14/7/10 - 18/7/10 18 °C
Been a few days since I’ve blogged anything as we’ve been busy - it doesn’t get dark until 9.30pm we tend to be out exploring so we don’t get the chance to sit and type any entries; especially after a few ciders.
Wednesday night we changed plans leaving Hereford a day early and travelling to Weston Favell just south of Northampton. My previous blog entry outlined the trip across and what we visited.
Thursday we left Northampton of a cool, wet and windy day which turned into a dry and sunny day but pretty windy. We were on our way across to the Stour Valley Bunkhouse YHA in Brantham, Suffolk. On the way we stopped at the Woburn Abbey, the home of the Duke of Bedford, which had superb stateroom with excellent gold, silver and porcelain, paintings and furniture, it was also surrounded by a 3000 acre deer park.
We’ve set the GPS for the shortest routes which takes us away from the motorways and into some narrow back roads and lanes – takes longer but we get to see plenty of small villages and farms.
Thursday afternoon we visited Audley End House at Saffon Walden in Essex. This is a Jacobean mansion built between 1603 and 1614. We went on a guided tour of the main house which was very informative and walked through the extensive gardens. It was interesting at a number of these historic houses were hosting music festivals and/or concerts over the summer to bring in income.
The Stour Valley Bunkhouse turned out to be a very modern hostel which we shared with a young Irishman and a Dutch family of 4. A short walk away was the local pub which had excellent food and Aspall cider.
After a night’s sleep we prepared for the long drive to Loughborough (just north of Leicester) with only a stop for fuel and a stop at the Aspall Cider Brewery. At the brewery we had hoped for a tour and to buy some samples and cider glasses, but the company wasn’t open for customer visits. However, Liz went into Reception and enquired about where she might buy some glasses and they gave her 2 display glasses for free!
At Loughborough we stayed in a place called The Print House which was student accommodation and according to the receptionist heavily book for this weekend because it was Graduation Week. The accommodation was OK but the security was like Fort Knox with a key required to get into the front door, the elevator, the foyer on each floor and room door.
Loughborough was a pleasant city and had street markets on the Saturday morning which were interesting – pity it rained periodically.
Saturday was another long drive to York. Once again the GPS took us on many back roads. The day turned out to be a failure in terms of visiting historical places as the one Liz chose was closed Saturdays and one I chose I incorrectly entered into the GPS and we were 40 miles past it before we realised. We did travel through some really lovely areas including Sherwood Forrest and travelled across the huge Humber Bridge when driving between Grimsby and York.
In York we’re staying at the Old Grey Mare Pub (Liz’s brother Geoffrey was very concerned that “it wasn’t what it used to be”) which is well positioned to the York Minister and is cheap!! York is a really historic city with amazing fortifications but it also has relatively modern stuff to visit particularly the York Cold War Bunker – part of the monitoring if an atomic explosion occurred in the UK. Not a bomb shelter but an underground bunker which would have been fried if a bomb landed very close. We also visited Clifford’s Tower and Treasurers House – long day as we walked everywhere.