West Witton’s Old Vicarage Explore the Dales

West Witton’s Old Vicarage – Explore the Dales…

A charming village in the Yorkshire Dales, West Witton is a perfect

West Witton's Old Vicarage sits along the main road
West Witton’s Old Vicarage on Main Street

location to use as your base to explore. Picturesque. Quiet. Relaxing. Stay at the caravan park, a farm or a lovely Bed & Breakfast. Our personal favorite is the Old Vicarage.

West Witton’s Old Vicarage…

This Grade II historical property offers just five rooms. Built of stone, with

West Witton's Old Vicarage has ample parking in the rear
Old Vicarage ample parking behind rear garden

an intriguing history. Ask about the Vicar who made his home here. Some parts of the building date back over 300 years, but guest rooms have all the modern amenities and are en suite. From your windows, enjoy views of the garden or panoramic vistas of the Dales.

When you arrive at the Vicarage, relax with a spot of tea or coffee and maybe a homemade treat by your hostess Kirsteen. Besides treats, she also makes amazing preserves. You can even take one home with you to extend your memories.

West Witton's Old Vicarage
Old Vicarage guest lounge snug on a rainy day

The guest’s lounge has that very friendly English country feel. Relax with a book, peruse a map, take advantage of the free Wi-Fi. Enjoy the log fireplace when the weather is cool. It’s the sort of room you want to snug up in on a rainy day.

From the front windows, Bolton Castle invites you across the valley. It welcomes you to come visit the medieval castle, maze, gardens and birds of prey.  Explore, have an adventure or even get married there.

West Witton is only three miles from Leyburn and four miles to Aysgarth

West Witton's Old Vicarage guest room
West Witton’s Old Vicarage room with four-poster bed

Falls. In exchange for the short drive, the Old Vicarage gives you the peace and tranquility of the Dales. Though the house is right on Main Street, in the evenings it becomes very quiet.

Fox & Hounds is a favorite

Just a short way down Main Street is the Fox and Hounds, a local’s

Yorkshire steak and kidney pie at Fox & Hounds

favorite. Leave the car tucked in its space behind the Vicarage and walk. It’s only a block or two.

The pub specializes in quality home cooking, locally sourced and… some

amazing ales. Never tried a Yorkshire steak and kidney pie? This is a good spot to give it a try. Not quite that brave? They have great fish and chips and other classical pub favorites. Every Sunday you can have the traditional Roast Beef lunch.

Locals and visitors gather and chat, play games or cards or… darts. A 15th-

Fox & Hounds near Old Vicarage
Enjoy a game of darts at the Fox & Hounds

century pub, the Fox and Hounds oozes character. It’s homey, friendly and the classical juke box keeps the music going. They say you know it’s a good night when the manager, Blackie, is feeding the jukebox too.

 

After a quiet rest, the aromas of bacon and sausage grilling will tease you awake. Yes, fresh hot coffee, or tea if you prefer. While you enjoy their amazing homemade breakfasts, you can plan your tour for the day.

Explore…

Outdoor adventures await you. Hiking, bicycling, motorcycling or a drive

River Ure near West Witton

in your car. Visit waterfalls, castles or the Wensleydale Cheese Factory. Want to picnic? Plan ahead with Kirsteen, they will arrange a packed lunch on request. They also offer a flask filling facility.

Want to shop? Visit Hawes and Leyburn. They are both market towns full of quaint shops and history along with beautiful views. You’re in the country where stories of the famous veterinarian, James Herriot took place.

In an easy day trip, you can venture to Thirsk to the Herriot museum, or to Ripon and visit beautiful Fountains Abbey. There is so much to see and do in this area you can’t do it all in a weekend visit. You’ll need to come back again. Kirsteen and Roddy will welcome you, pamper you and make you feel at home.

Plan your next stay at the Old Vicarage…

For the very best rates and friendly service, contact them directly. Ask them about events and specials during the time you want to visit. Complete details are here: http://www.oldvicaragewestwitton.co.uk/.

