Time for a news update: 2017

As the year heads towards its close, I thought it was time for a general update and plans for the future!

The beginning of 2017 saw me working hard on Book 3 of my La Cour des Roses series, Summer at the Little French Guesthouse.

The first draft was handed in with the usual trepidation at the beginning of February, and then came several rounds of structural edits, line edits and finally proofreading. Phew!

In desperate need of a rest after all that, hubby and I spent a lovely fortnight in Cornwall at the end of June/beginning of July. (If you missed the blog posts, you can read about that here and here.)

We arrived back home just a few days before publication day on the 12th July, when I received these gorgeous flowers from my publisher Bookouture …

… and then followed a flurry of social media and reviews to keep track of. I was thrilled that this latest book (and the last in the trilogy) was so well received, making all that hard work worthwhile 🙂

Writing the series has had its ups and downs (if you missed it, you can read my thoughts on writing a series here) but I can’t deny a sense of satisfaction – and of course a little sadness that Emmy’s adventures are over (on the page, anyway. In my head, she continues to live happily-ever-after in her French idyll!)

In the meantime, the earlier books have been taken on by foreign publishers, to be translated into Turkish, Hungarian, Czech and Italian, with other deals in the pipeline. This was something I never imagined!

The books seem to have gone down particularly well in Italy, and I’ve had some lovely messages … in Italian, which I’ve had to Google translate and then hope that I’ve replied appropriately! 😀

In August, we spent a few days in Salisbury (a trip I have yet to get around to blogging about!) before driving to Heathrow to pick up our 19-year-old son after his year volunteering in Thailand, where he was teaching English to teenage novice monks in a Buddhist monastery. I’m sure you can imagine how wonderful it was to have him back after not seeing him for a WHOLE YEAR!

However, there was no time to relax and enjoy his company as much as we would have liked. We only had four weeks to get him organised for starting university, so it was all rather fraught, trying to get everything bought and packed, get paperwork in order etc. We deposited him in Birmingham in mid-September, and he seems to have settled in well.

We’re still not empty-nesters, however, as my 22-year-old daughter who came back to live with us after finishing university last year is still here. She’s the perfect companion for watching old re-runs of Magnum P.I. and Starsky and Hutch! It’s not all vintage TV, though – she recently introduced us to Stranger Things which I wouldn’t have watched otherwise but thoroughly enjoyed.

In September, Book 1 of the La Cour des Roses series, The Little French Guesthouse, landed its 500th 5* review on Amazon UK!

I couldn’t believe such a milestone – it’s still hard to take in that kind of thing. A large glass of wine was required to celebrate 😉 

Deciding to fit in another break this year, hubby and I booked a couple of last-minute cottages in Scotland for the end of September/beginning of October. No doubt I will blog about that trip some time in the future, too, but suffice to say that the weather could have been kinder – hats, scarves, gloves, fleeces and cagoules were all needed most of the time. I look like the Michelin Man!

As for the writing …

I have had to make the decision not to commit to anything too big for a while. My elderly parents – who are not in a good way – take up a great deal of time and worry at the moment, and coping with them while facing so many deadlines over the past couple of years has not been easy. For their sake and for the sake of my own health and sanity, a break from major deadlines seems the only way to go for now.

That doesn’t mean I won’t be writing, though. You can’t keep me away from my keyboard for long!

I do plan to write – but at my own pace, when I’m able and in the mood, hopefully allowing the wells of creativity to refill.

I am committed to taking part in a collaborative project with a group of northern writers which I’m excited about but won’t reveal properly until it’s nearer completion in 2018.

And I have a couple of ideas for novels floating around in my head, one of which I started before The Little French Guesthouse took off, so I hope to take up where I left off with that. 

So, as they say, ‘Watch this space … !’

 

 

 

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A week near St Ives, Cornwall

In my last post, I blogged about our week on the Roseland peninsula at the end of June. If you missed it and are interested, you can read about that here.

Our second week was to be spent in the area around St Ives. It was pouring with rain when we set off, but there were a couple of places we wanted to see en route and since our cottage wouldn’t be ready till late afternoon, we persevered with our plans.

