Weekends are so precious...

As a busy mother of three, sometimes I just need a break from everyday life and a time to reconnect with my handsome husband, even if we do no more than sit in a coffee shop and sip together. But when my parents offer (or are encouraged to offer) a longer break, then we jump at the chance.

This weekend was such a chance. We left the children in school on Friday morning, jumped into the car and drove off to t'North East. Way aye Mon, it's a canny distance theer. At least, sometimes it feels it! We drove through Kirkby Stephens and on to Barnard Castle, where we stopped off for a lovely lunch at a tidy and reasonably priced even while being really lovely tea shop called Clarendon's. Yum! I had a prawn and avocado open sandwich, while Mr K had a rather delish chicken club sandwich.

The castle here was owned by the Earls of Warwick, and inherited (from his father in law, locked up and attained so his property was confiscated) by Richard III.

 Having spent a couple of weeks in the 15th Century living vicariously through the novels of Philippa Gregory, it was brilliant to see a place that she writes of. Of course, it's now a ruin (apparently the owner in later years also owned Raby Castle and chose to take stones from here to fix there) but even so I got a real sense of walking in Anne Neville's footsteps as I walked around.

Just outside of Barnard Castle is the Bowes Museum, a really interesting purpose built building created by John Bowes and his french wife, Josephine. I loved how the french heritage was apparent in the building. This wouldn't look out of place as the Hotel de Ville in any french town, would it? The collection was eclectic, heavily furniture and porcelain based but included an automaton swan dating from 1774.

How does it work? I have no idea!

And on to Durham. We stay at the Travelodge just outside the town, but within walking distance of the restaurants and sights of the city. It never disappoints. I love the feel, with the Castle and Cathedral dominating the skyline, and the fact that the Lindisfarne Gospels are there at the moment was the seal on the weekend. Good food, good company and good craic. What more could I want?


  1. Love the sound of your weekend. You def need time to reconnect with each other. Are the Philippa Gregory books a good read? I'm debating getting one to read but fear I might be disappointed? x

  2. It sounds like you had a wonderful time, Jem. That swan was amazing! :o)


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