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Wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, great-aunt and friend....and fur-kid mum I love Quilting, stitching, photography, cooking, baking, gardening, blogging and making new friends...stop by and say hi!

Friday 21 March 2014

A Castle and Afternoon Tea

I had a few ideas for day trips out of York but couldn't do them all. Miss M and I both love visiting castles, so we decided to make our way to Skipton Castle (via Leeds)

Skipton is a really quaint little town somewhere west of York and not far from Leeds. I wish I had taken a photo of the actual High Street in the town because it really was lovely.  It seemed quite a walk into town when we got off the train because we didn't no exactly where the castle was and.....drat it all......it decided to start raining too. I had never visited here before, even though, it is not that far away from my birth town so I had no idea of the layout of the land but from experience, if you aim to make your way to the High Street, there are usually some signposts, a town map or even an information kiosk.

taken on the towpath next to the canal below the castle wall
In our case today, we came across some signs before we got to the High Street and before too long spotted our destination at the top end of the High Street and by the time we got to the castle, the sun was shining again. Skipton Castle is well worth a visit.   The castle is over 900 years old and is wonderfully preserved.  I don't remember having an audio guide for the castle but there is a very descriptive pamphlet which you are given on entry and it gives you information about all the areas which you find while there. Normally, I would recommend getting audio guides and they are normally included in the ticket price but I just can't remember why we didn't do that here. Maybe it was an extra cost.

the main building of the castle
inside the courtyard
information signs like these could also be found throughout.
Lord Cliffords bed chamber......Impressive but I bet it was freezing cold in winter!
I loved the windows in this castle, some looking out over the surrounding moors and some giving views of that lovely hidden courtyard
I think the best part for both Miss M and I was the experience we got when we visited the dungeons.  At the time there was a small school group visiting with a tour guide and we crashed their party down there.  The guide was telling them how prisoners would be held down there for up to 3 months awaiting trial and would then have to walk the distance to York to be put on trial for their crimes.  Although they were well fed (apparantly Lord Clifford insisted on that), the dungeon was small, dark and dingy.  We got to find out just how dark it would have been when the guide turned the lights off! Pitch, pitch black in the middle of the day and I am sure they would have been kept company by a number of vermin as well.  Luckily non were spotted or heard in the dark today, just the deafening noise of kids screaming when the lights went out!
some of the weathered steps in the castle meaning we had to watch our foot placement constantly
After exploring the castle, we were really rather cold and decided it was time for a nice hot cup of tea in the tearooms.  I found they also offered hot buttered crumpets.....yes please! and afterwards a walk around the gift shop where I found a guide book to Castles in the United Kingdom.  I am going to have fun trying to visit them all. The sales assistant in the shop was very sour and inspected my coins very closely, even asking the other assistant if they accepted "ones like this".  I kind of felt like I had "convict from the colonies" tattoed on my forehead. That was the only downer for the day and I got over it.

Anyway, afterwards we had a look around the rest of the castle grounds which included a very derelict chapel.
It doesn't look too bad from outside but inside there were piles of rubble and a very old and disused font. It was bitterly cold and dismal in here so we decided to go for a little walk through the town instead.
I was very tempted to walk along the towpath towards Skipton Woods for a little exploration but it was just so wet and puddles everywhere so we just walked a little way and then made our way back to the station.

On the train back to York we realised we had not really had anything substantial to eat and by the time we got there it would be too late for lunch but yet too early for dinner so we decided to compromise and promised ourselves an Afternoon Tea at Betty's.

The queue this time was outside the door but we were determined we were going to indulge so we joined the line.  Fortunately, it was mostly made up of a big group ahead of us that got seated shortly after so we were at least within the warmth of the doorway before too long.  I was really hoping for a table upstairs this time but no such luck so we headed downstairs and were given a lovely little cubicle.

Afternoon Tea for Two......Oh My!
Delicious little sandwiches with fillings of smoked salmon, chicken, egg and my absolute favourite....baked Yorkshire ham......there is nothing quite like it, just ask Miss M.
And then there was a scrumptious scone with strawberry jam and clotted cream
I have never wanted to savour anything as much in my life as this very special Afternoon Tea so we sipped our cups of tea and nibbled away all the while discussing what we would be doing next.  Fortunately we could not see the queue outside so did not feel guilty over our leisurely tea. And the best was saved for last.  These little mouthfulls of absolute delight


  1. My goodness what a wonderful day you and Miss M had a wonderful day! Castles and Afternoon Tea! Who could ask for more!? :) Hugs! deb

  2. You've made me feel hungry! I'm loving your tour Cath.

  3. I too love visiting castles! We don't have much of that in Norway, but we have some old fortresses. This summer I am going to visit Edinburgh castle, I really look forward to that!! Thank you for sharing :)

  4. Oh I would love to visit castle and enjoy afternoon tea , what a special day you and your daughter had !

  5. We visited England many years ago. Beautiful, so green compared to Australia and we loved visiting the castles and cathedrals. It sounds like you spent a lovely day with your daughter
    Cheers Pauline

  6. Oh my. I'm glad I didn't choose a life of crime.....
    So beautiful though. I wish to one day visit Europe so I can see for myself the lovely castles etc.


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