Up Close: York Skyline

Adam Holcroft
Known for its famous architecture such as York Minster, Castle Howard, and the City Walls, York is a city bursting with history making it the perfect place to feature on our Skyline Glassware. Read on for a full rundown of each York landmark to make it on to our balloon gin glass and whiskey tumbler.

National Railway Museum

The award winning National Railway Museum houses Britain's largest collection of railway memorabilia and began in 1948 when British Railways inherited the collections of rail companies. With over 6000 objects on display, 100 of which are locomotives, the museum attracts a huge number of visitors each year with 782,000 people visiting in the 2018/19 season. Some of the historic vehicles on display include a Japanese bullet train, the beautiful Art Deco Duchess of Hamilton locomotive, and the world's fastest steam locomotive, the Mallard. RANDOM FACT: The Museum's library contains over 20,000 books and over a million photographs, covering every area of the history of the British railways.

Holgate Windmill

Built in 1770 by miller George Waud, Holgate Windmill is the oldest surviving 5-sailed windmill in the country. Perched overlooking the hamlet of Holgate, the mill was perfectly placed to allow local farmers to transport grain to the windmill and for Wauld to provide high quality flour to the city of York. The windmill remained in production until the early 1930’s and despite many attempts to restore it, became neglected, eventually leading to the development of a housing estate around the windmill. Following the creation of the Holgate Windmill Preservation Society in 2001, the mill has been fully restored and continues to produce stone-ground flour to this day. Remarkably, 2020 will see the windmill marking its 250th anniversary!

St Mary's Abbey

Once known as the richest abbey in Northern England, the Grade I listed St. Mary’s Abbey is a Benedictine monastery first built in 1088 on the North bank of the River Ouse. York Gin Glass

York Minster

Regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful cathedrals, the history of York Minster stretches back over 2,000 years to Roman York and the birth of modern day Christianity. The cathedral is home to more medieval stained glass than anywhere in the country and features stunning examples of gothic architecture and medieval stonework. Climb the 275 steps to the top of the Central Tower and you’ll find yourself at the highest point in York with spectacular views across the city and beyond. The Minster remains a thriving church to this day with daily prayer and worship taking place. If you’d like to visit the Minster, tours run from Monday to Saturday between 10am and 3pm.

Guy Fawkes Inn

We’ve all heard of the infamous Gun Powder plot of November 5th 1605 but did you know that Guy Fawkes was born in York? Guido Fawkes was born in a medieval inn that stands just a stone's throw from York Minster on 13th April 1570 before being baptised at the St Michael Le Belfrey Anglican church just across the street. From humble beginnings in York he went on to become the most famous conspirator of the Gunpowder Plot, a failed attempt to blow up the houses of parliament and everyone inside, including King James I. The birthplace of Fawkes is beautifully preserved and now runs as a 4 star hotel and restaurant, the perfect spot for a tasty meal at the end of a busy day exploring the city. RANDOM FACT: During his involvement in the Gunpowder Plot, Fawkes gave his name as John Johnson when arrested by the police.

Skeldergate Bridge

Built between 1878 and 1881, Skeldergate Bridge is a Grade II listed building which links York Castle to Bishophill. It was designed by civil engineer George Gordon Page in a Gothic Revival style, inspired by medieval architecture. The bridge, together with its attached tollhouse, features beautiful examples of Gothic architecture including the cast iron parapet decorated with six-pointed stars, trefoils, and the icon of York, a white rose. The bridge was last opened in 1975 and the winding mechanism is no longer in use.

York Racecourse

Having won the Flat Racecourse of the Year Award for the fourth year, York Racecourse is known as one of the best race tracks in Europe. The course attracts over 350,000 racegoers each year and is the third biggest racecourse in Britain in regards to the total prize money on offer. The track hosts three of the UK’s biggest races, the Juddmonte International Stakes, the Nunthorpe Stakes, and the Yorkshire Oaks as well as Europe’s premier handicap race, the Ebor Handicap. RANDOM FACT: York Racecourse has hosted many distinguished visitors, including Pope John Paul II, who said open-air mass there during his visit to the UK in 1982. York Whiskey Tumbler

Jorvik Viking Centre

During an archaeological dig between 1976 and 1981, members of the York Archaeological Trust discovered remnants of the Viking city of Jorvik encased in wet-mud beneath the Coppergate site. Regarded as one of the biggest discoveries of modern archaeology, the Jorvik Viking Centre stands on the exact site where the excavations took place. The museum transports you back to 10th century York with a variety of displays reconstructing Viking-age shops, markets, and street scenes. The latest attraction is an immersive ride experience which takes you on a Viking adventure exploring the people and places of Jorvik. Jorvik Viking Centre is open from 10am daily and is the perfect destination for a family friendly day out in York. RANDOM FACT: Vikings take their name from the area known as Viki in Oslo Fjord – an area renowned for its pirate raiders.

