The English Countryside

A quick flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Manchester, England to meet up with our best long-time friend, Paul, to stay with his Aunt & Uncle, Les and Leslie, in Kirkhammerton! (BTW – Ticket was $116.60 one way, purchased through Expedia. Flew with Lufthansa, free checked & free carry-on.) A two hour drive from Manchester took us to Kirhammerton, England, where our hosts have lived for 58 years! In our American culture and generation, most of us can’t imagine staying in the same place that long. This was our first time to the English countryside and I absolutely fell in love with these beautiful, quaint towns…. especially Kirkhammerton!

Like most of the English, our hosts had a beautiful garden that took up most of their “yard”. Incredibly beautiful flowers, grapevines and even strawberries grew in their amazing space! They served up those yummy berries with powdered sugar and the evenings were even more lovely sitting with them in their amazing garden! Les had the honorable distinction of being nominated for the Order of the British Empire medal. Both he and Leslie were the perfect hosts and we appreciated our time with them very much! Later, my friend Paul and I, walked to the 13th Century St. John’s Church, which was a short walk from our host’s home. It was absolutely enchanting!

Our hosts beautiful English garden!
Freshly picked strawberries from our English hosts!
The beautiful St. John’s Church, Kirkhammerton, England.
13th Century St. John’s Church. Exquisite artwork.

Our first morning there, we walked the short and pleasant walk through the town to the train station. Yes, this lovely town had their own train station and it was like stepping back in time. We made our way to York, a large and bustling town just minutes from Kirkhammerton. We went first to “Betty’s Tea Room” to celebrate our anniversary and our friend Paul’s mother (whose favorite place to visit was Betty’s!). Betty’s is reasonably priced, maybe $$$ (on a $-$$$$ scale) and we enjoyed a club, salad and British breakfast. We shared a Raspberry tart, and it was delectable. Betty’s is also a step back in time, as the servers wear their highly starched aprons and bring “high tea” to a new high!

Kirkhammerton, England Train Station
York Cathedral, York, England
York Train Station, York, England

We made a stop to see the beautiful train station in York! It was worth it!

As far as exchanging money, we went to the local Department Store (not a bank) and exchanged our $200 US dollars for £ 143. Everything in summer of 2019 was higher priced in Germany, France and England.

We took full advantage of the day and visited a British Museum, and then the York Minster Cathedral. A nice tip is, if you have friends, the fee to see the York Minster Cathedral allows for another visit during the year (so we shared our tickets later with our hosts). We almost missed the prize location of the day! A NOT TO BE MISSED walk to the Cathedral ruins near the York Museum and the park! This was one of my favorite places and I could have stayed there all day! I was so glad we didn’t miss that beautiful place!

Cathedral ruins near York Park, York, England

Staying in a countryside village, brought so many acts of generosity to us! Our host’s friends, Lindsay and Brian (both London actress and actor), prepared a lovely meal at their beautiful home and provided much entertainment for the evening!

While in Kirkhammerton, we enjoyed very much attending the service at St. Johns. Afterwards, we enjoyed a luncheon at the Vicar’s home which was combined with the Church of England and Methodist congregations. We enjoyed speaking with the locals. One colorful character was “Ian”, whose father was Scottish. He told many stories of growing up. He was born in 1938 and was sent to choir school at age 8 (1946). I can’t imagine being sent away that young! I could tell he must have been the comedien of the school in his younger years.

Our last full day we took the train to another beautiful village, Knaresborough. We walked around quite a bit and enjoyed several churches, the castle and aqueducts in Knaresborough. The castle ruins hailed from 1200 A.D. During our walk, our friend Paul LOST his wallet. It’s a great reminder to have a place to strap your money, so that it cannot be easily lost. (Check out my list of must haves when traveling internationally!) All was well though, as we found it in the coffee house, right where he left it! (Thank you, Knaresborough!)

The charming village of Knaresborough

Our final morning, Paul’s Aunt and Uncle drove us through the Moors. I wish I could tell you how beautiful it was, but the Moors were covered in fog. haha However, I have heard there are awesome views you don’t want to miss! We made our way to the incredible seaside town of Whitby, England.

The charming seaside town of Whitby, England

Alright, Whitby is an AMAZING town! Bordering the North Sea, it is just the kind of place that takes you back in time! Our first visit was to get settled in our AirBnb, which was nearby to most everything. You will do a lot of walking if you stay in town, and that is just fine, because you’ll enjoy so many views! Whitby has excellent food establishments, and fun antique stores. Don’t forget Fish-n-chips! Our first stop, was getting early to the Whitby Abbey Ruins. The walk up the hill brings you to amazing views of the harbor, as well as a weather-worn centuries-old cemetery, near the historic church on the hill. There is also a small museum on your way to the ruins, and a lovely cafe shop indoors. Don’t miss the gardening area for the gardeners out back. It is beautiful in every way. The views are incredible and it is well-worth walking through the gardens. The Whitby Abbey is such an incredible structure and the history behind it is so worth learning about.

Whitby, England

After exploring Whitby, we decided to take a bus to Robin Hood’s Bay and Staithes. We only paid £ 8.5 each for the whole day, so we made good use of the bus fare. Riding on the bus was very pleasant and we enjoyed the views as we made our way to Robin Hood’s Bay. This town was lovely to walk up and down the hill and see the incredible views. My absolutely favorite town, though, might be Staithes. Also nestled along the North Sea, the walk took quite a bit longer, but IF you ask the locals, and IF someone will tell you ;), there is an awesome trail the locals use to walk back from town to. The view is incredible and the walk quite a bit shorter! We found the people of Staithes to be incredibly generous and polite! The town was just lovely!

Robin Hood’s Bay, England
Robin Hood’s Bay, England
Incredible views of Staithes, England

The next leg of our journey takes us to Scotland. Check out our blog on Scotland.

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