3 December 2019

Egglestone Abbey

Egglestone Abbey is a ruined abbey on the banks of the river Tees, just outside of Barnard Castle. The abbey was founded in the late 12th century between 1168 and 1198, but was dissolved in 1540. Egglestone is maintained by the English Heritage but admission is currently free; the site is open from 10am to 6pm daily.

There’s a small carpark just outside the castle, so we parked here before heading inside to look around the ruins.

We walked to the nearby town of Barnard Castle which is just under 2 miles from the Abbey. The walk takes you through woodland but there’s an alternative route which we took on the way back which mostly follows along the River Tees.


10 September 2019

Climbing Penshaw Monument

Penshaw Monument is a half scale replica of the Greek Temple of Hephaestus standing on Penshaw Hill. I’ve written a post about visiting Penshaw before, which you can find here, where I said that you can go up to the top of the monument via a staircase in one of the pillars. When we visited this time, I had no intention of climbing to the top but eventually decided I would even though I’m not good with heights!

The climb to the top is free for National Trust members otherwise it’s £5 each. We were given a torch each to wear on our heads because inside the pillar is too dark to see where you’re going. The spiral staircase goes up 446ft and I’m sure it got narrower near the top – though this might just have been me being scared. 

Once you’ve reached the top the views are worth the climb, you can see for miles around and you can even see the Stadium of Light in the distance.


6 September 2019

Seaham Beach

I’ve written a post from Seaham before, but when I walked along the beach the other day, there were pools that were bright red so I thought I’d share these photos.

It was such a hot day when we visited, although the beach was fairly empty. A quick Google showed that the now beautiful stretch of coastline was once used as a dumping ground for 4 nearby mines. The mines closed in the 1980s, but the coal pollution from back then causes the red water. During the past decade though, the beach has undergone a huge clean-up operation and it is much better than it once was.

The beach isn’t very far from Penshaw, which is where we stopped off at on our way home.


3 September 2019

Sudbury Hall, Derbyshire

We were in Derby the other week for a wedding and I couldn’t waste the opportunity while we were there to visit a couple of places in Derbyshire. Unfortunately, it was pouring down with rain and the first place we headed to, Kedleston Hall, was closed the day we were visiting. I didn’t fancy walking round the grounds in the rain so we drove to nearby Sudbury Hall instead.

Arriving at Sudbury the rain showed no signs of easing off so we had a look around inside the house first. The long gallery (pictured below) which is 51m long features stunning plasterwork and was one of my favourite rooms in the hall. Sudbury Hall is a grade I listed building in Sudbury, Derbyshire; it was built between 1660 and 1680. The National museum of childhood is housed in the 19th century servants’ wing.

Finally the rain stopped and we were able to wander round the grounds which include a 17th century fountain.


27 August 2019

Allan Bank, Grasmere

We arrived to find the house and the surrounding hills partially hidden by the mist and headed in to have a look around (and to warm up – it was so cold I was absolutely nithered).

Allan Bank is a grade II listed two-storey villa looking over the village of Grasmere. It was built in 1805 and from 1808 to 1811, Allan Bank was the home of poet William Wordsworth. The property is now owned by the National Trust and is currently undergoing major renovations after a fire in 2011.

Cumbria is one of the few remaining habitats in England of the red squirrel, and the grounds of Allan Bank is a place where they are commonly seen. We sat looking out of one of the windows and were lucky enough to spot a couple of red squirrels on our visit to the house.

The gardens at Allan Bank were lovely to walk around and even though it was July, there was an autumnal feel to the place. Luckily, the sun did come out as we were wandering round and you could see the view over Grasmere. 


30 July 2019

Farne Islands

The Farne Islands are a group of islands off the coast of Northumberland. There are between 15 and 20 islands depending on the tide, which are divided into two groups – the Inner group and the Outer group. The inner group includes Inner Farne and the outer includes Staple Island. They are currently owned by the National Trust and local boats are licensed to take passengers to Inner Farne, Staple Island and the Longstone. Visits to other islands are prohibited to protect the wildlife. 

At the right time of year, (usually late May to August), puffins can be seen on Inner Farne and surrounding islands. We booked a tour boat from Seahouses and as we were taken to the island, the tour guide pointed out lots of different birds – even sunbathing seals – but no puffins. Luckily, once we arrived at Inner Farne, there must have been hundreds of puffins running about; I found out that they live in burrows and spent quite a while watching them pop in and out.

Also on the Inner Farne, Arctic terns nest close to the path and will attack visitors who get too close as we found out! Visitors to the island are advised to wear a hat for this reason. The Inner Farne is also home to 14th century chapel, St Cuthbert’s.

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