Castle Howard

Castle Howard is a stately home found just outside of York which took over 100 years to complete. The stunning private residence features 1000 acres of land incorporating beautiful woodlands, formal gardens, and numerous lakes. With its incredible architecture, interiors, and world-renowned art collections, it’s easy to spend an entire day discovering the delights of this historic home. Castle Howard remains a family home to this day and has been so for the past 300 years. RANDOM FACT: Castle Howard isn’t actually a castle, in this case ‘castle’ is used to refer to an English country house built upon the site of a former military castle.

Clifford's Tower

Clifford's Tower is the only remaining part of York Castle, first built in 1086 by William the Conqueror. Over time, the castle and tower were rebuilt many times, with the current tower dating back to the 13th century where it is thought to have been used as a treasury or jail. A climb up to Clifford's Tower will see you rewarded with amazing panoramic views of the city and surrounding countryside. RANDOM FACT: The tower got its current name in 1322 when Roger de Clifford was executed for treason by hanging in chains from the tower walls.

York Castle Museum

York Castle Museum is home to thousands of historic artefacts which recreate the daily life of York over the past 400 years. Interactive life-size reconstructions include everything from family homes and shops, to the cell where famous highwayman Dick Turpin spent his last night before being executed. Located in a Grade I listed 18th century prison, York Castle Museum is a great place to visit as a family, kids get free entry with a paying adult!

York City Walls

At 3.4km long, York's City Walls, also known as 'Bar Walls', are the longest and most complete medieval city walls remaining in England today. The walls consist of five main ‘bars’ or gateways, one Victorian gateway, and 45 towers. They were first erected by the Romans in 71AD before being improved by the Vikings in 867AD, and upgraded to stone in 1226. Today, the walls are Grade 1 listed and attract over a million people to the city every year. A full circuit will take you around 2 hours but there are lots of gaps along the route giving you plenty of opportunity to take a break to enjoy the rest of York’s incredible historic sights. RANDOM FACT: All together, the walls weigh approximately 100,000 tonnes! You can see our York gin glass here and our glass tumbler here.

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Top 5 Father's Day Whiskey Cocktail Ideas

Adam Holcroft
With Father's Day fast approaching on Sunday (June 16th), we thought we'd put together a collection of Whiskey recipes that you can pair with our Skyline Tumblers to guarantee you'll be in Dad's good books! Durham Whisky Tumbler by MehaArt

1) Sweet Manhattan

First up we have the Sweet Manhattan, a classic cocktail that combines bourbon whiskey with botanical vermouth for a moreish cocktail with sweet cherry undertones. This is a great choice if your Dad is a fan of fruity drinks. Top Tip: Try swapping out the Angostura Bitters for Cherry or Orange for a subtle change in flavour. For the full recipe, head to BBC Good Food.

2) John Collins

Add a little soda and ice to bourbon and lemon juice and you've got yourself a John Collins. This refreshingly simple cocktail gets its name from the 'Collins' glass it is served in, with 'John' being the name given to drinks which use Whiskey as their base. If you're not too sure what sort of drinks your Dad prefers, you can't go wrong with a John Collins! Head to Spruce Eats for a full John Collins recipe. Newcastle Whiskey Tumbler

3) Mint Julep

The Mint Julep is an iconic whiskey cocktail created by mixing a long shot of premium bourbon with mint, sugar, and crushed ice. The traditional drink of the Kentucky Derby, approximately 80,000 (!!) Mint Julep's are drunk each year at the annual horse racing event in Louisville, Kentucky. Mint Julep Photo by Adam Jaime on Unsplash Top Tip: Once you've mixed your drink, keep the shaker in the fridge for a while before adding the ice to help the mint flavours infuse into the bourbon. To find out how to make the perfect Mint Julep, visit Difford's Guide here.

