One of the many joys of living in Yorkshire is that is occupies such a vast swathe of the country, and contains everything from vibrant cities to coastal towns, moors and dales and everything in between. It's an explorers dream. In my short time living here I've explored so much and yet I don't feel like I've even scratched the surface, and the novelty of being able to drive for 2 hours without even leaving the county boundaries never fails to amaze me.
Last weekend I did a little bit more exploration, visiting the small and yet vibrant village of Haworth in Keighley. Maybe you've heard of it, maybe you haven't but the chances are that if you know a little about the Bronte sisters, then it's probably a place name that you are familiar with.
My first impressions of the quaint little West Yorkshire village as I drove up the steep, cobbled main street to the 'Apothecary Guest House' was one of utter surprise. I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting, I mean I know that the village gets busy during the annual 1940s festival, but the vibrant street lined with coffee shops and tea rooms, gift shops and vintage and retro boutiques really exceeded all of my expectations. It was beautiful, and I couldn't wait to park up and find out more.
Our guest house was delightful. Warm, cosy and with a perfect view out over the main square, it was the perfect base and as soon as we dropped our bags we ventured out onto the street to peruse shops. The Cabinet of Curiosities, the former apothecary where Branwell Bronte would buy Laudanum is now the most beautiful shop selling bath salts and soaps and beard paraphernalia.
As mentioned before, Haworth hosts an annual 1940s festival, and there is a strong vintage offering in the village. With 2 well stocked vintage emporiums, as well as the wonderfully quirky 'Wave of Nostalgia' boutique where you can order handmade 1950s style dresses from the very retro and extremely friendly owner. It's worth mentioning that Haworth in general has a very olde worlde, and quite eccentric feel to it. When you are on that main street, it's almost like you are in another world, or at least another century.
After tea and cake at 'Villette' coffee shop, and a freshen up at the guest house we were back out in the main village square to join the nightly Haworth ghost tour. Now, I've been on a fair few of these ghost tours in my time, and find they range from being a completely cringeworthy money making scam, to being something vaguely interesting, a little bit amusing and a necessary part of being a tourist. The one in Haworth, however, I did genuinely enjoy. In fairness, I wouldn't have sold it as a ghost tour, per se, but with the tales of disease, hauntings, witchcraft and murder it was more of a macabre history tour. It was fascinating, and at only £8 per person, it was good value too. I did feel a little melancholy afterwards because, what belies this most beautiful village is a history of sadness, poverty and misfortune which bears no resemblance to the modern day Haworth.
We finished off the evening by eating the most delicious dinner (I had a beautiful Game pie) at the traditional and comfortable 'White Lion Hotel' before heading the village's weekly karaoke at the welcoming and lively Black Bull, wondering if we would run into the ghost of Branwell Bronte purported to reside there.
It was a great afternoon with lots to do, and who would guess that such a small place would have enough to fill 2 blog posts, but you will have to come back later in the week to hear what we got up to on the second half of our trip.