31 March 2017

Souter Lighthouse

Souter Lighthouse is in Marsden in South Shields and is currently owned by the National Trust.  It was built in 1871 and continued to be in use up until 1988.  When we visited, we were able go up to the top of the lighthouse as well as see the engine room, the lighthouse keepers’ living area and the foghorn. 

The Engine Room

In the engine room you can see the generators used to power the foghorn.  They also have a miniature model of the lighthouse, coastline and keepers’ cottages to look at.  Souter was the first lighthouse in the world designed and built to be powered by electricity.

The Lighthouse

There are 76 steps to the top of the lighthouse.  After you’ve climbed the first set of spiral steps the second are more like a ladder so it’s probably best not to go to the very top if you have a problem with heights!  One of the guides took us up to the very top of the lighthouse where you can see along Whitburn beach and St Mary’s lighthouse at Whitley Bay.  I was also able to spin the light at the top.

The Keepers’ Living Area

You can have a look in a few of the rooms that would have been where the lighthouse keepers would have stayed.  I’ve added a couple of pictures below of the fireplace and a newspaper dating back to 1873!  You can also view the bedrooms upstairs.


28 March 2017


The other week I went to Helmsley, a market town in North Yorkshire.

Market and Town Centre

There are lots of little caf├ęs and shop to visit along the high street, one of my favourites being the old-fashioned sweet shop. Helmsley market day is every Friday and a craft fair is held most Friday’s above the Old Town Hall.

The Cleveland Way, a 110-mile trail in northern England, starts in Helmsley just outside of the castle car park.

Helmsley Castle

Helmsley Castle is just a short walk from the town centre and is owned by the English Heritage. It was built nearly 900 years ago in the year 1120 and overlooks the river Rye. First built from wood, work began to convert the castle to stone in 1186.

Walled Garden

I didn’t actually go into the walled garden because we didn’t have enough time but it’s £7.50 entry and there are a number of good reviews online. Part of the walled garden can be viewed from inside the castle grounds.


24 March 2017

Beningbrough Hall

I love visiting National Trust houses, so when we went to Beningborough Hall the other week I finally signed up and became a member.  The hall is a large Georgian mansion near the village of Beningborough in North Yorkshire and was built in 1716.  

A lot of National Trust places are closed or partially closed during the Winter months; Beningborough Hall was undergoing some building work and closed at the earlier time of 4pm, although it was cheaper to get in.  The Hall itself was only accessible via a lift due to the main entrance being closed which meant that I couldn’t go into the Hall because of my ridiculous fear of lifts!  This gave us more time to walk around the grounds.

One of the first things we saw was the splashes of purple from the crocuses and spring flowers starting to bloom.  The snowdrops were also out already so I took the opportunity to snap some photos.  Afterwards, we walked along the driveway to the entrance and back along by the river Ouse.  There’s also the watchtower tucked away from the main attraction though this area was extremely muddy so we’ll have to head back in Spring.


21 March 2017


I’ve been to Knaresborough a few times, but the last time I visited it was Autumn and so the mist (although it created a lovely eerie atmosphere) stopped me from photographing the Viaduct and the view from the Castle. This time it was a cold crisp day so I managed to capture the area in the sun; a train was going across the viaduct and a little cat decided he wanted to be included in my photos! 

We walked down the steps by the castle, along by the River Nidd and had a lovely lunch at The Ugly Duckling, before heading back through the park to the town centre. 

Knaresborough Castle was built around 1100 and looks down over the river Nidd; it was still in use until 1648.  It also overlooks Knaresborough viaduct which was completed in 1851 after collapsing 3 years earlier.

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