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Long Trip Report (20 days)

Seattle, Washington
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Long Trip Report (20 days)

First, I want to thank all the UK experts for their help and suggestion. We had a lovely, trouble-free trip and many of your suggestions saved us time and money. So, thank you!

As we were in the UK for 20 days the trip report will be long and I'll be breaking it into parts. I'm not an entertaining writer (I blame to many years in corporate America), but I hope it will be useful.

Here goes!

Day 1, June 9th - We left Seattle (United Airlines) at 11:30am and landed in Chicago around 4:00pm, two hour layover and then an 8 hour flight to London. There are direct flights to London from Seattle, but we like a break in our 12-hour confinement in steerage.

Day 2, June 10th - We landed in London at the new Terminal 2 about 30 minutes late at 9:00am. For folks landing at Terminal 2 the signage is great, but the walk (even with moving sidewalks) is about 20-30 minutes to passport control. Time through passport control was about 30 minutes. The immigration officers are very efficient.

We followed the signs to the Underground and bought one way tickets into London (£11.90 for two adults). The London transportation website indicates 55 minutes into London, but our trip to King’s Cross was 40 minutes. The renovations to King’s Cross station are amazing! It was hard to believe it was the same station we were in during our 2006 visit. At King’s Cross we bought single tickets to York. Yikes (!), talk about expensive $325.00 for two one-way tickets. I know we could have saved money by booking ahead of time, but we had no idea how long it would take to get through Heathrow and into London. Our train to York was scheduled to take 2 hours, but it took nearly 4 hours due to problems with the trains.

On arrival in York we took a taxi from the train station to our B&B on Grosvenor Terrace (£6). The taxi ride was about 10-15 minutes. Our B&B, Bowman’s Guest House, was an easy 10 minute walk into York (see review here: www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g186346-d777599-r213819841-Bowman_s-York_North_Yorkshire_England.html) as long as you turned in the right direction. We didn’t the first time and found ourselves climbing up to an overpass over the rail tracks and then trying to find our way back to central York. Fortunately, it was a pretty straightforward and easy walk and within a few minutes we were back on track. As we were getting pretty hungry we stopped at the Ambience Café for a late lunch.

After lunch we walked over to the Minster to see the outside and check out the location, walked around a bit more and then headed back to our B&B. We stopped at a Sainsbury Local to pick up a few snacks, berries, wine and chocolate digestives (cookies), then back to our B&B. We managed to stay up until 9:00pm local time.

Day 3, June 11th – After delicious “full English” at our B&B we headed into York. Our first stop was York Minster. I don’t know how to describe the Minster….huge, beautiful, amazing, seem like little words compared to the magnificence of the Minster. The detailed carvings in the Quire are like wood lace. While the Great East Window is being restored there is a replica (looks like a detailed photograph) on some kind of plastic (tarp?) covering the window. In addition, there is a set of excellent interactive touch screens which allow you to access all the history of the window, the meaning of the window sections and the restoration process. All in all we probably spent at least 2 hours in the Minster.

After leaving the Minster we walked through The Shambles, a narrow street which used to be lined with butcher shops, and while somewhat interesting from a historic standpoint is just full of tourist shops now. We lunched (had afternoon tea) at Betty’s. There was a queue, but it move quickly and we were seated (upstairs) in 15-20 minutes. Our afternoon tea was lovely! Sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and butter and lovely small desserts….YUM!

Our next stop was the river cruise by Lendal Bridge. It wasn’t a particularly outstanding cruise, but it was fun (we were sitting down) and the narration was entertaining. After the river cruise, we stopped at the Sainbury’s Local again for a few late snacks and then headed back to our B&B. We both slept very well!

london
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1. Re: Long Trip Report (20 days)

wow those were seriously expensive train tickets

Guildford, United...
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2. Re: Long Trip Report (20 days)

If you were 2 hours late you might be able to get a refund on those expensive tickets. Although the refund will be in railway vouchers that might not be of much actual use to you.

