Saturday, 29th October 2016 – Beverley, East Yorkshire, UK
We urgently needed to scoot up to Hull to check on my late parents’ house as we’ve just put it on the market, and so we decided to make a bit of a weekend of it and stay two nights in Beverley, which for those who don’t know it, is a small mostly Georgian town in East Yorkshire with a long history, a spectacularly beautiful Minster and a number of other medieval buildings including St. Mary’s Church. With all of that in mind we travelled up Friday afternoon and managed to get everything at the house done before we headed over to stay at White’s Overnight, something I’d been meaning to do for some time. With a booking in White’s Restaurant that night, and over at Rascills in Raskelf the following night it meant late Friday afternoon and all day Saturday were ours to do with as we liked.
Having arrived slightly too early to get in, we parked the car in North Bar Within and strolled over to the Saturday Market with intent to get a drink and relax. We found what appeared to be a very pleasant-looking tapas bar, Central 42, and parked at a table in the window to watch the world go by. A waitress appeared and took our order for a bottle of prosecco, and we waited for it to appear. And waited. And waited. And waited. Various deliveries arrived (numerous cases of wine, bags of coffee from the wonderfully eccentrically named Dancing Goat coffee company) but of our prosecco no trace was seen. We began to wonder if we would ever see it. After 20 minutes I went up to the bar, managed to get someone’s attention, and asked what was happening. Apparently they were out of prosecco, and new supplied had just arrived but were not cold, so they were trying to chill it. It didn’t seem to have occurred to anyone there that the sensible thing would have been to come back immediately and explain the situation. We now had less than an hour before we were expected at White’s and now really didn’t have time to drink a bottle that had still not been handed over anyway. I cancelled the order, chose two glasses of rose instead and wrote the establishment off as a place I’ll never go back to if they can’t get something as simple as that right, and clearly don’t feel the need to communicate with customers. Not impressive. What would have been far better would have been for someone to come over and say: “We’re very sorry. We’ve no prosecco properly chilled at the moment. Would you like to wait or would you prefer to order something else.” That’s how you do customer service.
We were far better served when we popped into Browns, a rather delightful department store of the type you might be forgiven for thinking no longer exists, where I needed to pick up some mascara. The staff were charming, the shop itself is a lovely old building, and if we’d had time I’d have had a nose around.
Ah well. We checked in to White’s, had a fabulous dinner, and retired to Room 1 for the night. The following morning chef-patron John provided a splendid breakfast of fresh fruit, yogurt, muesli, bacon rolls, pain au chocolate and orange juice. It would certainly set us up for the day.
We decided we would head for the local Tourist Information office, and see what we could find out. We ended up with a map that detailed several walks around Beverley so we decided we’d combine as many of them as possible, and see as much as we could inside a day, ending with a trip to the county museum as it had what sounded like some interesting exhibits up. That was the plan anyway! We also ended up doing the walk in reverse, but as that’s something we often end up doing it probably won’t surprise anyone who knows us. We learned and re-learned a lot about the medieval guilds, which were plentiful in Beverley as it was a very rich town at that time (some would say it still is) and also tried to track down the various “fish” set into the pavements, as we headed towards the Beck where a number of old barges were moored.
To get there we walked through both the Saturday Market and the much smaller and recently revived Wednesday Market where many of the fish were to be found, stopping to buy boot laces on the way (don’t ask). On the way Lynne suddenly announced she needed a cup of coffee. In the past this would have been hard to come by at that end of Flemingate, but no sooner where the words issued than we stumbled upon a coffee shop. I don’t know how that works (see tea shops appearing from nowhere in Finland too) but work it does. The Traveller’s Rest has clearly been a pub at some point in its past, but it’s now a wonderful cafe/bar with lots of little rooms, blazing fires and some very good cake! I highly recommend the salted caramel Victoria sponge…
Suitable fortified we took a wander to the Beck where the Beverley Barge Preservation Society have moored the Syntan, among other vessels, and we had to fend off some optimistic ducks.
From there we walked back along Flemingate, aiming for the Minster.
I hadn’t been in for a decade at least so I was pleased to find they welcome photographers if you don’t mind buying a £3 permit. I figured that was money well spent towards the upkeep of a very fine medieval building and handed over the cash happily.
We pottered happily around taking pictures of the interior, and then decided to head for the museum by going down one of Beverley’s many medieval streets. And that’s where the plan derailed. Standing outside the Monk’s Walk Inn being amused by the sign that says “This is a ‘Chatter’ pub. The only background noise is good conversation!” we were surprised to be hailed by a friend of ours demanding to know what we were doing there. We asked much the same question only to find that Neil had taken over as landlord of what may be the oldest pub in Beverley (the building dates back to 1210) in April. The museum was put on hold, Neil called Gill to come over and say hello, and we were given a guided tour of some of the very oldest parts of the building.
It’s a bit alarming but there are plans afoot to make use of the space eventually – clearly after a bit of work. The gardens are coming along nicely though.
That took care of the afternoon, and so the museum went on hold and we went back to White’s to get ready to go for a second splendid dinner, this time at Rascills.
The following morning we enjoyed a second round of breakfast and then headed for home after a short break well-spent.