Winter ramblings around Buxton

It’s been a long winter.  The weather has not been that harsh, just a constant wave of wet, windy and snowy weather.  It’s certainly not been inviting enough to get me outdoors.  For some reason I seem to have hibernated this year, and I must say I really don’t like it.  It makes me feel old and I’m not!  So, this weekend it was all change and even though the weather forecast was not great I was determined to get out on a little local walk.

The forecast was for heavy snow showers and for once the forecast was correct, we set out in a blizzard with cold snow splattering the face – why is it whichever direction you walk, you are always walking into the wind?

As this was a local walk for me it was in Buxton, Derbyshire.  Setting out from home took me first through the Victorian Pavilion Gardens, and then up through the woods of the Buxton Country Park to Solomon’s Temple.  From Solomon’s Temple you get magnificent views of the surrounding hills in every direction.   I was hoping once we got to the top the low clouds would have cleared, and luckily they had. Here are my snaps along the way.

Mr Husband walking ahead as usual

Join me on a walk in the snow up through Buxton to Solomon's Temple. See if you prefer the snow in the clouds or in the sunshine

Nearly at the top

Join me on a walk in the snow up through Buxton to Solomon's Temple. See if you prefer the snow in the clouds or in the sunshine

Low clouds over the tops

Join me on a walk in the snow up through Buxton to Solomon's Temple. See if you prefer the snow in the clouds or in the sunshine

Through the woods on the way back down

Join me on a walk in the snow up through Buxton to Solomon's Temple. See if you prefer the snow in the clouds or in the sunshine

You’ll notice there’s no picture of Solomon’s Temple, sorry about that.  I’ve seen it so many times I forgot to take a picture, so here’s one I took today from the window of my home, it sits high on a distant hill.

Join me on a walk in the snow up through Buxton to Solomon's Temple. See if you prefer the snow in the clouds or in the sunshine

You can find out more about Solomon’s Temple if you follow the link.  The 20ft (6 metre) tower was restored by the Victorians in the 1890s.  Spookily, over the years there has been a number of reports of dogs leaping from the top of the tower, which takes a bit of effort as there is a high surrounding wall.  In fact, a dog I know recently did this for no apparent reason, luckily she was not hurt.  Very strange – don’t you think?

During the night Buxton had another fall of snow, which was accompanied this morning by bright blues sky.  So on went my boots and here are a few more snaps I thought you might like to see.

Blue sky over Buxton Opera House

Join me on a walk in the snow up through Buxton to Solomon's Temple. See if you prefer the snow in the clouds or in the sunshine

The River Wye meandering through the park

Join me on a walk in the snow up through Buxton to Solomon's Temple. See if you prefer the snow in the clouds or in the sunshine

Buxton Pavilion

Join me on a walk in the snow up through Buxton to Solomon's Temple. See if you prefer the snow in the clouds or in the sunshine

Icicles hanging from the tunnel

Join me on a walk in the snow up through Buxton to Solomon's Temple. See if you prefer the snow in the clouds or in the sunshine

I think the ducks like the snow

Join me on a walk in the snow up through Buxton to Solomon's Temple. See if you prefer the snow in the clouds or in the sunshine

Hope you are awakening from your hibernation, outside is much better than inside in don’t you think?

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A visit to an English vineyard

On a Sunday morning in the summer, I was fortunate to be taken by The Daughter to a lovely little English vineyard. Bear with me there is a seasonal theme to this blog …. in the end. The English vineyard in question was the Three Choirs Vineyard, Newent, Gloucestershire UK, where they grow the grapes and make the wine.

Let me share with you my summer visit to an English vineyard and winery. This was Three Choirs Vineyard in Gloucester, UK. The sun was shining, and the wine tasting was fab. You can see the three wines I bought along the way. It may give you some ideas for presents

I’ve long been meaning to try a bottle of English wine but it’s quite expensive (relative to my usual wine price point) and preferring my wine on the dry side I’ve been a bit weary anything I bought would be a little sweet, but that was not to be the case.

So first of all, the visit. We joined a wine tasting tour taking us through the wine making facility with information and tastings along the way.

 

 

 

What made the visit very special was the moment we arrived the sun came out and we could have been in a vineyard in France.  Plus by 11.55 am on a Sunday morning I was standing in the sunshine with a glass of English fizz in my hand (traditionally made sparkling wine I should say). After the guided tour we were free to roam around vines as they gently rolled over the hillsides, as did I.

