The heatwave we’ve been enjoying this Summer, has meant we’ve been able to get out and about and go exploring all over Yorkshire
On a recent weekend adventure, we headed south to Conisbrough Castle in Doncaster, which is just an hour’s drive down the A1 from Harrogate.
The magnificent 12th century castle is one of England’s most striking landmarks.
With unrivalled views from the tree-covered hill from which it rises, Conisbrough Castle has been an iconic, picturesque ruin and tourist destination since the late 18th, early 19th century.
It was abandoned in the 16th century after a turbulent History, but the great tower still dominates the landscape today, standing testament to its 12th century builders.
In 1984, the castle passed into the care of English Heritage, where extensive work and rennovations were carried out, including re-roofing and re-flooring of the great tower to protect it from the weather and improve public access.
With support from the Borough Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund, there have been further enhancements, including an exhibition centre and visitor shop and the castle remains an educational day out for all ages to enjoy.
We started our trip in the new aforementioned exhibition centre, where there were all sorts on display, from information, pictures and Historical artifacts, to depict what life at the castle would have been like, back in the 12th century.
We really enjoyed the way the text was laid out as cartoon strips, not just in the visitor centre, but all around the castle, making History accessible and fun for all to learn!
Whilst in the visitor’s centre, we also enjoyed a wine tasting session, with lots of different delicious fruit wines, such as cherry wine, ginger wine and even Mead, before embarking on our quest through the castle!
The approach to the castle is impressive and imposing and you can imagine what life would have been like when the castle was in it’s heyday.
At the castle’s pinnacle during the mid 12th century, Conisbrough was inherited by Isabel de Warenne, one of the greatest heiresses of her age.
She married Hamelin of Anjou and it is believed to have been Hamelin who built the great tower in the 1170s or 1180s as a statement of his power and royal connection.
All except the great tower remains ruins here at Conisbrough today.
Where the Bailey once housed a great number of buildings all cramped together, all that can be seen today are the foundations from where these structures once stood proud.
Here is a picture of how it might have looked in the late 15th century.
Below are the remains of the east wall of the gatehouse passage.
The first floor doorway connected the room over the gatehouse passage with a building in the south range of the inner bailey; this building might have been a chapel.
You are able to explore at leisure around all floors of the great tower, starting with the well, where fresh water would have been drawn, but it has now become somewhat of a wishing well, with thousands of coins from visitors over the years!
Further up in the great tower, there was information and even holograms projected onto the walls, depicting the people who would have resided here, giving talks on their roles in the castle and what life was like for them.
The sheer size of the architecture, like the huge fireplaces and the structure, such as that of the old fashioned garderobe (toilet to you and I) were both magnificent and comical!
The fireplaces were so very large, as there was no glass in the vast windows in those days.
Tapestries would be hung to keep out the cold and big fires would be lit to heat the room, so depending on where you were stood in the room you may be sweltering or shivering!
The views from the roof of the great tower, as mentioned previously remain unrivalled, with views over Conisbrough, Doncaster and even as far as Sheffield!
Admission prices to the castle are:
Adults £5.90 or £6.50 with Gift Aid
Family (2A 3C) £15.30/£16.90
For more information, please visit their website http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/conisbrough-castle/ and enjoy a wonderful day out at this fabulous English Heritage site!
The Burley Road studios were home to many iconic sets from the well loved soap for over ten years.
Whilst the majority of filming now takes place at Kirkstall Road, the studios here at Burley Road now house secrets from some of the soap’s biggest storylines!
Our tour was around 90 minutes, but was the last one of the day, (we think it should have been around 2 hours) so we would perhaps advise getting to an earlier one, to ensure you get a little longer in the experience.
We had a personal guide taking us around the tour for the afternoon, telling us all the tricks of the trade.
We got to find out more on some of the soap’s biggest storylines of late, how they are put together and then filmed.
We went through Hair and Make-Up, where we were shown how they do Ross’s make-up with his recent ‘acid attack’ storyline and more!
