On Monday Wil and I had a day off together and as I was in dire need of some new walking pants, we headed up to Skipton, a North Yorkshire market town with a good selection of outdoorsy type shops. Skipton also has an impressive medieval castle and the ancient Skipton Castle Woods are perfect for a walk with the dog.
We entered the woodland via the Bailey entrance where a carpet of snowdrops welcomed us. Apparently the woods really come into their own later in the spring, when bluebells, wild garlic and primroses adorn the forest floor.
Skipton Castle Woods are looked after by The Woodland Trust and there are three short trails that meander their way through the canopy of trees. You can’t tell from the pictures but the weather alternated between rain, sleet and snow! We returned to the town through the woods entrance on Mill Bridge.
The town is the perfect mix of high street and independent shops, quirky cafes, old fashioned pubs with names like ‘The Woolly Sheep’ and colourful canal boats. Great for a wander round and a spot of retail therapy. 🙂
We had lunch in Coopers Cafe Bar on Belmont Street. This is a fave cafe of ours in Skipton. A really friendly and relaxing place with good tasty food. Afterwards we did the tourist thing and bought tickets to look round Skipton Castle. Tickets are £8.30 for Adults, £5.20 for children and dogs are accepted, though not in the shop or tearoom.
A sturdy castle over 900 years old, Skipton is steeped in history. It was the last stronghold in the North of Engand during the English Civil War between Oliver Cromwell and the Royalists. Legend has it that sheep fleeces were hung over the walls to lessen the impact of cannon fire. My favourite part of the castle is the shady inner courtyard, where Lady Anne Clifford planted a Yew Tree and set about restorations after the battle. There are lots of rooms to explore….and its a great place to escape from the rain!
As my other half and I are ‘owned’ by a bouncy black labrador, our days out and holidays are often planned round walks and pet friendly places. With this in mind, here are a few of Hugo’s ( and our) favourite haunts, over the last 3 years.
Allan Bank , Grasmere, Cumbria. There are not many National Trust properties that allow dogs inside. A charming exception, a short walk from Grasmere, is a former home of poet William Wordsworth. Not every room is decorated however, so this Georgian Manor has a relaxed carefree vibe. The grounds are worth an explore too and include a woodland walk and gardens. Sadly there is no cafe on site at present, though you are welcome to make yourself a brew. Open this year from the 10th February. You can read about our visit here.
St Annes Beach Huts, St Annes, Lancashire. What better base for a day at the seaside than a beautiful beach hut! We spent a memorable day with Hugo in St Annes a couple of summers ago…. and we do need to repeat the experience. The huts are fully equipped with a fridge, microwave and radio. The sands in front of them are dog-friendly all year round. stannesbeachhuts.co.uk
Another Place, Crosby Beach, Merseyside. An atmospheric and thought-provoking art installation. 100 iron figures grace Crosby Beach, all identical , all modelled on their creator Antony Gormley, all stand staring out to sea. A stunning spectacle and a great place for a bracing beach walk. Pay and display parking but there is also free parking at nearby Crosby leisure centre.
Castle Kennedy Gardens, Dumfries & Galloway. If you find yourself in Scotland’s much underrated Dumfries & Galloway , these 75 acre gardens surround two lochs and the ruins of a 14th century castle. Great for exploring, you can stay on the estate too, as we did here. 🙂
Conishead Priory, Ulverston, Cumbria. Although this Gothic Priory is now a Buddhist Retreat , the grounds, gift shop and cafe are all open to the public. We have visited maybe three times now with Hugo, for lovely woodland walks that lead down to the beach. A January trip saw the woods abundant with snowdrops. Look out for the Buddhist temple and a giant golden buddha! Parking is free and you can eat with your dog in a comfy lounge, next to the cafe.
East Lancashire Panopticans. Have you heard of The Singing Ringing Tree, The Atom or The Haslingden Halo? All three of these unusual structures are found locally in East Lancashire, and can be incorporated into interesting walks. For more information check out midpenninearts.org.uk
Formby Point Red Squirrel Reserve, Formby, Merseyside. Formby has a great dog-friendly beach with sand dunes and coastal pine forests which are home to Lancashire’s only native red squirrel population. 🙂 The Squirrel Walk is a must if you wish to see these cute tufty creatures. Parking at The National Trust Car park. Dogs on leads in the reserve. You can read about my visit Sea Air ~ Squirrels and Naked Men on the Sefton Coast. .
