Day 6 – the last day and cottage review

I’m a little late getting this post up, but I’m still feeling urgh, our last day in Yorkshire..

We both didn’t want to leave Yorkshire and really, really didn’t want to leave the cottage. So on our last day we were in agreement to take it easy and just relax (be lazy) around the cottage – after all it was one of favourite parts of the trip!

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I think we found the cottage, named Blue Buttons, through cottages4you.co.uk and paid roughly £360 for a week (not each, between us.)  When we arrived we knew we had made the right choice, especially as it was much bigger than what we thought it was going to be!

It’s a two storey building, which some might think is not technically a cottage, but with its luxury cosy feel, log fire and hot tub jacuzzi bath to boot I don’t really care!

The log fire is located in the living room, pictured above and whilst I couldn’t manage to get a decent picture of the heavenly bathroom I’ve nicked one of theirs below (which does do it more justice than my failed attempts.)  The bathroom really impressed David where there is a rainfall shower and as previously mentioned and praised: the jacuzzi bath, which is MASSIVE!  (Room for two, even though David is 6 ft 4!)

On our arrival the kind and delightfully northern couple (I’m from the south if you haven’t guessed) had already bought us some logs for the fire, little snacks like crackers and Wensleydale cheese, milk, tea, coffee and a bottle of wine.

They, Sharon and Boyd, live a few doors down and hold a wealth of knowledge of the surrounding area they both grew up in and are very proud of.

Other amenities are free parking (off the street/on the driveway), WARM central heating (if you can’t be bothered with the log fire), a fantastic kitchen with an American style fridge with every piece of crockery or cutlery you’ll ever need, a downstairs toilet, towels, 3 TV’s (with 1 DVD player in the living room and a small collection of films), the board game Scrabble, a washing machine, iron, ironing board, wifi and OH YES A HAIR DRYER!  (Love it when that’s included.)

Listing all of the above and I haven’t yet mentioned the bedroom!

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If the bathroom was the room David was most impressed by then for me it has got to be the bedroom.  As David is the size he is, sometimes traveling we did struggle a bit with various double beds we stayed in!  Thankfully this bed was just so, so comfortable, but also big enough so David could stretch out and not collide with me in the process.  (I lie, it’s usually me who stretches out and disturbs him!)

Another part of the cottage I loved is the amount of light the windows brought in.  I hate dark rooms and hotels/hostels we stayed in throughout our gap year which did not have windows was a personal hell.  Waking up in a dark room is just not natural!

Anyway, even through a week in January, each morning when I opened the curtains the room would be flooded with light.

A Tesco and a Morrisons is very close by with those or the town an easy 10 minute walk.  York, Harrogate and Leeds are all very near too, either for driving or catching the train (the station being in town too.)  Leeds is a big transport hub so many links will be made here.

Both David and I really enjoyed our stay and was gutted when we had to leave, it was by far the best accommodation we have ever stayed in.  If you are interested you can click here to look into booking details.

All views are my own and I have not been paid or asked to review this cottage by the owners or the website.  It truly is a fantastic place to stay in the beautiful ‘gateway to the Dales’!

 

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Day 4: Relaxing around Skipton

As the post title suggests, we had a sneaky little rest day today.  We seemed to fit in quite a bit our first few days in Yorkshire and tiredness crept up on us, that and the few glasses of champagne we had in bed whilst watching Breaking Bad – we’ve nearly finished the final series!

We heard from the owner of the cottage that Wednesday is market day in Skipton, providing it doesn’t snow, so we decided to take it easy and keep it local.

Unfortunately, it did snow – although it didn’t really lay.  The market in town along the High Street was sparse, but the cheese stall was still alive and kicking (and we’d ran out of cheese and crackers!)

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We bought some authentic Wensleydale cheese (scrumptious), extra mature cheddar cheese and biscuits, all for around £10 and munched on them we got home a few hours later.

Before we did, we wanted to check out Skipton Castle which is just at the top of the High Street and we’re really glad we did!

I think we were both thinking it would be an alright castle, being from England you see plenty of them, especially growing up and going on trips for your history GCSE – but this one is in especially good condition and is over 900 years old!

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The castle also claims to be one of the best preserved medieval castle in all of England – quite a claim – which also survived a three-year siege during the civil war.

It contains a banquet hall, watch towers and a dungeon and has all furniture and decor stripped from it.  I enjoy castles adding decor and furniture to show how it used to be lived in, however David brought up a good point that having it bare can leave more to the imagination.

What’s particularly helpful is the Tour Sheet given to every visitor free with the entrance fee (oh which was £7.30 for adults by the way, child tickets are cheaper, or free if they’re under 5 and there are concession tickets available for over 60s and students.)  The sheet explains how old certain parts of the castle are, what they were used for and who’s visited it – including Mary Queen of Scots.

