Friday, 26 June 2015

newcastle tour

We went on a really interesting tour around Hidden Newcastle on Tuesday evening starting at Grey's Monument which stands at the top of Grey Street - think of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square and you'll be pretty close, in fact the statue at the top is by the same sculptor.  

Although Early Grey also provides the name for the bergamot tea, this monument commemorates Grey's involvement, as Prime Minister in the passing of the Great Reform act of 1832

Grey Street has the claim to fame of being Britain's 'third most picturesque street' with it's 'descending subtle curve' (Betjeman) sweeping down to the quayside filled with shops, hotels and the magnificent Theatre Royal.

On the tour we were looking for things that you don't normally see or notice and we found a vampire rabbit...

extraordinarily grand doorways..

    beautiful tiles adorning the Beehive Pub (spot the bee)...

mosaic tiling depicting all manner of trades...

 amazing church buildings next to modern day   architecture...

Thomas Cook's first travel agency...

and some random street art.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

appleby manor hotel...

A lovely visit to the Appleby Manor Hotel in late spring was a welcome break.  This Victorian pink sandstone building dates from 1871 when it was built for a wealthy solicitor 
Our two night stay included free tickets for Lowther Castle and Gardens (previous post), a gingerbread tea, breakfast and meals on both evenings.
On the first evening we had a beautiful meal in the bistro...but the highlight for me was the herd of cows wandering backwards and forwards across the field just beyond the hotel's garden that kept me spellbound.  On the second night we ate a fantastic four course meal in the conservatory and the food was delicious, but I missed the cows!
Wonderful views from the hotel garden. 

Thursday, 4 June 2015

lowther castle and park...

From a distance Lowther Castle has a Downton Abbeylike appearance, however, if you look a little closer all that remains is the mere shell of a building that was originally completed in 1806.  The reason for the ruin like appearance is an interesting one; in 1957the Yellow Earl removed the roof and the interior structure in order to avoid death duties on his estate of £25 million. 
This Cumbrian castle's 50 acres of gardens  have been as equally neglected as the castle, having been requisitioned by the army in WW2 and then used to  house huge chicken sheds Work is now underway by an army of volunteers and gardeners to restore the gardens - a huge  undertaking.
There are still hidden gems to find....a Yew Tree Avenue first planted in the 17th century.
Delightful little summer houses and play houses can be found in the gardens.
A visit to the castle and gardens must include a trip into the cafe, which is housed in the most  beautiful coach house.  The food is gorgeous and reasonably priced and the views from the shop into the courtyard and the hills beyond are magnificent.