You'd be daft not to go to yorkshire
MONDAY: An early start for Ryanair flight FR152 to Leeds Bradford.
Keith Mulhearn from completeyorkshire.com is at the airport to meet us and whisk us off to Saltaire, a pleasant little industrial village on the banks of the Aire river where the tyrannical altruistic owner used to decree that anyone who became inebriated or did not wash on Thursdays would be evicted from the place. The mill has a great art gallery with a bookshop.
The morning starts at a lovely visitor centre in Thirsk dedicated to the life and works of Al Smith, better known as James Herriot.
Fountains Abbey is well named this morning. The water cascades on us as we trek down the hill towards imposing Benedictine ruins.
There is a surfeit of ghost tours in York but I have found the best: Mark Graham's tour which starts from the King's Arms.
TUESDAY: Yorkshire, a county of 5m people, has had a good Olympics with SEVEN gold medals. Yet it has just ONE five-star hotel (Ireland has 38), the Cedar Court, where I am having Whitby haddock for breakfast.
It is an impressive building, a former railway headquarters with the high ceilings you just don't get in a big hotel anymore.
Head chef Martin Henley can claim to be Yorkshire pudding champion. Best of all, you can get rooms here for £110 -- per room, mind, not per person.
Our tour guide in York, Alan Rowley, has a great phrase he repeats throughout the visit of the one-time capital of England, "those folks up north, we are not so daft".
WEDNESDAY: Leeds, England's third biggest city, was flooded with wool money in the Victorian age so it entered the game of "my town hall is bigger than yours". It has a civic hall as well as a town hall, but knocked down the rest of their Victorian architecture to build ugly 1960s concrete instead. Home for tonight is the Queens Hotel, a big modern, centrally located block.
THURSDAY: There is much to see in Leeds. Henry Moore's public art has softened the edge of the city. A former building society HQ has been turned into a shopping mall dripping with period character. Other shopping malls have amazing steel roofs to keep the rain away, Thorntons from 1877, the County Arcade from 1890, Victoria Arcade from 1900, and the original Marks & Spencer in 1884.
FRIDAY: Leeds Bradford Airport is a small and neat affair. The tidy business class lounge has breakfast pastries and serves as a refuge.
SATURDAY: On the Marian Finucane Show for a humdinger of a debate on Irish tourism with Felim O'Rourke, Eamonn McKeon and Michael Vaughan. Great stuff.
SUNDAY: Package trip enquiries for travel to Las Vegas are up by a third. Blame Harry.