Hebden Bridge & Manchester Trip Report

Apr 4th, 2007, 01:24 PM
  #1  
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Hebden Bridge & Manchester Trip Report

This trip report is dedicated to Morgana, Sheila, and Janis for telling me about Hebden Bridge in the first place.

My husband and I recently returned from a 9 day trip to the north of England. For the first 7 days, we stayed in Old Town Hall Cottage http://www.cottageguide.co.uk/oldtownhallcottage/. This is a charming 17th century cottage in Old Town, a tiny community just above Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire. The cottage was very comfortable, having a cute living room with TV, separate kitchen, clothes washer, and upstair bedrooms. Behind the cottage were gorgeous views over the hills and a pasture of friendly sheep.

We chose Hebden Bridge because of its proximity to both Manchester and Haworth, places we were interested in seeing, and its location on a rail line. Hebden Bridge sits in a valley surrounded by steep hills, which then open out to the bleak, brown moors. It was originally a mill town involved in the wool trade. In the last ten years or so Hebden Bridge has become gentrified, and boasts a slew of shops and 16 coffee houses. Once a hippie enclave, its liberal outlook has made it a welcoming place for gays and lesbians. This thriving town is big on alternative medicine, vegetarian food, and free trade coffee. And there are almost no chain stores to detract from its individualistic charm.

We didn't have a car, so our first full day we took a local taxi service over to Haworth, which was 15 minutes away over the tops of the moors. It was my third pilgrimage to the splendid Bronte Parsonage Museum. I don't think you have to be a fan of the Brontes to find it interesting.

The next day we went to Heptonstall, another town on a hill overlooking Hebden Bridge. Heptonstall has a ruined church, an intact church, two pubs, and not much else. It's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. To get there and back from Hebden Bridge, you either take a bus or a steep cobbled footpath that takes about 25 minutes to walk. Sylvia Plath is buried there because Ted Hughes was from a nearby town.

We also took day trips by rail to Manchester and York. In Manchester we searched for the adolescent home of the Gallagher brothers from Oasis. (Their mother still lives there). Lots of nice Mancunians helped us find it, and a nearby pub where we stopped for a beer dedicated an Oasis song to us! We then had a tasty dinner on the Curry Mile. York was splendid, too, and I higly recommend the Undercroft tour at York Minster, which allows you to see the Roman and Norman underbelly of the cathedral.

Our last two days were spent in Manchester, where we stayed in a simple but trendy room over the Ox gastropub in Castlefield. We watched a Man United football game at a sports bar, went shopping at Arndale Center, visited the Museum of Science and Industry, and went to a Victorian pub called the Britons Protection that was a warren of cozy rooms.

We were greeted extremely and suprisingly warmly throughout our trip. One woman gave us a ride home from the grocery in her car. The bartender at the local pub let me get a picture of myself "pulling a pint" behind the bar A group of tipsy older ladies in Manchester taught me some local slang.
JulieG is offline  
Apr 4th, 2007, 02:16 PM
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A thread dedication - aw shucks <blushing font>

Glad you had such a good time. The cottage looks lovely. How much did the taxi to Haworth cost? I often recommend taxis/drivers but not sure what sort of rates they get nowadays . . . .
janisj is online now  
Apr 4th, 2007, 02:42 PM
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Hi Janis,

Well, considering we never would have found Hebden Bridge without you all, it seemed fitting! (In fact, the number one question asked of us by amazed locals was "How did you find out about Hebden Bridge?")

The taxi was rather expensive - I hate to tell you that it was about 20 pounds. We had planned to take a local bus but we weren't ready in time and didn't want to wait for the next one. But we did take taxis frequently from our cottage to and from Hebden Brige. Since bus fare was always multiplied by two it wasn't that much more expensive to just grab a taxi, and much more convenient.
JulieG is offline  
Apr 9th, 2007, 06:07 PM
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JulieG is offline  
Apr 9th, 2007, 10:52 PM
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Julie
Thanks for the dedication - so pleased we could help and that it all worked out so well for you. Sounds like you had a great time.
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Morgana is offline  
Apr 10th, 2007, 03:57 AM
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Is the clog mill still there (no really)?
bilboburgler is offline  
Apr 10th, 2007, 04:26 AM
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Thanks for doing a trip report - it's always great to read accounts where the travelers get off the beaten path. The cottage looks lovely. Did you cook most of your meals there?

What a variety of things you did! I love that you were on an Oasis pilgrimmage.
noe847 is offline  
Apr 15th, 2007, 06:31 AM
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Bilboburgler, yes, I did see road signs that said "Clog Mill," but we didn't actually visit it. I guess we're not really clog people.

Noe847, we thought staying in a cottage worked really well. I could make oatmeal with fruit for breakfast in the morning instead of an artery-clogging fry-up. (I did have the full fry-up at a pub one morning because I love them, but I preferred having it as a treat than every morning like when you're at a hotel).

Then we would eat our main meal out at a pub or curry house while we were sightseeing. At night we could chill out with delicious leek and potato soup or roast chicken from the local grocery while watching British telly. It waw a much more relaxing and economical way to travel.
JulieG is offline  

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