Spending a lengthy period of time away from home will always make you miss certain things – to the point where you start thinking about that place with rose tinted glasses and conveniently forget all of the reasons you wanted to leave in the first place!

The return home for us was as predictable as it comes – we were overjoyed to have familiar comforts and our own bed every night and marvelled at how beautiful this part of the world we live in is.

Then a few months later, as tends to happen with every traveller who comes home, we started to get itchy feet again and went on a real downer about being back in the UK.

Water Garden Fountains Abbey

One of my favourite spots – on a still day the reflections are lovely


Cellurium Fountains Abbey

The gorgeous lights in the Cellarium at Christmas

Luckily for us we snapped out of it, determined what our long term goals are and started to get back to appreciating what we have on our doorstep.


We spent the rest of 2014 really utilising our weekends and learning to love Yorkshire again.


We got to see the county looking stunning from the air during the tv coverage of the Tour de France Grand Depart in the summer and my father-in-law sent Paul and I this fantastic list which both inspired new adventures and made us grateful for the ones we’d already had.

Fountains Abbey tower

The main tower open to the sky


Fountains Abbey Night

Fountains at Night, a very rare sight


One local wonder that we’ve really started to appreciate is the beautiful Fountains Abbey.

We live 15 minutes away from this UNESCO World Heritage Site that encompasses a 12th Century Abbey, a stately home, one of the most beautiful water parks in the country and a historic deer park.

I remember walking around the Abbey last year and relishing in how clean, well preserved and most importantly, protected this beautiful place is.

We are privileged to have seen some of the most stunning natural wonders and historic sites in the world and yet with so many of them we left feeling concerned that without proper management they won’t be there for future generations to enjoy.


In the UK I’m very grateful that we have organisations such as the National Trust and English Heritage who are dedicated to protecting our absolutely stellar history.


Window Fountains Abbey Blue Sky

Imagine this giant window full of glass


Water garden Fountains Abbey

The lovely water garden in December

We’ve enjoyed Fountains Abbey in the middle of Summer and whilst it’s been covered in a blanket of snow in the Winter, as National Trust members it’s somewhere we’ll keep going back to explore a few times a year and where we always take first time visitors to Harrogate.

A true highlight was visiting after hours last Christmas, the Abbey was floodlit in all the colours of the rainbow with twinkling fairy lights dangling in the trees and they had carol singers in the old Cellarium which provides this wonderful atmosphere.

It was a truly special experience.

Studley Deer Park Fountains Abbey Deer Stag Monochrome

The Studley Royal Deer Park


Fountains Abbey Nave church

Nave of the 12th Century Abbey

It can be easy as travel fanatics to get fixated with seeing the places that are as far away from home as you can get.


The beauty of our extended trip is that it allowed us to appreciate these places close to home that we’d taken for granted for so many years and truly start to view them with fresh eyes.


I’d encourage any part-time traveller to become weekend warriors and go in search of those gems in your own backyard – it’s why our #Take12Trips challenge was so successful last year.

You need to make the time to step away from the laundry, gardening, DIY and for want of a better word, the stuff that takes over your precious time off.

Get outside and enjoy!

Don’t forget to pin me!

Fountains Abbey Guide



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5 Responses

    • Maddie

      It sounds awful but I never used to, not until after we’d been away for a while. We still don’t want to be here forever but I’m definitely appreciating it so much more now.

  1. Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)

    Fountains Abbey looks legitimately gorgeous! You are so lucky to have something so lovely and photogenic in your neck of the woods.

    Also, not to belittle your own struggles during your return home (because you know I understand all too well!), but I feel like travelers based in the UK have the least reason to get grouchy about living there—not only is your country beautiful, but it’s so compact that it’s really easy to travel around it, even if just on the weekend! Plus, you’ve got all of continental Europe on your doorstep and so many cheap flights too. Being back in Canada and the U.S., we definitely felt a lot more “stuck” because those places are just so big that the time between places makes quick weekends away a lot more challenging (and less affordable).

    All to say, I’m glad you haven’t been squandering your time back home. It’s definitely a process, but I’m glad you’re able to approach everything with fresh eyes and renewed enthusiasm!
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..On Not WritingMy Profile

    • Maddie

      We are very lucky to have a number of lovely and photogenic places near to where we live. We do have a lot on our doorstep and we have become a lot more grateful for that since our trip but we do live in one of the most expensive countries (cost of living) in the world so we definitely have to focus our funds to make travel a reality. I think no matter where you settle there will be grumbles about it, that comes from knowing that place intimately rather than just as somewhere to visit and there is plenty to grumble about in the UK. I envy the ability to drive anywhere in the U.S (or Canada for that matter) but I know that if I lived there my opinion would probably be very different. We’re just trying to make the best of things and tackling all of our free time with a more positive attitude 🙂


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