Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: A Yorkshire Ramble (2014)

Brideshead Unvisited

My second night at the Leopold was a complete contrast to the first: I managed to get a great night's sleep, with not the slightest hint of disturbances or extraneous noise. I rose at 7:15, fifteen minutes ahead of the alarm that I had set. If the breakfast room was anything to go by, the hotel's occupancy rate had gone sharply downwards on Sunday evening. Simply because I felt like it, I took the opportunity to upgrade to a full English breakfast. A glance outside had confirmed that the weather forecast had been accurate and my decision to abandon my planned visit to Castle Howard, filming location for the 1981 television series Brideshead Revisited, had been a sound move.

Checking the status of trains on the Internet showed that Cross Country services were experiencing severe disruption. I decided to target the 1047 departure to Newcastle, which was expected to be on-time at Sheffield, albeit having started at Birmingham instead of somewhere in Southwest England. I checked out at 10am, left the hotel in the pouring rain and took a Blue Line tram from City Hall to Sheffield Station. The train journey to York was reasonable, but there were too many people using mobile phones with no consideration for others. On arrival, I walked to the Hilton in nasty conditions - pouring rain and strong, gusty winds. I completed a few check-in formalities, put my case into storage and walked to the nearest coffee shop, a branch of Caffè Nero, for some light lunch.

In due course, and in rain that had eased off just a little, I walked to the National Railway Museum and spent an enjoyable two or three hours there, under cover and out of the elements. Opened in 1975 and having undergone considerable expansion since then, this award-winning facility illustrates the history of rail transport in the UK through an impressive collection of locomotives, passenger coaches and other rolling stock, as well as an array of smaller artefacts. A few international exhibits provide a touch of variety. Although I had visited on at least three previous occasions, I was happy to have something that could keep me occupied for a few hours without getting soaked and becoming cold.

I returned to the Hilton around 4:30 and was given access to my room, where I watched TV for a while. Later, I had a very nice dinner in the hotel's Towers restaurant: an asparagus and poached egg starter followed by pan-fried sea bass with sautéed potatoes, all washed down with a tasty Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, proved to be an excellent way of dispelling any slight sense of gloom created by the horrible weather.

Monday 06 Oct

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