Tag Archives: Crowne Plaza Liverpool



After our entertaining duties are over following the Isle of Man TT, we are on our way to Liverpool this afternoon and the boat will be busier than normal as the previous two fast and overnight slow boats were cancelled because of the storm yesterday.


I Wanna Hold Your Hand

We stay tonight at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at Liverpool pier head (100 yds from the ferry) and venture out in the evening for a walk around some of the newly named Royal Albert Docks including a stop at the rather overlarge model of the Beatles for a photo opportunity.

Friday 15 June

Watch the Mannannan go out from it’s berth in a very fast moving inward tide – quite impressive as we have never seen it depart before, we are always on it – never watching it from the land. These fast ferries are so manoeuvrable.

Head off for the Scarborough area of North Yorkshire, finding a lovely garden centre near Brighouse for lunch – very crowded – but later on, traffic on A64 towards Scarborough is very slow so we are 30 minutes later than anticipated.


View form our bedroom window

Our home for the next week is a converted barn on a working farm just north of Scarborough.

The Old Granary Cottage has a big kitchen and living / dining area downstairs with comfortable seating for 6 and 3 bedrooms upstairs one of which has an en-suite shower room and a wonderful view over the rolling countryside (our room)!

As a welcome pack, we are left 6 eggs, several biscuits, coffee and of course Yorkshire Tea, all very delicious.


Lucy’s oversize cage

John & Deirdre arrive soon after us with Lucy (their dog) who is possibly somewhat puzzled by the size of the cage that the owners have left for our use.

Saturday 16 June

Not a particularly hot day but very little rain and we head for Dalby Forest for a few walks. The forest has lots of hiking and cycling trails and a “Go Ape” that has an amazingly long zip wire which seems to bring out the screams in everyone!


Dalby Forest

A popular place with, probably, locals as well as tourists with a well stocked café and shop as well as an interpretation centre aimed more at youngsters.

We, however stick to the walk around the lake which was just as nice as climbing up steep banks or walking in amongst the trees at height.

Whilst entrance to the park is free, if you walk or cycle but if coming by car the parking charge is a steep £9 for any length of stay.

Sunday 17 June

Rosedale Abbey


Rosedale Abbey church with Priory staircase on right

Our visit today is to Rosedale Abbey, a little village in the dales not far from Pickering.

We are told that there never was an Abbey here but in fact there was a Priory between 1154 and the dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536 with the only remaining visible evidence being the stairwell and perhaps some outer houses such as the Reading room.


Near the church in Rosedale Abbey

It is a pretty village with a good tea room and a workshop with some very expensive glass blowing. A couple of fairly flat walks and a view inside the church followed by the ubiquitous refreshments whilst we watch cyclists and walkers pass through – even some on a bus.

Our return is via Cropton and Wrelton where we holidayed in 1994. (Cropton was where we bought take away beer in “milk cartons” and Wrelton is where we all stayed in a holiday cottage – Beech Farm)

Monday 18 June


Runswick Sands

Sight of the sea is required today – withdrawal symptons setting in! Sandsend is our first stop, then tried Runswick Sands but don’t stop there, car park quite high up and for £2.00 an hour, a little expensive, so onwards to Staithes, a pretty little coastal village where we have lunch at the quaint Dotty’s Tea Rooms – do try the fruit scones.

A long and steep walk down to the beach from the car park at the top of the hill so some dropping off and collecting is required.



The village has a couple of piers so is a sheltered harbour which makes for a nice walk and photo opportunity.

Tuesday 19 June


Peasholm park

Drop Lucy off at some nearby kennels and we are off to Scarborough for a Jet boat ride, a tramway ride, a visit to the newly renovated Scarborough market – then off to North Beach for a walk around  Peasholm park. 

Evening meal at the Falcon Inn , a short drive away in the Whitby direction.

There are some impressive looking Yurts / glamping  pods in their grounds which look new.

Wednesday 20 June

We are off today on a steam train ride to Whitby on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, a preserved railway predominantly run by volunteers.


Our train to Whitby

We are pulled by Southern Railway’s engine number 926, Repton, which was built in 1934.

