Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Our latest jaunt.......

was to Loughborough.  The point of us going was to experience a ride on the Steam Train from Loughborougth to Leicester via Quorn, on the Great Central Railway, then when we booked the train and the hotel we found out that there was a Real Ale Beer Festival taking place at the station whilst we were there -YAY.   Unfortunately the day before we were embarking on our little jaunt MWM discovered that there were no public trains running on the line on the Friday, only on the Saturday and Sunday, and we were due to come home on Saturday morning as we had a wedding reception to attend on Saturday evening.   Bugger!

Anyway we decided we would make the best of the trip, after all there was a Beer Festival on.  We had to get the train to Sheffield then change for the trip to Loughborough, arriving at our hotel The Ramada at approx 3 p.m.   We were given the key to our room but when we went in the bed hadn't been made up so I telephoned reception to let them know.   Within 5 minutes the nice man who had booked us in was knocking at our door with the key to an upgraded room - very nice start to our stay.    We quickly unpacked (there wasn't much as we were only there for 2 days) and then set off to do a quick reccy of the town centre, mainly looking for places to eat and drink, of course we had to sample a couple of pubs offering real ales on our way round.    We found The Moomba Restaurant, which serves Australian cuisine, which we had seen when we Googled places to eat in Loughborough and decided to telephone to make a reservation when we went back to the hotel to freshen up.    The food was really good and the atmosphere was very relaxed, a good start to the evening.   After dining we went to a couple of pubs but by 10 p.m. we were really tired and decided to go back to the hotel and have an early night.

When we found out we wouldn't be able to have a steam train ride we Googled 'what to do in Loughborough' and found this

John Taylor and Co, Bell Foundry, who continue a line of bellfounding which has been unbroken since the middle of the 14th Century when Johannes de Stafford was active only 10 miles from the site of the present foundry.   Since 1784 the business has been in the hands of the Taylor family.  In 1839 the business settled in Loughborough and is now proud to operate the largest bellfoundry in the world and is one of only two in the country the other one being in Whitechapel.  Taylors are the makers of Great Paul in 1881, the largest bell in the UK, which resides in St Paul's Cathedral in London.  Taylors also made Malta's Siege Bell and bells for York Minster.

We were given a tour of the fascinating museum by a nice young man who also explained the process for making bells and we were surprised to learn that one of the key ingredients in making a bell is horse manure!  We got to ring some of the bells in the museum and the sounds they emitted were fabulous.  I've put together a little slide show of what we saw in the museum and the foundry itself and if you every find yourself in Loughborough with a couple of hours to spare I would highly recommend you visit this fascinating historical place.

After our bell foundry experience we went in a little cafe for a sandwich and a coffee before heading for

where the Real Ale Beer Festival was taking place. We paid £3 to get on the station platform then £10 for a card to pay for the beer and £2 for the pint glass.   Expensive you might think but anything not used on the £10 card was refundable (we used it all, surprise surprise) and the £2 was refundable on the glass. Glass and card in hand we proceeded to sample the real ales on offer.

We sampled such delights as 'Roll in the Hay', 'Welcome To The Freak Show', 'Westoe IPA', 'Spellbound', 'White Hart', 'Prowler', 'Rivet Catcher', 'Magnum Mild', 'Big Red' and 'Hoare Farm Rosehip Cider'.   Those were between us mind, we didn't both try them all LOL.    We met some really nice people and enjoyed some interesting conversations about real ale pubs all over the country.

MWM was happy even though he didn't get to ride on the steam train, he did get to see some and took photos of course.   The numbers don't mean anything to me but they may to some of you train buffs out there.

After a great afternoon we headed back for the hotel to have a little rest before going to a lovely Chinese restaurant 'The Laughing Buddha' just around the corner from the hotel, where we had the special set meal for two which consisted of

Special Platter (prawn toast, spare ribs, crispy seaweed, spring rolls and chicken satay)
Crispy Aromatic Duck with pancakes
Sizzling Chicken with Green Pepper and Black Bean Sauce
Crispy Chilli Beef in Bird's Nest
Yung Chow Fried Rice
A nice bottle of house wine
Coffee to follow

a superb meal in very pleasant surroundings with fabulous service, thoroughly recommended.

