Archive for category Yorkshire

Rugged Rocks and Resorts: Explore the Yorkshire Coast

WhitbyNatural beauty runs throughout Yorkshire, and this is particularly true of the Yorkshire coast. This comprises a wide variety of visitor

experiences, from the rugged charm of fishing villages to traditional seaside resorts and more for visitors to discover.

 

From a Hidden Gem and a Dramatic Coastline to Dracula

The village of Staithes is a real hideaway, a sheltered cove of fishermen’s homes, holiday cottages, small B&Bs and a lovely, picturesque harbour. It pretty much defines the idea of rugged, and it’s ideal for walks and exploring the coastline. It’s also a key destination for geologists and fossil hunters, as well as being an artists’ colony – and it has its own autumn Arts and Heritage festival.

Further down the coast is the resort town of Whitby. It’s home to the brooding presence of Whitby Abbey, a site of literary inspiration, most famously that of Bram Stoker, creator of Dracula. The 13th century abbey’s ruins are a great family destination and the site offers stunning panoramic views across the town and harbour.

Whitby has a whole lot of other visitor attractions, including the Captain Cook Memorial Museum and the old steam North Yorkshire Moors Railway. You can experience great sea-views from the West Pier and its lighthouse, and the town itself has plenty of great places for food, drink and shopping.

 

A Smuggler’s Hideout and the Original Seaside Resort

With its steep descent from the clifftop to the beach, Robin Hood’s Bay is a naturally dramatic coastal setting. Historically it was a centre for smugglers. It offers a great beach for families, but it’s also a popular stop-off point for walkers, as it is on the eastern end of Alfred Wainwright’s 190 mile coast to coast walk. This original home to a fishing community is small but bursting with character, replete with interesting cafes and shops, and host to regular events and festivals.

Scarborough is possibly the UK’s first seaside resort, dating back to the 1600s, when the health-giving properties of its spa waters became widely known. It’s a popular holiday destination, which combines both traditional and contemporary seaside character. It has two distinctive bays for beach-related activities and relaxation: the bustling South Bay and the quieter North Bay.

It’s a great centre for water sports, including water-skiing and surfing, and also boat rides. It’s also close to the countryside and great walking country.

The town has lots of attractions including its Sea Life Centre, a miniature railway and Scarborough Castle. It’s also home to the pioneering Stephen Joseph Theatre, with its long-standing artistic director, the famous playwright Alan Ayckbourne.

Whatever the drama you crave, the Yorkshire Coast has it, from natural beauty and settings to seaside entertainment.

The Town and the City: Harrogate and York

Harrogate

Here’s a study in contrasts: the genteel yet fashionable spa town of Harrogate and the historical, culturally dynamic city of York. Both destinations offer a virtual sensory overload in terms of food, drink and sightseeing.

 

Taking the Waters and More

Harrogate is in North Yorkshire and its international reputation as a spa town dates back to the Georgian era, when its waters, containing naturally high levels of iron, became a popular health treatment.

The town is architecturally beautiful, hilly and full of character. You can visit the luxurious Turkish Baths on Parliament Street to get a sense of what the 18th century visitors originally came here for.

Covering 17 acres, the Valley Gardens are a testament to Victorian aesthetics and landscape design. Here you’ll find beautifully tended flower shrubs and herbaceous beds, the historical Sun Pavilion and Colonnades, and an extensive children’s play area.

Out and about you’ll find a great selection of places to eat, from the stylish West Park Hotel in the town centre, and the Michelin starred Yorke Arms in nearby Pateley Bridge, to firm family favourites such as Jakes, and Harrogate’s very own Scandinavian café, Baltzersens.

Harrogate’s Montpellier Quarter has a charm all of its own, with its independent and stylish shops selling fashion, art and antiques, and a diverse range of restaurants, bars and cafes. There is also the iconic Betty’s Café and Tea Rooms to visit, something that Harrogate has in common with York.