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If staying in Skipton I’d definitely recommend a visit here, it was fairly quiet with me and David having almost the whole castle to ourselves!

We had already hatched a plan before we left that our next stop was going to be a Pork Pie shop we had walked past a number of times.

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THIS is what is great about the north – cheap hearty food.  David and I bought two roast pork butties (sandwiches/rolls, to anyone unfamiliar with the slang), a large pork pie and a small pork and haggis pie – all for under £10.

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If I lived in Skipton I’d be a festively plump, but very happy, lady.

The camera had also arose from the dead – with it seemingly to be working as normal, I kept in the bag and it managed to take the above pics with no problem.  Huzzah!  I think it’s alive!

For dinner we went to Mustab’s, the town’s Indian restaurant. The place itself is a bit shabby but the food, which regrettably I didn’t get pictures of, was so, so tasty and if you’re craving for tastes from the East, whilst in the cold, cold North, this place gets a thumbs up from me.  Despite the fact I’ll probably be going home 1 stone heavier from all the yummy food from this holiday, it can all be forgiven for pleasing my taste-buds!

 


Day 3: The City of York and Le Bistro Des Amis

Today is my birthday!  Happy Birthday to me! Waking up early and opening my pressies, which included a 3 course lunch for two (with champagne) at Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Restaurant in London (oh laa I’ll have to review that!) we soon had to rush to get ready in order to catch our 9:16 train to York! From Skipton Train Station, which is only a 5 minute walk away from our cottage, the journey took roughly 1 hour and 17 minutes with one change at Leeds. I was looking forward to York, as I have been told it is much like my home city of Canterbury that I do adore – and it’s true!  It’s like a bigger, more posh (if possible) version of Canterbury. First we visited the National Railway Museum, conveniently situated right next door to York Train Station.

It is also conveniently free, but with suggested donation boxes darted around the place – I felt generous and donated the advisable £3 because looking in on some of the old carriages, especially those used by royalty, was quite enjoyable. IMG_1328 It wasn’t too much longer until we were in Jorvik – the Viking Museum!  Vikings are cool right?  If you like Vikings then I suggest you go here, but don’t expect to be completely blown away.  It’s funny because one of the main historical attractions in Canterbury is The Canterbury Tales – an ‘interactive’ exhibit where Jeffrey Chaucer’s famous play is spoken into your ears, whilst you’re walking around a ‘reconstruction’ of the story, as it was back in Chaucer’s time, accompanied with strange smells and weird creepy mannequins.

Unfortunately not my pic, from visityork.org

Unfortunately not my pic, from visityork.org

And well, the Viking Museum opted for the same (dated) entertainment, but instead of walking you’re taken around a realistic Viking town by a sort of roller coaster thing, at a really slow speed.  At £10.25, it may be a bit steep to some, but was quite comical (and oddly educational) for us! Then we visited York Minster – reminding me a lot of Canterbury’s Cathedral – what are all these York and Canterbury parallels?! It was £10 to visit, or £15 to also go up the tower – which sadly had allocated times hours away from when we arrived.  A bit annoying, but the lady at the counter told us this was due to low staff, so it probably isn’t like this all year round. IMG_1334 IMG_1335 IMG_1336 IMG_1337 When we were finished wandering around the big church/cathedral like building (what is the difference between that and a minister?), we did a bit of shopping, which York can offer quite a variety of, before having tea at the Teddy Bear Tea Rooms. There’s a host of different tea rooms you can visit around York – we saw more you could shake a stick at – but I quite enjoyed the uneven rooms in the top floors of the Teddy Bear Tea Rooms, that look over the narrow York Streets and where you can get a pot of tea and cake for just £4.90!  (Except I chose the chocolate chip cookie.)  David got the brie and bacon sandwich that also looked quite tasty. IMG_1339 IMG_1338 IMG_1341 IMG_1343 Surprisingly time went by quite quickly and we soon found ourselves on a busy train back to Skipton. Instead of going back to cottage right away, we went straight up the High Street to get dinner – I decided whilst still on the train I liked the sound of Le Bistro Des Amis, a French restaurant highly rated on Tripadvisor. I’m a big fan of French food, French Decor and… anything French really.  I felt right at home in this place and both me and David really enjoyed the food.  For starters I had the Duck Liver Parfait and David, the French Onion Soup. IMG_1350 IMG_1351 For main, I had the braised shoulder of lamb with haggis, although I couldn’t tell which part the haggis was.  I think it was mixed up with the lamb, like the swede was with the carrot and, not ever having haggis before, all I can say ALL of it tasted superb! IMG_1352 IMG_1353 David had the beef Bourguignon pie with mash and he left feeling as stuffed as I was! (A little more difficult than filling up a petite 5 foot 2 lady, as he’s 6 foot 4!) Overall, a fantastic birthday 🙂


Day 2: Cow & Calf Rock, Ilkley Moor and Aysgarth Falls

We were a little late getting up this morning, last night after yesterday’s post we both felt so relaxed we stayed in, munched on some of our snacks (crackers, cheese and chutney accompanied by Lindt Chocolate balls hmm…) and watched a few episodes from the final series of Breaking Bad, all in front of our log fire!  Bliss.