Wellness abounds at Cedar Falls

Cedar Falls wellness unmatched

Winding your way up the long drive is like driving into a 3-d postcard.

Cedar Falls Manor has always offered wellness
Cedar Falls Manor offers wellness retreat

The 18th-century red sandstone mansion is the essence of beauty. Situated amidst 44 acres it’s a park with its gardens, woods, and lakes.

 Health farm and spa 

Designed as a health farm and spa, Cedar Falls has been offering wellness retreats since 1982. But the “health” tone has changed. Originally, you had to earn your way to the fabulous meals via diet and exercise.
 

Today’s guests retreat to relax and renew. Most guests are female visiting

Gardens offer a lovely place to walk or relax and unwind in nature
Cedar Falls Gardens

alone or with friends. Every year a high percent of them return for an annual retreat.

 
The atmosphere is that of a manor home, not a hotel. Built in 1830 it has been completely restored to better than original by local craftsmen. The detail of the craftsmanship is a visual delight. Luxury but deliberately unpretentious.

Wellness unmatched 

Cedar Farm doesn’t see themselves as a hotel with a spa. Instead, the focus is the health farm. Wellness abounds. Lots of nature to lure you out for a round of golf. They offer a 9 hole 18 tee golf course. The natural features make it fun and challenging for all levels of golfers. The golf course is complete with its own cabin to cater to the needs of the golfers.
 
A diversity of outdoor opportunities to encourage you to stretch and move:
  • Body conditioning

    The outdoor pool is open all summer for guest exercise
    Outdoor pool for exercise and restoration
  • Pool (summer only)
  • Pilates
  • Country walks alone or organized walk
  • Photography in the gardens or terraces
  • Tennis court
  • Golf
    Yoga and Pilates in the former ballroom
    Yoga and Pilates room

     

Or head to the gym to work out. Need some help? Your personal fitness trainer will guide you into the right moves.
Too cool for outdoors? Relax in the indoor hot tub, pool, and conservatory.
 

The focus is wellness and relaxing restoration.

Forget business. Lounge in your lovely plush robes and slippers. You are welcome to wander throughout the home and to the pool, spa or conservatory. No need to get dressed until you are ready for dinner.

Indoor spa offer wellness year around
Indoor Pools and conservatory
 

The spa is first class with a wide diversity of treatments and facilities. Enjoy its friendly caring approach and superb guest services.

Guests can relax and enjoy a beverage in the spa lounge
Spa lounge and beverage bar
  • Beauty treatments
  • Body treatments
  • Body wraps
  • Facial treatments
  • Hot stone therapy
  • Hairstyling services
  • Manicures and Pedicures
  • Spray tanning
  • Natural therapy treatment
  • Mother-to-be treatments
  • Men’s specialty treatments
 
Natural therapies are a unique twist. Their goal is to help you feel better about yourself inside. Back problems, headaches, depression are all dealt with. Likewise work-life balance, stress reduction, re-energizing and nourishing your spirit.
 
Guests can come and spend a health spa day, or opt for overnight packages. The Spa Stay package includes your room, meals and their most popular treatments. The Spa Overnight package includes your room and treatments of choice – build it yourself.
 

Groups

For small groups of up to four, they have the option of the South Lodge. It is self-contained and includes full access to all the facilities of the main house.
 
Groups can also reserve the spa for their private use in the evenings. It is a great option for a special event and to experience a sampling of what Cedar Falls Spa offers.
 
The Spa features Clarins and Espa products. Treatments are very popular. Advanced booking is strongly recommended.

 

Oasis of Tranquility is designed for enhancing wellness
Oasis of Tranquility
Take a break and visit the Oasis of Tranquility. This quiet zone is designed in the style of a Turkish Hammams. Enjoy sumptuous decor and lounging beds. Salt lamps, the furnishings, and aroma help you switch off and restore. Beware – this is a technology free zone. No phones or other devices allowed.
 

Dining is a healthy indulgence.