Our first stop was Portloe, still on the Roseland peninsula. The road down there was nightmarishly narrow with the weather causing visibility problems, but once we’d parked, the rain let up enough for us to enjoy a stroll in and around the village, imagining how lovely it would be in the sunshine! 😀

After drying out with a coffee at the very posh Lugger Hotel (a base for brandy smuggling a long time ago, but quite a hit with the celebrity crowd nowadays, apparently!), we drove on to Mevagissey, an old harbour town popular with tourists. I last visited Mevagissey when I was in my twenties and remember thinking it very picturesque. I don’t know whether it was just the weather this time, but I didn’t enjoy it as much, although it suited us well enough as a place to wander around and have lunch.

And then on to our accommodation a few miles out of Hayle, and an evening trying to warm up! In July, for goodness sake! 

The next day was thankfully rain-free, so we drove to Godrevy on the eastern side of St Ives Bay for a brisk walk and to look out at the lighthouse at Godrevy Point.

Sitting admiring the view, I kept hearing a strange noise, rather ethereal and, I thought, a bit like whale music. When we walked further around the headland, we found the source – seals on the beach! That made my day 🙂

The following day promised to be sunny – yay! – so we drove to St Erth station and took the St Ives Bay Line train into St Ives – quick, easy and good value. 

We walked past Porthminster beach and into the harbour area, where we enjoyed a coffee in the sunshine and looked in the numerous art and gift shops there, then sat on the harbour beach to soak up a little Vitamin D. Moving on, we walked around to Porthgwidden beach …

… St Ives certainly has plenty of beaches! … and climbed up the headland to St Nicholas Chapel for a fabulous view …

After lunch, we wandered through the back streets, eventually finding ourselves on the main shopping street in town (Seasalt clothing, Jo Downs glassware, fresh fudge … my purse began to panic!) and finally back to the station, tired but happy.

The next day started out cloudy, but we hoped for the best and drove to Marazion, then took a boat over to St Michael’s Mount. I was disappointed that the timing of the tide didn’t allow us to walk across the causeway, which must be quite an experience.

Once on the island, the weather improved, and we walked up the hill to explore the castle – originally a priory, then fort, then castle and now home to the St Aubyn family. The room stewards were knowledgeable and interesting, which added to the visit. The property is run by the National Trust, so this was another occasion when our newly-acquired membership came in useful.

We particularly liked the little chapel at the summit which dates back to the 12th century and is still used. If you look at the photo below, you can see that this is at the highest point – the base of the chapel is the actual rock of the island …

From the terraces, you can look down over the incredible terraced gardens, although I struggled to appreciate them as I’m not good with heights. :/

You can only explore the gardens on certain days of the week and unfortunately this wasn’t one of them, so we took the boat back to shore, and I sat on Marazion beach to read while hubby pottered off to a nature reserve nearby.

That evening, we drove to Porthleven to meet up with my brother for a drink and fish and chips sitting on a bench at the quay (and just about managed it without being without being mobbed by seagulls!). As I mentioned last time, my brother moved to Falmouth at the beginning of the year, so it was lovely to catch up with him on several occasions this holiday. 

The next day was lovely and sunny, so we drove to Sennen Cove and set off on the South West Coast Path towards Land’s End. It was a very steep climb out of Sennen, but once on the level, we saw a shipwreck …

… and the views all along the path were simply breathtaking.

Just look at the colour of the sea here …

The only downside was that the path was so busy, what with it being July and a popular route. When I’d had enough, I turned around while hubby carried on to Land’s End.

At Sennen Cove, I had a coffee at the beach bar whilst admiring the view and a rather moreish barman who resembled a slightly older Tom Hiddleston and may well find himself in a future novel of mine! Hubby joined me for a drink at the end of his walk, and the people at a nearby table looked rather perturbed to hear me explain to my husband why the barman was so attractive and the perfect romantic hero, while my dear better half didn’t bat an eye!!

It was even hotter the next day. We drove to Mousehole, and hubby set off on a coastal walk to Lamorna which sounded too strenuous for my liking, so I relaxed with a coffee and orange-and-rosemary shortbread at the Rock Pool cafe …

… with a fabulous view across bright blue sea and sky. No complaints there!

By the time I’d explored the harbour and narrow streets and one or two tempting shops, it was getting too warm for me, so I plonked myself on a bench at the harbour to wait for hubby …

then dragged him back to the Rock Pool cafe for a cuppa so that he could enjoy the same view I’d had that morning.

The next day was our final day, and we couldn’t help ourselves – we went back to St Ives.

Our main objective this time was the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, which we very much enjoyed. I’m not particularly ‘into’ sculpture, but I did like hers.

