**WARNING – VERY PICTURE HEAVY POST**
We had a lovely day out yesterday. We haven’t really visited many places since moving north to Leeds, so we’re determined to start rectifying this. We’re planning some of the trips etc we want to do but first up was a visit to Ilkley. It’s a little market town about 10 miles from Leeds and we were going to tie it in with a visit to Bolton Abbey which is about 15 minutes on the bus from Ilkley itself.
The purpose of our visit was two-fold – to go exploring and also to visit Duttons for Buttons and Bettys Tea Rooms! We have a Duttons and Bettys in other places such as Harrogate and York, but we thought we might have more luck in Ilkley which is a little less busy and touristy.
It was an early start – got on the bus to Ilkley at 8:50 and got there about 50 minutes later. We spent the first few minutes getting our bearings and having a bit of a wander around. We very quickly found Bettys:
It was opposite a very cute little bandstand – which at about 9:45 in the morning was very empty:
Our plan was then to go to Duttons early on, buy the buttons I wanted to finish my Marina cardigan and then go to Bolton Abbey where we could take FO pictures. With the help of a lady in Oxfam who provided us with excellent directions, we then found Duttons where I was promptly overwhelmed by the scale of things:
There are far more buttons then I’ve shown in my photos – more buttons behind and to the sides – it’s absolutely mad!
They also sell a bit of yarn in here and notions such as beads, ribbons and lots of other beautiful things. I couldn’t decide what I wanted – so in the end I kept things quite simple and bought stuff I know I needed (I’m using the word “needed” in a very loose sense!):
I bought 25 cream mother of pearl buttons – you can only see three in the photo as the other 22 are now attached to my cardigan. There’s then 15 red/purple mother of pearl buttons that I plan to use for Audrey in Unst when finished. The last buttons are some toggles that I’ve bought for when I knit Kerrera. Finally, I bought some beads. I didn’t really *need* them, but I had to buy some. Of course now I’ve got home, I’ve realised they’re the same colour as some other beads I have – but thankfully a different size.
Upon finding out I was a knitting fiend, the lady in the store gave us directions to a little arcade in which we could find a knitting shop – which sells Debbie Bliss, Rowan, the usual suspects etc – but where you can also do some other interesting crafty bits to do, such as pottery painting.
The little arcade it’s in is beautiful:
The shop, (Create) is on the first floor up the stairs – but by the entrance is this gorgeous old sign advertising the cafe:
I did succumb and buy just one skein of yarn. It’s a lovely locally sourced and dyed yarn by a company called Ba T’at (after a Yorkshire anthem – clicky here to see what I mean). It’s a skein of light sockweight yarn and yes, it’s blue:
No idea what to make with it, but I’m sure I’ll think of something!
After this, it was time to flee to the bus station to get on the bus to Bolton Abbey. This is an interesting journey – with lots of tiny twisty roads – can get a bit dicey at times if your bus driver likes to throw the bus into the corners. Which ours did.
Twenty minutes later we made it there safely – unfortunately we had just over an hour before the bus came back – unless we wanted to wait for an extra three hours – this meant we had to quite speedily do all the things we wanted to do. First of all, this meant assembling the button fastenings for Marina:
Love those shots with the Abbey in the background! After putting these together, we went off for a little Marina photo-shoot which I’ll show you in another post. We then walked around and took a load of pictures of this incredibly beautiful Abbey.
The Abbey is still in use – in fact a wedding was taking place while we were there. You’re allowed in for free and are welcome to wander in and around the ruins – which is awesome. So enough of me – here’s some pictures of the Abbey and the surrounding land:
Taking all these photos really makes me want to get a better camera. Ours is about six years old now and still takes perfectly good photos, but I’m considering investing in an older DSLR that we can still get new parts for – as the quality will still be infinitely better than what we have now.
We then made our way back to Ilkley as it was about a quarter to two and we were ravenously hungry. I saw an advert for a french bistro on the bus that was doing 2 courses at lunch for £9.95, so we toddled down the road and found our way there. Turns out we were in a Le Bistrot Pierre – which is a chain I’d never heard of, but the place was lovely:
Now, I never normally do this, but I’m going to show you photos of the food. As it was incredible. Portions were very generous and the quality was amazing.
For starters, we had beef carpaccio with rocket and parmesan and some crazy weird rabbit dish served with pickles and sourdough bread:
Trev had never tried carpaccio or rabbit and loved both – he couldn’t get enough of the rabbit in particular – very unusual but it was gorgeous.
For mains I went for a risotto with mint, asparagus, mange tout and peas – while Trev went for the Aberdeen Angus burger with fries and salad:
By this point we were absolutely stuffed – so having dessert was out of the question. We waddled out of the restaurant and tried to gently stroll around the shops to burn off a bit of lunch. Our plan was to go to Bettys for tea and dessert – so we walked around for about thirty minutes and made our way back to the tea rooms.
Remember the band stand we passed in the morning? Well here it was mid-afternoon:
Complete with jazz band!
When we got into Bettys there was a queue, but a very small one – we didn’t have to wait more than ten minutes before we were seated. It’s very classy inside – very comfortable and relaxed but the staff were awesome.
Trev at this point was still too full to eat anything else and just wanted tea. Not being a tea drinker myself, I ordered some raspberry lemonade:
I also gave in and ordered dessert – a massive fruit sundae:
I’d already eaten some of the cream and the biscuit on top by the time I took the photo – this thing is crammed full of cream, ice cream, fruit and then meringue at the bottom. It was gorgeous. Took me a while to eat, but was absolutely amazing.
Finally, we had a little wander into the shop to browse the goodies on sale:
All in all, it was an amazing day. We definitely need to go out and do something like this at least once a month. It’s lovely to explore new places and get to see some of the beautiful countryside around where we live. Makes me very grateful to be living in such a gorgeous part of the world.