Full to overflowing we left the restaurant and walked round the corner to the Moon and Bell to finish off the night with a couple of drinks before heading back to the hotel and our bed for a good night's sleep before an early start the following morning on our trip home.

All in all we had a great couple of days in Loughborough.  No doubt we will have to go back at some point so that we can actually ride on the train from Loughborough to Leicester, which is why we arranged the trip in the first place.


Beach Bum said...

Great post!

One of the trains looks like the one from the Harry Potter movies.

Kirstin said...

Wow never heard of the Bell Foundry and I only live like 25 miles or so away from Loughborough... next time I'm there I may go visit (my archery shop is in Loughborough)

CrystalChick said...

Even though you didn't get to ride the train, it still looks like wonderful time was had. And I'm sure you'll get back to doing that another time.
I'm not much of a beer/ale drinker but the names sound so fun I'd have had to atleast try a couple samples.

MorningAJ said...

I live eight miles from that bell foundry and STILL haven't been to see it. It's on my list though. I will get there one day.

Shame you didn't get to ride the train. It's not a million miles to get here (A50 is a straight road.) so you'll have to come back soon!

Valerie said...

Shame about the train, but it didn't stop you having a great time. Love the different names for the ales. Hope you got on okay at the Ramada, it's not top of the list in my area.

Daryl said...

What fun .. how do you stay so slim drinking ale/beer?

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

it sounds like a perfect weekend get-a-way! hope you get to do it again soon. retirement is wonderful isn't it?

smiles, bee

Ron said...

GREAT post, m'dear!

LOVED the photos!

Ooooo....and how marvelous that they upgraded your hotel room!

I laughed when I read the various names of the beers....

'Hoare Farm Rosehip Cider'

Bwhahahahahhahaha! Flawless!

Wonderful photograph of you holding the ale. LOVE your haircut!

Thanks for sharing your jaunt!

Have wonderful Wednesday....X

Akelamalu said...

LOL all steam trains look the same to me Beach, don't tell MWM I said that though. :0

Oh do go and visit the bell foundry museum Kirstin, it's really interesting.

We did have a great time CrystalChick and will probably go back sometime to ride the train.

Oh yes do go and visit it AJ. You know it was your post about Quorn that prompted our visit don't you?

The Ramada was good Valerie, though being right in the centre it was very noisy during the night - not the hotel's fault though.

LOL slim, me, Daryl? I wish! Thanks though. x

Retirement is the best Bee and yes we will probably do it again.

Yes it was all good Ron, glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the compliment about my hair. x

Mama Zen said...

Sorry you didn't get to ride the train, but it sounds like you had fun anyway!

Banker Chick said...

Sounds like you had a great time even tho you didn't get to ride the train. We don't have any businesses from the 14th century in the states and not many or any from the 1784. I love a visit to someplace that has real history.

Maggie May said...

It sounds like a very worthwhile place to go.
My grand sons would love the trains.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Shrinky said...

Sounds a perfect getaway trip! You look lovely, all relaxed and right at place at the real ale venue (smile). We had a CAMERA real ale festival over here, too, last week - hubby helped organise it, and was in his element pulling pints for the cause..

Great post!

Akelamalu said...

We did Mama Zen, we made the most of it. :)

There's lots of businesses like that over here BankerChick, you'll have to come visit.

Oh I'm sure your grandsons would love it Maggie :)

I hope you went to the beer festival Shrinky, to support your hubby of course. ;)

Cloudia said...

steam, beer & bells. . . Lovely!

Warm Aloha from Waikiki;

Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >


< ° ) } } > <

snowelf said...

How wonderful--short trips are still a lot of fun--I love weekend trips.

And I also am in love with your jacket--that is simply adorable!!


Rapuncela said...

cool photos
nice blog :)

Do you wanna folow me? I follow you :)

Travis Cody said...

You sure do pack a lot of stuff into a short trip!