Ingleborough Show Cave, Clapham, Yorkshire. We had no intention of touring this grand Victorian Show Cave but having stumbled upon it whilst walking along Clapham Nature Trail, we found that dogs are admitted. 🙂 The tunnels are well lit, though low in places. The tours are interesting and the shop at the entrance sells snacks and souvenirs. Find out more here .
Ingleton Falls Trail, Ingleton, Yorkshire Dales. This 7km walk from Ingleton village is £6 per adult, including car parking. The trail takes in several stunning waterfalls and there are a couple of refreshment kiosks along the route. Walking boots are best worn and dogs may need to be on lead in some areas. www.ingletonwaterfallstrailco.uk
Janet’s Foss & Malham Cove, Yorkshire Dales. The Yorkshire Dales is renowned for its beautiful waterfalls and Janet’s Foss is no exception. There is a stunning woodland walk from Malham village ( start at the Smithy) leading to the falls ( home to a fairy) and Gordale Scar. Another walk from the village takes you to the impressive Malham Cove , with its unusual limestone rock formations. I blogged about Malham here .
Lake District Boat Trips, Cumbria. Did you know that four-legged friends are welcome on the pleasure boats that cruise four lakes in the Lake District? Hugo has taken trips with us on Windermere, Ullswater , and Coniston. I am sure Derwent Water will be on our itinerary for 2018. 🙂
Lowther Castle & Gardens, Penrith, Cumbria. The imposing ruins and gardens within gardens of this nineteenth century castle are a joy to explore. Lots of events all year round and an amazing castle themed adventure playground for the kids. Dogs are also welcome in the cafe and the gift shop. lowthercastle.org
Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk, Arnside, Cumbria. In 2016 we walked across the shifting sands of Morecambe Bay between Arnside and Grange-Over-Sands. As you can see walking actually means wading…partly. And some swimming for Hugo! Bay walks are organized group walks and should not be attempted otherwise. You can read about our attempt here.
Pendle Sculpture Trail, Barley, Lancashire. The natural world and the Pendle Witches have inspired this informative ( and stunning ) trail through woodland near Barley. Park at the village car park ( pay via an Honesty Box) and walk for one mile, passing a reservoir, to Aitken Wood. I blogged about a pre Hugo visit here.
Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, Ravenglass, Cumbria. Traveling 7 miles through gorgeous Lake District Countryside on a miniature steam train is something you can happily do, in the company of a four-legged friend. 🙂 There are hop on and off stops with many opportunities for lovely lakeland walks.Parking and Refreshments available at Ravenglass and Boot. ravenglass-railway.co.uk
Temple Seal Trips, Morston, Norfolk. Dogs are welcome on these popular boat trips, where you can see seals basking on Blakeney point. Colonies of Grey and Common Seals as well as rare arctic terns. Definitely a must do. The red and white boats even have a part canine crew! We loved our experience and here’s my blog to prove it. 🙂
I can only apologise that most of our days out have been in the North of England. But maybe that will be an incentive to holiday here with your hound. 🙂 If you have any recommendations for dog-friendly places to visit ( anywhere) please comment below.
As it is now a yearly tradition of mine to post a quick photo round-up of the year, I thought I had better get cracking with this 2017 post. I definitely have no regrets about 2017. It has been pretty fantastic with lots of short trips away, days out and fun times with family and friends. 🙂
January. We celebrated Wil’s Birthday with a weekend break in his favourite Lake District town Keswick.
Mostly this consisted of walks by beautiful Derwent Water and of course frequenting Keswick’s many watering holes. 🙂
April. It was my little sister’s 40th Birthday this month and we celebrated with a mini break in the Big City ( London) with our younger brother and other halves. Our trip included The Natural History Museum, Afternoon Tea at Claridges and watching The Lion King. You can read all about it here.
