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Cornucopia Underground photoblog @ Corn Exchange, Leeds

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Last Saturday Leeds’ Corn Exchange was the venue for a celebration of the local areas finest food and drink – Cornucopia Underground, organised by Leeds Food & Drink Association. Showing off their skills with their wares were a number of stalls, including George and Joseph, The Harrogate Preserves Company, The Marvellous Tea Room and Sweet Sensations showing off their baking prowess. Sela Bar were in attendance with their tasty pizzas and Market Delivered were also there promoting their home delivery service with a nifty spinning wheel, a bit of fun like being a contestant on the Wheel of Fortune! The Corn Exchange was used to good effect with its hidden alcoves being the stage for different ticketed events.

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Here’s a selection of photos from some of the independents at the event:

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Sweet Sensations
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Market Delivered
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George & Joseph
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Harrogate Preserves
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The Marvellous Tea Room

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Jim and Dan from The Grub & Grog Shop had their make-shift monastery with Northern Monk Brew Company’s ale’s on tap and delicious smells emanating from pans and hot plates. They were showcasing ‘a taste of things to come’ when they start working with Northern Monk Brew Company at the old flax mill in Holbeck, the lads will be serving their food from The Refectory. I was happy to try any of them, as they all sounded great, so closed my eyes and picked at random the Lamb Bacon, it didn’t disappoint. I’m not the greatest lover of lamb normally, but if lamb tasted like this I’d eat it more often….meaty and salty from the curing process, accompanied by soft barley and roasted carrots; it was delicious! I’m anticipating great things at their new venture in Holbeck.

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The Grub & Grog Shop’s Lamb Bacon!

I’d pre-booked a ticket for Spoons and Booze, an event devised by Dough Bistro’s Luke Downing. Here we were served a tasting menu where each mouthful was made using Yorkshire ingredients and paired with a complementary drink.

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Dough Bistro's Spoons & Booze
Dough Bistro’s Spoons & Booze

Our veritable mini feast included Whitby scallop, Swillington Farm chicken, Grassington ham, Leventhorpe wine, beef from Barnsley and Fountain’s Gold cheese. I can only speak for myself, but I loved the event! Being up so close watching Luke do his stuff, listen to him speak passionately about his food. Out of all the things we ate, my favourites were the Swillington chicken nugget with mushroom mousse and Grassington ham crisp, the black pudding bon bon with rhubarb brown sauce and smoked oyster foam and finally the lavender & lemon posset with ginger cake. 

We need more of these types of events, where local independents can show off. I’m hoping to see a lot more of this type of event in the future!

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Lunch Date @ The Reliance, Leeds

I love to eat, and I love going to places which are consistently good, as why would I bother to spend time writing about it. But going part-time has got its obvious pros and cons – working two days a week has afforded me time to do lots more fun stuff, have leisurely lunches and catch up with friends, but nowadays I have to be more thoughtful of where to go on a budget, I don’t want to eat somewhere that serves sub-standard food with poor service. Who does eh?!

Last week I had a lovely catch-up with a girl friend (another part-time teacher) and her gorgeous little girl. We could’ve easily headed into Horsforth where she lives, but she had a hankering for town. With this in mind, I thought where can I go that I know I’ll always get a good tasty feed, feel at home and get my money’s worth, as much as I’d like to splurge I can’t afford to do that as much now.

My suggestion of The Reliance was welcomed, we’d not been for ages and have had memorable feeds here in the past. This city centre eatery has been a haunt of ours for years, one of our first visits was for my best mates birthday some 12/13 years ago. Since then, it’s been the scene of many girly get-togethers, reunions and leaving dinners. 

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For somewhere that’s probably classed as a pub, they serve relaxed informal dishes with a bit of refinement. The lunch menu has much to offer at reasonable prices, and a plus point is seeing their homemade charcuterie, as well a selection of specials to choose from too. 

A couple of glasses of wine ordered, both doing the job nicely and after finally ordering…we were too busy nattering, sorry, it was time to sit back and relax.

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Our choices from a menu which is reasonably priced – for my friend the beef and pork meatballs sandwich (tying with the aubergine parmigiana as my second choice), and the beer battered whitebait off the specials board for myself. Both of us were too tempted by the twice cooked chips so added these on for good measure.

The Reliance is a great all-rounder I think, it’s has a lovely relaxed ambience, high ceilings and the massive curved windows lends itself well to allowing light to flood into the space. Even though I’d chosen the table in the corner by the window road noise wasn’t particularly evident, may’ve been that we were too busy chatting to notice!! Regardless, it’s a very easy place to feel at ease.