 

What more could you want from a Sunday you may ask….. well 3 bottles more perhaps? I purchased a white, a rose and a sparkling wine to take home.  It would have been rude not to as they had a very extensive shop where we were able to taste before we bought (we had already tasted, but are very indecisive).

This is the bottle of rose we enjoyed in the garden one sunny day in Buxton.

IMG_20170810_164920 (2)

So where is the Christmas connection? Obviously a bottle of a good English wine would make a special Christmas gift for any wine lover, but believe it or not we are yet to drink the bottle of purchased sparkling wine.  I had planned to enjoy it on my birthday, while we were having a quick break in North Yorkshire.  However the holiday cottage where we stayed did not have champagne flutes! I know, but what can you do. For me the glasses are as important as the drink contained within, water, wine, beer (don’t get me started on unacceptable beer glasses).

So like me the sparkling wine has been to North Yorkshire and back. Which gives me the dilemma of shall I take it to the family Christmas gathering or save it for a quiet New Year with Mr Husband?  What do you think?

 

Let me share with you my summer visit to an English vineyard and winery. This was Three Choirs Vineyard in Gloucester, UK. The sun was shining, and the wine tasting was fab. You can see the three wines I bought along the way. It may give you some ideas for presents

Cheers 🙂

A circular walk in the Peak District – Buxton via the Goyt Valley

This is a walk I’ve done quite a few times as it starts and ends in my adopted home town of Buxton.  I like the walk as you get a mix of terrain, a few steady climbs to challenge the heart rate and of course some stunning vistas.  It’s also long enough to give the excuse to take a flask of coffee and a few sandwiches, which always appeals to me. The walk is ever changing depending on the weather and seasons.  I’ve done it on a foggy frosty day, a wet day but unusually for October this time it was blue sky most of the way. You can see the Autumn colours in my pictures but towards the end of the summer you would have seen purple heather everywhere.

For me this Derbyshire walk of course starts from my front door, but for you I’ll start it on Bishop’s Lane on the west side of Buxton.

Goyt vally - Bishops lane

Follow up the  increasingly steep lane road passing the houses and up into the countryside. You will pass what looks like an equestrian centre on the right after which you will soon come across a footpath on the left. Take the footpath up a steep hill via a few steeps.  Up and up you’ll reach a gate at the brow – don’t forget to turn around and take in the view.

Goyt valley - view over buxton

After catching your breath carry on up to the summit, which has appeared as they always do just when you think you’ve got to the top. You’ll be walking in a slightly right veering direction picking your way through some boggy ground, the theme of the walk. The next part is my favourite part of the walk as it is a leisurely stroll down into the valley, keeping the dry stone wall on your right.  Again there is an abundance of muddy stretches, but that’s the fun of the walk.

goyt valley - mud at top

A small climb up will take you to a cross-road with an old disused railway path, but go straight across  and continue down the other side. Keep waking down the valley for a little while following the track as it gently bears to the right.  Eventually the path widens and gently rises up hill and you are rewarded with an impressive view of the Errwood Reservoir.  Take the time to soak it in.

Goyt valley reservoirs

And then you’ll get a view of both Errwood and Fernilee Reservoirs.  You’ll later be walking along the road that divides them.

goyt valley two reservoirs

The path drops downs before it cross the open ground, still in the direction of the reservoirs, and very gently rises until it pops out on the road, where you then follow it downhill between the two reservoirs.  Continue along the road keeping the Errwood Reservoir on the left-hand side. There are a number of bench opportunities on this stretch of the walk and it’s a good place to have a sandwich while looking out across the water.

goyt-valley-reservoir-1.jpg

Continue along the quiet perimeter road for sometime as it rises uphill, leaving behind the reservoir and tracking the pretty stream in the valley below.

Goyt valley - looking down to stream

Take the path down to the second wooden footbridge you see.

goyt-valley-bridge.jpg

Once you cross the stream turn right and carry along the path in the direction of Berry Clough.

Goyt valley - signpost 2

The stoney bracken-engulfed path takes you up hill again through the moorland, sometimes it feels like your walking up a river bed. And don’t forget to look backwards sometime to take in the view.

goyt valley - lookig backwards

Up  and up you’ll eventually reach the summit and a signpost.  Carry on straight ahead in the direction of Burbage.

Goyt valley -signpost

You will next reach a field boundary where you need to take the path bearing right diagonally across the field, which you guessed it can be a little boggy.

goyt valley - top view

When you get to the other side of the field turn left down the track, which takes you back into Buxton.

goyt-valley-burbage.jpg

Follow the road through the houses and to the main road, which you will lead you back into Buxton town centre with its multitude of cafes and bars to revitalise your soul.

