adventures,  travel

A Tale of Two Cities

Today I am super excited as tomorrow I’m visiting Nottingham, my adopted home. I am going to a friend’s birthday celebration tomorrow evening and then going with my friends to the pantomime on Sunday (haven’t been for 20 years). Of course, we will take the opportunity to do festive things such as visiting the Winter Wonderland.

Visiting different places was one of the things that I spent a lot of this summer doing.  The opening line of Charles Dickens’ novel A Tale of Two Cities:  “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” is a line that could also sum up my summer as I was able to do a bit of travelling, especially around my own country, rendering it the best of times. I’ve been determined over the last few years to see more of the U.K and have been slowly getting around (I’ve been to Scotland now, people!)

Despite living in the Midlands for a bit, I never made it to my dream destination of Lincoln. However, I always intended to go and when my friend Kate moved there, I really had no excuse not to pay it a visit. Finally, in July, a group of us got together and made the journey.


Lincoln is characterised by curving, cobbled lanes and buildings that are tightly packed together. The lanes coil up to the magnificent Lincoln Cathedral, an ornate gothic building that was once one of the tallest cathedrals in the world. Lunch was duly enjoyed in Bunty’s tearoom before we made our visit to the Cathedral.

We found the Cathedral to be a haven of peace and quiet and conducive to a stroll and a chat. The Cathedral owns one of only four surviving copies of Magna Carta, which is now on loan to and resides in, Lincoln Castle.


We didn’t actually go inside Lincoln Castle, however, it was a lovely day so we wandered around the grounds, talked and relaxed on the grass. In fact, just rambling through Lincoln was ideal. It is wonderfully charming and a great day out. Probably not somewhere that you could spend more than a day or so, but worth a day trip.

One place that you can spend several days in is York, the other city of the title. Ah, York. That place of ethereal loveliness which has long resided in my fantasies, due to reading too many Bronte novels. I was lucky enough to go for my birthday and reader, it did not disappoint.

York is pretty much the ultimate medieval city. Enclosed within the city’s walls is a spider’s web of tangled streets, whilst at the heart of the city is the York Minster, a stunning Gothic-inspired building. York knows that its unique selling point is its cultural heritage and it does its best to preserve that.


York is romantic and vibrant, with a medley of restaurants, museums and shops. There are also plenty of pubs claiming to be the most haunted in York. We were new to York, so chose the city sightseer bus to take us around. It also gave us plenty of background on what we were seeing- oh yeah and Sainsbury’s.

Finally, we did the very touristy thing of going to Betty’s tearooms for afternoon tea. Betty’s doesn’t take bookings but if you are prepared to queue, then it shouldn’t take too long.  We turned up at quarter past one and waited for about fifteen minutes. And boy, was it worth it. Beautifully cut sandwiches, exquisitely served cakes and as much tea as we could drink. I ended the weekend by almost slipping into a sugar-induced coma. I also spent the next week or so suffering York blues (this is most definitely a thing).

So, two cities that I have always wanted to visit and finally did. I heartily recommend both.

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