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 – //www.flowershow.org.uk/
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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:
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 – //www.magicallantern.uk/magical-lantern-festival-yorkshire
‘Glow’ Winter Illuminations at RHS Harlow Carr Gardens in Harrogate – //www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/harlow-carr/whats-on/christmas-at-harlow-carr
August was a fun filled month, where we firstly headed to York’s very own Comic Con!
On arriving at York racecourse, we were greeted with some fantastic costumes and didn’t mind the entrance queue, as it meant we could have a good look at all the amazing outfits that people had clearly spent a lot of time putting together for this marvellous day!
Once inside, it was apparent there was a lot to see and do, including special guests and interactive activities for kids of all ages!
It was a Geek Haven and Comic Con-er’s Utopia, with stall after stall of wacky wares and we found ourself in a Shooper’s Paradise, picking up all sorts of fabulous finds!
Our buys included some lego characters, Harry Potter jewellery, pixel art, coasters and more and we came away with lots of great purchases to put away for Birthday and Christmas presents too!
We particularly liked the White Fairy //www.facebook.com/whitefairy.shop/, where we purchased quite a few quirky pieces!
This was our very first Comic Con and most certainly won’t be our last!
Comic Con returns to the Knavesmire next August and you can purchase advance tickets right now – //www.facebook.com/YorkUnleashed/
If you can’t wait that long, head to Pudsey this coming November //www.facebook.com/events/1408876052520212/?active_tab=about
The end of the month saw the 50th West Indian Carnival come to Leeds on Bank Holiday Monday and we were so excited to be attending our very first!
The traffic was strong into the City, but we managed to park the car and walk to find a spot by the roadside in time for the Carnival parade going by, where it would then culminate in Potternewton Park, continuing the Carnival vibes late into the evening, in a huge celebration of music, dance and colour, lots of colour!
The costumes were simply out of this world, showstopping pieces, lavishly adorned in sparkling sequins!
The Carnival floats all brought something different and unique to the parade too, each with their own flavour, flare and culture and as day turned to night, the parade turned into a party!
After the parade, we headed down to the Park, stopping for a boogie outside various houses along the way, where folk had brought the party and their sound systems outside!
I’ve honestly never seen anything like it, it was absolutely fantastic and there was a real sense of pride amongst the community too, sharing this experience and making many happy memories together!
The party continued late into the evening in Potternewton Park, where there was a stage with live music, fairground rides and lots more food and drink stalls to enjoy.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable family-friendly day out and we look forward with great anticipation to next year’s event!
Check out these stunning professional photos from the Parade, courtesy of Maria Spadafora and David Lindsay.
Monster veg owe a debt to bras and tights – that’s the best thing I learnt at this year’s Harrogate Autumn Flower Show.
I’m not going to spoil it for you – you’ll have to get along to star grower Kevin Fortey’s masterclass at the Kitchen Garden Theatre each day to get more secrets of how to grow the surrounding monsters.
And surrounded we were by examples of perfectly matched but huge beauty in the various classes – and the nightmarish gigantic mutants in the heavyweight classes, where anything goes.
There is always a flurry of excitement at high noon on Friday, with the National Onion Society weigh-in – although no records were broken this year.
The Harrogate shows are magnets for torrential showers. The clouds were black as we left the showground and it’s wet underfoot.
Other top tips if you haven’t been before:
Avoid the main indoor eating venues at peak time, as you won’t get a seat. Go for the cooked breakfast at the Yorkshire Cafe as soon as you arrive, then top up mid-afternoon.
Don’t forget the essentials: waterproofs, sunglasses and comfortable, flat shoes (no heels).
You can get cash back if you go mad from the information point in the Gardening Hall for a small purchase (the hessian bags are handy).
The nurseries and companies attending had the usual offers – you can make your entrance fee back in savings. Don’t take a chance and go back later, as it might be gone.
Use the plant creches run by the charity Perennial, so you don’t have to carry stuff around with you all day.
The Postcards from the Hedge exhibits, based around intrepid plant hunters of the past tied the show together, although the other half was amused at the life-size animals for each continent.
I always spend a lot of time in the Plant Nursery Pavilion – that’s where you’ll find the specialist nurseries and their displays. We arrived earlier than usual so it wasn’t as busy, meaning I could chat to experts and friends, old and new.
Great to see Plantagogo win Best in Show for their Heuchera/Tiarella display (www.plantagogo.com). Harperley Hall Farm Nurseries from County Durham landed premier gold with their alpine/perennials exhibit (www.harperleyhallfarmnurseries.co.uk).
I had a good chat with Craig House Cacti, who also won Premier Gold and the Alice Bailey Challenge Trophy at what will be their last Harrogate Show. I so nearly bought that £25 Agave victoriae reginae!
The Floral Pavilion hosts the country’s biggest exhibition by specialist gardening groups, NAFAS (National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies) and the highlight, more than 5,000 autumn blooms, including chrysanthemums and dahlias – and they didn’t disappoint. It’s almost a sensory overload with flowers as big as your head.
My buys this year? I went with tulips in mind and did stick to my plan, with 90 red and yellow Kaufmanniana and Griegii bulbs for £15. I regretted not buying a giant Amaryllis bulb last year, so bought an absolutely huge Orange Sovereign for £15, both from Harts Nursery of Congleton, www.hartsnursery.co.uk.
You’ve got to have an impulse buy (it would be rude not to) and mine is a baby Aloe americana from Pip’s Cactus from East Lothian for a bargain £4. Yes, I know how big they get.
The other half, for his sterling duties as chauffeur and photographer went on a pie, cake and beer spree in the food hall.
As ever, a cracking experience – roll on the Spring Show in April!
Visit www.flowershow.org.uk or call 01423 546157 for more information.