Hopefully my route description gives you an idea of the walk but as always plot it out on a map before hand, and make sure you have some study walking boot and warm clothes as it can get jolly cold up on the moors. You really should try the walk, you won’t be disappointed.

The walk is about 9 miles and took me about 4.5 hours including stops along the way.

Feature Image Goyt Valley walk

Why you should explore Cadiz

It’s been a little while since I went on my summer hols, time has just whizzed and I’ve only now got around to writing about the final leg of my holiday adventure. It was to the beautiful and bustling Andalusian city of Cadiz, Spain.  If you’ve read my previous blogs you will know why I planned the trip and how much I’d already enjoyed visiting Faro and Seville along the way to Cadiz.

I arrived in Cadiz by train and my hotel was situated in the Old Town within walking distance of the station so I was keeping to my public transport philosophy of the trip.  Throughout the holiday I’d chosen to stay in small independent hotels and this one was a little gem, Hotel Las Cortes.  It couldn’t have been more central and the rooms were airy, traditional but simple. My room was 110 appropriately named La Caleta, a reference to one of the beaches in Cadiz. There was a central staircase leading up to the roof terrace, which was definitely the WOW factor and laid in front of me the atmosphere of Cadiz in one panoramic view.

The view from the roof

View from my hotel terrace in Cadiz

 

View from my hotel terrace in Cadiz

This part of the holiday was supposed to be the time to relax on the beach and I was not disappointed. The beaches, of which there were a few were fabulous and I was in the sea every day.

You could go to the harbour beach, Playa La Caleta

Playa La Caleta Cadiz

Or an even longer sandy beach, Playa Santa Maria del Mar

Playa Santa Maria del Mar

We spent many an early evening meandering through the squares of Cadiz or having a chilled afternoon Manzanilla in a shaded side passage.

Cadiz Cathedral

I wondered what was going on beyond the many elegant doorways.

Now we (Mr Husband was still with me) are fairly sleepy travellers, by that I mean we amble, sit and watch as everyone goes about their daily business, we tend not to go to the tourist attractions, get into shopping (except food) or party into the night. So we weren’t up too late and didn’t get to any flamenco shows, but if this is what you like then you will find it in Cadiz.  Many of our evenings were spent on the hotel roof terrace with a large glass of white watching the sun go down and taking in the views.  For me Cadiz was the highlight on my hols.

Sunset in Cadiz

I hope I get the chance to go back, you should visit if you can. Cadiz has a long and fascinating history that you should try and dig into before you visit, it’s much more than a beach resort.

 

Get decor inspiration from Chatsworth House

The other weekend I finally got myself into gear and went to Chatsworth House for a look around.  In the past I’ve walked around the grounds and gardens but had never been inside the House, which is a bit shameful as it’s my local stately home, everyone should have one don’t you think.  Where I lived before my local stately home was Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, which I loved to visit – great for children too.

Now back to Chatsworth, which incidentally is also great for children, everything you need to know about the place you can find on the Chatsworth House website . In a nutshell Chatsworth House is located in Derbyshire, UK with history going back to the 11th Century, and Chatsworth being home to the Cavendish family since 1549.  The 12th Duke of Devonshire, Peregrine Cavendish continues to care for the house.

Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

I have to say the inside of the House is very lavish (gold is the colour) and the free flow wandering lets you meander around at your own pace, lingering where your interest lies.  I did take a few snaps inside the house to share, it was quite dark so they’re not the best.

Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

I particularly liked the compact ‘en-suite’ inside the fitted wardrobe, and the way the sumptuous bed had been hidden by a large scrolled bed end, creating a partition for a home-office. This is an idea I’m going to try and apply in my own home, without the bling of course.

Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

 

Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

Take a look at the wallpaper, very on-trend theme of  nature & wildlife. And there were many many chandeliers, of course.

 

There’s an exhibition exploring five centuries of fashion at Chatsworth, currently going on until mid-October, so if you are a fashion fan you will have fun spotting some classics gowns as you wander through the Chatsworth House.

 

For all the splendour of the House, the garden and grounds are still my favourite.

the vistas….Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

the plants…..

Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

the greenhouses &  vegetable garden……

 

On a sunny day the gardens and grounds lend themselves perfectly for getting that rug out and having a hearty picnic as part of a family and friends meet-up.

The other thing I like about Chatsworth is they have a great shop. I normally skip the visitor shop at these kinds of places but I do visit the Chatsworth shop when I’m starting my Christmas shopping as they always stock some nice quality decor pieces and jewellery, bags etc, which are within my price range (well mostly).  The courtyard outside is a great place to sit for a coffee, even in the cold if you are all wrapped up.