Meals here are healthy choices prepared to gourmet tastes and enhanced by views of nature
The dining room offers soothing nature vistas and healthy food choices

Lunch is a tempting buffet. Traditional afternoon teas, cakes, and pastries will tempt you. Want something more than coffee or tea? The bar is open with offerings for your pleasure.

 
After you change from your robe and slippers you can enjoy an amazing dinner. Enjoy the exquisite food while you relax with stunning garden views from its generous windows.
 
Dinner a three-course foodie’s delight. Savory rich Venison Terrine, Five Spice Sea Bass Fillet, and seasonal specialties. The menu brings you the best of fresh local produce and regional offerings. Be advised… desserts are decadent.
 
After dinner relax on your own or join other guests for an evening talk in the drawing room at nine pm. Guests enjoy a wide diversity of wellness and local topics. After the evening talk, things go quietly. In its rural setting, it’s a serene tranquil spot for a great night’s sleep. Snuggle into that comfy bed and let your stress dissipate and your body renew.

Fishmore Hall SpaShell

 SpaShell at Fishmore Hall

Fishmore Hall has brought the unique SpaShell concept to the historic

Fishmore Hall is located outside market town of Ludlow
A mile from historic Ludlow is the restored manor Fishmore Hall

market town of Ludlow. Tucked just a mile down the road from the edge of town, Fishmore Hall is a lovely Georgian manor.

The property owner, Laura Penman, lovingly rescued this elegant home and restored it. The bedrooms are contemporary, the en-suite baths luscious. The result is warm, welcoming and delightful.

Adding a spa

When I visited the property last

Part of the back gardens were prepared for the spa with minimal disruption to guests
Part of gardens prepared for spa
Fishmore Hall Dining with view of spa gardens

August they were excitedly awaiting their new spa.  The spa is a real bonus as the nearest existing spa is 26 miles away.

As with any hotel, remodeling or construction can be a challenge. It can interfere with the guest experience. Noise, mess, workers. Ms. Penman wanted to add a spa but didn’t want to impact her guests.

She met Alistar Johnson of Spa Creators UK, Ltd. at a trade show.  With over 20 years of designing, developing and managing spas he offered a brand new concept. SPAShell. It solves many problems.

SpaShell project

The project includes five years of total management to assure its success.  With over 20 years experience, the SPAShell business model has proven successful. It allows properties to add a revenue stream with strong ROI. The facility itself increases the asset value of the property.

The turnkey concept comes complete with the spa and five years of total management. What truly makes it unique is the construction.  All off site!  Construction includes top end materials expected in any high-end spa.  But manufacture is done in a modular format.

l
Exterior of SPAshell at Fishmore Hall

The spa location is prepared and groomed simultaneous with construction.  Then they load the spa pods onto lorries (trucks) and deliver. Completion of set-up is usually about two days scheduled for minimal impact to hotel guests.

SpaShell facilities

Both one and two story designs are available. This single story spa has four treatment rooms. Each pair of treatment rooms opens to create a double room for couples services.

Each SpaShell treatment room has an en-suite shower and can be opened to create a couple's duo
SpaShell Treatment room

You will find all the expected amenities. Inside are a steam room, sauna, shower, locker room, reception and the treatment rooms. Outside is an outdoor Cedar wellness pool, lounge area. There is also an oversize hammock for snuggling. For the adventurous, there is a stimulating bucket and monsoon drench.

The SpaShell relaxation room offers guest views of nature and a cozy place to relax
SpaShell Relaxation room with view of cedar spa in background

A wide diversity of massage, facial, manicure and pedicure services.  They feature Elemis products and equipment. Packages also include Afternoon Tea or lunch and beverages from the highly rated restaurant.

The Spa nestles in the gardens next to the manor.  Here spa-goers enjoy lovely views across Shropshire’s rolling hills. There is a strong sense of serenity, relaxation, and privacy to enjoy the amenities. Built of natural materials, the spa blends beautifully into the countryside surrounding it.

