Staycation Part 2

The second day of our Staycation needed to be fairly local as our friend John would be arriving later in the day to spend a few nights with us and take a day trip. We chose Bolton Abbey because it’s close (just about 30 minutes by car) and because we figured it would be a lovely place to enjoy on such a gorgeous day. We were right about that!

As you know if you read this blog with any regularity, Phil and I are smitten by old ruined abbeys. We’re the proverbial American tourists, amazed by how old and history-filled everything is. But Bolton Abbey is more than just a ruined abbey. It’s a gorgeous park stretching several miles and once you’ve paid an entry into one part of the park, you can go anywhere, even move your car to a new area without paying extra.

We set off late and wound up arriving just in time for lunch, so we took a picnic and ate by the river. It was a beautiful setting and the ducks were more than happy to eat my crusts.

I love the couple you can see to the right of the photo. They had fold-out chairs and were happily reading the whole time we were there, she a magazine and he a newspaper, neither saying a word to the other, but obviously enjoying a companiable experience that had been repeated many times over and will be many times again. I hope I can say the same for us in another 20 years.

After lunch (which may or may not have involved an egg custard tart), we headed for the abbey. Actually it’s not really an abbey, but a priory and is much smaller than the others we’ve visited. But it’s in such an idyllic spot that size really doesn’t matter. The priory sits up on a slight rise and looks down on the River Wharfe winding through its grounds.

All along the river bank families were sunbathing, walking the many trails, or picnicking. Kids were playing in the river all along the bank, but the big draw was the famous stepping stones.

We spent a happy half hour sitting on the river bank watching kids dare each other to cross from one side to the other. Only one fell in, but he did it repeatedly, which provided some light relief.

Not quite as much light relief as this clip from the brilliant comedy “The Trip” however, where Steve Coogan falls into the river at the coldest time of year after trying to prove he could make it all the way across.

We had planned to visit The Strid, but we spent so much time watching the kids and oohing and ahhing over the ruins (just look at those gorgeous windows!) that we really needed to get back and meet John’s train, cook some pizza and make plans for the next day’s trip – out to the coast for some sea air.

I’ll share those photos next time. Meantime, let me ask you a question … if you’re an Ex-Pat reading this from America or some other foreign country, do you miss ruins like this one? And if you’re in England, do you visit them often? Or is it just me.

14 thoughts on “Staycation Part 2

  1. Ah, I’ve loving reading your blog and this is one of the reasons I can’t wait to return home from Italy. I miss these simple days with picnics and lovely green countryside. Looking forward to your update from the coast.

    • I think you hit the nail on the head with ‘simple days.’ People just seem to be better at simple pleasures here – and when you think about it, what more do you need than a couple of fold-out chairs or a blanket and a flask of tea by a river on a sunny day?

      • I can’t wait to come home. Just over a week and I’ll be back with my son and looking forward to picnics, flasks of tea and fresh air! How I miss Yorkshire!

  2. Yes, I miss ruins when I’m away, actually I miss any and every type of historical building as there aren’t many in Texas. I visited Okehampton Castle, Devon, on the wettest day of summer 2011 and still had a blast!

    Thanks for your travelogue of Yorkshire, it makes me want to visit.

  3. We live in Michigan and just spent the past weekend in Western Northern Michigan. The countryside was beautiful, the lake wonderful and the small towns were gorgeous and fun to check out. But the US is a “young country” and does not have ruins that date back centuries like England. It would be wonderful to visit such places, but we have Bo Bice so the world is good! Glad you are enjoying being back home. Nothing can top that.

    • We saw some amazing things when we were in America but we missed out on the Anasazi ruins in the south west. If they had been nearer, I’d have loved to visit.

  4. I’m a Brit now living permanently in NZ (been here 26 years now)! I miss the history, buildings etc, we totally take them for granted when brought up with them, NZ like the US does not have much in the way of that sort of thing.
    Loving your blog! xx

    • Yes, we do take it for granted don’t we? I suppose that’s true of anyone and their home, but you really see it when you’ve been away. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  5. Hi am in Canada and yes definitely miss them and the history that goes with! Love that you can also buy season tickets or annual tickets to places and then spend the year exploring – one of the pleasures we will have when we return in a couple of years

    • Hi Gail, Yes we’re really looking forward to using our English Heritage membership to see more of this wonderful country. I wish the people who never left could see it as we do. Thanks for reading!

  6. I was born in NZ to English parents and can’t bear the place now. It just seems so empty. There are a few magical coastal spots but it doesn’t have any real soul (unless you are polynesian). New Zealanders seem to need gadgets and beer to have fun. Almost all weekend activities revolve around sport or selling things. Despite all the space there are not so many good, easy to access walking tracks (unless following the coast). You have to tramp and that involves walking through dark, dripping forest without seeing a view sometimes for hours. Not for me!

    • It’s funny because I always imagined NZ to be a really beautiful place. Our British public footpaths are a really amazing gift aren’t they?

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