 

So why has it taken me 3 years before I visited the Chatsworth House?? To be honest I don’t know, we do sometime appear to overlook things on our doorstep, which is why I will soon be writing the ‘Ten things I love about Buxton!’

Is Chatsworth House your kind of day out?

Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

Why you should explore Seville

My recent holiday seems such a long time ago, so thought I’d refresh my memory by getting on with writing about my few days in Seville, Spain.  If you’ve already read my previous blog about the holiday planning and my few days in Faro you will know that Seville was a stop-off on the way to Cadiz, connecting my bus and train travel.  My route may all seem to be a bit convoluted but it was well worth it.

I wouldn’t class myself as someone who loves being in a busy city for more than a few hours so I was a bit apprehensive, thinking after being in Seville for a day (we had planned 2 days) I would keen to move on.   However……. I loved Seville.  Oozing in history, the pavements were not crowded, the traffic was restricted to the perimeter and the criss-cross of narrow streets balanced the expansive plazas giving the whole place an intimate feel.  It was one of those cities where every time you turned a corner you wanted to take a picture.  I have far too many to share and they really don’t reflect how impressive the city was.

The weather was fabulous, if like me you enjoy hot sun and blue sky.  But don’t be put off by the heat as all the elegant buildings provide much opportunity to walk on the shady side of the street.

It was our first adventure into the world of tapas, with delicious dishes being served whether in a prime-spot restaurant of a small snack bar down a narrow side street.  I must admit I struggled with eating so late as is traditional in Spain.  I’m early to bed but just had to stay up late (after 10 pm!) to see how the place came alive with families socialising, after 9pm was definitely the start of tapas time. I was also very presently surprised how reasonably priced the food and entrance fees to some of the major sites were… my comparison being the UK.

tapas seville

 

My highlight was a visit to the Real Alcazar, which apparently was used to film part of Games of Thrones. I’ve never watched Game of Thrones but this backdrop could have only have improved it.  It was much much larger than it appeared from the outside and far more impressive than I was expecting.  If you get a chance, you should go and stroll amongst luscious gardens and Moorish architecture, what more could you want.

Tiles and mosaics

We didn’t look around Seville Cathedral  just appreciated its enormity from the steps opposite.  It was undergoing a bit of clean but the scaffolding didn’t spoil the view.

The other tourist site we took a look at was the Metropol Parasol.  We couldn’t miss it as it was right outside the door of the hotel where we were staying.  It’s a massive wooden structure built to revitalise part of the City. We waited until the evening and then scooted to the top in the elevator where we strolled around the meandering walkway soaking in the panoramic views.  Underneath the structure is a large daily food market and many cafes and bars surround it. It has a friendly vibrancy in the evenings.

 

All in all 2 nights in Seville far exceeded my expectations (I love it when that happens) and definitely warrants another visit.  It was city in which to relax and absorb the atmosphere. I left feeling inspired rather than frazzled.  I hope I’ve given you a flavour of the city, but pictures can’t replace a real-life visit if you can.

Onwards now by train to Cadiz, backpacks attached, the beach was beckoning.

Accommodation details

We stayed room only for 2 nights at the Hotel Palace Sevilla, located in the Old Town so was an ideal base for 2 nights.  Rooms we elegantly furnished, quiet, air conditioned with a lovely soft bed and a roof terrace with splendid views across the Metropol Parasol.

Hotel palace sevilla roof terrace view

 

 

Why you should explore Faro, Portugal

We are firmly back on the travel trail as I’ve finally sorted out pictures from my recent trip to Faro, Portugal.  So sit back and let me show and tell.

Now in the past my knowledge of Faro has been an airport for those wanting to escape to the Algarve. Apparently it has 45 airlines flying in, including the largest number of low cost airlines.   Faro sits on the south coast of Portugal and is a town steeped with history….and it gets HOT in the summer months.  You can see many of my holiday criteria are already being ticked.  If you want to find out more about Faro’s history etc take a trip to the Wikipedia site but not just yet!

We landed into Faro Airport late on a Sunday afternoon wearing jeans, trainers and a rain jacket (don’t forget I’d left my house in Buxton UK in the morning). It was baking, the sky was the bluest sky I’d ever seen. I was going to see a lot more of that colour before the end of the holiday.  Having navigated out of the airport, not always straight forward for me navigating out of large buildings.  I once got trapped in Oslo railway station and inside a massive hotel in Los Angeles, but they are other stories.

