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York with Hi-5

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Australia excels at producing entertainment programs that capture the imaginations of children not just at home, but around the world.

Hi-5 is one of those success stories, and they're spending two months touring the UK. Natalie Gruzlewski met up with the famous five in Yorkshire where they are enjoying great popularity.

Charli Delaney, who has been a guest on Getaway previously, Kellie Hoggart, Sun Park, Nathan Foley and Tim Harding make up the group. They specialise in entertaining a wide range of young children, taking into consideration their span of cognitive abilities, with a variety of segments focussing on different areas of learning.

Natalie and the girls went shopping together in York — of course — and met up with the boys later on one of their rare days off.

York was founded in AD71 and has a rich Roman, Viking and Saxon history, full of romance, violence, heroism and adversity. Methodism began there in the 18th century, and it is the birthplace of Captain James Cook. At the meeting of the Rivers Ouse and Foss, it is Britain's best preserved town. Its 4.8km fortifying wall dates to Roman times and it has the largest Gothic Cathedral in northern Europe.

It has always been a place of industry with centuries of pride in textiles, quarrying, mining, fishing and steel. The Industrial Revolution was born in Yorkshire with centre such as Bradford, Halifax, Hebden, Bridge and Huddersfield prospering in the 19th century.

Shambles is possibly Europe's best preserved medieval street. Its unusual name comes from the Saxon 'fleshammels', meaning flesh shelves butchers used to display their meat. The wide window sills are still there. The name is also used to collectively refer to the surrounding maze of narrow, twisting lanes and alleys.

The street is mentioned in the Domesday Book, one of medieval England's great treasures, so we know that it has been in continuous existence for over 900 years. It is like a time machine, taking you back to Elizabethan times, with houses jostling for space and upper stories projecting over the lane. In some places, if you stand with arms outstretched, you can touch houses on both sides.

Butchers' shops have been replaced with antique and jewellery shops and it is one of York's premier shopping areas.

Lily Shambles at No. 11 has an exquisite array of jewellery and sunglasses. Run by a local husband and wife team, it's a very friendly and beautiful shop to spend some time, and maybe some money!

Not far away is Priestleys Vintage Clothing shop. It is a charming little place, loved by everyone who discovers it. It has clothing and accessories from many decades for men and women, all in excellent condition. Elegant handbags from the 1930s, 1940s cardigans and silk gloves, gingham and cashmere garments from the 1950s and Victorian nightdresses. There are suits, ties and shirts for gentlemen, and it is truly a wonderful place to browse.

After a lot of walking, the girls needed a cup of tea and visited Betty's Café Tea Rooms right in the heart of York.

Frederick Belmont, a passenger on the Queen Mary's 1936 maiden voyage, was so enthralled by the ship's splendour, he commissioned its designers and craftsmen to turn a dilapidated furniture store into the most sophisticated of his many cafés. The art deco shop has huge, curved windows, elegant wood panelling and ornate mirrors. During WWII, Betty's was a favourite haunt of thousands of airmen stationed around York. Many of them signed a mirror with a diamond pen, and it is proudly on display.

After a Yorkshire tea, the girls went to North England Activity Centre to meet up with Nathan and Tim. They were enjoying doing blokey things at the 14-hectare activity area. It has purpose-built embankments, off-road driving course with steep gradients, water gullies and mud swamps.

You can try your hand at clay pigeon shooting, grass karting, quad bikes, archery, 4x4 off-road driving and team-building events. They promise an exciting and enjoyable time.

Local historian Keith Mulhearn runs Roam'in Tours and that is an excellent way to understand more about the city. They have specialised tours such as Horrid Histories, Junior Ghost Hunt, Medieval Church Tour, York Minster and Walls Walk.

Natalie went to Clifford's Tower, all that remains of the York Castle. Its wooden defences focused around and atop the motte. They were destroyed during a local rebellion but were rebuilt by the Normans.

The wooden keep was again burned in 1190 during a siege by citizens of the Jewish community, which had taken refuge there. Jews were persecuted across the continent by the emotionally-charged and propagandised environment of the Crusades. King Richard, successor to Henry II who had protected England's Jews, led violent outbursts against them in various English towns. In York, rather than fall into the hands of the mob, many Jews set fire to the keep and committed suicide. Survivors were massacred resulting in the sheriff and constable being dismissed and a heavy fine imposed on York's citizens.

In the latter half of the 13th century, the keep was rebuilt in stone. It was given a quatrefoil plan, of which there is no other example in England. The keep later became known as Clifford's Tower after Roger de Clifford, who was hanged there in 1322.

These days the people of York are fighting developers who plan to build a shopping mall next to the ancient monument!


England's north-east.


Hi-5s new series began in Australia on June 12 and their new CD Wish Upon A Star will be released on June 17.

Emirates has return flights to Manchester valid for sale and travel until August 31, 2006. Taxes are included.

Fares from;
  • Perth, $2080
  • Melbourne, $2127
  • Brisbane, $2129
  • Sydney, $2146
  • Adelaide, $2465
  • Darwin, $2616

Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.

For further information

Lily Shambles
11 Shambles
York Y01 7LZ UK
Ph: 44 1904 73 3697

Priestleys Vintage Clothing
1 Norman Court
11 Grape Lane
York Y01 7HU UK
Ph: 44 1904 62 3114

Betty's Café Tea Rooms
6-8 St Helens Square
York Y02 2QP
Ph: 44 1904 659 142

North of England Activity Centre
Tinker Lane
Harewood Whin York Y023 3RR
Ph: 44 1904 738 120

Roam'in Tours
Ph: 44 7931 66 8935

Visit Britain — Australia
Ph: 1300 85 85 89
Fax: (02) 9021 4499

Visit Britain — New Zealand
Ph: 0800 700 741

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