It was fascinating to read about the artist’s life, knowing that she lived and worked there from 1949 until she died in 1975. You can look through windows into her studio, imagine her working, then admire the admire her sculptures in the garden.

Afterwards, we walked all the way through town to Porthmeor beach, which we hadn’t explored last time, and had lunch overlooking the sands where surfing schools were busy.

After walking back along Fore Street, we had tea overlooking Porthminster beach, then sat on the sands for a quiet goodbye to this gorgeous place.

Despite the inevitable crowds, St Ives is a truly beautiful place. The light and colours are incredible, and it’s easy to see why so many artists are drawn to it.

The next day was a goodbye to Cornwall itself … for now. We will be back, and now that my brother lives down there, we have every excuse!

 

If you’ve enjoyed these posts, a few months ago I blogged about our visit to a different area of Cornwall and Devon last year:

A week in Devon

A Week in Cornwall

 

 

A week on the Roseland peninsula, Cornwall

With summer already a distant memory and autumn firmly underway, I’m already remembering with fondness the fortnight that hubby and I spent in Cornwall at the end of June/beginning of July.

The first week, we stayed in a small apartment in Portscatho on the Roseland peninsula, overlooking the bay. This was the view from just a few yards beyond our doorway!

The South West Coastal Path was only a few minutes away, something we took advantage of on our first evening, enjoying the sunshine and the sight of a young buzzard sitting motionless on a cliff ledge.

Little did we know that that was one of the few glimpses of the sun we would see that whole week! After that, the weather was mixed – sometimes rainy, sometimes cloudy, but not particularly cold. I didn’t mind too much as we were hoping to fit in a few walks, and I find that steep coastal walks + hot sun = beetroot-red Helen!

On the Saturday morning, I lounged at the apartment while hubby went to see some all-important rugby match at the nearby Harbour Club, and then we drove to St Mawes for a look around and to check the ferry times to Falmouth for the following day.

One of my brothers moved to Falmouth at the beginning of the year, so on the Sunday, we took the passenger ferry over there from St Mawes to spend the day with him. It was chilly out on the water …

but it warmed up nicely once we landed.

Gosh, we walked a lot that day! My brother led us through the town past the Packet Quays, up onto the headland where Pendennis Castle sits, then down to Gylly beach, where we had a well-earned lunch and cuppa. We walked further along to Swanpool beach, then back inland through the town to see where he works and temporarily resides. It’s pretty hilly away from the front!

I really took to Falmouth. It has a great feel about it, and because of the university , it isn’t just a ‘summer town’. Unfortunately, I realised afterwards that we’d been so busy chatting and catching up with each other as we walked, I hadn’t taken any photos worth posting here!

The next day, hubby and I took the King Harry car ferry to visit the National Trust’s Trelissik Garden.

I enjoyed Trelissick, but I’m not really a fan of formal gardens, so I enjoyed our walk across fields down to the coast and back through woodland just as much.

Late afternoon, we were looking for somewhere else when, in the course of getting lost down a very narrow, steep road, we stumbled upon the Pandora Inn at Restronguet, an atmospheric pub with low beams and stone floors.

Grateful that there was room in the car park, since we didn’t feel up to renegotiating the road back for a while yet, we enjoyed a drink sitting outside looking over the creek, then decided to have an evening meal as it was such a pleasant place to be.

The following day was once again dull weather, but we walked along the coastal path from Portscatho …

… to Towan Beach near Porth. It was too chilly to linger on the beach, but a short walk inland took us to this fab little refreshment van parked in a sheltered courtyard for a coffee.

We explored further, then went back to the van for a Cornish pasty (the nicest we tried this holiday) before walking inland back to our home base.

Rain the next day limited our explorations, so we went back to Falmouth for a mooch around the shops. My brother phoned to ask if we’d like to meet up that evening (convenient, since we were already in the vicinity!) so we filled in the afternoon with a couple of hours at another National Trust garden, Glendurgan. It poured down, but we donned cagoules, carried umbrellas and set out. I didn’t think I could enjoy a garden in the rain, but it was really atmospheric and a lovely, interesting place – and because of the weather, we had it practically to ourselves.

We walked down a valley of exotic plants and trees to the tiny hamlet of Durgan on the Helford River, then back up a different slope past this amazing maze.

Glendurgan is somewhere I would definitely like to revisit in better weather!

