got to learn all about him. There was a hangar full of old planes, including a couple with steps up to the cockpit so you could sit inside. Around the edge of the hangar were display cabinets full of information.

Once we stepped outside, I got a big grin on my face to see a Vulcan parked outside! You could even climb up into the cockpit if you wanted (although the ladder looked a bit rickety for me!). There was no charge to do so, although they do say you can leave a donation for the upkeep if you want to. The outside exhibition area contained a lot more planes on display, with a few people hard at work on restorations.

I’d really advise people to go for a quick look around, we stayed there a couple of hours and we learnt a lot. You could also combine it with a trip to the RAF Museum at Cosford which is nearby. I’ve not been there, but I’d love to go!

After we’d left the air museum, it was a bit too early to head back to the hotel, so we decided to visit the nearby National Trust property that my uncle had been telling us about: Baddesley Clinton. It was a beautiful medieval moated house, with fantastic gardens. The interior is Elizabethan, showcasing the priest holes which were necessary to hide the priests from the persecution of Catholics at the time. The house contained some beautiful stained glass, although I wouldn’t call the mounted foxes head above the door particularly beautiful – quite horrifying really!

Outside round the moat were lots of little ducklings, and some ducklings that were obviously not so young and halfway between fluffy down and grown up feathers. They were very tame though and not scared of coming near us! Just like the ducks in the café courtyard, who were not shy about trying to demand some food, pecking at our legs until we shooed them away to bother another poor family!