My whitebait were fried till golden and covered in a light, crisp batter. Portion-wise they hadn’t scrimped and I quite happily worked my way through the whole lot. Twice cooked chips were crisp and with the mayo on the side made for a tasty lunch all in all.

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My friends meatball sandwich proved to be a hit with both mother and daughter!! I was a tad jealous I must say, I’ll keep it in mind for next time.

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So if you fancy a lunch in town, it doesn’t matter that it’s on the other side of the city centre, it’s the quality and value for money that counts, rather than the matter of a few minutes of extra walking.

Lunch for two, with two glasses of wine and a coffee came to £30 including tip. The food on its own would have cost just £17.90 for two.

Food: well balanced lunch menu, decent prices. Well cooked and very tasty.

Service: can’t be faulted here, as friendly and relaxed as ever.

Atmosphere: it was a quiet week day lunch so diners were spread out in different rooms.

The Reliance
76-78 North St
Leeds
LS2 7PN
0113 295 6060 

The Reliance on Urbanspoon

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Heritage Open Days 2014

Have you heard of Heritage Open Days? I hadn’t until last year, wanting to find out, a little research told me it was four days of cultural events held in September. Many historic buildings and monuments around the UK, many which are normally closed, would open their doors to the public. Heritage Open Days have actually been going since 1994, to my surprise and occur throughout Europe, all with the aim to make the public more aware of their cultural heritage.

From a list as long as your arm, a few really caught my eye; Temple Works, Hyde Park Picture House and Kirkgate Market.  Unfortunately school kept me from touring the market, but I managed to reserve spots on the other two.

My first tour was to visit Temple Works – a Grade I listed building with a remarkable history, driving passed on a number of occasions I’d seen this unusual facade, but I’d no clue what the building was. Found on Marshall Street in Holbeck, about five minutes walk from the Cross Keys pub. Built as a flax mill by the industrialist John Marshall, a man well known for his exploits with mill buildings (he also built the neighbouring building Marshall Mills).

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This mill was unlike others, because on first glance it has an unusual exterior, which looks completely out of place compared to its surroundings. Its facade was designed by John Bonomi and resembles an Egyptian building.

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Another unusual facet to the mill – it’s just one floor, other mills had multiple floors, this would helpfully reduce the chance of deaths in event of a fire. But it was the design of the Main Space which was flawed from its inception, and the consequences of this were eventually too much for the integrity of the building. 

The Main Space; once the world’s largest single room was to have skylights right across the masonry ceiling providing natural light. The roof was even covered in grass to keep the flax mill humid, stop the environment becoming too dry and reduce the risk of fires. There’s even the strange, but true story of sheep on the roof to maintain the length of the grass!! How did they get onto the roof? Via a sheep lift…how else?!

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For the last few years the building has been managed by Temple Works Leeds, the building’s been used faithfully and has developed a culture of ‘living heritage’, where the space is used by a diverse range of creative minds; artists, actors, photographers, musicians, film production teams and much more! It’s become a very popular place for filming horror and sci-fi, not surprising as it has a weathered and worn, semi-derelict appearance.

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The structure of the Main Space was dependent on the dynamics between the roof and pillars which helped hold it up. Unfortunately, it was too great and its integrity couldn’t be maintained, even after tensioning rods were added. 

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To get the building structurally sound again will take a lot of planning and funding, their aim is to raise enough money in order to do this. I’ll look forward to seeing that happen in the future.

The second visit was at one of my favourite places in Leeds, I’m a massive cinema goer and have grown up loving films and the history of them. So being a bit of a film geek, I jumped at the chance to get on the list for the tour around Hyde Park Picture House.  

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I’m sure Leeds folk don’t need any introduction, but for those who don’t know this gem the Hyde Park Picture House was first opened in 1914, with self-titled name ‘the cosiest cinema in Leeds’, a title they still try to hold up to even now. It’s been a city landmark ever since, and even though I live nowhere near the Hyde Park area, I still come to watch films here. It’s a pretty special place! Apart from being able to wander the theatre freely and admire its beauty, one of the joys of the visit was having a sneaky peek in the projection room and get close up to their 35mm projectors. Only three exist in Leeds now, two here and one in the Cottage Road Cinema. Of course, they’ve had to keep up with the times and go digital too, but it’s still the old school stuff that does it for me. Ever since watching the classic Cinema Paradiso I’ve always been intrigued about what goes on in that room. The projectionist, who also works at Bradford’s National Media Museum had been in the job for the past fifty years, definitely a job for life!