SpaShell Cedar Spa gives guests a great evening retreat in a quiet relaxing setting
Cedar spa at night with Shropshire view in background

Since opening in late 2016, the spa has become popular with locals as well as guests. It has exceeded Laura’s hopes. Guests are now choosing to stay at Fishmore Hall to enjoy the spa.  Lunch and tea guests view the spa just outside the windows and are scheduling their own visits.

Spa Creators UK, Ltd. plans on

Drench Shower

offering SPAshell to boutique properties across the UK and Europe. For more information on SpaShell or Spa Creators, visit their website: http://www.spashell.com/.

Experience it yourself

To see and experience the Spa for yourself, visit http://www.fishmorehall.co.uk.   Arrange for a great room, fabulous food, and a delightful relaxing spa experience. Booking directly with Fishmore Hall will assure you the best value for your pounds.

Plan to spend several days… there is a lot to see and do in this beautiful area. Watch for my upcoming blog – what to see and do in Shropshire.

Here is a video on SPAshell with views of the spa at Fishmore Hall.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g10FOEaMJoE&feature=youtu.be

Physical challenges require travel planning

Traveling with Physical Challenges?

Traveling with physical challenges requires planning.  I know, I grew up

Physical challenges mean you need a helping hand to enjoy travel
Sis at Wild Kingdom Lodge

around someone with physical challenges.  My sister was born with cerebral palsy. She is fortunate and with a lot of help has been able to lead a pretty normal, independent life as an adult.

Sis has some physical issues. Motor skills, balance, hearing and speech issues, and trouble judging changes in elevation.  She has the heart of a tiger. And big dreams.  It was always her dream to visit Africa. Elephants are her passion.

Finally, she had to accept it would be a physically and emotionally difficult trip for her. Her doctor advised against the arduous journey. That was a bitter pill to swallow.

My son, his wife and I decided to give her the next best thing to visiting Africa… A trip to Disney World with a stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.  The wildlife was right out the window. Giraffes, zebra, flamingos and her favorite… elephants, are in the park. She loved wandering through the African art and shopping for trinkets to take home.

Watching her so excited and blossoming was amazing.  But it did take a bit of planning.  Here are some thoughts.

Plan for Physical Challenges

Individual limitations – clearly define what their challenges are. Think about how those challenges may be affected by things you will encounter.

  • Luggage handling  What will they need through each phase.
  • Airport help – will they be able to board safely and get from gate to gate if there are transfers?  If it’s a long distance, you might consider a wheelchair assist.
  • Room needs – sis needed a handicap accessible shower. But she and I were
    Regardless of your challenges, Mickey Mouse welcomes all
    Mickey Mouse Greets You

    sharing a room and needed two beds.  Couldn’t get both in the same room.  With adjoining rooms, my son and his wife took the one with the single bed and the shower. Sis and I took the two-bed room.  While my son went for a gym workout she got her shower. This gave her a bit of privacy.  It worked great.

  • Meals – table service is easier than buffets. If your meal plans include buffets, be ready to assist them with food selection and getting it to the table.
  • Transportation – like lots of places, shuttles were the best way to get around. With the three of us, it was no problem to give sis the extra hand/support to make her feel secure.
  • Pace your tour – this varies by individual.  Physical challenges can makeyou burn more energy just getting through the day.  Be sensitive to signs of tiring and suggest a break. At a theme park, there are always places to sit and people watch. That was a real bonus.

    Timing can ease the challenges

Theme parks tend to be busy year around. But if you can go at what is

Wild Kingdom room views make you feel like you're in Aftica
Wild Kingdom Room with a view

normally a slower time, it can make it easier. We found out that the first half of December is a great time to visit Disney in Florida.  It is between the Thanksgiving crowds and the Christmas ones.  Lines were shorter, rates a little lower, fewer masses of people to negotiate. Weather can still be warm – or surprise you. It’s smart to either take a warm jacket or plan for a shopping opportunity.