That evening, we met my brother at the Ferry Boat Inn, an old pub dating back 300 years, on the waterfront in the North Helford Passage. The continuing rain meant we couldn’t really appreciate its position, but the lovely interior and open fires kept us cosy and warm, and the food was good. 

On our final full day in the area, I dispatched hubby on a long walk I didn’t fancy doing, while I wandered along the coast to Porthcurnick beach where I hugged a takeaway coffee in the drizzle and admired the view back to Portscatho.

I really didn’t mind the drizzle. I find being by the sea and the sound of the waves incredibly soothing, whatever the weather.

That afternoon, we drove to St Just in Roseland to see the 13th century church there – well worth a little look.

Then back to the apartment to pack and plan our journey to the St Ives area the next day. I’ll blog about our week there next time 🙂

Crafting #1 – Halloween collage

Last year in my blog post about decorating the house for Halloween, I mentioned a collage I made years ago for the kids.

Every October, it’s dragged out of the attic (a little more the worse for wear each time), and each year I look at it and remember how much I enjoyed making it. I didn’t buy anything special for it – I just used crafting supplies I already had in the house.

Starting with a blank white 14″ x 18″ block canvas, I sponged the background with acrylic paints – green and oranges on the bottom half, then grey and black on the top half for the night sky.

Next, using strong glue, I stuck an old CD onto the canvas for the moon.

The spider and spider’s web in the top left-hand corner were born out of my having a broken bead necklace I had no idea what to do with. It occurred to me that it looked like a glamorous spider’s web,  so I draped it across the corner of the canvas, securing it at the back.

The spider’s legs were made from twisting eight pieces of florist’s wire, its body from a large black button, all sewn onto the canvas so the centre of the web stayed secure.

 

The bat in the top right-hand corner was cut from patterned paper, and I sewed on two black beads for eyes.

Rather than attach it flat to the collage, I stuck both wings down, allowing the body to curve outwards for a 3D effect.

 

 

Next … the witch. This was the trickiest part.

I cut out a silhouette in black card, draped some black fabric with red stars I’d once used for a Halloween cloak for my daughter around the shoulders, formed the skirt with crafting leaves in Halloween colours, topped the hat with a red foil star, then assembled the whole so that the witch was sitting on her broomstick made from garden twigs.

Every year the broomstick falls apart when I unwrap the collage and I have to redo it!

 

The castle was cut from black-brown glitter card. I’m absolutely rubbish at drawing, so I semi-copied the idea for the outline from a scrap-booking book, then cut out the doorway and the round window at the top.

I drew the cat  on orange card (again copying the outline from a book, I suspect) and stuck it at the back for the window, then found a photo of the kids in Halloween costume for the doorway.

The doorway was originally framed by flat lollipop sticks painted black, but they fell off every single year and I finally got sick of replacing them 😀

I cheated with the pumpkin – it was a pre-printed item from a craft kit I had lurking, but I sewed on two black beads for the eyes to make it more interesting.

The ghost was cut from an old sheet. I stuck googly eyes on, drew the mouth with felt-tip pen, then glued it to the canvas in a way that allowed the folds of the fabric to drape.

 

The cauldron in the bottom left-hand corner is my favourite part of the whole collage.

I cut the basic shape from black card, then covered it with punched-out foil from my craft drawer so it looked like the brew was bubbling over. The flames were cut from red and yellow paper and glued on.

I then sponged on extra green acrylic paint for smoke drifting out of the pot, and I squeezed dots of white liquid pearl fluid (that hardens into small dots) for extra ‘bubbles’.  Finally, I added a few green foil stars amidst the green smoke.

To finish the whole piece, I added a handful of blue and silver foil stars in the night sky … although again, I’m sure a fair few have fallen off over the years.

And now it’s hanging above the fireplace for its annual short showing. I hope it comes out for many years to come before it finally gives up the ghost – if you’ll pardon the pun 😀 – and falls irreparably to pieces!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome … Kate Field

I’m delighted to welcome romance author and fellow Romantic Novelists’ Association member Kate Field to the blog this week. I’ve met Kate a couple of times over lunch with local writers, and she is as delightful as her books. The last time we met, I told her off because I was reading her first book, The Magic of Ramblings, and it was so magical that I couldn’t put it down when I had other things to do!