Southampton
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3. Re: Long Trip Report (20 days)

Great report. I look forward to reading the rest of it.

Did you see the man on the moon on the ceiling of York Minster?

Seattle, Washington
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4. Re: Long Trip Report (20 days)

Yes, and the cupid with his foot on a skull blowing bubbles :-) One of the docents pointed several things out to me as he saw me taking pictures.

Manchester, United...
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5. Re: Long Trip Report (20 days)

Thanks for this MTG - looking forward to reading more. Good to hear the trip was trouble-free. I'm a Betty's fan, so you've made me peckish, already - good job I don't live near any of their branches so it's a very occasional treat for me. You did well in the Minster spotting the little details - I think in places on that scale you can spot new (to you) things on repeated visits and still remain in awe.

Would you also post a link for you report in the pinned thread, please

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowForum-g186216-i15-Unit…

Seattle, Washington
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6. Re: Long Trip Report (20 days)

Day 4, June 12th – After another delicious breakfast at our B&B we were picked up by a person from Enterprise Car Rental and delivered to the rental location. Enterprise was going to upgrade us to a very nice SUV for the same price, but I’ve driven in the UK prior to this trip and I wanted small! Maybe it’s because I’m left-handed, but I don’t find driving on the left to be that difficult. You definitely need to pay attention especially with those pesky right turns (like a left-turn here). After about 30 minutes filling out paperwork and inspecting the car we were on our way to Castle Howard. Leaving York was fairly easy as I’d brought our GPS from home loaded with UK maps. I hadn’t changed the GPS voice over to British England so her pronunciation of some of the place names was pretty comical.

The drive to Castle Howard only took 30 minutes and it was a lovely drive. When we arrived the house wasn’t open yet (opens at 11:00am) so we walked through the walled garden. I have never seen delphiniums so tall in June…over 5’ tall and still growing. The walled garden has various rooms each planted differently; one was the kitchen garden, another the rose garden and another is a mixed border. I lost track of how many garden rooms we went through! We left via a side gate and walked through wooded paths which lead us to the Atlas fountain and a marvelous view of the rear of Castle Howard. The interior of Castle Howard is hard to describe adequately. Let’s just say it is impressive and well worth a visit.

Up next was the trip to our B&B with a short side trip to Rievalux Abbey. I think Rievalux was my favorite abbey of the trip. It is surrounded by fields full of sheep and Yorkshire stone farmhouses. Rievalux seems like the neighborhood church, well, except for it being a ruin. As you walk through the ruins there are plaques to explain what you’re seeing and there is also a free audio guide. The weather was hot so we stopped at the tea shop for a cool beverage before moving on to our B&B.

Our B&B, Low Foulgate Farm, was a mile from the small village of Grewelthrope and 3 miles from the market town of Masham. We found it easily with our GPS, but I’m not sure how well we would have done without the GPS although the directions on the website were very good.

I can’t say enough great things about Low Foulgate and the owners, Andy and Lindsay, without sounding like I own a part of the B&B 

The review is here: tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g1649524-d44…

Lindsay made a reservation at a local brewery/pub, the Black Sheep which is just down the road in Masham. Here’s where our GPS took us on a drive through wilds of Yorkshire, but when we came up to the dirt road it told us to drive down, we had enough common sense to turn around and go back the way we came. Fortunately, the Black Sheep wasn’t packed so we were still able to get a meal. The food was good and well-seasoned. For dessert I tried a tart called a Yorkshire Curd Tart, I expected it to be like a cheesecake, but instead it was like a really good spice cake inside a crust…very different, but delicious

Our evening wasn’t over yet! When we returned to Low Foulgate Andy gave us a demo of sheepdog training. Midge, the dog, was having fun, but really trying to get her commands correct. She’d start one way realize that wasn’t the command and then did a course correction to get it right. The demo was fascinating and Andy is an excellent host, friendly and fun.

