Better In Beverley
We've been asked to visit the Lakeland Beverley Store again this year, and I was mentioning to mums at our central london school gates that I wouldn't be around this weekend because I was going to Beverley.
'Beverley Hills?' They asked with unbelievable excitement? 'No, fortunately a much nearer trip to a lovely old market town- Beverley, East Yorkshire' I reply. Screwed up faces betray their lack of knowledge or even interest even though it is only a few minutes drive from Hull, this year's city of culture. Fortunately when I took Lily into nursery, I mentioned this to Jon, one little girl's dad. He immediately said' Beverley East Yorkshire? I'm from there, can you bring back some decent fish and chips please?' Phew. I felt like I'd found a kindred spirit!
I remember when we got married in Dubai, just 19 years ago. We had sent out the invitations to our friends and many of them had never heard of Dubai. That's really not a long time in the general scheme of things, but ask anyone today to come to the Emirates, and they either get it, or want to meet you at the Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal FC.
So is that it? Is spending lots of money sponsoring sports how you get a place on a map? If that's the case then surely Beverley should have no problem at all with it's beautiful racecourse which is set in the very picturesque surroundings of Westwood with views of the Beverley Minister.
It is really a historic site for thoroughbred flat racing with the first meeting having taken place here in 1767- They have several fixtures a year now and even combine events with theatre as they plan to do in their 'The White Rabbit' Easterland Raceday, which as you can probably guess is an 'Alice in Wonderland' inspired egg hunt combined with an afternoon of racing.
The winner of course wins a chocolate egg!
The ladies at Ascot may get a run for their money with the mad hatters here!
In fact it is said that Lewis Carroll may have been inspired to create his March Hare on the carving of a rabbit from the 12th century St Mary's church in Beverley.
Continuing with this very enticing equine theme is the discovery of Yorkshire's fastest growing polo club at Tickton Hall. This 110 acre sprawling country estate is home the 15 year old club.
The Beverley Minister (mentioned above), is really a stunning gothic cathedral. One of the most exquisite I've seen in all of England.
The church that we see today was completed in 1420, although there has been a church on this site since the 7th century built by St. John of Beverley, and is also the site where he was buried. In the 11th century he was canonised as a saint and the site attracted pilgrims.
The church was refashioned by the Normans shortly after the Norman conquest, but was destroyed by fire, and in around 1220 work began to rebuild it in the form we see today. Even the Snetzer organ is one of the finest serving examples.
Definitely well worth a visit.
For information on the Snetzer organ see www.northernvicar.co.uk
Even the camping sites here have a gothic theme.
At http://www.yaphamholdsfarmhouse.com/ you can book your very own Gothic Camping Pods!
Now if you have a caravan, or like camping, you are spoilt for choice, but High Farm Country Park seems to be in a league by itself, and definitely a fun place to go with the family.
It has a free on site fishing lake stocked with carp, tench and roach, and has lovely views over the Yorkshire Wolds, and if you don't want to leave the site, there is also free access to a 9 hole golf course, ponies and chickens, Alpacas, sheep, Pygmy goats and chickens.
It's only 14 minute drive from the centre of Beverley towards Routh - Www.highfarmcountrypark.co.uk
If all this nature isn't enough for you then then drive 30 minutes from here towards Market Weighton (pronounced wee-ton) to visit North Cave Wetlands one of Yorkshire Wildlife trust's top sites.
Emerging out of an old sand and gravel quarry, it is incredible that it now supports this vast range of thriving wildlife.
In May 80 species of breeding and passage birds have been recorded here. There is access here to carp lakes in the summer months too.
For more info on the endless list of birds species that can be seen here, have a look at www.ywt.org.uk
Not only has Market Weighton allowed all these birds to thrive, but going back to 1787, a certain William Bradley was born here.
There was something in the air even back then, as Bradley grew and grew until he became at the age of 18 Britain's tallest man. (His record still stands at 7 feet 9 inches (2.36m) tall), although there is contention that he is only the 3rd tallest!
With all these carp lakes it got me thinking about Jon's fish and chips comment. Is it really better in East Yorkshire? Friends who live locally highly recommend Stuart's in Driffield www.stuartsofdriffield.co.uk along with Sullivan's in Hornsea. Remember to pop some vinegar into your DoddleBag to savour the memory.
This also prompted the idea that maybe I should make up some tartar sauce and serve it up with smoked salmon on a blini, for the lovely customers at Lakeland.
Just opposite the store there is very handily an M&S. I bought some salmon, blinis and these ingredients for the sauce.
I mixed up all the ingredients into a bowl, and dolloped the sauce into 3 DoddleBags. I made up the the blinis and just squirted out some of the tartar sauce. Definitely got a thumbs up!! After making up all the tasters, I still had a DoddleBag left with sauce, which I will definitely be freezing when I get home and serving up another time.