This is a very crowded train of 7 coaches with a couple of parties and some people in wheelchairs.

We opt for the very comfortable first class compartments at a nominal £2 supplement and are joined by two Chinese girls with large travel cases on our way to Whitby.


Disused Railway viaduct in Whitby

It is surprisingly very windy and quite cold in Whitby but with only a couple of hours there, we only have time for a crab sandwich and a stroll along the harbour watching the boats take tourists out for a ride onto the North Sea before we are back queuing for our not so crowded train back to Pickering.


Boat rides on an old lifeboat

No 1st class compartments on this train this time and certainly not so crowded with diesel hauled from Whitby to Grosmont and steam hauled from there. 

So much wildlife to see by the side of the track but they are all moving quickly away from the moving train which is either making a lot of noise as it battles up the hills from or is coasting at speed downhill in an attempt to make up some of the time as it was at least 30 minutes late leaving Whitby.


Our engine for our return journey

Dinner tonight at The Plough Scalby, the slightly less popular of the two virtually adjacent pubs, the other being The Nags Head which was heaving with customers for their wine tasting event.

Thursday 21 June

A more leisurely day with less wind and cloud and we head for Falling Foss Tea Rooms which were a little difficult to find if you don’t see the sign in the car park!

Down a steep hill so coming back up was courtesy of a very nervous me driving down to collect them over terrain that is far more suited to a 4 x 4 vehicle.

The falls themselves were suffering early onset drought so not flowing freely.


Falling Foss Waterfall

Aidensfield was our next stop (otherwise known as Goathland).

If you look on a map of the area, you won’t find Aidensfield as it was a fictitious name for a town featured in a 1960s based TV series, Heartbeat, that was filmed there from 1992 onwards for 372 episodes.


1960s style Police car

Some recognisable features are still there including the old garage and a police car.

Interesting car parking arrangements with sheep surrounding the car on our return – fortunately no damage.


Car Park at Goathland

Back towards our cottage for the last week and we stop at the nearby Grainary Tea Rooms before returning to pack for our departure tomorrow.

Friday 22 June

John and Dierdre collect Lucy, who is obviously pleased to see them. The kennels are on a remote headland, a lovely location.

Off now to a lunch at a National Trust property – Hardwick Hall before we leave John & Deirdre and head off for our next adventure in Wales.

Receive a phone call just after we get on the motorway about possibly returning to work for a short period of time – interesting prospect.


Santa rides

IMG_5661Friday 15 December

Last year, Flic visited us about this time with her friend, Laura and paid a surprise visit to Mel at the Peel Pantoloons annual Panto. This year, however, a visit to the Panto by Flic could not be arranged due to Gary’s work commitments, so a visit the following week to the Santa Steam trains organised by the Isle of Man Steam Railway was the only option.

After some debate, a ferry crossing from Heysham was the selected mode of transport and, for once in December, the weather was kind.

Saturday 16 December


Morning at The Shed, Laxey

A morning out by the sea – yes the weather is still mild and wind free – and time for a coffee on Laxey sea front with blankets supplied by the wonderful new little cafe, The Shed.  (http://www.creativejuices.im/splash/)

An afternoon train ride from Douglas to Santon had been organised and our train on this occasion was double headed by two of the small gauge resident steam engines.

Double heading was unusual especially as it wasn’t a particularly heavy train but more about this later.


Santa’s helpers at Santon

Cody is obviously too young to appreciate the train ride but Gary certainly did especially as he could stand in front of the engine whilst it was being watered when we reached Santon.


Taking on water at Santon

Talking about watering, at Santon we disembarked with some of the train’s passengers going to see Santa first before consuming some well prepared food whilst others in the front of the train did the visiting to Santa after the food and mulled wine.


Who are you?

Cody was absolutely mesmerised by Santa, he just didn’t know what to make of him, again understandable in the circumstances.


Douglas Station, end of the day

The return was behind one engine, the other being used to bring Santa’s grotto back to Douglas later in the day as this was the last Santa ride of the season.

Hopefully next year we can get Sarah, Ali and Harry over for a visit at this time?