There was a bus stop just outside the airport and we took the local bus into Faro.  Our backpacking adventure had begun.  The room where we were staying (all the details at the end) was about a 15 mins walk up a gentle hill from Faro bus station. I’m used to hills…..just not heat.  Once we’d settled in and replaced our clothes with something more suited to the climate we were off to explore.  But not before soaking in the view from our terrace, it was fab.

faro view from apartment

Now I’m not going to take you through and blow by blow account of what we did,  I just hope to give you a feel of the place.

The Town

Faro town centre is a very pretty maze of narrow streets that meandered us towards to the harbour front.  The shopping areas are well punctuated with cafes and restaurants, with tables spilling out into the black and white tiled streets, especially by night.  I loved the canopies draped from building to building to keep the streets shady.

The buildings and squares around Faro provide a very pleasing backdrop for a stroll.

And you can also go stork spotting, they seemed to be nesting on every tall build.  Their nests were remarkably large. Spot the two on the tips of the towers

Then a relaxing promenade along the marina.

faro marina

The food

The choice of places to eat and drink was never ending, too much choice is not always a good thing as I’ve said before.  We did a lot of walking trying to decide where to eat and then ending up in the first place we passed, sounding familiar? I like to try local food rather than eat what I’m used to, and if next to the sea love to have a bit of seafood.  Mr Husband is not so keen on the seafood front but was willing to share this big cataplana, which I since found out is the name of the pan used to prepare Portuguese seafood and it was big, the size of a wok. There was much cracking of shells, squirting of juices and generally getting in a bit of a mess, however it was delicious and sitting outside on a warm evening with a glass of dry white, it was perfect.  I also took a trip to the local undercover market.  There was a vast array of fresh bread, pastries, fish, meat and vegetables and if we had been staying in a self catering apartment I would have made much better use of the place. But let’s take a look at that cataplana…..

cataplana faro

The beach

What better way to work off a hearty cataplana than a trip to the beach.  I’m guessing the reason Faro is not more holiday-fied is because you have to make a little effort to get to the beach. I’d already done my research at home (all in the holiday folder!) and saw there was a regular bus to from the town to the beach, about a 20 minutes ride.  However that was all put to one side as the person who showed us around our room mentioned she really enjoyed getting to the beach by boat and pointed us into the direction of the harbour.  There were plenty of opportunities for boat rides around the Ria Formosa, the coastal lagoon that separates Faro from the Atlantic.  If you’re a nature lover its definitively worth an explore (rare birds & seahorses). Our little trip to the beach using the ferry boat allowed us to enjoy the lagoon on the way.  The trip took about 30 mins each way.  The pictures below show the boat and the beach with golden sand stretching as far as the eye could see…… there was no overcrowding here and the waves were great. I’ve inked out the lady lying on the beach!! If it’d been a pic of me I would have left it in but it wouldn’t have been pleasant.

OK so we’ve done the beach, the food, strolling in the streets, so that just leaves the chapel of bones!  I wasn’t going to visit the Chapel as seemed a bit gruesome, but for you I went. Apparently the 4 by 6 meter sized chapel is built of the bones of more than 1000 Carmelite monks and has been inaugurated in 1816. It is situated behind the main church (Igreja do Carmo) and contains also 1245 skulls.  I didn’t count the skulls or stay too long.

To sum up

So what did I think of Faro.  If you like busy streets, a beach on the doorstep, burgers and fries and lots of attractions then Faro is not for you.  However, as these are all the things I try and avoid I loved it.  Small enough to explore on foot and yet enough to do to keep you very occupied for 3-4 days without having to go further a field. I looked forward to returning Faro at the end of my trip, which must have been a good sign.  But for now it was backpacks packed and a downhill stroll to catch the bus to Seville so keep following.

Do you think Faro might be somewhere for you to  visit?

Accommodation facts

3 Nights Bellavita City Apartments Faro.  We stayed in a room on the top floor so had a great view.  Room and terrace was very spacious and clean.  We had access to a shared kitchen and fridge but its not somewhere you would cook, just heat up food if needed. We just used the plates and glasses etc.  About 10 minutes walk downhill to the marina and of course a 10 min walk uphill back to the apartment. I would stay here again.

2 Nights Hotel Sol Algarve.  Central place for one or two nights.  It had a nice little courtyard for breakfast.  Only a few minutes walk from the bus station and main areas of the town (all flat).  Looking at the pictures on the site I think room size varied, maybe ours was not the biggest.  I would stay again but politely ask for a room with a private terrace or balcony.

explore faro