Safari Village Gardens allow those with physical challenges to get around easily
Wild Kingdom Gardens let those with physical challenges get around

Sis discovered she could go and conquer. She mastered escalators – which had terrified her. Staff also spotted her and helped us so she was able to get on and off rides. She had the adventure of her life and we all came home with some great memories.

I’d love to hear your stories/comments/questions about traveling with disabilities.

The Old Vicarage has hospitality, great food and a fascinating story

The Old Vicarage

The lovely Old Vicarage house has a unique story of a vicar with an untimely end.  But it’s also a wonderful Bed and

The Old Vicarage, West Witton, Leyburn, UK
Front of Old Vicarage, West Witton

Breakfast.  It’s small – only 5 guest rooms, located in the quaint town of West Witton, Leyburn, UK. We met family there and stayed three delightful nights in August 2016.

They made us feel welcomed and comfortable. We had tea in the afternoon while we gathered up and visited in the guest parlor.

The main floor houses their kitchen, parlor and the breakfast room along with a private area. Upstairs you can gaze across the countryside. Some rooms view the gardens others the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales.

From the front porch, you can see Castle Bolton across the valley.  In the back, the gardens welcome you to sit with a cup of tea or coffee.  Cozy, homey, friendly – just like your hosts.

Morning brings a custom cooked English breakfast

Old Vicarage parking and gardens are at the rear of the house
Old Vicarage parking in rear, the garden near the house is great for a morning cup of coffee

In the morning Kirsteen will be your chef. Husband Roddy your server. Breakfast is a full, or part, custom cooked English breakfast. Relax, visit while they tease you with fabulous aromas floating in from the kitchen.

While you wait, enjoy the cold cereal, fruit, and yogurt… or save room for what is a generous spread.   Want something different? They have other English favorites like smoked salmon or kippers and eggs to go with lots of great coffee or tea.

They don’t serve evening meals. But you’ll find an excellent pub and restaurant less than two blocks down the street.

Need wi-fi? Head to the parlor, I found the signal to be strongest there.  While visiting, ask them to tell you the story of the Vicar who used to own the house and his untimely end.

Whether you want to hike, shop, or just wander the villages, the Old Vicarage is a great place to stay. We look forward to our next visit there.

For the best pricing, be sure to contact the owners directly. www.oldvicaragewestwitton.co.uk/

Cowshed Spa… you have to see this

Spa in a Cowshed?

In planning a recent trip to the UK, I came across a spa called  The

Cowshed Spa at the St. Moritz
Cowshed Spa at the St. Moritz

Cowshed Spa.  This I had to see.  Was it in a barn?  I was in for a delightful visit and a few surprises.

Cowshed Spa is actually a chain of spas. The very first spa opened at Babington House, Somerset, UK in 1998… in the old cow shed. Since then they have stayed true to their vision to offer beautiful spas. Cowshed products are organic based and designed to be effective.

In addition to Cowshed spas, they are also located in the Soho group chain in the US, the UK and Europe.

Cowshed Spa, Trebetherick, Cornwall

I visited the Cowshed Spa in the lovely San Moritz hotel in Trebetherick in

Cowshed St. Moritz retail and reception
Cowshed Spa, San Moritz retail and reception

Cornwall, UK. A beautiful, coastal location, it teems with tourists during the summer. When the crowds die down, the locals book again. They have the enviable position of little to no slow season.

Cowshed calls themselves “sociable” and for good reason. Beautiful and elegant, the mood is relaxed, friendly and social.  You’re invited to come with friends, have services, visit and make new friends. They’re famous for detail manicure-pedicure area invites chatting and visiting.

Purposeful with a bit of whimsey

Treatment and product names are whimsical… Udderly Delightful, Udderly

Cowshed St. Moritz Mani-Pedi area.. come, visit, relax
Cowshed Spa, St. Moritz Mani-Pedi area.. come, visit, relax

Gorgeous. But don’t let the names fool you.  Each product meets a purpose.  All have high levels of essential oils for therapeutic results. Botanicals come from their own gardens.