Sunday 17 December

A first stage production for Cody as he becomes Baby Jesus for Mel’s Sensations Group at a church service in Peel.


Cody at the Sound

He slept for a lot of the time, woke up for the important part and spent the time looking around, not a murmur.

Lunch at The Sound Cafe

Monday 18 December

Flic, Gary and Cody off for an early ferry and we have to pack as we are following them on the same ferry 24 hours later.


Ferry into the Sunrise

Flic and Gary had a bit of a tortuous journey, Cody being fed up, the journey taking well over 5 hours due to yet another accident on the M6.

Tuesday 19 December

A smooth crossing for us and we head for Liverpool for an Andre Rieu concert, staying at the Crowne Plaza on the dockside.


Liverpool waterfront

An upgrade meant we had access to the club lounge in the hotel which provides snacks at tea time and a continental breakfast as well as a waterfront view.


Exchange Flags

A walk out to the shops revealed a square I had not been to before, Exchange Flags which was also featured in an excellent BBC programme recently, A House through Time.


Getting the Reindeer ready

Wednesday 20 December

Horrible drizzle today so not worth going to anywhere outdoors. The garden centre at Bebbington serves up some very nice snacks for lunch before we return to the hotel to get ready for the concert.

But before that, I couldn’t resist a brief visit to the waterfront fair and the reindeer being prepared for the night’s activities.


Colourful Andre Rieu concert

We have seen an Andre Rieu recording both on TV and at a local cinema but there is nothing like seeing a live concert.

With their flamboyant and colourful costumes, the musicians played, danced, sung and entertained us for nearly 2 and a half hours which included at least half an hour of encores and a festive rendition from a Scottish pipe band from the Wirrall.


Artificial snow

Artificial snow falling on the audience was something special to watch from high up as we were.

Meet up afterwards for drinks with Laura & Jim from Jersey who are also over for the concert, staying with a friend locally.

They got covered in the artificial snow which was very minute plastic particles.


Andre Rieu concert

Thursday 21 December

Drive down to our house in Clearwell just to check all is well and to inspect the new doors.


Making Croissants at The forest Bakehouse

A bit of Christmas food shopping in Gloucester followed by a lovely lunch at The Forest Bakehouse in Longhope (Gloucestershire) which we never knew existed despite us driving past the area for the past 13 years. (http://www.forestbakehouse.co.uk)

The Forest Bakehouse at Longhope has a small seating area and a thriving orders/collection business judging by the various bags full of various types of bread awaiting collection.

Preparing the croissants for future baking were two members of staff one of whom had cut the dough with an ingenious looking hand held device that created the triangle prior to them being rolled into shape before baking.

Back to Clearwell, visit to Rob, wrap presents for Christmas but we are not here for Christmas this year, our 3rd non Clearwell Christmas in 14 years.

Friday 22 December

Drive to Didcot Railway Centre to meet up with Sarah, Ali & Harry as well as Flic & Cody for another Santa train ride.


Festive hats at Didcot

Santa does get around and is exceptionally busy, so to get to see him twice is quite an achievement!!

Sadly, Gary has to be on call and Mel is to meet up with us later as her flight from the IoM and the trains from Gatwick to Didcot couldn’t get her to us until half an hour before the ride – she makes it though.


Harry with Santa on the Santa train

Before the Santa train ride we amble around the shed with an assortment of vintage steam engines and other railway artefacts all of which are available for touching and some for clambering on, much to the enjoyment of the kids of all ages.


Ali the ticket collector

The Santa ride was not as good as the one in the Isle of Man the previous Saturday according to Flic, especially as the organisers had run out of presents for kids of Cody’s age.  Harry enjoyed his present though.

Meanwhile, our usual haunt for Christmas and the Perrygrove Santa Trains were doing a roaring trade.


Santa trips at Perrygrove (picture from Heritage Railway Magazine)

Sarah, Ali & Harry go off to get some more Christmas food and we go off to find our house for the next week in Maidenhead.

All I shall say about the house we rented for the week in Maidenhead is that it was “interesting” but if I then said we would definitely not recommend it and would not be going again, I hope you get the gist.

My words on this are not going to be minced.