Sundays With Susanna – Be A Tourist In Your Own Town

I am very lucky to live in an attractive market town located in the beautiful county of North Yorkshire. Knaresborough is not only a wonderful place to live, but it is a huge attraction that draws in thousands of visitors every week. The problem is, like many of us, I take my hometown for granted. I rush from shop to shop, only stopping to say hello to friendly shopkeepers and maybe patting a dog or two. I am blinkered about my surroundings and often don’t even notice if a building has been repainted recently.

 

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Knaresborough – My home town.

 

When in conversation with friends who live in other areas of the country, I often hear from them how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful place. A few months ago I decided to stop been merely a resident and to start being a tourist in Knaresborough. I wanted to be mindful of the area in which I live and to try fully appreciate the full aspect of my life. So, after living like this for the last few months, my conclusions are that I now have a much greater love and appreciation of my home town. I feel such a huge sense of gratitude as I look round at the immediate world I live in. I had a difficult childhood, so it is all the more poignant for me as I feel I have come a long way in my life.

So, today, I thought I would share my thoughts on becoming a tourist in YOUR town. Why not try this yourself and look round at your own local area. It is too easy to find the negatives about a town, but I believe every area has some positives within it. You may live in a built up city, full of noise and car exhaust fumes, but look a little deeper. Is there a park close by that would give you a feeling of space? Seek out the local parish church which may be full of history and stunning architecture that you haven’t noticed before ? So, here are my ideas for becoming a tourist in your own town.

ACT LIKE A TOURIST

Instead of rushing round your town trying to complete all your essential tasks, simply slow down. Walk round the town with an open mind and keep your eyes open. Look at each building as though you are looking at it for the first time. Notice the architecture and the style of a building. Be mindful of every step you take walking through the streets. Try find tiny streets that you have never walked down before. Park your car in a different car park and take a different route to the Post Office or wherever you are going.  Why not watch a tourist in action? They walk slowly, almost as though they are scared they will miss something. Be that tourist.

 

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St John’s Church Knaresborough

 

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St John’s Church, Knaresborough.

 

VISIT YOUR LOCAL TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE

Most UK towns have Tourist Information Centres which are a mine of information about the local area. Here you can pick up free leaflets about local walks, places of interest and future events. I use my local Centre all the time, even as a resident, as I learn so much about what is going on in my area.

 

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Local side streets and cobbled courtyards are always worth investigating.

 

CHOOSE A SPECIFIC DAY TO BE A TOURIST

Select one day a month when you will be a tourist. This way you will not be distracted by your daily chores and you can dedicate the full day to exploring. On this day you could even try a new activity in your area or a new dog walk. Knowing this is YOUR day, you can relax and enjoy the day, just as tourists do.

 

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Becoming a tourist for the day might help you be as relaxed as this little fella.

 

PLAN FOR COFFEE BREAKS AND LUNCH

Part of being a tourist is to plan for a nice lunch somewhere, usually with coffee or tea breaks slotted in and around lunch. You might have rushed past that cute tea room many times on your way round town, but how about you actually go in it and order yourself a nice home cooked lunch. When I am away on holiday, I always find a nice tea room for an afternoon stop for coffee and cake. It brings the day to a nice relaxing close and is time to reflect on the day.

 

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ALWAYS make time for coffee and cake !

 

TAKE PHOTOS

Take plenty of photos on your tourist day and try and see things from a different perspective. Look at buildings and landscapes as though you were a photographer, eager for that perfect photo. Why not use some of your favourite photos and have them printed? Maybe you can create a mural on a wall at home of your favourite photos of your home town? Sometimes we see things differently when we look at a photo. We can see details and perspective that we may never have seen before. From personal experience this is such an eye opener and I feel so enlightened when this happens.

 

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I didn’t realise till I became a tourist, that these steps had a name.

 

READ LOCAL BOOKS

Locate fiction and non fiction books about your area. This is a great way to experience someone else’s view point of your home town. This doesn’t have to be a tourist book. It can be a fiction book which just happens to be based in your town.

 

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BE OPEN MINDED

Finally, be open minded. You may think after reading this, that there is nothing remotely interesting about the town you live in. Why not give it a chance? I think if we look hard enough, there is beauty to be found everywhere. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Have you ever been a tourist in your own town? If so, what are your top tips?

Until next time dear friends

Much love

Susanna xx

2 Comments

  1. 6th March 2019 / 2:41 pm

    Thank you for writing about Knaresborough with pride & passion and for taking a novel approach to increasing tourism & visitor numbers, with great sentiment. I hope it’s widely read it & that many others take your top tips to heart.

    By extension, it occurs to me that there are those who already take great delight with Knaresborough’s public domain and that they’re likely to be the ones to notice cracked paving, damaged signs & other symptoms of wear & tear around and about.

    I wonder if they are not already aware of who to report incidents to, whether it would be worth empowering them by pointing them in the direction of the town council website
    http://www.knaresboroughtowncouncil.gov.uk
    where there is some useful information

    best regards
    Andy

    Andrew Grinter
    GDFraming
    Green Dragon Yard

    • Susanna
      Author
      6th March 2019 / 8:02 pm

      Hi Andrew
      Thanks for reading my post about our lovely town and thank you for your message. And yes you have a good point in referring people with local queries to the town council website. I will leave your comment public and then everyone can see this for information. Thank you Andrew. And if I can be of more help to the town through this blog then let me know. Susanna x

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