After all the Christmas festivities have subsided, the team are off to York for a three day stay. The Mowdays went with Gill and Andre and the kids and friends Ali and Sue, kiwis who are currently living and working in the UK.
Tuesday was moving day and the team set off from Aspley Guise at 10:30am for the 3 hour drive north – to “The North” as it’s called over here – but soon found multiple accidents on the M1 meant diversions were the order of the day. As always, the Mowdays took the longest route and arrived at the hotel in York 5 hours after departure. Jean and I both have bad head colds so an extended day on the road was the last thing we needed. Having said that we did get to see a good slice of English village life along the way as we passed through Yorkshire villages with names like Selby, Brayton and Thorpe Willoughby.
We are staying at The Churchill Hotel just outside the walls of York. It is a lovely old hotel based in a Victorian house. The staff coped well with the arrival of 8 kiwis and two dogs. The girls immediately made themselves at home in the hotel room and are, as I write this, sleeping on the bed. Two dogs, two people and a good nights sleep in a double bed is going to be no mean achievement.
The first day out and about proved the worth of everyone’s winter clothes as the official temperature of 9 degrees was reduced by an Arctic wind. The girls came out for a walk in the morning but spent the afternoon in the hotel room while the human contingent explored York.
York is a walled city, situated where the Rivers Ouse and Foss meet in North Yorkshire. It is a significant tourist destination with many historic attractions, of which York Minster is the best known. In the old city there is also a narrow old street known as the Shambles where the buildings lean in over the street, almost touching 2 or 3 stories above the cobbled lane. The city dates back to Roman times and has a long and colourful history including a period under Viking rule.
It is also a compact city with almost intact walls so a day walking around the old city is well worthwhile. That day is probably best not in the middle of the post-Christmas sales that are on currently as the population seems to swell quite considerably.
After sightseeing it was dinner in a local pub which included, what else but Yorkshire pudding washed down with a local ale.
York has a great railway museum which is near the railway station . Fantastic old locos are retired there, all set up on the original turntable and round house engine shed. Well worth a visit. Spend some time there.
From your UK railway adviser.