Coach Trip
An all inclusive one night stay at the Grand Hotel, Scarborough,8th January 2012
also One night Dinner, Bed & Breakfast staying at Ramada Jarvis Hotel, Bingley, 26th February 2011via National Holidays

Scarborough bay with the imposing Grand Hotel
_As a nice little treat for Mr Ploughs birthday we decided on an all inclusive trip to Scarborough with National Holidays.
A Sunday night stay in a standard room with evening meal, breakfast & 3 hours of free bar was an absolute bargain at only £39 per person. We've been with National Holidays previously on a 'mystery' break & found it to be excellent value. I'd definitely use the company again & if you sign up to the mailing list they send you a special offer email too.
The Grand Hotel is a beautiful & imposing Victorian building, in a fantastic position overlooking  Scarboroughs entire South bay and in short walking distance from town. As you know by now, I adore old buildings & the victorians knew how to build in an opulent & magnificently ornate style such as this hotel and glad to say there are still many original features left inside the hotel too. Sadly time has took its toll on the hotel but to be fair it must cost a kings ransom to upkeep such a massive hotel. I'm not going to go into all the ins & outs of what I felt was wrong or could of been improved upon within the hotel you can read my tripadvisor report here if you like, instead this blog is about what a good value-for-money trips with National Holidays we've had.
We were picked up from Darlington early that Sunday morning & we wondered if there would be a 'stop off' somewhere en-route but no! We arrived at the hotel two and a half hours before we could check in, no problem though, we left our bag at the hotel & set off into town to look for a nice pub for a lunch & a pint of real ale.
I'll tell you a story now:- I've been to Scarborough rather a lot over the years and I've noticed an old fashioned painted wooden sign at the end of a narrow passage way for  pub called 'The Three Mariners Inn'. I've always thought it would be lovely to go in here and sample a pint or two in some nice historic surroundings. Indeed the sign boasts its 'the famous haunt of smugglers with its secret hiding places' sounds right up my off we set, with much discussion from Mr Plough who was adamant there was no pub at all down this far end of the seafront, but no I knew there was, after all I've been seeing this sign for quite some years now...skipping excitedly down the narrow alleyway I was a bit perplexed as to why the door was closed....then my heart sank, on closer inspection I was horrified to discover that The Three Mariners Inn is not a pub and doesn't look like it has been a pub for maybe a hundred years or so!!! It has been a museum more recently but now it's neither, its just a house!...I can't convey to you my disappointment at this discovery, I wanted to drink in here for so many years! I was absolutely gutted..who would do such a thing as to advertise a fake pub?!!! Its just cruel! haha...hey-ho!
On returning to the hotel we were delighted to find our room had a jacuzzi bath, which I tried out while Mr Plough ventured out of the window to 'admire the sea-view'.... Evening meal was a self service three course affair, prawn cocktail, roast pork & gateau, a menu designed with the mainly elderly clientele in mind. The 'free bar' started rather early at 6pm and at one point poor Mr Plough stood in the huge queue for the bar for nearly 30minutes! By the end of the free bar we had managed to have three free drinks each which was perfectly acceptable. The hotel boasted a 'comedy weekend' so we hung around to see the comedian, who was no Michael McIntyre, 'Umpa-lumpa' he bellowed to the audience, 'stick it up your jumper' replied the enthusiastic geriatric crowd, 'charcoal charcoal' offered the comedian, 'stick it up your arsehole!' came the audiences retort..clearly side-splittingly funny stuff to the over 70's, not my 'thing' so we called it a night & headed off to the room with an over priced bottle of warm wine...
Breakfast was again a self serve arrangement but sadly not even the magnificent view of Scarborough bay could distract from how awful the food was so we headed off into Scarborough instead and enjoyed a lovely morning beach walk before finding a nice coffee shop overlooking the harbour for a spot of brunch then back to the hotel at 130 for our return journey home.
All in all we had a great time and felt the trip was good value for money.

Bankfield, our 'Mystery' Hotel
_The first trip we took with National Holidays was in 2011 when we opted for a 'Mystery Weekend'....
We were very excited when we booked it & named a list as long as your arm of all the places we hoped we might go to & probably the same again of where we hoped we wouldn't go!
We boarded our coach early on the Saturday morning & excitedly took our seats wondering what scenery we would pass through on our mysterious journey, sorry to say we weren't in suspense for too long for as soon as the last passenger boarded with us the driver promptly told us exactly where we were off too!
Skipton never made it on to either of our lists, infact I'd never been to Skipton before so that was a bonus.
We drove through some dramatic scenery (& weather) and arrived at our days destination just before lunch.
Skipton is a beautiful historic market town, complete with canal, that boasts a castle too ..(that we couldn't find! I think we had castle blindness or something because on our next visit to Skipton it was obviously right in front of us the whole time!)... We enjoyed a lovely canal boat ride, taking in the sights of Skipton. Then as the rain started to fall we headed into the Narrowboat pub and  I introduced Mr Plough to the delights of 'real ale'. Several Ilkley Mary Jane's later we set off in high spirits to embark on an impromptu pub tour! We ventured into many quaint inns around the town none of which I remember the names of now, I even lost my hair treasured accessory & I apologize unreservedly to anybody we may have bothered as we were more than slightly drunk when we reboarded the coach & headed through more beautiful scenery (that I do remember) to our hotel for the night at Bingley.
The hotel was an absolutely gorgeous gothic mansion, not what I expected at all, very pooosh!
Bankfield, at the time we stayed it was Ramada Jarvis owned now I believe Mercure own it.
Our room was very nice & we had a view of the very pretty garden. Our evening meal was lovely if not a little rushed, but the only downside of the stay was there was a wedding reception taking place in the hotel & the guests had spilled out into the bar & taken all the seats...of course with hind sight I think it probably wasn't ideal for the bride&groom to have a coach load of unknown people at your wedding reception...
Our coach set off early the next morning so breakfast was a tad rushed. However we set off for a day at Bowness in Windermere which is one of my favorite places to visit. I love the lake district & Windermere is beautiful.
We took a fantastic hour long boat ride out onto the lake, looked round the independent shops & had an amazing fish 'n' chip lunch in Vinegar Jones... the weather stayed fine, sunny but cold, to be expected in February and a great day was had by all....
We paid £39 each for this trip & had dinner, bed & breakfast at a very fancy hotel, and excursions to Skipton & Bowness on Windermere an absolute bargain!
I would definitely book another holiday with them again.

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