Seven different mood blends focus on client’s needs and the goal of the therapy.  Tired, try Knackered Cow.  Stressed – Grumpy Cow. In a well, playful mood – Horny Cow.  The list goes on.

Dirty Cow, Grubby Cow or Mucky Cow wash skin clean and leave it conditioned.

The treatment menu is impressive.  Face, body, hands feet, waxing and a variety of packages. Men get their own special attention treatments.  The Udderly Gorgeous treatments were the most unique.  Indulgent, relaxing, pampering and designed for clients that are 12 weeks pregnant or more.

They have taken every need of the pregnant client, and their safety, into consideration. Furniture, cushioning, positioning. After the first trimester, Moms-to-be may have services until the big event.

Cowshed St. Moritz, Therapy Room
Cowshed St. Moritz, Therapy Room

Post-delivery treatments are also available to help the new mom de-stress… and get her skin back in condition.

When you are visiting Cornwall, London, Somerset, Oxfordshire, or near a Soho property, relax and have a little fun at the Cowshed.

 

George and Dragon Inn 17th century coaching inn and great place to stay in the Yorkshire Dales

George and Dragon Inn

George and Dragon is a 17th Century coaching inn
George and Dragon Inn & Black Sheep Pub

The George and Dragon Inn is a 17th-century coaching inn located in the picturesque Yorkshire Dales National Park, UK.

After nearly a 24 hour  5000+ mile journey, it welcomed me for a much-needed rest. You never know what to expect when stepping inside a historic pub, but the George and Dragon is a fabulous find.

Visiting here is a visit of history. Narrow country roads make you slow down and enjoy the views. And the views are spectacular.

George and Dragon Inn, Aysgarth

Situated on the edge of quaint Aysgarth village, the George and Dragon

Rich dark woods dominate the pub at the George and Dragon Inn
Pub at George and Dragon Inn

has been greeting travelers for over 300 years.  Called a coaching inn, it was a place the carriages stopped to give weary travelers a break. Friendly, casual, welcoming.  When you step inside you step back in history. Rich dark woods, brass, vintage decor in a classic Dales pub style. Eclectic collections adorn the walls. Fun.  Step back in time and slow down.

Friendly, comfy, delightful

The manager and staff were excellent hosts. Upstairs, the generous queen

Your room at the George and Dragon Inn offers lovely views of the Yorkshire Dales.
View of the Dales from a room at George and Dragon Inn

bed was super comfy. The building may be old, but the amenities are modern. Complete with wi-fi. All rooms are en-suite!

The food in the Black Sheep Pub was delightful. From classics like fish and chips or meat pies to gourmet pub food, choices are diverse.  Don’t forget to try a local brew.

Guests are also treated to great breakfast options. Start with the cereal bar then pick your customized hot breakfast from a part or full English and more.

There is a car park on the hotel property.  If you are campers, there is a camping area nearby.  Hikers were stopping past the pub for a brew on their way back home.

It’s a central location for exploring the area.

Wensleydale cheese factory, Cover River

Bolton Castle is an easy drive from the George and Dragon Inn
Bolton Castle viewed from across the Dales

Bolton Castle, Aysgarth Falls.  Lots of spectacular scenery. Great hiking.  Shopping.  If the landscape looks familiar it’s been in the movies. Both Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and All Creatures Great and Small were set here.  Nearby, you can find the building that still bears the Harriott name.

Not sure what to see?  Just ask, they will be happy to make recommendations based on your interests.

Thanks much for a great visit!! We look forward to returning.  For the very best prices, contact the inn directly and ask about specials.  http://www.georgeanddragonaysgarth.co.uk/home

Explore the Yorkshire Dales enchanting in any season

 Yorkshire Dales

Rolling Yorkshire Dales offer a magical wellness escape
View across Yorkshire Dales

The locals call it “God’s country”. The Yorkshire Dales is unique and enchanting. Remove the cars, you’d swear you are transported back 150 years or more.

