Gods Own Country Travel Plans

Having travelled extensively throughout the UK, Ireland and the world, Ruchi Dhir was a bit thrown recently when a group of her Chinese suppliers visited the UK and asked her to draft a tourist travel plan of Yorkshire and nearby places in the North to visit.

Although having grown up and lived and settled in Leeds, Yorkshire, as well as having her business there, Ruchi rarely considered the tourist attractions of the city and area as she so infrequently got chance to enjoy them as is the case with many people and their hometowns and counties. These explorations may be tough and physically demanding to see, so if you want help with health and fitness you should also check out Ruchi Dhir’s fitness blog. You can also find out more about her and her interests and opinions on Ruchi’s blog.

Drafting the plan became a labour of love, allowing Ruchi to explore all those places on her doorstep :

1. York Minster: one of the staple school trips when she was younger, the church of England cathedral features stunning stained glass windows, stonework and ornate tombs. All of these can be fully and thoroughly enjoyed with the York walking tour which takes in the cathedral, the hop on – hop off tour which also includes the cathedral and the private ghost tour of York. All of these were lost on her as a child but fantastic options as an adult and definitely to show guests from abroad.

2. Another sight which went unappreciated when she was a youngster was Clifton Park in Rotherham: The park is well maintained with manicured gardens throughout the year. There is a memorial to those soldiers who gave their lives. There are water features and an extensive playground for children. There are also many events that take place during the year: a vintage car rally, displays and a fairground as well as a sundial in a walled garden.

3. Back to York, and the national railway museum is another great visit for guests from within the UK and abroad: It is filled with the history of locomotives, present examples and visions of the future of railways and trains. This place is filled with stories and tales about each vehicle and an inspiring day out.

4. On a free afternoon in Leeds, there is also Roundhay Park. Though she had driven past the park for most of her life, Ruchi had no idea until she researched it, that Roundhay Park is one of the biggest city parks in Europe. It has more than 700 acres of parkland, lakes, woodland and gardens. All of this is owned by Leeds City Council. The park receives nearly 1 million visitors every year. A great event, especially for her visitors from China was the Dragon Boat Race held annually on the 19th May in Roundhay Park.

This event is now in its 12th year and organised by Martin House. They describe it as a corporate and group team building event as well as a family fun day out. It supports children and young people throughout Yorkshire. It takes place over one day. Each team takes part in a minimum of 3 races. The fastest team then goes through to the semi-final. Each boat or team needs between 8 and 10 paddlers and a drummer to keep the rhythm, to keep an authentic dragon boat feel!

It is made more of a family day out by all the activities that take place around the park throughout the day which are aimed at families as well as refreshments which are available. There is also a tug of war competition for teams of 8-10 people

Anyone can enter as long as you are over 16 years old and able to swim 50 meters and you pay the entry fee and sponsorship. Spectators are also greatly encouraged which contributes to the fun atmosphere.

5. The Royal Armouries is also a fun visit for guests. Situated in the centre of Leeds, it is perfect walking distance from many of the hotels that visitors select to stay in. It is a national museum and one can see the national collection of arms and armour on display. The other Royal Armouries family of museums are the Tower of London, Fort Nelson where the display of the national collection of artillery is. There are permanent galleries within Frazier History Museum in Louisville Kentucky, USA.

The Royal Armouries Museum is located in Leeds Dock and opened in 1996. Leeds Dock has developed considerably since this time and is a hub for young people, new businesses and offices, gyms, yoga centres and restaurants and bars. The collection on display at the Royal Armouries was previously on display at the Tower of London.T he Royal Armouries still has a presence there and displays in the white tower. Entry is free of charge to the Armouries though certain attractions are charged for.

There is also, weather permitting, exhibitions of military and sporting skill at arms, including jousting. Two important jousting contests are still held each year with competitors from all over the world. A four-day international competition with up to four jousting teams is held at Eastertime if you can coordinate your visit with these dates. The teams compete from Good Friday to Easter Sunday, the final is on Easter Monday. The prize is the sword of honour at the end of the competition.

6. The great thing about Leeds over some other buzzing northern cities is the busy nightlife and shopping juxtaposed with beautiful scenery and the outdoors.

Another great site in Yorkshire is Brimham Rocks. Brimham Rocks are balancing rock formations on Brimham Moor in Yorkshire. The rocks are in an area owned by the National Trust and are part of the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The site is opened all year round and hosts a number of fantastic events and activities helping locals and visitors engage in the beauty of its surroundings: For Families, you can join a themed activity day – a Brimham adventure with the rangers, a family volunteering day, or a day of weaselling and bouldering.

There are also guided walks about Brimhams history, climbing at Brimham Rocks, Mindful Yoga, bird box making, geology walks where a geology guide talks you through the amazing rock formations in a 90 minute guided walk and talks you through how the rocks formed through 320 million years.

There is also a strong partnership between Brimham Rocks and the Harrogate Climbing Centre. Regular sessions are provided for all ages and abilities  : bouldering, is the most accessible and varied  ; roped climbing is where an instructor sets up a system of ropes to recreate the security of an indoor climbing wall ; Weaseling: this is ideal for children  as it involves scrambling through tight spaces, around twists and in all the nooks and crannies ; abseiling – this is spectacular at Brimham Rocks  . Some of the taller rock faces overlook the beautiful valley of Lower Nidderdale and there are occasional charity abseiling days held at Brimham Rocks.

The landscape at Brimham rocks is varied and dramatic which makes it superb for climbers and walkers but the rocks also make a beautiful backdrop for those who simply wish to photograph or draw and paint them. After Ruchi’s last post, reviewing England vs Scotland, it was nice for her to be back enjoying the UK’s countryside again! As well as enjoying the UK, find out about her interior design interests on Ruchi Dhir’s other blog.

There is a Brimham photography group who meet monthly and share ideas and photography. They are amateurs and come together to share their ideas and capture Brimham Rocks through the seasons: a thoroughly enjoyable visit at any time of the year.