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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.
I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps. See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Games at the ruined abbey

Nicola, Pete, Lola and Nell want to travel the world with a difference. We hope to get a taste of many countries without adding to climate change (with needless emissions from aeroplanes) or having to waste hours of holiday time in airport terminals. We hope our adventures inspire you to take a Grand Tour of your neighbourhood whatever the weather. This post is from Nicola

Every time I visit the North Riding area Yorkshire I seem to visit Jervaulx Abbey, near Leyburn http://www.jervaulxabbey.com/. This was the spiritual birthplace of Wensleydale cheese – created by the Cistercian monks who came from France after the Norman Conquest in 1066. The abbey was destroyed by Henry VIII – a topic Nell can’t get enough of – and somehow has stayed in private hands. This means you pay your #2 entry fee into an honesty box. It’s a huge place, by the River Ure, and totally romantic with its wild flowers growing along, beside and in the arches and tumbling down brickwork. There are apparently more than 200 species but the one dominating this week in August is thyme. There’s also a profusion of blackberries – some with ripe fruit though they were disgustingly sour – and also wild raspberry canes. I might not have noticed them if we hadn't played hide and seek which gave me plenty of opportunity while hiding to study them and while seeking to think about possible bolt holes.

Last time we were here (2005) Lola remembers playing What's the time Mr Wolf, but Nell was too young to remember so to her the whole Jervaulx Abbey experience feels first time. And it does for us too when we go to the nearby cafe and find totally stunning food at very reasonable prices - lettuce soup, savoury scones served with chunks of Wensleydale cheese, rarebits and homemade cakes. There's gluten free options too. It's amazing how good the food is in this area, I'm sure it's better than a few years ago, and I know that if we were in Scotland it's all too likely that we'd be eating chips rather than enjoying this foodie paradise.

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