Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Back to the IH Factory and a Day Out in Leeds.

Perhaps not  a " Weekend Destination" place but a weekend back to the IH factory at Knottingly just outside Leeds and a day out! 

Back to the IH factory we went with April for a habitation check and a bit of a bodywork makeover. Over the winter we noticed a small spider shaped mark in the back door and realised it had been caused during manufacture. We had to take April back for a habitation check and a few other bits and bobs outstanding from the last visit. So back to Leeds it was.

We arranged for a hire car to pick us up at the Premier Inn in Pontifract just by the factory. We had stayed there on our previous visit, so knew it would be comfy and good value for a couple of nights. As the van had to go into the paint shop, we knew we would have to return in a week to pick it up, we had already booked 2 nights at the Premier Inn so thought we would have a day out in Leeds. Hardly a "Destination" place but we were very pleasantly surprised.

After dropping the van at the IH factory in the capable hands of Carol, we wandered up to the station at Knottingly a short 10 minute stroll up the road. Our luck was in, at 10.15, the train into Leeds was waiting at the station, so we hopped on.

Two off peak returns, good value at £7.50, the train journey to Leeds was around 40 minutes. Leeds station is in the heart of the city centre so we decided to go and have a mooch around the docks. The architecture was brilliant, with ancient and modern jostling for space by the water. The buildings around the docks stretched up without being overpowering.

We ambled around the Granary Wharf, looking at bridges, locks and barges.

It looks a dreary day in the pictures, but it was actually dry and the sun was trying desperately to be happy. We meandered around the Leeds and Liverpool Canal before deciding to find the local visitor centre back towards the town centre. The Burghers of Leeds certainly knew how to put up buildings, the Town Hall was magnificent and there were loads of huge statues of the great and good. The city showed wealth and splendour at every corner, pity the poor people who worked in the factories and coal mines.

We eventually decided to go and explore Leeds Armoury, a short walk from the station, so back we trudged. Actually the walk was very pleasant, back along the canal we tripped, more boats and barges moored up and loads of flats with snazzy balconies at the waters edge. Some even had roof gardens.

We wondered if water side property was expensive in Leeds?

We arrived at the Leeds Armoury, another imposing water side building, with flags flying. Perhaps they knew we were coming!

We weaved around the barges, peeking in on wood burning stoves, huge televisions, bikes and all the flotsam and jetsam of life on the ocean waves. Life on a barge looks interesting and eccentric, judging by the looks of some of the boats and the paraphernalia they seemed to need! 

We found the entrance The Royal Armouries, unbelievably FREE!! It was crowded but so huge it hardly mattered. Brilliantly put together a wonderful place to spend a few hours. Some of the exhibits were breathtaking.

The Hall of Steel, which was jammed with hundreds of swords, shields and helmets was so well done. The displays were staged to make maximum impact in size and action, which they certainly did.

Many thought provoking and possibly controversial displays on the weapons of war, a great educational centre. There were also staged sword fights and other attractions going on, we spent a long time wandering through the numerous galleries.

By the time we came out of the Armouries, we were relieved to find a free water taxi moored outside waiting to take us back to The Granary Wharf, thank you Leeds Council. 
We stopped on the way back to help a couple who were getting their new barge through one of the locks, Den pretended to help. We spent some time having a chat about life on the ocean wave, a cheap alternative to life on dry land.

We headed back to town and found a very nice Thai Restaurant which finished off a lovely day. Back on the train to the Premier Lodge and a drive home the next day. Looking forward to the next trip to Knottingly next weekend to collect April.