There are so many fabulous canvases around the tour too with some brilliant snaps of the nation’s best loved characters and families, here is one of our favourites.
There was some brilliant memorabilia and costumes worn by past and present actors on display and this we think, could possibly be the nation’s favourite!
We were shown how they control the lighting within the studio to reflect how it might look with natural daylight coming in from outside for example and we were then given the opportunity to have a go at controlling the lighting ourselves!
During the tour, we sat and watched VTs with actors from the show and the show’s writers and producers talking and telling us how things had been done, from some of the show’s most memorable scenes.
We won’t spoil it too much, as we don’t want to ruin the surprise or secrets for those keen to visit!
We were allowed exclusive access into the Dingles front room and could have our picture taken on the sofa, just like the real on screen Dingle family!
We were then shown a miniature version of the street as it would look from the outside, since the outside shots are filmed on location at the purpose built village at Harewood House.
Lastly, we got to explore the Woolpack, pull a (pretend) pint behind the bar and even call time by ringing the bell!
Fab day out and fun for all the family. To find out more, visit their website https://www.emmerdalestudioexperience.co.uk/ or tweet them @EmmerdaleExp
NB: There is also a full cafe where we enjoyed lunch before the tour and there is a gift shop in the form of ‘David’s Shop’ to browse in, before or after the tour.
Steeped in sweetie History, Pontefract is famed for it’s Liquorice and annually holds a festival in this unique sweet’s honour!
Pontefract has always been one of the main homes of liquorice growing and it is believed, was originally brought to the area by the Cluniac Monks in the mid 1500s, who built a new monastery here at that time.
Liquorice was introduced as medicine and over time, evolved into what we now know and love as a popular confectionery sweet, whilst still remaining at the heart of many medicinal remedies today.
By 1780, liquorice growing was concentrated almost wholly in Pontefract.
However, with the growth of Pontefract cakes as confectionery, the demand for liquorice outstripped the capacity of Pontefract growers to supply.
By the late nineteenth century, the twelve firms producing liquorice confectionery relied mainly on extract imported largely from Turkey.
**FUN FACT** Fresh English Liquorice is bright yellowish brown; the root being soft and pliable, has a peculiar earthy odour and a strong characteristic sweet taste.
The liquorice festival is held across the town and at Pontefract Castle too, with a free ‘Liquoroice Land Train’ running every 15 minutes from the Castle and Town Hall.
There were events happening around the town in celebration of Pontefract’s lovely liquorice, including exhibitions at the Museum and talks at the Library.
There was a community stage on Market Place with family shows happening throughout the day, along with various street entertainers also mingling throughout the day (we bumped into some stilt walkers and a 10ft animatronic dinosaur on our travels!)
Over at the Castle, there were two viewings of the 1971 version of ‘Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory’ on the big screen, which were free to enjoy if you wanted to relax on the grass with a picnic perhaps.
There were more children’s activities and craft stalls up here and there are also Dungeon tours if you want to explore the Castle further, along with the Liquorice Cafe and Castle Gift Shop to enjoy too.
We enjoyed a wonderful day exploring the town and meandering through the festival, learning lots about liquorice along the way.
We even sampled some Liquorice Stout Beer in The Liquorice Bush Pub on Market Place.
Other purchases included some lovely craft and bath bits which we bought as Christmas presents, homemade fudge and brownies and of course some liquorice Catherine wheels and the infamous Pontefract Cakes!
A delicious day out, fun and educational with something for all the family!
There are just over two weeks to go until the massive 160th Great Yorkshire Show in our very own Harrogate!
The Great Yorkshire show celebrates the very best of food, farming and rural life and we have no doubt there will be some extra special surprises this year too, to commemorate this milestone for the show.
It is one of the highlights of the year in the event calendar and people travel from all over world to attend this magnificent show each year!
With a vast array of events, activites and attractions at the show, there is so much for all the family to do and plenty to keep you entertained all day long.
Be sure to pick up a programme on entering the showground, to keep track of what times the various events you wish to see are taking place.
From farming to food, car displays to shopping, agriculture to art, there really is something for everyone at this distinguished show!