Life in stone cottages, Manor houses or castles. It’s a countryside as remote and secluded as it comes in England. The landscape is crisscrossed with stone fences that have stood for hundreds of years.

From the Vale of York to the top of the Pennines

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is in the ancient county of Yorkshire. The Dales stretch across the steep glacially rounded Pennines, that form the backbone of England. Sprawling across 680 square miles, the park was created in 1954 to conserve its beauty for the future.

Giant domes loom above green valleys and sparkling rivers. Soft peaks and sharp slopes. Dry stone walls, limestone scars, and lofty craigs. Lush pastures, heather moorlands. Among the mountains are dozens of interconnected valleys (dales). Their individual personalities blossom amidst the harmony of this National Park.

Lodging

Stone-built villages dot the landscape.  No hotel chains here. Building

Yorkshire dales fields are crisscrossed with stone fences and farms
Yorkshire Dales is dotted with stone farms

codes are enforced to maintain the history.Inns, small hotels and bed and breakfasts are the norm. There are also places to camp or park caravans (recreational vehicles).

Inns, small hotels and Bed and Breakfast homes are the norm. There are also places to camp or park caravans (recreational vehicles).

Your inn may be from the 17th, 18th or 19th century,  but you will find all the modern facilities within.  While there are some exceptions, most rooms are en-suite. Do expect steep stairs and sometimes a low ceiling.

Friendliness abounds. A warm greeting and a fabulous stay. Most properties include full breakfast. Inns and hotels also serve meals throughout the day.

Explore the Yorkshire Dales

Roads are narrow, the pace is slower. Whether you chose to drive, walk or

Bolton Castle is an easy drive from the George and Dragon Inn
Bolton Castle viewed from across the Dales

cycle there are paths for you.  Be aware this is farming country. Watch for agricultural vehicles – and animals. This is where they live and work.

For hikers and cyclists, you have lots of choices.  Choose a day trip from your inn. Or elect to follow one of the circular tours.  These tours will take you from one inn to the next. There you will find a comfortable bed and good hot foot to welcome you at the end of the day.

Whether you choose a leisurely meander or something more challenging options abound. Books and maps will help you pick your route. Check the tourist information sites if you want to plan in advance. The Three Peaks tour is popular with the more adventurous.

Stone bridges cross every stream or river.  They were designed for horse-drawn carriages. Approach these with courtesy as they handle one car or truck at a time. In other parts of the world, they might have replaced and modernized to meet the demands of the auto.  The Dales is about protecting and history.  Enjoy, photograph, savor.

So what’s to see beyond the spectacular landscape? Rushing rivers, waterfalls, stone walls crisscross every field, sheep, hay, cattle. Visit castles, gardens, museums and stately homes. Wensleydale Cheese Factory, artisan candle makers, brewery tours, shops of all manner.

Small friendly places where the locals go.  Lots of great tea rooms, pubs, and foods of all sorts.  Don’t miss a farmer’s market where the locals go to visit, buy and sell. How about a ride on one of the railway routes that connect the many towns?  Choices are many, scenic and nostalgic including steam powered trains.

Enjoy Yorkshire Dales History

This is James Herriot Country. Herriot is the world’s most famous vet.  He brought the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales and the lives of the locals to life for readers all over the world. Although he created a fictitious setting, the places where he lived and worked are strongly featured. For a feel of his home visit Hawes, Richmond, Leyburn, Middleham, Swaledale, and Wensleydale. This is the area the BBC used for the filming of the popular TV series “All Creatures Great and Small.”

If you are a classical novels buff the place may feel familiar. Charlotte Bronte lived and worked here. Charlotte’s childhood and experiences as a governess were her inspiration. Moors, manors, highlands. Jane Eyre and many other works live in the Yorkshire Dales.

Regardless of the season, the place is pure magic.  Choose to see it during peak summer season or visit in the winter when you feel you have it to yourself.  Want a cozy getaway spot? Try Middleham.  A castle in your backyard, pubs across the square. Choose an inn or a private “to let.” Every morning the race horses clop their way up the cobblestone market square and up onto the hills for their workout.

