Christmas in England 2006
DAYS 1-4: Christmas in York
Wellington - Singapore - Manchester
We left New Zealand at 3pm Thursday 21 December, for the first long haul to Singapore. We had decided to use Singapore Airlines, partly because of their good in-flight service, and partly because they flew direct to Manchester. That way we could avoid the chaos at Heathrow and the carnage of the M1 to get north to York. (As it turned out, avoiding Heathrow was an inspired decision - weather closed Heathrow for nearly 48 hours in the days before Christmas with resultant chaos that took weeks to sort out).
There is not much you can say about long flights:
We were in Singapore. Another 12 hours to go. At least Singapore Airport is clean and comfortable. Another long flight and we arrived in Manchester at 6am, still dark but looking cold and wet. Manchester Airport was extended and tidied up for the Commonwealth Games in 2002, but increases in flights since then means there are not enough air bridges for all airlines. So the Singapore Airlines flight taxied past the freight depot and stopped outside the warehouses as if we had a contagious disease on board. They opened the plane doors into the teeth of a freezing gale and "invited" us to clamber down the open steps and into the waiting buses. These buses then drove us across the runway to the terminal building and into Immigration. The only advantage I could see in this entry to England was the absence of a long queue - another reason to avoid Heathrow.
We were through Immigration in 10 minutes, picked up our bags and headed for the rental car. It was still only 6.30am, and the rental office did not open until 8am, even though they knew we were arriving early. So back to the terminal, a quick change into warm clothing and a hot coffee, or two. At 8am the office opened, we signed everything up and were off into rush-hour Manchester traffic. Despite planning the route north, we turned the wrong way onto the M56 ring road and found out the long way that it is indeed a ring road, by going east instead of west of Manchester.
Manchester - York
We followed the M6 north and decided that a reality check was needed, so we headed west to Blackpool. Even in mid-December Blackpool looks and feels tacky - exuding the best and worst of British seaside entertainment. I now understand why so many people love or hate these types of seaside holidays. I have no great desire to visit at the height of summer.
A few days in York
Eventually we arrived in York and easily found the B&B we had booked into. Booking over the Internet can be a test of faith, but once again we were rewarded by a lovely place where we felt at home. The Bloomsbury is highly recommended for anybody wishing to stay within an easy walk of the city centre.
After arriving at The Bloomsbury, we took the short walk into York to get our bearings and to look at some of the shops. By 3.15pm the sun was already setting, and by 4.30pm it was dark. We were feeling tired, so dined at a nice Italian restaurant (Bella Italia) then headed back to the B&B for a rest. The next day we spent most of the time shopping in York, dining that evening at Cafe Concerto. The following day was Christmas Day, so after a walk around the town we settled into a restaurant (The Olive Tree for a real Christmas Dinner).
Last updated: 30/06/2017