Monday, May 03, 2010

Harrogate continued

So we did indeed head off to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal which is a world heritage site. We wandered down to the the ruined abbey sheltered in a beautiful sheltered valley. The abbey was built in 1132 and must have been a sight to see - even the ruins are enormous. Of course with the dissolution of the monasteries it came to an end, but there are still lots of buildings and beautiful tiles. A favourite spot was the cellarium, still with its beautiful vaulted ceiling. Walking along the river we saw myriad flowers - forget-me-nots, bluebells, wild garlic, cowslips. We went up to the surprise view at Anne Boleyn's seat and the temple of fame! Then of course some tasty chocolate cake overlooking the lake before retuning to the car and pottering through the hills to Brimham Rocks, where we tried out our bouldering skills. N then took me on a tour of the area up to Addingham and Ilkely and ending up at the Cow and Calf Rocks for a vast vista across the valley, liberally sprinkled with dry stone walls and emerald green fields in the first flush of spring grass. Back in Harrogate we went out for an early tea, hungry after our wanderings. We headed for the Chinese Royal Baths, where they had renovated the atrium to the Turkish baths for a restaurant. The setting was stunning and the food was pretty tasty too!
This morning we pottered into town for coffee and muffins for breakfast, checked out of the eccentric Majestic Hotel and then started our journey south. Near Wakefield we checked out Nostell Priory. I particularly liked the library and the butlers pantry - so well ordered! After rhubarb scones we pottered onto the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. It must be seven or eight years since I had been and it looked a bit different with a very modern and lovely visitor centre, but the Henry Moore sculptures were still resplendent in the country park. And there was this beautiful sheepie too. Having dodged the rain and hail successfully we headed home, for a rest!

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