Yorkshire in 2 days

Yorkshire might easily become my favourite part of England - with its heritage sites, beautiful landscapes and booming food scene - it has everything to become the next go-to destination. The only downside - it's a little far away for a weekend trip from London, same being an advantage as otherwise most of the London folk would be found there!

After a long drive from London and a cosy night at one of the Northstar Club woodland suites (more on it later), we ventured out to explore the picturesque Whitby.

Whitby view
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Whitby is a seaside town, also famous for its association with Captain Cook who learned seamanship there, and the horror novel Dracula by Bram Stoker making it the destination for the goth weekend twice a year. We didn't visit on a goth weekend but still saw some interestingly dressed people which made our visit even more interesting. Also, I have to note that it seemed like almost everyone in Whitby owns a dog or two.

Whitby
Whitby harbour

One of the most popular sights of Whitby is the characterful abbey ruins at the top of the fishing harbour. The first monastery was founded in the 7th century, although the remains we see today are of the later built 13th-century Benedictine abbey.

Whitby overview
Whitby Abbey

Later in the day we headed to Yorkshire's most wonderful hidden gem - Staithes.  Did you know that Captain Cook, Staithes's most famous resident, worked in Staithes as a grocer's apprentice where he first gained his interest in the sea?

Staithes street view

This view of the quaint fishing village was more I could dream of! 

Overlooking Staithes
Staithes house

On the way back to our charming cottage we made a quick stop in Robin Hood Bay, and in this place, with the most romantic name, I caught this most romantic moment of a couple's wedding photoshoot.

Robin Hood Bay

Our trip wouldn't be so perfect without a stay with the Blue Chip holidays in one of the North Star Club woodland suites. For someone like us, coming from a big city, it was a perfect weekend retreat in the woods. The rooms are equipped with everything you need, and even though it's on a self-catering basis, there's barbeque equipment next to each suite and a communal space with tea and brownies. I really liked all the cosy details in our room, especially the real fireplace. I'd love to come back in summer with a group of friends for a more relaxing weekend in the area.

Those cows were the only neighbours we encountered!

Cows in Yorkshire

Next day York greeted us with rain, compensated by all sorts of colourful bunting and an opportunity to see the Shambles, the best preserved medieval street in the world, less crowded than usual.

York the Shambles
York

To be fair, York deserves a separate blog post as it has so much offer. With this said, I think I need to plan another trip to Yorkshire very soon!

York bunting
York cathedral

A day in Bradford on Avon in the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is probably my favourite part of England. Honey coloured houses, old-fashioned tea rooms and beautiful views make it a perfect weekend trip any time of the year. I've been to the city of Bath twice but had somehow overlooked Bradford on Avon which totally doesn't deserve it. It's a bit smaller than its famous spa-attractive neighbour but also quieter and less touristy.

Cotswolds
Bradford on Avon

As the name suggests, the river Avon runs through the town and makes it look even more picturesque. The history of Bradford on Avon can be traced back to Roman settlements in the area. The town still has several 17th-century buildings dating from the period of its woollen textile industry.

Bradford on Avon
Cotswolds tea room

While exploring the area I stayed at Widbrook Grange hotel, located in a recently refurbished Grade II listed Georgian model farm. I was impressed by their attention to details and couldn't stop taking photos! There's even a heated indoor swimming pool! We opted to try a dinner at the hotel too and it didn't disappoint. More photos below. 

Widbrook Grange hotel Cotswolds

Below are two more pictures of Bradford on Avon. I'll share another post where to go in the Cotswolds in the coming months. 

Bradford on Avon
Cotswolds England UK

I was a guest of Widbrook Grange hotel. All opinions are my own.

Where to see lavender fields in the UK

It's this time of year again when all the Instagram feeds are turning purple and all the photographers are rushing to photograph lavender fields.

The good news is that you don't have to go to Provance as there are a few lavender fields in the UK!

British lavender field

Last week I visited The Hop Shop at Castle Farm in Kent. It's a working farm and lavender harvest has already started but you can still catch the blooms on a guided tour on the 26th, 29th and 30th July. On a tour you will also learn about different varieties of lavender and visit the distillery where aromatic oils are made. They also offer aromatherapy massages and picnics in the lavender fields. Sadly this years season is coming to an end but you can already start planning for next year! 

UK Lavender
lavender harvest
lavender harvesting UK
lavender picnic UK

All the items used for the picnic are available to buy in the farm shop (it's open all year round). I am planning to go back for pick your own apples and to stock on lavender honey that is absolutely delicious!

Another place I visited a few times over the years is Mayfield lavender farm in Surrey. This one is much more touristy (very little chances of being alone in the field) but is a bit easier to visit as there are no guided tours - you just pay the entry fee and can stay as much as you like. It is also available to visit later in August - best to check their website for details.

Mayfield lavender UK

Last year they installed a red phone booth on the field so it became an even bigger tourist attraction.

lavender phone booth
buy lavender

Other fields I have not yet visited but have heard of are Cotsfold LavenderHitchin Lavender, Somerset Lavender, Norfolk Lavender and Yorkshire Lavender.

Shere, a day trip from London

If you are looking for a day trip from London - Shere in Surrey is a perfect destination. For over 100 years, Shere village has been used as a movie location. Themost known movies filmed here are The Holiday, Bridget Jones - The Edge of Reason, Four Weddings and a Funeral - just to name a few. It feels like you are stepping back in time when visiting the village.

I loved all the village shops and couldn't leave without buying a few new props.

All the cottages in the village are super pretty (and of course many are covered with wisteria) but sadly the Rose cottage where Kate Winslet's character stayed in the Holiday was just a movie set and doesn't exist. The pub from a movie is a real pub though and is called White Horse. I didn't take any pictures as there were cars parked next to is so it is a good a reason to come back in winter when the village will look even more like a scene from the HOliday. 

Below is the church that you may recognize from Bridget Jones movie.