4) Blood & Sand

If your Dad's more of a scotch drinker then the Blood & Sand should be your go-to cocktail. Named after the bullfighter movie of the same name, the Blood & Sand is made up of smooth scotch whiskey, paired with cherry liqueur, which represents the blood, and orange juice, which represents the sand. Top Tip: For a perfect Blood & Sand, use freshly squeezed orange juice and a smooth scotch. For a full Blood & Sand recipe, check out Liqour.com here. London Skyline Tumbler

5) Old Fashioned

We couldn't put together a Whiskey cocktails list without including the Old Fashioned! If you're new to mixing drinks, this aromatic classic is the perfect place to start as it only uses four ingredients; whiskey, sugar, bitters, and water. A favourite of Mad Men's Don Draper, this spicy and sweet beverage is effortlessly cool and never goes out of style. Old Fashioned - Photo by Adam Jaime on Unsplash Mix up an Old Fashioned for Father's Day with this recipe from Esquire. ______________________________________________________________________________ So, grab yourself a bottle of Whiskey, choose your Dad's favourite city from our Skyline Tumblers, pick a recipe from above and you've got Father's Day nailed. Don't forget, our last order date for guaranteed Father's Day delivery is Wednesday 12th June!

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6 of the Best Places to Visit in Leeds

Adam Holcroft
The unofficial capital of Yorkshire, Leeds is a vibrant modern city full to the brim with history, culture, and natural beauty. Home to one of the UK's largest pedestrianised shopping areas, the UK's third busiest railway station, and the countries most Northerly vineyard, Leeds certainly gives its larger rivals a run for their money!

Read on to discover more about some of our favourite places to visit in Leeds...

For the Shopaholic

Leeds is bursting with amazing places for shopping with the Trinity Mall, Kirkgate Market, and Leeds Corn Exchange featuring a mix of quirky independent retailers as well as all of your favourite high street brands. Our favourite shopping destination however, has to be the stunning Victoria Leeds which brings together the Victoria Quarter and Victoria Gate areas into an architecturally striking shopping and leisure centre. The centre features over 90 boutique retail stores, a selection of stylish restaurants, a casino, and the largest John Lewis department store outside of London. Leeds Victoria Stained Glass Roof The Victoria Quarter's beautiful Victorian arcades are Grade II listed and house Europe's largest stained glass window, by artist Brian Clarke. The coloured roof is over 400 feet long, extending from one end of the street to the other making for a spectacular setting for a day of retail therapy. RANDOM FACT: The Victoria Quarter is also known as the 'Knightsbridge of the North'.

For the History Buff

There's plenty of history to be found in Leeds with a long list of spectacular Victorian architecture to discover including the glorious Leeds Town Hall. A Grade I listed building, Leeds Town Hall is considered Yorkshire's finest ceremony venue. Built between 1853 and 1858 and designed by architect Cuthbert Brodrick, it is one of the largest Town Hall's in the UK. The Hall's Victorian architecture is a reflection of the wealth, power and confidence of the time in which it was created and the building was opened by Queen Victoria herself in one of the city's most important celebrations in history. A multi-purpose building, the Town Hall now plays host to a variety of events including weddings, conferences, festivals, and concerts. RANDOM FACT: The Town Hall held the title of tallest building in Leeds for a record 108 years before being overtaken in 1966 by the Park Plaza Hotel.

Leeds Skyline Tumbler

For the Theatre Lover

If a night at the theatre is what you’re after then you'll need to head to Leeds' Grand Theatre & Opera House. The Grand Theatre is a 1,500 seat, Grade II listed theatre and opera house in the Briggate area of Leeds which first opened its doors in 1878. At it's opening, the theatre's grand Victorian Gothic style and decorative interiors were deemed to be ‘ahead of its time’. The theatre hosts acts from all areas of the arts including drama from The National Theatre, West End Musicals, and performances from its resident companies, Opera North and Northern Ballet. Famous faces to have graced the Grand Theatre stage include Julie Andrews, Laurence Olivier, and Sting. RANDOM FACT: The theatre's first show was a production of 'Much Ado About Nothing'.