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I really enjoyed listening to people who know these institutions inside and out. It’s a great way of getting to know more about the cultural heritage of your local area, it was so well worth doing! The added bonus is that all the tours are completely FREE!

http://www.heritageopendays.org.uk
http://www.templeworksleeds.com
http://www.hydeparkpicturehouse.co.uk
http://www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk

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Stuzzi Residency @ Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen

The month of August had seen a bit of a break at the Belgrave in terms of major food goings-on, without Street Feast and Laynes brunch as Beacons Festival took the deserved attention of the parties involved. Well this evening was the start of the food event to put that right with Stuzzi’s Kitchen Takeover!

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Who are Stuzzi? – a team of four named Harvey, Tom, Jimbob and James. If you’ve been to Salvo’s Salumeria you may have seen some of these guys before as this is where Tom, Jimbob and Harvey learned their trade, developing this passion for Italian food. 

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What’s the concept? – small plates of goodness based on Italian classics, produced using the best sustainable, seasonal ingredients from Italy treated simply.  

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Menu –  The guys at Stuzzi had been tempting people for the last couple of months with photos of their delights on social media, so when they published their menu, I literally thought I’d died and gone to heaven! Arancini balls….filled with ragu! Fritto Misto – you know how much I love deep fried stuff! Meatballs – which carnivore doesn’t love a good meatball, I make a killer meatball dish at home, but this was special! It went on….

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The Stuzzichini Misto sharing box (£15) was ALWAYS going to be the way to go for my friend Alice and I, and after just a few minutes our food was brought over in a box, all laid out just wanting to be devoured! As usual after a barrage of photos, I have to apologise to Alice as I always go overboard, we dove in.

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I thought we should go for the seafood dishes first as I didn’t want to give any residual heat the chance to toughen up our food. A quick squeeze of Amalfi lemon over the Fritto Misto and we were off!! We started off onto a winner – prawns were juicy, the squid was perfectly cooked, and needed only the slightest amount of pressure before it gave way in the mouth, lightly crisp on its exterior. Whitebait were gone in a few seconds and capers scattered generously gave a decent whack of additional seasoning where needed. Aioli goes perfectly with the dish and was decent, smooth and had lots of flavour. My only slight gripe was the fried courgettes were a little soft, just because they were underneath. Probably not the easiest to eat, but I suppose that what hands are there for.

Fritto Misto
Fritto Misto

Next up was the Seppia Nero,  even though we didn’t eat this straight away the cuttlefish remained tender and hadn’t become chewy. Quite a rich dish, it was great for sharing and we loved the bread it came with!

Seppia Misto
Seppia Misto

Pasta was our third course – Orecchiete with N’Duja to be exact, the al dente pasta was covered with a well flavoured tomato sauce, sweetness came from red onion and there a warming heat from the N’Duja, which as expected melted into the tomato sauce. It certainly gave my cheeks a bit of a glow.

Orecchiette con N'Duja
Orecchiette con N’Duja

Meatballs followed – now these were a little different than the norm, as these gems were made with beef and Mortadella in a rich tomato sauce, once again a gentle heat accompanied them. More than adequate in terms of size, it was great to see that they were moist throughout, whilst still being packed with meat and flavour!

Manzo E Mortadella Polpette
Manzo E Mortadella Polpette

Oh no, this was our last course….but we ended on a good one! The Arancini, these bad boys are made with saffron risotto filled with a meat ragu. Not only do I love risotto, I love ragu and they are covered breadcrumbs and fried….come on!!!! These were absolutely delicious and during the first bite I was already being a little embarrassing and saying how good they were. The risotto was unctuous and paired brilliantly with the ragu, both had their parts to play and didn’t overshadow the other. I was gutted I had to share and could easily have popped a few more in my mouth before going home.

Arancini
Arancini

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We also got chance to have a little bit of snackage (don’t think it’s a real word, but who cares), on their puffed pig skin. Crackling to me is one of the best things ever and this was crisp, salty and yummy!

Puffed pig skin
Puffed pig skin

We didn’t order the Zeppole, but I tried a little taster and it was light and moreish, an Italian deep fried doughnut covered in cinnamon sugar. 

Zeppole
Zeppole

I thought it was great, the team are obviously very passionate about their food and know what they are doing!! Also at £15 – great value too! 

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Stuzzi are opening a permanent base in Harrogate soon and I can’t wait to go and get the full experience!!