 

A City Steeped in History

The walled city of York dates back to the time of the Roman occupation of Britain, and was founded in 71AD. It’s notable for its city walls and for a great many historical buildings, including Clifford’s Tower, York Castle and its famous cathedral, York Minster. It is also the home to the National Railway Museum.

For the more brave and adventurous, you can experience the drama of The York Dungeon or go on a guided Ghost Walk.

There are plenty of organised city-wide tours, but you can also be totally independent and explore York’s rich historical legacy and characterful layout at your own pace.

The city is replete with intriguing independent, boutique shops and market stalls, including those located at the Shambles Market. For those looking for a great bargain, the York Designer Outlet is situated a few minutes out of town and includes over 120 leading designer and high street brands.

The city is home to a vast number of bars and pubs, some of them historical, such as Ye Olde Starre Inn, dating back to the 1600s. There is also a huge number of restaurants to choose from, from bistros and brasseries to burgers.

Harrogate and York both combine great visual character and historical interest with dynamic hospitality, offering the visitor plenty to see, do and enjoy.

Accessible Culture Outside and In: YSP and Hepworth Museum

Art really is accessible when you visit the open space of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, in West Yorkshire. And you can combine this with a trip to the Hepworth museum in Wakefield to see work by contemporary artists and the internationally famous, Yorkshire-born Barbara Hepworth.

 

Objects in the Landscape

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) is an open-air gallery, spread across parkland in West Bretton. The area covers some 500 acres, which makes it great for walkers as well as art-lovers.

The landscape of the park has its origins some 200 years ago, as part of the private estate of Bretton Hall. It was divided up in the late 1940s but has steadily

become re-integrated through the efforts of YSP.

Now the area offers visitors an integrated and liberating cultural and outdoor experience, where you can encounter imposing and intriguing sculpture set in the landscape, exposed to the elements. There are around 100 pieces of work on display at any one time across the estate, featuring the work of famous and influential artists such as Anthony Gormley, Henry Moore and Julian Opie.

The park also showcases integrated landscape art by Andy Goldsworthy and pioneering work by the American artist James Turrell in the form of his deer shelter in the park grounds. Here you can really immerse yourself in a contemplative setting while gazing up through an opening that frames the sky itself.

For those wanting exercise and more vigorous activity, there are plenty of walking routes to take you around the estate, and the area is very family friendly, with picnic areas and the freedom for kids to run around.

YSP has regular exhibitions of leading contemporary artists in its various indoor galleries situated in and around the park, as well as special outdoor sculpture exhibitions.

There is a cafe and a restaurant, and the YSP Centre, where you can learn more about the area and artists, and browse the items for sale in the eclectic and well-stocked gallery shop.

 

Visiting Hepworth Wakefield

The Hepworth museum is only a short drive from YSP, and there is also a bus link within the sculpture park, for services running between the two sites.

The Hepworth Wakefield is the largest purpose-built exhibition space outside London, providing ample light-filled gallery areas in which to showcase wide-ranging contemporary art exhibitions.

Alongside these exhibitions, the Hepworth Wakefield has a permanent collection of modern British art, with works by Henry Moore, Paul Nash, Ben Nicholson and Hepworth herself, and many, many more.

The gallery has a café bar serving locally sourced food and drink, including cooked breakfasts, light snacks and main meals and afternoon tea.

Wakefield itself is a lively town and Leeds is only a 30 minute drive away.

Room to Roam… and Relax, in Wensleydale

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is big and beautiful, but with a unique character that makes you notice the small details alongside the bigger picture. Overall there are more than 40 dales, which are river valleys, and each has its own local attributes and attractions. Wensleydale is one such area.

 

A Magical Market Town

The town of Hawes in Wensleydale is the highest in Yorkshire, located 850 feet above sea level and dates back as far as the 1300s. Hawes is a major visitor attraction in the Dales and yet it retains an unforced, homespun charm.

