On the 30th May 2009 Nigel and I tied the knot at the beautiful St Margaret and St Cuthbert’s church fondly known as Bolton Abbey in the beautiful Wharfedale area of the Yorkshire Dales. We simply had the best day of our lives and try and get back there on a regular basis. We were sat at home a couple of weekends ago and realised it had actually been a few years – so walking boots in the car and warm clothes on the bodies we set off.
In just over an hour we turned the corner and saw the gorgeous Devonshire Arms Hotel which is where we held our reception. So we pulled in and now Ella is a bit older and able to take it all in we showed her around. She has seen the pictures but she loved seeing it for real. Don’t get me wrong she has been before but was just to young to remember.
We took a comfy seat in the lounge and ordered a coffee/hot chocolate and just relaxed and told her lots of little anecdotes about the day.
So warmed by the brew we headed out. Apart from the hotel there is only one place to park in the Estate car park and they charge a hefty £10 per car. However, this does include access to the estate.
We then headed down to the church itself and after a bit of reenactment and making Ella cry with laughter when I told her I fell over in church (luckily none of our guests witnessed it) we headed back out and over to the famous stepping stones (all 60 of them). At this time of year the water levels were pretty high but we made it without incident – thank goodness as I am known to be pretty clumsy (more of that later). For those not wanting the risk though there is a bridge.
There is a great walk from the stepping stones to the Strid and the Cavendish Pavilion which a few years ago became the place for the Welly Walk. Basically, it makes walking with kids more pleasurable and stops the incessant whinging. (Ella has got better over the last year – since we bought her “magic” walking boots which make you want to walk and stops the comments of “my feet are bored”). The Welly Walk is an adventure trail through the woods with rope swings, tunnels, mini stepping stones and the like. On a wet day it is muddy and fun and the kiddies cannot wait to find the next challenge.
So, it can be steep in places but nothing TOO CHALLENGING – or so I thought!!!! Half way round on the steepest part it was also a little wet and as I was walking up I started sliding back a little – to the point that I was actually laid spread eagle on the path. Just the hubby and darling daughter to witness my epic fail – nah! A youngish couple, kinda cool were just coming in the opposite direction so got the full aerial view from above. Well the embarrassment turned to hysteria and I lost it. I could not stop laughing and then the tears blinded me and then made me weak so I struggled to get up. I literally crawled to the edge of the path to let them by whilst I gathered myself. (Note to self or anyone reading this thinking of going – when fairly steep and a bit wet – try the grassy bits and not the path).
Anyways we finished the delightful walk after about an hour. We took a quick break at the Pavilions and the obligatory root around the gift shop before heading back to the car park through the fields another quick trip over the stones.
After the fresh air and walk we were so ready for a pub lunch and headed out of Bolton Abbey and back home to find a nice country pub on the way. Over the many trips over the years we have tried out quite a few but this time we stopped at The Bull Inn Broughton and it was a great choice. A great Sunday dinner and lovely quaint atmosphere.
We were muddy, fresh faced, fed and shattered and Bolton Abbey and the Yorkshire Dales had given us a great day. It always does.
It has so many activities and events throughout the year and whether it is a day trip or a visit as part of a longer stay you will not be disappointed. It is a year round place spring to see all the new born lambs bouncing around. Summer for a picnic on the banks and autumn and winter give something different. It was a shame we hadn’t booked the Firework Spectacular but one for the calendar for the future.
A visit to the Yorkshire Dales and in particular Bolton Abbey is always good for the soul x