Stuzzi residency is on till Friday, then if you haven’t gorged yourself on every bit you can get your mouth around, I’m sure that won’t be the case, they’ll be spoiling us Leeds folk at Belgrave’s Street Feast too. 

http://www.belgravemusichall.com
1A Cross Belgrave St
Leeds
West Yorkshire
LS2 8JP
0113 234 6160
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stuzzi/356068864465742?ref=ts&fref=ts
http://www.salumeria-stuzzi.com/home.html

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My travel highlights of Yorkshire

Yorkshire is the UK’s largest county and I think it’s a great place to live in! There’s no bias going on here, as I’ve got no reason to be; especially because I’m not from here. However, after moving to Leeds in 2000, my penchant for a good old day trip has allowed me get to know the place a bit better.

When I thought about the old-school stereotypes often associated with Yorkshire, the phrase ‘flat-cap and whippet’, Last of the Summer Wine, Yorkshire Pudding and Wensleydale cheese, amongst others, sprung to mind. These were things that as a person uneducated on the area had thought before actually living here. But there’s so much more to the county, and it has a great deal to offer with coastal regions, National ParksAreas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and loads of cultural and historic landmarks.

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As you can imagine with food, I’ve documented much of what I’ve seen with photographs, literally thousands. I often look back, open an album and happily day dream about trips and mini jaunts around the county. So I thought it’d be a nice idea to share some of the places I’ve enjoyed visiting, I hope you don’t mind. Being the largest in the country, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to see and do everything on offer in Yorkshire, but here’s a selection of the places that are memorable to me.

There’s no order as such; I’ve just started with landmarks in Leeds and then worked my way outwards.

Kirkstall Abbey - I used to live just up the road in Leeds and see this gem every day. With the River Aire running alongside the grounds surrounding the abbey, it’s an amazing sight whether strolling through the park, driving past or nowadays when I run passed. The abbey and grounds are still used for local cultural events, such as monthly Kirkstall Deli Market and yearly held Classical Fantasia. One memory that’ll always stick in the mind was a friend’s birthday celebrated with a sports day in the grounds! Three-legged, sack, egg and spoon and wheel barrow races galore all went on, all whilst swans gracefully swam passed us!

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Kirkstall Abbey

Bolton Abbey is slap bang in the Yorkshire Dales on the banks of the River Wharfe. With the Priory ruins surrounded by beautiful countryside, and mile after mile of footpaths. There’s plenty of space to explore and relax in, whatever age you are, I always like to test my nerve and cross the river using the 57 stepping stones which span it. The Strid Wood down the river is another lovely part to see if you get the chance.

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Bingley Five Rise Locks - a well known landmark of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, it first opened in the 1700’s and is operated by long-standing lock keeper Barry Whitelock MBE.  Five Rise Locks are the tallest set of locks in the country.

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Bingley Five Rise Locks

Yorkshire is crazy lucky to have so much art and creativity in abundance, across the region. Highlights include The Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle; made up of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, The Hepworth Museum, Leeds Art Gallery and the Henry Moore Institute. If that’s not enough, Salts Mill built by Sir Titus Salt in Saltaire is home to the art of David Hockney.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park is one of the best, if not the best, outdoor art space currently in the UK, just this year it was named Art Museum of the Year 2014, by the Art Fund. With indoor galleries, acres of beautiful parkland and the River Dearne in West Bretton, they showcase contemporary and modern art from some of the world’s leading artists. There’s always something new to see and experience and is one of my favourite places in the county.

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Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Hepworth Museum - I like to think of the Hepworth as a modern beauty on Yorkshire’s landscape, located on the edge of the River Calder in Wakefield. It exhibits contemporary art, the museums central focus is the work of Barbara Hepworth, and contemporaries such as Henry Moore and Ben Nicholson. 

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Hepworth Museum

Haworth, Keighley & Worth Valley Rail - the in-laws are very knowledgeable on Yorkshire as a whole, and were the first to introduce me this part of the world. I’d watched the film The Railway Children as a child, but had no idea it was filmed on location near here. A trip to Haworth on an original steam train is the start of a lovely day out for the family! It’s not just the railway that attracts visitors, but the areas connection to the Brontë sisters, quaint shops, such as Rose & Co’s Apothecary and the rugged outdoors of Haworth. The area is synonymous with beautiful countryside, and often called Brontë country due to its links to the books. 