Time for bed!

Manchester, United...
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7. Re: Long Trip Report (20 days)

If anyone reading this is similarly inspired to start their UK trip in York and can fly into Manchester - that airport has its own station with a direct service to York - a bit over an hour IIRC. There is an "easement" on Advance tickets from the airport on TransPennineExpress services that allows you to use the next available service if your plane arrives late (proof needed via the ticket office IIRC).

tpexpress.co.uk/tickets-offers/…

London, United...
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8. Re: Long Trip Report (20 days)

I tried a tart called a Yorkshire Curd Tart, I expected it to be like a cheesecake, but instead it was like a really good spice cake inside a crust…very different, but delicious

========

Mmmmm Yorkshire Curd Tart!

I'm not sure what a spice cake is, but curd tarts aren't really like a cake. More like a custard tart with lumps and currants (that makes it sound so unappetising!) They are made with curds though (which would normally be pressed into cheese) so I can see where you got the cheese idea from.

Glad you liked Yorkshire - wonderful part of the world!

Seattle, Washington
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9. Re: Long Trip Report (20 days)

Day 5, June 13th. We had a delicious breakfast and chat with Lindsay and Andy and then we were off for Whitby. The drive to Whitby took around 1.5 hours, but it was well worth it. The green fields of the Dales give way to a barren and lonely looking countryside until you get near to Whitby. Whitby is a typical fishing town with lobster (?) pots and fishing nets piled along the pier. We walked through the narrow streets doing some window shopping and stopped for lunch at Tiffin café. Lunch was enjoyable and reasonably priced. After lunch we drove up to Whitby Abbey. You can walk up 199 steep stairs to the Abbey if you’d rather walk. The ruined abbey sits in a field of grass and you follow a mown path up to the abbey. There are lovely views over Whitby and the neighboring countryside from the Abbey.

Leaving Whitby we drove down to Robin Hood’s Bay which was just lovely with a picturesque village and beautiful views (and steep hills!) and then back to our B&B.

Day 6, June 14th. Drive the Dales day! Our first stop was Reeth and the village was packed due to a marathon. Still we managed to find a place to park and set out to explore. Reeth is a market town and has lots of little shops and restaurants. I think we stopped in most of them! The small garden near the Tourist Information Center was having a plant and book sale so we browsed through the offerings and the garden before heading to Hawes. Our drive to Hawes was beautiful, but we often wondered if we were on the right road. We could see a two-lane paved highway at the bottom of the valley, but we were on a one lane (paved) road high on a hillside. I’m not sure what our GPS was “thinking”, but we saw enough signposts to be convinced we were going in the right direction so on we went 

We really didn’t get to see much of Hawes as they were holding an Arts and Crafts Fair and every road and parking spot was full. Still what little we did see looked charming.

We had lunch at The Station at Ribblehead and the food was quite good. I had steak pie which was like beef stew without the vegetables in a flaky pie crust. YUM! After lunch we strolled down the road for a closer look at the Ribblehead Viaduct.

We completed our loop back to Grewelthrope, passing through the towns of Giggleswick and Settle and over the Pately Bridge.

The Dales are beautiful and I loved our trip, but I would change two things; one I’d change our route so we went over Buttertubs Pass and two, I would do the drive on a weekday rather than a weekend.

We saw many signs roads would be closed for Le Tour de France, yellow bicycles propped, hung and painted on anything including sheep, shops with yellow, green and polka dot jersey cookies…all signs that Yorkshire is going to have great fun during the Grand Depart

Overall knowing what I know now I would still go to the same places, but I would add an extra day to our Yorkshire visit.

london
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10. Re: Long Trip Report (20 days)

<<a barren and lonely looking countryside>>

that would be the North Yorks Moors ... I grew up not far from there and our summer picnic outings in the car were often to that area ... in my mind there's a lot of stark beauty in areas like that

glad you enjoyed Yorkshire and looking forward to the next episode