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East and North England

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Our Berlin flight took us to London Luton where we picked up a hire car for a week of exploration. We hadn't been back to the UK since leaving in 2000 (we lived there for about 2 years), but were keen to explore the Eastern side from England as we hadn't seen that area. So after overnighting in Bedford (close to the airport), we set off for York.
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We stayed in a town just outside of York call Harrogate. Wandering around in York, we met a volunteer collecting for the air ambulance who told us that people living in Harrogate had been voted as being the happiest people in England. It was definitely a lovely little spot, we picked it as we found some good accommodation there and it was a good spot for commuting into York.

We got a tip from Ash’s parents of the York Train Museum, which we knew Cameron would love. So on our first day of exploring we went in and toured the Museum. It was well worth the visit, and we easily spent 3-4 hours wandering around all the exhibits. No prizes for where the script writers from Thomas the Tank Engine got their inspiration for some of the engines. In particular, ‘Stephen’ whom we found in the Great Hall.
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A trip to York wouldn’t be complete without a trip to York minster along with a walk around the town. Another cathedral to look at (boys were totally over it) but beautiful nonetheless. Despite the periodic rain, we also managed to walk around part of the old wall too. We went back the following day to visit the Jorvik (Viking) centre. There has been a number of excavations around York which have discovered old Viking Ruins and the exhibit provided details of what was found and an insight into how they lived. It was well worth the visit.
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After overnighting in Grimsby, we visited the city of Lincoln after getting a heads-up from the hotel manager. The Lincoln minster and castle on top of the hill were both beautiful and a great lesson in history. It was originally built by William the Conqueror within a couple of years of him winning the Battle of Hastings and has been altered and expanded over the years.
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A highlight for the visit was seeing the Magna Carta (originally issued under King John) on display along with the Charter of the Forest, which were both signed by Henry III. There was also a prison within the Castle walls and courthouse which is still active today. One room at the prison had samples of clothing worn by inmates and people working there which Lachlan and Tania had some fun trying on.
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We even managed to observe Halloween with a bit of dress-up
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Our final stop for our road trip was to St Albans to see our good friends – Dom and Emma -from our time living in Hove. Actually Ash met Dom when he first started work at Ecobalance in Arundel. It was fantastic to see them and a good chance for us to meet each others children. We managed to catch-up on around 15 years in the space of an afternoon and early evening. We also went for a drive and visited some old Roman ruins nearby. We stopped at a pub which has a claim of being the oldest in England to enjoy a drink together (certainly did look quite old!). Dom and Emma’s house was also ranked as the best place ever by Cameron solely due to the great wooden railway tracks which were kindly provided to him. We really enjoyed seeing them and had a great time. Next time we won't wait so long for the next catch up!
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So after an overnight stay in Hemel Hempstead and tackling the magic roundabout (5-6 roundabouts within one!), we headed back to Luton Airport to drop off the car and catch a bus to London, the subject of our next blog!

Posted by tollidaytravels 15:12 Archived in United Kingdom

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