Thursday, 20 December 2012

Well overdue Sheffield trip report with pictures!

Dear reader,

And now, for my very much overdue trip report of my visit to Sheffield! I have to say I really enjoyed my visit to Sheffield. We traveled from Schiphol to Manchester by plane after which we took the train from the airport to Sheffield. There we took the tram directly to the B&B. After walking around for a while and cursing the google maps printout which I made (which is always super confusing, since you never know which way is up or down… we almost went the wrong way because of it) we were debating whether or not we were in the right street. It did not last long before I spotted the B&B though…. at the top of a very, veerrryyy steep hill. Imagine this: three people walking up a steep hill of which two are dragging a really heavy suitcase behind them. I am sure that the neightbours had a good laugh. 

(It's the Victorian house on the left... Yep, steep hill is steep)

The B&B was definitely worth the climb though! The B&B is called Consiton Guest House and it is just plain lovely… Did I mention it is a Victorian house? (squeal!!!). We had booked a family room, which was spacious and even had a couch in it. The bathroom was pretty large for B&B standards and even had a bath (plus, you could regulate the water pressure which made for a really really wonderful shower experience!).  The room also had an empty fridge which you could use to keep your own stuff cold in. So basically, the room had everything we needed... Well apart from wifi… (unless of course you tab in to the unprotected doggy internet of one of the neighbours, for which you have to sit in the strangest positions if you wish to have any reception at all lol).

Deborah, the owner of the B&B, is so nice! She does everything to make you feel at home. She even offered to drop us off at a nearby village if we wanted to pay it a visit (I mean now sweet is that?!). J So if you are ever in Sheffield, you definitely need to stay in Consiton Guest House. I know that I will definitely be staying there next time. J I would gladly climb two of those steep hills for that. For those of you interested, this is the website:

Well then, where did we eat? Well I have to say we only ate at one particular place for 5 nights in a row. People are probably thinking that’s a bit strange and unadventurous… but honestly, why not return to the same restaurant to try different things if the restaurant itself is great! This wonderful restaurant went by the name of The Rawson Spring and is part of the Wetherspoon restaurant chain. If you are ever in England I would highly recommend them. The quality of the food is super good, you get a really big portion… and bonus: it’s cheap! (Hey, what do you expect: I’m Dutch! :P). There are some days on which they have special offers or even theme nights. If you take the meal that is on offer you pretty much get a really awesome, good quality meal for about 3,50 per person including a soft drink or a beer. Heck you can’t even get a freaking happy meal for that price! O.o  Having grown up in Amsterdam I just thought that was freaking insane! Just imagine spending 10,- for a main course, a pudding and drinks which are actually good quality! So go to Wetherspoons, not just because it’s cheap, but mostly because super tasty!

The BAVS conference theme this year was Victorian Value: Ethics, Economics and Aesthetics”. Unlike last year, I will not discuss the panels that drew my interest. I do, however, want to give a bit of attention to the paper that Christine Chettle gave. I had met her at a previous BAVS conference and we had stayed in touch through facebook ever since. This year at BAVS she gave a really interesting paper entitled “The Value of Enlargement: Crinolines and Gauging Community in George Elliot’s Daniel Deronda”  (if you have no clue what these are please click here). In her paper she explored how the crinolines functioned as ways for the characters in Elliot’s Daniel Deronda to express themselves. As I don’t dare to discuss the paper in much detail without permission (I wouldn’t want to be responsible for someone stealing her subject), I will simply put a link to her personal profile at the University of Leeds for those of you who would like to read a bit more on her research. I know it probably doesn’t seem much coming from a newbie, but I really look forward to reading (or hearing) more on the research that she is conducting.  Keep up the good work Christine! :D

Well then, after the conference we still had one day left in Sheffield. On this day we had planned a visit to Chatsworth House, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, which is located in the middle of the Peak district. In order to get there you can take the bus from the bus station at Sheffield University Station. The bus ride there is a pure joy. Although it takes you about 1 to 1,5 hours to get there, the bus will take you through the peak district.... The views are amazing! If you are lucky enough (like we were) to get a double-decker, try to obtain a seat at the front row at the top.

What we did not know when we set out on our journey that day was that there was a country fair being held at Chatsworth house. Unfortunately, we also did not know that the Yorkshire run was being held in Sheffield, causing us to arrive quite late at Chatsworth house. As such we did not have time to check out the country fair. However, there was one huge advantage to the fair being there; because the normal visitor’s entrance was blocked due to the stands etc., we were allowed to enter the house by walking through the front garden, which is only open for visitors when the fair is being held. Here are some of the pictures I took whilst walking to the entrance:

I have to say that I was awestruck once I entered the house. Almost every room has a beautiful painted ceiling and is filled with the most gorgeous furniture... 

The paintings were absolutely stunning as well. I have to admit that this was my favourite: 

This picture depicts Georgiana Spencer, the wife of the 5th Duke of Devonshire.

According to the description ‘Georgina was famous for her lavish lifestyle, gambling and enormous hats, amongst other things’.

What I truly loved about this house though, is that in every room they have these cards which explain what the rooms were used for, so that even those people who do not wish to buy the guide book or cannot afford it will be able to get the full experience.

Just before you enter the giftshop, you walk through a giant hall filled with roman statues: 

Somehow this struck me as very similar to a scene in the Pride and Prejudice movie directed by Joe Wright (the one with Keira Knightley)... Upon entering the giftshop, which was littered with Jane Austin and Mr. Darcy related merchandise, there could be no doubt about it! This of course made the visit even more special!

After the house we turned into the garden, which is quite spectacular in itself. This fountain was one of the main attractions there:

(My mom and I climbed all the way to the top of the fountain... My gosh that was a climb! But the view was amazing!).

We felt a little rushed walking through the house and gardens as the last bus leaves at around 6 and we arrived there at a little over 2 (thanks to the Yorkshire run...). You actually really need a full day to explore both the house and the gardens.

The next day it was time for to return home. We all felt a little sad to leave such a wonderful city. I really wish I could have explored the city a bit more... But I am sure we will return there soon enough.