As I strolled into the White Swan this morning enjoying that crisp sunshine that makes life a lot jollier I spotted the first of our tiny little daffodils outside the restaurant. Could it be that spring has sprung? Or at least it is trying to!
The days are just that little longer, the sunshine just that little warmer and there are lambs and bulbs popping up everywhere in our special corner of God’s Own County.
And once you start thinking about it then there is so much to look forward to that is absolutely on our doorstep.
The daffodil walk at Farndale is just a few miles away and it is just the time to plan your visit – it won’t exhaust you at only three and a half miles but can suit young and old legs so a perfect family occasion in such a beautiful spot. Easter eggs for a snack on the way or to tempt everyone home! It is also perfectly possible to bolt it onto something more energetic. We always try and end up at The White Swan for a delicious treat from prime cuts of Yorkshire bred beef to our famous Allotment Pie – there is something for every appetite.
All the country houses in our area start to pull back the dust sheets so if you fancy a bit of ‘Downton’ in our part of the world – where the writer based it, possibly drawing on his schoolboy geography of his time at Ampleforth College – it is all here. Castle Howard, Nunnington Hall, Duncombe Park – and not to forget the glorious gardens at all three of these amazing homes.
Right in the middle of Pickering is the North York Moors Railway – just in case you didn’t know! A surviving reminder of a bygone era before Doctor Beeching closed many lines in 1965 – luckily it has been lovingly rescued, beautifully maintained and even added to by a very keen group of employees and volunteers. The line takes you from Pickering through the stunning scenery of the North Yorkshire Moors through Levisham, Goathland and Grosmont all the way up to Whitby. Trains will be running daily from March 28th.
Finally – the bit we are so TERRIBLY excited about …
Yes – it is time to dig out those padded pants and all that lycra, stretch out those muscles and jump on your bike because the Tour de Yorkshire is almost here. We thought we would herald its’ arrival by launching our very own Bike Shed at the White Swan. It will be a secure place to keep your prized possession with washing facilities and a bench to do any maintenance. The tour comes through Pickering and passes our front door on Friday 1 May with Bradley Wiggins in its’ numbers. If the excitement is too much and you would like to get ahead of the game then Big Bear Bikes based in Pickering is organising free guided rides of stage one on Sunday March 29th and Sunday April 19th. We can obviously equip you with that route at any other time & the dream of lovely refreshments and a hearty meal at the end of it might just keep you going over the 90 miles! It might seem far but a long sleep in one of our comfy rooms as well as a safe place for your treasured bike could just be the thing to make a really memorable occasion out of such a historic event.