Have a read of one of our previous blogs on the show, to give you an idea of what you can expect.
To see what puts the ‘Great’ into the Great Yorkshire Show, check out this marvellous video!
— Great Yorkshire Show (@greatyorkshow) June 12, 2018
We still have some rooms available over the show dates, where you can unwind in complete luxury in one of our beautiful bedrooms, then enjoy our hearty award winning Yorkshire breakfast, before embarking on your day at the show.
Relax in our Bistro and dine in style after the show, whilst enjoying one of our Boutique Beers or a refreshing Gin & Tonic from our extensive Gin menu
Alternatively, we also serve Yorkshire Tea, coffee and soft drinks, alongside our tasty menu, serving locally sourced produce in our appetising dishes!
Our staff are on hand 24/7 to ensure your stay is a most comfortable and enjoyable one.
Give us a call on 01423 505 613 or contact us via our Social Media pages to make a reservation.
For more information on the show, head to their website:
This has been the third year that we have now gotten to witness the spectacular Tour de Yorkshire in glorious “God’s Own County” and as always, it didn’t disappoint!
This year we chose to drive out to Scarborough, since we were experiencing (unusual) wonderful Bank Holiday weekend weather, it was the perfect recipe for a day out at the seaside!
Before we departed, we set the TV off recording (just in case we got to wave to Mum) and we’re so glad we did, as after watching the final Kilometre back on the TV when we got home, we saw just how much of a flat out, frenetic sprint it really was to the finish line at the end of the race, but more on that later!
The race was to pass through Scarborough on it’s way out to Filey, then return again to finish on the sea front of South Cliff, back in Scarborough.
We took up position on the main road near Peasholm Park, along with a multitude of other spectators and awaited the first passing of the race.
(Please excuse the clarity of some of the photos, as they are screenshots of videos)
We didn’t have long to wait as the first few riders soon came zooming around the corner and down the hill towards us!
We had a great position as the peloton groups rode by and the crowd roared and waved their flags in abundance!
There wasn’t now long to go until the race returned to finish on the seafront, so we had time for a quick stroll on the beach and a snow cone, before heading back to find a spot near the finish line, amidst the hordes of people who had flocked in their thousands to see the finale of Stage 3 on this dazzling May afternoon!
We picked our spot just beyond the finish line and awaited the riders arrival. On watching it back on TV when we got home, we saw what a nailbiting race it was to the very end!
Way out in front for a good few kilometres, was French cyclist and three-time Tour de France stage winner, Sylvain Chavanel, but with the final kilometre in sight and his energy levels severely dwindling, the younger riders in the peloton behind hit the gas and pushed on hard towards the finish line, with 23 year old German, Max Walscheid taking the Stage 3 win!
After the race, we wandered through what we dubbed the “Cycle Village” where all the teams’ tour buses were and the cyclists were cooling down and doing interviews after the race.
We stopped and listened to a few and took some more pics, which later turned out we were filming one who was on the TV, Brent Bookwalter of BMC Racing Team!
Yet another outstanding day enjoyed for the 2018 TDY and we cannot wait for the next one!
Be sure to check out the official website for next year’s dates and be sure to book your stay with us in plenty of time for the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire!
Check out Mandy’s Blog from Day 1 of this year’s Spring Show and read what was hot, even though the weather was not!
We look forward with great anticipation to the Autumn Flower Show, that also plays host to the infamous Giant Vegetable Competition, which is always a fantastic spectacle and a literal feast for the eyes!
All the details on the show can be found on their website – https://www.flowershow.org.uk/
Independent Business of the Year
Customer Service Award
“The Yorkshire Choice Awards recognise local people and independent businesses that are an inspiration in their field. The categories cover a wide range of backgrounds and skill sets, yet they all have one thing in common…
THE WILL TO ACHIEVE!”
Voting is open to the general public until Friday 16th March and we would love and appreciate your votes!
