I love York with a passion, so much so that I set a large part of my debut novel there. I’d visited enough times to feel confident about writing certain scenes but wanted to return to check what was new and to suss out the one or two places I’d yet to explore; one such gem being Rowntree Park (pictured below).
Well , get this …
I’d been keeping my beady eye out for cheap day return train tickets (didn’t really want to have to pay the usual £70-100 from London King’s Cross) when I only went and received an email from Virgin Trains East Coast advertising promo tickets – if you travelled on certain trains between certain dates – for … wait for it … £5.00 per person each way.
Well timed or what?
No way was I NOT taking advantage of that.
Mr B had said he’d come with me and I had this theory that whilst we were there we could also dash off to Leeds as I knew I’d need to do a fair amount of research there (among other places) for Book 2. It seemed silly to be so near and to not go there.
“Be a bit tight for time!” pipes up Mr B (bearing in mind we’d be getting up at 5am, racing up to King’s Cross to catch the 7.08, have a two and a half hour journey to York with a pretty packed agenda to fulfil once there and then have to make the 6pm train back to London or risk paying the full fare if we missed it).
Hmmm … let me just see if it’s do’able, thinks me, logging onto the National Rail website with no idea of further train costs or timings to Leeds.
Were my eyes deceiving me? £6.00 return from York per person if I booked in advance (in my case, the day before we were travelling!). Again, we had to get specified trains, but for that price, I was THERE!
I mean, £16.00 per person for our day’s travel overall is brilliant, isn’t it?
So … off we trundled to York, ticked off the first two things on my ‘To Do’ list, legged it back to the station, hopped on the 10.27 Northern Rail to Leeds – spent a crazy three hours pounding the streets, notepad and pen in one hand, camera in t’other, with Mr B as chief map reader, and saw 75% of what we needed to see. We even had time for a sneaky crispy duck wrap each in Trinity Kitchen for lunch. I was going to tinkle the ivories in the Victoria Quarter shopping arcade, but I think Mr B would have been on his toes, halfway back to York before I’d sat down! 😀
We were so pleased with ourselves when we got back to York mid-afternoon, we had a crafty pit stop in The Gillygate pub before tackling the last bits on my list. The sun was even shining for us.
By the time we sank into our seats for the return trip to London, my feet were waving the white flag, but it was so worthwhile.
Yes, it was a long, tiring day and I shall have to return to Leeds at some point, but that’s no hardship, and if I can get those promo tickets again, I’ll be well pleased. I’ll have more time to nose round too (especially at all those fabulous shops).
Might even get to play that piano!
Oh I do enjoy research.
Love Jan x