It is, famously, the home of Wensleydale Cheese, and you can visit the Creamery, built in 1897, and still a centre of handcrafted, cheese-making excellence. You’ll find a visitor centre museum, coffee shop, restaurant and, of course, a cheese shop where many cheese tasting events are held.

Tuesday is a bustling market day in Hawes, where virtually the entire community gets involved, buying and selling at the indoor and outdoor markets.

Hawes is also home to the Daleside Country Museum, featuring exhibitions from local artists, a permanent collection of art and artefacts relating to the local area, and fascinating workshops where you can get involved in arts and crafts.

The town is home to plenty of places where you can eat and drink, with locally sourced ingredients prominent on menus at places such as Simonstone HallThe Rowan Tree Restaurant and The Crown Hotel.

 

Walks and Waterfalls

Wensleydale is great walking country; presenting plenty of opportunities to experience the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales up close, and to work off all that cheese!

Bolton Castle provides a great focal point for walks. It’s one of the country’s best preserved medieval castles, with some 600 years of history for you to discover within its imposing walls. You can visit castle on an 11 mile circular walk that takes in pastureland, Ivy Scar – home to some Bronze Age stone circles – and a lead mine at Wet Groves.

There’s a shorter, seven mile circular walk via the castle from Asygarth Falls. These shallow falls are where the River Ure flows over a series of broad limestone steps, near the village of Aysgarth. This is an area of truly outstanding natural beauty, with a riverside walk linking the three sets of falls – Upper, Middle and Lower.

In contrast, Hadrow Force is England’s highest single span waterfall. This is a spectacular 100 foot drop of cascading water, dramatically cutting through a sheer rock face. One of the most famous, and breathtakingly beautiful walking routes in the Yorkshire Dales is the journey from Hawes to Hadrow Force.

This takes in a woodland walk, a section of old railway, and you can stop off in the lovely hamlet of Appersett en route.

Wensleydale is only one part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, an area of immense charm and a kind of magnetic, natural attractiveness. The Dales as a whole are well worth exploring, with plenty of holiday cottage accommodation to choose from, giving you freedom, flexibility and accessibility.

Tour de France Grand Depart in Yorkshire

Near Grassington, Yorkshire. Picture by Flickr user Andrew Bowden

Near Grassington, Yorkshire. Picture by Flickr user Andrew Bowden. CC Licence.

This weekend sees the creation of a little bit of history. For the first time, the biggest cycling event in the world, the Tour de France, commences its Grand Depart from Yorkshire!

Stage one starts on Saturday (5th July) with the cyclists travelling from Leeds through to Harrogate. The riders will start from Leeds then be officially waved off by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge when they pass through the Harewood Estate.  Stage two is the following day and travels from York to Sheffield. It is estimated that there will be around two million spectators per day and financial benefits to the region in excess of £100 million.

Expect all manner of events, decorations and celebrations throughout the weekend as Yorkshire goes Tour de France crazy! It will be a wonderful weekend to visit the county to see it and its people at their absolute best. The weather forecast currently doesn’t look too bad, with cloud and sunny spells predicted on Saturday.

Expect to see lots of art on the hillsides of the route, with grass cut into patterns and shapes, Yorkshire dialect signage to welcome visitors, plus large-scale line drawings made by the tracks of bikes cycled into the grass. There will be street art, houses painted with polka dots like the famous jersey, and roads painted with the phrase “Ey up t’Tour!” Also, there is expected to be World Record set with the longest bunting on Earth stretching just over 10 kilometres from Mytholmroyd (once home to Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath) to the summit of Blackstone Edge.

“Christian Prudhomme [the Tour director] has always said the Tour has the power to make social change. Because it’s not just about the bike. This will showcase Yorkshire to the world, showing it to be a confident, dynamic, outgoing place, representing all the things that are positive about the world this day and age.” Said Gary Verity, Chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, the tourism board responsible for the successful bid to host the Grand Depart.

