Monday, May 25, 2009

Bank Holiday Weekend in York

This past weekend was a "Bank Holiday" weekend, the second one in May. We decided to take advantage of the three day weekend to explore a new city within the UK. We met friends from London in York which is in the north of England.  York is a former walled city with a rich English heritage that has been the back drop to many political events throughout its two millennial of existence.  We spent one day touring the sites inside the town of York and another day exploring the surrounding countryside.
The "walled city" of York. A view of a small portion of the wall surrounding the city. The walls are about 3 miles in length and they have been maintained over the centuries, still containing many remnants of the original Roman structures. 
A view of York Minster. This splendid Church of England features stained glass from the 14th and 15th centuries. York Minster is the second largest gothic cathedral of Northern Europe.
While at York Minster, we decided to climb the tower up to the top. There are 275 steps leading up the tower at the minster and they are definitely some of the steepest and narrowest stairs we have encountered. As we were climbing the stairs, we tried to compare the experience to that of climbing down into the pyramids in Eygpyt - the pyramids still qualify as the more hair-raising climb due to the lack of oxygen and 5,000 year-old-air in that situation, but this tower was not meant for small children or the weak....
Scott as we climbed up the stairwell inside the tower. Does the photo look off kilter or as if it needs to be turned? It might, but that just shows how narrow the winding staircase was inside! 
Up at the top of the tower, the view of the Minster's West side make quite impression. It was a beautiful sight from above. 
The top of the tower was "caged" all around. There were little open holes where you could take a photo of the view. BJ, Beth, and Scott tour around the top part of the tower viewing area.
What comes up, must go down.... Beth & BJ try to make their way down the tower again. They are only a few stairs apart here, but they look far apart due to the steepness of the staircase!
Woo-hoo I made it out of the staircase without falling down! 
Back inside the Minster, we viewed the large stain glass windows which are beautiful.
While in York, we had to taste Yorkshire Pudding, which of course originates in the region. Yorkshire Pudding is made from a batter dough and it is often filled served with roast beef, chicken or any other type of dish with gravy. We had dinner at a restaurant called Melton's Too which I would recommend if you are visiting York. It was good food and quite reasonably priced. 
The Yorkshire Pudding with a beef type stew and horseradish sauce on top. It tasted a bit like a popover with a pot roast type beef on it. Now that I have tried it, I will be ordering it again. 
On Sunday, we took a drive into the rolling hills of the Yorkshire countryside and headed towards the Yorkshire Moors. Our first stop, one we accidentally stumbled upon, was to see the Kilburn White Horse. We had read about it in our UK guide book and then all of the sudden, we saw it in the distance, so we decided it was worth a visit. 
Here, Scott is trying to be funny and is trying to "pinch" the horse in a photo...but he really couldn't align his fingers with my trigger of the camera. We saw the white horse from a country road in the distance. The view of the yellow fields and rolling hills was stunning. 
We drove to the closest point where cars are allowed, and then got out and walked up the remaining way to see the horse in person. The White Horse is a hill figure formed in the hillside village of Kilburn, North Yorkshire, England and the horse is about 318 feet long and 220 feet high. It covers 1.6 acres, which is hard to see in this photo, but it was large in person. 
The sign along the walk up to the top of the horse, explaining the Kilburn White Horse. It was created in 1857 and is formed of limestone. During World War II, the horse was covered to prevent it from becoming a navigation landmark for potential bombers
BJ & Scott making their way up MORE stairs. All of our legs were pretty tired by Monday! In total, we climbed over 800 stairs on this attraction and York Minster in just two days. 
The view from the top of the horse. What a great view of the Yorkshire countryside in bloom.
Bethany & BJ at the top of the hike to see the white horse. 
Cassie & Scott - a bit windblown...
After the White Horse, we drove further into the countryside and stumbled upon the first of a few Abbeys in the area. We toured Rievaulx Abbey's remains in North Yorkshire Moors National Park. 

The former entrance to the Abbey and most likely the Nave. 
Cassie inside the Abbey's remains. Rievaulx Abbey was founded by St Bernard of Clairvaux in 1132 and became one of England’s wealthiest monasteries before its dissolution by King Henry VIII in 1538.
Scott inside the remains.
From the Abbey, we continued to head north and ended up coming to a town called Ampleforth. The Ampleforth Abbey is in this town and also has a large college next to it, called Ampleforth College. "College" means preparatory boarding school here, so it essentially a premier high school here. The reason we stopped at this school was because it is the origination point to an all-boys school in St. Louis, The St. Louis Priory School. Since BJ attended this school, we made a stop to see the school and abbey. Inside the school, there was a photo of the St. Louis school on the wall which was neat to see. 
A view of Ampleforth College. 
A stop for a late lunch outside to enjoy the most beautiful spring weather was next....
Scott contemplating the menu at The Honeypot Tea Room in Nunnington. They had a great little patio with plenty of tables and chairs for dining al fresco. 
I ordered a lovely tea platter with sandwiches, a scone and cakes. It was so civilized and delicious! 
After Beth & BJ caught their train back to London, Scott & I decided to drive towards the East Coast of England and see what towns we may find along the way. Since it stays light outside until almost 10pm right now, we figured we had a few hours to drive before it got dark.
Our first stop was a town called Hull, or Kingston-Upon-Hull. 
After a stop near the harbour area, we decided it to was quite industrial and there wasn't too much for us to see. We got back into the car and headed further south along the coast...
We crossed a massive suspension bridge en route - The Humber Bridge. (this area is often referred to as Yorkshire & the Humber region). 
We arrived in a town called Grimsby and it again, did not look to be the seaside town we had envisioned....so we followed signs posted towards the "resort" town. We ended up in a town called Cleethorpes. I will preface that we did not know what type of town this was. Upon our return and after a few conversations with locals in our area, we now know we would have never gone to this town if we were planning a seaside get-away. In no way could we have prepared ourselves for the jersey-shore'dness of this town...
The board walk area by the sea.
Cotton Candy, aka Candy Floss was for sale so I was happy! 
The beach at Cleethorpes. 
Eating my candy floss seaside. 
There were rickity looking amusement rides for the kiddos...
The Rock Shop along the board walk - a strange name for a candy shop but maybe a reference to candy rocks? 
A token American stand along the beach...although the food they were selling didn't really look American! 
Our dinner in Cleethorpes - fish and chips. We had high hopes for an upscale seafood dinner, but given the situation, fish and chips was the best option. 
After our bellies were full, we downed a few tums and hit the road to go home...

1 comment:

notfromaroundhere said...

Those stairs at York Minster are spacious compared to the ones at Ely Cathedral, which is highly recommended!