Based in Leeds, but exploring Berlin for the next two months.
Published January 26th 2014
Impressive museum, but skip the cafe
The North East is a truly remarkable part of the country. The people are incredibly friendly, and its historical heritage is remarkable. In this part of the country you will find historical rarities: intact stone structures from the early middle ages.
I took a trip to Wearmouth and Jarrow, to see Bede's World and the famous abbey associated with its namesake scholar.
In the rain, the reconstruction of the Anglo-Saxon farm was still impressive. I would recommend that those with families should wait until the summer before visiting, as the animals and activities are in full swing when the weather it warmer. In the rain the animals were more keen on hiding away than greeting the guests! The reconstruction itself though is a delight for any history-enthusiast.
The Bede's World centre is dedicated to its namesake, and focuses on both monastic life in the early middle ages and the world of the 6th, 7th and 8th centuries. This time of history is mysterious, so to have an insight into the era which many call 'the dark ages' is fascinating. Far from the backward society we often associate with it, early Anglo-Saxon Britain was more cultural and complex than we might think. For scholars and historians, Bede's World offers an important look at an often overlooked part of our history. For families and children, the museum and reconstruction offers a fun way of learning about Britain's past.
Despite the staff being an absolute delight, the cafe at Jarrow Hall was not as pleasant as I'd hoped. There was little space to sit inside, and my friend and I had to share a table with a very kindly elderly couple. The food choices were also quite limited and a lot of the stock had run out. However, the whole place was very clean and the staff were irrevocably friendly and amiable.
The cafe is a pretty good size - there is a lovely second room if the tables are full in the room where the counter is :). There are also tables outside in the garden which is a lovely spot on a sunny day. I would recommend the cafe - it is in a beautiful old building - once home to the famous shipyard family, Palmer. They usually have a good range of food so maybe the writer went late in the day ?
Nope it really is as the writer describes, I work nearby and would love a nice cafe to enjoy lunch but sadly the one at bede's is just not nice, it's clean, but feels cold and basic, and the food is school cafeteria like. Ok if you want to sit outside with a tea or coffee but avoid otherwise.