China Girls Abroad


The traditional holiday destination for Glaswegians in England is on its west coast, where they find the golden sands of Blackpool, and even more golden flow of Lager, ice creams and doughnuts. But any who tire of its ballroom dancing and pleasure beach, might try a short trip east to the county of Yorkshire, which offers a quite different array of attractions. The contrasts here are striking: wander along the cobbled streets of Lumb Lane in Bradford, and it could be a visit to east Bengal with the delicious smells of curry, bangara music in the air, and supermarkets full of sarees, chillis, and Asian goods. Last summer, the centre of Bradford hosted the World Curry Festival, and its Asian population turned out in full to dance and sing in the streets alongside thousands of visitors and other Bradford locals who are convinced this is now the curry capital of Britain.


Bradford: curry capital of the world?


Then just a short drive north from Bradford will reveal the quite different splendours of Harrogate with its rows of sumptuous hotels, now looking like genteel elderly ladies who have fallen on slightly hard times. But Harrogate is in full restoration mode, and its manicured lawns, and restored Turkish bath, and grand theatres, suggest a confident future. The Royal Hall has just had a £10 million refurbishment, and now looks the part as a stunning Edwardian theatre.

The Royal Hall in Harrogate


If it’s too hot and the sea is calling, then travel east, stopping briefly at the beautiful medieval city of York, for a delicate slice of cake at the Betty’s famous tea rooms. Another great secret is Grey’s Court just behind York Minster. It does wonderful afternoon teas, and has its own walled garden, in which it is possible to sit in relative peace and quiet on even the busiest days.


Then on to Bridlington, which is Yorkshire’s answer to Blackpool, but with fishing boats and the Grimethorpe Colliery Band. Here, another set of contrasts - Harrogate has the feel of Morningside in Edinburgh, polite, and a little restrained. But in Bridlington, it is just not possible to walk its length without someone clapping you on the back and asking: “Are yer all right, luv?” Trying sitting in the Italian ice cream Parlour on the front and you can just about meet the whole town. Bridlington is also replete with lots of cheap bed and breakfast accommodation, and even real fresh fish and chips which can be had at Naked Fish in 22 Bridge Street. This is a very hot tip, as the sad truth is that almost all fish is now frozen, and to get the real thing is quite rare. Your dedicated reporter found this out by asking at multiple fish shops, and the shame faced proprietors admitted that their “fresh fish and chips” had actually been colder than lollipops. If you want to catch your own fish, then you can go for a trip on a boat. These go up and down quicker than a bungee jump, and are not for people with delicate stomachs. Your intrepid reporter again tested the experience to save you the trouble.


A testing time on a boat


For a more up market sea side experience, go north and discover Whitby. As everyone knows this was originally discovered by Dracula whose ship beached there with its captain strapped to the mast. This albeit fictional history still gives Whitby a special character, and has made it a magnet for Goths. So if your long, black, leather, Matrix coat needs replacing, there are multiple shops there that will meet your demands. It’s not hard to see why Bram Stoker, picked Whitby as a setting for his novel. High on the cliffs above the town lie the ruins of Whitby Abbey, casting a stunning and rather ghostly shadow. Each summer, among the ruins, a theatre group performs a comic pantomime version of Dracula, which is truly very funny, and absolutely worth a visit. The show includes a tour of the Abbey, as the audience and cast move from one location to another. At the end of the show, the actors pose for pictures, and the audiences try on all the costumes.


A quick bite with Dracula


If the bussle and noise of the seaside is too much for you, then Yorkshire has one last glorious surprise in store. It is the home of some of the finest cathedral in the world, which offers moments of peace and tranquility, which are unsurpassed. The larger ones are major attractions, but there are many jewels which are equally beautiful, and less well known. These can be discovered in towns, such as Ripon, or just by driving through the countryside, and discovering them by accident.

Kirkby Stephen Church.


A leisurely drive through Yorkshire is a great way to see it. Across the North York Moors, stopping off at its villages, towns, and extraordinary cities, which include Howarth, home of the Brontes and Wuthering Heights. One final tip for the journey back is to stay at the famous Tebay Services on the M6, which has a very comfortable hotel attached to it, and the best local breakfast, you’ll ever encounter. 




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