Plan ahead for the summer as the locals flock to the area for holiday. Some of the attractions don’t run year around so it’s good to investigate. Regardless of when you go, you will be greeted warmly and served great hot food often near a cozy fireplace.  Locals think it is the best place for great beer.

Be Treated Like Royalty at Dromoland Castle

Irish Castle - Dromoland in western Ireland
Dromoland Castle in Ireland

Be Treated Like Royalty at Dromoland Castle

More shimmering shades of green than a box of paints. Gently rolling land with hundreds of acres to wander. A place to restore your spirits.  A place that slips you into a different world. Creature comforts embrace you. You can be as busy or as quiet as you like. Welcome to the Dromoland Castle Hotel in County Clare Ireland, a mere eight miles from the Shannon Airport.

Make your way up the narrow winding drive amidst hues of emerald trees. Camera ready?  Go carefully; local geese frequent the road. Past the Golf and Country Club, the lane rises, crests. Before you looms the 16th century, blue limestone, Castle with its Gothic towers. Perfectly groomed Victorian lawns and gardens extend to the forest and lakes.

Climb the 16 stone steps and be welcomed by liveried bellmen.  The friendly staff at Dromoland enjoy sharing the magic of a bygone era. They treat you like the nobility that Dromoland has hosted since rebuilt in the 1500s. This 450-acre estate was the home of the O’Brians of Dromoland who trace their lineage to Brian Boru, High King of Ireland over 1000 years ago.

History and luxury at Dromoland Castle

Throughout this richly appointed five star hotel, restoration focused on reviving the elegance and luxury of the Victorian era, complete with modern amenities.  Ancestral paintings adorn wood paneled walls. Stately stairways curve to the upper floors. Cozy chairs beckon. Sit, relax, and chat.

Your total comfort is behind the design and decoration of each unique guest room. Signature slippers and robes, custom linens and wall coverings, invite you to relax and let go of your hectic pace.  Gaze out of your windows on the serene gardens and ponds as you record today’s memories in your journal.

Nature, activities, and the spa

Surrounded by nature, stroll through the gardens. Take a tour of the extensive grounds. Ireland’s natural light makes for delightful photos – even when it rains. Golf, fishing, horseback rides, cycling and more await.

Need to unwind? Head for the spa!  Nestled on the lower level of the castle, immerse yourself in tranquility. The delicate fragrance of fresh cut flowers teases your nose. Candles and soft lighting soothe and calm.  Time stops as you soak in the gazebo covered outdoor hydro pool. Skilled therapists coax the stress out of every muscle, leaving you delightfully limp.  Whether you choose a stand-alone treatment or opt for a 2 to 5-hour package, you will emerge relaxed, refreshed and revitalized. Hungry?

Fabulous food

Visit the drawing room for Afternoon Tea.  Fresh petite sandwiches, pastries, scones with clotted cream, fruit tarts and more. Enjoy with your favorite tea or a glass of champagne.  Smoked salmon, Irish steak and succulent roast rack of lamb compete as dinner choices. Every meal delights your pallet.

Dromoland Castle is a great home base for exploring.

Head north to the craggy Cliffs of Moher and Galway. Let Bunratty Castle Folk Park take you back through time, to life over 400 years ago. If lucky, you might hear tales of Irish life from the storytelling lady who plays accordion there.

Unsure where to go? The concierge is happy to assist with tour ideas. Over 30,000 castles dot Ireland’s landscape. Leprechauns and four-leaf clover hide in the mists. Discoveries await in every direction.

Visit Dromoland Castle as the focus, the start, or to end your trip, it’s an experience of a lifetime. You will leave with new friends and lots of memories. Traveling on a budget? Go in the offseason or check out one of their specials. To learn more or schedule your stay, visit http://www.dromoland.ie/

Dromoland Castle Hotel
Visit Dromoland Castle soon enjoy feeling like royalty