June. This month I participated in The Wildlife Trust’s #30dayswild challenge , where I attempted ( though that’s no hardship!) to appreciate the beauty in nature every day in June, whether that meant noticing the different wildlife I would see on my daily walks with Hugo, or using natural ingredients in recipes such as Rose Petal Jelly. The challenge also coincided with my first ever visit to Norfolk, which I shall always remember for it’s many many beach huts, beautiful wildflowers and those yummy Dutch Pancakes in Wells-Next-The-Sea. 🙂
Beach Huts Galore in Norfolk.
Dutch Pancake on The Albatross.
July. Already well into Summer now. We spent a couple of nights camping in the Dales and walked this tiny stretch of The Dales Way and we took Hugo on his first ever trip on The Ullswater Steamer . I think this is my fave ever photo of my two boys. 🙂
August. Anyone for Afternoon Tea? I can certainly recommend a fun, quirky and delicious one at The Cake ‘Ole in Skipton. And August is a great time to go camping with the kids, as we found out when we accompanied friends to Meadow Falls near Ingleton.
September. We had a bit of an Indian Summer this month, which made up for a damp squibby August. Luckily we got to make the most of the sunshine on a day out with my niece and nephew in Morecambe and we spent a week in the The Lake District , bagging my first wainwright fell and enjoying the incredible views over Wastwater.
October. Days out in October included A family friendly bike ride on the Lancashire Cycleway from Lancaster to Morecambe and back. It was my first time on a bicycle for many a year, so I was pretty happy that I made it!
November. My Birthday month was made so special when Wil booked us two nights in the Yorkshire Spa town of Harrogate.
I have always wanted to visit the Turkish Baths there so I checked us in for a morning, which was really enjoyable. We also visited nearby Knaresborough with its ancient castle and railway viaduct.
December. And its nearing the end of 2017 now after a fairly quiet but lovely December. Highlights included Hugo opening his Christmas presents ( he is very good at unwrapping, just need to train him to wrap up 😉 ), The traditional Christmas Morning Walk, Willow Angel Weaving and a Festive Afternoon Tea at Alexanders in Skipton.
I would just like to say a big thank you to everyone who drops in on my little blog every now and again. It really has made my year. 😁
All the best for 2018. I hope its a great one for everyone. Xx
Its a Christmassy Sunday Sevens this week. If only I had some snow to show you, but its been sadly lacking in Clitheroe. And the snow I did see, whilst travelling with my friend Fi over Pendle Hill last weekend, was beautiful if a smidge scary. I did not want to insist that we stop her little smart car for photographic opportunitys, when we were running late for a Willow Angel weaving morning with ‘ The Willow Witch of Pendle.’ Luckily The Willow Witch was lovely about our lateness and a very patient teacher. Can you believe these Angels were constructed out of 16 bendy willow rods. Quite impressive!
There were 5 of us who took the class and we all came away with an Angel. Some more angelic than others! I love how Louise has wrapped fairylights round the wings of hers. 🙂
After braving a snowy Pendle Hill back , Clitheroe was a bit of a non event snow wise..
Last Sunday I went to Skipton with some friends as there was a Christmas market on. Check out the festive Stilt Walkers! And Christmas is not Christmas without an Afternoon Tea. 🙂 My lovely friend Gill had booked us into Alexander’s
, a gorgeous piano bar and restaurant on the main street. It even has a pop up Alpine Den ( very Hygge) throughout December. I want to go back! My Goddaughter Mady brought her 2 little ones ,and we can definitely say Alexander’s is very family friendly too.
The Christmas Tree is up at last! As you can see its laden with an eclectic mish mash of decorations and baubles. Over the years I have collected and been gifted various bits and pieces. I am one of those people who find myself buying decs for the tree even in the middle of Summer. I once found a Christmas shop in Sorrento, Italy , in the middle of July…..and a cherry red ‘ Bon Natalie’ bell, has graced our tree every Christmas since. 🌲
The living room is all properly decorated now , thanks to my wonderful other half. 🙂 He has proved himself brilliant at wallpapering, painting, laying the floor and tiling the hearth. I treated myself to a textured black & white cushion from Rafffia in Clitheroe, to celebrate.
All that hard work deserves a couple of drinks down the pub. 🔥🍻
Thanks to Natalie at Threads And Bobbins for organizing Sunday Sevens.
