A long weekend.
A change of scene, and a destination easily accessible from South Yorkshire and the North East were required.
Solution? The West Yorkshire city of Leeds.
Here's the gang, all set to explore.
Past and present.
There is much evidence of Leeds' industrial history. Its wealth was largely built on the wool and linen trade in the 17th and 18th centuries, and further industrialisation through the development of mills and the Leeds-Liverpool canal brought great prosperity.
The city's current affluence owes much to the financial, legal and service sectors.
There are imposing Victorian buildings wherever you look, built to represent the city's wealth and success.
This is the Town Hall, complete with lions and a Henry Moore sculpture. It was opened in 1858 by Queen Victoria.
This used to be the central Post Office in Leeds, now a restaurant.
The Leeds City Museum.
The Corn Exchange, opened in 1864, is a beautiful building inside and out.
The spectacular domed glass roof was designed to allow in as much light as possible so the corn merchants could clearly see the quality of the produce on offer.
It is still a centre for trade, albeit no longer corn-based; it houses a selection of independent shops and cafes.
The lavish Victorian arcades are testament to the fact that a love of shopping is not a modern phenomenon.
The setting for the shops might be stunning, but the same can't always be said for the merchandise...
Kirkgate Market is the largest covered market in Europe, and home to the original stall where Marks and Spencer started trading in 1884.
And because we all love a bit of gruesome medical history, we also went to the Thackray Museum, housed in the old Leeds workhouse next to St James' Hospital.
It wasn't all about history though.
There was also fun with wigs...
and plenty of pit stops...
and a wander around Park Square, an elegant city-centre Georgian square which now also includes a peace tree planted by the majors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 2003.
We love our weekends away with Sabena and Gary, and Leeds didn't disappoint.
Discussions about our next destination have already begun!