He added: “Yorkshire has cool places, green places in every sense, dynamic people, rich heritage, great food and drink, cutting edge industries in all sectors, great communications, fantastic transport links. With luck it will also help to redress a bit the balance between the south and the north.”

You can plan your journey, or where to settle using the official site and if you want to combine it with some accommodation to make a weekend of it to explore the area and soak up the atmosphere go to our Yorkshire section of the website.

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Flybe’s hop-on hop-off service connecting UK

Making it easier to fly to various points across the country, Flybe is to launch a new hop-on or hop-off service between Aberdeen and Jersey in October.

Designed to be used as a ‘shuttle bus service in the sky’, Flyshuttle, will fly between Aberdeen and Jersey, stopping off en route in Leeds and Southampton to pick up or drop off passengers. For those that stop on, the total journey time will be just over four hours.

A spokesperson for the airline said the new service would make the route more viable, and will be reinstating Flybe’s links between Leeds and Southampton. It is also creating a new link between Aberdeen and the cruise port, opening up the cruise market to more customers.

“Rather than offering lots of different routes with low load factors, we are offering one hop-on, hop-off service, similar to the way domestic airlines operate in the US,” said the spokesman.

Paul Simmons, Flybe’s chief commercial officer said: “FlyShuttle is a convenient and affordable concept for the regional marketplace that gives customers extra choice and additional connectivity for everyday air travel.

“Today’s announcement is another significant landmark in the re-birth of Flybe. Designed to be used as a ‘shuttle bus service in the sky’ all the way between Jersey in the south and Aberdeen in the north, we are again showing that we are ‘the fastest way from A to Flybe’, faster than road or rail – and certainly more affordable.

“By enhancing the number of routes, connections and frequencies we already operate,FlyShuttle is the perfect progression. It’s a product that sets us apart and we are genuinely excited to be shaping the future of regional air travel.”

The service could also mean it will be possible to go for a holiday cottage break in Yorkshire, Scotland, the South coast of England and across to Jersey in much quicker and more convenient time than other forms of transport.

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Cornwall most family-friendly destination in the world

Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall picture by Flickr user Fraser Reid

Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall picture by Flickr user Fraser Reid

That’s right, our beloved Cornwall has been voted the most child-friendly holiday destination in the whole world, with Devon, Somerset, Dorset and the Isle of Wight also appearing in the top ten.

The results are from a recent poll of 2,000 parents by an international lettings agency, with Cornwall recommended as the best place for family-friendly holidays. The news comes shortly after Cornwall was granted national minority status within the UK, officially recognising it’s distinct culture and heritage.

Top priorities to ensure the best child-friendly holiday included nearby play areas, a good choice of food to cater for fussy eaters, and a shallow sea. Half of the parents polled said the ideal holiday destination must have nice beaches, and 28% said kids’ swimming pools are essential.

Cornwall pipped Orlando in Florida to the top spot because even though Orlando boasts vast theme parks and near-perfect sunny weather, it was marked down for the long flying time of around nine hours.

The study also found that the ideal length of time for a family holiday would be around 10 days, and travelling time to the destination would be under five hours.

Other UK destinations to feature in the top 50 include West Wales, the Yorkshire Dales, Peak District and the Scottish Highlands.

The results are unsurprising to us at Holiday Cottages, where we have holiday accommodation at all of the high-ranking areas voted on in the poll.

 

Top Ten Child-Friendly Holiday Destinations

1. Cornwall, UK

2. Orlando, USA

3. Devon, UK

4. Majorca

5. Costa Del Sol, Spain

6. Isle of Wight

7. Menorca

8. Dorset, UK

9. Somerset, UK

10. Tenerife

 

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Doncaster Sheffield flights to Belfast and Isle of Man

Doncaster Sheffield airport is launching two new routes to Belfast City and the Isle of Man this April.

LinksAir will base an aircraft at the Robin Hood Airport, with twice-daily flights to Belfast on weekdays and a single Sunday return from 7th April. Isle of Man flights will start on 14th April, operating on Monday, Friday and Sunday.