Leeds Chopping Board

For the Creative

In every city we visit we love to hunt down the city's best art pieces and in Leeds you'll find them at the Leeds Art Gallery. The gallery is a Grade II listed space with a stunning glass roof where you can view works by both national and internationally renowned artists. The gallery's clock tower makes it one of the stand out figures in the city's skyline and it is also home to one of the most significant collections of 20th century British art in the country. The gallery forms part of the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle, a group of spaces celebrating the world's greatest sculptures, and hosts a vast array of paintings and sculptures from award-winning artists to up and coming talent. RANDOM FACT: Leeds Art Gallery's entrance hall contains Leeds' oldest civic sculpture, a 1712 marble statue of Queen Anne.

For A Night of Entertainment

For a great night out, see who's playing at the First Direct Arena during your trip. The Arena is Leeds' main entertainment venue and has played host to some of the world's biggest artists including Elton John, Cirque Du Soleil, and Bruce Springsteen. The Arena holds 13,500 spectators and is the first UK arena to have a fan-shaped orientation, allowing all seats to face towards the stage and reduce the viewing distances to create a more intimate space. RANDOM FACT: First Direct Arena has been recognised as one of the country's top five iconic buildings alongside the Gherkin, Sage, Etihad Stadium and Birmingham Library.

Leeds Skyline Gin Glass

For Discovering more about Leeds

Finally, if you want to know more about the history of this thriving Northern city you'll not want to miss Leeds City Museum. Located on Millenium Square in the city centre, Leeds City Museum is a free museum located in the former Mechanics Institute made up six different galleries including the Life on Earth Gallery, the Ancient Worlds Gallery, and the Leeds Story Gallery. The most loved of the Museum's exhibits is the 'Leeds Tiger', an Indian Tiger pelt stuffed with straw thought to originate from a tiger who had been shot for spending too much time near an Indian village. The Museum has an ever changing programme of events with regular interactive, family friendly exhibits, offering an educational and fun day out for visitors of all ages.

The iconic Leeds buildings which made it onto our glassware are:

  • The Royal Armouries Museum
  • Opal House (Silhouette)
  • Tetley's Brewery Wharf
  • Bridgewater Place (Silhouette)
  • Victoria Leeds
  • Granary Wharf (Candle Building)
  • Kirkgate Market
  • Trinity Mall Leeds
  • Pinnacle (Silhouette)
  • First Direct Arena
  • Leeds Corn Exchange
  • Leeds Grand Theatre
  • Leeds Art Gallery
  • Leeds City Museum
  • Sky Plaza (Silhouette)
  • Leeds Town Hall
  • Civic Hall
  • Parkinson Building (Leeds University Steps)
*Our Whiskey Tumblers do not include Trinity Mall or the Leeds Grand Theatre due to size constraints. We hope you enjoyed taking a tour around Leeds via our Skyline Glassware, you can see our Leeds gin glass listing here and our glass tumbler here.

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Up Close: Newcastle Skyline

Adam Holcroft
The most populous city in the North East, Newcastle is famous for the Angel of the North, the Gateshead Millenium Bridge, and of course it's football team. Our Newcastle skyline gin glasses and tumblers incorporate all of these icons and more and in this blog we go into more depth about the individual landmarks featured.

St James' Park Stadium

Home to the city's football team Newcastle United, St James' Park is the seventh largest football stadium in England, seating 52,388 spectators at full capacity. As well as football matches, St James' Park has also hosted Rugby League and Union matches, charity events, and even rock concerts! RANDOM FACT: The location of the stadium was historically a place of execution. In 1650, 22 people went to the gallows including 15 witches. The last hanging to take place there was in 1844.

Life Science Centre

The Life Science Centre is an award-winning science centre home to a variety of hands-on exhibitions created to bring out your inner scientist. At Life, you're actively encouraged to get stuck in to interacting with the exhibits which include a science theatre, planetarium, and 4D motion ride. The centre also regularly hosts science events such as a monthly computer coding club, astronomy evenings, and hands-on science sessions for children and teens. Newcastle Gin Glass

Grey's Monument

Standing at over 40 metres tall, Grey's Monument acts as the centre point of Newcastle's bustling city centre. Erected in 1838, the statue depicts UK Prime Minister (1830 - 1834) Charles Earl Grey who's government passed the Great Reform Act of 1832 which lead to changes to the country’s unfair electoral system. As a result, the monument was created in his honour by local architects John and Benjamin Green, and sculpted by Edward Hodges Baily, who also created Nelson's statue in London's Trafalgar Square. RANDOM FACT: During World War II Earl Grey’s statue stood without a head after being decapitated by a lightning strike!

