As John Denver would have said, I'm Back Home Again. We finally took a much deserved and much needed break after several years of not having one. And nope, it wasn't some sun soaked island in the Tropics, it was something far more interesting!
We took a bit of a literary break. Sort of. Having booked off just under a week to mooch about, we set off early on a Monday morning to visit The Harry Potter Studio Tour. I had no idea this even existed until a short time ago when I saw a scrapbook page about it on Shimelle's blog. It only opened in June this year and features some of the actual sets, props and technology used in the enormously successful films. One point that had me erring on the decision as to whether to go or not was the price. It is expensive to get in. Much too expensive. The only reason we did it was because this was our first proper break in 7 years.
Once inside, there is a lot to see. We didn't opt for the audio tour headphones that you can borrow (for a fee!) or the guidebook and found that we didn't miss out. There are a lot of information boards and videos around that give you plenty of guidance. It's well done and fun and even if you're not a total HP nut, it's very enjoyable. But there is that price, and this extends to the gift shop - which is huge! Everything was over priced and, in my opinion, not great quality at all. Throughout the week we visited several other places and all their items were about half the price of the items at this tour. With the amount of people that will go through that tour, and buy items, I think it's a little on the greedy side to charge £28 for an entrance fee for a 3 hour tour. But, having said all that, it was interesting, and fun and if you want to treat yourself, then I think you'll enjoy it.
Throughout the week, we visited Chatsworth, which I can't recommend highly enough. I'd wanted to see it for years, it having been alluded to being the 'Pemberley' Jane Austen had in mind when she wrote Pride & Prejudice. Then of course, it was used for that very setting in the 2005 film of the very same. We spent about 5 hours there, and had a really lovely day. It's a beautiful house, with a real feeling of being a home, despite its size, and the gardens are wonderful, even this late in the year.
Other points of interest were Lyme Park, another 'Pemberley', this time in the BBCs 1995 version, as well as the Bronte Parsonage. This was full of interesting bits and bobs, such as Charlotte's glasses and some clothing - goodness, she had the tiniest feet! It really struck us that we were walking around a house that held such incredible talents, but that all their lives were cut so short, and so tragically. The day we visited, it was a misty, Autumnal morning with a definite chill in the air - all of which seemed to add to the atmosphere of the house. Leaving Haworth we drove over the moors and, although it wasn't the most ideal weather we had in mind, it was easy to imagine Heathcliffe, Cathy and Jane Eyre running across these landscapes.
One of our visits had less of a literary bent, but was nonetheless interesting if you find yourself in Yorkshire on a rainy day, and this was the National Media Museum. We'd been watching 'Who Do You Think You Are' the evening before and Alex Kingston went to the museum to find out more about her grandfather, who had been a photographer. It had the most amazing collection of photography paraphenalia, and has a great amount of information not just on that, but on film, the internet, tv and video games. And for anyone who grew up watching Playschool, let's see if you can name any of these....
Right, well I was going to upload a photo there but it seems Blogger now doesn't want to let its users put images in via the HTML method now, having already seemingly disabled the 'Compose' method some months ago. Come on, Blogger! Get it sorted, please!
So, having dallied about with Harry Potter, Jane Austen, the Bronte's, we came to the conclusion that all the places we went to were well worth a visit, but out of everything, I think Chatsworth comes top of my list.
If you're reading this, thanks for your patience with the gap. Apart from the break, there are some other background things going on, but I'm hoping to get back into the blogging swing alongside them.
Also, the lovely Carol has given me a 'Super Sweet Blogging Award' - thank you, Carol! I will be passing this on via a post shortly!
I'd love to hear if any readers have visited some of the places mentioned above, and what they thought of them. Feel free to leave a comment below! Thanks!