For results and a monster veg picture special, visit www.mandycanudigit.com.
The Whitby Regatta is most likely the oldest Sea Regatta on the North East Coast in England and this year saw Whitby welcome the 177th Regatta to it’s picture-perfect shores once more!
We headed across on the Sunday with friends, with two small children in tow, so were looking forward to a fun filled, family day out and we weren’t disappointed, as there was something for all ages, at this long established traditional event.
Arriving early afternoon, we parked up near West Cliff and headed down to the activities.
The coastline was adorned with children’s entertainment, rides and fairground stalls along the top of West Cliff and unsurprisingly our little people headed straight for these, so we split from our friends whilst the kiddies had some fun.
A little further along we found Tuby’s Vintage Commercial Vehicles, before making our way over to Spa Green.
Here we found a “Spit & Polish” Classic Car Rally along with the White Rose Capri Club, with cars covering all the Capri range from Mk1 to Mk3.
There were prizes awarded too for the best ‘Original Vehicle’ and the best ‘Restored Vehicle’ along with the entrant’s choice for ‘The Car They Would Most Like To Take Home’
Here’s just a few of the Classic Cars we saw!
Nearby, we caught a glimpse of the RPM Bike Trials that were happening around the Royal Crescent. The trials demonstrated some fabulous tricks and stunts, featuring feats of balance, control and daring as the pro stunt team performed and entertained throughout the day!
On we went, taking in some wonderful Arts & Craft Stalls amongst the Regatta Market on the Archery Green; “A whole area dedicated to local traders and craft stalls housed in marquees with some al fresco stalls too” and of course stopping to purchase some little trinkets from the delightful Rosie Meadows – Pop-Up Shop & Vintage Tea Room!
Their tent was in a prime location on the edge of West Cliff, facing towards the great man himself, Captain James Cook!
The 7ft 6 inch high, bronze statue was presented to Whitby in 1912 and has stood proudly observing over the bay of West Cliff ever since, although we don’t think he was intended to wear a Seagull for a hat, as captured in this picture!
Captain Cook, born James Cook on 7th November in 1728, moved to Whitby in 1746, becoming apprentice to John Walker. When Cook was not at Sea, this is where he resided and today, the house is now the Captain Cook Memorial Museum.
The smell of sea air and much talk of fishing had reminded us to take a break for lunch, so we re-grouped with our friends down in the Fisherman’s Wife Cafe on Harbourside, before being dragged away to the amusements by the littlies to work off our lunch with some arcade filled fun!
When we were all 2p machine’d out, we headed over to the harbour opposite Fish Pier to take in some of the boat racing, as after all, that was what this great event was first and foremost all about.
The great sportsmanships and competitiveness and the wonderful Whitby community spirit were all out in force and the atmosphere was pretty electric down by the harbour, as we had arrived just as the last Mens race was coming in!
It was plain to see how much the Regatta and the sport of rowing itself had inspired this fishing resort in absolute abundance and it was a pleasure and honour to be a part of, popping our proverbial Regatta cherry as first timers to this sensational Sailing event!
Our trip wouldn’t be complete without a voyage on the high seas, well a mini one at least!
We boarded the Bark Endeavor, a smaller scale replica ship of Captain Cook’s Endeavor and set sail out of Whitby harbour on a half hour trip, taking in the stunning scenery and beautiful coastline.
We also learned some interesting history and facts on Captain Cook and his Ship and some sea shanties too, but alas, no rum, arrrr!
As afternoon turned to evening, we headed back up to West Cliff where the big kids, AKA the adults had a go on the swings and the children enjoyed Zorbing in large paddling pools. Not at the same time I might add, please always play responsibly!
We even managed to come across some sort of Morris Dancing Tournament happening along West Cliff on our way back to the car.
Now this was thoroughly entertaining, not only because of the Morris Dancing, but mainly because we, along with other definite tourists on our side of the bank, didn’t have a clue what was happening!
A Gentleman involved came over and explained it all and it sounded a hoot and looked like lots of fun!
Each team were completing their routine simultaneously at four corners of a grassy area on the promenade side of West Cliff.
Throughout the routine, team members were not allowed to lose physical contact with one another. During the process, one member would swap out of each team and go into the centre of the “pitch” where they had to eat something (we couldn’t see clearly, but guessed it was something spicy or unpleasant, much like a bushtucker trial, but perhaps not as gruesome!) until it was all gone from their mouthes, then they could return to their team and the next member swap out and so on, so it was a race to the finish as this intriguingly bonkers game played out!
Quite a spectacle, which I must say, left me coming away wanting to try my hand at Morris Dancing!
En route back to the car we spotted this lovely little memorial community project…
…and a selfie with a Bee! #BeeHappyWhitby
No trip to Whitby would be complete without a visit to one of our favourite Fish & Chip Shops and this time we opted for Trenchers.
After moving the car a bit nearer towards town and taking a short stroll back across the Swing Bridge, we’d certainly worked up an appetite at the Regatta.
It was a lovely evening as we walked along the waterside towards the restaurant and you could certainly smell the freshly caught fish in the air, as we passed all the fishing baskets on the waters’ edge.
We were served promptly after being seated and ordering, as we were just in time for last orders and were delighted to be greeted by a rather large, but very yummy looking piece of fish and chips, along with the sides and extras we’d ordered, it was a feast fit for a King and Queen and the perfect end to a perfect day!
Whitby Regatta dates for your diary next year are: 11th, 12th & 13th August 2018
View hundreds of professional photos from the Regatta on Facebook:
Finally, we’ll leave you with this stunning photo of the Firework display over Whitby Abbey on Monday night, courtesy of Laurie Smithie. Check out her stunning website for this and more!