A few weeks ago we spent a couple of nights in the Yorkshire spa town of Harrogate. This charming town is the ideal mini break destination , boasting elegant architecture, beautiful parks, art & theatre, olde worldy pubs, over 130 restaurants and shopping galore. Whats not to love!
From the cobbled streets and boutique stores of the historic Montpelier Quarter to the chilled 70’s vibe of Major Tom’s Social, we discovered some fab places, yet there is still so much left to explore. Which of course can only mean, we shall have to return. 😁
Wil had booked us into one of these lovely apartments , quite centrally located, off Cold Bath Road. Because we had planned a morning at the Turkish Baths Hugo did not accompany us on this trip. But just in case your wondering, our accomodation did turn out to be pet friendly, so he could definitely come with us in the future.
I’ve made a little list of some of my personal favourite places that we came accross in Harrogate. 😁
Major Tom’s Social. Describing itself as a ‘ Youth Club for grown ups’ this laid back hangout above a retro vintage shop specializes in selling craft beer and real ales. Also on the menu are fantastic stone baked pizzas made freshly on site. We spent an enjoyable couple of hours here one evening chilling out on a comfy sofa and soaking in the 1970’s flavour of the place. Dotted around Major Toms are allsorts of retro memorabilia and like it’s name suggests it’s a very sociable bar, welcoming everyone including families with children and dogs too. www.majortomssocial.co.uk
Covet. A few doors down from Major Tom’s Social is an eclectic gift and interiors emporium called Covet which has a sister store in Ilkley. Packed full of unique pieces this quirky independent is a treasure trove of the unusual. I wish I had gotten a photograph of the ground floor as some of the more unusual items for sale included wire moose heads and taxidermy butterflies. Well worth a browse for a thoughtful gift or interesting pieces for the home.
Baltzersen’s. Sometimes it’s good to try something a little different and Harrogate certainly caters for all tastes. Balterzen’s on Oxford Road uses Yorkshire sourced produce in its Scandinavian inspired menus. This place was buzzing when we arrived on a Saturday lunch time so it’s probably best to roll up early to miss the queues. I tried a delicious open sandwich with maple and mustard roasted root veg , houmous and pickled baby carrots. Was soooo good! Other goodies on the menu include Lentil and root veg Lapskaus ( Norwegian Stew) , Gravlaks on potato cake with poached duck egg & sweet dill dressing and Mackerel Pate with rye toast, gooseberry chutney and feta salad. www.baltzersens.co.uk
Betty’s Tea Rooms. No visit to Harrogate is complete without a trip to Betty’s. This Yorkshire institution blends the county’s friendly hospitality with elegant surroundings and a distinctly Swiss flavour. It’s founder Frederick Belmont was born and raised in Switzerland almost 100 years ago. Bettys is renowned for its delectable cakes and chocolates and of course Afternoon Tea ,which has been enjoyed here for nearly a century. One way to avoid the crowds ( Bettys is extremely popular) is to treat yourself to a Betty’s breakfast early in the morning. My Swiss Rosti set me up the day. Make sure you check out the gift shop too with it’s dazzling array of baked goods and confectionary. www.bettys.co.uk
Turkish Baths. Harrogate is home to Britain’s most fully restored Turkish Baths, dating back to the 19th Century. I have long wanted to discover them for myself, so I booked us both in for a Saturday morning session. 🙂 The Turkish Baths experience begins in the elegant Frigidarium above, where you gradually become acclimatized to the warmth. Next it’s a case of braving The Steam Room, The Tepidarium ( warm room), Calidarium ( hot room) and Laconium ( hottest room) with showering and immersions in the invigorating plunge pool in between. And then…. simply…repeat! What I treasured most about my visit was admiring the stunning moorish architecture. The Baths are so beautiful and definitely worth a visit. Make sure you book, take some flip flops ( the terrazzo flooring gets quite hot) and drink plenty of the free water that is provided. www.turkishbathsharrogate.co.uk
The Little Ale House. A very happy discovery , the Little Ale House on Cheltenham Crescent is Harrogate’s first Micropub. Cosy and friendly with a great selection of real ales and gins, this bar is run by a young husband and wife team , often accompanied by their gorgeous collie cross rescue dog. 🙂 A tiny pub but well worth a visit if you can squeeze in. Oh and the pork pies are to die for!