It seems quite fitting that we are also celebrating the ‘Year of the Woman’ this year, as we recognise the Centenary anniversary, marking 100 years since women won the right to vote and being named after The Kimberley diamond mining region of South Africa, we’d love your votes for this woman!We are so very proud to be an independent business, meaning we can go the extra mile and give that little bit extra attention to detail, going above and beyond for each and every guest that comes to stay with us.
We pride ourselves on being a home away from home and we hope we have achieved that luxurious, yet homely feel for our residents, something which can often be lost in chain hotels, which can sometimes lack that personal touch.
As previously mentioned, we thrive on going the extra mile for our guests, who often become our friends, returning again and again to stay with us.
You can purchase tickets for this glitzy event in April here:
We are blessed to receive such lovely reviews on a regular basis from guests new and old that visit us here at The Kimberley.
We love going the extra milke, after all, it’s never crowded and we are very proud of what we do, but don’t just take our word for it.
Here are some lovely recent guest reviews, which make our jobs in Hospitality a breeze and pleasure and so very worthwhile!
Excellent stay in this friendly hotel in great location – recommended
We recently spent two nights here celebrating a birthday and anniversary. The hotel is in a good location, very close to the conference centre and just a short walk into the town centre. We had an exec room which was clean, comfortable and had a roomy bathroom with a great shower.
Without exception, the staff are all friendly and helpful and a credit to the hotel. Food and service in the dining room was good. We were tempted to eat there both nights but with so many options in the town centre and the menu choice the same each night, we went out on our second night.
Unlike other reviews , we didn’t have any problem parking although it may be limiting if the hotel is full. We thought the cost to be reasonable at £6.00 for 24 hours. The beautifully tended Valley Gardens are worth a visit and the theatre is another good option. We would definitely recommend this hotel to anyone.
A convenient and very comfortable hotel:
Within easy walking distance of town centre. A well equipped and very comfortable room for a 2 night stay. Good breakfast choice and evening meals excellent. All staff were helpful and friendly. First visit to Harrogate and found it a really special town. if you like quality shops this is the place for you. Would not hesitate in returning to the Kimberley as a base for revisiting Harrogate or exploring further afield.
Certainly four star accommodation or better:
We based ourselves in Harrogate, as our friends from Bermuda had expressed a wish to visit the Yorkshire moors, and I managed to find a four day break staying at the Kimberley hotel on Kings Rd. in Harrogate. This was indeed fortunate as the hotel turned out to be very good. The rooms were a very good size with a seating area as well. Ours overlooked the small car park at the rear of the building, so was very quiet at night. The rooms had all the modern facilities you would expect of a boutique hotel, and I especially enjoyed the wonderful rain shower in the bathroom.
We were only on a bed and breakfast basis but the first night’s dinner was also included. The menu was fairly limited but enough to suit everyones tastes. The breakfasts were excellent, either the DIY buffet, or the cooked to order dishes. The service from all the restaurant and bar staff was very good, and the housekeepers maintained the rooms in fine order. Nothing was too much trouble for the staff and they made sure we had a bucket of ice each evnening.
The location is excellent, being a few steps from the magnificent convention centre in the middle of Harrogate. It is five to ten minutes walk to the centre where you will find everything you need. Also it is ideally situated to travel by the main roads to Skipton, Knaresborough, Ripon, Wetherby and the Dales.
You can park in the hotel car park for a fee of £6 per night or the reception desk will give you a token disk to park on the surrounding roads, but you need to find out the times you can park or you may get a ticket.
Certainly one of the best UK hotels I have stayed in for a long time, and I can recommend this hotel for a very comfortable stay which won’t break the bank.
We look forward to welcoming you to stay with us or return to stay with us again soon.
It may be cold outside, but our Yorkshire countryside makes for excellent exploring, whatever the weather, so this Season, wrap up warm and enjoy some wonderful Winter walks!
We recently enjoyed a trip to Malham Cove for the first time and how breathtaking it was!
Roughly just under an hour in the car from Harrogate, Malham Cove is situated in the village of Malham, 13 miles North of Skipton.