With her second novel, The Truth About You, Me and Us, recently released, I had plenty of questions to ask her here on the blog, but first, here’s the lovely cover and blurb …

Sometimes the hardest person to be honest with is yourself…

Five years ago Helen Walters walked out on her ‘perfect’ life with the ‘perfect’ man. Wealthy, glamorous and bored, she longed for something more.

Now a talented artist with a small business, Helen creates crazy patchwork crafts to support her young daughter, Megan. Penniless, content and single, she is almost unrecognisable.

But when her past unexpectedly collides with her new life, Helen finds herself torn. She knows what the easiest choice is, but is it what she wants?

And now, onto the interview to find out more about Kate and her writing …

Kate, what drew you to write romantic fiction? Are you a die-hard romantic in ‘real’ life?

I’ve loved reading romantic fiction ever since studying Pride and Prejudice for my GCSE exams. That book renewed my enthusiasm for reading after it had waned through a succession of dull but worthy set texts, and I then went on to discover the Brontës, Victoria Holt, Georgette Heyer… I haven’t stopped reading since!

I’d found the style of book I loved best, so it never crossed my mind to write anything else. Some people criticise romance books for being predictable, but that’s one of the things I love about them. I like to pick up a book and know that although there may be twists and turns, I’ll be guaranteed a happy ending.

I don’t lead a very romantic life – perhaps that’s another reason why I like to read and write about it!

Your previous novel, The Magic of Ramblings, led you to win the Joan Hessayon Award for New Writers 2017. How did that feel? Can you tell us something about how you were shortlisted and ultimately won?

It was an amazing experience, and I’m still pinching myself that it actually happened!

The Romantic Novelists’ Association run a New Writers’ Scheme, where unpublished authors can join and submit a manuscript each year for critique. Books that go through the NWS and are subsequently published are eligible for the Joan Hessayon Award.

The award was given out at the RNA’s summer party in London, so it was a lovely opportunity to head ‘down south’ and get dressed up! I didn’t think for a second that I would win, as there were some great books on the shortlist, several written by good writing friends, so it was a genuine shock when my name was called out as the winner. My favourite photograph of the night captured that moment, and shows how surprised I was!

I love that photo! It really does capture that moment so well!

You’re a northern girl – Lancashire to be precise. Do you feel that some elements of that come through in your writing?

I’m Lancashire born and bred, and both the books that have been published are set in fictional Lancashire villages. I think it’s inevitable that my northern roots show through my writing, particularly in the characters and the dialogue. I’m told there’s some northern grit in there too!

Lancashire doesn’t have the best climate, so inevitably the weather plays a part in the novels. The Magic of Ramblings features a bad storm which is a turning point in the story. It was an easy scene to write, as living on a remote hill, it’s the type of weather I experience quite often!

I loved the setting for The Magic of Ramblings – lovely, but subject to the elements.

What did you enjoy most when writing your latest book, The Truth About You, Me and Us? (And was there anything that drove you mad?!)

The Truth About You, Me and Us has had a troubled history!

I first started writing it about 14 years ago, and knew the basic scenario, the main characters, and how it was going to end. I reached Chapter 3 and realised that the characters I had created didn’t fit with the ending I had in mind. I abandoned the book at that point, and it was many years later that I looked at it again and with more writing experience behind me, it was obvious what I needed to do to fix it.

Once I’d finished the book, I started submitting it. Although it was shortlisted and a runner-up in various competitions, it was repeatedly rejected by agents and publishers. It’s great to see it published at last!

My favourite parts of the book are the scenes between Helen and her young daughter, Megan. I borrowed heavily from my own daughter – and as she’s now a teenager, it was lovely to remember the peaceful early years!

I think it’s great when you can go back to something you wrote a while ago that just wasn’t working, and this time make it all come together. 🙂

Where do you write … and what would be your dream writing location? 

I write the first draft by hand, so I can and do write anywhere. My dream location would be somewhere by the sea or by a river, as I love to look out onto water. The only water I see at home is the frequent rain lashing the windows!

Ha! Mmm, I would love to overlook the sea, too – but I suspect I might not get much work done! 😀

Can you tell us a little about what you’re working on next?

I’ve recently started the first in what I hope will be a series of novels set around a fictional town in the lovely part of north Lancashire that sits between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. I’m only on chapter 7, so it’s at that tricky stage where I’m still not sure if the story is going to work out or not. This is the moment when I wish I was a plotter not a pantster!

I know what you mean – I’m rather a pantser myself – but it’s so lovely to let the characters do their own thing, isn’t it? (As long as they do something that makes the book workable!)