We decided late last night too, before going to bed, we would try to squeeze both Ilkley Moors and Aysgarth Falls today – which we did manage to do, woohoo!

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And again, we were fairly lucky with the weather – it was mostly clear, with no snow clouds or fogginess, which meant when we did get up onto Ilkley Moor the sights looking down on the town of Ilkley and the surrounding hills were so pretty and picturesque – which could have easily been blocked by unpredictable Yorkshire snow flurries!

There was of course still a lot of snow lying around, but the only icy surfaces we faced in terms of driving was the car park!

Ilkley, like Bolton Abbey, isn’t far from Skipton and is only a 15 minute drive away.  We used the Cow & Calf Rock Cafe’s car park, which was free – or so it seemed!

From here you can walk all around the moors and can even clamber up and around the Cow & Calf Rock (although maybe best not to in this weather if you’re wearing wellie’s like we were!) – these are the two rocks below, the big one being the Cow and the small one, you get this picture.

Cow & Calf Rock

Cow & Calf Rock

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Sadly, these rocks suffer with a case of rubbish grafitti. For example, one part of the rock had ‘RIP DOG’ sprayed upon it!  Not very creative…

However as we discovered later, other rocks around the area had carvings etched into them from as early as the mid-19th Century.  Although we found this way more interesting than whoever Dog might be, back in the 1800’s they could have looked pretty shit to other hikers too – who knows!

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RIP DOG, lower right hand side of the Calf Rock, whoever you may be.

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Graffiti from the 1800's

Graffiti from the 1800’s

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We walked round the moors for an hour or so more and even enjoyed a few cups of tea from the flask we made before leaving the cottage – top tip for those who are going to do this kind of trip and want a traditional English warm-up (if you’re not already English or a fan of tea!)

If you’re into your wildlife too there is plenty around here – we didn’t see much, being winter, but still spotted a bird of prey swooping around and some deer droppings (regrettably not the deer itself.)

Anyway, a free trip well worth the hike.

Another interesting rock

Another interesting rock

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From here, we went onto Aysgarth Falls – made famous arguably by the Kevin Costner Robin Hood film, where he had some sort of fight on the lower falls. I have seen the film, many years ago, so I can’t exactly remember who the fight was against and why it happened.

Anyway, unfortunately Aysgarth National Park is not so quick to get to, which isn’t down to distance but in fact due to the road route – if you don’t like country roads prepare yourself.  The way there is practically one long country road which winds and bends like something out of Postman Pat but worse (if you’re not English you might not get this reference, it may be worth googling!)

It takes approximately just over an hour, longer if you’re unlucky enough to get caught behind a tractor!  The roads can be quite tight in some parts too, so be cautious about oncoming vehicles around blind corners, basically drive carefully and not like an utter idiot.

We were lucky with the roads again here, perfect conditions until we came to the Aysgarth Falls car park – an icy slope entrance which had us both gritting our teeth getting up – but we made it nonetheless!

We also had a supporter spurring us on in the form of a random man, who turned out to be a nice random man who gave us his car parking ticket with a few hours left as he was just leaving – nice one!

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The Upper, Middle and Lower Falls are all walking distance and not strenuous in any way. Although we guessed you had to pay for the car park, there are no entrance fees to see all three falls. There is however a honesty box on the way to the Upper Falls though, where we kindly donated and recommend you do too!

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A lovely site, I’m sure you agree, which I feel my iPhone does not do enough justice (and the fact I still feel guilty about breaking the camera yesterday >_<).  I did take a couple of panoramic videos here, that I can’t seem to figure out how to upload from my phone onto WordPress.  Alas, they are on my Instagram so if want to take a buchers you can click here.

On the drive back we listened to classic Western and Sci-Fi movie soundtracks, with the sun going down and white fields all around us, it felt like we were through some icy planet than West/North Yorkshire!  But we soon made it back to Skipton and felt right at home in our warm and cosy cottage.

Tomorrow, my birthday, we plan on catching the train over to York.

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