Civic Centre

The Grade II listed Civic Centre is the main administrative and ceremonial centre for Newcastle City Council and was first opened in 1968. The grand entrance to the Centre features nine huge flambeaux's which can be lit on demand, a hark back to days past when huge barrels of tar would be lit to draw crowds to council meetings.

St Nicholas Cathedral

Originally built as the parish church in 1091, St Nicholas Cathedral is the mother church of the Diocese of Newcastle, of the Anglican Church. The Cathedral forms part of the medieval area of the city with Medieval features including a stained glass roundel of the Virgin Mary, an ornate front cover, and the Thornton Memorial Brass which is the largest Flemish brass in the country. RANDOM FACT: The Cathedral has the finest collection of ‘colours’, or regimental flags, anywhere in the country outside London.

Theatre Royal

Regarded as one of the finest theatre buildings in the country, the Theatre Royal is one of just nine Grade I listed theatres in England. One of the grandest venues in town, the theatre hosts over 300 shows every year, attracting over 300,000 visitors. The Theatre Royal opened in February 1837 with the first show being a performance of The Merchant of Venice and is now home to the Shakespeare Company, Opera North, and the National Theatre.

The Castle

Once part of a large fortress, the Castle is where Newcastle got its name and is one of the city's most historic buildings. Used for defensive purposes in Roman times the castle was also the last line of defense for the town during the English Civil War and graffiti from the eventual stand-off with Scottish forces can still be seen inside. The most prominent remaining features of the site are the fortified stone tower, known as the Castle Keep, and the Black Gate, a fortified gatehouse. RANDOM FACT: In 1733, a showman attempted to make a donkey ‘fly’ from the roof of the Castle Keep. Miraculously, it survived!

Gateshead Millenium Bridge

The Gateshead Millenium Bridge holds the title of the world's first and only tilting bridge. The unique design of the bridge was the result of a competition held by Gateshead Council which gave a brief to create a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists which:
  • Allowed ships to pass underneath;
  • Did not overshadow the world famous view of the existing bridges;
  • Didn't obstruct the Quayside.
The winning, tilting, design was created by Wilkinson Eyre Architects and Gifford and Partners and first opened to the public in September 2001. RANDOM FACT: The Gateshead Millenium Bridge contains enough steel to make 64 double decker buses!

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

The BALTIC is housed in a vast converted flour mill on the South bank of the River Tyne and is the UK's largest dedicated contemporary art institution. Visitors to BALTIC are invited to discover powerful ideas, reflect on provocative new concepts, and experience a collection of innovative international as well as local art. The centre's exhibitions are ever-changing and aim to create greater understanding of the world and which give an insight into the practice of contemporary artists.

Sage Gateshead

The Sage Gateshead is an international music venue and centre for musical education regarded as one of the finest centres for music in the world. The iconic silver curved building was designed by renowned architects Foster + Partners and first opened in 2004. Every year the Sage hosts over 400 concerts made up of international, regional, and local artists as well as over 10,000 music classes and workshops. Internationally famous artists to have graced the Sage stage include Morrissey, James Brown, Nancy Sinatra, and Blondie. RANDOM FACT: The Sage definitely splits opinions with its impressive architecture having won both the Local Authority Building of the Year in 2005 and Private Eye's 'Worst Building of the Year' in 2004.

Tyne Bridge

Connecting Newcastle with Gateshead, the Tyne Bridge is a through arch bridge designed by Mott, Hay and Anderson and built by Dorman Long and Co. who later went on to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The bridge was opened on the 10th of October 1928 by King George V and at the time was the world's longest single span bridge. These days, you'll probably most recognise Tyne Bridge from the annual Great North Run which sees thousands of runners pass over the bridge whilst being spurred on by an aerial display by the RAF Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows.

Angel of the North

Perhaps the most famous of Newcastle's landmarks, the Angel of the North attracts visitors from all over the UK, and even the world, to the city. The giant angel sculpture measures an impressive 20 metres tall with a wingspan of 54 metres and stands proudly overlooking the A1 into Tyneside. Created by Antony Gormley the steel Angel was primarily funded by the National Lottery and is regarded as the UK's most famous piece of public art. RANDOM FACT: Due to its exposed location, the Angel of the North is built to withstand wind speeds of over 100mph! You can see our Newcastle gin glass here and our glass tumbler here. For our full range of Newcastle products, click here.

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