Welcome to this week’s Postcard From – the feature where I chat to some lucky explorer about their recent travels. If you would like to take part please click here for more info.
This week, I’m excited to share a postcard from my home country – Great Britain – since one of my goals for the year is to explore more of it myself! I’ve been chatting to the lovely Jo Addison about her neck of the woods, Yorkshire. Jo is a Yorkshire born and bred mum of two little boys, occasional marathon runner, dreamer and once RTW traveller. She blogs about holidays and days out for babies and toddlers at Kiddieholidays.
Hi Jo! Where are you sending this Postcard from?
I’m sending this postcard from Yorkshire – and in particular the fantastic city of Leeds! Yorkshire was showcased to the world during the Tour De France in 2014, and many people got to see the immense scenery of the Yorkshire Dales, and world class cities such as York and Leeds as the Tour passed through. As the largest county in England, there is so much to do and see here for everyone – and I’m on a mission to tell everyone about it!
As a Brit I know the Great British Weather all to well! I’m guessing you have it a little worse than us southerners?
The weather in Yorkshire is ‘changeable’ but the Yorkshire Dales and the tiny streets of York still look stunning in the rain! The saying ‘There is no such thing as bad weather – only a bad choice of clothes’ is very true here!
Which are of Yorkshire do you live in?
I live in a village about 20 mins outside of Leeds, but I would recommend visitors coming to Yorkshire base themselves in or around York in North Yorkshire. York is a fantastic place to visit – there are some great shops including all the high street chains and loads of independent shops too. Stonegate is great for mooching around looking in the windows of the posh boutiques, and Bishopthorpe Road has just been voted the Best High Street in the UK!!
The restaurants in York are phenomenal too – check out Betty’s for afternoon tea treat, or fish lovers should try the Blue Bicycle for an evening meal. The river is the perfect place to have an evening drink watching the sunset or an evening walk.
What’s a typical weekend in your hometown for your family?
Saturdays tend to be spent at swimming lessons or going to children’s birthday parties, but we like to have a day out once a week. We are members of the National Trust so we like visiting the ones around us, and also discovering new ones in the area. We love Nostell Priory in Wakefield which has acres of parkland to explore and a fantastic woodland adventure playground, and also the World Heritage Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal near Ripon in North Yorkshire. Each of the National Trust properties has something different to see and do and their facilities for children are excellent. Wherever we go in the UK, we always find which National Trusts are nearby and try and fit in a visit.
If it’s raining we love a day out at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. This interactive museum is full of big engines so is a real hit with the kids – and the cafe is pretty good too! Eureka, in Halifax is also brilliant for children. There is a pretend M&S shop, pretend bank and a garage where children can fill the cars with petrol. Outside there is a massive sandpit area too so it’s great in the summer too.
In the summer, we like to head over to the Yorkshire coast. Our of our favourite places to go is Filey. This Victorian seaside town is less commercialised than its larger neighbours of Scarborough and Bridlington but is perfect for days out at the seaside. The beach is over 7 miles long so it’s great for playing on, paddling in the sea or building sandcastles. Filey Brigg is small peninsula which stretches out into the North Sea – we love walking along here and going down the steep steps at the end for a spot of rockpooling. Glen Gardens at the far end of the town has a little playground and boating lake with great sea views.
You can’t come to Yorkshire without visiting the Yorkshire Dales. Our favourite places to visit in the Yorkshire Dales are Malham Cove and Bolton Abbey near Skipton. You can walk up to the top of Malham Cove for stunning views and then visit Janet’s Foss waterfall – some hardy souls even go swimming in Janet’s Foss in the summer! Bolton Abbey is another fantastic day out. We park at Embasy and catch the Bolton Abbey & Embasy Steam Train where it is about a mile walk to the actually abbey. There are loads of walks around the Abbey and some stepping stones which children love using to cross the river!
As a local – tell us what things people absolutely shouldn’t miss when they visit…
We love days out at York. We park just outside York and walk in along the river making a detour to visit Two Hoots ice cream which is an ice cream shop on a boat!! They moor up in various places on the river and serve amazing flavours of ice cream such as Peaches and Cream, Lemon Curd and Salted Caramel. Then we like to take a boat cruise on the river – you can either hire your own little boat or go on an organised cruise organised by York Boat. The Museum Gardens are great for a wander round and picnic on a summer’s day. These gardens are located by the riverside too so you can watch all the boats going past at the same time. If you fancy stretching your legs, a walk round the City Walls is also recommended to get an idea of the scale of the city and admire the spectacular views. Finally, you can’t go to York without visiting the York Minster – the detailed architecture and finishing of this beautiful building are awe inspiring.
There is loads to do on a rainy day in York too. The National Railway Museum is great for train fans big and small, and there are some pretty impressive trains from all around the world there. There is a little road train which goes from the NRM to the city centre which is fun! The York Castle Museum is highly recommended too. There is a Victorian street with shops which you wander in and explore as well as staff dressed in Victorian outfits. Don’t miss a visit to the York Chocolate Story too – there is plenty of opportunity for chocolate tasting as well as making your own chocolate bar and learning about the history of chocolate in York.
Where will people find the best food?
You can’t come to Yorkshire without having some fish and chips! There are loads of good fish and chip shops in Yorkshire but they seem to taste even better when you eat them outside at the coast!! Don’t forget some mushy peas!
The other Yorkshire tradition is to have afternoon tea at Betty’s Tea Room. Betty’s have tea rooms in various places such as York, Harrogate and Ilkley – my favourite thing to order at Betty’s is a Fat Rascal!
Do you have any tips or advice for anyone planning a trip to Yorkshire?
Peasholm Park in Scarborough runs mock naval warfare battle shows every day in the summer. People of all ages will love seeing these 20 foot boats blow each other up with planes flying overhead to assist – well worth a visit.
Skipton is a lovely market town on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales – there is a fantastic market here on a Saturday which is worth browsing round.
If you like biking, make sure you visit the Dalby Forest in North Yorkshire. There are loads of biking trails in this forest and the scenery is stunning.
So much to do! Time for some questions about you, now! What’s your favourite travel read?
I love The Lonely Planet Story by Tony Wheeler – it’s a really inspirational read about how they set up the Lonely Planet following their trip from the UK to Australia. My boys love the Lonely Planet Kids books – in particular the Amazing World Atlas – they are always pointing out countries and asking me what they are!
What do you love most about travelling?
Exploring new places and meeting new people – I love hearing about how other people live their lives, what challenges they face and what they enjoy doing. I think we can all get caught up in everyday life and forget that there is a big wild world out there. It’s important to keep an open mind and keep your mind fresh and in my opinion travel helps to do this.
NB – All images were taken from Flickr. Click them to see the original files!