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Worth Valley Railway and Haworth

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden found near Ripon, is Grade I listed and on the prestigious list of UNESCO World Heritage sights. A Cistercian monastery, one of the largest in the England which was disbanded by Henry VIII in the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The Abbey itself is stunning to wander through, but hours could be easily spent meandering around the water gardens surrounded by follies and other hidden treasures. One of the highlights for me is the view from Anne Boleyns’ seat which shows how the River Skell winds itself around the landscape.

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Fountains Abbey

Malham Cove, Gordale Scar and Janet’s Foss in Malhamdale are three of the areas main draws. Well known for its limestone pavement, I remember spectacular views and gasping when the other half dropped off the edge to take a photo for me. Luckily he was on a lip, even to this day looking at the photo makes my stomach turn.  The unusual landscape full of Clints (limestone blocks) and Grykes (gaps) created by acid erosion have resulted in a unique environment, so you’ll often see the likes of plants Wood Sorrel and Herb Robert. Gordale Scar is something that caught me unawares, as you don’t actually see it until you walk around and into the Scar. The waterfall was formed after the Ice Age and is often climbed by many a brave soul.  Then a short walk away is waterfall Janet’s Foss, which carries the water from Gordale Beck into a pool. 

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Malhamdale

Knaresborough - this North Yorkshire market town is found around the River Nidd, Knaresborough Castle and Mother Shipton’s Cave are well-known landmarks easily within reach on a day trip. The view of the aqueduct spanning the river is stunning, and definitely worth a moment of anyone’s time for a photo opportunity. Other local gems York, Harrogate and Ripon are close by.

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Knaresborough

Skipton Castle - I love Skipton Castle! I’m a big castle fan anyway, I don’t know why, I just love ‘em and have visited quite a few! This one is particularly special because at over 900 years old it’s been very well preserved and still has it’s roof intact! When you visit you get an excellent map which sends you on a trail around the castle to explore. The area of Skipton is lovely in itself and this year came top in The Sunday Times’s annual survey to find the 101 Best Places to Live in Britain, not bad eh?!

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Skipton Castle

Ribblehead Viaduct - the 24 arches of this viaduct is an attraction of the Settle-Carlisle Railway.  The train journey provides you with lots of beautiful landscapes, such as Bingley Five Rise Locks and the Three Peaks Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-Ghent.

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Ribblehead Viaduct

Brimham Rocks in Nidderdale is where’ll you find unusual rock formations, some seem to balance as if by magic. The other half remembers visiting as a child and is often frequented by families as it’s a fab day out with tonnes of exploring potential. Views stretch out as far as 40 miles in some parts and throughout the year, the views change as plant types change with the seasons. A few miles away is the delightful Pateley Bridge too.

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Brimham Rocks

Rievaulx Abbey - one of county’s most beautiful abbey ruins, found in the North Yorks Moor National Park, close to Helmsley and has the River Rye running nearby. I just love how beautiful and peaceful the place is!

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Rievaulx Abbey

Yorkshire is fortunate to benefit from some beautiful coastal areas, such as Whitby and Scarborough, all have a unique character of their own and great fish and chips! Whitby with their ever present red-roofed houses, Whitby Abbey and the 199 steps which need to be ascended to reach it, for those lovers of fish and chips the famous The Magpie Cafe is a landmark.

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Walking from Filey to Scarborough

Scarborough with two beaches (North and South) separated by a rocky headland where Scarborough Castle is found. Nearby popular landmarks include Filey and Flamborough Head.

Scarborough
Scarborough

Now as you can imagine with Yorkshire being so vast, looking after it is by no means an easy task, so Yorkshire Water has put together a plan called Blueprint to ultimately ‘take better care of our little part of the world’ and try to do their bit. Such as improving the quality of water at our beaches to increase the number achieving blue flag status. Make sure the regions sewers and reservoirs are well maintained and working with the Environment Agency to improve the areas natural environment. Hopefully the work they’ve already done and plans they have for the future will bring even more tourism and draw in new businesses to the county.

So if you’ve got this far, I’ll just say ‘thanks for reading!’ I personally think any investment to improve the area is fantastic, and as part of writing this post and looking at the county, it’s given me a thirst to explore the region even further. I know I’ve only scratched the surface of the beauties in Yorkshire, where in the county do you love to visit and why? I’d like to read some of your ideas!

DISCLAIMER: I am writing this post to promote Yorkshire as I’ve always loved the area and what it has to offer, part of this was to mention Yorkshire Water’s Blueprint for Yorkshire as a sponsored post.

A Leeds based blog written by a girl from Wales who enjoys good food and wine.

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