On arriving in Malham, we headed straight for The Lister Arms, a lovely Country Inn pub at the foot of the road leading upto the Cove.
We’ve heard and seen lots on the Lister Arms via social media and always promised we’d come and visit one day, as it looks so inviting with their cosy log fires and homemade food!
After washing it down with a refreshing Gin & Elderflower Tonic, we made our way upto the Cove, after putting on a couple more extra layers of fleeces and coats to keep the late afternoon chill at bay!
The pub is very well situated for walkers wanting to visit the Cove, as we merely had to cross a footbridge out of the pub car park and turn right and walk roughly 1 mile up Cove Road.
About halfway up this road on the right is the National Trust Town Head Barn.
The Barn was opened in Malham village in 1997 and shows the interior of a traditional Dales barn with an exhibition on farming practices through the years related to the Dales.
It is open daily in Summer except Mondays, and Sundays only in Winter.
There is lots of information in here too on not only the Barn and Malham Cove, but surrounding areas and other points of interest too!
We continued up the road until we came to some signs and a gate that would lead us up the footpath towards the Cove itself.
The views were absolutely awe-inspiring as we headed along the footpath, drawing ever closer to the Cove itself.
We were very excited, as something you may or may not know is that some of Harry Potter was actually filmed here! It takes place mainly along the tops where there is a large area of deeply eroded limestone pavement, in such a strange pattern they say rarely found in England, which must have attracted the makers of the film to this glorious place!
There was also some stunning craftsmenship in the form of dry stone wall as far as the eye could see!
As we approached the Cove it became more and more impressive and imposing and it is a real wonder to see in all it’s limestone glory!
It’s easy to imagine the water once cascading down all those years ago when it was once a waterfall and I find it quite bizarre and truly fascinating how it is today.
The large, curved feature was formed by a waterfall carrying meltwater from glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age more than 12,000 years ago, but there is still a slight trickle and drips here and there at the base of the cove itself, but further out it’s hard to believe there’s a fully flowing stream!
The acoustics were great in the heart of the Cove, so if you’re a singer, may we recommend your new rehearsal space! We may only be half joking, but we certainly found it a very creative and thought provoking, peaceful spot, which we will definitely be returning to very soon!
As Autumn arrived, so did the darker nights, but this made way for the many light shows, festivals and displays that would continue right through to Decemeber.
After the success of the West Indian Carnival in Leeds back in the Summer, the Carnival were once again asked to return and feature in the Light Night Parade, which opened the two day light show spectacular, Light Night Leeds, an annual free multi-arts and light festival in early October.
There were lots of different things to see and interact with around the City, between 6-11pm on both Thursday and Friday, including; spectacular projections, interactive installations, exhibitions, dance, music and street performances.
Some of our highlights included; walking along Briggate under the incredible illuminated giant desk lamps – Lampounette by French artists, TILT; Harlequin by NOVAK, a spectacular audiovisual projection mapping onto the iconic Queen’s Hotel which was celebrating 80 years of service; Stuart Langley’s Beating Heart, pulsating on the side of the recently refurbished Platform building, symbolising the passion, life and frenetic energy the thousands of people passing through Leeds Station each day bring to the City centre; Aerial Circus by Cirque Bijou, set against the backdrop of the stunning illuminated Trinity Leeds ceiling and finally, Museum of the Moon, a giant illuminated moon suspended over Leeds Dock, featuring detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface.
Next year we will plan to go earlier and maybe even across the two days to ensure we see more!
We definitely recommend planning your visit in advance, as there is so much on around the City, so it was helpful checking online to see what was happening where and when, before we arrived.
Lastly, wear comfy shoes and be prepared for lots of walking!
If you enjoyed Light Night Leeds, may we recommend to you these events happening right throughout December:
Magical Lantern Festival at Roundhay Park, also in Leeds – http://www.magicallantern.uk/magical-lantern-festival-yorkshire
‘Glow’ Winter Illuminations at RHS Harlow Carr Gardens in Harrogate – https://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/harlow-carr/whats-on/christmas-at-harlow-carr