Thanks for visiting, Kate – it’s lovely to find out more about you and your writing 🙂

 

You can buy Kate’s books at these links:

Amazon UK          Amazon US

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kate writes contemporary women’s fiction, mainly set in her favourite county of Lancashire, where she lives with her husband, daughter and hyperactive cat.

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Kate’s debut novel, The Magic of Ramblings, won the RNA’s Joan Hessayon Award for new writers in 2017.

You can find Kate at these links:

Twitter           Facebook

A (half)day out at East Riddlesden Hall, West Yorkshire

Taking advantage of our newly-acquired National Trust membership, we finally got round to visiting East Riddlesden Hall near Keighley, West Yorkshire. I say “finally got round to” because it’s only half an hour’s drive from us, and my father used to volunteer there as a room steward for a few years once he retired, so we had no excuse not to have done it before now!

It was rather a dull day, so the photographs don’t show it in its best light, but here goes …

A manor has existed on the site since the 7th century, but the earliest remains that can now be seen are the ruined wing of a medieval hall built in the  1300s. These are the ruins, to the left of the photograph …

In the 1400s, a house was built next to it and gradually extended over the next century or so.

In the 17th century, it was turned into a manor house by a wealthy cloth industrialist who bought the estate for around £6,000 (which would be £6,000,000 today!) His many and ostentatious renovations are apparently no longer evident in what can be seen now …

The house passed between various families over the next three centuries. Finally, after years of neglect, it was due to be demolished in the 1930s, but the Mayor of Keighley and his brother stepped in to save it and some of its land, and they donated it to the National Trust.

The mish-mash of the history of the place does reflect in your visit. Many of the original features, fixtures and furnishings were sold off over the years, although I presume these fabulous windows are original …

The National Trust have fitted the Hall out with furniture in keeping with the property to give an ideas of what it might have been like … 
… and the room stewards do their best to impart what is known about the property over the centuries. The lady in the kitchen area was particularly knowledgeable.
As much of the land was also sold off before the NT obtained the property, the gardens are not extensive, but they are pleasant for a stroll and on a nice day would be a lovely place to sit …

We took a walk along a path that leads you around the edge of the meadows and back to the Hall, which gives a sense of how the Hall and its grounds are an oasis in the midst of the urbanisation around it.

The cafe is situated in an oak-beamed outbuilding and was a lovely place for a cuppa.

My thoughts? We would have struggled to spend more than a half-day to do and see what we wanted to here, but with our entry fee covered by our NT membership, it was a pleasant place to while away two to three hours. And apparently they put on extra activities for kids in school holidays.

A day out at Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire

It’s a been a busy summer, what with the release of Summer at the Little French Guesthouse and welcoming guest authors to the blog with their lovely summer releases, too … and so, as ever, I’m rather behind with my ‘places visited’ posts!

In mid-June, hubby and I finally took the plunge and joined the National Trust. We planned to head off to Cornwall for a holiday (no doubt I’ll post about that at some later date!) and as many of the car parks down there seemed to be NT-owned and there are plenty of NT places to visit there, too, it seemed a good time to go ahead.

That gave us the perfect excuse to visit Fountains Abbey to get our membership sorted and then spend the day!

We usually visit this area in the winter, for a walk around Studley park and lake and beyond (you can read about that here) but becoming National Trust members meant that we could walk through the grounds of the abbey itself, something I’ve done as a child and also when our children were younger, but that was quite a while ago!

The abbey was founded in the 1100s by Benedictine monks from York, evolving into the Cistercian Order, and it became wealthy via wool , lead mining, cattle, and stone quarrying.
But the 14th-century didn’t go well for the monks, with bad harvests and raids by the Scots, let alone the Black Death,  and then of course there was the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539.
After that, the estate was sold to a merchant and stayed in private hands right up until the 1960s, and finally the National Trust bought it the 1980s.
After wandering through the impressive ruins of the abbey, we meandered along the Studley Royal Water Garden …

This was landscaped and developed in Georgian times and is dotted with classical statuary and small temples …
It was a glorious day and we thoroughly enjoyed the views, stopping for a much-needed cuppa at the Studley tearoom, overlooking the lake, before finally heading back to the abbey.

It’s wonderful to have such a beautiful place just an hour or so’s drive away.

My thoughts? You could easily spend a full day here in good weather, so bring a picnic!