Airport managing director Steve Gill said: “This is fantastic news for the airport and for Yorkshire passengers.

“These two new routes are a great addition to our offering. Belfast will be a fantastic business route with people being able to set off in the morning and be in Belfast city centre for the start of the business day.

“Our new three-time weekly service to the popular Isle of Man is Yorkshire’s only link to the island, famous for its world famous TT motorcycle race event and its rugged coastline and sandy beaches. It is also a convenient link for the financial services sector.”

Easily reached from the airport, why not try one of these highly commended tourist award 1,2 and 3-bedroom apartments. Located on the beautiful Antrim coast overlooking Ballygally Beach, they are an ideal centre for touring the Glens of Antrim and the world-famous Giant’s Causeway. There are restaurants and pubs within walking distance.

The apartments have been furnished and equipped to the highest standards with full central heating for winter visits. Children are welcome, and it’s a great place for fishing and bird watching. With 2-night breaks from £195 and 3-night breaks from £220, it’s an ideal place for a short break nipping over from Yorkshire.

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‘Sounds’ of Britain to encourage visitors

Big Ben picture by Flickr user tjuel

Big Ben picture by Flickr user tjuel

Sounds can evoke strong memories or associations, and VisitBritain is hoping to harness this power with it’s new sound-based ad campaign.

The £2.5 million TV and online ad campaign features the ‘sounds’ of Britain. These will include the pouring of a cup of tea, a black cap beeping and, of course, the chimes of Big Ben.

It’s been launched across key tourism markets: USA, Brazil, China, India, Gulf states, and throughout Europe.

The digital version will allow users to customise their own advert and itinerary set to the ‘sounds’ of Britain, and Rudimental’s song ‘Feel the Love’. They can also share the result with friends via Facebook and Twitter.

Joss Croft, marketing director at VisitBritain said: “We want to involve people in creating their own British experience – first online where they can become the director of their own bespoke tourism ad, and then in reality following their individual journey across Britain according to their own interests and inspirations.

“This ad is something a little bit different and we hope it conveys the humour and character of a modern, confident Britain.”

If you’re visiting the UK, make sure to include Holiday Cottages in your Great British holiday plan!

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“Ghost Peloton” to celebrate Grand Depart

Fifty cyclists lit with LEDs will take part in a “ghost peloton” in Leeds as part of a festival to celebrate and welcome in the Tour de France Grand Depart.

The £2m Yorkshire Festival will include 47 different bicycle-themed projects, including installations, performances, photography exhibitions and screenings.

The festival will run from 27th March to 6th July, with the Tour’s Grand Depart taking place in Leeds on 5th July before spending two days racing through places like Harrogate, York and Sheffield.

Yorkshire Festival executive producer Henrietta Duckworth said: “The race is not just about those two days of epic exertion by men in lycra.

“This is an opportunity to engage people with a programme of work that will capture the imagination, trigger some excitable and enjoyable activities and give people a chance to get involved in the Grand Depart in the 100 days leading up to the actual race.”

Highlights of the festival include:

  • Two new sculptures by Thomas Houseago, one for Leeds city centre and the other for the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
  • Large-scale grass-based land art installations will be created along the route of the second day of the Tour de France.
  • A “tour de cinema” will include film screenings in 35 town halls and 10 outdoor locations.
  • A songwriting relay will create folk songs and take them from town to town by bicycle.
  • Maxine Peake will make her stage scriptwriting debut at the West Yorkshire Playhouse with a play about cyclist Beryl Burton.
  • The White Cloth Gallery in Leeds will host an exhibition of photographs of the Tour from the 1960s to the present day.
  • Belgian theatre company Theater Tol will perform an aerial show about Italian cyclists Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi in Dewsbury.

After the Tour’s opening two stages in Yorkshire, the third stage will go from Cambridge to London before the race moves to France.

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