Sunday, 25 June 2017
Last time I showed you a seaside village from the start of our visit, this time we have a priory from the end. It was our final full day in Alnwick and it dawned bright and sunny: we decided to take a walk through Hulne Park up to the Priory. You enter via this gate next to the former lodge.
On the gate is what had become a familiar sight: a crescent, marking it out as the property of the Duke of Northumberland.
It was once part of the hunting grounds of the Percy family and there are three walks of 4-6 miles. Be aware though, if you're thinking of visiting, there are no dogs or cycles allowed. We decided to follow the red route to Hulne Priory (or Abbey, they seem to be used interchangeably).
To be honest, most of the route was pretty boring. Some great views but mostly lots of manicured, landscaped roads and paths. There are several houses and farms in the park so we did have to dodge several cars too. I can imagine it would be glorious in autumn with all the trees.
Having rejected the walk to Brizlee Tower because it was on top of a hill, it was a bit of a surprise to see that the Priory is too! OK, not that much of a hill but the day was getting hotter and we were already pretty weary by the time we arrived here.
The Priory was a monastery founded in the 13th century though the buildings are of a later date. One of the reasons I wanted to visit is that it had been used as a location for the Robin of Sherwood TV series (as Kirklees Abbey) and the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (Maid Marian's home) - two of my favourites. If you're interested, you can see a clip of it in the film here.
As you enter through the gate, the former chapel is now a private home.
This is a later addition and was used as a hunting lodge. It's now being used as a wedding venue.
Walk through the archway and you come to...
...the main part of the priory ruins.
The statues guarding the gate are from the 18th century.
We thought this statue was a bit creepy. However, the rest of the Priory is really beautiful and particularly at this time of year with wildflowers scrambling over the ruins.
As we headed back to Alnwick, it was such a hot day that I was tempted to cool my feet in the shallow water over the ford.
Well, tempted until I saw the huge crowd of midges moving back and forth over the water. Hopefully you can make them out as thousands of tiny dots. Ughh!
The river did look beautiful though.
Before we turned back onto the path back to the start, we looked up and could just see the top of Brizlee Tower above the trees. It's a folly, built in 1781. You can see a full picture of it here. I would have liked to visit but it was just too hot a day to walk the extra few miles to reach it.
Tired, hot and thirsty, we called into The Origami Cafe on our way through town. It had caught our eye a few times with its origami decorations in the window and a sign advertising delicious-sounding milkshakes.
Inside it's bright and colouful with more origami decorations and lots of goodies to buy. Chickpea was in seventh heaven. It was just her kind of place with pencils shaped like lollipops, owl rubbers, cupcake money boxes and more.
The food and drink is just as good. I had a mint aero milkshake and a slice of apricot, pistachio and orange blossom cake. Judy, the owner, makes them all herself. We'd been highly recommended a slice of her raspberry and rose cake by the shop around the corner. She had sold out but managed to rustle up a small slice from somewhere - it was equally as delicious. If you're ever in Alnwick, I highly recommend a visit.
Chickpea couldn't leave without buying one of Judy's handmade origami pictures.
I still have lots to share from our holidays but it's taking a while to find time to put words to the pictures. Bear with me and we'll get there in the end! x