York in North Yorkshire, England, has a fascinating history, beautiful architecture, a fabulous selection of places to eat and drink and there's plenty to see and do. It's one of my most loved cities and here is a brief list of some of my favourite things to do in York.
Recently I was lucky enough to attend one of the rare behind the scenes history tours of Alexandra Palace. Named after Alexandra, Edward VII's wife, and affectionally known as Ally Pally. The original building sadly burnt down just sixteen days after it opened.
On Christmas Eve, 24th December 1914 Agatha Miller married Archie Christie, her first husband, at Emmanuel Church, Guthrie Road, Clifton, Bristol. On a recent visit to the city I did a bit of research to identify the location of the church only to discover, like in all good detective novels, that things were not as they first appeared to be.
On Good Friday hot cross buns are distributed in the churchyard of St Bartholomew the Great. The ceremony known as the Butterworth Charity, was named after Joshua Whitehead Butterworth who created the trust in 1887. It was set up to provide the sum of six pence to twenty one needy widows in the parish and buns were to be handed out to children who attended the distribution. With the understanding that nowadays anyone who attends can have a hot cross bun I went to investigate further.
Two Temple Place was built for William Waldorf Astor, one of the richest men in the world, and today it is owned by the Bulldog Trust charity. Since 2012 it has opened its doors for a free annual exhibition. With this also comes the wonderful opportunity to visit one of the most splendid buildings in London, a magnificent Victorian house.
Earlier this month I fulfilled my long standing wish to stay at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate which has connections with the mysterious disappearance of Agatha Christie, the Queen of Crime.
On the evening of 3rd December 1926 Agatha left her home in Sunningdale and her 4 seater Morris Cowley car was later found abandoned at Newlands Corner in Surrey. By this time Agatha was aged 36 years old and was already a successful crime writer and her 6th novel, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd had just been published. Her sudden disappearance attracted both national and worldwide interest. The search for Agatha was the largest manhunt of the time, involving over 1,000 police officers and civilians,and reputedly the first search in England to use airplanes. Arthur Conan Doyle (author of Sherlock Holmes) gave a medium one of her gloves in the hope of locating her, however Agatha's whereabouts remained a mystery for several days.
The transformation of King’s Cross is well underway and there’s a lot to discover. So whether you are looking for somewhere nice to eat in a fascinating heritage building or wanting to enjoy a family day out, King’s Cross is well worth checking out. Last week I was delighted to be taken on a private tour of the area and hear more about some of the projects which are opening soon
The Guildhall Art Gallery has just re-opened following its first rehang since the present building opened in 1999. The gallery is one of London’s hidden gems, it's a relatively small, intimate space compared to some of the more well known art galleries, but it offers is a remarkable collection of Victorian and Pre Raphaelite paintings. I was delighted to be invited to the press launch prior to the gallery opening to the public.
L’ETO Caffe, one of my favourite cake places, has just opened a new caffe on the Brompton Road. This is their sixth and largest branch and it offers a new a la carte menu, so last week Julieand I visited. Here is our restaurant review.
Mrs Mallowan, aka Agatha Christie, lived in Wallingford, Oxfordshire for many years and is buried in nearby Cholsey. In my quest to visit the key locations associated with the world's best selling author of all time, I made a visit to the town to discover its Christie connections.