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.