Weetons Food Hall. My browse round Weetons was all to brief ,but if you are a foodie you will definitely enjoy perusing the many goodies on offer in this attractive Food Hall. Overlooking the Stray ( one of the town’s many green spaces) Weetons also has a restaurant , an award winning butchers and lots of mouthwatering displays. www.weetons.com
Have you ever been to Harrogate? Where would you recommend me to visit on a future trip? I am sure I will return. 🙂
Last Sunday we decided to take Hugo on a proper long walk ie somewhere different to the usual trudge down the fields and back. After checking the weather forcast we grabbed our walking boots and headed for the Dales, where it was meant to stay dry until at least after lunch. 😉
I had found an 8km ( 5 mile) walk starting from the village of Stainforth near Settle in a Northern Eye book called Top 10 walks to WATERFALLS. The route takes in two waterfalls Catrigg Force and Stainforth Force as well as moorland and riverside. We parked at the pay and display car park in the village and followed the ‘Pennine Bridleway’ up the fellside.
It wasn’t long before we came upon Catrigg Force, tumbling 50ft down into Stainforth Beck. The falls and surrounding area were explored often by composer Sir Edward Elgar, who would stay in nearby Settle when visiting his friend and fellow musician Dr Charles Buck. Maybe the peaceful Yorkshire Dales inspired his compositions…
You may be wandering why I am dangling a pink and green toy dog over a waterfall?? This is Sybil and these cute stuffed dogs are made by a group on facebook called Hounds4Huntingtons in exchange for donations to the Huntington’s Disease Association. Sybils love adventures so I shall take her on a few of mine. If you like , check out their facebook page or Sybil_On_Tour on Instagram. 😁
After admiring the waterfall we continued on until Higher Winskill Farm where we had to walk through a field of these magnificent beasts! They seemed quite interested in us but pretty friendly.
I think we took a wrong turn at Higher Winskill and we ended up on the moorland road that leads into the village of Langcliffe , instead of taking a footpath there. Luckilly the road was quiet and the scenery lovely. The rain was moving in however and by the time we got to Langcliffe it was pouring down.
Langcliffe looked a nice village but disappointingly there was nowhere to shelter from the bad weather. No pub, no cafe and no shop. 😦 We persevered on , crossing a railway and a weir over the river Ribble.
The rest of the walk followed the Ribble, a river that flows through my hometown of Clitheroe as well. We continued on past a caravan site and eventually we were rewarded with the cascading Stainforth Force and an old pack horse bridge. Happilly by this time the rain stopped long enough to pose for a few photos. 😁
After crossing the old packhorse bridge we followed the short road back to Stainforth itself to complete our waterfall walk.
Have you any waterfalls near you? What is your favourite waterfall walk?
A couple of weeks ago it was Afternoon Tea Week here in the UK, so what better excuse for an indulgent treat at The Cake ‘Ole in Skipton. My friends Arwen and Gill and I, just happened to be walking past this Hidden Gem whilst enjoying a little retail therapy. 🙂 Tucked away in the Craven Court Arcade, just off the high street , The Cake ‘Ole’s funky vibrant decor enticed us through the door.
The lovely staff were charming and friendly and found us a table straight away. Our eyes were drawn to every colourful nook and cranny. The Cake’Ole is definitely a cafe that likes to dazzle you with it’s quirky decor. 🙂
I’ve experienced the Cake ‘Ole’s mouthwatering cakes before, so I was eager to see what our Afternoon Teas would look like. As expected , they were served on pretty vintage china. I had a refreshing fruit tea with mine.
Our Afternoon Teas were prepared speedily and oh so wonderfully scrumptious. There was an assortment of soft roll sandwiches on the bottom tier. The middle tier contained the obligatory fruit scones with clotted cream and yummy strawberry and black pepper jam. On the top tier a super selection of delicious cakes rounded off our feast.
We found our dining experience at The Cake’Ole to be the perfect addition to our girly afternoon shopping in Skipton. Quirky, friendly and fun , with a delightfully delicious Afternoon Tea. 🙂
Because I am a traveller I can look down on the birds and up at the fishes. I collect moments and can venture back in time to lost worlds. I seize life and simultaneously escape it at will. Because I am a traveller I envy no man at home.