This was a “no rhyme nor reason” add-on to my Scotland trip. Well really it was because I had planned it for a slightly different trip for 2020 and I just didn’t want to postpone this part again. You could call it “all about the lodgings and cathedrals”. Ha!
Durham 2 nights: Durham Castle. Who wouldn’t want to stay in an old castle? Well, really it is student housing for Durham University, but I truly did get to stay in the castle part. Who cares if it was 87 steps up (or down) each time? I was in the Keep (room number K40 to prove it). :) And breakfast in the Great Hall? Like being in a movie! These kinds of accommodations are inexpensive but only available during school holidays and I was happy it worked out for me!
York 5 nights: So I went from a castle to a convent. I stayed 2 nights at the Bar Convent Living Heritage Center, 1686, just a 5 min walk from the train station. A cute place, reasonable prices, with a beautiful garden - still a living breathing working convent. Thanks to Laurie Beth for asking and Suz for recommending! I heard no other American accents.
Then I moved to the other side of the river for 3 nights to the perfectly respectable (and normal) No 34 York, on Bootham Crescent. Nice people, nice place, easy walk to the city center.
Reason for the change? Cost first. I had 5 nights at No 34 booked but it was 3 nights in a single room and 2 nights in a double room. So when I came across the convent and it had availability at a single rate for the same 2 nights I was going to have to pay a double rate AND it was so interesting, I just did it.
Hawarden 2 nights: I wanted to see Chester. Somehow I came across Gladstone’s Library and who could resist staying in a library with history that looks like a manor house?! This is where the 3 time Prime Minister donated his library toward the end of his life. It’s said he carried some of the books over himself from his home. It was only a 15 min drive from Chester, in a small town - and bonus it was in Wales! (I had failed to notice that….) The building is absolutely gorgeous, people nice, and my room had a real bathtub! Possibly my favorite stay out of 5 weeks.
Manchester 2 nights: This was kind of a utilitarian stop but I had come across pictures of the John Ryland Library and just needed to see it. So I stayed at one of only 2 hotels of my trip - Motel One by the Piccadilly train station. It was my first Motel One and I have to admit it did feel kind of like modern luxury at that point. Ha!
What I did: I admit to moving a little more slowly toward the end of these 5 weeks, but I enjoyed everything I did, as well as the relaxing. :)
Durham: was definitely for evensong in Durham Cathedral (I went both nights). I also walked the river down below the castle and cathedral.