You can take a Brit out of Britain, but you can’t take Britishness out of a Brit. In other words, as Michael McIntyre astutely noted, complaining is our national sport – be that whinging about the weather (wholly justifiable here, it’s -7°C in the mornings), lamenting the lack of cheddar cheese in the supermarket (sorry, but emmental is just rubber masquerading as cheese) or fussing over the French aversion to queues (a near-constant source of frustration). The highly-anticipated Vacances de Noël were a welcome respite from all of the above: England was positively balmy compared to freezing France; cheddar cheese was in steady supply; and queues formed naturally. (This is all intended in a very tongue-in-cheek manner; for all my complaints, I do still love France.)
If asked to name a British spa town, I suspect that for many people Bath would spring to mind. Head 200 or so miles further north and you’ll reach Harrogate, a spa town in the heart of Yorkshire which is frequently considered to be the happiest place to live in the UK. Easily accessible by train from Leeds, Harrogate is another of Britain’s gems. It’s surrounded by the Yorkshire Dales and the Nidderdale AONB, and the characterful city centre is full of boutique shops and cafés, fine architecture and sprawling green spaces.
Rain or shine, with its spectacular viaduct and labyrinth of cobbled streets and stone-flagged steps, Knaresborough is one of my favourite day trips from Leeds. A stone’s throw from the spa town of Harrogate – and a direct train away from Leeds – this picturesque market town was the perfect pick-me-up after my brain-draining French speaking exam (une discussion sur l’immigration et le «Brexit», je me suis éclatée!).
The Dales Way links Ilkley, a picturesque market town in Yorkshire, to Bowness-on-Windermere, a beautiful tourist honeypot in the Lakes, taking in 84 miles of moorland, pastures, valleys and fens along the way. Before returning home for Easter, Laurence and I decided to walk a chunk of it – and have since bookmarked the entire route for a future trip . . .
Whilst Grasmere was beautiful – and on an ordinary day, I would happily have waited two hours for the gingerbread shop to open – we decided to make the most of the sunny weather (and our limited time) and hike back to Ambleside. After all, what’s a trip to the Lakes without going on at least one walk? Fortunately, the Lake District offers walks for people of every age, ability and interest – and it was easy to find one to suit our needs. If you missed my two previous posts about our weekend in the Lake District, you can find them here and here.
Whilst the Lake District is known primarily for its stunning natural landscapes and incredible vistas, it also has a rich cultural heritage – and a jaunt to Grasmere combines the two perfectly! If you missed my previous post about our first day in the Lakes, you can find it here.
Located in the North West of England, the Lake District is one of the UK’s most scenic national parks. The spectacular landscape, which features stunning glacial ribbon lakes bordered by picturesque market towns and villages nestled in the foothills of the surrounding fells, attracts almost 16 million visitors annually, making it the UK’s most visited national park.