Category Archives: Days Out

Days Out: Folly! at Studley Royal

I’ve always loved visiting Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, a National Trust property near Ripon.  I have been visiting since before I could walk, was a frequent feeder of ducks (until one bit me!) and during my A Level study leave I would frequently decamp to Anne Boleyn’s Seat to sit in total tranquility and study with no distractions!  A view like this was definitely inspirational!

Fountains Abbey

 

So I was very excited to go an visit the newest exhibition in the water gardens: Folly! This exhibition utilises some of the follys dotted around the water gardens to bring new life to these often overlooked structures.  I’ve always loved the romanticism of follys so this installations really captured my imagination.

Octagon Tower Studley Royal

I started with the high ride to the Octagon Tower, step inside and stare!

Octagon Tower Studley Royal

Then along the path through the woods we came to this curious nest at the Temple of Fame:

Temple of Fame Studley Royal

 

I think this one was the dogs’ favourite, a big pile of sticks! What could be better?

Temple of Fame Studley Royal

Then we continued down past Anne Boleyn’s Seat and on to Fountains Abbey.  The boys love jumping on the ruins!

Fountains Abbey

Then we turned back towards the water gardens.  The bluebells in the woods were looking lovely and the place was awash with wild garlic!

Bluebells at Fountains Abbey

We made our way up to the Banqueting House, an often overlooked section, which is a shame because it is the perfect spot for a picnic!

The Banqueting House Studley Royal

But look who was lurking inside!  You have to peer through the windows for this one, which can be tricky due to the light reflecting, but what a sight!

All in all it was a lovely walk.  It takes me and the dogs about an hour all told at a reasonably leisurely pace (you don’t get much faster with Darcy!) I think that Folly! is a fantastic addition to the site and makes you look a little closer at these lovely little buildings and see them in a new light.  It will be there until the end of November so plently of time to visit but I think that it will be great to go back throughout the seasons, especially when the leaves turn for autumn as the whole valley looks delightful then!  Why not take a picnic and make a day of it?

 

 

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Days Out: Kinder Scout

In a fit of enthusiasm guided by little common sense I decided to head off last weekend to Derbyshire and hike Kinder Scout.  I’m not 100% certain what made this sound like such a good idea but I was seized by the notion and as the weather was predicted to be very good off I went!

Kinder Scout

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Field Trip! Beningbrough Hall Parkland and Home Farm Shop

 

 

 

This week’s Filed Trip! was to Beningbrough Hall Parkland and Home Farm Farmshop.  Beningbrough Hall is a gorgeous National Trust property located just to the north of York off the A19.  The walled gardens are one of my favourite places to visit in the whole world.  I’m just lucky that I live 15 minutes away!  The house is interesting and if you’re into portraiture they collaborate with the National Portrait Gallery for exhibitions.  However, they don’t allow dogs in to the gardens so I haven’t been in since I got Darcy.  Boo!

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However, the parklands surrounding the house are open to dogs and there are several walks through the woods and fields.  The longest one circumnavigating the whole property takes us about 1.5 – 2 hours at a fairly leisurely pace.  They have a great leaflet showing the short, medium and longer walks.  It can get a little muddy in the winter and if there has been a lot of rain then flooding can be an issue along  the river banks.  In good weather though the dogs love to go for a swim at the furthest point where the Nidd joins the Ouse!

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The National Trust have a lovely restaurant inside the grounds but, again, no dogs allowed.  Luckily Home Farm Shop is located just the other side of the car park (National Trust members can park for free) and has plenty of outside seating.  It’s very popular with dog walkers and cyclists and serves a delicious range of food and drink.  Just what you need after a good long walk!

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I almost always go for the Home Farm Burger.  You get to eat the cows you just walked past!!! (This pleases me greatly and I always make a point to tell them how delicious they are.  Weird, yes, but I feel they should know what a good job they’re doing eating grass and getting all delicious!)  My friend favours the Ploughmans and the portions are always generous.  The dogs usually split a sausage roll!  The selection of cakes is always good and everything I’ve tried has been great, I’ve never once been disappointed!

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Field Trip! Helmsley Walled Gardens

Darcy has settled in well and has been allowed out and about for 5 weeks now!  This means ADVENTURES!  Therefore I thought I’d start a new series about the adventures we’ve been on so far and share our findings with you all!  It’s often difficult to plan a day out that works for our four legged friends as well as it does for us and often you need some insider knowledge to plan a truly brilliant outing for everyone.

So I thought I’d tell you about our first dog friendly adventure to Helmsley Walled Garden.  Tucked round the back of Helmsley Castle (which is English Heritage so dogs can get in here too!) this walled garden is one of those little gems you simultaneously want to tell everybody about and keep to yourself!

 

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Every part of it is beautifully planned and executed and every area has something different to delight!  You start by the glass houses and work your way through beautiful borders, wildflower meadows, orchards, vegetables, chicken and bees, water features, you name it, this place has it!

 

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It’s the most wonderful place to retreat to for contemplation and inspiration.  I’ve never yet left the place without another plant that I’ve seen in situ here and just had to add to my own garden!  (And the shop is very well priced, none of the extortion you usually see in places like this!)

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The paths are well laid out, well maintained and, although I have no first hand experience, look to be easily accessible to push chairs and wheelchairs.  There are plenty of benches dotted about for you to sit and take a moment to enjoy the surroundings (or have a rest if necessary).

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They also have a gorgeous cafe in The Vine House.  There’s plenty of outside seating, very comfortable, with umbrellas for shade.  The lunch menu is served from midday to 3pm and, although I didn’t partake this time around, I will definitely be planning another trip soon because it all sounded fantastic!

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We went for a scone for myself and a slice of chocolate cake for my mum to go with our tea.  I have to say I was a bit disappointed when the scone arrived as there really didn’t seem to be enough jam but it was such beautifully sweet, tart, flavoursome jam that it worked wonderfully even with only a little bit!  (I’m also a cream rather than butter girl but sometimes sacrifices must be made!) I specifically hadn’t chosen the chocolate as it looked a little dry… How wrong I was! It was divine!  Beautifully moist and deeply chocolaty!  I can’t wait to sample the other cakey offerings (which were plentiful!) it all looked so good that there will surely be something to tempt everyone!

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(No, I don’t know how he sees out either but he doesn’t walk into walls so clearly it works!)

 

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All in all a beautiful way to spend an afternoon.  There’s plenty of parking in Helmsley on the market place and the longer stay car park (which is more convenient for the Walled Garden) and it’s not too dear either, I think you’ll want to allow yourself at least 2 hours for the garden and afternoon tea!  The rest of the town is lovely too with several coffee shops allowing dogs in or at least with outside seating.  Entrance to the garden is £6 (and you’ll want to complete a gift aid form ;o)

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